Yes. It was that the Prophet of the Almighty (may the peace and blessings of the Most High be with him) once drew a line in the sand with his hand. Thereafter he said: “This is the straight path of the Almighty”. Then, he drew other lines to the right and left. Once again, he said: “These are other paths, and there is no path among them but that a devil is upon it calling to its way”. Then he, the Prophet recited the Ayah – “And verily, this is my Straight Path, so follow it, and follow not (other) paths) – Quran 3: Aayah 153. The Straight path, not the paths; the one single road, to salvation, not roads. The path of salvation, the path of Islam, the path of choice; the path that humans have to take by choice, not by force in order to enjoy eternal bliss.
In Surah al-Insan (Quran 76), the chapter of humanity, aayat 3, the Almighty also talks about the path, about the road that leads to Him; once again, not about the roads. He says that He has shown humanity the road to tread; He has fulfilled His covenant to us by placing us all on a single line, on a single path- the path of salvation.
Two issues branch out of the above. The first relates to the difficulty of the discovery of the right path by personal efforts. It is He, the Almighty, who guides to the path of Islam. He is the one who sustains it. This explains why those who are on the path of Islam and have chosen to do so particularly at puberty are especially favoured by Him. If you consider the circumstance of those who do not believe in the Almighty nor in His Prophet (s.a.w), you would discover that they are equally happy being where they are. The ignorant is forever happy in the state of ignorance since it is only after discernment has come to him that he would discover that where he was before ran contrary to his nature and destiny as the vicegerent of the Almighty on earth. Whereas you derive fulfillment from observing your daily prayers, from fasting in the month of Ramadan and from going to hajj on an annual basis, all these noble deeds do not matter at all to the non-believer. For some of them, constant performance of ablution is an irritation until the outbreak of coronavirus pandemic in 2020. After the outbreak of the pandemic, everybody in the world became Muslims by force; hand-washing that had hitherto been part of Islamic tradition became a global practice. Everybody became Muslims by chance, not choice. While Muslims became thankful for the blessings of Islam, the non-believer could not connect the inner dimensions of the outbreak of COVID-19 to the subtle and solemn divine call to humanity to find their ways back to Him.
Nor have they ever paused to ask the hard question- if the saviour actually died on the cross that day, does that not mean that the Creator died? If indeed the Creator died on the cross (fal-Iyadhbihi), who replaced Him in the heavens? Who wielded the powers and the authorities that guaranteed the continued existence of the world in His absence? Subhanah!!
The path of rectitude in Islam is such a clear one that it admits of no obfuscation or confusion. But besides this path are others that lead to hell. Beside the single straight line are other lines; there are shortcuts that lead to hell, to confusion, to eternal damnation. Humanity always forget that it is by being on the line, on the path, given to it by its Creator that lies its salvation.
I was pondering the above when the thread below came my way. It reminded me that every minute in our world marks the departure of someone from this world. We are all in “the line” without knowing it. We do not know how many people are in front of us. We do not know how many are behind us. Since we are on the straight line, the only line that is firmly under His control, we cannot step out of this line in order to go backwards; back to the end of the line. But how can we go to the back or the end of a line that we do not know where it began?!
The line we are talking about is that which we cannot avoid. It is the only line; the only path. The line that connects the beginning with the ending. To be on the line is to constantly move upwards on the line, not backwards. There are women who do plastic surgeries in order to look younger than their ages. But is there a genetic engineering that can extend the lines on which humanity as a whole is situated? The only way you can remain on this line forever, even if you are no more there, is to do His bidding. Plant a tree today. Put smiles on somebody’s face today. That is the only way to remain eternally on this line.