Newsletter - Ramadan 21, 1435

Friday Nasiha: Issue 799

Living The Quran

Broadening Vision
Al-Nahl (The Bee) - Chapter 16: Verse 8 (partial)

"And He creates things of which you have no knowledge."

This sentence invites people's imagination to look beyond their immediate environment and the time in which they live. Beyond what exists at a particular location and at a particular time there are other forms and types of life. God wants people to expect this so as to broaden their vision. He also wants them to accept such other forms of life when they are available.

Islam is open minded and flexible. It equips its followers with the ability to use all potentials and resources that are available at any time. The Quran thus prepares people's minds and hearts to receive whatever God creates and science discovers or produces in the future. A proper Islamic conscience is always ready to accept any new remarkable addition to God's creation or to scientific discovery.

Compiled From:
"In The Shade of The Quran" - Sayyid Qutb, Vol. 11, pp. 11, 12

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Understanding the Prophet's Life (peace be upon him)

"Patience is a brightness." [Muslim]

There are two interpretations as to the meaning of the word patience in this phrase. According to some, it is a reference to the fast; in other words, "Fasting is brightness." The word "fast" has been explicitly stated in one of the other narrations of this hadith.

A second interpretation is to understand "patience" in its literal and general sense. The Prophet (peace be upon him) described patience as a dhiyaa. This implies that it is a type of light but not as soothing or easy on a person as noor. This is because patience is not always an easy thing for a person. By definition, it involves restraining oneself and controlling one's actions. Things around may be seemingly out of control. However, if he has patience, that will lead him or guide him out of his difficulties in the same way that dhiyaa or brightness gives light and guidance to a person.

Patience, therefore, is like a bright shining splendour that can aid a person through his most difficult hour. Indeed, it may be the only thing that gives him hope of there being light at the end of the tunnel. This light and guidance, of course, comes from Allah as He is the One who is with those who are patient and He is the One whose remembrance is in their heart bringing them comfort.

Compiled From:
"Commentary on the Forty Hadith of an-Nawawi" - Jamaal al-Din Zarabozo, p. 889

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Ancient spiritual traditions of both East and West systematically direct the human consciousness towards Nature. Nature is a school, and an initiation. The elements are there, they have surrounded us since childhood, and we are used to them. The awakening of spirituality consists in seeing them differently, in seeing in them signs, celebrations and songs, hymns and prayers to the cosmic order, universal archetypes, the gods or the One. That conversion in our gaze is a conversion of the heart, and marks the transition from the state of one who observes to that of one who loves. It means that we must distance ourselves from the 'immediate' gaze, for proximity, and often for meaning. It is a question of finding something extraordinary in the most familiar and ordinary things: nature, the sky, the elements, our environment and the people with whom we are most familiar. It is a matter of changing the way we see.

We are short of love. That much is certain. It seems that we do not have enough to give, and that we never receive enough. Love is like the spiritual quest because it is a quest for meaning and well-being. It is up to every one of us to discover the extraordinary that lies hidden in the heart of the all too ordinary presence in our daily lives. A character trait, an emotion, a smile, an expression, a look, a feeling, a wound, a silence or an absence: everything speaks to those who know how to listen. Listen without passing judgement, or rather judge that there is nothing on which to pass judgement. Suspending one's judgement is a better way of living ... and to love, in spite of judgement, is truly to love.

Compiled From:
"The Quest for Meaning" - Tariq Ramadan, pp. 198-201

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February 28, 2014 - Rabi al-Thani 28, 1435
Friday Nasiha: Issue 779 

Living The Quran

Al-Kahf (The Cave) Chapter 18: Verse 29 (partial)

"Let whoever wills - believe, and whoever wills - disbelieve."

The Quran is affirmative on religious freedom and pluralism. The Quran maintains that faith must be through conviction and that faith which is induced by compulsion is meaningless. Further on religious pluralism, the Quran has, in more than one place, characterized itself as 'an affirmation of the previous revelations and scriptures' that were revealed to other great Prophets preceding Muhammad (peace be upon him).

The Quranic principle of hisbah, that is, promotion of good and prevention of evil (amr bil maruf wa nahi anil munkar), takes for granted the basic freedom of the individual to speak out, to act, or remain silent, in respect of a good cause, or against evil. In a similar vein, the Quranic principle of shura(consultation) in community affairs, and its parallel principle of nasiha (sincere advice), which grants the individual the freedom to advise, even criticize, another person, including a government leader, also proceeds from the affirmative stance that the Quran takes on freedom of expression. The individual is expected to make his own judgement and determine the course of his action and conduct.

Compiled From:
"Shariah Law - An Introduction" - Mohammad Hashim Kamali, pp. 202-204

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Understanding the Prophet's Life (peace be upon him)
Paradise without Reckoning

The son of Abbas, may God be pleased with them both, said: "The Prophet, God bless him and give him peace, came out to us one day and said: 'The communities were paraded before me. There passed before me a Prophet accompanied by one man, a Prophet with whom there were two men, a Prophet who had a small group with him, and a Prophet unaccompanied. Then I saw a multitude so great that it darkened the whole horizon and I hoped that it might be my community. But a voice said: 'This is Moses and his people.' Then I was told to look, and I saw a multitude so great that it darkened the whole horizon. Then I was told to look again, this way and that, and I saw a multitude so great that it darkened the whole horizon. 'These,' I was told, 'are your community, and together with these there are seventy thousand who will enter Paradise without a reckoning.' Then the people dispersed without receiving an explanation from him, so the Companions of the Prophet, God bless him and give him peace, conferred together and said: 'As for us, we were born in polytheism, but we came to believe in God and His Messenger. But these must be our children.' When the Prophet heard of this, he said: 'They are those who do not take omens from birds, do not cauterise themselves and do not steal, but put their trust in their Lord.' [Bukhari, Muslim]

Compiled From:
"Public Duties in Islam" - Ibn Taymiyya, pp. 75, 76

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