Tried and Tested, Loving the Prophet, Participation
Issue 943 » April 21, 2017 - Rajab 24, 1438
Tried and Tested
Al-Baqara (The Cow) Sura 2: Verse 155
Though caused by the hostility and machinations of enemies, these trials are governed by sunnatullah or the law laid down by Allah in order to sort out the true from the false and truth from falsehood. That is why these trials are attributed to Allah, Who says emphatically, "We will test you." The followers of truth according to Allah's decree, are definitely tried and tested. It is only through these tests that the capabilities of people flourish and develop, and the true and the false among them are set apart and fully distinguished. Without undergoing such a test, no group can qualify to receive Allah's infinite blessings in the Hereafter.
In this connection, the first test mentioned is fear, which means fear of assault or attack by enemies. This fear is qualified by the phrase bi shay in min (with something of). This is clearly meant to encourage the Muslims by telling them that they will be tested with such a state of fear, it will nevertheless not be more than necessary to test their resolve and patience. Therefore, instead of losing heart, they should face these tests with fortitude and steadfastness.
The word ju or hunger in the text refers to the economic hardships and the state of fear that the Muslims could face in the event of an economic embargo against them by their allied enemies. The separate mention of 'goods and 'fruit' may be explained by the fact that the main wealth of Arabs consisted of either camels, sheep and goats for which they used the term 'goods'. But fruits, especially dates, had a special place in the desert conditions of Arabia and so this is mentioned separately from 'goods'. The verse concludes with good news for those who despite all these hardships and tests, remained firm and steadfast, without wavering or showing any weakness in their commitment to truth. This glad news, as is apparent from other places in the Quran, includes success both in this life and in the life to come.
"Pondering Over The Qur'an: Surah al-Fatiha and Surah al-Baqarah" - Amin Ahsan Islahi
Loving the Prophet
In many narrations (hadiths), Prophet Muhammad defines the role of loving him specifically — and not simply loving the religion or his teachings. This spark of personal love within the heart is what prevents a beautiful religion from becoming nothing more than an ideology. Prophet Muhammad himself said, "None of you shall have [complete] faith until I am more beloved to him than his children, parents, and all other people." [Ibn Majah] On another occasion he said the same thing and added, "than one's own self." [Bukhari] Here, we see that the powerful force of love directed toward the Beloved of God is a prerequisite to having complete faith. Fortunately for those seeking divine grace and complete faith, never has God created one so easily loved.
In addition to completing your faith, loving Prophet Muhammad s affects your destination in the afterlife (akhirah). A man once came to the Prophet and asked him when the Day of Judgment will come. Since he was asking about such a momentous event — when we are placed before the Almighty and held to account — the Prophet replied, "What have you done in preparation for it?" The Prophet wanted to teach that one should not be concerned about when the Last Day would be, but rather about how to prepare for the momentous meeting with the Almighty Himself. The man replied, "I have not prepared for it with a lot of prayer or fasting or charity, but I love God and His Messenger." The Prophet said, "You will be with the one you love." [Bukhari] From this, we learn the immense need to examine the objects of our adoration, as they have other-worldly effects.
How can we tell if a person truly loves Prophet Muhammad? Such a person strives to follow his Prophetic Way (Sunnah) and to embody all of his teachings, fulfilling his commands and avoiding the things he forbade. Also, a person who loves the Prophet will exhibit the proper respect towards him, feeling a sense of reverence at the very mention of his name. Such a person will be sure to send blessings upon him upon hearing his name. Loving the Prophet also enhances one's motivation to follow him. In this manner, the duty to love and the duty to follow reinforces the other.
"Being Muslim: A Practical Guide" - Asad Tarsin, pp. 125, 126
We are not born spectators, here or elsewhere. Wherever they may be, those who "carry the faith and do good" are participants. Yet to be a participant one must first understand the environment, evaluate equilibriums, determine priorities, measure constraints. Somewhere between the fear of becoming lost and the necessity to reform, lies the path that will allow for true promotion of good, and resistance to what is unjust and bad.
In Europe, this does not mean to be integrated, accepted, appreciated, or even liked; the first foundation of our being and our identity with respect to our environment is to be respected, no more and no less, especially no less. We must also hope for and promote sincere recognition, friendship, and mutual affection. This is the first requirement and it determines all of the rest.
One must therefore begin by being respected: for all that, it may happen that we are not respected because we do not know how to be or, even worse, because we are not very respectable. Our participation begins here: recognition for who we are, citizens or residents, Muslims, clear about ourselves, certain of our identity and our rights.
Emanating from this prerequisite is our participation in society, education, economics, politics, academia, and culture. Our presence and contributions in everyday life are important in every area within a framework of active citizenship and in the light of an ethical consciousness: alongside people of goodwill we [must] reform our present, build our future, revisit our past, and our memories. Our presence consists of promoting all of this and it is no small task.
"Western Muslims: From Integration to Contribution" - Tariq Ramadan