Encountering God's Love, Mastering this World, Revolution and Religion

Issue 934 » February 17, 2017 - Jumada al-Awwal 20, 1438

Living The Quran

Encountering God's Love
Al-Rum (The Romans) Sura 30: Verse 21

"And among His signs is that He created mates for you from among yourselves, that you might find rest in them, and He established affection and mercy between you. Truly in that are signs for a people who reflect."

That God made for human beings mates from among yourselves is also understood to mean "from yourselves" when seen as an allusion to the creation of Eve from Adam's rib, though some commentators are skeptical of this association, feeling it relies too heavily on the Biblical tradition. A direct account of Eve's creation is not found in the Quran, only in the ?adith literature. Although many understand the present verse as an address to men, telling them of the benefits to be found in their wives, viewed in a broader Quranic context, especially in relation to those verses that state that God created human beings from a single soul and its mate from that same soul, it is most likely an address to both men and women, telling of the manner in which God has extended His own Love and Mercy to them through the love and mercy that they manifest toward one another. In this sense, the purpose of marriage is not limited to producing children; it also represents a spiritual good in and of itself and a means by which men and women can encounter God's Love and Mercy in each other.

Compiled From:
"The Study Quran: A New Translation and Commentary" - Seyyed Hossein Nasr

Understanding The Prophet's Life

Mastering this World

We know that love of this world destroyed the first and last, and that it lies behind the shocking crimes which the elite classes commit against the common people, leaders against followers, and the intelligent against fools; but the sound cure for the chronic illness lies in mastery of this world and then rising above its baseness. It is good for you to possess more treasure than Qarun and wield wider powers than those of Sulayman if you then use that in support of the truth when the truth needs a buttress, and abandon it for Allah's sake when death is nigh. As for living in utter poverty and reckoning that vagrancy is the Path to the Garden, this is madness and self-deception. When atheism has imposed its power through control in the earth, your abandoning control of the earth is a worse outrage than fornication and usury.

Anas ibn Malik said, "Salman al-Farisi was fatally ill. Sad ibn Abi Waqqas visited him and saw that he was weeping. Sad asked him, 'What makes you weep, my brother? Did you not keep the company of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. Were you not this? Were you not that?' Salman replied, 'I am not weeping from either reluctance to leave this world nor dislike of going to the Next. But the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, made a contract with us, and it seems to me that I have only broken it!' Sad asked, 'What was your contract?' He said, 'He made a contract with us that each of us should have only what which is adequate, like the provision of the rider, and I think that I have exceeded that. As for you, Sad, fear Allah in your ruling when you give judgement, in your distribution when you divide, and in your plan when you decide!'" Al-Mundhiri said, "We read in the Sahih of Ibn Hibban that Salman's property was collected after his death and it amounted to fifteen dirhams."

Salman was one of the great and loyal Companions. The hadith shows that he feared to meet Allah even though he left only fifteen dirhams. This is a picture which evokes fear and humility: the sight of one of the commanders of the Islamic conquest meeting his Lord with this divestment and piety at a time when you see the generals and commanders full of this world without limits! But there is a question of fiqh here: Sad ibn Abi Waqqas, who was speaking with Salman, heard this directive from the Messenger of Allah: "It is better for you to leave your heirs rich than to leave them in need, begging from people." So a large legacy is certainly not a crime! Sad ibn Abi Waqqas was one of the ten promised the Garden, as we find in the Sunan, and those ten were all wealthy Muslims. There was not a poor man among them. Transmitters claim that one of them left so much gold that it was made into axes. The problem is not in owning vast wealth: the problem is in how to use it and how to spend it. In this world we have seen rich men who have built colleges to act as fortresses of knowledge and study, rich men who have combated illness and hardship with great vigour, and rich men who have offered their nations the taxes they paid to assist in matters of general public interest. Uthman ibn Affan offered a stupendous amount of money in preparing for the Expedition of Hardship, and the Messenger said, "O Allah, be pleased with Uthman! I am pleased with him." The fact is that the hadith of Salman only represents a particular psychological state and does not imply a general legal judgement.

Compiled From:
"The Sunna of the Prophet" - Muhammad al-Ghazali


Revolution and Religion

Every true revolution is a member of faith, exaltation, justice, longing, sacrifice, and death — the feelings which are beyond interest and existence. Everybody who took part in a revolution or followed its development from close by could affirm the presence of those ethical features. They saw it as an epic poem and not just a mechanical overthrow or a simple change of the ruling machinery. This might explain the inability of the workers in today's capitalist countries to revolt and, on the other hand, the enthusiasm of poets, artists, and other religious people for a revolution which can be atheistic in its declarations. Considered from the inside, not as a process but as a part of life, revolution appears as a drama which affects men as only religions do.

A community affected by the feelings of solidarity, sacrifice, and a common destiny is in a "state of religion." This is the atmosphere of "increased temperature," which appears in emergencies and at fests, when people feel like brothers and friends.

A society incapable of religion is also incapable of revolution. The countries in revolutionary fervour are the countries of living religious feelings as well. The feeling of brotherhood, solidarity, and justice — religious in their very essence — are in revolution turned to this world's justice, to this world's paradise.

Both religion and revolution are born in pain and suffering and die in well-being and comfort. Their true life is as long as their struggle to be realized. Their realization is their death. Both religion and revolution, in their stage of becoming real, produce institutions and structures which eventually suffocate them. The official institutions are neither revolutionary nor religious.

If a revolution had its adversaries in religion, it had them in the official religion only, in the church and hierarchy — the institutional, false religion. Conversely, the pseudo-revolution — revolution converted into structure, bureaucracy always had its ally in the religion converted into structure, into bureaucracy. Having begun to lie and betray itself, the revolution could go along with the false religion.

Compiled From:
"Islam Between East and West" - Alija Ali Izetbegovic, pp. 59, 60