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Today's Reminder

June 24, 2021 | Dhuʻl-Qiʻdah 14, 1442

Living The Quran

Counter Evil
Al-Maidah (The Table Spread) Sura 5: Verse 8

"O ye who believe! stand out firmly for Allah, as witnesses to fair dealing, and let not the hatred of others to you make you swerve to wrong and depart from justice. Be just: that is next to piety: and fear Allah. For Allah is well-acquainted with all that ye do."

We witness daily that all over the world injustice is prevalent in many societies. People usually tolerate injustice either because they lack courage or fear the consequences of raising their voices. Some are keen to appease despotic regimes and tolerate the crimes committed by tyrants for purely material gain, and they do not want to upset the status quo. Nevertheless, it is an individual as well as the collective responsibility not to betray the truth and abandon the struggle to counter the forces of evil. One has to forego the short-term benefits and fight for what is right and support those who are standing up for justice. This is the clear message given in the above verse, that one should not deviate from justice even when dealing with one's enemies.

Compiled From:
"Treasures of the Qur'an: Surah al-Fatihah to Surah al-Mai'dah" - Abdur Rashid Siddiqui

From Issue: 976 [Read original issue]

Understanding The Prophet's Life

Constant Anticipation

The Prophet Muhammad, upon him be peace, was a true man of God in both his thoughts and his behaviour, so that he took advantage of every opportunity to remember Allah, to greet Him, to express his love for Him, and to give witness to His oneness. Thus, it is related on the authority of Ibn Umar that whenever the Prophet, upon him be peace, saw the new moon he would say, 'Allah is the Greatest! O Allah, let this moon rise above us in good fortune and faith, in peace and Islam, and in success in the achievement of that which is pleasing to, and loved by You! Our Lord, and the Lord of the moon is Allah!" In another narration it is related that he would say:

'A new moon of blessings and guidance! A new moon of blessings and guidance! A new moon of blessings and guidance! I believe in Allah, the one that created you! (Three times). Praise to Allah who has taken away the month of ______ and ushered in the month of ______.'

Such is the heart of the true believer. A heart which beats in constant anticipation of the time appointed for the praising of the One who changes night into day; which awaits with optimism the coming favour of the Lord and bids farewell to favours past. Time, to such a believer, is a grant to be spent in the service of Allah. Thus, not a moment of that ephemeral quantity is spent in negligence or frivolity, but rather in prayer, in fasting, in jihad, and in unending effort to lead mankind to knowledge of their Creator.

Compiled From:
"Remembrance And Prayer" - Muhammad Al-Ghazali, pp. 127, 128

From Issue: 770 [Read original issue]

Blindspot!

Intractable Dilemmas

We have created an interconnected world. It is true that we are dangerously polarized, but we are also linked together more closely than ever before. When shares fall in one region, markets plummet all around the globe. What happens in Palestine and Iraq today can have repercussions tomorrow in New York, London, or Madrid. We are connected electronically so that images of suffering and devastation in a remote Syrian village or an Iraqi prison are instantly beamed around the world. We all face the possibility of environmental or nuclear catastrophe. But our perceptions have not caught up with the realities of our situation, so that in the First World we still tend to put ourselves in a special privileged category. Our policies have helped to create widespread rage and frustration, and in the West we bear some responsibility for the suffering in the Muslim world that Bin Laden was able to exploit. "Am I my brother's guardian?" The answer must surely be yes.

War, it has been said, is caused "by our inability to see relationships. Our relationship with our economic and historical situation. Our relationship with our fellowmen. And above all our relationship to nothingness. To death." [John Fowles, The Magus] We need ideologies today, religion or secular, that help people to face up to the intractable dilemmas of our current "economic and historical situation" as the prophets did in the past. Even though we no longer have to contend with the oppressive injustice of the agrarian empire, there is still massive inequality and an unfair imbalance of power. But the dispossessed are no longer helpless peasants; they have found ways of fighting back. If we want a viable world, we have to take responsibility for the pain of others and learn to listen to narratives that challenge our sense of ourselves. All this requires the "surrender," selflessness, and compassion that have been just as important in the history of religion as crusades and jihads.

Somehow we have to find ways of doing what religion - at its best - has done for centuries: build a sense of global community, cultivate a sense of reverence and "equanimity" for all, and take responsibility for the suffering we see in the world. We are all, religious and secularist alike, responsible for the current predicament of the world.

Compiled From:
"Fields of Blood" - Karen Armstrong, pp. 399-401

From Issue: 826 [Read original issue]