loading

Today's Reminder

December 05, 2021 | Rabiʻ II 29, 1443

Living The Quran

Occasions of Revelation
Al Maidah (The Table Spread) - Chapter 5: Verse 93

"No harm falls upon those who believe and do good works for what they have consumed as long as they are conscious of God and believe and do good works and then are conscious of God and believe and then are conscious of God and do good. Verily, God loves those who do good."

The occasions of revelation (asbab al-nuzul) give context for Quranic statements for which there may or may not be correlating information for the Sunna. Without the background of the occasions of revelation, the normative value of many Quranic statements could be misunderstood if the verses are read in a literal fashion.

There is a report that some early Muslims understood this verse to permit believers to consume alcohol. The claim that this verse permits a sincere believer to consume anything he wishes was contested by one of the Companions, who said, "If they had known the occasion of revelation they would not have said that: (the occasion) is that when wine was forbidden [by Quran 5:90], people used to say, 'What about those who were killed in the path of God [before this prohibition] and died after they had been drinking wine which is an abomination?' Then this verse was revealed."

The point of this verse, then, is not that the sacred law is waived for those who have faith and do good works, but that those who are ignorant of the law will not be punished for lack of compliance with it. What this shows is that a decontextualized reading of the Quran can lead to a grave misunderstanding of its meaning.

Compiled From:
"The Story of The Quran: Its History and Place in Muslim Life" - Ingrid Mattson, p. 198

From Issue: 681 [Read original issue]

Understanding The Prophet's Life

Changing Hearts

A person will be judged according to his belief and actions at the time of his death. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, "A person does the deeds of the People of Hell while he is from the People of Paradise. And a person does the deeds of the People of Paradise and he is from the People of Hell. And verily the deeds are based on their final [deeds]." [Bukhari.] In reality, this is a very scary thought. It means that every Muslim must be on guard at all times to make sure that he does not stray from the straight path. He cannot look to his present deeds and feel assured because it could be that he changes his ways and starts performing the deeds of the people of the Hell-fire. Hence, he must always be on his toes. He must always pursue those avenues that strengthen his faith, revive it or keep it strong. And he must always stay away from those avenues that weaken and damage his faith, as he does not know what they may lead him to and he may end up dying in a wretched state.

It is a simple thing for a person's heart to change. The Arabic word for heart, qalb, comes from the fact that it can change completely from one direction to another. The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, "It is only called the qalb (heart) because of how it can change. The similitude of the heart is like a leaf hanging by the trunk of a tree that is being blown upside down by the wind." [Ahmad]

Another hadith of the Prophet (peace be upon him) states how the hearts can be turned easily. Hence, the Prophet (peace be upon him) himself used to pray to Allah to make his heart firm. Al-Tirmidhi recorded the following hadith: "The Prophet (peace be upon him) used to say often, "O changer of the hearts, make my heart firm upon Your religion." The Companion said, "O Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him), we have believed in you and what you have brought. Do you fear for us?" He answered, "Yes. Verily, the hearts are between two of Allah's fingers and he turns them any way He wills."

Compiled From:
"Commentary on the Forty Hadith of al-Nawawi" - Jamaal al-Din M. Zarabozo, pp. 351, 352

From Issue: 948 [Read original issue]

Blindspot!

Sources of Knowledge

The essential aspect of the Quranic teaching is to awaken in the human being the higher consciousness of his manifest relationship with God. According to the Quran, the affirmation of spirit does not come by the renunciation of the external forces but by proper adjustment of man's relation to these forces in view of the light of the world received from within. Thus the spiritual animates and sustains the material. The Quran demands the affirmation of the spiritual self in man with a recognition of his contact with the world of matter, and it points the way to master it, with a view to discovering a basis for a realistic regulation of life.

The Quran directs two ways of establishing connection with the reality that confronts human beings: one is the direct association with reality as it reveals itself within a person, that is, the inner experience; the other is the indirect reflective observation and utilisation of natural phenomena as they reveal themselves to perception. The Quran regards both Anfus (self) and Afaq (world) as sources of knowledge. Allah reveals these signs in inner, as well as outer, experience and it is the duty of human beings to judge the knowledge-yielding capacity of all aspects of experience. Thus there are three main sources of human knowledge referred to in the Quran, namely inner perception, environment (signs of Allah) and History (the days of Allah).

Compiled From:
"Words That Moved the World" - Qazi Ashfaq Ahmad, p. 108

From Issue: 1052 [Read original issue]