Today's Reminder

September 21, 2023 | Rabiʻ I 6, 1445

Living The Quran

Days with God
Al-Hajj (The Pilgrimage) Chapter 22: Verse 47

"They challenge you to hasten the coming upon them of God's punishment. Let them know that God never fails to fulfill His promise; but a day with your Lord is like a thousand years in your reckoning."

This verse touches on certain important facts from the perspectives of astrophysics and the sociology of history:

First of all, it draws attention to the relativity of time. A time or duration which people see as being long may be very short in the sight of God. In addition, God Almighty does not consider time as people do. He is not contained by time or space, and His Wisdom that directs things and events considers each thing and event both as an individual entity and as an indispensable part of the general fabric of creation and history. As each thing in the universe has an intrinsic relationship not only with every other thing individually, but also with the whole universe at the same time, so too, is each event in human history interrelated with every other event individually and with the whole of history. Human beings cannot grasp this relationship in its entire web; they cannot know the past perfectly, grasp the present completely, nor guess the future well. Besides, the wheel of both the universe and history does not revolve according to the desires of human beings.

Secondly, a day for humanity is the time it takes the earth to make a single rotation around itself. The earth has another day, which consists of its revolution around the sun. This day lasts 365 days according to the reckoning of a day by humanity. So too does every other planet and all systems, like the solar system, have a day that is peculiar to each. This means that the concept of a day differs according to the planets and the systems.

Thirdly, God has laid out certain laws concerning human social life. He judges a community according to the creeds, world-view, and conduct of, at least, the majority. Thus, there are eras and ages in human history and eras of foundation, rising, fall, and decline for communities and civilizations. Thus, we can consider the whole life of a state or community or civilization as a day.

Compiled From:
"The Quran: Annotated Interpretation in Modern English" - Ali Unal, pp. 696, 697

From Issue: 607 [Read original issue]

Understanding The Prophet's Life

Among People

The Prophet, peace be upon him, never regarded himself as greater than anybody else. Only his radiant face and attractive person distinguished him from his Companions. He lived and dressed like the poorest people and sat and ate with them, just as he did with slaves and servants. Once a woman saw him eating and remarked: "He eats like a slave." The Messenger replied: "Could there be a better slave than me? I am a slave of God." [Haythami]

One time when he was serving his friends, a bedouin came in and shouted: "Who is the master of this people?" The Messenger answered in such a way that he introduced himself while expressing a substantial principle of Islamic leadership and public administration: "The people's master is the one who serves them." Ali says that among people the Messenger was one of them. When he and Abu Bakr reached Quba while emigrating to Madina, some Madinese who did not know what the Prophet looked like tried to kiss Abu Bakr's hands. The only external sign distinguishing one man from the other was that Abu Bakr seemed older than the Messenger. [Ibn Hisham]

Compiled From:
"The Messenger of God: Muhammad" - Fethullah Gulen, p. 298

From Issue: 634 [Read original issue]


Muslim Identity

There is no true faith without understanding: for a Muslim, this means to understand both the sources (the Quran and the Sunna) and the context within which he or she is living. The responsibility of every Muslim is based on this twofold aspect of “understanding”: that is to develop, in concomitance, an “intelligence of the texts” and an “intelligence of the context” in order to find the way to remain faithful to the Islamic teachings. This has been the fundamental teaching of Islamic legal practice since the time of the Prophet, unceasingly kept up by the great scholars over the centuries. As such, Muslim identity is not closed, confined within rigid and fixed principles. On the contrary, it is based on a permanent, dynamic and dialectic movement between the sources and the environment, in order to find a way to live in harmony. This is why the development of intellectual skills is so important in Islam and, as such, partakes of the foundations of Islamic teachings. The Muslim cannot be satisfied with a hypothetical state of nature: to be a Muslim means to strive in order to increase one’s capacity, to seek tirelessly to know more, to such an extent that, in light of Islamic sources, we could state that, once the dimension of worship has been mentioned, “to be a Muslim is to learn”.

The Muslim, having to act according to the Islamic teachings, should use this capacity to make choices between what is right and what is wrong, to find the best way to please God in whatever environment he finds himself. If it is plain that there is no choice without freedom, we have yet to add that there is no choice either without knowledge and, furthermore, comprehension. Choice and ignorance are antithetical words. Therefore the elements of Muslim identity which come immediately after faith and spirituality are comprehension based on knowledge and choice relying on freedom. Together they constitute the dimension of responsibility. Muslim identity is thus defined through an active and dynamic intelligence requiring knowledge, freedom and a sense of responsibility.

Compiled From:
"To Be A European Muslim" - Tariq Ramadan

From Issue: 844 [Read original issue]