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Today's Reminder

June 04, 2020 | Shawwal 12, 1441

Living The Quran

The Longing
Ibrahim (Abraham) - Chapter 14: Verse 39 (partial)

"... surely my Lord hears all prayers."

Abraham's long and humble supplication in this surah (verses 35-41), which also mentions a number of God's blessings and expresses gratitude and thanks for them, employing a fine musical rhythm, imparts an air of gentle tenderness and care which makes people's hearts long to be with God, and remember His grace and blessings. Abraham, the father of a long line of prophets, is seen as a pious servant who does not forget His Lord's grace, or his duty to be thankful for it. He is given as an example to be followed by God's servants who truly believe in Him, for, just before relating Abraham's supplication, the surah addressed them.

We note how Abraham repeats several times the addressing phrase, "My Lord" or "Our Lord". This repeated acknowledgement of God's Lordship over him and his offspring is significant. He does not mention God by His attributes of Godhead, but instead by His Lordship. Godhead has rarely been subject to controversy in societies. Nor was it so in the ignorant society of Arabia at the advent of Islam. What people have always argued about is the Lordship of God, and the need to submit to Him in everyday life on earth.

The Quran relates Abraham's supplication to the Arab idolaters, emphasizing his acknowledgement of God's Lordship to draw their attention to the fact that their own way of life was in complete contrast with what this supplication truly signifies.

Compiled From:
"In The Shade of The Quran" - Sayyid Qutb, Vol. 10, pp. 281-285

From Issue: 686 [Read original issue]

Understanding The Prophet's Life

Hypothetical Matters

Prophet (peace be upon him) disliked being questioned about all hypothetical matters. In a Tradition narrated by Bukhari on the authority of Saad ibn Abi Waqqas, the Prophet is reported to have said: "The most sinful person among the Muslims is the one who asked about something which had not been prohibited, but was prohibited because of his asking." [Bukhari]

Reported by Abu Thalabah al-Khushani that the Prophet said: "God has set boundaries, so do not transgress them; He kept silent on certain things out of mercy for you rather than forgetfulness, do not ask about them." [Daraqutni] Thus, Ibn Abbas said: "I have not seen better than Muhammad's Companions, they only asked him fifteen questions, all of which are [mentioned] in the Quran." [Qurtubi]

Compiled From:
"Treatise on Maqasid Al-Shariah" - Ibn Ashur, pp. 218, 219

From Issue: 952 [Read original issue]

Blindspot!

Conscience and Consistency

Defending one's principles, exercising a duty of conscience or consistency, and asserting one's independence in the face of all blind loyalties (be they ideological, religious or nationalist) certainly demands an ethics, but it also takes willpower and courage. We have to face the criticisms from within, from men and women who regard this attitude as an act of desertion or betrayal that plays into the hands of the 'other' or the 'enemy'.

In the new fictitious relationships between 'civilizations' that are 'clashing', emotions run high and blindness runs deep: Jews who denounce Israeli policies or the silence of their co-religionists, Muslims who denounce the attitudes of countries with a Muslim majority or the behaviour of certain extremists and the Americans and Europeans who denounce the inconsistencies and lies of Western politicians are seen as men and women who, respectively, nurture self-hatred, act against the interests of the umma or have a guilt complex and outdated 'leftist' ideals that lead them to declare their guilt endlessly, and dangerously. The virulence of rejection from within, by one's own community of affiliation, is proportional to its lack of self-confidence and sense of insecurity: a critical attitude is seen as a betrayal from within, and as marking the emergence of a 'fifth column' that is working and plotting on behalf of the 'enemy'. When we are faced with this fear and hyper-emotionalism, it is difficult to argue rationally that this independence is based on a rational ethics, and that it is not a matter of 'playing into the other's hands', but of 'being reconciled with oneself' and one's ideals. It is a matter of conscience and dignity.

Compiled From:
"The Quest for Meaning" - Tariq Ramadan, p. 107

From Issue: 777 [Read original issue]