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Today's Reminder

May 21, 2022 | Shawwal 19, 1443

Living The Quran

No Compromise
Al-Qalam (The Pen) Sura 68: Verses 8-9

"So pay no heed to those who deny the truth. They would love that you compromise with them, so that they will also compromise."

A person with faith will not abandon any of its beliefs or values, because its minor points are the same as its major ones. Indeed, in faith there is nothing minor and nothing major: both are the same. A faith is single unity with parts complementing each other. Its advocate will never discard any part of it in order to please someone else.

Islam and Jahiliyyah can never meet halfway or indeed in any way. This is true of Islam everywhere and across all generations. All states of ignorance, or jahiliyyah, are the same: past, present or future. The gulf that separates the two states is unbridgeable and admits no compromise. The two are diametrically opposed.

Several reports speak of what the unbelievers in Makkah tried to achieve by way of compromise with the Prophet so that they would stop criticizing their worship methods. They hoped that he would give them something that would save their faces if they were to follow him. The Prophet, however, maintained a decisive firmness, refusing to give up even a small part of his faith. Additionally, he was extremely well mannered, kind and benevolent towards his tribesmen, eager to make things easy for them. With regard to faith, he was committed, obedient to God's instructions.

The Prophet did not compromise any iota of his faith even during the direst period of his life in Makkah, where he and his few followers were under siege, suffering immense persecution. He never withheld a word that needed to be uttered in the face of such tyrants. He never sought to soften their stance or to avoid their persecution by such compromise. Nor did he ever hesitate to clarify any point that was closely or remotely relevant to his faith.

Compiled From:
"In the Shade of the Quran" - Sayyid Qutb, Vol 17, pp. 185-186

From Issue: 672 [Read original issue]

Understanding The Prophet's Life

Balanced Attitude

Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, regarded extremism indin(way of life) as a basic fault of the people before the advent of Islam. He said:

"Beware, do not adopt extremism, because your predecessors got annihilated by adopting extremist attitudes indin."[Muslim]

Extremist, rigid and strict attitudes did not exist during the time of Prophet Muhammad. The Prophet himself, as can be gathered from documented evidence, was very tolerant, he listened to others with respect, avoided arguments and quarrels and adopted the best available course of action even though it may have been suggested by someone else.There was a balance between his personal, family, social and public life.

Acquiring a deep and balanced understanding of Islam assists in leading a balanced and moderate personal and social life. However, some people are found to give more emphasis to certain aspects of Islam over others, or they place unjustified burdens on themselves that have no reference in the Islamic sources of guidance.

Islam enjoins wisdom, balance, moderation and tolerance in all affairs, and it condemns excessiveness, extravagance and fanatical attitudes. To achieve a balanced attitude, Muslims need to understand the objectives of Islam, stay close to Islamic guidance, and give as much weight to an aspect of Islam as the noble Prophet of Allah (peace be upon him) and his faithful Companions gave, no more and no less.

Extremist attitudes, practices and customs, make their entrance into an organisation, community or groups, through various ways:

  • through views based on ignorance,
  • superficial knowledge,
  • imbalanced understanding, or
  • impatience.

Extremism is bred when certain verses of the Quran, sayings of the noble Prophet or certain of his deeds are exaggerated or understood out of their context. It even arises from exaggerated love or hate of someone or something.

Extremism is a disease and leads to intolerance, disrespect, inflexibility and cause conflict amongst people. These, in the long-run, destroy communities and are, therefore, alien to Islam because Islam is the "middle" way.

An extremist temperament is one of the major causes of Muslim disunity and weakness today. Cultivation of moderation and balance in people's temperaments is required for reforming the affairs of the world according to Islam.Muslims must avoid extremism and rigidity, learn and observe the ethics of disagreement is Islam, and show respect and tolerance to differing views and opinions that are within the boundaries of Islam.

Compiled From:
"Building A New Society" - Zahid Parvez, pp. 200, 201

From Issue: 664 [Read original issue]

Blindspot!

God Knows Best

It has become common in the modern age to use the authority of the Author (God) to justify the despotism of the reader. In effect, by claiming that the only relevant consideration is the Will of the Author, the reader is able to displace the Author and set himself as the sole voice of authority. In essence, the reader becomes God. The displacement of God's authority with that of the reader is an act of despotism, and a corruption of the logic of Islamic law. Islamic law is founded on the logic of a Principal Who guides through instructions. Those instructions are issued to the agents who have inherited the earth and who are bound to the Principal by a covenant. The point of the covenant is not to live according to the instructions, but to attempt to do so. Searching the instructions is a core value in itself - regardless of the results, searching the instructions is a moral virtue. This is not because the instructions are pointless, but because the instructions must remain vibrant, dynamic, open, and relevant. It is impossible for a human being to represent God's Truth - a human being can only represent his or her own efforts in search of this truth. The ultimate and unwavering value in the relationship between human beings and God is summarized in the Islamic statement, "And, God knows best."

Deferring to God and honouring the text (instructions), requires a human being to exercise self-restraint in speaking for God and the text. But discharging the obligations of human agency mandates that the reader (agent) take his or her role very seriously by aggressively and vigorously investigating both God and God's instructions. "God knows best" is not an invitation to intellectual complacency and smugness, but, as the Quran states, to realize that "over every knowledgeable person is a One more knowledgeable." [Quran 12:76] Submission to God is at the core of the Islamic creed, but it does not mean blind submission to those who claim to represent God's law, and it does not mean submitting to the contentment and comfort of arrogant self-reference. Submission to God means the will and act of engaging the intellect and body in the pursuit of God, but also the humility of knowing that no intellect or body can ever fully represent God. The Quran sums up this point by reminding the Prophet that even he has not been sent to control or dominate people, but to admonish and teach. [Quran 88:21-22]

Compiled From:
"Speaking in God's Name: Islamic Law, Authority and Women" - Khaled Abou El Fadl

From Issue: 998 [Read original issue]