Friday, December 14, 2012

Friday Nasihah

Living The Quran
Eternal Truth
Al-Anam (The Cattle) Chapter 6: Verse 25 (partial)
"... and the disbelievers among them dismiss what you tell them as nothing but old tales."
We have all heard educated person refer to the Quran as something out-of-date. This is not a phenomenon peculiar to our age. Even in the days of the Prophet there were people who found nothing new in the Quran. They used to dismiss the earlier revealed books in a similar fashion. It is customary with a certain kind of people that whenever they are invited to the path of righteousness they say, 'we have heard all this before. You are saying nothing new.' As if for a statement to be true it must also be new and whatever is old must necessarily be false. Truth is eternal. It does not change though our understanding of it might change with the passage of time. Those who instruct people in the light of divine guidance present universal truths. But there are people who pride themselves on the originality of their minds and are prepared to ignore the universal in their anxiety to produce something novel or unique.
Compiled From:
"Towards Understanding the Quran" - Sayyid Abul Ala Mawdudi, Vol 2, pp. 223, 224
"Translations from The Quran" - Altaf Gauhar, pp. 103-105

Understanding the Prophet's Life (peace be upon him)
'Arrogance' is a word with a bad reputation and so many negative connotations. Sadly, the word 'confidence' comes too close to it for most women to recognize the difference. The fear of being seen as arrogant and conceited has stopped many women from achieving to their highest potential.
Oftentimes, we can't even celebrate the good things in our life because of an almost irrational fear of arrogance. For Muslim women, the struggle can be even more pronounced because we're instilled with the idea that humbleness is a great virtue. Indeed, humility is a merit; however the definition of humility in relation to that of arrogance needs a more in-depth analysis. Or a simpler one.
Consider the saying of the Prophet Muhammad, may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, when asked about the topic:
"Arrogance," he said, "is to reject the truth and to look down on people." (reported by Muslim)
Compiled From:
"Release Your Inner Queen of Sheba!" - Heba Alshareef, pp. 59, 60
Membership of Humanity
It is important to ask our religions, philosophies, cultures and societies what meaning they give to our loyalties. We have to evaluate our postulates and beliefs, our idea of truth and men, and even, to be more specific, our personal philosophies, our nations and our societies. This conscious and critical attitude is an essential condition if we are not to become trapped in our existing loyalties. When that happens, we deny, or greatly relativize, our primary membership of humanity. Any moral teaching, on the part of any religion, spirituality or philosophy, that might lead us to ignore the common humanity of all men, to deny the dignity of some men, or to establish distinctions and an ontological hierarchy between beings must be critically evaluated because it can have serious and dangerous implications.
Many factors explain why such teachings have emerged. Sometimes, the problem lies in the very fundamentals of a tradition, as is the case with the theory of castes. In most cases, however, it is dogmatic or reductive interpretations of the founding texts that lead to exclusivist, closed or inquisitorial approaches. The closed minds of certain scholars, specific cultural features or even historical circumstances - being in a position of power or, at the opposite extreme, experiencing oppression or rejection - may bring about interpretations or theories that reduce 'belonging' to meaning membership of one to a single religious community, or to the supposed supremacy of one ideology or to blind nationalism. The very idea of our common humanity is then called into question or even denied. We have to think critically and we always have to begin anew, because no religion, spirituality or human or political philosophy is immune to closed interpretations, to abuses of power or to the instrumentalization of the feeling of being a victim. Scholars, theologians, philosophers and intellectuals must constantly strive to recapture the essence of the human and humanist teachings that lie at the heart of every religion, philosophy or tradition. This is a requirement of faith, the heart and the mind. In the name of our primary membership of humanity, we must never deny the common and equal dignity of all human beings.
Compiled From:
"The Quest for Meaning" - Tariq Ramadan, pp. 69, 70

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