Saturday, July 6, 2013

Friday Nasihah

Living The Quran
Al-Baqara (The Cow) - Chapter 2 : Verse 3 (partial)
"Who believe in what lies beyond the reach of human perception."
The limits of human perception do not prevent believers' souls from reaching their Creator, the omnipotent power behind the universe and all existence. Their limited natural senses do not stand in the way of their desire to reach beyond the physical world or their pursuit of the ultimate truths of life.
Belief in the imperceptible raises human consciousness to a level where a wider and fuller world can be perceived. Such a step provides him with a totally new awareness of the realities of the interacting energies and forces that are at play in this complex world, and of the way he conceives of them. It also affects his behaviour and life on earth in general.
This belief has the vital role of preserving man's finite mental and intellectual powers and saving them from being wasted, abused or misdirected. These faculties have been bestowed on man to enable him to properly discharge his obligations as God's representative on earth. In the present life, the domain for man's activities of procreation, construction, innovation and excellence is limited. His intellectual power needs to be strengthened and complemented by spiritual power which stems directly from God and is thereby linked to the whole of existence.
Any attempt to comprehend the world from another perspective is futile and foolish, because it resorts to the wrong tools and defies the fundamental truth that the finite cannot fathom the infinite. Man's limited sensory and intellectual capabilities do not enable him to understand the absolute meaning of things.
This inherent human deficiency, however, in no way prevents man from believing in the imperceptible and accepting that it is the prerogative of the Divine. Man should leave these matters to God, the Omniscient, and should turn to Him for meaning, information, understanding and explanation. Recognition of this fact is the greatest prize the human mind can win, and is the first and foremost mark of the God-fearing believer.
Compiled From:
"In the Shade of the Quran" - Sayyid Qutb, Vol. 1, pp. 23, 24

Understanding the Prophet's Life (peace be upon him)
The Prophet, peace be upon him, warned his people against lying, breaking their word, and breaching their trust. All of these were condemned as "signs of hypocrisy." [Abu Dawud] He was so meticulous in this matter that when he saw woman call her child, saying: "Come on, I'll give you something," he asked her if she was telling the truth. She replied that she would give him a date, to which God's Messenger responded: "If you were to give him nothing, you would have lied." [Abu Dawud]
His concern in this matter extended even to animals. Once, annoyed at seeing a Companion trying to deceive his horse, he said: "Stop deceiving animals. Instead, be trustworthy with them." [Bukhari] Another time, while returning from a military campaign, a few Companions took some baby birds from a nest to pet them. The mother bird returned after a short while and, finding her babies gone, began to fly around in distress. When God's Messenger was informed, he was so upset that he ordered the birds to be returned immediately. Such an order was meant to show that representatives of trustworthiness should harm no living creatures. [Abu Dawud]
Compiled From:
"The Messenger of God: Muhammad" - Fethullah Gulen, pp. 69, 70

Wealth and Consumption
The month of Ramadan ought to be a school enabling the Muslim conscience to return to what is essential in the message, its objectives, and the questionings necessary to grasp higher goals. For a month, believers take a break from their usual lives to return to meaning and essentials, breaking with their habits of consumption, the rhythms of everyday life, and the deep-seated ideas about competing to acquire and possess material things. Beyond the act of worship and its spiritual dimension, the fundamental teaching of this exercise consists of understanding that the way we relate to wealth and consumption should be questioned in the light of the goals human beings set for themselves.
The ethical goals of fasting, clearly stated in the texts or put together by inference, requires us to question our choices in life, development, and individual and collective growth. Yet, an appalling perversion can be observed: this month, which ought to "produce meaning," has been taken over - like so many ecological and humanitarian projects - by the logic of an imperialistic economy based on growth and productivity. Rather than being a month for awareness of goals by questioning development models and consumerist ways of life, that month, and its nights in particular, turn into an increasingly neglectful fair encouraging consumption, even in poorer societies. This is deep, almost complete alienation. The point was to consume less, to consume better in terms of conscience and quality, and we end up consuming less during the day to consume without moderation and with total abandon at night. This is yet another example of formalist perversion: norm and form are maintained while the religious practice's ethical goals are lost.
Compiled From:
"Radical Reform: Islamic Ethics and Liberation" - Tariq Ramadan, p. 239

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