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Humans
Al-Baqarah (The Cow) Sura 2: Verse 33

"God said: 'O Adam, inform them of these things and beings with their names.' When he (Adam) informed them with their names, He said (to the angels), 'Did I not tell you that I know the unseen of the heavens and the earth, and I know all that you reveal and all that you have been concealing?'"

Historically, humans have not avoided bloodshed nor ceased to cause disorder, from the beginning of their earthly existence. Furthermore, the majority of people have been those who follow false doctrines or beliefs and associate partners with God. However, this does not mean that the creation of humankind and our being appointed as vicegerents on the earth has proved evil and ugly. The following simple analogy will explain:

For example: 100 seeds of fruit have the value of 100 seeds while they are seeds. But once they are planted, if even 80 out of the 100 rot away while the remaining 20 germinate and grow to bear fruit, the value of those 20 will far exceed that of the 100 seeds.

If the human race had remained existent only in God's knowledge, without developing its potential on the earth, the Tree of Creation would not have yielded more than 100,000 Prophets, millions of saints, pure, exacting scholars, heroes of good morals, and other virtuous members of humankind. The good that these illustrious fruits have added to existence far exceeds the evil of the rest. The angels, at first, could not discern this outcome, but when the potential of the human race was made clear to them, they admitted its supremacy with full contentment of heart.


The Quran: Annotated Interpretation in Modern English - Ali Unal

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Al-Shuara (The Poets)
Chapter 26: Verses 78-82   
(Simplicity of the Divine Guidance)

"He is the One who created me and He gives me guidance. When I am sick He restores my good health; He will cause me to die and He will bring me back to life. I also hope that, on the Day of Judgement, He will forgive me my misdemeanours."

As we read the above statement of Prophet Abraham, we can clearly see how simple and straightforward were the teachings imparted to him by God. The more one reads the philosophers' attempt in trying to explain and understand life and existence, the more one is struck and impressed by the simplicity of divinely-revealed religious belief.

Out of all the beings worshipped in the world, there was only One being in whose worship Abraham saw his own good - worshipping his own Lord, God, the Lord of the Universe. Abrahams explains in a few sentence the reasons why only God, the Lord of the Universe, ought to be worshipped:

1. Abraham's first argument was that he considered no one other than His Creator to be worthy of worship. How could any other being who had nothing to do with creating him, said Abraham, have any claim on his devotion and worship?

2. Had God left man to himself, after creating him, and had He not been concerned with his needs, there could have been some reason for turning to someone else for support. But along with creating man God took upon Himself the responsibility of guiding, rearing, caring, and protecting him and tending to the fulfilment of all of his needs. Then what can be an act of greater ignorance, folly and thanklessness than to bow one's head in devotion before others than God and to call upon any others than God to relieve distress and provide aid?

3. Man's relationship with God is not confined to this world alone. It does not start at birth nor does it end when he breathes his last. For what happens after death is also entirely in God's Hand. Hence, those who worship anyone other than God are inviting their own doom. What could be more unfortunate than to turn to others than God for support and help when it is God alone Who decides what treatment will be meted out to each person?


Towards Understanding the Quran - Abul Ala Mawdudi
A Thematic Commentary on the Quran - Muhammad al-Ghazali



Edited by a well wisher - 24 January 2010 at 2:45pm
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Al-Anam (The Livestock)
Chapter 6: Verse 133     (The Self-Sufficiency and Mercy of Allah)


 
 
"Your Lord is Self-Sufficient, full of compassion."

The Quranic statement: 'Your Lord is Self-Sufficient' signifies that God is in need of nothing from anyone, that none of His interests will be jeopardized by disobedience to Him, and that no benefit will accrue to Him from obedience. Even if all human beings became disobedient, God's dominion will not shrink. Nor will His dominion expand if everybody were to become obedient and serve and worship Him as they ought to. God is dependent neither upon their show of veneration nor upon their offerings. He lavishes His limitless treasures on human beings and seeks nothing in return.

The other statement, namely that 'Your Lord is full of compassion', has been made to emphasize two things:

First, that when God urges human being to follow the Right Way, and asks them no to do anything in conflict with Ultimate Reality, He does not do so because their good behaviour benefits Him or their misconduct hurts Him. He does so because good conduct is beneficial to man himself, as evil conduct in harmful to him. Hence it is out of sheer benevolence that God urges man to develop righteous conduct, for it will raise him to great heights, and He urges him to avoid evil conduct because it will lead to his own degradation.

Second, that God is not unduly stern in judging man. He gets no pleasure from punishing people. God is highly compassionate towards all His creatures and governs with utmost mercy and benevolence. Hence, He constantly forgives the sins of people. He grants respite to the sinners in order that they may take heed, understand things properly and reform themselves. Had He been excessively stern, He could even have obliterated them instantly and raised up another people.

Towards Understanding the Quran- Sayyid Abul Ala Mawdudi
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 Al Ankabut (The Spider)
Chapter 29: Verse 17

... Then seek sustenance with Allah, worship Him, and be grateful to Him: to Him will be your return.

 

Seeking Sustenance from Allah, not other people

Everyone needs provision and sustenance (rizq). If a person seeks this rizq from Allah, then he will be a slave to Allah and he will be enslaved by and feel in need of that being. This is why it is basically forbidden to ask for anything from another created being, although it is permitted to do so in cases of necessity. There are many sayings (hadith) of the Prophet, peace be upon him, forbidding this kind of asking from people, for example:

"If any of you were to take a rope and go and gather wood, that would be better for him than asking people (for help), which they may or may not give." [al-Bukhari and ibn Majah]

Patience brings Independence

The Prophet did not like anyone to ask for anything whether he asked for it verbally or by longing in his heart. According to an authentic hadith he said:

"Whoever wants to be independent, Allah will make him independent. Whoever wants not to have to ask people for anything, Allah will help him to be free of that. Whoever wants to be patient, Allah will give him patience. Nobody has ever been given anything better and more abundant than patience." [Al-Bukhari, Muslim, Malik, Abu Dawud, al-Nisai and al-Tirmidhi]

The Prophet advised his closest companions not to ask anyone for anything. It was reported in al-Musnad that if Abu Bakr dropped his whip (whilst riding), he would not ask anyone to hand it to him, but he would say: "My close friend commanded me not to ask people for anything."

And the Porphet said to ibn Abbas: "If you must ask for anything, ask Allah, and if you seek help, seek help from Allah." [Al-Tirmidhi, Ahmad, and al-Hakim]

Exclusivity in the Arabic Phrase

Ibrahim, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said, "... Then seek sustenance from Allah ...". In Arabic the prepositional phrase 'ind Allah ("with Allah") comes first for a reason, which is to indicate exclusivity, as if to say: do not seek sustenance except from Allah.

[adapted from "Al Ubudiyyah" by Imam Ibn Taimiyah ra]

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Surah Bani Israel (Children of Israel)
[aka. Al-Isra (the Ascension)]
Chapter 17: Verse 54

Your Lord knows you best. He will have mercy on you if He wills and chastise you if He wills. We have not charged you, (O Muhammad), to be an overseer over them.

The believers should never go about bragging that they are going to enter Paradise, or cockily name other persons or groups as the ones destined to enter Hell. For it is God alone Who has the authority to decide such matters. It is He alone Who fully knows about all human beings, about all things both apparent and hidden, which took place before or which will take place in the future. It is He alone Who will judge, He alone Who will decide to whom He should show mercy and whom He should punish.

All that a human being can say, enunciating the teachings of the Quran, is what kind of people deserve mercy, and what kind deserve punishment. No one has the right to categorically say that a particular person will be either chastised or pardoned by God.

Presumably this directive was occasioned by the constant oppression to which the Muslims were subjected by the unbelievers. For some of the former may have been tempted to say of their more cruel opponents that they would be consigned to Hell or that God would chastise them for their behaviour.

A Messenger’s mission is simply to invite people to the right way. The destinies of people have not been placed in his hands, nor has he been empowered to sit in judgement over them, deciding who should be cast into Hell and who should be shown mercy.

The observation made here does not imply that the Prophet (peace be upon him) had committed such a lapse and that this needed to be pointed out to him. The purpose of the statement is rather to warn the generality of Muslims against adopting such an attitude. For if even the Prophet (peace be upon him) does not have the authority to judge who deserves Hell and who deserves Heaven, then how can ordinary Muslims be justified in making these decisions.

Towards Understanding the Quran - Abul Ala Mawdudi



Edited by a well wisher - 27 January 2010 at 2:22pm
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Al- Insan(Humans)
Chapter 76: Verse 3   (We Choose, the Power is Ours)


 
 
 
 
"We showed him the way: whether he be grateful or ungrateful (rests on his will)."

Satan tries to convince us that we are just pawns in a plan that will play itself out. Allah is the Creator of all things, including men, women and their actions. We are the 'doers' of our actions, i.e. we choose to do certain things and not to do certain things.

While Allah has the power to control our actions, He has given us guidance and left it up to us to follow it. Once we realize that we choose our actions, it only makes sense that we are accountable for what we do.

Dupe Check

With Satan constantly attacking us, we need to check our choices so we please Allah and make it to paradise. How do we know if we are on track or headed for a wreck? We should always keep ourselves in check.

But as the saying goes, 'no one can be their own best critic'. That's why it's important to receive critiques from others with an open mind. No one likes to hear they're doing something wrong, but we should take every opportunity we can to hold ourselves to account before we are held accountable by the All Seeing, All Hearing and All Knowing God.

 - Young Muslims Publications

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Al-Hujurat (The Dwellings)
Chapter 49: Verse 13     (Universal Brotherhood)

"O Mankind, We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know each other. Verily the most honoured of you in the sight of God is he who is the most righteous of you"

There are several principles, which this verse presents:

  1. This message is not just for Muslims only because Allah is addressing all of humanity. While Muslims are one brotherhood, this is part of a larger brotherhood of humanity.
  2. Allah is telling us that He has created us. Therefore He knows the best about us.
  3. He says that He created us from one man and one woman meaning that all humanity is from the same origin.
  4. It also means that all human beings are created through the same process, not in a manner in which some are created with a better mechanism than others.
  5. Allah is the One who made human beings into different groups and people.
  6. These differences are not wrong, rather a sign from Allah ("And among His Signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the difference of your languages and colors. Verily, in that are indeed signs for those who know" [Quran 30:22]).
  7. Note that no word equivalent to race is used in this ayah or any other verse of the Quran.
  8. Islam, however, limits the purpose of these distinctions to differentiation and knowing each other. This is not meant to be a source of beating each other down with an attitude of ‘my group is better than your group' or false pride as is the case with tribalism, nationalism, colonialism, and racism.
  9. The only source of preference or greatness among human beings is not on a national or group level, but it is at the individual level.
  10. One individual who is (higher in Taqwa), more conscious of his Creator and is staying away from the bad and doing the good is better, no matter what nation, country or caste he is part of. Individual piety is the only thing that makes a person better and greater than the other one.
  11. However, the only criterion of preference, Taqwa, is not measurable by human beings. Indeed Allah is the One Who knows and is aware of everything so we should leave even this criterion to Allah to decide instead of human beings judging each other.


"
Islam's manifesto of Universal brotherhood of human beings" - SoundVision.com



Edited by a well wisher - 29 January 2010 at 5:44pm
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Al-Imran (The House of Imran)
Chapter 3: Verse 138    (Guidance for the Open-minded)

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
This (i.e. Quran) is a plain Statement to mankind, a Guidance (Huda) and Admonition (Mauizah) to the God-fearing.
 
True Purpose of Quran
  • The Quran is not simply a book of laws--of dos and don'ts-- but it is foremost a book of Tarbiyya (improvement and training), and a book that develops and allows people to grow spiritually and morally.
  • That's why Allah describes the Quran in this verse as Mauizah, which involves warning the person about the consequences of his actions and it involves, as the English expression states, "putting the fear of God in him", as well as making his heart soft and submissive to the Truth.
  • Hence, the Quran is a book that is meant to reform the individual, either changing him if he were void of guidance or improving him if he already was walking along the Straight Path. It brings him out of the death of Jahiliyya (Ignorance) to the life if Islam-- a message that imbibes in him the feeling of love, fear, and responsibility to Allah (Taqwa).
The Linguistic, Unique, Revolutionary Style of Quran
  • It is interesting to note that after every law stated in the Quran, Allah closes the relevant verses with remembrance of Allah and promises of rewards for those who stay within His limits.
  • The following four are the characteristics of the Quranic style that make it a revolutionary message for all those are Conscious of God:
    • The Quran presents what actually happens as if the reader is witnessing the event itself by exposing all of the important aspects in a clear, vivid manner.
    • The Quran does not discuss essentially related matters in separate chapters like what one finds in science and philosophy books, but everything is tied together and presented as one unified, related whole.
    • At the same time, though, the Quran stresses various aspects of life in balance or proportion, as they deserve in Allah's sight
    • The Quran gives reality a life or breathing spirit that allows the Quran to influence the heart, soul, emotions, and intellect of the reader.
Message of Quran is Clear to the Open-minded and God-conscious
  • There are many people who know the Truth but who, nevertheless, remain immersed in falsehood either because they yield to their own desires and temptations, or because they fear to share in the  hardship which the followers of Truth may have to endure.
    "
    How to Approach and Understand the Quran" - Jamaal-ad-Din Zarabozo
    "
    In the Shade of the Quran" - Syed Qutb
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Al-Baqara (The Cow)
Chapter 2: Verse 213

(Single Community, Divergent Views, Divine Standard)


All Mankind were once one single community. Then God sent forth Prophets to give them good tidings and warn them, and with them He sent down the Book, setting forth the truth, to judge between people over all on which they differed.

Single Community – Single Start

Humanity emerged as a single community, living according to the same code and upholding similar beliefs. The Quran asserts here that mankind shares the same origin and that we are members of the same human family. Such was the will of God to instil the family principle in human life and establish it as a cornerstone of the human community. There was a time when this early group remained close-knit and uniform in its outlook and understanding; however, with time the people had to scatter in various directions, thereby evolving their lives in different ways. New trends, fresh ideas and advanced social norms arose which, as God knew, would be useful and advantageous to human society.

Different Communities – Various Prophets

With progress and diversity came differences, disagreements and divisions. New beliefs, traditions and ideologies came into being that were accepted in various degrees by the communities. It was then, that God in his infinite wisdom sent down prophets to the various communities to convey the promise of success and to warn against deviation. The propensity to differ and disagree is fundamental to the human disposition, and essential for the fulfillment of man’s role as God’s Khalifa (vicegerent) on earth.

A Single Standard

However, it is essential that there should be a proper and valid standard by which differences and divisions may be judged and evaluated. Can human beings come up with such a standard that would serve as a reference point for all mankind throughout time? Such a responsibility requires an infinite and comprehensive knowledge of past, present and future events, not restricted by the limitations of time and space. It also requires perfection, total self-sufficiency, and freedom from all needs, instincts, ambitions, desires and fears that constrain and control human beings. Hence, the source of such a Standard can only be God.

And He has sent us that standard, in the form of the Book, whose message the Prophets have conveyed time and time again. The later part of the ayah affirms that this Book, the revelation of God to mankind, has come with the definitive and absolute truth. This book is vital in determining the source of human values, thought and understanding, and for defining the laws that govern human relations. Without this authority society would be at a loss, life would descend into chaos, confusion and strife, and mankind would know no peace or happiness – much like it is, in today’s world.


In The Shade of The Quran - by Sayyid Qutb

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Al-Nisa (The Women)
Chapter 4: Verse 134     
(The Dispenser of Good)

 
 
 
 
 
 
He who desires the reward of this world, let him know that with Allah is the reward of this world and also of the World to Come. Allah is All-Hearing, All-Seeing.

God alone has the power to dispense the good of this world as well as that of the Hereafter, to lavish transient benefits as well as abiding felicity. It all depends on a man's nature and the extent of his ambition what kind of benefit he seeks from God. If a man is infatuated with the fleeting benefits of this world, and is prepared to sacrifice the benefits of the everlasting life, then God will grant him only the good of this world and he will have no share in the good of the Hereafter.

God's benevolence is like a river which never dries up, a rive which is both capable of, and geared to, providing abundant water to all who need their tillage watered. It is short sighted and unambitious to want one's fields to be irrigated only once, and to be prepared thereafter to face the prospect of eternal drought. Anyone with breadth of vision would commit himself to submit to God and obey Him, thereby earning the well-being of both worlds.

God is fully aware of the actions of His creatures, and is unlike those negligent sovereigns who are blind in lavishing their favours. God governs the universe with full knowledge and awareness. He has an eye on the capacities and ambitions of all human beings and knows their qualities exactly. He is fully aware of the purposes to which people devote their efforts and energies. Anyone who wilfully decides to be disobedient to God should therefore not cherish hopes of receiving the favours reserved for those who obey Him.


"Towards Understanding the Quran" - By Sayyid Abul Ala Mawdudi
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An-Hijr (The Rock)
Chapter 15: Verse 47
(Unity of Hearts)

 

 
 
"We shall have removed from their hearts any lurking feelings of malice, [and they shall rest] as brothers, face to face, on raised couches."

This faith is remarkable indeed. When it touches people's hearts, it pours into them a mixture of love, familiarity and compassion that is certain to soften them and establish between them a firm and deeply-rooted bond. Words, looks, touches and heartbeats all become lyrics and odes expressing mutual love, compassion, loyalty, support and forbearance. What is the secret of such a profound transformation? The secret is known only to God. However, its effects are clear to the believers themselves.

The Prophet, peace be upon him, said: "Some of God's Servants who are neither prophets nor martyrs shall have on the Day of Judgement a position so close to God that prophets and martyrs would love to have." His companions said: "Messenger of God, will you please tell us who these people are." He said: "They are people who love one another for God's sake only. They have no relation of kinship or business interests with one another. By God, their faces are radiant with light, and they have light. They shall have no fear or sadness when other people are overtaken by fear and sadness." [Related by Abu Dawud.]

The Prophet also said: "When a Muslim meets his Muslim brother and they shake hands, their sins shall fall of just like leaves fall off a dry tree on a windy day. Their sins shall be forgiven, even though they appear to be as huge as sea foam." [Related by al-Tabarani.]

God's messenger made several statements on this point. His actions confirm that such love, and unity constitutes an essential factor in his message. The community that he built on the basis of love provides the best proof that such love was not merely flowery words or idealistic actions by a few individuals. It was a firmly established reality that came into being by God's will. It is only He who can bring about such a real unity of hearts.

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(The Romans) Sura 30: Verses 31-32


"Turn to God and fear Him. Observe the prayer [salah] and do not be of those who take partners with God; those who broke up their religion and were split into sects, each being self-satisfied and complacent in their own beliefs."

A healthy human person would recognize God and be ever drawn towards Him. Even when distracted he would endeavour to return to the proper track. However, human beings are liable to be overcome by selfishness, dissension, and negligence and thrown off course. The Quran repeatedly calls on human beings to return to their pristine human nature.

Unbelief and associating partners with God may take many forms and patterns. Some unbelievers consider the jinn to be God's partners, others associate the angels, some their forefathers, while others take kings, rulers, priests, rabbis, trees, stones, planets, stars, the fire, night and day, false values, desires, and the like as partners with God. The forms and patterns are unending, yet each group is delighted with what they hold. Meanwhile, the true faith is one, unchanging and undivided.

Dissension is a human characteristic induced by the desire for self-expression and dominance, and is often associated with pride and complacency. It occurs among religious as well as secular communities and groups. It is a phenomenon known throughout human history, past and present. However, this should not be confused with differences and disagreements arising from the exercise of ijtihad by scholars, experts, and practitioners of Islamic law, or among the various schools of fiqh which have emerged within Islam.

Differences of interpretation should not necessarily lead to rancour and division. Those who adopt differing approaches and formulate divergent views on matters which are open to debate should be credited for their efforts, whether their conclusions are right or wrong. Taking such legitimate differences further by fuelling schisms, factionalism, and dissension can only lead to weakness and destruction.


"A Thematic Commentary on the Quran" - Muhammad Al-Ghazali
"In the Shade of the Quran" - Sayyid Qutb

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Al-Qasas (The Narration)
Chapter 28: Verse 80

(Those Endowed With True Knowledge said: )

"Woe to you. Allah's reward is best for those who believe and act righteously. But none except those who are patient shall attain to this."

Korah, a contemporary of Moses, peace be upon him, was an extremely wealthy man. Wealth in itself is neither good nor bad. It is simply a means to an end and can be beneficially used or abused. But, as we see in this surah, Korah decided that he had earned his wealth by sheer genius and personal hard work alone, and that he was therefore justified in doing with it as he pleased.

When those whose desires and inclinations were for the world saw his adornments and splendour, they wished that they could have the same as he had been given. This verse is the response of the people of beneficial knowledge.

"Allah's reward", in this verse, means that clean and bounteous provision which comes to a man both in this world and in the Next as a reward for his efforts.

As for the word "patience", it means a whole range of things. It means:

  • exercising restraint against greed and covetousness.
  • strict adherence to honesty and uprightness.
  • the readiness to cheerfully endure losses that might accrue from following the dictates of honesty and to forego the gains that might be obtained by unlawful means.
  • contentment with whatever is earned through lawful means, no matter how meagre it might be.
  • not to be ruffled when one sees the abundance and pomp of those who have amassed their wealth through corrupt ways.
  • not being envious of those who are materially better off.
  • appreciating that a life of coarse and dreary purity accompanied with God's Mercy is better than shimmering slime.

The statement that "but none except those who are patient shall attain to this" signifies God's reward. It also signifies that purity of thought by dint of which an upright person is able to remain honest, and is even willing to suffer hunger and starvation rather than become a dishonest and corrupt multi-millionaire.

This kind of character, this way of thinking, and this reward from God are only for those who steadfastly resist the temptation to use unlawful means to earn their livelihood, regardless of whether they obtain a pittance or make millions.


"
Towards Understanding the Quran" - Syed Abul Ala Mawdudi
"
Tafsir Ibn Kathir"
"
Thematic Commentary on the Quran" - Muhammad Al-Ghazali



Edited by a well wisher - 06 February 2010 at 2:09pm
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Shaykh Hamza Yusuf - REFLECTIONS ON SURAT AL-BALAD (1/4)
 
 
(About 10 mins)
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