Forbidden Tree, Neighbours, Breaking the Cycle
Issue 617 » January 21, 2011 - Safar 16, 1432
The Forbidden Tree
Al-Baqara (The Cow) - Chapter 2: Verse 35
"And we said: 'O Adam, you and your wife, both dwell in the Garden and eat freely thereof whatever you may wish but do not go near this tree, otherwise you shall become wrong-doers.'"
This tree was a trial of abstinence. Since will and determination cannot be ascertained until one has proved the practise of abstinence, will and determination are the only distinction between human and animals.
When Adam, peace be upon him, made the mistake of approaching the forbidden tree, Allah made the decision to have him and Eve, peace be upon her, thrown out of Paradise and sent down to earth. Actually it was planned that the struggle between right and wrong should be carried out on earth.
As Adam was created for life on earth, why was this scene enacted in Paradise? This experience in heaven was a kind of preparation for Adam so that he knew how to use the faculties bestowed upon him. It was done to make Adam alert to temptation, become acquainted with error, and learn to ask for Allah's forgiveness. Temptation by Satan, the realisation of mistakes, asking for forgiveness and the acceptance of forgiveness by Allah is the cycle that every human being has to face in this world. This story then is a reminder to the whole of mankind.
"Words That Moved the World" - Qazi Ashfaq Ahmad, pp. 76-80
Neighbours have rights, be they Muslims or non-Muslims. The Prophet of Allah said: "He is not a true Believer who eats his fill while his neighbour is hungry". (Bayhaqi.)
Thus, the quality of our Din and fate in the Akhira will also be determined by how well we fulfill our obligations towards our neighbours. In a hadith narrated by Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with him, a man said:
"O Messenger of Allah, such and such woman has a reputation for engaging very much in Prayers, Fasting and Almsgiving, but she hurts her neighbours with her tongue quite often." He said, "She will go to Hell." Then he said, "O Messenger of Allah, such and such woman engages in only a little Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving and gives just a few pieces of cheese in charity, but she does not hurt her neighbours with her tongue". He said,"She will go to Paradise." (Ahmad, Bayhaqi.)
One class of neighbours is our relatives. Another class are those who are not our relatives and the third class of neighbours are those who sit with us, even for a few minutes. This third class of neighbours is a very wide group and includes those who sit by our side. If we are travelling in a taxi, bus, train or aeroplane the person who is sitting by our side is our neighbour. If we are in the office, our co-worker is our neighbour. If we are at school, our classmate is our neighbour.
Among the rights of your neighbour is that his life, property and honour must be protected. Violation of any of them is haram or unlawful. His life is inviolable. Remember that the life of a non-Muslim is as important as that of a Muslim. The Prophet Muhammad said that "One who kills a non-Muslim whose protection is pledged will never smell the fragrance of Janna, even though it reaches as far as 40 years distance". (Bukhari, Muslim.)
So the life of the non-Muslim is also inviolable, as is his property and his honour. All must be respected and safeguarded. This is especially important for us to consider because we live in a multi-cultural and multi-religious society and, unfortunately, there are many misconceptions prevailing among Muslims about the extent of their obligations towards non-Muslims. The Prophet himself used to pay special attention to the needs of non-Muslims even when there was poverty, hardship and difficulties in the Muslim community.
"In The Early Hours" - Khurram Murad, pp.125,126
Breaking the Cycle
Life's not fair. How is it that one kid grows up in a home where they are loved and made to feel like they are somebody and another kid grows up in a home where they are abused and made to feel worthless? If you're the latter, you may ask: "What did I do to deserve this?" Well, you didn't do anything to deserve it. It's not right, and it's not your fault.
You can do something about it. How? By breaking the cycle. If your parents are messed up, and their parents were messed up, you can break the cycle by not repeating these negative patterns in your own life, and by passing on good habits to your own kids someday.
You may be in a family that is drowning in sickness from drugs, violence, abuse, molestation, or neglect. It may have gone on for generations. But you can stop it from being passed on to your kids. you can rise above your childhood. Perhaps that's why you were born into this family, to heal the sickness within it, to be a purifying influence, to be the stable one, the example that others can look to. If you've been abused, you can pass on love. If you've been neglected, you can show great care. If you were raised in a contentious home, you can build a peaceful one. You can change everything downstream.
"The 6 Most Important Decisions You'll Ever Make" - Sean Covey, p. 165