Today's Reminder

July 15, 2020 | Dhuʻl-Qiʻdah 24, 1441

Living The Quran

Al-Baqarah (The Cow) Sura 2: Verse 65

"And you are well aware of those amongst you who violated the Divine law in the matter of the Sabbath, so We said to them: 'Be you apes despicable.'"

This is a punishment that they incurred as a result of their violation of the sanctity of Sabbath in blind pursuit of their desires. The scholars differ concerning the nature of their transformation into apes, and whether it was merely mental or had any bearing on their spiritual condition. In our view, this difference is of little real significance.

Where the human being and animals really differ is in the ability to reason and to make conscious moral decisions of their free volition. The true distinguishing feature of the human being is his ability to discriminate between what is permissible and what is not, his ability to restrain and control his desires and emotions and his ability to act within the prescribed moral limits, in order to satisfy his legitimate physical needs. As against this, an animal is not bound by any moral or legal rules. It knows no limits when pursuing its sensual gratification. It is driven by pure animal instincts and no moral considerations come into the equation. That is why, when a person or a group of persons is unconcerned with moral questions or rules of behaviour and their sole purpose is the gratification of their desires, howsoever possible, the line between the human being and an ape becomes blurred. In such a condition, there is no substantial difference between the two, the human and the animal, excepting a small difference in their physical appearances. As their moral and mental degeneration hits the bottom, even this seemingly slight physical difference between them also vanishes.

Compiled From:
"Pondering Over The Qur'an: Surah al-Fatiha and Surah al-Baqarah" - Amin Ahsan Islahi

From Issue: 938 [Read original issue]

Understanding The Prophet's Life

Edicts and Judgements

[continued from issue 909]

2. Issuing Edicts (fatwa)

The capacity of issuing edicts has signs such as the report mentioned in Muwatta and the authentic collections of Bukhari and Muslim on the authority of Abd Allah ibn Amr and Ibn Abbas that, during the farewell pilgrimage, the Prophet (peace be upon him) stopped for people at Mina, and they asked him about different matters, while he was still mounted on his she-camel. A man came and said to him: "I sacrificed before throwing the stones." He advised: "Throw, and don't worry." Then another came and said: "I shaved before sacrificing", and the Prophet answered him: "Sacrifice, and don't worry." He was not asked about anything that one would, out of ignorance or forgetfulness, do after or before without his saying, "Do it, and don't worry."

3. Adjudication (qada)

The capacity of judgeship refers to what emanates from the Prophet when settling disputes between people. Any action of the Prophet performed without the presence of adversaries is not classified as an instance of judgeship. One of the indicators of the capacity of judgeship is the explicit statement of the adversary: "judge between us" or the Prophet's statement: "I will certainly judge between you." An example of this is the report mentioned in Muwatta from Zayd ibn Khalid al-Juhani, who said:

A Bedouin who came to the Prophet with his adversary said: "O Messenger of God, judge between us by the Book of God." His adversary, who was wiser than he, said: "Yes, Messenger of God, judge between us by the Book of God, and allow me to speak." Then, each one of them made his case. God's Messenger said: "I will assuredly judge between you according to what God has revealed in His Book..."

..... [to be continued]

Compiled From:
"Treatise on Maqasid Al-Shariah" - Ibn Ashur, pp. 35, 36

From Issue: 910 [Read original issue]


Hagar-like Deeds

To the west of the Kabah is an addition, changing its shape and giving a direction to it. A short, arched wall facing the Kabah. The hijr of Ishmael! Hijr? What does that mean? Skirt! And it actually resembles a skirt. The skirt of a dress, the dress of a woman! Yea. An Ethiopian woman. A slave! A black slave. A Woman who in human systems lacked every dignity, every honour, and then God united the mystery of her skirt with the mystery of His existence. This is the skirt of Hagar's dress! The skirt which nourished Ishmael.

The God of monotheism, seated alone upon His Omnipotent Throne, rejecting all galaxies behind Him, beyond everything which exists, He is Alone, and, in His heavenly kingdom, Unique. But it seems as if from among all His creatures, in His infinite Creation, He selected one. The noblest of His creatures, the human being. And among all? A woman. And among all? A black woman. And among all? A black slave woman. And among all? A black female slave of a woman.

Hijrah or migration, the greatest deed, the greatest command is derived from the word hajar. And muhajir or emigrant/immigrant, the greatest divine-like human being, a Hagar-like person. And what is migration? A Hagar-like deed. In Islam, it is to go from savageness towards civilization and this journey means to move from disbelief (kufr) to Islam because tarub bad al-hijrat, in the language of the people, means savagery after becoming civilized. Thus, kufr means savagery and religion means civilization. And hjr, and Ethiopian word, means town or city in the language of Hagar and Hagar, a black African, Ethiopian slave woman. The manifestation of a pre-civilization human being and yet, here, the root of civilization. Thus, a Hagar-like human being means a civilized one. A Hagar-like movement means the movement of humanity towards civilization.

Compiled From:
"Hajj: Reflection on its Rituals" - Ali Shariati

From Issue: 910 [Read original issue]