Justified Presence, Respecting Water, Temptation Island
Issue 534 » June 19, 2009 - Jumada al-Thani 26, 1430
Chapter 13: Verse 17 (partial)
The above verse underscores the workings of the universe. We learn from both the Quran and history that whatever is good has an enduring quality. This is an altogether different notion from the survival of the fittest that has gained much popularity in our times.
The Nature of Scum
Whatever is not good or positive or useful and which does not contribute to man's survival or comfort or progress is branded as "scum" by the Quran. As a comprehensive, wide-ranging term this refers to something which is devoid of substance. It lacks stability and constancy. At most, it signifies a sudden, powerful movement which does not have any permanent form. Scum appears at the top, comprising dirt and impurity. It is not of any benefit for mankind. Either it disappears while floating on the top or is relegated to the sides. In either case it does not last. It does not have the capacity for survival.
Allah's law entails that evil or scum cannot flourish for long. Were scum to last, it would pose a danger to the existence of all creatures in the world. By contrast to it is that which benefits mankind and that which lasts on earth.
If Muslims prove themselves as beneficial for their society, they will justify their presence. So doing, they will appear as indispensable. In that eventually they cannot be uprooted by tyranny. Muslims will remain unaffected by their surroundings. Having displayed their mettle, they will be held in high esteem by everyone. Allah has guaranteed the presence and existence of those who are valuable for the cause of true faith.
"Guidance from the Holy Quran" - Sayyid Abul Hassan Ali Nadwi, pp. 221, 222
Creation is filled with signs that tell of the goodness and generosity of its Creator, and it is hence a sacred space: respecting it is akin to charity (sadaqah) or invocation. One day, as the Prophet, peace be upon him, passed Sad ibn Abi Waqqas, who was performing his ritual ablutions, the Prophet said to him: "Why such waste, O Sad?" "Is there waste even when performing ablutions?" Sad asked. And the Prophet answered: "Yes, even when using the water of a running stream." [Ahmad, Ibn Majah]
Water is essential element in all the teachings and ritual practices, for it represents the purification of body and heart, of physical outwardness as well as spiritual inwardness. But the Prophet taught Sad and his other Companions never to consider water, or any other element of nature, as a simple means towards their spiritual edification; on the contrary, respecting nature and using it moderately was already, in itself, a spiritual exercise and elevation, a goal in their quest for the Creator.
"In The Footsteps of The Prophet" - Tariq Ramadan, p. 202
Surviving In Temptation Island!
Yes, it’s hard, especially when you’re constantly bombarded with obscene images: that hot, scantily clad guy or gal in the magazine luring you; or the persistent emphasis on sex in the movies (even Toy Story or Spider Man!); or the pervasive links to pornography while you may simply be checking your e-mail. How can you protect yourself from all of this?
- Don't forget the power of Allah’s Remembrance (Dhikr)! It is the most powerful of all the defenses. Regular reading of prescribed Du'as will develop your Taqwa (consciousness) and keep you mindful of what thoughts you entertain.
- Remember your Accountability to Allah. In Islam, you're fully accountable as soon as you understand and feel such temptations. Your eyes will testify about what you looked at on the Day of Judgment.
- Always walk with your gaze lowered. But make sure not to bump into a hydro post! Lowering the gaze does not mean that you cannot have any ‘eye contact’ as you walk or during a conversation. It means that you keep your eyes under control.
- Avoid visiting malls and parks alone. Always try to go out with a family member or a good friend, whose company may help you avert your eyes from the objectionable billboards and inappropriately clothed people. In summer, step out only when you have to.
- Surf or Watch TV when others are around. The temptation to sneak a look at dirty pictures is heightened when you're alone in your room watching TV or surfing the internet. Shaytan's primary target is always a lonely person! Try to avoid late night TV and internet surfing.