Responding to the Call, Poor-due of Ramadan, Tangible Ideas

Issue 1001 » June 1, 2018 - Ramadan 17, 1439

Living The Quran

Responding to the Call
Al-Baqara (The Cow) Sura 2: Verse 186

"When My servants ask you concerning Me, I am indeed close (to them). I listen to the prayer of every suppliant when he calls on Me. Let them then obey Me and believe in Me that they may walk in the right way. "

The words "ask you concerning Me" do not necessarily imply that the question was merely about Allah and His attributes, but it could also be about His pleasure and displeasure as well as about the laws and commandments. From the present context it appears, however, that the question concerned the rules, conditions and etiquette of fasting in the month of Ramadan that arose in the minds of the people after the revelation of the original commandment to fast.

"I am indeed close (to them)" expresses a self-evident reality, for a person's closeness to or remoteness from Allah depends on the condition of his own heart. There is nothing more remote from Allah than a person who is indifferent to and unmindful of Him. On the other hand, if a person is mindful of Him and his heart is alive with His remembrance, grateful for His blessings, patient and steadfast in times of trial, and humbly supplicates for His help and support, Allah is indeed the closest to such a person, nearer to him than even his own life vein.

"I listen to the prayer of every suppliant when he calls on Me" is also a statement of a veritable truth. Whenever a servant calls upon his Sustainer, He does respond to him and grants his prayer. It is impossible that a servant should call upon his Sustainer and yet fail to evoke a response. The only condition is that the servant should call upon Him in sincerity and humility and supplicate only for what is befitting to ask of Him. If a servant supplicates to his Sustainer for what is worth supplicating for, and in a manner that is proper and befitting, his supplication is invariably and definitely granted. If not immediately, it is reserved for his or her future or for the life to come, and if not in the form it is prayed for, it is granted in a manner and a form far better than what had been asked for.

"Let them then obey Me and believe in Me" is the implied or the essential consequence of the Divine attributes mentioned above, namely, when Allah is close to His servants, listens and responds to their calls and supplications, then surely it is proper and right that His servants should respond to His call and believe in Him; this is the least of what they owe to Him. There is not even the slightest justification for them to turn away from Him and follow others. It is indeed an act of extreme injustice to one's own self to target some of His commandments with objections and doubts or to take a deviant course on that account, especially since their Sustainer is Most Gracious and ever ready to explain and resolve all the unexplained or obscure aspects of His Divine law, the Shariah.

Compiled From:
"Pondering Over The Qur'an: Surah al-Fatiha and Surah al-Baqarah" - Amin Ahsan Islahi

Understanding The Prophet's Life

Poor-due of Ramadan

The Messenger made incumbent on every male or female, freeman or slave, young or old, the payment of one sa' of dates or barley as charity or poor-due or charity for Ramadan. The people then equalized one sa' of dates or barley with half a sa' of wheat. Others used to give dates. Once there was scarcity of dates in Medinah and they gave barley. Even if a baby is born to the family before the Festival prayer, the poor-due at the end of Ramadan (zakat al-fitr) becomes obligatory on the guardians to be paid on behalf of the newly born child. The head of the family is responsible to pay on behalf of each member of the family, especially if they are young, but if they are adults then they must pay it by themselves. The husband must pay on behalf of the wife. Any person who possesses the day's provision for self and family has to pay the poor-due at the end of Ramadan.

The poor-due purifies the soul of the fasting person. Ibn Abbas narrated, "The Messenger, upon whom be peace, made charity of poor-due compulsory as purification of a fasting person from vile discourse and vain talks and also as food to the poor and the needy." [Abu Dawud] In another narration, Ibn Abbas said, "The Messenger enjoined charity of the poor-due so that those who observe fasting are purified of their indecent and shameful errors, and the poor and the needy ones are enabled to arrange for their necessities of food and clothing." [Abu Dawud] Therefore a person who gives his poor-due before the prescribed Festival prayer will be accepted by God as poor-due marking the end of Ramadan, but whosoever gives it after the prescribed Festival prayer will be treated as an ordinary charity. Poor-due also serves as a token of thankfulness to God for having enabled him or her to observe the fast.

Compiled From:
Ramadan: Motivating Believers To Action, "The Poor Due at the End of Ramadan" - Navid Hanif


Tangible Ideas

Quranic examples provide concrete information about the application of moral precepts. In order to apply the moral principles of the Quran, a reader must have some practical understanding. Practices are rooted in contexts. Readers who interpret the significance of the women cited in the Quran often come to the text with notions of appropriate functions for women. When these are supported on the surface of the Quranic portrayal, they do not look further at the examples. This has led to a great deal of oversimplifications and contradictions when the perspective of the individual exegete is superimposed on to the Quran itself.

The Quran is not a manual of directives which only commands the individual reader to perform certain actions or fulfil particular characteristics. By citing concrete events, it makes conceptual ideas tangible. The female and male characters are particularly important to demonstrate certain ideas about guidance. The characters and events in the Quran should always be examined in the light of this overall goal.

It should be noted that all references to female characters in the Quran use an important cultural idiosyncrasy which demonstrates respect for women. Except for Mary, the mother of Jesus, they are never called by name. Most are wives and the Quran refers to them by means of a possessive construction (the idafah) containing one of the Arabic words for wife: imraah (woman), nisa (women), or zawj (spouse, or mate) pl. azwaj, and the name of a particular male; for example, the imraah of Imran, or the zawj of Adam.

Even an unmarried woman or one whose husband is not mentioned is linked with some male: Ukht-Musa, the sister of Moses; Ukht-Harun, sister of Aaron, another name for Mary; Umm-Musa; the mother of Moses. However, this particular manifestation of respect is restricted to that context. The general principle—that women should be addressed respectfully—is intended for those who read the Quran at other times.

Compiled From:
"Quran and Woman" - Amina Wadud, pp. 32, 33