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Today's Reminder

October 21, 2020 | Rabiʻ I 4, 1442

Living The Quran

The Sculptor
Al-Waqiah (The Inevitable Event) Sura 56: Verses 58-59

"Have you seen the seed that you spill? Do you create it, or are We its creators?"

In this noble verse of the eternal, beginningless speech, the Presence of the Real makes manifest His power of creation over the world's folk so that they will know that the artisan without cause is He, the enactor without tool is He, the all-subjugating without cause is He, the all-forgiving without delay is He, the all-curtaining of every slip is He.

He is the Lord who created a subtle form from frail water and showed firm artisanry to a feeble sperm-drop. He set up many diverse paintings with "Be!", so it comes to be [2:117]: mutually similar limbs, opposites like unto each other, every limb adorned with one sort of beauty, not more than its limit, not less than its measure. To each He gave an attribute, and in each He placed a strength: senses in the brain, splendor on the forehead, beauty in the nose, sorcery in the eye, sauciness in the lips, comeliness in the cheek, perfect loveliness in the hair, envy in the liver, rancor in the spleen, appetite in the veins, faith in the heart, love in the secret core, recognition in the spirit. It is not apparent whether the artisanries in the natures are more beautiful, or if the governance of the form-giving is sweeter. What is this sculpture doing between subtle water and gross dust?! Since the Sculptor is one, how is it that there is this lowliness in individuals? So many marvels and wonders from a drop of water! The intelligent man gazes on His artisanry, but the heedless man is asleep.

Compiled From:
"Kashf al-Asrar wa Uddat al-Abrar" - Rashid al-Din Maybudi, p. 492

From Issue: 1055 [Read original issue]

Understanding The Prophet's Life

The Womb

The origin of man and ties of kinship are very important and every human has responsibilities toward those peole to whom he is related. The word for womb, rahim, itself is related to the word rahmah, meaning mercy. This is because people have mercy towards one another due to their relationships through the womb or blood relations. It is also related to Allah's name al-Rahman (the All-Merciful). In fact, a hadith of the Prophet (peace be upon him) states

"Verily, the womb (al-rahim) has taken its name from al-Rahman (the All-Merciful). Allah has said, 'Whoever keeps your ties, I shall keep his ties. Whoever cuts you off, I shall cut him off." [Bukhari]

Compiled From:
"Commentary on the Forty Hadith of al-Nawawi" - Jamaal al-Din M. Zarabozo, p. 397

From Issue: 628 [Read original issue]

Blindspot!

Summons to Action

The fundamental message of the Quran was not a doctrine but an ethical summons to practically expressed compassion: it is wrong to build a private fortune and good to share your wealth fairly and create a just society where poor and vulnerable people are treated with respect.

There was no question of a literal, simplistic reading of scripture. Every single image, statement, and verse in the Quran is called an ayah ("sign," "symbol," "parable"), because we can speak of God only analogically. The great ayat of the creation and the last judgment are not introduced to enforce "belief," but they are a summons to action. Muslims must translate these doctrines into practical behaviour. The ayah of the last day, when people will find that their wealth cannot save them, should make Muslims examine their conduct here and now: Are they behaving kindly and fairly to the needy? They must imitate the generosity of Allah, who created the wonders of this world so munificently and sustains it so benevolently. By looking after the poor compassionately, freeing their slaves, and performing small acts of kindness on a daily, hourly basis, Muslims would acquire a responsible, caring spirit, purging themselves of pride and selfishness. By modeling their behaviour on that of the Creator, they would achieve spiritual refinement.

Compiled From:
"The Case for God" - Karen Armstrong, pp. 99, 100

From Issue: 760 [Read original issue]