Friday, July 25, 2014

Friday Nasihah

Living The Quran
Good Cheer
Yunus (Jonah) - Chapter 10: Verse 58
"Say, 'In the bounty of Allah and in His mercy - in that let them rejoice; it is better than what they accumulate.'"
We must learn to remedy our sorrows with joy and good cheer. There are so many things that we can rejoice in. We should rejoice in our very humanity, knowing that Allah has so honoured the human being.

We should rejoice in the blessings that we have, and that we often overlook or take for granted. We should feel joy in being alive. We should rejoice in our family and loved ones, and in the provision that Allah has given us.

We should take cheer in thanking Allah for His blessings, since through our gratitude Allah will continue to bless us. 

When Allah says in the aforementioned verse: "Say: In the bounty of Allah and in His Mercy…" He is calling us to rejoice in His bounty and His mercy. This refers to all the goodness that Allah provides for us in our lives, including but not limited to material wealth.

Allah's bounty refers to His providence – to everything that He gives us that we obtain in a wholesome and lawful way. Even if what we are given is little, we should not exhaust ourselves spiritually and emotionally in the pursuit of wealth and in the incessant competition with those who may have more than us. A little wealth that suffices our needs is far better that an abundance of wealth accompanied by avarice and discontent.

Allah likewise tells us to rejoice in His mercy, which we can find in our knowledge of Him, in our faith, in the revelation of the Qur'an, and in the goodness He has placed in our hearts.

When we achieve joy and contentment in these two aspects, we have attained true worldly happiness. This is a blessing that Allah bestows on whomever He pleases. Moreover, it is a blessing born of faith, since faith brings us to pin our hopes on Allah and to set our sights on the Hereafter. Faith allows us to look beyond our present circumstances – even when those circumstances seem hopeless – with the expectation of surmounting them by Allah's grace.

We take strength in such faith so we can persevere.
Compiled From:
"Say: In the bounty of Allah and in His Mercy - in that let them rejoice" - Salman al-Oadah

Understanding the Prophet's Life (peace be upon him)
Purifying Fast
It is reported that the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: "Remember! Zakat al-Fitr is Wajib (strongly recommended, just short of obligatory) on every Muslim, man or woman, free or in servitude, adult or child." (Tirmidhi)
Literal meaning of Zakat (or Zakah) is the process of purification. Fitr is from the word Fitrah and its literal meaning is (one’s) nature or natural state. Hence, the meaning of Zakat al-Fitr is to purify one’s nature.
Ibn Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet made the Zakat al-Fitr obligatory for the purpose of: purifying our fasting from vain talk and shameful mistakes, to make arrangements for the poor and the needy for food and clothing (for the festival of Eid). (Abu Dawud, Ibn Maja)
Every adult Muslim, with sufficient food for the family for a day, should pay Zakat al-Fitr for himself/herself and all his/her dependents. Even those who did not fast should pay it. Zakat al-Fitr should also be paid for the child born or the person died before the Fajr (dawn) on the day of Eid.
At the time of the Prophet, payment of Zakat al-Fitr was made in terms of weight of grain. It is one Sa for each person. One Sa approximately equals to 3.15 kg or 6.94 lbs. The Muslim jurists agree that Zakat al-Fitr can also be paid in cash equivalent to the cost of 3.15kg/6.94 lb. of grain including rice, wheat, lentils, corn, and dry cheese.
Prophet Muhammad (saw) has said, "Whoever paid it (Zakat al-Fitr) before Eid Prayer, it is acceptable Zakat before Allah. Whoever paid it after Eid Prayer, it is just a charity."  The companion of the Prophet used to pay it a few days earlier. (Bukhari)

Zakat al-Fitr should be paid early enough so it will reach the needy and the poor before the Eid day.  It will enable them to use it for food and clothes and give them the opportunity to enjoy the happiness of Eid-ul-Fitr.
Zakat al-Fitr should be paid directly to the needy and the poor.  However, you can also pay it to an organization, which would distribute it in accordance with the teaching of Islam. Remember! It is still your responsibility.  So, make sure before paying that the organization will distribute it according to the teaching of Islam and before Eid Prayer.
Compiled From:
"Zakat Al-Fitr is Wajib" - Ali Siddiqui
Grief on Eid
While Eid is definitely a time of joy and happiness, it's also one of sadness for those who recall happy occasions with deceased family members. Whether we're experiencing this sadness ourselves, or know someone who is, grief is something we can't ignore.
Pray to Allah (Dua)
One way of dealing with sadness on Eid is through Dua (supplication). Once a man from the tribe of Salmah came and said to the Prophet, peace be upon him: ‘O Messenger of Allah! Do my parents have rights over me even after they have died? And Rasulullah said: Yes. You must pray to Allah to bless them with His Forgiveness and Mercy, fulfill the promises they made to anyone, and respect their relations and their friends. (Abu Daud, Ibn Majah).
Why not use Eid to make Dua and remember deceased parents? As well, why not use it as an occasion to visit and show respect to their relatives and friends? This will alleviate some of the pain of missing them on an occasion when families get together and celebrate.
Cherish the good memories
If the deceased is another relative or friend, why not invite over those who remember him or her on Eid day for a meal followed by an Eid gift. This way you can be with those who cherish the memories of your loved one.
Turning the tables, if you know someone dealing with personal grief this Eid, make a special effort to invite them over. If this is their first Eid after their loved one has passed away, then extra sensitivity may be needed. Maybe you can take them out for a meal at a restaurant instead of having a large get-together so that you can both share fond memories of the relative or friend.
Avoid Isolation
Personal grief isn't just connected to the death of a loved one. It could be related to family problems, losing a job, failing grades or more. In this case, the need to get together with others on Eid is even more important. The key is to avoid isolation on a happy occasion. If you have a family member or friend who is suffering through such problems, inviting them over on Eid day can lift their spirits. This can help them break the cycle of depression and hopelessness they may be going through. Offer them words of Dua, hope and comfort which can also help them cope with their difficult situation.
This Eid, if you see someone suffering, try to comfort them. We must make a special effort to help anyone in need, and Eid day, which is a happy occasion, is an excellent occasion to do so.
Compiled From:
"Dealing with grief on Eid" –

Friday, July 11, 2014

Friday Nasihah

Living The Quran
Ethics of Consumption
Al-Baqara (The Cow) - Chapter 2: Verse 219 (partial)
"... They ask what portion of their wealth they should spend in charity. Answer: What remains after you have covered the necessities ..."
The principle of world-affirmation which devolves from al tawhid implies the legitimacy of consumption. Consumption, i.e. apprehension of the material values, or satisfaction of desires and wants, is a basic right which belongs to all humans by birth. Its minimum is subsistence, and its maximum is the point at which consumption becomes tabdhir (extravagance, indulgence). That point can be defined as that in which psychic factors play a greater role in determining consumption of material goods than material need. Where the good or service in question is itself psychological, the extravagance point can be defined as that at which consumption is dictated by other psychic needs than those immediately affected by the product or service.
An example of the former would be the person who buys a product not because he needs it but out of vanity; and of the latter, the person who buys a ticket for an orchestral performance, not in order to enjoy the performance, but to "outdo the Joneses." Under al tawhid, a person may consume according to his need. The rest of his income or wealth should be spent on charity, in the cause of Allah, or reinvested in a business where it may produce more wealth as well as employment and income for others. When the Prophet (peace be upon him) was asked what portion of their income/wealth should the Muslims spend in the cause of Allah, the answer was given through revelation of the above verse. This answer defines extravagance retroactively, as it were, by the assignment of all that goes beyond the satisfaction of real needs, to charity or public cause. Of course, increased production and its requirements of investment and entrepreneurship are included in the term "needs" as used by this verse.
Compiled From:
"Tawhid: Its Implications for Thought and Life" - Ismail Raji Al-Faruqi, p. 180

Understanding the Prophet's Life (peace be upon him)
Honest Living
Muslim has reported Abu Hurairah as saying that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, "Verily, Allah is pure and He accepts only that which is good and pure."
One of the practical requirements before a supplication is accepted is that the supplicant must pursue an honest living and earn his livelihood through lawful means. The food that he eats or the clothes that he wears, in fact all his possessions, must be lawful and acquired through lawful means. This presumes noble qualities, like honesty, good behaviour, and contentment with what one has. These qualities make one the subject of others' love and of brotherly feelings and goodwill. A strong will is evidently necessary to achieve all these noble qualities.
Compiled From:
"Freedom and Responsibility in Quranic Perspective" - Hasan Al-Anani, p. 201

While the modern West has concentrated on "change" and has rejected or ignored any "permanence," many Muslims have stuck themselves to "permanence" and have ignored "change," its effects, and its implications in the human life in different times and places. They became fond of the "oneness" in the Muslim thinking and the Muslim society, thinking that this is a natural and essential result of the belief in the One God and in Muslim unity. Such a fundamental misconception has developed other distortions about human nature, the message of Islam, and Muslim history.
A static understanding of the Islamic "model" has led to ignoring human diversity in conducting a Muslim lifestyle and adhering to the same faith and divine sources. The flourishing civilization under the Umayyads and Abbasids has been simply considered a deviation from the right path, since the pattern of that lifestyle was different from what had existed at the time of the early caliphate in Medina. Naturally not every difference is deviation, and all the Muslim life and the entire Muslim society cannot be restricted to the political system and the rulers. Magnificent material and intellectual developments in the Muslim civilization which were brought up by the whole people, whatever the rulers' behaviour may be, cannot be denied, and they had their impact on non-Muslim countries at the time. Hereditary monarchy and absolute authority characterized the Umayyad and Abbasid dynasties, but during that period fascinating developments took place in the exegesis of the Quran, the examination and collection of Sunna and the commentary on it, jurisprudence, theology, logic and philosophy, linguistics and literature, science in its various fields, medicine with its various areas, architecture, art, agriculture, industry, trade, transportation etc. Can we ignore such total distinguished civilizational developments produced by all the people because of the negatives of palace life?
Compiled From:
"Human Rights in the Contemporary World" - Fathi Osman, p. 11