July 05, 2022 | Dhuʻl-Hijjah 5, 1443
Covenant in God's Name
An-Nahl (The Bee) Sura 16: Verses 91-92
"And fulfill God's covenant when you have made the covenant, and do not break your oaths after having confirmed them; indeed, you have made God your guarantor. Surely God Knows all that you do. And do not be like her who destroys her yarn that she herself made strong, betraying by making your oaths a means of deception among yourselves in order that you may be a community greater in numbers than another community. In this, God is only testing you, and on the Day of Resurrection. He will certainly make clear to you all that on which you used to differ."
Any covenant which is made in God's Name means God's covenant. God's covenant consists of a "rope" of light woven from the threads of Divine Will, Wisdom, and Favouring, and functions as that which is responsible for order in the universe, and is able to establish peace, order, and harmony in the human life. It refers to the spiritual, moral, and social obligations that arise from one's belief in and worship of God, and to all pledges or promises a person gives to another by naming God. It is aimed at justice, good judgment, devotion to doing good, and mutual help in society, as well as the eradication of all evil, indecency and all shameful deeds - such as fornication, adultery, and all similar vices - including, too, insolence and offenses against one another. So, making a covenant with God calls for fulfilling all these obligations that arise from faith in Him, and fulfilling these obligations is a sign of true guidance, while breaking the covenant means misguidance and transgression.
In social life, individuals, communities, and nations or states enter into different treaties with one another on certain conditions, and God Almighty orders loyalty to them. No individual or community, relying on its power or material superiority, should be able to break the treaties and betray the conditions. We are strictly forbidden from making our religion merely a means to take advantage of others in our relations and agreements. It is interesting to note that during the Prophet's time, the Quraysh were prone to break their treaties with other tribes when a more powerful party offered them an alliance. Such vices are almost the norm in international affairs today. Islam commands more rigorous ethical and moral standards; a covenant is binding before both humankind and God.
"The Quran: Annotated Interpretation in Modern English" - Ali Unal, p. 558
From Issue: 582 [Read original issue]
Dangers of Procrastination
Those who are used to delaying things till a later time or like doing things last minute don’t realize the costs of procrastination.
Procrastinators think that tomorrow is guaranteed to them. How can they put off an immediate priority, an obligatory act, or a good deed till a time when they may not even be alive?
Even if they live till tomorrow, they cannot be certain that their day will free of obstacles and distractions. How can they be sure they will have the time and energy to carry out that action? The Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, used to call on Muslims to take the initiative to do good deeds before any problems arise.
For instance, he said, “Lose no time to do good deeds before you are caught up by one of seven calamities awaiting you:
1. a starvation which may impair your wisdom;
2. a prosperity which may mislead you;
3. an ailment which may damage your health;
4. an old age which may harm your senses;
5. a sudden death;
6. the Dajjal (Antichrist);
7. or Doomsday, which is indeed the hardest and most bitter.”
Procrastinators don’t appreciate the time, means, and opportunity Allah gives them to be productive. As Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, once stated, “Good health and spare time are two of the blessings of Allah with respect to which many people are deceived.” (Al-Bukhari)
Each day has its own share of work and each time has its own share of obligations. Therefore there is no such thing as idle time.
Postponement of good deeds and delaying of charitable acts leads people to become accustomed to ignoring them gradually. After a while they don’t even feel what good they are missing. Procrastination can eventually lead to sinning.
"Perils of Procrastination" - Taha Ghayyur
From Issue: 572 [Read original issue]
The family remains the constitutive point of reference for everyone. Equally, the modern epoch is characterised by the will for independence, freedom and individualism. One must make oneself on one's own, fly with one's own wings as soon as possible, and in this sense the familial space becomes something of a prison. Yet, to listen to any mother or father, we are persuaded that what everyone wants as best for their children is a balanced, open and serene familial environment. Daily life today, however, makes things increasingly difficult: couples are separating, break-ups are multiplying and imbalances increasing. No one is pleased at this state of affairs, any reading of divorce, and single-parent family statistics can only be accompanied by bitterness and anxiety.
The Islamic point of references is, in the most clearest of fashions, opposed to this splintering process. If modernity can only be obtained at this price, then we understand why the Quran and the Sunna reject the actualisation of such modernisation. Similarly, if the whole world is caught in the rising of this vogue, being ashamed to refer to the family, then the Muslim, wherever he is, should remind others of its importance, its meaning and its finality. The family makes the human being. To ask man to be without family is tantamount to asking an orphan to give birth to his own parents. How can man do it?
Islam does not depart from the sense of this priority. It is an obligation for all Muslim societies not to spare anything in their effort to preserve those structures which allow for respect of family life. This includes work, education, taxes and allowances and even policies of urbanisation which we know today can have a huge impact on the private lives of city dwellers.
"Islam, the West and the Challenges of Modernity" - Tariq Ramadan, pp. 36, 37
From Issue: 610 [Read original issue]