Today's Reminder

April 20, 2024 | Shawwal 11, 1445

Living The Quran

Al-Ahzab (The Confederates)
Chapter 33: Verse 35

Equal Footing
"For Muslim men and women, for believing men and women, for devout men and women, for true men and women, for men and women who are patient and constant, for men and women who humble themselves, for men and women who give in charity, for men and women who fast, for men and women who guard their chastity, and for men and women who engage much in Allah's praise, for them has Allah prepared forgiveness and great reward."

Initially, Quranic verses used only the masculine plural form to refer to the women and men in the new faith community. For years, "believers" (al-muminun), and "the truthful" (as-sadiqun), either referred specifically to men or to the men and women who constituted the Prophet's first Companions. Once, a woman (or several, according to the different traditions) asked the Prophet why women were not explicitly mentioned in the revealed message. The Book - which, while revealing a universal message, also included responses to the questions asked by the Men around the Prophet - was later to mention women and men distinctively, as in the above verse.

This evolution of the message is part of divine teaching in the process of revelation carried out over twenty-three years: the faithful are thus led to evolve in their understanding of things and critically reconsider some of their cultural or social practices. The status of women, who were sometimes killed at birth because of the shame they might bring, was to be reformed in stages, as verses were revealed.

It thus appeared more and more clearly that the Quran's message and the Prophet's attitude were apt to free women from the cultural shackles of Arab tribes and clans and from the practices of the time. The Creator addresses women as being on an equal footing with men, their status as beings and believers is the same as men's, and the requirements of worship are absolutely identical.

Compiled From:
"Radical Reform: Islamic Ethics and Liberation" - Tariq Ramadan, pp. 209, 210

From Issue: 505 [Read original issue]

Understanding The Prophet's Life

Source of Forgiveness

The fast is a source of forgiveness for one's sins. Hence, it removes the effects and stain of these sins from one's heart, leaving the heart pure again. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said,

"Whoever fasts the month of Ramadan with faith and hoping for its reward (ihtisab) shall have all of his previous sins forgiven for him." [Bukhari, Muslim]

Al-Khataabi notes that the meaning of ihtisab means with resolve, hoping for its reward while being pleased to perform it without considering it something heavy or a hardship. Hence, the true believer for whom the fasting will have its desired effect of removing or effacing his previous sins approaches the fast with a desire and love for it. He does not consider it a burden nor does he participate in it lackadaisically, with some heavy burden on his shoulder, being lazy and complaining until it is time to break the fast.

Compiled From:
"Purification of the Soul: Concept, Process and Means" - Jamaal al-Din M. Zarabozo, pp. 239, 240

From Issue: 543 [Read original issue]


Love and Law

The Shariah experiences no tension between 'love' and 'law' or between 'faith' and 'deeds'. Both are integrated into a harmonious whole.

Guiding people to the Din, the Way, through the Shariah is an act of God's greatest mercy, kindness and love. Wherever the 'sending down of the Book' is mentioned in the Quran, the attributes of mercy, wisdom and omnipotence are also mentioned.

The very distinction between love and law is alien to the temper of Islam and incomprehensible in its vision. Love is all-embracing; how can it even conceive of displeasing the Beloved and ignoring the guidance given by Him? How can One who loves His creatures leave them wandering and groping in darkness to find answers to the complex problem of life?

Compiled From:
Islam: The Way of Revival, "Inner Dimensions of the Shariah" - Khurram Murad, p. 194

From Issue: 729 [Read original issue]