June 25, 2021 | Dhuʻl-Qiʻdah 15, 1442
Scripture and Prayer
Al-Araf (The Heights) Chapter 7: Verse 170
The very expression, "hold fast to the Scriptures", gives a vivid image that we can almost see and feel. It is the image of holding the book with strength and seriousness. This is how God likes His book to be approached, without rigidity or narrow-mindedness. Strength and seriousness are totally different from rigidity and narrow-mindedness. They are not opposed to ease, broad vision and compatibility with day-to-day life, but they are opposed to looseness, carelessness, and giving human practices precedence over God's law. Indeed, what people do must always be subject to God's law.
Holding fast with strength and seriousness to what God has revealed and attending regularly to prayers, which is here a reference to all aspects of worship, are the twin essential factors of the divine method that aims at setting human life on the right footing. The way this Quranic verse clearly links holding fast to the Scriptures with attending to worship is significant. It shows that implementing divine revelations in human life gives it the right basis, and that proper worship reforms human rights. Thus, the two operate in everyday life as well as in human hearts and set them both aright. This is further emphasized by the reference to doing right at the conclusion of the verse.
The plain fact is that all human life suffers as a result of abandoning these two essential factors of the divine method. When the revealed message is taken lightly, it has no effect on everyday life, and when worship is abandoned, people's hearts become prone to corruption. This leads to evading the law, as was the practice of the people of earlier Scriptures. The same applies to the followers of any Scripture when their hearts take worship lightly, and in consequence, their fear of God weakens.
The divine system is a complete whole, which establishes life on the basis of a divine writ, and reforms hearts through worship. Thus, hearts are healthy and human life is also wholesome. That is the divine method, which is abandoned in preference for another only by those who are bound to suffer misery in this world and punishment in the life to come.
"In The Shade of The Quran" - Sayyid Qutb, Vol. 6. 254, 255
From Issue: 712 [Read original issue]
The building of a masjid (the place where one prostrates oneself) institutes a specific sacralised space within the primary and essential sacrality of the universe as a whole; as the Prophet said, "The whole earth is a masjid" [Bukhari, Musilm]. Once built, the masjid becomes the axial space of the Muslim spiritual community in which it is situated, but it also expresses the reality of settlement, of acceptance of the hosting space, which is then turned into a space for oneself, a home. Indeed, the presence of the masjid reveals that a place has been adopted as home, and that the believing conscience is "at home" because the place of worship, a reminder of meaning, has been set up. The Prophet's repeated act is in itself a teaching: whatever the exile or journey, whatever the movement or departure, one must never lose sight of meaning and direction. Masjids tell of meaning, direction, and settlement.
"In The Footsteps of The Prophet" - Tariq Ramadan, pp. 83, 84
From Issue: 511 [Read original issue]
Clothes of Death
You who have resolved to meet God and who have now come to the place of the appointed time must change your clothes behind the scene of the drama.
Clothes? That which the you-ness of you, the yourness of your being human has wound within it, worn; for clothes cover a person and what a great lie that a person wears clothes!
The word clothes (libas) has a very meaningful sense, as well, which is understood in its verb form. Iltibaz means mistake! To make a mistake! Clothes are a sign, are a separation, a manifestation, a mystery, a degree, a title, a privilege. The colour, design and quality of it all mean:
Me! And me means not you. Not you. Not us. It means distinction. It means boundary and, thus, separation. And this 'me' is a race. It is a nation. It is a class. It is a group. It is a family. It is a degree. It is a situation. It is a value. It is an individual. It does not mean being human.
Boundaries are numerous in the land of humanity. The sharp blade of the three-fold executioners of history-the children of Cain-has fallen into the midst of the children of Adam and has, piece by piece, cut humanity's unity into: master-servant, ruler-condemned, full-hungry, rich-poor, master-slave, oppressor-oppressed, colonialist-colonized, exploiter-exploited, brainwasher-brainwashed, powerful-weak, wealthy-agent, deceiver-deceived, aristocrat-abased, spiritual-physical, noble-common, landlord-serf, employer-labourer, prosperous-wretched, white-black, eastern-western, civilized-uncivilized, Arab-non-Arab.
Humanness has been divided up into races. Races into nations. Nations into Classes. Classes into sects, groups and families. Inside of each, again, position, reputation, degrees and honorary titles exist. Bit by bit they form an individual, a 'me' and all of these in different clothes.
Throw them at the appointed time. Put on the shroud. Wash out all colours. Whiten and harmonize with all colours. Become all. Emerge from your me-ness like a snake which sheds its skin. Become the people. Take off life's clothes. Put on the clothes of death. Throw away all ornaments, signs, colours and patterns which the hand of life has clasped over your body. Throw them all away at the appointed time. Become human. Be as you were in the beginning. Be one. Human being (adam). And as you will become in the end.
"Hajj: Reflection on its Rituals" - Ali Shariati
From Issue: 908 [Read original issue]