Calamities, Divine Silence, Games
Issue 527 » May 1, 2009 - Jumada al-Awwal 6, 1430
Chapter 32: Verse 21
"The greater chastisement" here refers to the chastisement to which the unbelievers and evil-doers will be subjected in the World-to-Come. The verse, however, also speaks of "some chastisement" in this world, which refers to things like serious diseases, death of kith and kin, tragic accidents, and losses and failures of various types which people face in the course of their worldly lives. There are also storms, earthquakes, floods, epidemics, famines, riots, warfares and other calamities which befall a people collectively, sometimes affecting the lives of millions.
These calamities afflict people in order that they may take heed before the greater chastisement overtakes them. They should give up those patterns of thought and action that lead them to the immense chastisement of the Hereafter. In other words, God has not made man's life in the world to be spent without care and concern. Man has not been granted an altogether smooth sail in this life. Calamities visit him so that he may purge his mind of the delusion that there is no power above him capable of causing harm.
They are thus made to realise that their destiny is controlled by someone else other than themselves. This real power and authority rests with God, not with man. Whenever any calamity from God strikes man it becomes evident that he can neither avert it himself nor by invoking any jinn, spirit, or god. Far from being simply natural disasters, these calamities serve as warnings from God to dispel man's misperceptions and prompt him to recognise the reality of things. By deriving lessons from these, man can mend his ways during his existence by embracing right beliefs and reforming his conduct. This alone will save him from the greater chastisement of the Hereafter.
"Towards Understanding the Quran" - Sayyid Abul Ala Mawdudi, Vol. 8, p. 173
"God has set some limits, so do not transgress them; He has commanded some commands, so do not ignore them; He has made some things unlawful, so do not commit them. He has also kept silent (sakata) about some matters as a mercy toward you, not because He has forgotten them, so do not ask about them."
Clear-cut approach regarding rulings related to belief (aqidah) and worship (ibadah) is associated with a methodology that is indeed strict but essentially confident in the field of interpersonal relations and social affairs (muamalat).Taking human interests into account, alleviating the legal burden, and simplifying the system of rules must be constant preoccupations when considering and implementing scriptural sources.
The divine Lawgiver's silence is a mercy, a grace offered to human beings so as not to make their burden too heavy, but it is also a positive and trustful recognition of their human and intellectual ability to devise their own ways of being faithful to the message through time and the variety of places. Here silence eases conscience and summons the intellect.
"Radical Reform: Islamic Ethics and Liberation" - Tariq Ramadan, pp. 69-70
Games that bring the family closer
Father's reading the newspaper, mother's on the telephone, brother's on the computer, sister's reading a book, and little Ahmad is playing with his toys. What do these people have in common?
Nothing. How can they be brought together?
Young and old, we all love games. What better way to share each other's company, learn about Islam and have fun at the same time than to play a game? Below are three games to play with the whole family.
1. 'Steps to Paradise' Board Game. This board game, made in England, has questions for different age or knowledge levels. Answer the questions on Islam as you move around the board. And if you have collected enough Sawab (reward) then you might be able to enter Paradise.
2. Question and Answer Cards. Pre-made cards with questions and answers on Islam are readily available. Split the family into two teams and compete with each other to see who has the most right answers. The 'losing' team can do something together for the 'winning' team, for example, cook dinner. (This may mean that dad and some of the children may be cooking dinner for mum!) If pre-made cards are not available, then get into your teams and design the questions for the other team to answer.
3. Treasure Hunting. Mum or Dad designs a treasure hunt for the rest of the family. The number of clues, in the form of questions, depends on how many letters the secret place that contains the prize has. For example, if a cake awaits them in the REFRIGERATOR then 13 questions are needed. The first question needs to have an answer starting with R. For example, "What is the name of Surah 13?" The answer is "Ra'd". Each first letter of the answers form the final word. Draw a map and place each question on a card at each location. Once the code is cracked all can share the prize.
An important note to keep in mind is that when teams are called for, make sure it's randomly selected. Also, for each game, team members will be different each time. If team members remain the same all the time, rivalry will be set up and not all members will have the chance to work with the others.
"Saying it out loud - the easy way to teach children the daily Duas (supplications)" - Jameela Ho of Yagoona