April 15, 2021 | Ramadan 3, 1442
Al-Nisa (The Women)
Chapter 4: Verse 49
All acts and thoughts of those who are abundantly proud are directed towards earning the appreciation of others, and of making themselves out to be superior. For this reason, they excessively fear making mistakes. For them, making mistakes is a form of humiliation. They have total confidence in themselves, yet, paradoxically, feel the constant worry of doing the wrong thing. The arrogant ardently avoid all kinds of mistakes; making a mistake for them is an embarrassment. Therefore, they deny even the possibility. They are in a constant struggle to escape accusation of any faults. In the above verse, Allah describes a disposition of these people.
The arrogant humiliate others when they discover their mistakes. They exaggerate the errors other people make, taking every opportunity to bring these to light. They show no pity for anyone who commits an error, and become condescending towards them. They erroneously assume that if they reveal others' mistakes they make apparent their own faultlessness. Therefore, no one can feel at ease in their company. Such people always create an atmosphere of negativity.
Due to these reprehensible qualities, the arrogant can never master sincerity in its true sense. They remain deprived of this quality because they are aloof, always scheming. Such traits hinder them from being sincere towards others, being the reason why others distance themselves from them. They always fear that sincere behaviour, or natural shortcomings may become an object of ridicule. Due to their bad character, the arrogant are usually abandoned by others when they lose their power or fortune. Yet, we need to remember that, even at those times when they feel they are powerful, they are still alone in their own inner-world, so distant from the morality of the Quran.
"The Arrogance of Satan" - Harun Yahya
From Issue: 519 [Read original issue]
The Prophet (upon him be peace) hated illness, and incurable disease in particular. Who among us enjoys a fever,or cancer? The desire for good health is both natural and human - only a pervert enjoys pain. Quite rightly then, the Prophet asks his Lord for the well-being of his senses and organs, seeking refuge in Him from illness, incapacity and decrepitude:
'O Allah! I seek refuge in You from leprosy, madness, and all horrible illness.'
It is well-known aspect of the Prophet's biography that he was a well-built man and he could throw a wrestler, he was capable of travelling great distances without tiring, and he was fully conditioned to bear the hardships of armed struggle in the way of jihad. It is then quite bizarre to find people arguing that emaciation and gauntness are signs of true piety.
The Prophet Muhammad was the sublime exemplar and true to human nature in his beseeching the Lord to distance him from all calamity and illness. So, whenever a Muslim (in spite of his constant beseeching of the Lord in the manner of the Prophet) is beset by worldly troubles, he bears with them, and submits to the will of Allah, while repeating what the Prophet taught us to say at such a time: 'Verily, unto Allah is what He takes, and unto Him is what He gives.'
"Remembrance And Prayer" - Muhammad Al-Ghazali, pp. 96-101
From Issue: 781 [Read original issue]
Subtlety and Complexity
Listening to a woman or a man, being attentive to their expectations, to their problems, to their doubts, is acceding to complexity. Our concept of the world may be simple, our principles may be crystal clear, but life is complicated – as are the hearts and intelligences of every one of us. Anyone who is attentive and to his own needs others knows this. It is strange indeed that what we know almost instinctively in our daily and emotional relationships should vanish into thin air as soon as we consider others, belonging to another religion, another culture, and another history. Here, our relations are built on concise, quick, clear-cut, almost definitive information: as if we wanted to understand our friends deeply, but found it sufficient to gather superficial information about other people’s realities. We give some people, out of friendship and love, what we refuse others out of indifference and prejudice. Yet all the time we advocate dialogue. What we know about others seems obvious, not because we have taken the time to listen to them and to understand, but because we have heard it repeated again and again. With speed and the era of satellite communications, the obvious, what is obvious to us, has changed in nature.
It is vital that we relearn the meaning of study, of in-depth understanding, and accede together to a deeper perception of the complexity on which other people’s lives are organised. Listening, learning to understand again, admitting at times that we do not understand, are all paths leading to deep, subtle thought, often silent and without judgement. Our enemies today are caricature and prejudice: lack of information used to keep us ignorant of some cultures, some realities or some events; now sketchy, superficial information, if not misinformation, gives us the illusion of knowledge. But today’s illusion is far more dangerous than yesterday’s ignorance: it breeds complacency, definitive judgements and intellectual dictatorships. The movement goes both ways: one should, on the one hand, be careful to avoid simplification, and on the other hand, grant others access to the complexity of one’s being and perceptions. This seems to be the challenge of dialogue in a culturally-plural society.
"To Be A European Muslim" - Tariq Ramadan
From Issue: 839 [Read original issue]