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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote Al-Cordoby Replybullet Posted: 08 December 2009 at 12:37am

From Chapter 2: Virtues of Ayat Al-Kursi

"Allah is He besides Whom there is no god, the Everliving, the Self-subsisting by Whom all subsist; slumber does not overtake Him nor sleep; whatever is in the heavens and whatever is in the earth is His; who is he that can intercede with Him but by His permission? He knows what is before them and what is behind them, and they cannot comprehend anything out of His knowledge except what He pleases, His knowledge extends over the heavens and the earth, and the preservation of them both tires Him not, and He is the Most High, the Great." (2:255)

It was reported from the Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) that “It is the greatest verse in the Book of Allah.”

The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “In Surat Al-Baqarah there is a verse which is the best of all the verses of the Qur’an. It is never recited in a house but Ash-Shaytan leaves: Ayat Al-Kursi.”

The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “Whoever recites Ayat Al-Kursi immediately after each prescribed Prayer, there will be nothing standing between him and his entering Paradise except death.” 

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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote Al-Cordoby Replybullet Posted: 07 January 2010 at 2:17am

On God We Rely (From Chapter 18)

[Never say about anything, “I shall do this tomorrow,” without adding, “if God so wills.” Should you forget, then call your Lord to mind and say, “I pray that my Lord will guide me even closer than this towhat is right.”] (Al-Kahf 18:23–24)

Every action a human being does or omits to do, indeed every breath a human being takes, is subject to God’s will. The curtains hiding the future are stretched in full so as to hide everything beyond the present moment. Our eyes cannot discern what is behind that curtain, and our minds are finite, no matter how advanced our knowledge may be.

Hence a human being must never say that he is definitely doing something tomorrow unless he attaches his intention to God’s will. This is because tomorrow belongs to the realm that lies beyond the reach of human perception. As such, it is known only to God. Hence, we do not make any assertion about it.

This does not mean that man should be fatalistic, giving no thought to the future and making no plans for it. He should not live for the present moment, cutting himself off from his past and future. No, this is not what the directive implies. Rather, what is implied is that every human being must make an allowance for what God may will in his case. He may intend to do whatever he wants, always seeking God’s help, feeling that His will is in full control of everything. It may well be however that God may decide something different to what he intends. Should God help him to put into effect what he intends, then all well and good. But if God’s will moves in a different direction, he should not despair or be sad. All matters belong to God at the beginning and at the end.

What this means in practice is that every person should think and plan as they wish, but they must always remember to rely on God’s help and guidance. .........

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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote Al-Cordoby Replybullet Posted: 08 January 2010 at 2:26am

Reflections on Surat Al-Falaq (Chapter 113)

Surat Al-Falaq reads,

(Say, "I seek refuge in the Lord of the daybreak, from the evil of that which He created and from the evil of the darkness when it is intense and from the evil of malignant witchcraft and from the evil of the envier when he envies." ) (Al-Falaq 113:1–5)

This surah, along with Surat An-Nas, contains a directive from Allah — primarily for His Prophet, Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him), and secondly for all Muslims at large — to take refuge in Him and seek His protection against any source of fear, hidden or visible, known or unknown.

It is as if Allah, the Exalted, is unfolding His divine care, embracing the believers in His guard, and kindly and affectionately calling on them to resort to His sanctuary where they will feel safe and peaceful. It is as if He is saying, "I know that you are helpless and surrounded by foes and fears. Come on here for safety, contentment, and peace." .......

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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote Al-Cordoby Replybullet Posted: 11 January 2010 at 12:49am

Reflections on Surat An-Nas (Chapter 114)

Protect Yourself from Whisperers

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

 

(Say: I seek refuge in the Lord of mankind, The King of mankind, The God of mankind, From the evil of the sneaking whisperer, Who whispereth in the hearts of mankind, of the jinn and of mankind.) (An-Nas 114: 1-6)

 

In this surah, as it is understood from the text, Muslims are asked to seek refuge in Allah, the Lord, Sovereign and God of mankind from the insidious evil-instigator “al wasswass’’, either jinn or human who evokes evil ideas into people's minds.

 

The surah presents Allah’s attributes that can protect the mind from the invisible evil that it cannot shut out on its own. Almighty Allah is the only One Who preserves, directs, cherishes and protects mankind. He, the Almighty, is the Sovereign Who owns, governs and independently controls the world, and He is the Deity Who supersedes all other beings and absolutely supervises all their affairs. The particular mention of mankind here brings man closer to Allah's protection and care.

 

Allah, the most Merciful, instructs His Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and his followers to recognize His attributes and seek His protection against this sneaking evil which creeps slyly into their minds. That is because they cannot, without the aid of Allah; their Lord, Sovereign and Deity, get rid of such evil that creeps into their minds surreptitiously and imperceptibly. ...


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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote a well wisher Replybullet Posted: 11 January 2010 at 2:02pm

Al Baqarah (The Cow)-The life of a materialist
Chapter 2: Verse 266

"Would any of you desire that he should have a garden of palms and vines with rivers flowing beneath - a garden in which he has every type of fruit - while the old age overtakes him and his offspring are too young or weak to look after themselves- and that it (the garden) should then be struck by a fiery whirlwind and be utterly burnt down? Thus does Allah make His Signs clear to you that you may reflect."

This parable, along with the three parables that immediately precede, opens the eyes of readers to the reality of life, emphasizes the need to spending our wealth in beneficial causes, and warns us against the dangers of greedy attitude of consumer lifestyle.

This is a life of a materialist person, in a nutshell. We see many such examples among our family and community members. It makes us think further: How is it, then, that we can contemplate stepping into the realm of the Hereafter and finding suddenly that we are empty-handed; that we have sown nothing permanent and productive in this World so that we can reap the fruit in the Hereafter? In the Next Life there will be no opportunity to begin earning anew! Whatever we can do towards ensuring our well-being in the Hereafter, must be done now, when we are healthy, wealthy, and young. Charity and righteousness are the only sources of true happiness in both worlds. Otherwise, in the Hereafter, our situation would be as pitiable as that of the age-stricken person whose life's worth of labour is reduced to ashes, too late for him to a produce a new one!


"Towards Understanding the Quran" - S. Abul Ala Mawdudi



Edited by a well wisher - 11 January 2010 at 2:03pm
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Ash-Shams (The Sun)
Chapter 91: Verses 7-10    (Peace of the Heart)

 

 


 
 
“By the soul and what balanced it and inspired its liberation and piety. He will most certainly be content he who purifies it, he will most certainly be lost, he who corrupts it.”

Who among human beings can affirm within the depths of his soul not to sometimes know violence, aggression, hatred, the excitation of a destructive instinct, or anger? Self control, serenity, respect of the Other, and tenderness are not natural but are acquired and exact a price of permanent personal effort. Such is the toil of men: they approach the shores of humanity through long and hard, thoughtful and measured work on one’s self. Each individual knows this, each heart feels it.

All literature, since the dawn of time, reflects this tension which at times quiets down, at times agitates, sometimes tears the intimacy of men. From the Bhagavad Gita to the Torah to the Gospels, from Dostoyevsky to Baudelaire, the human horizon remains the same. The Quran confirms this everyday experience in this verse.

Both paths are explicit and instruct in a manner both superbly animated and ethical to the ever present reminder of the afterlife. Life is a test of this balance for men, for better or worse. This spiritual force is symbolized by choosing the path of righteousness, good deeds for oneself and for others.

To reform best one’s inner space, to soothe one’s heart close to the recognition of the Creator and in the density of an action which is both human and generous to love in transparency and live in the light: such is the meaning of Islamic spirituality. It links the horizon of all spirituality requiring man to acquire a force of being, rather than to undergo despotic relentlessness of a life reduced to mere instinct. This tension, leading to mastery of the self, is translated into Arabic as the word jihad. God made its management an ultimate condition towards accessing faith and humanity.


Peace of the Heart – Tariq Ramadan

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Al-Baqara (The Cattle)              ( Loving Allah )
Chapter 2: Verse 165

 
 
"Those who believe love Allah more than anything"

What Is Love?
Perhaps it cannot be defined in terms which adequately reflect its nature and importance in a person's life. It is not possible to define it by a formula as we define a scientific fact, nor can we define it by a mathematical equation. But still each one of us knows what love is and can tell, from his own experience, the powerful force that it is, once it comes to reside in the heart. It becomes the overpowering force in life. It captivates you, it grips you, it moves you and you are prepared to do anything for the sake of it. Once love is there, what you do is not something which has to be imposed upon you, because you need imposition only for the things you do not love.

Tasting True Faith
The ayah does not say that one must love only Allah. Love is a blessing given to us by Allah which is manifested in so many aspects of our life. In Islam, however, it must be foremost for Allah. Iman or faith is something which must penetrate deep in our hearts and generate love for Allah and His Prophet, more than anything else. Unless that happens inside you, you cannot even get the 'real taste' of iman.

To Love Is To Serve
But we must remember that this love for Allah and His Prophet is not of a kind to take us into the seclusion of a monastery. It is a love that which makes us do our duty to Allah while we are in the street, at home or in the office - everywhere we live as servants of Allah, willingly making every sacrifice required of us.


Islam: The Way of Revival -Khurram Murad

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l-Baqara (The Cow)
Chapter 2: Verse 37 (partial)      (Allah's Grace and Mercy)

 
 
"He is Much-Relenting, Most Compassionate."

The Quran refutes the doctrine that certain consequences necessarily follow from sins and that man must in all cases bear them. In fact this is one of the most misleading doctrines to have been invented by Human imagination. If it were true it would mean that a sinner would never have the opportunity to have his repentance accepted. It is a mechanistic view of reward and punishment and thus prevents and discourages the sinner from trying to improve.

The Quran, on the contrary, tells man that reward for good actions and punishment for bad ones rests entirely with God. The reward that one receives for good act is not the natural consequence of those acts; it is rather due to the grace and benevolence of God and it is entirely up to Him to reward one or not. Likewise, punishment for evil deeds is not a natural and unalterable consequence of man's acts. God has full authority to punish man for his sin as well as to pardon him.

God's grace and mercy, however, are interrelated with His wisdom. Since he is wise, He does not use His power arbitrarily. Hence, whenever God rewards a man for his good acts, He does so because the good was done with purity of intention and for the sake of pleasing God. And if God refuses to accept an act of apparent goodness, He does so because that act had merely the form or appearance of goodness, and was not motivated by the desire to please God.

In the same way God punishes man for those sins which he commits with rebellious boldness, and which whet his appetite for more rather than lead him to repentance. Similarly, in His mercy God pardons those sins which are followed by genuine repentance and readiness on the part of the sinner to reform himself. There is no need for the criminal to despair of God's grace and mercy, no matter how great a criminal he is. Nor is there any reason for the disbeliever to despair, provided he recognizes his error, repents of his disobedience and is ready to replace his former disobedience with obedience.


Towards Understanding the Quran - Sayyid Abul Ala Mawdudi


Edited by a well wisher - 16 January 2010 at 2:01pm
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Surah al-Nisaa' (The Women)
Chapter 4: Verse 28

"God desires to lighten things for you,
for the human being has been created weak."

Commentary

Islam is not Complex

Islam is not a way of life that is complex, difficult, or impractical. Rather it is the person who practises Islam with either

(1) an imbalanced or inadequate understanding of the fundamental principles ('usool) and the secondary disciplines (furoo'), or
(2) a lack of discipline, organization and consistency (istiqamah), or
(3) misplaced priorities and tendency towards extremes (ghuluw),

that often makes it difficult. This makes his or her practise so complicated and burdensome, that they are overwhelmed and eventually are unable to fulfill the most basic duties.

Note that any Muslim can suffer from the above at some stage in their life and to different extents, so it is not just an affliction of the 'weak in Iman' or 'ignorant'. Even the most sincere and hard-working Muslim may find themself encountering difficulty and frustration if they are lacking proper understanding, organization, and prioritization.

Al-Yusra: The Easy and Natural Way

One of the terms used by the Qur'an during the early Makkan period to describe Islam was al-Yusraa, or 'The Easy Way' [65:4]. This is simply because Islam was, and is, the natural way of life and hence causes human beings to gravitate towards it easily. Islam consequently brings harmony, peace and tranquillity to their lives.

What Makes Islam Simple to Understand & Practice?

FIRSTLY, the basic beliefs of Islam are not shrouded in mystery and hence forever beyond human comprehension. Every tenet in Islam can be analyzed and inquired about, by young children or seasoned philosophers. Moreover, Islam does not present concepts which the intellect cannot grasp (e.g. the "Trinity"). It is therefore not surprising that its beliefs are universal.

SECONDLY, the most important and stringent obligations ordained by Allah upon Muslims are easy to undertake and graded according to effort. It is the wisdom of Allah that the greater the importance He has attached to any act, the easier it is for everyone to accomplish it. Thus, the example of the five daily Salah (Prayers) and Sawm (fasting) as compulsory upon everyone, but Zakah(almsgiving) and Hajj (pilgrimage), though fundamental pillars of Islam, only compulsory on those with the means.

THIRDLY, Islamic law offers provisions, concessions and dispensations when it is genuinely not possible for someone to fulfil an obligation. For instance, if a person is genuinely unable to stand up and pray, then he or she is permitted to sit down or even lie down and pray. Similarly, if there is no water available to perform the Wudu (ablution) before prayer, then one can make Tayammum.

No Excuses

Hence, for the Muslim who sincerely wants to come closer to Allah, he and she will find many doors open for them in God's religion to facilitate their growth and cover their weaknesses. For them is the Easy Way.

But for the Muslim who is looking for an excuse of difficulty or incapacity, they will only frustrate themselves further in looking for external causes for their state.

[parts compiled from "Islam: The Easy Way" by Khurram Murad ]

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Surah al-Nisaa (The Women)
Chapter 4: Verse 105


"[O Messenger!] We have revealed to you this Book with the Truth so that you may judge between people in accordance with what Allah has shown you. So do not dispute on behalf of the dishonest and untrustworthy (kha'ineen)."

Background

This verse and eight verses following it, have a profound story behind its revelation. They were revealed to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in order to acquit a Jewish citizen of Madinah of a false charge and to condemn a dishonest Muslim instead.

Story of the "Righteous" Believer vs. the "Wicked" Jew

The incident involved a Muslim of Madinah called Tu'mah or Bashir ibn Ubayriq of an Ansar tribe. This man stole another Ansari's coat of armour. While the investigation was in progress, Tu'mah threw the coat into the house of a Jew. Its owner approached the Prophet Muhammad and expressed his suspicion about Tu'mah. But Tu'mah, his kinsmen and many of his tribesmen conspired to accuse the Jew of this robery.

When the Jew concerned was asked about the matter, he pleaded that he was not guilty. In the meantime, Tu'mah's supporters waged a vigorous propaganda campaign to save Tu'mah. To prove Tu'mah's "innocence", his supporters said, "Do you slander a people whose Islam and uprightness is beyond suspicion?!" They even argued that the 'wicked Jew', who had denied the Truth and disbelieved in God and the Prophet, was absolutely untrustworthy, and his statement ought to be rejected outright.

At this point that Allah intervened with this revelation, exposing the dishonesty of a Muslim: "Do not dispute on behalf of the dishonest and untrustworthy"! In this verse and the following ones, the Muslims were strongly censured for supporting criminals and corruption, for no other reason than either family or tribal ties, or simply because "they seemed righteous Muslims".

The Universal and Infinite Justice of Islam

According to the Islamic teachings, a Muslim, at the very moment he or she decides to live in and by the Faith, has to be a strict defender of justice, with the oppressed and wronged - whether Muslim or not - and against the oppressor - whether Muslim or not!

To defend justice cannot be to defend Muslims only: the best witness of the excellence (Ihsaan) or the Islamic way of life lies in respecting the ideal of justice over and above the failings and weaknesses of Muslim Believers.  Muslims had a living history of people who ruled with justice and equality, with dozens of other minorities enjoying peace and harmony.


[compiled from "To Be a European Muslim" by Tariq Ramadan ,  and "Towards Understanding the Quran", Vol II, by Sayyid Abul Ala Mawdudi]
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Al-Baqarah (The Cow) Sura 2: Verse 268 (partial)

"Satan threatens you with poverty and he commands you to immorality. But God promises you His forgiveness and bounty."

One of Satan's tactics is to keep people so occupied with the fear of losing their wealth they end up desperately clinging to their money and depriving the needy - and themselves - of the goodness of giving for the sake of God. A person under the spell of irrational fear is more vulnerable to transgress laws, even to the point of indulging in lewdness, for the purpose of gaining profit and wealth.

The cure for fear of poverty is to have a good opinion of God. People who harbour good thoughts about their Provider deflect insidious whisperings about Him and the subtle provocations that create irrational fear. His dominion is never diminished in the least when He gives to His creation all that they need.

Purification of the Heart- Hamza Yusuf
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Al-Shams (The Sun)
Chapter 91: Verses 7-10   Self-Liberation

By the soul in the body (al-nafs) and what has balanced it (given it form) and inspired [both] its licentiousness and its intimate sense of God (its piety). He who purifies it will certainly be happy and he who corrupts it will certainly be lost (crushed).

Muslim spirituality is the work the consciousness of the believer does on the self in order to be liberated from all forms of worship of things other than the Transcendent and to find the way to the original breath (fitra) and its purity. This way toward the One is difficult and demanding, because human nature also tends to be drawn to the contingent realities of the world. Caught between longing for the Most High and the attraction of the world, the believer's first experience of awareness is of facing an internal conflict. The choice is between liberating one's self or losing one's self and drowning in the varieties of life.

Islamic teaching has given us concrete tools to help us succeed in this work on ourselves and to arrive at a balance. The daily requirements of Muslim practice give us the direction and the first steps along the way to this freedom. Awareness of the Presence and of the closeness of the Very Near One moves toward the centre, the heart of the same community of faith, through the five daily meetings in prayer, the weekly gathering of that community of faith, the purifying tax on one's possessions (zakat), the fasting for a full month of the year, and the making of the pilgrimage once in a lifetime (if one has the means).

 
By meditating on these requirements, we discover that they really are demanding and operate on several levels: the memory (for people are so inclined to forget); on the management of time (the daily rhythm of prayers and other practices throughout the year); on the individual and communal aspects of being before God (communal prayer, giving zakat, and so on); and on the division of efforts among the various elements that constitute the human being (heart, spirit, body, possessions).

Tariq Ramadan



Edited by a well wisher - 20 January 2010 at 2:36pm
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Al-Baqarah (The Cow)
Chapter 2: Verse 138 (partial)   (Radical Trasformation)

 
 
 
"(We take our) colour (Sibghah) from God, and who is better than God at colouring?"

There is no doubt that each civilization, philosophy and religion has its own distinguishing features. The stronger the character of the civilization, and the more profound and comprehensive it is, the greater are its effects on the individual living within its bounds. Some ideologies are similar to each other, and differ only in specific ways, as is the case with the materialistic philosophies dominant in the contemporary world. To change from one to the other does not require any complete and radical transformation in the life of a person. If his attachment to one principle change, and his conviction in another increases, that is all that is needed to bring about change from one such ideology to another. This change does not require any great effort because it does not have any effect on daily behaviour or deep-seated habits, and is thus not reflected in the practical life of the individual.

This phenomenon does not apply to Islam. Since its appearance, this religion has brought about a radical transformation in the life of the individual and of the society in that it completely alters the daily behaviour and deep-seated habits of individuals, as it alters their standards, judgments, and outlook on the universe, life, and man. Likewise, the structure of the society is visibly altered, some aspects disappear and new ones emerge.

Islam brought about a radical change in the individual and social life of Madinah because of its depth and comprehensiveness, and its ability to affect the quality of all aspects of life.


Madinan Society at the Time of the Prophet - Dr. Akram Diya al Din al Umari

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Al-Naml (The Ant)
Chapter 27: Verse 4    (Stumbling in Perplexity)


 
 
 
 
"As for those who do not believe in the Hereafter, We have made their deeds appear attractive to them so they stumble around in perplexity."

This is the Law of Nature devised by God. Such is human psychology that when a man thinks that the results of the struggle in this life are limited to this world only, when he is not convinced that there is another Court of Law in which the whole of his life will be judged and a final verdict passed on his performance, when he is not sure that there will be another life following the present one - a life wherein he will receive the true measure of reward and punishment in consideration of his deeds - he is bound to develop a materialistic worldview. All discussion concerning the conflict between Truth and falsehood, between God's Unity and polytheism, between good and evil, and between morality and immorality appear to him as meaningless. Whatever can bring him pleasure, enjoyment, material betterment and luxuriant living, and whatever can endow him with power and authority will seem good to him, regardless of all moral and philosophical considerations. His only goal will be the pursuit of worldly advantage and this will make him wander around in every direction.

Seized with this behaviour, a man's bad deeds will seem attractive and charming. Making evil deeds attractive is sometimes attributed to God and sometimes to Satan. When it is attributed to God, it means, as in the above context, that whoever accepts such an attitude to life, naturally becomes infatuated with it. By contrast, when it is attributed to Satan, it means that Satan presents those people who subscribe to a materialistic worldview with an imaginary picture of a seductive heaven and continually prods him, saying: "Go ahead, you are doing well." (see for instance Surah Al-Ankabut 29: 38)


Towards Understanding the Quran - Abul Ala Mawdudi

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