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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
"Tawhid: Its Implications for Thought and Life" - Ismail Raji Al-Faruqi, p. 180
Understanding the Prophet's Life 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