November 17, 2019 | Rabiʻ I 19, 1441
Al Rum (The Romans) - Chapter 30: Verse 22
In this verse two signs are mentioned: the creation of the heavens and the earth and the diversity of mankind's tongues and colours. These signs, on the one hand, point towards the possibility and occurrence of the life Hereafter. On the other, the same Signs also underscore that this universe is under One God alone, the Creator, Master and Ruler. Thus the two beliefs, Resurrection (Akhirah) and the Oneness of God (Tawhid) are intertwined.
When one reflects on the origin of the initial energy that assumed the form of matter with its combination of elements to create an awe-inspiring universal system and then further reflects on the functioning of this system for many millions of years with its precise regularity and discipline, one can only conclude that this could not have happened by mere chance, that it is the work of the All-Embracing Will and Command of the All-Knowing, All-Wise Creator.
Attention is drawn here to only two aspects of diversity, namely, speech and colour, but if one looks around, one will find countless different species of man, animal, plant and the like. Even two leaves of a tree are not exactly alike. Anyone who observes this wonderful phenomenon with open eyes can only conclude that the Maker of the universe is ever-engaged in His creative and sustaining activity.
"Words That Moved the World" - Qazi Ashfaq Ahmad, pp. 68, 69
From Issue: 677 [Read original issue]
"If someone gives in charity the equivalent of a date from his lawful and good earnings - and Allah only accepts what is lawful and good - Allah will take it in His right hand and raise it for its giver, in the same way that one of you raises his small colt, until it becomes similar to a mountain." (Bukhari)
This hadith demonstrates how pleased Allah is with a person's sadaqa. It also demonstrates that the amount that is given does not have to be large. A person may not have much that he can give in charity. However, that does not matter. He should still be willing to give in charity for there will be a great reward for him, Allah willing. Indeed, the little that he is able to give in charity may be enough to protect him from the Hell-fire. The Prophet, peace be upon him, advised his Companions and all Muslims by saying, "Protect yourselves from the Fire, even if by just half a date [given in charity]." (Bukhari, Muslim)
In fact, depending upon a person's situation and his desire to please Allah by giving charity, a small amount of charity may be rewarded in a greater fashion than a large amount of charity.
"Commentary on the Forty Hadith of al-Nawawi" - Jamaal al-Din M. Zarabozo, p. 887
From Issue: 674 [Read original issue]
Wealth and Consumption
The month of Ramadan ought to be a school enabling the Muslim conscience to return to what is essential in the message, its objectives, and the questionings necessary to grasp higher goals. For a month, believers take a break from their usual lives to return to meaning and essentials, breaking with their habits of consumption, the rhythms of everyday life, and the deep-seated ideas about competing to acquire and possess material things. Beyond the act of worship and its spiritual dimension, the fundamental teaching of this exercise consists of understanding that the way we relate to wealth and consumption should be questioned in the light of the goals human beings set for themselves.
The ethical goals of fasting, clearly stated in the texts or put together by inference, requires us to question our choices in life, development, and individual and collective growth. Yet, an appalling perversion can be observed: this month, which ought to "produce meaning," has been taken over - like so many ecological and humanitarian projects - by the logic of an imperialistic economy based on growth and productivity. Rather than being a month for awareness of goals by questioning development models and consumerist ways of life, that month, and its nights in particular, turn into an increasingly neglectful fair encouraging consumption, even in poorer societies. This is deep, almost complete alienation. The point was to consume less, to consume better in terms of conscience and quality, and we end up consuming less during the day to consume without moderation and with total abandon at night. This is yet another example of formalist perversion: norm and form are maintained while the religious practice's ethical goals are lost.
"Radical Reform: Islamic Ethics and Liberation" - Tariq Ramadan, p. 239
From Issue: 745 [Read original issue]