Friday, May 31, 2013

Friday Nasihah

Living The Quran
Proper Response
Al-Baqara (The Cow) - Chapter 2 : Verse 216 (partial)
"... It may be that you dislike something, though it is good for you. And it may be that you love something, though it is bad for you. And God knows, and you do not know."
There are four possible states in which the human being can live. A person is either receiving blessings (nima) or tribulations (bala) from God; or is either living in obedience (taa) or in disobedience (masiya). Each condition invites a response. What comes to a person in his or her life may help a person move closer to God when the response is right:
1. When God gives a person blessings, the response is gratitude in all of its manifestations. Gratitude is expressed first by performing what is obligatory then going beyond that by performing virtuous, recommended acts.
2. The response to tribulation is patience, as well as steadfastness and resolve. This is what God demands from people in times of trial - a beautiful patience.
3. As for obedience, one must recognize that obedience is a blessing from God. If a religious person starts to believe that he is better than other people - even if these "other" people are in the state of disobedience - he invites haughtiness.
4. When it comes to disobedience, the response is repentance to God (tawba), seeking His forgiveness, pardon, and mercy, feeling remorse for the past, and having the resolve never to sink into disobedience again.
Compiled From:
"Purification of The Heart" - Hamza Yusuf, pp. 69-71

Understanding the Prophet's Life (peace be upon him)
Best Inerpretation
Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal was once asked about the correct meaning of the following Hadith: 'When you hear something from or about your brother ascribe to it the best interpretation until you can no longer do so.' To this the Imam replied: 'Find an excuse for him by saying "maybe he said this, or maybe he meant such and such." It is further reported in another hadith: 'Whoever is offered an apology from a fellow Muslim should accept it unless he knows that the person apologising is being dishonest.' [Mishkat]
While commenting on these hadiths, Tuffahah has rightly observed that, despite the occurrence of the word brother (akh) therein, they are of general import, and their scope need not be confined to Muslims, the reason being that in Islam justice and benevolence (adl wa ihsan) are not confined to Muslims alone.
Compiled From:
"Freedom of Expression in Islam" - Mohammad Hashim Kamali, pp. 126
Loving Ourselves
Love is a journey. The one thing that the teachings of all spiritualities, religions, philosophies and modern psychologies have in common has to do with the fact that we always have to begin with ourselves. There is no escaping that. We must learn to know ourselves, learn to accept ourselves and learn to love ourselves.
Love's first journey is a journey to the inside: again and again, we come back to ourselves, watch ourselves, study ourselves and become completely imbued with ourselves. Not in order to drown in a blind and arrogant egocentrism, but in order to find a balance. It is in fact possible that going back to ourselves is the best way to avoid egocentrism.
Learning to love ourselves means learning to accept ourselves. What do we see when we look in our own mirror? The gaze is more important than the evaluation because, ultimately, it is the gaze that determines the evaluation. Our relationship with ethics begins with our relationship with our being: if we began by deprecating ourselves or even hating ourselves, the harm has already been done.
A love for someone else that fuses with the other to such an extent as to lead us to deny our own being and our own needs is a love that is fragile, unstable and unbalanced and that will lead, in the long term, to suffering and failure (unless it merges into the experience of absolute self-sacrifice).We must learn to listen to ourselves, to respect ourselves and, when we experience love, to make ourselves heard and respected. We must love ourselves with humility and dignity: we must expect ourselves to change and make constant progress, and expect others to help us on our way without denying us in any circumstances. We must learn to love ourselves, and to make ourselves loved.
Compiled From:
"The Quest for Meaning" - Tariq Ramadan, pp. 195-198

Monday, May 27, 2013

My trip to Malaysia part 7

During the raya holidays I got to meet Kak Chik. I knew her only from her blog before, so it was a special treat to meet her in real life and lucky that she was available when I was. You can read all about it in her post. But sorry its in Malay. We met together at Pizza Hut in Kota Bharu. Later she took me to her house and I saw her home business there; Abaya Elegan. I purchased a lovely black jilbab with matching hijab with embroidered roses on it which I wore to a later destination which will be coming in a later post insha Allah.
Here is the full story!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Friday Nasihah

Living The Quran
Encounter with God
Al-Muminun (The Believers) - Chapter 23 : Verse 115
"Did you think that We have created you in vain and that you would never be recalled to Us?"
God Almighty is fair towards all men. He has equally blessed all human beings with the gift of life and given them senses and perception and intellectual faculties to distinguish between good and bad, right and wrong. God has made promises and sent warnings; He has given some people good health and inflicted others with ailments; He made life a mixture of happiness and suffering; all of this in order to enrich the human experience and make people recognize the reality and value of God. People can choose either to be vigilant and prepare for their encounter with God, and invest for life in the hereafter, or they can choose to reject God and dismiss any accountability to Him. God will judge both with fairness and justice; but when it is too late, excuses will avail no one.
Compiled From:
"A Thematic Commentary on the Quran" - Muhammad al-Ghazali, p. 373

Understanding the Prophet's Life (peace be upon him)
Suspending Judgement
Some people forgive themselves everything and condemn everyone else. Some condemn everything about themselves and find extenuating circumstances for others. Some do not forgive themselves for anything and forgive nothing. And others forgive everything and (almost) everyone. To love and forgive is to be both demanding and indulgent. This is a matter of balance. An Islamic prophetic tradition says: 'Find seventy excuses for your brother (sister), and if you cannot find any, imagine that there is one excuse you do not know.' [Bayhaqi] This suggestion echoes the Christian maxim 'Love thy neighbour as thyself,' and 'Thou shalt not judge.' It is about loving and suspending one's judgement. This does not mean accepting everything that others do (in which case there would be no love), but it does mean taking the view that their mistakes or sins do not tell us the whole truth about them. In Measure for Measure, Shakespeare suggests that we 'Condemn the fault and not the actor of it' if we wish to ensure that we do not punish the wrong person. All the monotheisms recommend that we make that distinction: human beings can judge acts, but only God is in a position to judge human beings. When human beings turn into judges, they invent not the hereafter on earth but hell.
Compiled From:
"The Quest for Meaning" - Tariq Ramadan, pp. 201, 202

Cool Tips!
Openness is vital to integrity. It takes both humility and courage - humility to acknowledge that there are principles out there you may not currently be aware of, and courage to follow them once you discover them. Throughout history, most paradigm shifts in science have been shifts from traditional thinking - shifts that took this kind of humility and courage. A good way to increase integrity, then, is to work on being open.
As you evaluate your own openness, you might ask yourself:
  • Do I believe that the way I see the world is totally accurate and complete - or am I honestly willing to listen to and consider new viewpoints and ideas?
  • Do I seriously consider differing points of view (from a boss, direct report, team member, spouse, or child), and am I willing to be influenced by them?
  • Do I believe there may be principles that I have not yet discovered? Am I determined to live in harmony with them, even if it means developing new thinking patterns and habits?
  • Do I value - and am I involved in - continual learning?
To the degree to which you remain open to new ideas, possibilities, and growth, you create a trust dividend; to the degree you do not, you create a trust tax that impacts both your current and future performance.
Compiled From:
"The Speed of Trust" - Stephen M. R. Covey, pp. 71, 72

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Friday Nasihah

Living The Quran
Spending Youth
Al-Qiyama (The Day of Resurrection) - Chapter 75 : Verse 6
"He asks, 'When will the Day of Resurrection come?'"
There are people who desire to continue in their wrongdoing throughout the entirety of their lives. Although people may be aware of ultimate accountability, they put off repentance as if they are guaranteed a long life. This is an ethic exemplified by the saying, "Sow your wild oats," which advocates getting all the lewdness and sin out of one's life when one is young, and then later calming down and adopting religion. Besides the obvious error of this ethic, another terrible flaw is that people die at all ages, and some never get the chance to repent and make amends. Moreover, what kind of repentance is this when people intentionally indulge in sin banking on the possibility that later on in life - after all the energy and drive diminishes - they will turn in penitence to God? We know that God loves those who spend their youth obedient to Him and His commandments.
Compiled From:
"Purification of the Heart" - Hamza Yusuf, pp. 90, 91

Understanding the Prophet's Life (peace be upon him)
Source of Regret
Bayhaqi mentions that, according to Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her), the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, 'An hour that passes during which a person fails to mention Allah, will be a source of regret for him on the Day of Judgement.' He also mentions according to Muadh ibn Jabal (may Allah be pleased with him): 'The people of Heaven have no regret except for the hour that passed them during which they did not remember Allah Most High.'
The Prophet's wife, Umm Habiba (may Allah be pleased with her) said, 'The Messenger of Allah declared, "All the servant's words are against him, not for him, except those enjoining fairness, forbidding evil or mentioning Almighty Allah.'" [Tirmidhi]
Muadh ibn Jabal said, 'I asked the Messenger of Allah, "Which act is most beloved to Almighty Allah?" He answered, "That upon death your tongue is moist with His remembrance.'" [Mundhiri]
Compiled From:
"The Invocation of God" - Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya, p. 46
Cool Tips!
Buddies and Bullies
A lot of times, when a parent or teacher tells a kid that they are using words to hurt and/or scare another kid, they try to pass off their remarks as just jokes. "I'm only teasing her," you hear bullies say. But hurtful cracks are some of the cruelest weapons that bullies can use against a helpless kid.
Sure, I understand that everybody jokes around. And there's nothing wrong with having fun with your friends. None of us wants to be too sensitive. There's nothing wrong with being able to take a joke.
But everyone needs to know the difference between "good" teasing and "bad" teasing. There are some very clear ways you can tell the difference between jokes among buddies and harmful insults from bullies.
  • Joke around in ways that make you both laugh.
  • Don'ts joke to hurt your feelings on purpose.
  • Stop joking if they think they might hurt your feelings.
  • Don't get angry if you joke back with them.
  • Always use jokes to hurt you.
  • Refuse to allow you to joke in return.
  • Keep insulting you even after they know they have hurt your feelings.
  • Often get upset when you ignore their jokes.
Compiled From:
"Life Strategies for Dealing with Bullies" - Jay McGraw, pp. 21, 22

Friday, May 3, 2013

Friday Nasihah

Living The Quran
Heavenly Message
Surah al-Imran (The House of Imran) Chapter 3: Verse 81 (partial)
"And behold! God made a covenant with all the Prophets, saying: 'Convey to your people whatever I give you of the Scripture and of revealed wisdom. Then when comes to you a final messenger who confirms what is with all of you - in fulfillment of My promise - ardently shall you support him.'"
The Quran views as one community all those who believe in the Heavenly message, this bond of faith being restricted by neither the limits of time or space, nor by the reality that God has sent to humanity as many as 120 thousand Prophets carrying distinctive revealed guidelines to their peoples. Their God is One. Their essential religion is one. Their destiny - to stand before God in final Judgment - is inexorably one. The preceding generations of believers were aware that the faithful after them would share and confirm the message and the prophets they were upholding, and so prayed for their spiritual well-being and guidance, while the succeeding generations remembered that it was, in part, through the gallant efforts of their predecessors in belief that the religion of Heaven had been delivered to them.
Compiled From:
"The Gracious Quran" - Ahmad Zaki Hammad, p. 148

Understanding the Prophet's Life (peace be upon him)
Lost Belonging
The Prophet, peace be upon him, taught his Companions both deep faith and the exploitation of intellectual creativity in all circumstances. The genius of peoples, the wisdom of nations, and healthy human creativity were integrated into their mode of thinking, without hesitation or timidity. As the Prophet forcefully stated: "[Human] wisdom is the believer's lost belonging; he is the most worthy of it wherever he finds it."[Bukhari] This was an invitation to study the best human thoughts and products and adopt them as part of humankind's positive heritage (maruf, what is acknowledged as the common good). On a broader level, it meant showing curiosity, inventiveness, and creativity in the management of human affairs, and this appeared not only through his approach to war and strategies but also through his way of considering the world of ideas and culture.
Compiled From:
"In The Footsteps of The Prophet" - Tariq Ramadan, p. 138
Divine Scheme
The Divine scheme, as outlined in the Quran, is designed to operate equally well under all circumstances and at all stages of human development, on the macrocosmic as well as the microcosmic scale. It makes full allowance for a human being's own abilities and potential for improvement and gives careful consideration to his strengths and weaknesses. It neither devalues a person's role on earth nor denigrates his status as an individual or as a member of society.
In its view of the human being, God's scheme is neither idealistic, raising the human being far above his deserved position, nor does it describe a human being as worthless or dispensable.
A human being is a unique creature who can, through his natural talents and innate abilities, adapt himself to the Divine order of life and so rise to the highest levels of progress and achievement. The Divine order is a universal plan for the long term. It is neither oppressive nor arbitrary. Its perspectives and prospects are broad and not restricted to the life or interests of one individual: it looks far into the future. Human ideologies, on the other hand, are usually limited to the lifespan of their proponents, who are bent on achieving all their ambitions and settling all their scores within a single generation. This inevitably comes into conflict with human nature, resulting in oppression, conflict, bloodshed, and the destruction of human values and civilisation.
Islam adopts a very gentle approach towards human nature, encouraging, prodding, pampering, cajoling, reprimanding and, where necessary, disciplining and restraining. It prefers the patient, caring attitude, confident of the eventual outcome. It is a continuous process of growth and development that can only get better as time goes on. There is no need for compromises, half-hearted solutions, or arbitrary or foolish measures. In God's scheme, things must be allowed to take their natural course.