Friday, August 31, 2012

Friday Nasihah

Living The Quran
Marked by God
Al-Dhariyat (The Scattering Winds) Chapter 51: Verses 33-34
"to bring down on them stones of clay, marked as from your Lord for those who transgressed all bounds."
These stones of clay, marked or made ready by God for those who transgress the bounds, like Lot's people who transgressed the bounds of human nature, truth and religion, may well be stones from a volcanic eruption brought out from deep inside the earth. In this respect, they are 'from your Lord,' aimed, in accordance with His will and the laws He sets in operation, against any transgressors He has marked. Thus, they are determined in time and place according to His absolute knowledge and His will. There is nothing to prevent their being aimed, within the framework of His will and laws, by angels.
Do we know the exact nature of God's angels? Do we know the nature of their relation to the universe and its inhabitants? Do we truly know the nature of the universal powers to which we give names according to what we may see of their characteristics? Why should we then question the news given to us by God, saying that He sent some of these forces at a certain point of time, to aim some powers in a particular form, against certain people, at a certain place? How can we question such news when all our knowledge consists of some theories and supposed interpretations concerning what appears to us of these powers and forces? Their reality remains far removed from us. Let these stones be volcanic resulting from an eruption nearby, or some other such stones. What difference does it make? Both are the same in His hand, as He has made both and the secret is known to Him. He may reveal the secret when and if He so wishes.
Compiled From:
"In the Shade of the Quran" - Sayyid Qutb, Vol 16, pp. 160, 161

Understanding the Prophet's Life (peace be upon him)
Patiently Striving
Al-Bukhari narrated it with his sanad to Al-Zubayr Adi. He said: "We came to Anas ibn Malik and we expressed to him our misgivings about what we met from al-Hajjaj. Then he said: 'Be patient!' For indeed there will not come upon you a time except that what is after it is worse than it - until you meet your Lord. I heard it from your Prophet.'"
Some people have taken this hadith to justify sitting back from taking action, from striving to reform, change and deliverance. They have argued that the hadith demonstrates that human affairs are in decline continually, in a permanent falling off, a successive decaying, from one level to another level lower than it; it is not carried from bad except to worse, nor from worse except to what is worse than that, until the Hour stands over the evil ones of the people and all people meet their Lord.
It is our duty to say that the predecessors among our scholars held back from this hadith, regarding its 'generality' as dubious. According to Ibn Hajar: "the referent of the times mentioned is the time of the Companions, on the basis that it is they who were addressed by that [hadith]. Then as for those after them: they were not intended in the report mentioned."
As for the particular claim that the hadith implies an appeal to silence before injustice, patience with abuse of power and tyranny, and contentment with wrongdoing and disorder, and that it supports negativism in the face of the arrogance of the tyrants in the earth - it is rebutted by a number of arguments:
First: that the speaker of "Be patient!" was Anas. He inferred what he understood from the Prophet, peace be upon him. And a Muslim is free to adopt or leave the discourse of every individual except the one who was free of sin.
Second: Anas indeed did not command people to be content before injustice and disorder, but only commanded them to be patient - and the difference between the two is great. Contentment before unbelief is itself unbelief, and before wrongdoing wrongdoing. As for patience, it is all but indispensable; one is patient with a thing that one is averse to, while endeavouring to change it.
Third: One who does not have the capacity for resistance to injustice and tyranny, has no way other than to seek refuge in patience and long suffering. At the same time he must strive to make preparations for appropriate action, for change, and to seize means and occasions, to take help from all who share his burden of concern.
Fourth: patience does not forbid one from speaking the word of truth, and enjoining the right and forbidding the wrong before tyrants acting as gods. Yet there is no obligation to do so upon one who fears for himself or his family or those around him.
Thus it is not proper to understand the instruction to be patient as meaning an absolute surrender to injustice and arrogance. Rather: it means waiting and watching attentively until God gives his judgment, and He is the best of judges.
Compiled From:
"Approaching the Sunnah: Comprehension & Controversy" - Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, pp. 84-89

Elevating The Quran
Where they are inscribed on buildings or hung on walls, Quranic verses are generally elevated, in keeping with the superiority of God's Word over the words of humans. The idea that ontological superiority is implied by physical elevation, while dishonor can be signified by literally lowering a thing or placing it under one's feet, may be universal. This accords with an anthropocentric perspective, for as a human develops in strength and maturity, he or she rises from the floor to become tall and erect. It is also the experience of sages of many traditions that sacred insight can best be found on the mountaintops. The Quran was first revealed to Muhammad in a cave on a mountain, Moses spoke to God, on Mount Sinai, the transfiguration of Jesus took place on a mountain (peace be upon them).
Apart from its symbolic implications, it is obvious that physically elevating precious objects can protect them from being trampled upon, knocked over, and dirted. It is understandable, therefore, that Muslims are keen to ensure that physical copies of the Quranic mushaf - the record of God's exact words revealed to humanity - should be treated with respect. In most Muslim cultures, this means that the Quran is never placed on the floor, is usually stored on a high shelf, and even when stacked with other books, the Quran is usually repositioned on top of the pile.
Among Muslims, the elevation of the Quran should inspire a feeling of reverence, humility, and submission. Many Muslims express this deep feeling of love for the word of God by wrapping their Quran in fine fabric or kissing it after taking it off the shelf. Modernized Muslims might be uncomfortable with such gestures, considering such reverence for the text of the Quran "superstitious" and potentially distracting from the awareness of the absolute transcendence of God. Such exaggerated fear of a slippery slope towards idolatry has perhaps left some of these Muslims with rather dry approach to faith. Traditional Muslim societies seem to allow more room for emotional expressions of faith, and a close connection between the body and the spirit. Certainly there can be excesses in this direction as well: however, one cannot help but feel that the traditional approach yields a richer spiritual culture in which the sacred words of God infuse one's surroundings and have a deep visceral effect on the individual.
Compiled From:
"The Story of The Quran: Its History and Place in Muslim Life" - Ingrid Mattson, pp. 150-153

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Friday Nasihah

Living The Quran
Man's Innocence
Al-Najm (The Star) Chapter 53: Verses 38-39
"No person is responsible for the guilt of another. To every person belongs the merit or demerit of what he has wrought."
Islam holds that man is created innocent, and plays out the drama, as it were, after his birth, not before. No matter who his parents were, who his uncles and ancestors, his brothers and sisters, his neighbours or his society were, man is born innocent. This repudiates every notion of original sin, of hereditary guilt, of vicarious responsibility, of tribal, national or international involvement of the person in past events before his birth. Every man is born with a clean slate, it asserts, basing its stand on the absolute autonomy and individuality of the human person. No soul, the Quran declares, will bear any but its own burden. To it belongs all that it has itself personally earned, whether merit or demerit. None will receive judgement for the deed of another, and none may intercede on behalf of another.
Islam defines man's responsibility exclusively in terms of his own deeds and defines a deed as the act in which man, the sane adult person, enters into bodily, consciously, and voluntarily, and in which he produces some disturbance of the flow of space-time. Guilt and responsibility are ethical categories and are incurred only where a free and conscious deed is committed.
Compiled From:
"Tawhid: Its Implications for Thought and Life" - Ismail Raji Al-Faruqi, pp. 68, 69

Understanding the Prophet's Life (peace be upon him)
Deeds of Man
Narrated by Ziyad ibn Thabit and Ibn Abbas (may Allah be pleased with them), the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "If Allah was to punish the people of heaven and earth, He would have done that without being unjust towards them, and if He were to have mercy on them, His mercy would be far better for them than their deeds." (Abu Dawud)
In a sahih hadith the Messenger of Allah said: "No one will attain salvation by virtue of his deeds." The people asked, "Not even you, O Mesenger of Allah?" He said, "Not even me, unless Allah covers me with His mercy and blessings."
The deeds of a man cannot pay for even one of the many blessings of Allah, because even the smallest of Allah's blessings and favours far outweigh the deeds of man. So we must always bear in mind the rights which Allah has over us.
Compiled From:
"Patience and Gratitude" - Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah, p. 70
Faith Needs Art
Everywhere, in all cultures and civilizations, from the oldest to the most modern, the arts have always expressed and conveyed humankind's common aspiration to remain upstanding, to try to understand, and to tell the meaning of their lives, of their sufferings, of their loves, and of their deaths. Those works are invaluably rich and the various societies' cultural heritages must be studied from within. All that a culture produces is not always satisfactory from an artistic or ethical standpoint and it is important to adopt a critical approach that manages to be both inclusive and selective. Innumerable works produced by non-Muslim cultures and artists by no means contradict Islam's ethical goals: those varied forms of art, literature, or music must, in the name of universality of principles, be integrated into the shared cultural and artistic heritage of societies and, more generally, of humankind.
There are higher ethical goals in art, as in any other human activity. Preserving the common good, dignity, and welfare is, of course essential, as is the importance of dignity, creativity, and diversity. In addition to celebrating those higher goals, it should be possible to discuss tensions, doubts, grief, and suffering, not to nurture them morbidly but to come to terms with them in a quest for balance, peace, contemplation, and sincerity that can never be fully achieved.
The Universe of art is a Universe of questions rather than answers, and it should not be reduced to conveying only religious answers. Artistic expression precedes such answers and the accompanying norms: it seeks to reach and convey the essence of emotion and meaning, and any attempt seeking to reduce it to a strictly religious or Islamic message would naturally leave people unsatisfied. Art asks questions, faith supplies answers: it is important for faith to allow the heart a space where it can express with freedom and dignity its simple, human, painful questions, which may not always be beautiful but are never absolutely ugly. Moreover, faith needs it, for such a experience enables it to gain depth, substance, and intensity.
Compiled From:
"Radical Reform: Islamic Ethics and Liberation" - Tariq Ramadan, p. 202

Friday, August 17, 2012

Friday Nasihah

Living The Quran
Rejoice and Enjoy!
Al-Araf (The Heights) Chapter 7: Verse 32
"Say (O Muhammad): Who has forbidden the beautiful gifts of Allah which He has produced for His servants, and the things, clean and pure which He has provided for sustenance? Say: They are, in the life of this world for those who have faith, and solely for them on the Day of Judgement. Thus do We explain the signs in detail for the benefit of those who like to know."
Islam recognizes the importance of celebrations in people's lives. While expecting the ultimate reward in the Hereafter, a believer is not required to deny himself/herself the opportunity of enjoying in this life. Islam does not expect people to deprive themselves of the lawful pleasures of life. A Muslim should know how to strike a balance between devotional acts of worship and worldly pleasures.
Feeling joy and showing happiness and delight are essential elements of Eid. That is why scholars stated that showing happiness in Eid is a religious rite. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) encouraged the Muslim community to manifest happiness on this day.
What makes one wonder is the act of those who overlook this Prophetic guidance and try to destroy this joy and spoil Eid’s cheerful spirit. In fact, some ascetics and worshipers did so in the past out of good intention. This gloomy spirit is echoed today by some sincere people who are used to turning Eids into occasions of lamenting the Ummah’s shortcomings and tragedies, and mourning over the lost glories. Sadness and gloominess will never be the remedy for our tragedies. The remedy needs more than that. It needs reflection and wise thinking, as well as courageous self-criticism and assessment. Rejecting the manifestations of joy, extinguishing every smile and succumbing to sadness and grief have nothing to do with liberating even hand-span of land, satisfying a hungry person, or answering any call for help.
The best guidance is that of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), who used to seek refuge in Allah from worry and sorrow. He was always an optimistic, smiling man. We need to infuse the Ummah with this hopeful spirit. Eid is a ray that dispels the darks engulfing our souls and the despair strangling our hearts. So let hope find its way into our souls. The life-span of Islam is far longer than ours; its horizons are far wider than our countries; the calamities afflicting us are not unchangeable fate. We should not be hasty and impatient. Allah's laws in running the universe cannot be altered according to the humans' whims or wishes.
Let's look at the bright side and appreciate the favours Allah has bestowed on us. A desperate soul overwhelmed by fears and blinded by a gloomy view can never be helpful in rectifying our situation. After all, we should remember that Allah is always there and that He Almighty is the Greatest.
Compiled From:
"The Holy Qur'an" - Yusuf Ali's
"Fasting In Islam- Principles and Practices" - Munir El-Kassem
"Do Not Crush the Joy of Eid" - Abdul-Wahhab ibn Nasir At-Turairi
Understanding the Prophet's Life (peace be upon him)
Prophet's Eid
Narrated Anas bin Malik:
Allah's Apostle never proceeded (for the prayer) on the Day of Eid-ul-Fitr unless he had eaten some dates. Anas also narrated: The Prophet used to eat odd number of dates.
Narrated Abu Sa'id Al-Khudri:
The Prophet used to proceed to the place of prayer on the days of Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Adha; the first thing to begin with was the prayer and after that he would stand in front of the people and the people would keep sitting in their rows. Then he would preach to them, advise them and give them orders, (i.e. Khutba). And after that if he wished to send an army for an expedition, he would do so; or if he wanted to give and order, he would do so, and then depart.
Narrated Jabir bin 'Abdullah:
On the Day of Eid the Prophet used to return (after offering the Eid prayer) through a way different from that by which he went.
Narrated Aisha:
Allah's Apostle (peace be upon him) came to my house while two girls were singing beside me the songs of Buath (a story about the war between the two tribes of the Ansar, the Khazraj and the Aus, before Islam). The Prophet lay down and turned his face to the other side. Then Abu Bakr came and spoke to me harshly saying, "Musical instruments of Satan near the Prophet?" Allah's Apostle turned his face towards him and said, "Leave them." When Abu Bakr became inattentive, I signalled to those girls to go out and they left.
It was the day of Eid, and the Black people were playing with shields and spears; so either I requested the Prophet or he asked me whether I would like to see the display. I replied in the affirmative. Then the Prophet made me stand behind him and my cheek was touching his cheek and he was saying, "Carry on! O Bani Arfida," till I got tired. The Prophet asked me, "Are you satisfied (Is that sufficient for you)?" I replied in the affirmative and he told me to leave.
Compiled From:
"The Two Festivals" - Al-Bukhari, Book 15
Our Needy People
When the Prophet (peace be upon him) sent an envoy to a tribe that had converted to Islam, he asked the envoy to teach them the five pillars of Islam. Speaking about zakat, he told him to explain to them that it had to be deducted from the money of the rich among them and distributed to “their needy people” (‘ala fuqara’ihim). The scholars, in all the schools of law and through the ages have, thus, always insisted on the necessity of spending the zakat locally first, for the poor and the needy people of the place, the locality or the society within which it has been collected. It is only when the local needs have been satisfied, or in exceptional situations such as natural catastrophes or wars etc., that the spending of zakat abroad can be done.
Not only does the zakat shape the social conscience of the Muslim but it also directs him/her towards his/her immediate environment in order to build this conscience by facing up to the difficulties and dysfunctions of his/her society, its poor or/and marginalised people. Zakat, unlike the voluntary alms (sadaqa) is first intended for the Muslims and our faithfulness to its teaching demands of us to observe what is going on around us, within our nearest spiritual community. This "priority to proximity" is fundamental: it imposes a requirement to know one’s society, to care about the state of the Muslims in one’s area, town and country.
We are very far from living up to this teaching today. In the majority of the Western societies, in the United States, in Canada, in Britain, in France as in Australia, one finds women and men who give zakat to charitable organisations in the Third World or to their countries of origin. They care very little about the situation of those who live near them and they are convinced they are doing right since those from "over there" are poorer than those from "around here". The mistake consists in forgetting that the poor from around here have rights (haqun ma’lum) over the rich from around here. Nothing prevents the latter from sending voluntary alms (sadaqat) to the deprived people of the entire world or to their countries of origin but they have an established duty, from which they cannot escape, towards the needy people of their country of residence: once again it is, before God, the rights of "their poor people".
One can but be sad, and sometimes disgusted, when observing how the Muslims care so little about the local realities: obsessed by the international scene and the situation of the Muslims "from over there", they no longer see the reality of the education’s deficit, unemployment, social marginalisation, drugs, violence and prisons in their own society. Though the awareness of their brothers’ misfortune elsewhere is positive, per se, it has had the very negative consequence of making them very passive, neglectful and unaware of the appalling situation of brothers at their own doorsteps. This is a tragedy, an error and, in fact, a betrayal of the fundamental teaching of zakat.
The Muslim organisations have a great deal of responsibility in this failure since they have difficulty proposing programmes and priorities for the zakat's collection and distribution at the local level, in the towns and the regions. A correct understanding of this dimension of zakat would shape the individual’s spiritual and his/her citizen's conscience with which one understands that one has to be involved in one’s environment. This means one has to study it and to find the best, fairest and most coherent means to spend the purifying social tax in one’s own society, in Britain, France, the United States, Canada, Australia or elsewhere.
Compiled From:
"One day, our poor people will ask" – Tariq Ramadan

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Going to the Garden to Eat Worms

After making the wreath I was in creative mode and decided to make a dessert that looks like worms in dirt...every kids dream come true. And if the wreath doesn't bring more visitors then I will be going to the garden to eat worms. By the way it was delicious and I ate it all up in one took a little longer.
Actually the dessert was made by my dd3 but it was my idea and I bought all the ingredients so it counts!
The bottom is chocolate pudding, the next layer is butterscotch,the next is chocolate graham wafer crumbs then pistachio pudding (the best layer in my opinion but not the kids) this layer was the grass and finally halal gummy worms we bought at the halal meat store.

Home Sweet Home

I've always wanted to make a wreath especially when I saw the ones on Etsy. Since oldest daughter was visiting we headed off to Michael's and Walmart for supplies. Since my theme was cupcakes I decided on writing Home Sweet Home. Dd did a more classy item and can be seen here. Also since a new Muslim family moved into town, it also got me motivated to make my entrance a little more inviting.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Friday Nasihah

Living The Quran
Thousand Months
Al-Qadr (The Power) Chapter 97: Verse 3
"The Night of Power is better than a thousand months."
Laylat ul-Qadr is the most blessed night. A person who misses it has indeed missed a great amount of good. If a believing person is zealous to obey his Lord and increase the good deeds in his record, he should strive to encounter this night and to pass it in worship and obedience. If this is facilitated for him, all of his previous sins will be forgiven.
There is no consensus of the Ummah over when the night of Qadr occurs. Imam Razi has a few novel points to offer on why that is the case:
Allah concealed its knowledge from His slaves since His rida (approval and pleasure) is concealed in devotions to Him, and in concealment of the night is the cause of increase in devotions. This is following His general method: He concealed His friend (waliyy) among the people in order that all people might be respected; He concealed His response to supplications in order that they might resort to it more often; He concealed His Great Name (Al-Ism al-A'zam [some scholars believe that Allah is the Ism al-A'zam.]) in order that all of His Names might be revered; He concealed the accepted prayer in order that the people pay special attention to every Prayer; He concealed the time of death in order that the people never be oblivious of it.
Again if the night of Qadr been known, the sins of the sinners in that night would have weighed heavily upon them, since, to commit sins on a known blessed occasion is greater in enormity than when committed on the same blessed occasion but without the sinner knowing that it is a blessed occasion.
Three Ways to Seek Laylat ul-Qadr
1. Performing Night Prayer (Qiyam)
It is recommended to make a long night prayer during the nights on which Laylat ul-Qadr could fall. This is indicated in many hadiths, such as the following:
Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Messenger (peace be upon him) said: "Whoever stands (in qiyam) in Laylat ul-Qadr [and it is facilitated for him] out of faith and expectation (of Allah's reward), will have all of his previous sins forgiven." [Al-Bukhari, Muslim, Ahmad]
2. Making Supplications
It is also recommended to make extensive supplication on this night. Aishah (may Allah be pleased with her) reported that she asked Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him), "O Messenger of Allah! If I knew which night is Laylat ul-Qadr, what should I say during it?" And he instructed her to say: 'Allahumma innaka afuwwun tuhibbul afwa fafu annee - O Allah! You are forgiving, and you love to forgive. So forgive me.'" [Recorded by Ahmad, Ibn Majah, and at-Tirmithi. Verified to be authentic by Al-Albani]
3. Abandoning Worldly Pleasures for the Sake of Worship
It is further recommended to spend more time in worship during the nights on which Laylat ul-Qadr is likely to be. This calls for abandoning many worldly pleasures in order to secure the time and thoughts solely for worshipping Allah. Aishah (may Allah be pleased with her) reported: "When the (last) ten started, the Prophet (peace be upon him) would tighten his izaar (i.e. he stayed away from his wives in order to have more time for worship), spend the whole night awake (in prayer), and wake up his family." [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
Compiled From:
"Tafsir Ishraq al-Ma'ani" - Syed Iqbal Zaheer
“How to Seek Laylat ul-Qadr” – Muhammad Nasir-ud-Deen al-Albani
Understanding the Prophet's Life (peace be upon him)
Sincerity Towards The Quran
It is established in Muslim's Sahih that Tamim al-Dari stated, "The Messenger of God, peace be upon him, said, 'Religion is sincerity.' We said, 'To whom?' He said, 'To God, His Book, His Messenger, the leaders of the Muslims, and their common folk.'"
The scholars (God grant them mercy) said that having sincerity regarding the Book of God is believing that it is the speech of God Most High and His revelation; that it does not resemble anything from the words of people; and that people are incapable of anything like it even if they all joined together [to attempt it]. Sincerity is to extol its glory; recite it and give its recitation its just due - beautifying it, being humble while doing so, and correctly pronouncing its letters. Sincerity is defending it from the misinterpretations of the deviators and the opposition of the tyrants; believing in everything that it contains; not exceeding its boundaries; and understanding its knowledge and examples. It is paying attention to its exhortations; pondering its amazing wonders; acting according to what has unequivocal meaning; submitting to what is open to interpretation; searching out its universal and restricted rulings; its abrogating and abrogated passages; and propagating its sciences; and calling others to them.
Compiled From:
"Etiquette with the Quran" - Imam al-Nawawi, p. 97
Sacred Actions
In addition to being a religion built upon a few foundational unchanging doctrines or rational assertions, Islam is a religion of obligatory practice and observance. If a person wants to run a marathon, we all understand that she will have to embrace a long-term, daily routine of training and discipline. This might include a special diet, a specific number of miles to run every day, a curbing or letting go of certain activities or behaviours that are not conducive for the training, and other life changes. While her work or study life might continue somewhat normally, everything else in her life, including her social life, would be touched and affected by the consuming preparations that are required for this great task.
In a sense, observant Muslims all see themselves as "in training" for a kind of marathon; the great task is making one's way home to God, in whose presence Muslims believe they will find their greatest happiness and peace. This worldly life is understood to be the training ground and the theatre for the most crucial part of the race. Thus, the daily discipline an observant Muslim embraces is the basic part - the nuts and bolts - of the training, the preparation for the race into eternity. When seen in these terms, the daily prayer, the fasting, the almsgiving, the dietary observance, and the other aspects of Islamic practice may not seem so strange or foreign to us.
Compiled From:
"In the Light of a Blessed Tree" - Timothy J. Gianotti, pp. 51, 52

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Lantern Court Giveaway Winner

According to the Random generator the winner is Blueberry. Mabruk. Please send me your address so I can send you the package of Happy Ramadan plates, napkins and foil balloon. Send your address to omwits at 

Friday, August 3, 2012

Lantern Court Ramadan Giveaway

Lantern Court sent me some wonderful items to try out and some to give away. Last night we tried out the Ramadan Mubarak line of paper plates,balloons and napkins. First of all I love the colour and design! Purple is my favourite colour so what can I say? The napkins are made from recycled paper and the dyes are made from environmentally safe water based inks and the dishes have the same inks.  The napkins are nice and thick which was a pleasant surprise! The dishes (paper) can be used for cold and hot foods. A family member was afraid they couldn't hold up but they were just fine! My 8 yr old daughter liked hers so much she wanted me to wash them and keep them. Everybody loved the balloon as it made iftar so festive. I got the helium for the balloon at a flower shop for $3. Some dollar stores offer this service too. The lady who served me asked what the balloon said and I told her and translated it to her and explained Ramadan to her. It was really nice to have a chance to dawah here in this town where we are the only Muslims.

Now for the giveaway. It is for the Happy Ramadan collection which is so bright and cheerful and sure to be a hit with young and old. If you would like to win, then like the Lantern Court facebook page  for one entry and then click on the website on that page and sign up for the mailing list for another entry and finally take a good look at the products and tell us which design you like best for another entry.  If you don't win the giveaway you can still order these items here in Canada at Eastern Toybox and Craft Souk. They also have Eid products. This giveaway is open to only those residing in Canada. The winner will be announced on Tuesday after the long weekend.

Friday Nasihah

Living The Quran
Desire to Give
Al-Insan (Humans) - Chapter 76: Verses 8-10
"Who give food - though they need it themselves - to the needy, the orphan and the captive, [saying within themselves,] 'We feed you for the sake of God alone. We desire neither recompense from you, nor thanks. We fear the day of our Lord: a bleak, distressful day.'"
These verses describe the compassionate feelings of true believers, symbolized in their offering of food, which they need for themselves, to people who are less fortunate than themselves. In other words, they put such needy people, orphans and captives ahead of themselves, feeding them despite their own need of the food.
We see compassion overflowing from such hearts that seek God's pleasure, looking for no reward or praise from any creature. They do not hold up their favours in an attitude of conceit. They simply want to avoid the woes of a bleak and grim day, which they genuinely fear.
Giving food to the needy in such a direct manner was at the time of the Prophet, peace be upon him, the proper expression of the believer's own compassion and the most needed type of help. Ways and forms of charity may be completely different in other circumstances and social environments. What is important is the need to maintain such compassion towards others and the desire to do good only for God's sake, looking for no earthly recognition or reward.
Taxes may be regulated in society, and a portion of such taxes may be allocated for social security, ensuring that the poor are helped. However, this meets only one part of the Islamic objective that these verses refer to. Islam imposes zakat duty to fulfil this part of meeting the needs of the poor and the deprived. Islam, however, considers an equally important part of this objective, the feelings of those who give; in other words their desire to give elevates them to a high, noble standard. We must not belittle the importance of this objective. Islam is a faith that sets a system to cultivate people's better feelings and sentiments. Kindly feelings and generosity refine those who are charitable and benefit the ones in need.
Compiled From:
"In the Shade of the Quran" - Sayyid Qutb, Vol 17, pp. 410-412
Understanding the Prophet's Life (peace be upon him)
Almighty's Wrath
The Prophet, peace be upon him, sought refuge in Allah from trials, envy, treachery, ignorance, all those things that detract from the dignity of a human being. Nonetheless, he was able to and did accept abuse or insults from others - for the sake of his attachment to the Lord. What concerned him above all was that he should never become the object of the Almighty's wrath. In his prayers he would often say:
'If Your wrath be not upon me, I worry not. But Your favour would be far more liberal.'
Compiled From:
"Remembrance And Prayer" - Muhammad Al-Ghazali, p. 102
Passion of the Masses
On the question of hudud, one sometimes sees popular support hoping or exacting a literal and immediate application because the latter would guarantee henceforth the “Islamic” character of a society. In fact, it is not rare to hear Muslim women and men (educated or not, and more often of modest means) calling for a formal and strict application of the penal code (in their mind, the sharia) of which they themselves will often be the first victims. When one studies this phenomenon, two types of reasoning generally motivate these claims:
1. The literal and immediate application of the hudud legally and socially provides a visible reference to Islam. The legislation, by its harshness, gives the feeling of conformity to the Quranic injunctions that demands rigorous respect of the text. At the popular level, one can infer in the African, Arabic, Asian as well as Western countries, that the very nature of this harshness and inflexibility of the application, gives an Islamic dimension to the popular psyche.
2. The opposition and condemnations by the West supplies, paradoxically, the popular feeling of faithfulness to the Islamic teachings; a reasoning that is antithetical, simple and simplistic. The intense opposition of the West is sufficient proof of the authentic Islamic character of the literal application of hudud. Some will persuade themselves by asserting that the West has long since lost its moral references and became so permissive that the harshness of the Islamic penal code which punishes behaviours judged immoral, is by antithesis, the true and only alternative “to Western decadence”.
These formalistic and binary reasoning are fundamentally dangerous for they claim and grant an Islamic quality to a legislation, not in what it promotes, protects and applies justice to, but more so because it sanctions harsh and visible punishment to certain behaviors and in stark contrast and opposition to the Western laws, which are perceived as morally permissive and without a reference to religion. One sees today that communities or Muslim people satisfy themselves with this type of legitimacy to back a government or a party that calls for an application of the sharia narrowly understood as a literal and immediate application of corporal punishment, stoning and the death penalty. When this type of popular passion takes hold, it is the first sign of a will to respond to various forms of frustration and humiliation by asserting an identity that perceives itself as Islamic (and anti-Western). Such an identity is not based on the comprehension of the objectives of the Islamic teachings (al maqasid) or the different interpretations and conditions relating to the application of the hudud.
Faced with this passion, many ulama remain cautious for the fear of losing their credibility with the masses. One can observe a psychological pressure exercised by this popular sentiment towards the judicial process of the ulama, which normally should be independent so as to educate the population and propose alternatives. Today, an inverse phenomenon is revealing itself. The majority of the ulama are afraid to confront these popular and simplistic claims which lack knowledge, are passionate and binary, for fear of losing their status and being defined as having compromised too much, not been strict enough, too westernized or not Islamic enough. The ulama, who should be the guarantors of a deep reading of the texts, the guardians of faithfulness to the objectives of justice and equality and of the critical analysis of conditions and social contexts, find themselves having to accept either a formalistic application (an immediate non-contextualized application), or a binary reasoning (less West is more Islam), or hide behind “almost never applicable” pronouncements which protects them but which does not provide real solutions to the daily injustices experienced by women and the poor.
Compiled From:
"An International call for Moratorium on corporal punishment, stoning and the death penalty in the Islamic World" - Tariq Ramadan