Friday, March 30, 2012

Friday Nasihah

Living The Quran
Al Furqan (The Criterion) - Chapter 25: Verse 63
"For true servants of the Most Gracious are they who walk gently on the earth, and who, whenever the jahilun address them, reply 'Peace' (salam)."
Muslims have traditionally used jahiliyyah to refer to the pre-Islamic period in Arabia and so it is usually translated "the Time of Ignorance." But although the root J-H-L has some connotations of "ignorance," its primary meaning is "irascibility": an acute sensitivity to honour and prestige; arrogance, excess, and above all, a chronic tendency to violence and retaliation. Jahili people were too proud to make the surrender of Islam; why should a karim moderate his behaviour and act like a slave ('abd), praying with his nose on the ground and treating the base-born like equals? The Muslims called Abul Hakim, their chief enemy, "Abu Jahl" not because he was ignorant of Islam - he understood it all too well - but because he fought Islam arrogantly, with blind, fierce, and reckless passion. But the tribal ethos was so engrained that Muslims continued to exhibit jahili symptoms long after they had converted to Islam. Jahiliyyah could not be eradicated overnight, and it remained a latent menace, ready to flare up destructively at any moment.
Instead of succumbing to the jahili spirit, the Quran urges Muslims to behave with hilm, a traditional Arab virtue. Men and women of hilm were forbearing, patient, and merciful. They could control their anger and remain calm in the most difficult circumstances instead of exploding with rage; they were slow to retaliate; they did not hit back when they suffered injury, but left revenge to Allah. Hilm also inspired positive action: if they practiced hilm, Muslims would look after the weak and disadvantaged, liberate their slaves, counsel each other to patience and compassion, and feed the destitute, even when they were hungry themselves. Muslims must always behave with consummate gentleness and courtesy. They were men and women of peace.
Compiled From:
"Muhammad: A Prophet for Our Time" - Karen Armstrong, pp. 79, 80

Understanding the Prophet's Life (peace be upon him)
Courage and Generosity
God sometimes links prayer (salah) and the alms-due (zakah) together and sometimes links these two with patience. All three are essential: prayer, the welfare due and patience. The well-being of the believers depends upon all three, both for their own piety and for the improvement of others - and never more so than whenever discord and tribulation are intense, for the need then is all the greater. The need for tolerance and patience is common to all mankind, and these are vital to human welfare in both the religious and worldly spheres.
That is why people always praise courage and generosity in one another - indeed, it is these that the poets extol in their writings - just as they blame one another for stinginess and cowardice. There is universal agreement among the whole of humanity to praise truthfulness and justice and to condemn lying and tyranny. Some desert Arabs once begged so demandingly of the Prophet, on him be peace, that they forced him into a thorn bush which caught on his cloak. He turned to them and said: "By Him in Whose hand is my soul, if I had a flock as numerous as these thorns I would divide it among you; then you would not find me a miser, a coward or a liar."
Compiled From:
"Public Duties in Islam" - Ibn Taymiyya, p. 103

Cool Tips!
Connecting to Prayer
Praying five times a day can be a struggle for adult Muslims, but an even greater one for young people. At a time when texting and other technology offer fast-paced distraction, encouraging our youth to establish Salah can seem impossible.
But this pillar of Islam keeps us all grounded in our faith. It is that necessary daily reminder of Who we are accountable to, as well as Who is our greatest Benefactor. It keeps us connected to Allah in all circumstances, and it is a gift and obligation we must pass on to young Muslims.
Here are a few ways to start that process.
1. Set the example
As is the case with all other good habits, parents, mentors, teachers, and others young Muslims look up to must be praying themselves. But we need to not only be offering our prayers. We must also truly reflect the level of concentration and commitment it takes, by praying on time, doing our best to focus, and offering the prayers diligently.
2. Establish prayer in the home
Kids learn faith first and foremost from the family and within the home. This is where prayer as a way of connecting to Allah needs to be discussed and shown in practice. Make it a habit to pray in congregation when going to the Masjid is not possible. Avoid having everyone pray in their own little corner of the house. Start today by designating one space of the home for this purpose.
3. Don’t discourage even small steps toward prayer
Prayer is a long-term commitment that requires the kind of dedication that’s hard to muster for many older people, let alone young people distracted by the ding of texts on their phone or other issues. Praise even the performance of a short, two-Rakat prayer, and encourage youth to take it to the next level.
4. Don’t discount strength in numbers
Whenever possible, pray in congregation with other Muslims outside of the family, especially other youth. This can be at weekend school, or even joining one of the prayers at a full-time Islamic school with the administration’s permission. This will show that prayer isn’t something "weird" that only you and your family do. Rather, it is something other young Muslims do regularly, as well.
5. Make prayer time parent time
Spend a few minutes after each prayer with your young Muslim connecting, asking or answering questions about an issue of concern, or simply making it a time for hugs, jokes, and lighthearted hanging out.
Compiled From:
"8 Ways to Connect Young Muslims to Prayer" - Samana Siddiqui

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