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Today's Reminder

November 20, 2019 | Rabiʻ I 22, 1441

Living The Quran

Dreams
Yusuf (Joseph) Chapter 12: Verse 4

"Joseph said to his father: 'Father, I saw in a dream eleven stars, as well as the sun and the moon; and I saw them prostrate themselves before me."

As we continue to read the rest of this Sura we must inevitably believe that some dreams prophesize something that will happen in the near or distant future. Two reasons may be identified here: the first is that Joseph's, his two fellow prisoners' and the King of Egypt's dream all came true. Secondly, in our own lives we find that some dreams come true and this is frequent enough to make it impossible to deny the relationship.

So what is the nature of dreams then? The school of analytical and psychology considers them as the subconscious expression of suppressed desires. This accounts for some dreams, but not all of them especially the prophetic dreams.

First of all we have to say that whether we know dream's nature or not does not affect the fact that there are such dreams and that some of them are true. We are here only trying to understand certain aspects of man's nature, and some of the laws God has set in operation in the universe.

Time and place constitute barriers that prevent man from seeing what we call the past, the future or the whole of the present. The past and future are screened by a time factor, while the present that is not in our immediate vicinity is screened by a place factor. A sense which we do not know about in man's make-up may at times become alert or may at times have extra strength and go beyond the time factor to see vaguely what lies beyond it. This is not true knowledge, but rather a form of discerning, similar to what happens to some people while awake and to others while asleep, when they are able to go beyond the barriers of either time or place, or indeed both. We do not in fact know anything about the true nature of time, nor is the nature of place or matter known to us fully.

Compiled From:
"In The Shade of The Quran" - Sayyid Qutb, Vol. 10, pp. 41, 42

From Issue: 791 [Read original issue]

Understanding The Prophet's Life

Vulnerability and Power

The Prophet, peace be upon him, knew where both his vulnerability and his power came from, when so many enemies tried to deceive, lure or destroy him. The signs in creation, his ability to marvel at events or at the seemingly slight details of life, to recognize the heart's charity in a person's generous word ("A benevolent word is charity." [Bukhari]) or through a fellow being's smile ("The smile you offer your brother [your sister] is charity." [Tirmidhi]), gave him that strength to resist and persevere. Being constantly with the One, and remembering His presence through a look or a gesture as the presence of the Friend and Protector rather than that of a judge or a censor - such is the meaning of excellence (al-ihsan), of the power of the heart and of faith: "Excellence is worshipping God as though you see Him, for if you do not see Him, He indeed sees you." [Bukhari, Muslim]

His companions recognized those qualities in him, loved him, and drew their spiritual energy from his presence among them. He taught them to constantly deepen that love: "None of you believes [perfectly, completely] until I am dearer to him than his father, his son, and all humankind." [Muslim] They had to carry on their spiritual and loving quest, love the Prophet, and love one another in God.

Compiled From:
"In The Footsteps of The Prophet" - Tariq Ramadan, p. 135

From Issue: 665 [Read original issue]

Blindspot!

Ummatic Act

The hajj is not a memorial pilgrimage to a place declared holy by its association with a Divine act, a Prophet, a saintly person or simply an historical event of great significance. Its purpose is not merely to remember. Hence, it would not be called 'pilgrimage'. Rather, it must be known by its Quranic name alone, hajj. Certainly, it is an act by an individual worshipper; but it is not an individual act, affecting its subject-doer alone or primarily alone, on the religious level. Moreover, it may not be entered into in private, at random or at any time the subject chooses. It is a collective, rather ummatic, act which must be done at is proper time, and must include a specific sequence. There is no hajj without the Ummah's participation. Indeed, there is no Islam when there is only one Muslim at rest, as it were, with space and time.

Hajj is a re-enactment, a living or going-through once more of the experience of Abraham, Hagar, Ishmael and of the Hijrah from Makkah of the Prophet Muhammad and of his triumphant re-entry eight years later. It is at once the re-destruction of the idols of the Kabah, the re-establishment of Islam as al-Din or the way of life, the primordial religion, the ultimate norm of a person's relation with Allah, the Absolute, as its motto indicates: Labbayk Allahumma Labbayk - Here I am, O Allah, here I am.

On the collective level, the Ummah level, hajj is the coming together of all parties, all races, and peoples, all nations and states, all schools and classes, groups of all colours - to the God of all creation. All subdue and suppress their differences in order to affirm their unity and communion. It is the occasion for the Ummah as a whole to re-dedicate itself to Islam as the cause of Allah in history, to proclaim and to call the nations of the world to join ranks with them as would-be transformers of space-time, the would-be fulfillers of the Divine will in the world.

Compiled From:
Islam: The Way of Revival, "Inner Dimensions of Worship" - Ismail al-Faruqi, pp. 177, 178

From Issue: 708 [Read original issue]