Issue 148 » December 14, 2001 -
Surah al-Furqan (The Criterion)
Chapter 25: Verse 63
"And the (true) Servants of the Most Merciful (God) are those who walk on the earth in humility, and when the ignorant address them insolently, they say, 'Peace' (Salaam)."
The message of this verse is relevant to the believers and the peaceful citizens of the world today, probably more than ever before. Although all human beings are by birth servants and creatures of the Most Merciful Creator, His true servants are those who follow the criteria outlined in this verse, and the verses immediately following and preceding it in Surah al-Furqan.
We are being told that the true believers are those who do not walk haughtily and arrogantly like the tyrants and mischief-makers, but their steps are of a gentle, humble, and good-natured person. Studies have shown that the different styles of walking, or gait, of the different types of people reflect the character or manners they possess. If a person walks in a humble and dignified manner, as opposed to vain and proud manner, it shows that he or she is a noble and gentle person. Therefore, their obedience to Allah has changed them so thoroughly that it can be seen at the first sight from their walk that they are noble, humble, and peace-loving people, who cannot be expected to indulge in any mischief or harmful actions.
However, 'Walking humbly' does not imply walking like a weak or sick person, nor does it mean the gait of a hypocrite who walks ostentatiously to show apparent humility or fear of God. According to the traditions, the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) himself used to walk with firm, quick steps, and with determination. Once Caliph Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) saw a young man walking slowly like a weak, sick person, and asked him, "Are you ill?" When the man replied in the negative, Umar rebuked him and advised him to walk like a healthy person.
Another trait of the true servants of the Merciful Allah that they do not believe in 'vengeance' for personal harm or loss, even though they may have to constantly encounter the ignorant (Jahil), insolent, rude, and uncivilized people. Allah tells us that if the Believers happen come across such people, they wish them "Salaam" (peace) and turn away. The same attitude is expressed in Chapter Al-Qassas, verse 55: "And when they hear something vain and absurd they turn away from it, saying, 'Our deeds are for us, and your deeds are for you; peace be with you, we have nothing to with the ignorant'."
[compiled from "Towards Understanding the Quran", Syed Abul Ala Mawdudi]
UNDERSTANDING OUR TEENS
Often we hear our parents and adults complain about 'loosing' their kids to this culture. Similarly, many teachers are concerned about the youth being disrespectful to them. While their complaints are valid, it is imperative for both the parents and educators to use their wisdom and mercy in dealing with their teens, as it is an extremely challenging phase in the life of any youth. Part of an effective Tarbiyyah (training) of our teens is to understand the 'teen culture' of North America (or the West), and realize the challenges and the stress a typical North American teen has to go through, whether he or she is a Muslim or a non-Muslim.
This new series seeks to analyze some of the negative aspects of the 'teen culture', which go against our Islamic values and traditions. Some of these include the promotion of an individualistic and materialistic attitude toward life, the great emphasis placed on physical appearance and lack of spirituality, etc. Every Muslim parent and teacher needs to recognize that not actively participating in your teen's lifestyle is not an option. Otherwise, we have no right to complain.
One of the basic concepts that runs our Western society is individuality. While Islam looks at what is in the best interest of the group (Shura), teens in the West are taught that the most important thing is what they want or need, often with little regard to others. This can be seen in the huge rate of divorce that exists in this culture. Instead of looking out for the best interest of the family or group, a person may choose to get divorced because he or she is bored with the relationship, instead of struggling to fix it. This starts a general attitude of competition instead of cooperation. It prompts people to feel that it's "you against me" and so there is little emphasis placed on helping others. Teens are taught that if they are good at something, they should make sure they are better than everyone else instead of helping somebody else also improve. One major effect is inconsideration and a lack of respect for others, including those in authority, such as teachers and parents.
[compiled from "Muslim Teens: Today's Worry, Tomorrow's Hope" by Dr. Ekram & Mohamed R. Beshir, pp. 13-14]
Note: This is the second Islamic parenting guide co-authored by this couple from Ottawa, Canada. They both have several years of experience in the field of education, Dawa, organization, counselling, and youth activities. Moreover, they have traveled extensively to present parenting workshops.
22 SYMPTOMS OF WEAK FAITH
Series continued from YMFN Issue #146
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:
16- Attachment to this world and rejoicing in it: A person may be so attached to this world that he feels pain if he misses out on some share of it, such as money, power, authority, or housing. He feels that he is unfairly treated because he has not got what others have. He feels more stress when he sees a brother in Islam who has something of this world that he does not have, so he envies him (hasad) and wishes that he will lose that blessing. This goes against Iman (Faith), as the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said: “Iman and jealousy do not exist together in the heart of the true servant.” (Reported by Abu Dawood).
...to be continued...
[11 Things to Remember for Eid Day]
Are you still shopping for those last minute Eid gifts? Any luck finding the right kufi/hijab to match your new dress for Eid prayer? Deciding which Eid parties to attend got you stressed?
Here are some tips, etiquettes and pointers to remember for Eid day to make it happy and comfortable for all insha-Allah:
1. Prepare all clothes, maps, donations, belongings one day in advance:
Make sure you don't find yourself having to ask for directions to the Eid prayer hall last minute. Save time by picking out and ironing your clothes a day earlier. Take prayer mats with you for yourself and others. If you are going to be giving Zakat-ul-Fitr, calculate and set aside the donation and carry it on you in a secure place.
2. Talk to the kids about proper behavior:
You want them to benefit from the Eid experience. Make sure they know the etiquettes of a Masjid, teach them how the Eid prayer is performed, and what to do if they are separated from you in the crowd.
3. Say the Takbirat on the way to Eid prayer and all day:
The days of Eid are the days of intense remembrance and thankfulness to Allah - the days of "Allahu Akbar". Don't let shyness stop you! Have the younger kids lead with everyone else following. Take pride in continuing this beautiful tradition throughout Eid especially after every Salah.
4. Aim to pray in the first Saff (line):
That means arriving early. For men, this is the best place to be if you want to catch the Imam's explanation of prayers, his Khutbah, as well as any other announcements. Sadly, it's also the place where there is a greater chance prayer lines will be straight.
5. Be quiet while the Imam is explaining how to pray:
If Maryam, a new Muslim sister, is trying to understand how to do the Eid prayer, she can't exactly do that if Hafsa on her right is gabbing incessantly with her friends. Out of respect for others, we should be silent or at least whisper if necessary so we don't disturb others who are trying to understand how to do the Eid prayer.
6. Straighten your lines in prayer:
Standing shoulder to shoulder and feet to feet in straight uniform lines is part of the perfection of one's Salah and the beauty of the jama'ah (congregation). Strive your best to fill any gaps in front or beside you and encourage others with courtesy.
7. Be quiet during the Khutbah:
After the Eid prayer, the Imam will give a brief Khutbah (sermon). It is highly encouraged to stay and listen to it. Even if we do have to get up and leave, we should do so as quietly as possible so as not to disturb those who are listening.
8. Greet those whom you know and those you don't:
Say Salam and hug the person next to you once the Khutbah is over. Isn't it ironic that we stand so physically close to someone in prayer (shoulder to shoulder) but completely ignore them once it's over? Hug your prayer neighbor and at least wish them "Eid Mubarak".
If they are alone, invite them over or at least get their phone number and inform them of any Eid activities that are coming up in your community. The offering and returning of greetings of Peace and Mercy to strangers and acquaintances alike is one of the best aspects of Islam according to the Prophet (sall Allahu 'alayhi wa sallam) and not doing so is a violation of your brother's/sister's right.
9. Contribute to the arrangement of the Eid prayers:
Some places may pass around a box or bag seeking donations to cover the cost of the Eid prayer place. Don't be embarrassed. Give generously. The costs of rental normally run in the thousands and letting the organizers run into debt every Eid is neither healthy for the community nor appreciative of their efforts.
10. Look for the Muslim leadership and congratulate them:
How often do you see Muslims thanking their leaders, those poor people who work so hard for the community with minimal to no pay? Seek these people out and give them your Eid greetings. Specifically thank them for all of their hard work for the community, especially during this past Ramadan. They deserve our words of kind support!
11. Get the family to help out with clean up:
See if the family can volunteer to help clean up the prayer area after everyone has left. Here is your chance to learn a practical lesson in selfless giving and community service.
This is also a time when you may see Muslims who don't have family in the community or are new Muslims. How and with whom will they be spending the 'happiest day of the year'? Do they have Muslim friends or family with whom to experience 'the joy of Eid' that we take for granted? Greet them and invite them over or at least inform them of any upcoming Eid activities. We must begin to feel responsible for others in good times and in bad. Isn't this the lesson we learnt from our Siyams and Qiyams in Ramadan?
May Allah accept our fasting, our prayer, our sacrifices, our giving, and our efforts in His Cause and forgive us our shortcomings and weaknesses and help us overcome them!
[adapted from "14 Things to Remember for Eid Day" by SoundVision]
Another must-read article: "16 Tips to Make this Eid Special for family"
For more on Eid celebrations, great gift ideas, and e-greetings
visit the Eid page http://www.soundvision.com/info/eid/