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

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