Today's Reminder

July 05, 2022 | Dhuʻl-Hijjah 5, 1443

Living The Quran

Marked by God
Al-Dhariyat (The Scattering Winds) Chapter 51: Verses 33-34

"to bring down on them stones of clay, marked as from your Lord for those who transgressed all bounds."

These stones of clay, marked or made ready by God for those who transgress the bounds, like Lot's people who transgressed the bounds of human nature, truth and religion, may well be stones from a volcanic eruption brought out from deep inside the earth. In this respect, they are 'from your Lord,' aimed, in accordance with His will and the laws He sets in operation, against any transgressors He has marked. Thus, they are determined in time and place according to His absolute knowledge and His will. There is nothing to prevent their being aimed, within the framework of His will and laws, by angels.

Do we know the exact nature of God's angels? Do we know the nature of their relation to the universe and its inhabitants? Do we truly know the nature of the universal powers to which we give names according to what we may see of their characteristics? Why should we then question the news given to us by God, saying that He sent some of these forces at a certain point of time, to aim some powers in a particular form, against certain people, at a certain place? How can we question such news when all our knowledge consists of some theories and supposed interpretations concerning what appears to us of these powers and forces? Their reality remains far removed from us. Let these stones be volcanic resulting from an eruption nearby, or some other such stones. What difference does it make? Both are the same in His hand, as He has made both and the secret is known to Him. He may reveal the secret when and if He so wishes.

Compiled From:
"In the Shade of the Quran" - Sayyid Qutb, Vol 16, pp. 160, 161

From Issue: 701 [Read original issue]

Understanding The Prophet's Life

Lesson in Humility

In the eleventh year of Hijrah, the Prophet (peace be upon him) decided to send an expedition to the north, near Mutah and Palestine, where a few years earlier Jafar, Abdullah, and Zayd had been killed. To everyone's surprise, he gave the command to young Usamah, Zayd's son, who was only twenty years old, though this three-thousand-strong army included such men as Umar and other experienced Companions. This choice gave rise to much criticism, but the Prophet reacted very promptly and put an end to all arguments when he proclaimed: "You criticize the choice of Usamah to command the army, as you had formerly criticized that of his father Zayd. Usamah is truly worthy of the command I entrust him with, as his father was before him." [Ibn Hisham]

In the past, some Muslims had reacted to the choice of Zayd because they still considered him as a slave, though he had been freed; now some opposed the choice of his son, perhaps because of his father, but mostly because of his young age. By confirming his choice, the Prophet informed them that neither a man's social origin nor his age should prevent him from exerting authority and power if he possessed the spiritual, intellectual, and moral qualities required. One had to show discernment by offering the most destitute in society real equality of opportunity and trusting the young so that everybody could express their skills and talents.

On a general level, this was a fine lesson in humility addressed to older Companions: they were to experience the inner, greater jihad of obeying a man who could have been their son, and in so doing remember that their time was limited, like any man's. By that choice, the Prophet taught them that time naturally erodes one's energy, and one must be wise enough to learn to step aside, to delegate authority to those who are young and strong enough to create and build.

Compiled From:
"In The Footsteps of The Prophet" - Tariq Ramadan, pp. 200, 201

From Issue: 594 [Read original issue]

Cool Concepts

What's a Principle?

Principles are natural laws. Gravity is a principle. If you toss an apple into the air, it will come down, regardless of whether you live in New York or New Delhi, or whether you're alive today or in 2,000 B.C.

Just as there are principles that govern the physical world, there are principles that govern human interaction. Honesty, for example, is a principle. If you are honest with other people, you will earn their trust. If you are dishonest, you may fool people for some time but you'll eventually be found out - always. Other examples of principles are hard work, respect, service, focus, patience, responsibility, love, renewal, choice, and justice. There are dozens more.

The following is a transcript of an apocryphal radio conversation between a U.S. naval ship and Canadian authorities off the coast of Newfoundland. It illustrates what we mean by principles.

Americans: "Please divert your course 15 degrees to the north to avoid a collision."

Canadians: "Recommend you divert your course 15 degrees to the south to avoid a collision."

Americans: "This is the captain of a U.S. Navy ship. I say again, diver YOUR course."

Canadians: "No, I say again, you divert YOUR course."

Americans: "This is the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln, the second largest ship in the United States Atlantic fleet. We are accompanied by three destroyers, three cruisers, and numerous support vessels. I Demand that you change your course 15 degrees north. That's one-five degrees north, or countermeasures will be taken to ensure the safety of this ship."

Canadians: "This is a lighthouse. Your call."

Principles are like lighthouses. They're timeless, universal, and self-evident. You can't break principles; you can only break yourself against them, no matter who you are.

Since principles can never fail us, they are the best possible things to center our lives on. By centering on principles, all the other important aspects of our lives - friends, boyfriends and girlfriends, school and family - find their proper place. Ironically putting principles first is the key to doing better in all these other areas.

Compiled From:
"The 6 Most Important Decisions You'll Ever Make" - Sean Covey, pp. 17, 18

From Issue: 542 [Read original issue]