Reflection No. 230 on Q 8:24 – An Invitation to be fully alive
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اسْتَجِيبُوا لِلَّهِ وَلِلرَّسُولِ إِذَا دَعَاكُمْ لِمَا يُحْيِيكُمْ
Yā-ayyuhal-ladhīna āmanūs-tajībū lillāhi, walir-rasūli idhā du ‘ākum limā yuHyīkum
O believers, respond to Allah and His Messenger when he calls you to that which grants you life
(Sūratul Anfal, No. 8, Āyat 24).
This verse announces an invitation to accept that which gives life to human beings: spiritual life, material life, social life, political life, personal life, etc. – life in all its different aspects. This essentially is a short and succinct description of what the religion of Islam has to offer. If someone were to ask what is the aim of Islam and what can it do for us? The simple answer is that it gives us life in all aspects of humanity.
Were people lacking life during the time of the Holy Prophet (s) that the Quran says come and accept something that will give you life? The answer to that question is that although they had physical life, they were completely deficient in life as defined in the Quran.
The Quran refers to many types of life;
1) Physical life: Know that Allah gives life to the earth after its death (Q 57:17).
2) Intellectual life with spirituality: Is he who was dead then We raised him to life and made for him a light by which he walks among the people, like him whose likeness is that of one in utter darkness from which he cannot come forth? (Q 6:122)
3) Eternal life in the Hereafter: He shall say: If only I had sent ahead for my life! (Q 89:24)
Those who have physical life do not always enjoy other forms of life along with it. In fact many people walk around dead because although their bodies are alive their hearts are spiritually dead.
True religion enlivens the human being and is the spark that keeps the spirit alive. How mistaken are those who make religion a set of dry rituals that are on the peripheries of daily life. They make religion dead while true religion is alive and gives life. It creates movement in all aspects of life, awakens the soul, inspires knowledge and wisdom, and stimulates progress and perfection.
Recite this verse to remind yourself that religion is alive and dynamic. It fosters growth and gives zest and meaning to life. Appreciate what religion can do for you and thank God for making you from those who are alive on the path towards Him.