Hall of FameHall of Fame  Active TopicsActive Topics  Display List of Forum MembersMemberlist  Search The ForumSearch  HelpHelp  chatChat
  RegisterRegister  LoginLogin
Learn about Islam
 Whyislam.org Forums : Learn About Islam : Learn about Islam  
Message Icon Topic: Reflecting on the Qur'an Post Reply Post New Topic
<< Prev Page  of 20 Next >>
Author Message
a well wisher  
Admin Group
Admin Group
Avatar
Religion: Islam(Muslim)
Posts: 8391
Forum Rating: 0
Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote a well wisher Replybullet Posted: 27 March 2010 at 7:12pm
Rivalry in worldly increase distracts you…
 
“Rivalry in worldly increase distracts you, until you come to the graves. Nay, but you will come to know!”
 [Sűrah al-Takâthur: 1-3]
 
Twenty years ago, I wrote an article which I gave the title “The Age of Reduction”. It was published in the book Islamic Views on Contemporary Issues. Now I find the need to talk about “The Age of Increase”.

There is no contradiction between these two descriptions of our age. They are two sides of the same coin – a coin we could give the name “wretchedness”.

We live in the Age of Reduction with respect to the human being, but it is the Age of Increase with respect to material things.

The reduction we see is in the human spirit. It is in our feelings, our sensitivities, our very humanness. This is while we revel in the excess of material things, go to dizzying heights in building our cities, and rush forward in technological progress. Nevertheless, people are not happy. Human happiness continues to diminish.

We are losing ourselves. We are becoming more and more superficial. Our spirits are shallow. We have lost the richness of our inner sensibilities. We rush towards the material world and our experience becomes inseparable from it, moving, expanding, growing. However, our faith, our inner meaning, and our moral sensibilities are lost on the wayside.

There is and increasing abundance of services, consumer goods, essentials, and amusements. We have more choices of entertainment than ever before. There is more wealth, and more things to buy. Science and technology are advancing at an increasing rate. So why is it that people feel more and more wretched? What have we lost of life’s beauty?

We are becoming closed in by material things more and more every day. We are becoming less social as a consequence, more distant from family and friends, from our spouses and our children. We are even becoming strangers to our own selves. We are slowly blocking ourselves off from each other with invisible walls.

Even the voices that are raised here and there seem to get caught in their throats so that no one really hears them.

This blockade of material things has deluged us. It is difficult for anyone to stand in its way. It moves forward relentlessly and irresistibly. We have put ourselves into a difficult situation from which we cannot extract ourselves.

I am reminded of a play of the French playwright Eugčne Ionesco where the protagonist finds himself blocked in by things, which encroach upon him more and more every day, until the protagonist is cut off from everything around him. He is expelled from the world. Even his screams can barely be heard by anyone. Things do not merely posses the ability to exclude the person, but even his ability to speak out, like in a dream or a nightmare where one cannot make an utterance.

I am also reminded of what Leopold Weiss writes in The Road to Mecca about his experiences as a Western man living the incessant and feverish quest for material increase. He reproaches his people for their depression and wretchedness. He writes:
One day -- it was in September 1926 -- Elsa and I found ourselves travelling in the Berlin subway. It was an upper class compartment. My eye fell casually on a well-dressed man opposite me, apparently a well-to-do businessman, with a beautiful briefcase on his knees and a large diamond ring on his hand. I thought idly how well the portly figure of this man fitted into the picture of prosperity which one encountered everywhere in Central Europe in those days: a prosperity the more prominent as it has come after years of inflation, when all economic life had been topsy-turvy and shabbiness of appearance the rule. Most of the people were now well dressed and well fed, and the man opposite me was therefore no exception. But when I looked at his face, I did not seem to be looking at a happy face. He appeared to be worried: and not merely worried but acutely unhappy, with eyes staring vacantly ahead and the corners of his mouth drawn in as if in pain -- but not in bodily pain. Not wanting to be rude, I turned my eyes away and saw next to him a lady of some elegance. She also had a strangely unhappy expression on her face, as if contemplating or experiencing something that caused her pain; nevertheless, her mouth was fixed in the stiff semblance of a smile which, I was certain, must have been habitual. And then I began to look around at all the other faces in the compartment -- faces belonging without exception to well-dressed, well-fed people; and in almost every one of them I could discern an expression of hidden suffering, so hidden that the owner of the face seemed to be quite unaware of it.

This was indeed strange. I had never before seen so many unhappy faces around me; or was it perhaps that I had never before looked for what was now so loudly speaking in them? The impression was so strong that I mentioned it to Elsa; and she too began to look around her with the careful eyes of a painter accustomed to study human features. Then she turned to me, astonished, and said: “You are right. They all look as though they were suffering torments of hell... I wonder, do they know themselves what is going on in them?”

I knew that they did not -- for otherwise they could not go on wasting their lives as they did, without any faith in binding truths, without any goal beyond the desire to raise their own "standard of living," without any hopes other than having more material amenities, more gadgets, and perhaps more power...

When we returned home, I happened to glance at my desk on which lay open a copy of the Koran I had been reading earlier. Mechanically, I picked the book up to put it away, but just as I was about to close it, my eye fell on the open page before me, and I read:

You are obsessed by greed for more and more
Until you go down to your graves.
Nay, but you will come to know!
Nay, but you will come to know!
Nay, if you but knew it with the knowledge of certainty,
You would indeed see the hell you are in.
In time, indeed, you shall see it with the eye of certainty:
And on that day you will be asked what you have done with the boon of life.


For a moment I was speechless. I think the book shook in my hands. Then I handed it to Elsa. “Read this. Is it not an answer to what we saw in the subway?”

It was an answer: an answer so decisive that all doubt was suddenly at an end. I knew now, beyond any doubt, that it was a God-inspired book I was holding in my hand: for although it had been placed before man over thirteen centuries ago, it clearly anticipated something that could have become true only in this complicated, mechanized, phantom-ridden age of ours.

At all times people had known greed: but at no time before this had greed outgrown a mere eagerness to acquire things and become an obsession that blurred the sight of everything else: an irresistible craving to get, to do, to contrive more and more -- more today than yesterday, and more tomorrow than today: a demon riding on the necks of men and whipping their hearts forward toward goals that tauntingly glitter in the distance but dissolve into contemptible nothingness as soon as they are reached, always holding out the promise of new goals ahead -- goals still more brilliant, more tempting as long as they lie on the horizon, and bound to wither into further nothingness as soon as they come within grasp: and that hunger, that insatiable hunger for ever new goals gnawing at man's soul: Nay, if you but knew it you would see the hell you are in...

This, I saw, was not the mere human wisdom of a man of a distant past in distant Arabia. However wise he may have been, such a man could not by himself have foreseen the torment so peculiar to this twentieth century. Out of the Koran spoke a voice greater than the voice of Muhammad...
Leopold Weiss had read Sűrah al-Takâthur and embraced Islam. We can read above his translation of this chapter of the Qur’ân the way he understood it at that time. His “You are obsessed by greed for more and more” captures much of the essence of the meaning of the verse “Rivalry in worldly increase distracts you.”

He articulates the problem when people put a premium on outward appearances and give little value to inner worth, when they prefer worldly success over success in the Hereafter, when they place greater stake in personal interests than they do on ethical conduct, and when they focus their lives on material acquisition over the development of their inner selves.

What happiness have we achieved in this deluge of material excess? How can we recapture our own souls?
We know more about the physical aspects of our lives than ever before in history. However, the inner dimensions of our lives have fallen to a disgraceful state.
 
La ilaha ill-Allah, Muhammadur Rasulullah
No Guest-Voting   IP IP Logged
a well wisher  
Admin Group
Admin Group
Avatar
Religion: Islam(Muslim)
Posts: 8391
Forum Rating: 0
Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote a well wisher Replybullet Posted: 28 March 2010 at 3:20pm
 
 
And if you were to count Allah's favors, you would not be able to number them; most surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.
 
[Sūrah al-Nahl: 18]
 
Our lives are a continuous succession of Allah’s gifts. Many people, due to their outlook on life or their circumstances, fail to see that they are receiving Allah’s bounty. Allah has made it clear that we will never be able to count all of His blessings upon us, since they are innumerable.

This statement is found elsewhere in the Qur'an, emphasizing humanity's ungratefulness and heedlessness of Allah's blessings:
 
“If you were to count Allah's favors, you would not be able to number them; most surely humanity is very unjust, very ungrateful.”
 [Sūrah Ibrāhīm: 34]

Consider the human body. It is made up of one hundred trillion cells. Each cell is a blessing from Allah. But this does not mean that there are only one hundred trillion blessings in the human body. There are far more, since Allah’s blessings manifest themselves within each one of those cells in innumerable ways. Moreover, each cell is exposed to an incalculable number of potential threats, from viruses to cancer to a variety of malfunctions, and Allah through His mercy protects the cells from all of these. Therefore, we can never begin to enumerate the blessings that Allah, at every moment, bestows upon us within our bodies.

Even if we entertain the idea that the blessings Allah bestows upon any one of us is some finite number, that number would not take into account all of the misfortunes that Allah withholds from us, though He certainly tries some of His servants with those misfortunes. Then there are all the blessings Allah has bestowed upon our predecessors, our contemporaries, and our descendants and on the incalculable aspects of creation upon which our lives depend.

Allah reminds us: “And whatever good thing you enjoy, it is from Allah. Then, when misfortune reaches you, you cry out to Him for help.”
[Sūrah al-Nahl: 53]

We should look at ourselves and the way we behave towards Allah’s blessings. Do we use them in obedience to His commands? Do we realize that Allah has a right over us in everything that He gives us? If we are blessed with wealth, the poor have a right in it. If we are blessed with health and strength, the weak and the infirm have a right in it. If we are blessed with knowledge, then those who are in want of knowledge have a right in it. For every ability that we are blessed with, those who are unable have some right in it.

We must praise Allah for empowering us to do that which others are incapable of doing. Part of the thanks we owe Allah is to give something of whatever we are blessed with to those who cannot do for themselves. We should remember that every blessing we enjoy will inevitably come to an end. Either we will lose the blessing some day in our lives, or we will depart this life and leave that blessing behind.

Another part of our gratitude to Allah is to serve Him with what He gives us and to use what we have in ways that are lawful and pleasing to Him. We should not be like Pharaoh. Some wise people advised him: “Do not exult. Surely Allah does not love the exultant.”
[Sūrah al-Qasas: 76]

Pharaoh replied: “I have been given this only on account of the knowledge I have.”

So Allah tells us: “Did he not know that Allah had destroyed of the generations before him those who were mightier in strength than he and greater in assemblage? And the guilty need not be asked about their sins.”
 
[Sūrah al-Qasas: 78]

We often do not notice a blessing that we have until we lose that blessing or are threatened with its loss. How many of our faculties, our limbs, and our talents do we take for granted? These are but some of the blessings in our own bodies. How many blessings surround us, in our families, our friends, our work, the status we enjoy, the connections we have, even our hopes and our dreams?

Even the world on which we live is a blessing, how it possesses everything needed for life to thrive. How many other words do we see and are still discovering in the heavens, some approximating our Earth in size, some smaller, some many times larger, but we find them to be sterile, hostile, unaccommodating worlds.

Praise be to Allah, who possesses all things and who gives without measure.
 
Sheikh Salman al-Oadah
La ilaha ill-Allah, Muhammadur Rasulullah
No Guest-Voting   IP IP Logged
a well wisher  
Admin Group
Admin Group
Avatar
Religion: Islam(Muslim)
Posts: 8391
Forum Rating: 0
Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote a well wisher Replybullet Posted: 30 March 2010 at 7:51am

It is well known that Allah encourages us in the Qur’an to vie with one another in doing good deeds Allah says: “So vie with one another in good works” [Sűrah al-Baqarah: 148, Sűrah al-Mâ’idah: 48] Allah says: “And vie one with another for forgiveness from your Lord, and for a paradise as wide as are the heavens and the earth, prepared for those who ward off (evil)” [Sűrah Al `Imrân: 133] Allah also says: “And the foremost in the race, the foremost in the race: those are they who will be brought nigh in gardens of delight.” [Sűrah al-Wâqi`ah: 10-12]

This competitiveness does not necessitate negative consequences upon others, since it is not a win or lose competition. Each Muslim strives to increase his good and go forward without this increase bringing about any decrease for anyone else. This is why the Prophet (peace be upon him) prohibited envy, wishing for another to lose the blessings that he possesses. However, he permitted a person to desire to enjoy the same blessings as well. 
 
 We must be ever vigilant against Satan so that our intentions do not turn sour in these endeavors. A Muslim seeks knowledge, not with the purpose of being more knowledgeable than some other person, but rather to worship Allah with proper insight and to carry out the duty of acquiring knowledge on behalf of the Muslim community.
 
A Muslims discusses and debates not so that he will be the winner of the argument, but so that he and everyone else can arrive at the truth. He engages in righteous deeds not so that others can applaud him, but to increase his account of virtues. He enjoins virtue and prohibits vice not so that he can order others around, but so that he can fulfill his duty to them and convey Allah’s Message.
 
And Allah is the giver of success.
La ilaha ill-Allah, Muhammadur Rasulullah
No Guest-Voting   IP IP Logged
a well wisher  
Admin Group
Admin Group
Avatar
Religion: Islam(Muslim)
Posts: 8391
Forum Rating: 0
Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote a well wisher Replybullet Posted: 31 March 2010 at 9:53am
"So they may witness the benefits for themselves and celebrate the name of Allah, through the appointed days, over the cattle which He has provided for them (for sacrifice): then eat thereof and feed the distressed ones in want."
 [Sűrah al-Hajj: 28]
 
This verse speaks about the Pilgrimage, and act of worship. It also speaks about the benefits that the worshippers will reap and “see for themselves.”

This approach is commonly employed in the Qur’an when it prescribes acts of worship for believers to perform. Many of the verses in the Qur'an that stipulate prescribed acts of worship also mention the intent behind them and the benefits to be received from performing them. By reminding us of the underlying purpose for our worship, the Qur’an helps us to counteract the natural human tendencies of forgetfulness and negligence that can compromise our devotions.

As time draws on, hearts harden and acts of worship can become shallow rituals for some believers, mere procedures and rote habits, activities for which they must go through the motions. Their devotions cease to affect their hearts at all. These people often turn to nitpicking over minor details of outward performance. Then, after completely forgetting the purpose of worship and becoming fully engrossed in superficialities, they might even start adding extraneous and false details to their worship of their own manufacture. This affliction had beset the followers of the scriptures of the past.

Anyone who realizes this can see why the Qur'ân repeatedly mentions the purpose behind the acts of worship that it prescribes.

With respect to prayer, we find in the Qur'an: "…and establish prayer, for prayer restrains from shameful and evil deeds…" [Sűrah al-`Ankabűt: 45] Here, the Qur'an emphasizes how prayer affects a person's behavior and character.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) emphasized that alms must be taken from the wealth of the believers in order to purify them and to cleanse their hearts. Giving alms had also been a cause for his invoking Allah's grace upon them. Whenever a group of people came with their Zakâh, he would say: "O Allah! Bestow your grace upon them."

When the details of fasting are discussed in the Qur'an, the wisdom behind performing this act of worship is given. Allah says: "O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you as it has been prescribed for those before you, that perhaps you might learn piety and self-restraint." [Sűrah al-Baqarah: 183]

With respect to the sacrificial animals offered during the pilgrimage, Allah says: "It is not their meat nor their blood that reaches Allah; it is your piety that reaches him." [Sűrah al-Hajj: 37]

The whole purpose behind the pilgrimage itself is to "…celebrate the name of Allah…" [Sűrah al-Hajj: 28]

This is also why A'ishah said: "The circuits walked around the House and between Mount Safa and Mount Marwah and the stoning of the Jamrahs is only to establish the remembrance of Allah." [Sunan al-Dârimî (1780)]

We must ask ourselves: when a believer makes his circuits around the House, is he cognizant of this noble meaning, or is he overcome with a feeling of competitiveness, pushing and shoving through the crowd of pilgrims and edging his way through them with his shoulders as if he is on some kind of racetrack?

Or does he remember why he is there and complete his rites keeping his worship intact, patiently being pushed and shoved by the crowds, taking hours to move the distance that would normally be traversed in minutes? When the Prophet (peace be upon him) departed from the plain of `Arafah, he said: "Tranquility, tranquility; for righteousness is not attained through haste."

Attaining righteousness is the purpose of the pilgrimage, and this cannot be achieved by rushing about. It requires composure and humility. Does the pilgrim keep this in mind when he is stoning the Jamrahs, when no doubt he is aware of the severity of the event and how people often get trampled trying to perform this rite?

These collective acts of worship are a way that Allah gives us to develop our character, wherein we must fulfill our duties correctly and with full sincerity while respecting the rights of others. We must show deference to the elderly and mercy to the young. We must show compassion for strangers and those who are weak, and even those who are ignorant. Allah says: "The months of the pilgrimage are well known. If anyone undertakes that duty therein, then let there be no obscenity, nor wickedness, nor wrangling in the pilgrimage." [Sűrah al-Baqarah: 197]

The pilgrimage requires a degree of detachment from worldly pursuits and worldly needs. The wickedness mentioned in this verse is any disobedience to Allah, and it is most emphatically prohibited for the pilgrim. For this reason, the great jurist al-Awzâ`î ruled that anyone who so much as says a bad word to another during the pilgrimage has to pay an expiation. Though al-`Awzâ`îs opinion is weak, sinful behavior definitely violates the sanctity of the pilgrimage and of the sacred mosque, not to mention its being forbidden in and of itself.

As for wrangling, in the context of this verse it means either arguing on false pretenses or on the basis unabashed personal interests with complete disregard for the truth. The great jurist, al-Shâfi`î, used to say: "I see my opinion as correct, but I hold out the possibility that it might be wrong. Likewise, I see the opposing opinion of someone else as wrong, but I hold out the possibility that it is correct." Another person put it most eloquently: "It is sufficient to say: 'Our opinion is likely wrong, but it just may be true!'" It is better for a person to swallow his anger than get into a heavy argument with his companion, an argument which neither brings them closer to Paradise or further from Hell, nor results in any enlightenment for anyone.

Everything that Allah as decreed as part of the pilgrimage, or any other act of worship for that matter, has a benefit for the worshipper in this world and in the Hereafter.

"So that they may witness the benefits for themselves…" [Sűrah al-Hajj: 28
 
La ilaha ill-Allah, Muhammadur Rasulullah
No Guest-Voting   IP IP Logged
a well wisher  
Admin Group
Admin Group
Avatar
Religion: Islam(Muslim)
Posts: 8391
Forum Rating: 0
Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote a well wisher Replybullet Posted: 01 April 2010 at 7:07pm

Commenting on 2:201 of the Qur'an which states:


"Our Lord! Give us the good of this world and the good of the Hereafter..."


Al-Hasan Al-Basrî – Allah have mercy on him – said:


The good of this world is knowledge and worship, and the good of the Hereafter is Paradise.


Scholars of tafsîr like Ibn Jarîr and Ibn Kathîr point out that 'the good of this world' is general and includes all those things which have been allowed for us to enjoy and which are considered useful by people for day-to-day living.

And they point out that above this; the good of this world includes those things which will lead to success in the hereafter. This narration reminds us of these loftier things we should ask Allah for, and that the good of this life embraces what is required or recommended for a worshipper of Allah to acquire on this Earth, like knowledge of his religion and good deeds.
La ilaha ill-Allah, Muhammadur Rasulullah
No Guest-Voting   IP IP Logged
a well wisher  
Admin Group
Admin Group
Avatar
Religion: Islam(Muslim)
Posts: 8391
Forum Rating: 0
Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote a well wisher Replybullet Posted: 03 April 2010 at 3:27pm

 “Whatever of good befalls you, it is from Allah; and whatever of ill befalls you, it is from yourself.” [Sűrah al-Nisâ’: 79]

This verse above and others like it outline for us an attitude that we should adopt, and that will make us better at coping with good fortune and adversity in our lives. Some people misunderstand these verses and refer all the weal and woe of their lives to Allah being either pleased or displeased with them. Worldly prosperity is seen as a sign of Allah’s pleasure, while misfortune and loss are seen as evidence of Allah’s anger. Those who adopt this view are prone to confusion and susceptible to misguidance.

There are indeed many verses in the Qur’ân that establish a cause and effect relationship between virtue and vice on the one hand, and prosperity and ruin on the other. The following verses are representative:

“Whosoever does right, whether male or female, and is a believer, verily we shall give them a good life, and We shall pay them a recompense in proportion to the best of what they used to do.” [Sűrah al-Nahl: 97]

“What! when a misfortune befell you, and you had certainly afflicted (them) with twice as much, you began to say: Whence is this? Say: It is from yourselves. Surely Allah has power over all things.” [Sűrah Al `Imrân: 165]

“But those who have earned evil will have a reward of like evil: ignominy shall overtake them.” [Sűrah Yűnus: 27]

These verses show us that those who engage in righteous deeds are recompensed by having their hearts grow stronger, by receiving sustenance by means that they cannot have anticipated, and by receiving great blessings in the little that they have.

By contrast, those who engage in evil deeds are punished by becoming hard-hearted, preoccupied with worries, and by various misfortunes.

However, this must be understood in the most general of terms. It cannot be used to analyze specific circumstances and situations. Health, affluence, and a happy family life cannot be used as an indicator that Allah is pleased with a particular person, or that the person is being rewarded for his or her good deeds. These circumstances might be given to the person as a test. They might even be given to give the person trespass in his iniquity. 


Allah says: “Every soul must taste of death, and We try you with evil and with good, for ordeal. And unto Us you will be returned.” [Sűrah al-Anbiyâ’: 35]


How often do we regard something that befalls us to be a great misfortune, when in fact it is really Allah showing His mercy to us. The opposite is equally true. Allah says: “Perhaps you hate a thing that is best for you, and you love a thing that is bad for you. Allah knows, while you know not.” [Sűrah al-Baqarah: 216]

Allah’s decree in the world is known to Him alone. Therefore, it is wrong for us to take the general texts that show a cause and effect relationship between virtue and worldly consequences and try to apply them to specific people and circumstances. We should certainly not make decisive judgments about ourselves or others on such a basis, saying things like “Allah is punishing that person” or “Allah is pleased with him”.


The attitude that a believer should take is to live between hope and fear. He should at all times be equally self-accusatory and conscious of Allah’s mercy and grace. The believer’s feelings of self-accusation and his awareness of his sins should be more acute when he is in health and prosperity. At times of sickness and hardship, he should grow more conscious of Allah’s mercy and His pleasure with our good deeds.

A Muslim should always be patient in adversity, thankful in prosperity. To be sure to achieve this state of mind, he should be conscious of Allah’s wisdom in testing us with every blessing and hardship. Such a Muslim will then show fortitude in sorrow and when his means are straitened. He will not regard his misfortune as Allah disgracing him. He will, instead, accuse himself, saying: “This is on account of my sins.” He will do so in order to better himself an inculcate humility in his heart, recalling Allah’s words: “Whatever of good befalls you, it is from Allah; and whatever of ill befalls you, it is from yourself.” [Sűrah al-Nisâ’: 79]

This is why we see that `Abbâs used to say “No misfortune ever befell except on account of sin.”

A Muslim who is conscious of Allah’s wisdom in testing us with every blessing and hardship will likewise show gratitude in prosperity. He will say: “This is from the grace and generosity of my Lord.” He will regard it as a test upon him. In this way, the Muslim will be sure to give thanks for Allah’s blessings, and he will avoid attributing those blessings to his own efforts. A believer should never bestow upon himself unmitigated praise or credit.

Allah warns us against such haughtiness in the Qur’an: “As for man, whenever his Lord tries him by honoring him, and is gracious unto him, he says: My Lord has honored me. But whenever He tries him by straitening his means of life, he says: My Lord despises me. Nay! (this is not the case.)” [Sűrah al-Fajr: 15-17]

This verse shows us that we should not gauge our affairs in this way. Allah does not give us the good that He blesses us with because we are deserving of it. He does so from His grace and bounty. He does not disgrace us when He withholds from us. Rather what He withholds from us is on account of His infinite wisdom.
 
 
 
 
La ilaha ill-Allah, Muhammadur Rasulullah
No Guest-Voting   IP IP Logged
a well wisher  
Admin Group
Admin Group
Avatar
Religion: Islam(Muslim)
Posts: 8391
Forum Rating: 0
Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote a well wisher Replybullet Posted: 04 April 2010 at 3:45pm

"And your Lord said: Call upon me in supplication. I will answer you."

 [Surah Ghafir: 60] partial
 
Al-Nu`man b. Bashir relates that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "Supplication is essentially what worship is." [Sunan al-Tirmidhî (2969)]
 
The Prophet (peace be upon him) considered to be synonymous with worship, indicating that all the worship we engage in is in some way a means of beseeching and supplicating our Lord. On this basis, scholars have divided the act of supplication into two categories:
 
1. There is supplication whereby a person asks Allah for something. This includes our beseeching Allah for forgiveness and for guidance. It is quite straightforward how this is an act of supplication.
 
2. Then there is supplication through devotional acts. Our formal prayers are a form of supplication. The fasts that we observe are a form of supplication. When we undertake the pilgrimage, it is a form of supplication. The reason for this is that when a worshipper engages in one of these acts of worship, it is as if he is saying through his actions: "My Lord, You commanded me and I obeyed and hearkened to Your command. Here I am, offering you my worship, so please accept it from me."
 
This is the very meaning of the humility and submission and the act of beseeching our Lord that – in other words, this is the meaning of supplication. Also, the Arabic word for our formal prayers – salah – literally means "supplication". Pure acts of devotion are the best means of supplicating our Lord. When we keep this in mind, it imbues all of our acts of worship with a deeper meaning and makes us better realize the devotional nature of what we are engaged in.
 
We cannot lose when we beseech our Lord in supplication. Either we will be granted what we ask for, or we will earn blessings for the act of worship that we have engaged in by the very act of asking Allah. The rewards and blessings of our supplications are guaranteed – by Allah's grace – as long as we are truly sincere in our supplications. This is because our supplications are an act of devotion and a practical demonstration of our faith.
 
Supplication embodies the quintessence of faith. When a person beseeches his Lord, he is acting upon his belief that there is a God – a Creator, a Sustainer, a heavenly Provider who is capable of all things and who has all things in His hand. The supplicant has certainty that the One he calls upon possesses what is being asked of Him, since He possesses all that is in the heavens and the Earth. The supplicant also has certainty that all created things are poor and only Allah is rich. Therefore, the act of supplicating our Lord is rich with deep and vital meanings.
 
Another way that supplication exemplifies worship is that it is a way of speaking in which the supplicant addresses his Lord directly with good words. This fortifies the speaker's heart and mind as well as those others who may participate in it. Some people are of the contrary impression that supplication is a type of deficiency, a manifestation of incapacity. They think that a person merely sleeps and sits around and then beseeches his Lord. On the contrary, supplication gives us the resolve, the strength, and the encouragement to carry on. This is why the Prophet (peace be upon him) told those who asked to be in his company in Paradise: "Help me in this by keeping up abundant prayer." He wanted to tie their aspirations in with constancy, resolve, and effort.
 
Supplication affirms the trust that we have in Allah. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "Pray to Allah, being certain that He will answer you." [Tirmidhi] It is also an expression of our inner selves. It expresses our magnanimity, our faith, and our values, especially when we beseech Allah on behalf of others. Beseeching Allah gets us in the habit of doing so for others, which in turn instills in our hearts the qualities of generosity, love, and deeper faith.
 
And indeed, supplication repels and combats the greatest bane that can ever afflict the human being – be he a believer or an unbeliever – and that is the bane of egoism. It is egotistical selfishness that causes strife between people, for it is at the root of insolence, aggression, oppression, and tyranny. It causes people to deny the rights of others, to abuse their spouses, and to mistreat their colleagues. It causes a leader to misgovern his people and the governments of countries to transgress against each other. Societies suffer from selfishness and egoism as much as individuals do. It is the virus behind all of the problems and afflictions of human life. Supplication brings to bear the power of faith to defeat this virus.
 
It does so because it brings about a state of self-effacement and humility in the supplicant before Allah, for the worshipper cannot approach his Lord through a better door than the door of humility. This is why the worshipper is closest to his Lord when he is in prostration.
La ilaha ill-Allah, Muhammadur Rasulullah
No Guest-Voting   IP IP Logged
a well wisher  
Admin Group
Admin Group
Avatar
Religion: Islam(Muslim)
Posts: 8391
Forum Rating: 0
Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote a well wisher Replybullet Posted: 05 April 2010 at 9:24am

What Are We Created Of?

(The Wonderful Originator [i.e., Badee`] of the heavens and the earth, and when He decrees an affair, He only says to it, Be, so there it is.) (Al-Baqarah 2:117)

The Arabic word bed`ah means creating something out of nothing. This word also connotes the fact that something is created not on a previously designed pattern but as a completely new entity having no precedence. The greatest marvel of this universe is that Allah, the Almighty, has created it all out of nothing.

Creation Beyond Humans

For example, let's consider the spectrum of colors. None of us can visualize a color that we have not already seen, nor can we produce that color. We are familiar with colors that already exist, but we cannot possibly create a new color.

Allah, on the other hand, created all colors when the concept of color did not exist, just as He created the universe that did not exist before. Therefore, creating a concept and its range of contents out of nothing is beyond human imagination and power.

Atheism and Materialism vs. Monotheism
 
Throughout history, there have been three separate viewpoints that allege to be in conformity with reason and science. These viewpoints at least declare that they accept reason, logic, and science as criteria.

These three views are:

1. Monotheism — there is no God but One Who created this magnificent physical universe and everything in it, animate or inanimate.

2. Atheistic materialism — matter has been in existence since eternity and everything is made of matter from a chain of fortuitous events.

3. Agnosticism — we cannot know which of these two viewpoints is correct. Both may be justified in their postulates. So, we cannot know whether matter and things were created or not.

Close your eyes and try to imagine the void, and then open them to behold the trees, seas, heavens, your own image reflected in the mirror, the food put ready for your consumption, and the works of art positioned everywhere.

How could all these glorious things have emerged all by themselves from the dark and from one single point in the void? For intelligent minds, the creation unfolds itself not only in vivid artistic view but also in mathematical terms. The velocity of expansion of the universe is of such a critical point that if it had been different at the primeval explosion less than 1/1018, the universe would have collapsed sinking unto itself and never coming into being as it is.

Likewise, had the quantity of matter been less than it is actually, the universe would have scattered around, rendering the formation of the celestial bodies. Not only is the force applied in the disintegration of the initial composition at the moment of creation incommensurably great, but the design behind it is infinitely ingenious.

Thus, everything was perfectly designed by our Creator to make the existence of the universe possible. All these events are meant to show the infinite power of our Creator to those who are blindfolded and prove that He perfectly designed everything to the most infinitesimal detail.

Through these phenomena lucidly appeared another fact: Impossibility does not exist in the vocabulary of the Creator; it suffices Him to wish that something comes about and there it just comes about. He, the Almighty, says in the Qur'an,

(When He has decreed a matter, He only says to it, Be, and it is.) (Aal `Imran 3:47)


La ilaha ill-Allah, Muhammadur Rasulullah
No Guest-Voting   IP IP Logged
a well wisher  
Admin Group
Admin Group
Avatar
Religion: Islam(Muslim)
Posts: 8391
Forum Rating: 0
Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote a well wisher Replybullet Posted: 06 April 2010 at 9:07am

Refinement of the Soul


In Surat Ash-Shams, Allah swears by the nafs [here translated "soul" but better understood as "self" ] saying [By the soul [nafs] and He Who proportioned it, and inspired it its wickedness and its righteousness; he has succeeded who purifies it, and he has failed who instills it (with corruption)]. (Ash-Shams: 7-9).

The above Qur'anic verses signify the following:

Allah swears by the nafs, and this is an indication of the serious role that the nafs plays in the life of man. According to the verses, Allah has created the nafs and inspired it with what is right and what is wrong. This means that every nafs could know what is right and what is wrong. Every nafs could drive and lead man to the truth if it is good and purified.

The nafs is of three kinds:

Ammarah or evil-inciting, which is prone to evil, and, if not checked and controlled, will lead to perdition. This kind of nafs in stated in Surat Yusuf: [Yet, I do not absolve myself (of blame): it (human) soul [nafs] certainly incites evil, unless my Lord do bestow His mercy: but surely my Lord is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful] (Yusuf: 53)

Lawwamah or self-reproaching, which is conscious of evil and resists it, asks for Allah's grace and pardon after repentance, and tries to amend. It hopes to reach salvation. This kind of nafs is stated in Surat Al-Qiyamah, where Allah says:[I do swear by the Resurrection Day, and I do swear by the self-reproaching soul [nafs]](Al-Qiyamah: 1-2).

Mutma'inah or reassured. This is the highest kind ofnafs, which achieves full rest and satisfaction. This is referred to in Surat Al-Fajr: [O reassured soul [nafs], return to your Lord, well-pleased and pleasing (to Him), and enter among My servants and enter My paradise] (Al-Fajr: 27-30).

[He has succeeded who purifies it] This verse guides the Muslims to the way of success both in this world and the world to come. Success depends on purification of the nafs. The important question, then, is how can a Muslim purify and refine his or her nafs in order to succeed?

Tazkiyat an-nafs (purification of the nafs) is the basis for development and improvement of the personality. It is a long, proactive, and uphill task. It is not an easy esoteric rite or overnight formula.

Misunderstanding of tazkiyah manifests when people look for quick methods of becoming better. Some may visit graves of the righteous; some may repeat certain supplications a given number of times. Yet others subject themselves to physical suffering in the hope that this will lead to spiritual purity. All of these are forms of escapism from facing the real challenges of tazkiyah.

[And he has failed who instills it (with corruption).] The last point to be reflected on is the causes of failure both in this world and in the Hereafter. The corruption of one's self (nafs) is the result of following the ways of Satan, violating the rules of Shari`ah, and following vain desires.

Tazkiyah Is by Allah

[Allah purifies whom He wants] (An-Nisaa': 49). All human effort towards tazkiyah should always be accompanied by supplication for Allah's support, without which human effort will bear no fruit. On the other hand, it is wrong for a human to make no effort and passively expect Allah's help. Humans must play their role before expecting Allah's help.

Human Efforts Toward Tazkiyah

The human can do a lot to refine the nafs. The Qur'an talks about humans who purified themselves and about human efforts toward refinement (Fatir:18). Humans have been described by the Qur'an as clean (Maryam:19). Some human self-refinement (tazkiyah) involves maintaining correct and firm `aqeedah (belief), observing the acts of worship, avoiding the forbidden, reflecting on the creation, developing a good character and good behavior, and avoiding bad behavior.

http://www.islamonline.net/servlet/Satellite?c=Article_C&cid=1158658466909&pagename=Zone-English-Living_Shariah%2FLSELayout



Edited by a well wisher - 06 April 2010 at 9:29am
La ilaha ill-Allah, Muhammadur Rasulullah
No Guest-Voting   IP IP Logged
a well wisher  
Admin Group
Admin Group
Avatar
Religion: Islam(Muslim)
Posts: 8391
Forum Rating: 0
Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote a well wisher Replybullet Posted: 07 April 2010 at 4:10pm

You alone do we worship. (Fatiha 1:5)

In this phrase, the object pronoun "You alone" (iyyaka) is placed before the predicate. This implies a very subtle point: "O God, we wholeheartedly proclaim, acknowledge, and confess that it is only You, and none but You that we turn to, bow before, and seek comfort in. We believe that by Your side alone we can attain serenity and peace." Another point to note here is the tense; instead of abada, which is the past tense, in this verse God uses na'budu, the same root in the present. In the past, abada connotes "we did, we made, we performed, etc." Such a tone, however, would in a way be contrary to the nature of worship, for it sounds like an accomplishment, which implies pride, as if the worshipper fulfilled something all by himself or herself.

The present tense form of na'budu implies that the task is not yet finished, which renders such a misinterpretation impossible. Meaning "we worship," na'budu refers to the intention and determination to acknowledge the eternal impotence and poverty of humankind before His Presence. This can also be paraphrased as follows, "O Lord! I am determined that I will not sacrifice my freedom to anyone but You and I will not fall in humiliation before anyone or anything. I turn to You fully intent on servanthood and worship; my eyes are fixed upon You and no other. I am filled with a desire for submission and prayer. Resolute to distance myself from anything other than You, I wish to always stand opposed to all that You do not like or want. My intention is my greatest worship; I hope that You will accept my intention as my worship. I plead for Your favor, not in proportion to the number of things that I have done, but to those I have intended to do."

In this phrase, na'budu, "we worship," also emphasizes that the worshipper is not alone with such thoughts. Hoping that all others are thinking in the same vein, the worshipper proclaims, "In making this request, I am in full concord with all my fellow worshippers." Through such an indisputable alliance, the worshipper is empowered with confirmation and testimony, and thus he or she turns to the presence of the Almighty Lord Who meets all needs.

Fethullah Gulen

La ilaha ill-Allah, Muhammadur Rasulullah
No Guest-Voting   IP IP Logged
a well wisher  
Admin Group
Admin Group
Avatar
Religion: Islam(Muslim)
Posts: 8391
Forum Rating: 0
Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote a well wisher Replybullet Posted: 08 April 2010 at 2:59pm
 
 
Allah says: “O humankind! Remember Allah's grace toward you! Is there any creator besides Allah who provides for you from the heavens and the Earth? There is no God save Him. How then are you turned away?” [Sūrah Fātir: 3]
 
Allah also tells us: “Say: ‘Who gives you sustenance from the heavens and the Earth?’ Say: ‘It is Allah.’” [Sūrah Saba`: 24]

All sustenance is provided by Allah alone.

This does not contradict with the fact that we have to work for a living or that we see practical means for getting the things we need and want. The various causes and means that we observe in the world around us for acquiring our sustenance, they are all from Allah. It is Allah who imbues them with value and benefit. He is the one who provides food with the taste and nutrition it has, He is the one who invests goods with their useful qualities. He makes the worldly means of sustenance effective and easily attainable. As for our human efforts, Allah has made our strivings the vehicles by which He brings to us the sustenance He has ordained for us.

We must therefore rely on Allah who created us and created the means that we employ to earn our livelihoods. If Allah chooses to withhold His sustenance from us, then no one but Him has the power to provide for us.

Allah says: “Who is it that will give you sustenance if He should withhold His sustenance? Nay, but they are set in pride and frowardness.” [Sūrah al-Mulk: 21]

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) used to beseech his Lord with the supplication: “O Allah! There is no one to prevent what You choose to give, and no one to give what You choose to withhold. And no one’s efforts will avail them against Your will.” [Sahīh al-Bukhārī (844, 633) and Sahīh Muslim (477, 593)]

Our wealth and our worldly strivings do not bring us true benefit. Rather, it is our good deeds that benefit us. It is Allah who gives and who withholds and He manages all the world’s affairs, great and small. If Allah chooses to close a way for us, no one can open it. If he chooses to keep that way open for us, no one can place a hindrance in our path.

All the same, people should take practical steps to reach their goals. They should employ worldly means and work together with other people in productive ways. They should work hard and employ their minds to realize what they want to achieve. These worldly means are also part of what Allah provides for us. He puts them at our disposal and gives us the ability to benefit from them.

What matters is that we do not put our faith in these worldly means, but place our trust in Allah. We should always make an effort to strengthen our relationship with Allah in everything that we do by remaining conscious of the fact that Allah is our true provider, and that He is the true possessor of all things. Indeed, even our hearts and our minds belong to Him.

Consider how Allah provides for the fetus in the womb by way of the umbilical cord. Likewise, he provides for the snake in its den, the bird in its nest, and the fish in the sea. Consider how he provides for the crocodile which brings down large animals with its powerful jaws, and then think how He provides for the small bird which He enables to enter the crocodile’s mouth and pick food from between its teeth while the crocodile sits complacently. It is Allah who brings about this amazing relationship between the mighty crocodile and that fragile bird, and it is He who provides for the bird in this way.

There is a lesson in these things for all of us. Though we should work and take all the practical steps required to ear our livelihood, we should rest assured that our provisions are ordained for us. No one can begrudge us what Allah has decreed for us. No amount of worry can bring us what is not meant for us. Everything comes from Allah.
 
La ilaha ill-Allah, Muhammadur Rasulullah
No Guest-Voting   IP IP Logged
a well wisher  
Admin Group
Admin Group
Avatar
Religion: Islam(Muslim)
Posts: 8391
Forum Rating: 0
Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote a well wisher Replybullet Posted: 09 April 2010 at 3:01pm

Three Principles
Al-Nahl (The Bee) Sura 16: Verse 90 (partial)

"Surely Allah enjoins justice, kindness and the doing of good, to kith and kin."

This directive which has been so succinctly expressed enjoins on people three principles which provide the basis for the sound ordering of human society:

1. The first and foremost principle is 'justice' which comprises two independent truths. One, that there be balance and right proportion among human beings in respect of their rights. Two, that every person be granted his rights without any distinction. What justice really demands is balance and right proportion rather than absolute equality. For instance, it would be sheer injustice if we were to grant children equal rights with their parents, or to equally compensate those who work hard and well and those who do not. Justice requires that the moral, social, economic, legal, political and cultural rights to which a person is entitled should be granted to him or her with sincerity.

2. The second principle is benevolence which broadly embraces all such good acts as politeness, generosity, sympathy, tolerance, courtesy, forbearance, mutual accommodation, mutual consideration, giving to others more than what is their due, and being content for oneself with a little less than what one is entitled to. If justice is the foundation on which the structure of a society should rest, then benevolence represents the beauty and perfection of that structure. Justice wards off the bitterness of discord and disharmony from human life. Benevolence adds to it the elements of pleasure and sweetness.

3. The third principle enunciated in this verse is liberality to kith and kin. This is a corollary of the former principle - 'benevolence' - when it is applied to one's relatives. This consists not only of sharing one's joys and sorrows with one's kin, and in helping and supporting the fulfilment of their legitimate desires within permissible limits. But also that one should recognize that one's wealth ought not to be spent exclusively on oneself and one's immediate family. Other members of the family also have a share in it.

"Towards Understanding The Quran" - Sayyid Abul Ala Mawdudi


Edited by a well wisher - 09 April 2010 at 3:02pm
La ilaha ill-Allah, Muhammadur Rasulullah
No Guest-Voting   IP IP Logged
a well wisher  
Admin Group
Admin Group
Avatar
Religion: Islam(Muslim)
Posts: 8391
Forum Rating: 0
Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote a well wisher Replybullet Posted: 10 April 2010 at 6:40pm

Dignity of free will
Al-Shuara (The Poets) Sura 26: Verse 4

 
 
 
 
"If We will, We can send down a (compelling) sign on them from heaven, so that they are forced to bow their necks before it (in humility)."

If God willed, He could, for example, write His Name on the surface of the heavens with stars or, as He caused Mount Sinai to tower above the Children of Israel to compel them to keep their covenant, He could compel people to believe in some way. However, the signs he provides in creation and the lives of humankind, as well as through the Prophets, are perfectly sufficient for one who is not overcome by arrogance, wrongdoing, misjudgement, and carnal desires; if God were to provide a more obvious sign, this would mean negating human free will and nullifying the purpose of the tests we are put through.

God has endowed human beings with distinguishing faculties and honoured us with free will. He has also created us with a disposition to believe and worship. Moreover, just as the whole universe and our physical composition provide multiple signs for Existence and Unity of God, each human being has many experiences throughout their life that also give certainty to their conscience about this same, cardinal truth. In addition, God sent numerous Prophets throughout history, the character and life of whom, along with the many miracles God created at their hands, were an undeniable sign for the truth of the Message from God. In short, God opens all the doors to faith for human reason and conscience. However, He never compels human beings to believe, because this would be in contradiction to the dignity of free will.

Unbelief arises not from there being a lack of sufficient signs, but rather from human arrogance, wrongdoing, misjudgement, an attachment to the world and worldly benefits, or carnal desires. This is clear in the history of many peoples who refused to believe, even when the miracle they asked their Prophet to perform had been shown to them.

"The Qur'an: Annotated Interpretation in Modern English" - Ali Unal
La ilaha ill-Allah, Muhammadur Rasulullah
No Guest-Voting   IP IP Logged
a well wisher  
Admin Group
Admin Group
Avatar
Religion: Islam(Muslim)
Posts: 8391
Forum Rating: 0
Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote a well wisher Replybullet Posted: 11 April 2010 at 2:06pm

Al-Rad (Thunder)
Chapter 13: Verse 17 (partial)  (The Lasting Nature of Good)

"Scum disappears like froth cast out; while that which is for the good of mankind remains on earth. Thus does Allah set fort parables."

The above verse underscores the workings of the universe. We learn from both the Quran and history that whatever is good has an enduring quality. This is an altogether different notion from the survival of the fittest that has gained much popularity in our times.

The Nature of Scum

Whatever is not good or positive or useful and which does not contribute to man's survival or comfort or progress is branded as "scum" by the Quran. As a comprehensive, wide-ranging term this refers to something which is devoid of substance. It lacks stability and constancy. At most, it signifies a sudden, powerful movement which does not have any permanent form. Scum appears at the top, comprising dirt and impurity. It is not of any benefit for mankind. Either it disappears while floating on the top or is relegated to the sides. In either case it does not last. It does not have the capacity for survival.

Allah's law entails that evil or scum cannot flourish for long. Were scum to last, it would pose a danger to the existence of all creatures in the world. By contrast to it is that which benefits mankind and that which lasts on earth.Allah has guaranteed the presence and existence of those who are valuable for the cause of true faith.


"Guidance from the Holy Quran" - Sayyid Abul Hassan Ali Nadwi



Edited by a well wisher - 11 April 2010 at 2:07pm
La ilaha ill-Allah, Muhammadur Rasulullah
No Guest-Voting   IP IP Logged
<< Prev Page  of 20 Next >>
Post Reply Post New Topic
Printable version Printable version

Forum Jump
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot create polls in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum

Bulletin Board Software by Web Wiz Forums version 8.03
Copyright ©2001-2006 Web Wiz Guide
Disclaimer
The opinions expressed by members of the Whyislam Forum do not necessarily reflect the beliefs of the Whyislam Team, or any of its subsidiaries, or parent organizations.