Issue 142 » November 2, 2001 -
Surah Baqarah (The
Chapter 2: Verses 187
"...They are your Garments, and you are their Garments..."
This verse of the Quran reveals the basic purpose and concept of marriage in Islam. Islam enjoins that a wife and husband should have the most intimate and loving relationship. Each should cover, protect, and safeguard the interests of the other partner. This profound and revolutionary verse has the following 5 practical implications:
1- The fact that man and woman are considered garments to each other suggests that both have an equal status in sharing the responsibilities of marriage.
2- As the garment covers the body in such a way that there is nothing between the garment and the body, the husband and wife should be so close and intimate to each other that there should be no secrets between them. Both confide fully in each other and share their joys and sorrows without any hesitation.
3- The task of the garment is to protect the body from outside dangers. The husband and wife accordingly protect each other from all external dangers and work together to build a home and a tranquil refuge from the harshness of daily life.
4- A garment not only covers the body but also gives it beauty and grace. Similarly, husband and wife should not only cover and shield each other from external worries, temptations, abuses....etc., but should do so with grace and dignity.
5- No one likes to live without clothes, hence men and women should aspire to get married and serve as garments to each other.
It is interesting to note how this verse played a major role in the journey of a British economist and teacher, Kieren Ashorth (now known as Yusuf Abdullah), to Islam:
"Very often in my journey to Islam, I was faced with intellectual and moral dilemmas. Was Islam not supposed to be cruel to women, roughly half of the world's population? One day, I was reading a translation of the Quran and came across a passage in which it described 'a wife as a garment for her husband and a husband as a garment for his wife.' What beauty and what a sublime description! Delivered at a time to a race who used to bury their daughters alive, how could the author of the Quran (Allah) have possibly been a man? How could Islam be oppressive to women? I was beginning to doubt these typical Western opinions regarding Islam. The Quran was far too other-worldly, and very profound!"
(Quoted in "Why We Embraced Islam", compiled by Dr. Arafat El-Ashi, pp. 93-4)
[compiled from "Family & Social Obligations in Islam"
by Dr. Mazhar U. Kazi, pp. 52-53]
LIVING A GOD-ORIENTED LIFE
Between Self-Righteousness and Self-Pity
"When should I think of myself as being pious?" someone asked Aishah (peace be upon her), the wife of the Prophet Muhammad (sall Allahu 'alayhi wa sallam)."When you begin to regard yourself as impious," she replied. "And when should I think of myself as being impious?" the questioner went on. "When you begin to regard yourself as pious," came Aishah's (radhi Allahu 'anha) reply.
[selections from "God-Oriented Life" by Shaykh Wahiduddin Khan]
22 SYMPTOMS OF WEAK FAITH
Series continued from YMFN Issue #141
Following are some of the signs and symptoms of weak faith that one can use to assess whether he or she suffers from spiritual death or disease:
9- Breaking the ties of brotherhood between two who used to be close. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said: “No two people are friends for the sake of Allah or in Islam, but they will be split apart by the first sin (according to another report: they will only be split apart by the first sin) committed by either of them.” (al-Bukhari). This indicates the bad effects of sins which may impact upon and even destroy the bonds of brotherhood or sisterhood. This alienation which a person may feel between himself and his brother is a result of the lowering of faith caused by committing a sin, because Allah causes him to lose his standing and dignity in the eyes of His creation. He is left in the miserable position, with no respect, and misses out on the fellowship of sincere friends and believers, and the protection of Allah, for Allah protects those who believe..
10- Tightness in the chest, mood swings and depression, which weigh a person down and make him or her quick to complain about the slightest thing. One easily gets upset with the people around them, and no longer has any tolerance. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) described faith when he said, “Iman (faith) is patience and tolerance” (Al-Silsilah al-Saheehah), and he described the believer as being “one who makes friends and with whom others feel comfortable. There is no goodness in one who does not make friends and with whom others do not feel comfortable.” (Al-Silsilah al-Saheehah, no. 427).
HOW ISLAM REVOLUTIONIZED THE WORLD
Series continued from YMFN Issue #141
It is important to note that Islam is not just a set of ideals, it is a tremendous force capable of transforming and regenerating individuals as well societies and whole nations. The influence of Islam upon the first society that embraced it, the Arabian peninsula, was nothing short of a revolution. Islam has revolutionized Arabia in all aspects of life - politically, economically, socially, and above all morally:
It was Islam that taught the Arabs who never agreed on any form of law to build a nation based on the rule of one sacred, just, and merciful law. Islam also taught them that they were all equals before the law and no one, not even the daughter of the Prophet, was above the law.
It was Islam that taught the Arabs that women were full human beings, not mere chattel, and that they were their sisters in humanity and in faith. It was Islam that guaranteed for Arabian women their rights to: inheritance, property, divorce, and independent legal personality.
It was Islam that ended all forms of prostitution, gambling, and intoxicants from the Arabian society. And it was Islam that opened all doors for freeing slaves.
It was Islam that uprooted racism from the Arab mind completely to the extent that the deeply racist and arrogant Arabs would accept to be soldiers in armies whose leaders were black Africans.
And above all, it was Islam that transformed the idolatrous and superstitious Arabs into believers in the One and Only God. It was Islam that transformed them from idol worshippers into a people who stand together in one line in prayer and prostrate their heads to the Almighty.
...to be continued...