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Today's Reminder

July 05, 2022 | Dhuʻl-Hijjah 5, 1443

Living The Quran

Vision of God
Al-Araf (The Heights) Sura 7: Verse 143

"And when Moses came to Our appointed meeting and his Lord spoke unto him, he said, 'My Lord, show me, that I might look upon Thee.' He said, 'Thou shalt not see Me; but look upon the mountain: if it remains firm in its place, then thou wilt see Me.' And when his Lord manifested Himself to the mountain, He made it crumble to dust, and Moses fell down in a swoon. And when he recovered, he said, 'Glory be to Thee! I turn unto Thee in repentance, and I am the first of the believers.'"

Every one of man's faculties has its appropriate function which it delights to fulfill. This holds good of them all, from the lowest bodily appetite to the highest form of intellectual apprehension. But, even a comparatively low form of mental exertion affords greater pleasure than the satisfaction of bodily appetites. Thus, if a man happens to be absorbed in a game of chess, he will not come to his meal, though repeatedly summoned. And the higher the subject-matter of our knowledge, the greater is our delight in it; for instance, we would take more pleasure in knowing the secrets of a king than the secrets of a vizier. Seeing, then, that God is the highest possible object of knowledge, the knowledge of Him must afford more delight than any other.

But, the delight of knowledge still falls short of the delight of vision, just as our pleasure in thinking of those we love is much less than the pleasure afforded by the actual sight of them. Our imprisonment in bodies of clay and water, and entanglement in the things of sense constitute a veil which hides the Vision of God from us, although it does not prevent our attaining to some knowledge of Him. For this reason God said to Moses on Mount Sinai, "Thou shalt not see Me."

The truth of the matter is this that, just as the seed of man becomes a man, and a buried date stone becomes a palm tree, so the knowledge of God acquired on Earth will in the Next World change into the Vision of God, and he who has never learnt the knowledge will never have the Vision. This Vision will not be shared alike by all who know, but their discernment of it will vary exactly as their knowledge. God is one, but He will be seen in many different ways, just as one object is reflected in different ways by different mirrors, some showing it straight, and some distorted, some clearly and some dimly. A mirror may be so crooked as to make even a beautiful form appear misshapen, and a man may carry into the next world a heart so dark and distorted that the sight which will be a source of peace and joy to others will be to him a source of misery. He, in whose heart the love of God has prevailed over all else, will derive more joy from this vision than he in whose heart it has not so prevailed; just as in the case of two men with equally powerful eyesight, gazing on a beautiful face, he who already loves the possessor of that face will rejoice in beholding it more than he who does not.

Compiled From:
"Alchemy of Happiness" - Abu Hamid Al-Ghazali

From Issue: 959 [Read original issue]

Understanding The Prophet's Life

Rape

During the time of the Prophet (peace be upon him) punishment was inflicted on the rapist on the solitary evidence of the woman who was raped by him. Wa'il ibn Hujr reports of an incident when a woman was raped. Later, when some people came by, she identified and accused the man of raping her. They seized him and brought him to Allah's messenger, who said to the woman, "Go away, for Allah has forgiven you," but of the man who had raped her, he said, "Stone him to death." (Tirmidhi and Abu Dawud)

Islamic legal scholars interpret rape as a crime in the category of Hiraba. The famous jurist, Ibn Hazm, had the widest definition of hiraba, defining a hiraba offender as: ‘One who puts people in fear on the road, whether or not with a weapon, at night or day, in urban areas or in open spaces, in the palace of a caliph or a mosque, with or without accomplices, in the desert or in the village, in a large or small city, with one or more people… making people fear that they’ll be killed, or have money taken, or be raped (hatk al arad)… whether the attackers are one or many."

The Maliki judge Ibn Arabi, relates a story in which a group was attacked and a woman in their party was raped. Responding to the argument that the crime did not constitute hiraba because no money was taken and no weapons used, Ibn Arabi replied indignantly that "hiraba with the private parts" is much worse than hiraba involving the taking of money, and that anyone would rather be subjected to the latter than the former.

The crime of rape is classified not as a subcategory of ‘zina’ (consensual adultery), but rather as a separate crime of violence under hiraba. This classification is logical, as the "taking" is of the victim's property (the rape victim’s sexual autonomy) by force.

The focus in a hiraba prosecution is the accused rapist and his intent and physical actions, and not second-guessing the consent of the rape victim. Hiraba does not require four witnesses to prove the offense, circumstantial evidence, medical data and expert testimony form the evidence used to prosecute such crimes.

Islamic legal responses to rape are not limited to a criminal prosecution for hiraba. Islamic jurisprudence also provides an avenue for civil redress for a rape survivor in its law of "jirah" (wounds). Islamic law designates ownership rights to each part of one's body, and a right to corresponding compensation for any harm done unlawfully to any of those parts. Islamic law calls this the ‘law of jirah’ (wounds). Harm to a sexual organ, therefore, entitles the person harmed to appropriate financial compensation under classical Islamic jirah jurisprudence. Each school of Islamic law has held that where a woman is harmed through rape (some include marital rape), she is entitled to financial compensation for the harm. Further, the perpetrator must pay the woman an additional amount based on the ‘diyya’ (financial compensation for murder, akin to a wrongful death payment).

Compiled From:
"Rape & Incest: Islamic Perspective" - Uzma Mazhar

From Issue: 720 [Read original issue]

Blindspot!

Fixed Laws

Allah, Blessed and Elevated be His Name, has created highly fixed laws for the development and growth or weakening and decaying for all sorts of plants, animals and even non-living things. Nothing will flourish and develop without specific reasons that precede this, or decay and perish without causes that lead to this. These are the general laws of cause and effect that Allah has set to run our universe. They are confirmed by our everyday observations. These are unchanging laws that govern the life of animals and plants and the existence of inanimate things. For example, we will never see a well-built structure that suddenly collapses without observing agents that cause its walls to develop fissures and cracks or seeing persons who deliberately use tools to tear it down. Similarly, we cannot expect an oil lamp to abruptly be extinguished if all the essential constituents for its continued illumination are at hand. If it has a good wick and the correct amount of oil that does not flood it with abundance nor cause it to burst into flames due to its shortage, it must continue to give light unless someone extinguishes it by pouring water over the burning wick or it is extinguished by a sudden gust of air.

Likewise, the life of a healthy person is not expected to suddenly be terminated without an observable external or internal agent that causes its death. This, of course, does not exclude disease and the gradual decline caused by old age that naturally leads to demise. In using the analogy of the oil lamp, the wick stands for the human body, the oil for its nourishment, and the lamp with its light to life itself. The agents that extinguish the light of the wick are like the adverse surroundings that are being subjected to very high or very cold temperatures, beating, punching, knocking, wounding, or similar hazardous accidents. Accordingly, if the person leads a safe life that precludes such precarious incidents, consumes good nourishing food and drink, and takes part in other relevant activities that enhance his health, there would be no reason for him to accept any negative thoughts with regards to his sudden demise in the same way that no one should expect the light of an oil lamp to be extinguished, if there is no external agent that interferes to put out its flame. Such thoughts would no doubt be helpful to the one obsessed in counteracting negative self-talk concerning his health and supposed imminent death.

Compiled From:
"Abu Zayd al-Balkhi's Sustenance of the Soul: the Cognitive Behavior Therapy of a Ninth Century Physician" - Malik Badri, pp. 63, 64

From Issue: 980 [Read original issue]