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Today's Reminder

August 16, 2022 | Muharram 18, 1444

Living The Quran

The Sculptor
Al-Waqiah (The Inevitable Event) Sura 56: Verses 58-59

"Have you seen the seed that you spill? Do you create it, or are We its creators?"

In this noble verse of the eternal, beginningless speech, the Presence of the Real makes manifest His power of creation over the world's folk so that they will know that the artisan without cause is He, the enactor without tool is He, the all-subjugating without cause is He, the all-forgiving without delay is He, the all-curtaining of every slip is He.

He is the Lord who created a subtle form from frail water and showed firm artisanry to a feeble sperm-drop. He set up many diverse paintings with "Be!", so it comes to be [2:117]: mutually similar limbs, opposites like unto each other, every limb adorned with one sort of beauty, not more than its limit, not less than its measure. To each He gave an attribute, and in each He placed a strength: senses in the brain, splendor on the forehead, beauty in the nose, sorcery in the eye, sauciness in the lips, comeliness in the cheek, perfect loveliness in the hair, envy in the liver, rancor in the spleen, appetite in the veins, faith in the heart, love in the secret core, recognition in the spirit. It is not apparent whether the artisanries in the natures are more beautiful, or if the governance of the form-giving is sweeter. What is this sculpture doing between subtle water and gross dust?! Since the Sculptor is one, how is it that there is this lowliness in individuals? So many marvels and wonders from a drop of water! The intelligent man gazes on His artisanry, but the heedless man is asleep.

Compiled From:
"Kashf al-Asrar wa Uddat al-Abrar" - Rashid al-Din Maybudi, p. 492

From Issue: 1055 [Read original issue]

Understanding The Prophet's Life

Stay Calm

A young companion of the Prophet from the Baliy tribe reports: 'I visited God's Messenger (peace be upon him) with my father, and he spoke to my father alone, without me hearing. I [later] asked my father: "What did he say to you?" He answered: "If you are set on doing something, you proceed with a measured pace until God shows you the way out of it, or until God has provided you with a way out".' [Bukhari]

Staying calm and keeping one's cool is the only way to guarantee proper thinking and well-considered action. In every situation, we need to look at the positive and the negative aspects of the measures we want to take. If we happen to be upset, angry, worried, complacent, careless, hasty, etc. we may overlook factors that are too important to lose sight of. Similarly, if we are keen to have or to avoid something, we may be blinded to the effect of having or avoiding it. Staying cool and maintaining a measured pace is the only course of action that reduces to a minimum the chances of taking wrong measures or steering the wrong way. Hence the Prophet's advice.

But we also detect a subtle element in the Prophet's advice. This is implied in the last part of the had?th: 'until God shows you the way out of it, or until God has provided you with a way out it'. This refers to the need to rely on God in all our affairs. With such reliance, we are able to handle matters in a better and well-considered way, trusting that God's help will not fail to come. Thus, if we are in a tight situation or a difficulty, He will provide a way out for us.

Compiled From:
"Al-Adab al-Mufrad with Full Commentary: A Perfect Code of Manners and Morality" - Adil Salahi

From Issue: 1025 [Read original issue]

Blindspot!

Ethical Counterpowers

Ethical counterpowers must emerge at the heart of civil societies as minds struggle against propaganda, lies, and disinformation. We must reconcile these factors with complex, in-depth debates and serious reading. This turn of mind must be allied to national and international actions that fight for the dignity of women and men, of citizens, foreigners, and immigrants; for the right to welfare, health, education, freedom, justice, and solidarity; and more broadly for the rule of law, independence, and pluralism. We must be ambitious without illusion and humble without naivete; the road will be very long. This is because the ambition to resist must be combined with humility about projects undertaken and results achieved.

This is in keeping with fundamental spiritual teachings: the imperative requirement of resisting with one's heart, conscience, and skills; determined patience and active perseverance to go on; confidence in the name of meaning, regardless of results. This is how Muslim spirituality, echoing all the spiritualities in the world, teaches the meaning of dignity. We should never turn into dreamers or idealists finding legitimacy in aspirations to a hereafter. We must look squarely at humans, hypocrisies, and lies; we must simplify nothing. Nothing will be changed, for instance, by denouncing wars and promoting wide-eyed, improbable pacifism. Lucidity requires us to denounce all aspects of the business of war and promote a profound, uncompromising ethics of peace. Victims have this right over our intelligence and commitments. What spirituality and meaning first and foremost require are competence, realism, consistency, and earnestness.

Compiled From:
"Radical Reform: Islamic Ethics and Liberation" - Tariq Ramadan, pp. 291, 292

From Issue: 728 [Read original issue]