Today's Reminder

December 05, 2021 | Rabiʻ II 29, 1443

Living The Quran

Al-Maida (The Table Spread) Chapter 5: Verse 88 (partial)

"Eat of what God has provided you as a lawful (halal) and good (tayyib)."

Tayyib is an adjective, the most basic semantic function of which is to denote any quality that strikes the sense - the sense of taste and odour, in particular - as very delightful, pleasant, and sweet. As would be expected, it is most frequently used to qualify food, water, perfume, and the like.

It is noteworthy that in the case of food, which, as everybody knows, constitutes an important item among those things that tend to be surrounded by all sorts of taboos, the Quran brings in the specific idea of 'sanctification', by associating tayyib with halal which means 'lawful' in the sense of 'free from all taboo'. So in this particular sense tayyib becomes almost a synonym of halal.

Compiled From:
"Ethico Religious Concepts in the Quran" - Toshihiko Izutsu, p. 235

From Issue: 793 [Read original issue]

Understanding The Prophet's Life

God's Power

The cause of covetousness, according to Sidi Ahmad al-Zarruq, is heedlessness (ghafla). A person permits himself to forget that blessings are from God alone. No good or harm can come to one except by God's leave. This level of heedlessness is not a casual lapse of memory. People can become so terribly preoccupied with seeking things from other people, they become heedless of God's power and ownership. When this happens, a person opens his or her heart to all kinds of spiritual diseases. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, "Know that if an entire nation were to gather together to benefit you with anything, it would benefit you only with something that God had already prescribed for you. And if [an entire nation] were to gather together to harm you, it would harm you only with something that God had already prescribed for you." [Tirmidhi]

When the topic of God's power is discussed, questions often arise about those who hold rancor in their hearts to the degree that they wish harm to come to others. There is real concern about the affliction these people can cause. It is necessary to remember that when a person is straight with God—observant of His commands, avoiding what He has prohibited, and going beyond the mere obligations and remembering Him often through litanies, voluntary acts of worship, and generosity in charity—the evil prayers of others will not prevail.

Compiled From:
"Purification of the Heart" - Hamza Yusuf

From Issue: 989 [Read original issue]


Continual Sacrifices

Some great sacrifices are such as are made once in life, like that of life. Some are very minor but must be made continuously. Their continuing nature makes them important because of many intangible aspects:

Firstly, they require you to be ever-alert and watchful lest opportunities come and find you napping, indifferent, unmindful or unable to recognize them.

Secondly, they require a steady and constant will, which requires a greater effort to maintain it.

Thirdly, they are too small to qualify as acts of heroism. But they are no less effective for character-building, social organization and success. Even a drop of water falling steadily and persistently may make a hole in a rock.

Fourthly, they are not called forth in moments of crisis; rather they must be made in the ordinary run of daily living. Despite being minor in nature, this makes them harder to offer. For faced with a great challenge, under an acute crisis, looking forward to an immense reward, it is always easier to summon all your inner resources, to summon the greatest will, to offer the best. Such is human nature.

In a way we are required to make small, very small, sacrifices every moment in life. For at every step and every moment we are faced with a choice - however small - to go one way or to go the other way. Every choice made to please Allah means taking a decision to sacrifice something. Even, as you choose to offer Fajr (morning) Prayer, you sacrifice your sleep and the warmth of your bed.

There are sacrifices to be made in regular day to day living - in home, in work place, in market, in social contact, in organizational work, even in privacy - which are likely to be missed. They are more difficult to make simply because they are not even recognized as suitable stuff for sacrifice.

Compiled From:
"Sacrifice: The Making of a Muslim" - Khurram Murad, pp. 27, 28

From Issue: 687 [Read original issue]