Issue 134 » September 7, 2001 -
The Letters T H (20) - Ayahs 131, 132
"Do not turn your eyes covetously towards the embellishments of worldly life that We have bestowed upon various kinds of people to test them. But the (clean) provision [rizq] bestowed upon you by your Lord is better and more enduring. Enjoin Prayer on your household, and do keep observing it. We do not ask you for any worldy provision. The ultimate end is for piety [taqwa]"
The purpose of the directive in the first verse is to impress upon the Prophet (sall Allahu 'alayhi wa sallam) and his Companions (radhi Allahu 'anhum) that they should not feel envious of those who hoarded their unlawful wealth. The word Rizq here refers to 'clean provision' only as any unlawful earning cannot be considered a clean provision from God.
It is interesting to note Allah tells the believers in the beginning of this verse that He gives some people excess wealth and luxuries in order to test them. Allah wants to see how His servants spend this wealth provided by Him. Therefore, Allah does not only test people through difficulties, poverty, pain, illness, and other afflictions, but He also tests them using other more subtle means, such as comfort, wealth, excessive food, entertainment, and more.
In the next verse the believers are told to encourage their children to observe the five daily Prayers [Salah]. The Prayer cannot be established on a regular basis, unless they understand the role and need of Prayer in their lives. They need to love it more than anything else. When this happens, then they will not be heart-broken or despressed by their miserable financial state, which is in sharp contrast to the pomp, luxury, and all sorts of destructive entertainment that the non-believers enjoy. The Prayer will change their perspective on life! It will change their values and the focus of their attentions. It will be a change that will make them satisfied with their lawfully earned livelihood, even if it be little. All this training will lead them to prefer a virtuous life, based on faith and God-consciousness, to a life full of luxury and self-indulgence arising out of disobedience to Allah and excessive worldliness.
But how can we expect such a change in our families, when the parents themselves are constantly involved in unlawful means of earning, while probably leaving their children unattended for most part of the day? How can we expect our children to be satisfied with lawful, and perhaps little comfort, when the parents themselves are only thinking about 'worldly future' and are stressed out due to unpaid house mortgages and dozens of other long-term finacial worries?
The purpose of these verses is not to condemn the act of budgeting, financial and academic planning for our families itsef. It simply illustrates the point that Believers and non-Believers alike, can never be satisfied and happy in its true sense in the long-term, if they are busy with earning money through Haram (unlawful) means and if the intellectual, spiritual, psychological, and moral training of their families is neglected as a result.
In the end Allah clarifies to the Believers that when a person observes Prayers, it does not benefit God. It is only he or she who prays who derives any benefit from it, which is peace and Taqwa (righteousness) in this world and the next.
[compiled from "Towards Understanding the Quran" by Sayyid Abul A'la Mawdudi, Vol. 5, contributed by brother Taha Ghayyur, University of Toronto, Canada. Jazak Allahu Khairan! ]
GLIMPSES OF THE PROPHET'S SEERAH
Make Islam Easy
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) always advised his Sahabah (may Allah be pleased with them) to make things easy and not difficult for people. Mu'adh ibn Jabal was one of the Messenger's closest and most learned Companions. He was an Imam (leader of the prayer) in a neighbourhood of Madinah. In the Fajr prayer, he would recite long verses. Someone came to the Prophet and said, "O Rasul Allah, Mu'adh recites long chapters of the Quran. His prayers are so long that I get tired. I prefer not to offer prayer with jama'ah (congregation)!" Upon hearing this, the Prophet became concerned.
He addressed the people and said, "Some of you make people dislike the deen (and good deeds). So whoever among you leads the people in Salah (prayer) should shorten it because among them are the weak, the old and the needy. Show them special concern!" [Bukhari]
[This "Seerah Series" of Abdullah & Tasneemah Ghazi contributed by brother Sameer Alibhai, University of Waterloo, Canada. Jazak Allahu Khairan! ]
BUILDING INTER-PERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS
Personal Inner Qualities needed for Brotherhood
A study of the Quran and Sunnah indicates that there are two inner qualities which form the foundation of this relationship of brotherhood (ukhuwwah) and love (hubb) among the Believers for the sake of Allah alone.
The first quality is the presence of Rahmah or Mercy. And the second is the feeling of Zull or Humility. When the Quran describes the Muslims it uses these two words to explain the state of their relationship: "they are merciful amongst themselves" [Surah al-Fath: 29] and "they have an attitude (a state of heart and mind) of humility towards the others" [Surah al-Hashr: 9-10].
These two are essential not only for a successful interpersonal relationship but also for the cohesion of any jama'ah (or organization). We know that Rasul Allah himself has been described as Rahmatal lil 'Alameen (a Mercy for the Worlds). But in one place the Quran goes on to say "The Prophet is dearly compassionate ('azeez), kind (ra'oof) and merciful (raheem) to his followers" [Surah al-Tawbah: 128].
In another place the Quran says "It is only Allah's mercy that you (O Muhammad) are soft hearted to them. Were you hard in heart and crude and rough in your attitude all these people who are now flocking around you would have flown away" [Surah ale-íImran:159].
It is not simply the Message but the Messenger's mercy and compassion that made people bind to the da'wah and jama'ah which was being built. This mercy, which is Allah's main attribute, is also the Prophet's attribute, and must therefore be enforced in all our conduct.
If I want to describe all the do's and do not's it will take perhaps a few hours, but if we want to simplify it, mercy cannot allow abusing, mercy cannot allow ridiculing, mercy cannot allow backbiting, mercy cannot allow saying words that which will hurt.
Actually mercy will encompass in it hundreds of things which off course have been elaborated in both Hadith and Quran. So the Hadith says "Be merciful to those who are on earth and He Who is in the heavens will be merciful to you!"
... to be continued ...
[from "Interpersonal Relationships" by Ustadh Khurram Murad (rahimahullah)]
QUOTES TO PONDER UPON
"Look at any other civilization in the history of humanity, you will not find a women playing a role in its establishment where it can be attributed to her efforts for its establishment. The Greeks and Romans - Plato, Aristotle and others - all were men. The early Church Fathers writings were basically men and until today the idea of women scholarship is limited in some areas of the church. The French writers at the French revolution and Voltaire and the Russians were men. The Founding Fathers of the United States were men, and also other civilizations are basically based upon men.
Islam is the only civilization which is known by humanity where a leading input in terms of its transmission and establishment was based upon the efforts of women. It is a historical fact not open to interpretation that these were the people who transmitted the Islamic teachings and these are the people who supported it thereafter!"
[from "Islam and the Elevation of Women's Status" by Shaykh Ali al-Tamimi, available online at http://www.youngmuslims.ca/articles/display.asp?ID=39]