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Today's Reminder

May 25, 2024 | Dhuʻl-Qiʻdah 17, 1445

Living The Quran

The Forbidden Tree
Al-Baqara (The Cow) - Chapter 2: Verse 35

"And we said: 'O Adam, you and your wife, both dwell in the Garden and eat freely thereof whatever you may wish but do not go near this tree, otherwise you shall become wrong-doers.'"

This tree was a trial of abstinence. Since will and determination cannot be ascertained until one has proved the practise of abstinence, will and determination are the only distinction between human and animals.

When Adam, peace be upon him, made the mistake of approaching the forbidden tree, Allah made the decision to have him and Eve, peace be upon her, thrown out of Paradise and sent down to earth. Actually it was planned that the struggle between right and wrong should be carried out on earth.

As Adam was created for life on earth, why was this scene enacted in Paradise? This experience in heaven was a kind of preparation for Adam so that he knew how to use the faculties bestowed upon him. It was done to make Adam alert to temptation, become acquainted with error, and learn to ask for Allah's forgiveness. Temptation by Satan, the realisation of mistakes, asking for forgiveness and the acceptance of forgiveness by Allah is the cycle that every human being has to face in this world. This story then is a reminder to the whole of mankind.

Compiled From:
"Words That Moved the World" - Qazi Ashfaq Ahmad, pp. 76-80

From Issue: 617 [Read original issue]

Understanding The Prophet's Life

Soul Friends

Aishah reports that the Prophet said: "Souls are like soldiers standing in ranks: those of them with similar qualities will be friends, and those which are dissimilar in their qualities will be in conflict". [Bukhari]

This hadith has several versions with different chains of transmission, all of which are authentic. This makes it highly authentic. One version which throws some light on its meaning mentions that a Makkan woman who was known to have a sense of humour and to love to play tricks travelled to Madinah where she was a guest of a woman of similar qualities. When Aishah heard of this, she said: 'My beloved husband always told the truth... [and she quoted this hadith]'.

What this hadith means is that God created souls and gave them their qualities. Those of similar qualities will easily be friends when they meet in this life, while those who have different natures are likely to be in conflict. This accounts for endless cases of people getting along together when their apparent circumstances should have kept them well apart. Moreover, it tells us something about what brings good people together and what allows evil ones to flock together and even trust each other when they know that they are evil at heart.

Compiled From:
"Al-Adab al-Mufrad with Full Commentary: A Perfect Code of Manners and Morality" - Adil Salahi

From Issue: 1037 [Read original issue]

Blindspot!

Participation

We are not born spectators, here or elsewhere. Wherever they may be, those who "carry the faith and do good" are participants. Yet to be a participant one must first understand the environment, evaluate equilibriums, determine priorities, measure constraints. Somewhere between the fear of becoming lost and the necessity to reform, lies the path that will allow for true promotion of good, and resistance to what is unjust and bad.

In Europe, this does not mean to be integrated, accepted, appreciated, or even liked; the first foundation of our being and our identity with respect to our environment is to be respected, no more and no less, especially no less. We must also hope for and promote sincere recognition, friendship, and mutual affection. This is the first requirement and it determines all of the rest.

One must therefore begin by being respected: for all that, it may happen that we are not respected because we do not know how to be or, even worse, because we are not very respectable. Our participation begins here: recognition for who we are, citizens or residents, Muslims, clear about ourselves, certain of our identity and our rights.

Emanating from this prerequisite is our participation in society, education, economics, politics, academia, and culture. Our presence and contributions in everyday life are important in every area within a framework of active citizenship and in the light of an ethical consciousness: alongside people of goodwill we [must] reform our present, build our future, revisit our past, and our memories. Our presence consists of promoting all of this and it is no small task.

Compiled From:
"Western Muslims: From Integration to Contribution" - Tariq Ramadan

From Issue: 943 [Read original issue]