December 16, 2019 | Rabiʻ II 18, 1441
Al-Ankabut (The Spider)
Chapter 29: Verse 45
If we look deep into our daily lives and diagnose the causes of our spiritual, social and psychological illnesses, we will realize that probably something as uplifting, revolutionary, and empowering as Salah is missing.
If we realize the potential role of Prayer in changing our lives and as a constant source of hope, we would regret missing even a single Salah.
Today we have indeed come to treat the Prayer (Salah) as something insignificant in our lives. Very often we hear our elders say, "I will start praying when the time comes." Others, specially the younger Muslims, do not find much comfort, and joy in their Prayers. Due to our treatment of Prayer as a burden, our love and passion for the Prayer has vanished. Our hearts have become hardened, and we have become a depressed and defeated people. As a result, many are searching for 'cures and remedies' to the distress in our lives, through any means available, but are unable to find any because they have ignored the greatest medicine - Salah!
Remember, Salah is an obligation. Whether your heart is attentive or not, it must be performed. You cannot give up Prayer because to you it appears useless. There is punishment for a Prayer not performed. It will be a witness against you rather than a witness for you on the Day of Judgment. Don't give up the obligation but try to infuse it with the purpose it seeks to serve - remembrance of Allah.
"Salah: The State of Mind" - Young Muslims Publications
From Issue: 493 [Read original issue]
The Path of Reform
"Undoubtedly, within the body is a piece of flesh which, when it is in good condition (salaha), the whole body is also healthy and robust (salaha); but when it is degenerated (fasada), the whole body decays. Verily, that (part of the body) is the qalb (heart)." [Bukhari]
It is apparent from the words of the hadith, the Prophet (peace be upon him) was indeed referring to the piece of flesh in the shape of the heart inside our bodies. However, his usage goes far beyond the biological meaning of the word "heart". The term qalb has a far wider meaning in the Quranic and hadith terminology. According to this understanding, our entire personality can be termed as the qalb.
When people converse amongst themselves, they normally argue based on their own personal observations and within the ambit of their own literary expression. Although science declares that the Earth revolves around the Sun, you will still say that the Sun has risen and the Sun has set. Nobody will say that the Earth has risen or the Earth has set. Likewise, the accepted idiom in our language is that my heart says so, or my heart desires such and such. This is the accepted norm for expression. Therefore, to understand its meaning, it is not necessary to determine where the biological hub of intellect lies, or what is the centre of the mind.
The human being commits sins because his qalb is not well and he errs. According to this hadith, the path of islah (reformation) is the qalb. If the qalb is rectified, the other parts of the man's body will also function properly. It will bring forth the strength to obey the shariah leading to the islah (reformation) of one's entire life. And if the qalb is in discord, then the other parts of the body will also commit wrong acts. In such a case, shariah will remain only a written law, which will not be followed; and humanity will enter into a state of disarray and discord.
This hadith addresses another important point. Amongst Muslims, we are constantly faced with the ongoing debate between shariah (rule of law) and tariqah (the Sufi path), and between the zahir (apparent) and batin (hidden). Many people consider the domains of shariah and tariqah to be different. The Prophet has combined the two into one concept through the similitude of the human body (jasad), and he has demonstrated the unity in thought. The contrasts may be perceived between the qalb and the shariah, the inner private life or the outwardly explicit one. Just as one cannot imagine the qalb without the human body, how is it possible to conceive the association of a person's character, soul (ruh) and qalb with Allah without the establishment of salat (prayers), zakat (poor due) and fasting or without the strict observance of halal and haram? Likewise, one cannot imagine the existence of the body without the qalb. The two are portions of the same entity — belonging to the same whole and being parts of the same unity. The coupling between the two is inseparable and tied. It is not possible to distinguish between them.
"A Righteous Heart: The Axis of One's Deeds" - Khurram Murad
From Issue: 1009 [Read original issue]
Intimacy and Commitment
With roughly 7 trillion cells working in concert, your body is an extraordinary thing that should be respected, not a merry-go-round on which everyone gets a ride. It doesn't make sense to share the most intimate parts of yourselves until you are fully committed to each other. Intimacy without commitment is like getting something for nothing; it goes against a basic principle. What is a committed relationship? A marriage is the best form I know. With a marriage, you get a legal document, a public celebration, a ring, a recognized union, and a deep promise to love each other through health and sickness.
What about a high school relationship where you're truly in love? Does that count as committed? Not really. There is no legal agreement, no celebration over your union, no shared rent payment. You aren't doing the dishes, cleaning the laundry, or paying the bills together. You break up, move, go to college, start liking someone else, and so on.
Everyone disagrees with what the terms hooking up or friends with benefits really mean, but basically they are nothing more than no-strings-attached s e x ual encounters of some type. In reality, it's just a way to use each other's bodies for pleasures without any expections or commitment - fast, easy and unfulfilling.
"The 6 Most Important Decisions You'll Ever Make" - Sean Covey, p. 210
From Issue: 782 [Read original issue]