Friday, August 23, 2013

Friday Nasihah

Living The Quran
Al-Baqara (The Cow) - Chapter 2: Verse 210
"Are they waiting for God and the angels to come down to them in the shadows of clouds? The matter will have been settled then. To God shall all things return."
The verse condemns those who waver and are reluctant to submit and come into the fold of God's peace. It questions their motives and the reasons that hold them back, and asks whether they will remain fixed in their obstinacy until such time as God, flanked by angels, should appear to them in person. In other words, are they waiting for the fearful Day of Judgement to arrive? That day will indeed come, and the surah moves at once to that momentous day to tell us that everything has been settled. Time has come to a stop. The opportunity to believe and repent has gone for ever. No one could be saved now, as all stand facing their Lord to whom "shall all things return".
This is an illustration of the Quran's unique and effective style, which brings to life the scenes it describes, and makes the reader or listener feel and see and hear what is going on as if it were happening now.
How much longer will they dither when the chance to come into the fold of God's peace is calling, and the final judgement is so close? God's invitation is a promise of peace and happiness both in this life and the life to come.
Compiled From:
"In the Shade of the Quran" - Sayyid Qutb, Vol. 1, p. 243

Understanding the Prophet's Life (peace be upon him)
"Charity is a proof" [Muslim]
Charity or sadaqa is the giving of one's wealth to others for the sake of Allah. The Prophet, peace be upon him, described charity as a burhan. Burhan are the rays that are emitted by the sun. Part of their significance is that they clearly and unequivocally point to the existence of their source, the sun. That is why a "proof" or "definitive argument" is called a burhan. It unequivocally points to the truth of what it is being used to prove.
The Prophet has befittingly called charity a burhan or demonstrative proof. This has been explained in more than one way. These explanations are not contradictory and they all could have been meant by the Prophet when he made the statement.
One explanation of this hadith is that the Prophet (peace be upon him) was alluding to the fact that sadaqa is a sign of one's true belief. By its nature, wealth is something beloved to a human being. Giving up part of one's wealth for the sake of Allah is a much greater sign of one's faith than mere lip service. In general, hypocrites are not willing to give in charity (unless to be seen) for they are not willing to part their wealth.
A second explanation is that a person's sadaqa will be a proof for him on the Day of Judgement when he is asked about his wealth and how he used it in this life. He will rush to his charity and seek refuge in it in the same way that one rushed to a proof for support and help.
Compiled From:
"Commentary on the Forty Hadith of al-Nawawi" - Jamaal al-Din M. Zarabozo, pp. 884, 885

Origin of Love
If you read the Quran, you will find confirmation of the place from which pure, noble love originates. You will find it discussed in:
1. The context of da'wah, the purpose of which is to rekindle and arouse human hearts: Say, if you want to love God, then follow me and God will love you. (3:31).
2. The description of believers: Those who have attained to faith in God, are most strong in their love of God (2:165).
3. The description of the relationship between the believers and their Lord and Sustainer: He Loves them and they love Him (5:54).
4. The discussion of good and evil: Indeed God loves those who do good (2:195), and He does not love the aggressors (2:190).
Compiled From:
"Islam: The Way of Revival Vol 1" - Watering the Seeds of Love: Sa

Friday, August 16, 2013

Friday Nasihah

Living The Quran
Al-Imran (House of Imran) - Chapter 3: Verse 133
"Be quick in the race for forgiveness from your Lord, and for a Garden whose width is that (of the whole) of the heavens and of the earth, prepared for the righteous."
There is a big difference between production speed and productivity. Hastiness is blameworthy. We can hardly find the word used in the Quran without a negative connotation attached to it. However, being quick to act is not the same as hastiness. Allah praises those who show initiative in the above verse.

Being quick here refers to taking initiative and getting things done instead of dragging your feet and procrastinating. This is not to be confused with hastiness, which is to try and get too many things done in too little time, which is the inevitable result of poor planning and procrastination.
Compiled From:
"Appealing to 'Patience' to Deny People’s Rights" - Salman al-Oadah

Understanding the Prophet's Life (peace be upon him)
Honouring Guests
Khalid ibn Amr relates that he heard the Messenger of God, the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) saying: He who believes in God and the Last Day should honour his guest as he deserves.
He was asked: ‘And what does he deserve, O Messenger of God?' and he answered:
"A day and a night of what he deserves, and hospitality for three days. More than this is charity." (Bukhari, Muslim).
As the above-mentioned Hadith indicates, guests are to be welcomed. But this openness and generosity should not be abused so as to be a burden on the hosts.
This factor should be taken into consideration for those of us who come from families back home who may not be well off financially. We should act wisely and judge for ourselves how long is too long for our hosts.
Compiled From:
"Etiquette guide for being the ideal guest" - Abdul Malik Mujahid
Cool Tips!
Sense of Humour
One of the best things you can do for yourself when you fail is to learn to laugh. I love the comment made by a humourist who said he spoke for an organization where they always rated the previous meeting's speaker in their program using little bells. Speakers who received a standing ovation got four bells next to their name. Those who were above average got three. Merely average speakers got two bells, and poor speakers got one. The humourist said that when he spoke to them several months ago, they awarded him the no-bell prize.
There isn't a person alive who wouldn't benefit from a good laugh, especially when he's done something really stupid. When you take your mistakes too seriously, then everything seems to become life-and-death. When that happens, you sure die a lot. The way to solve that is to keep your sense of humour no matter how bad things get.
Compiled From:
"The Difference Maker" - John C. Maxwell, p. 156
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Thursday, August 8, 2013

Friday Nasihah

Living The Quran
Rights of Men
Hud (Hud) - Chapter 11: Verse 117
"And your Lord would never destroy human habitations wrongfully, while their inhabitants are righteous."
The verse implies that Allah does not destroy a people even if they commit association in His divinity so long as their dealings between themselves are carried out in justice. It is only when they begin to wrong each other on a large scale that they meet with their destruction. Hence it is said that a dominion lasts despite disbelief but not despite justice. [Zamakhshari, Shawkani]
God's chastisement does not afflict any people merely on account of their holding beliefs amounting to shirk or kufr, but afflicts them only if they persistently commit evil in their mutual dealings, and deliberately hurt other human beings and act tyrannically.
Hence those who are learned in Islamic Law hold that men's obligations towards God rest on the principle of [His] forgiveness and liberality, whereas the rights of man are of a stringent nature and must always be strictly observed - the obvious reason being, that God is almighty and needs no defender, whereas man is weak and needs protection. [Razi, Asad]
It is imperative that there should always be a good number of righteous people in every society. A community that is prepared to put up with everything except a group of righteous people in its midst is certainly destined for self-destruction. God's final decision, whether to punish a community or not, depends on the extent to which that community possesses the elements that would enable it to respond to the call of truth.
If we truly love the society we live in and don't want the punishment of God to come down upon us, we should try our best to develop a group of people who will call people to do good and forbid them from evil.
Compiled From:
"Ishraq Al-Maani " - Syed Iqbal Zaheer, Vol. 5, pp. 294, 295
"Towards Understanding the Quran" - Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi, vol. IV, pp. 138, 139

Understanding the Prophet's Life (peace be upon him)
Seeking God
The path to God is only illuminated when a person recognizes the central place of God, Allah, in his or her own life and strives hard to develop his or her self accordingly. The Messenger of Allah, (peace be upon him) said, "If someone wants to know what position he enjoys in the sight of God, he has to only look at what place he gives to God (in his heart and life)" (Hakim).
For the Believer, the most coveted goal in life is to seek the good pleasure of Allah and Janna (Paradise). Know, however, that attaining the pleasure of Allah takes precedence over seeking Janna but the two are closely connected. Paradise can only be attained through seeking Allah's pleasure, and when Allah's pleasure is gained, we will indeed be granted Paradise.
The alternate to attaining Paradise in the Hereafter is to be placed in Jahannam (Hellfire) and to receive punishments. Hellfire is for those who seek as their ultimate goal in life, not the pleasure of Allah or Paradise, but the enjoyment of worldly gains. The pursuit of worldly gain is but a mirage. All worldly gains are left behind when you die. All that remains on earth is bound to perish, while Allah and His good pleasure will remain for ever!
Compiled From:
"In The Early Hours" - Khurram Murad, pp. 1-3

Established Order
The time has come to reconcile ourselves with the depth and breadth of the Islamic civilizational tradition and its wealth of meaning that establishes rules in the light of the objectives of dignity, freedom, justice and peace. The Muslim peoples of today urgently need to reassert themselves. Crucial to the process are spirituality and mysticism: not those of a certain form of Sufism that, not wishing to “take part in politics,” ends up playing the game of powers (and colonisers), but of the quest for self that an authentic Sufism never separated from human, social and political (by way of wise and just government) considerations. It is not enough to affirm that freedom must come before the “Sharia”; what is lacking is a thoroughgoing reflection on freedom in the modern age, and the superior objectives (maqasid) of the Path (ash-Sharia) that supersede its reduction to a body of regulations presented as God’s intangible laws. What ash-Shatibi provided us with, in his synthesis of the “objectives of the Sharia" - which is actually a “philosophy of law" - must be thought for the notion of freedom: we need a “philosophy of liberty” that cannot be constricting, reactive or dogmatic but must be broad, holistic and liberating, valid for women and men alike.
There is a sore need of young scholars (ulama) of both sexes, of intellectuals who will show a modicum of courage. While respectful of the message and the immutable rules of practice, they must imperatively seek reconciliation with the intellectual audacity of those who have given the age-old Islamic tradition its strength. Against the institutions that have often shaped them, that are under state control and intellectually enfeebled (such as al-Azhar or Umm al-Qura today), the young Muslim generations must free themselves, make their presence felt and give new meaning to the dynamics of a civil society that is no longer a passive onlooker, or simply complain, and display their indignation, or explore new ways of acting, new and alternative visions. Yet they must remain faithful to themselves, while resisting the established order.
Compiled From:
"Beyond Islamism" - Tariq Ramadan

Friday, August 2, 2013

Friday Nasihah

Living The Quran
Al-Sajda (The Prostration) - Chapter 32: Verse 9 (partial)
"... He endows you with hearing, sight and insights: (yet) how seldom are you grateful."
The Quran recognizes that an empirical attitude is an indispensable stage in the spiritual life of humanity and thus it gives equal importance to all the facets of human experience as yielding knowledge of the Ultimate Reality which reveals its symbols both within and without. According to the Quran, to secure a complete vision of Reality, sensory perception must be supplemented by the perception of Fuad or the heart as revealed in the above verse. The heart provides inner intuition or inner experience that brings us into contact with aspects of Reality other than those open to the senses. Mystically information is disseminated to the mind. It is a mode of dealing with Reality in which sensation, in the physiological sense of the word, does not play any part.
The region of inner experience, for the purpose of knowledge, is as real as any other region of human experience and cannot be traced back to sensory perception. The immediacy of inner experience resembles our normal experience and belongs to the same category. Unfortunately, living the present world of naked materialism, we have assumed, without criticism, that knowledge of the external world through sensory perception is knowledge.
Compiled From:
"Words That Moved the World" - Qazi Ashfaq Ahmad, p. 109

Understanding the Prophet's Life (peace be upon him)
Reciting Quran
The Prophet, peace be upon him, said: "One who recites the Quran in a loud voice is like one who gives alms openly and one who recites the Quran quietly is one who gives alms secretly."[Abu Dawud]
Narrated Abdullah Ibn Abbas, "The Prophet's recitation was loud enough for one who was in the inner chamber to hear it when he was in the house." [Abu Dawud]
The Prophet, peace be upon him, once went out at night and found Abu Bakr praying in a low voice, and he passed Umar ibn al-Khattab who was raising his voice while praying. When they both met the Prophet together, the Prophet said: I passed by you, Abu Bakr, when you were praying in a low voice. He replied: I made Him hear with Whom I was holding intimate converse, Apostle of Allah. He (the Prophet) said to Umar: I passed by you when you were praying in a loud voice. He replied: Apostle of Allah, I was awakening the drowsy and driving away the Devil. The Prophet said: Raise your voice a little, Abu Bakr, and he said to Umar: Lower your voice a little. [Abu Dawud]
Compiled From:
"Prayer At Night" - Sunan Abu Dawud

Even if one tries his best to follow all of the steps and means that help one purify his soul, the nature of man is such that, in general, he is bound to falter every now and then. When a person falters and sins, though, that is not the end of the matter. As long as he has not reached the moment of death, the door to repentance will remain open to him. He need not despair - as long as he brings himself to account and repents to Allah for the sins and transgressions he has committed.
The true repentance includes:
1. Stopping oneself from the sin that one is committing
2. Feeling remorse
3. Having the sincere intention to never again return to performing that sin
4. If the sin also involved the rights of other humans, one must also rectify the wrong that he has done
Ibn Taymiyyah points out that repentance is not just from the performance of evil deeds but also from the lack of performing the good deeds.
Compiled From:
"Purification of the Soul" - Jamaal al-Din M. Zarabozo, pp. 380-382