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Issue 143 » November 9, 2001 -

General

QURAN
Translation:

Surah al-Baqarah (The Cow)
Chapter 2: Verse 183

"O Believers, Fasting (sawm) has been prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, so that you may attain Taqwa (God-consciousness)"

Commentary:

The verse establishes that fasting had been made obligatory for all believers, past, present and future, and that the aim behind it is to open their hearts to God and make them more conscious and fearful of Him. Therefore, the principal objective of fasting is to attain and refine this quality of Taqwa. Fasting, when observed in obedience to God, and in pursuit of His pleasure, instils and revives Taqwa in the human heart.

What is Taqwa?

Talq ibn Habeeb (d.100 AH), may Allah have mercy on his soul, said: "When Fitnah (trials and tribulations) appear then extinguish it with Taqwa!"

When he was asked as to what Taqwa was, he replied: "Taqwa is to act in obedience to Allah, upon a light (of faith) from Allah, hoping in the Mercy of Allah. And Taqwa is leaving the acts of disobedience to Allah, upon a light from Allah, due to the fear of Allah."

This is one of the best definitions of Taqwa. For every action must have both a starting point and a goal. And an action will not be considered as an act of obedience, or nearness to Allah, unless it starts from pure Iman (faith in Allah). Thus it is pure Faith and not habits, desires, nor seeking praise or fame, nor its like that should be what initiates the action. And the [goal of the] action should be to earn the reward of Allah and to seek His good pleasure.

Fasting is only Natural for a Nation of Struggle

For the Ummah (world-community) of Islam, whose duty is to undertake a campaign of struggle (Jihad), as a means of establishing God's universal order of mercy, peace, and justice, and who is to stand witness to the rest of mankind, it is only natural that fasting should be made obligatory. Fasting is a means of testing a person's determination and will-power, and an important aspect of his or her relationship with God. It is a discipline that teaches one how to rise above his or her physical needs and overcome the pressure of temptation in order to earn God's blessings and reward.

[compiled from "In the Shade of the Quran" by Sayyid Qutb, Vol. 1, pp. 182-184
and article from al-Istiqamah magazine "Important Lessons from Ramadan"]

LIVING A GOD-ORIENTED LIFE

Do Not Hate...

"Do not hate the sinners, only their sins. Do not aid Satan in his task by damning the sinners. Instead, help them fight Satan by praying that they be guided to the Straight Path and obtain their deliverance. Be watchful for your own sins, keep reciting the Quranic verse: 'Do you not love that Allah should forgive you?' [24:22] and try to understand the meaning of the verse: 'And the human has been created weak' [4:28]. Realize that everyone's life is full of both good and evil and that every group is composed of both the good and the bad. This realisation will make it easier for you to deal with the sinners around you in the manner that Allah and His Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, have desired.

"When it comes to shortcomings and sins, give others a greater allowance than you would give yourselves. Consider others more worthy of being pardoned than you. Be less harsh to others than you are on your own self. Be less demanding of others than you are of yourself. If Allah wills, you shall find much good in such conduct."

[selections from "Dying and Living for Allah" - The Last Will of Khurram Murad]

22 SYMPTOMS OF WEAK FAITH

Series continued from YMFN Issue #142

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:

11- Not feeling angry when the limits and laws set by Allah are violated, because the flame of zeal has been extinguished in the person's heart. They no longer take action to stop evil, or enjoin evildoers to do good, or denounce wrongdoing. They never get angry for the sake of Allah. The Messenger of Allah (sall Allahu 'alayhi wa sallam) described this heart ravaged by weakness in the saying: "The heart will be subjected to trial after trial, and there will appear a black stain on any heart that is affected, which will spread until the heart is completely black and sealed, as it were, so that it will not recognize any good deed or denounce any evil, except whatever suits its own desires." [Reported by Muslim #144]

Love of good and hatred of evil have disappeared from a heart like this; all things are equal to such a person, and he has no motive to enjoin good or forbid evil. He may hear of some evil that is being done on earth, and may accept it; in this case he carries the same burden of sin as one who witnesses evil with his or her own eyes and approves of it, as the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: "If sin is committed on earth, the one who witnesses it and hates it will be like one who knew nothing of it. Whoever does not witness it but approves of it will be like one who witnesses it!" [Reported by Abu Dawood, #4345] This approval, which is an action of the heart, makes him like one who witnessed the sin.

...to be continued...

[from "Weakness of Faith: Causes and Cures" by Shaykh M. Salih al-Munajjid]

HOW ISLAM REVOLUTIONIZED THE WORLD

Why is it that makes Muslims believe that Islam is a tremendous bounty and a gift from God, when the rest of the world views ALL religions as a burden on mankind created by backward cultures?

Islam is the faith that defines us, defines who we are, defines our identity. In fact anyone who truly understand's Islam will be well aware of it's simplicity, elegance and the power to lead man for what Muslims believe is mans true purpose. Why is there nothing like Islam on earth? Why is Islam so revolutionary?

  • It is Islam that has taught human beings that the Lord their God is One and Only. That He has no partners, no wife, and no son, and that there can be no compromise on the unity of God.
  • It is Islam that has taught human beings that they are all equal and that no Arab is superior to non-Arab, nor a non-Arab is superior to an Arab and that the best of all of us is the one who is most righteous.
  • It is Islam that has taught human beings that they are all brothers and sisters created from a single pair of a male and a female. Therefore, Islam , unlike Hinduism, neither recognizes nor condones the idea of a caste system. Islam is a war on caste systems, on aristocracies, and hereditary social groups of all kinds.
  • It is Islam that has taught humanity the value of the intellect, the importance of reflection, and the role of the mind in attaining faith. Christians teach that one can never become a believer except when the Holy Spirit mysteriously occupies one's heart. Islam teaches that faith is the fruit of reason and it is through continuous reflection on the wonders of creation that faith can be obtained, maintained, and nurtured.

...to be continued...

[from "A Revolution Without Revolutionaries" by Sherif Mohammed]

ISLAMIC VOCAB

Hadith

  • The word hadith literally means communication or narration
  • In the Islamic context, it has come to denote the record of what the Prophet Muhammad said, did, or tacitly approved of during his life
  • According to some scholars, the word hadith also covers reports about the sayings and deeds of the Companions of the Prophet in addition to the Prophet himself
  • The whole body of traditions is termed Hadith and the science that studies it is 'Ilm al-Hadith

[from Glossary of Terms in "Towards Understanding the Quran"]