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Today's Reminder

December 05, 2021 | RabiÊ» II 29, 1443

Living The Quran

Self-Deception
Al-Qiyamah (The Resurrection) - Chapter 75: Verses 14, 15

"Oh, but the human being is a telling witness against himself, though he puts forth his excuses."

It is generally understood that people are influenced by two sets of factors. The first are biological, hereditary factors. Genetics determines many traits, like height, the colour of the skin, eyes, and hair, and numerous other physical traits. It is estimated that between forty to fifty percent of human intelligence is genetically determined, and genetics certainly has some impact on personality and behaviour.

Children inherit various traits from their mothers and fathers, and therefore get a combination of traits from both their parents. In this way, children are unique individuals, but also derivative of their parents at the same time.

Some people look at the genetic information inherited from the parents to be an inevitable and unavoidable result, and they use it as an excuse for their faults and bad character traits. This is blind, ignorant fatalism. It is lazy and self-indulgent to blame your mistakes on your genes and hormones.

The environment and society contribute the second set of factors that influence human behaviour. Family, friends, schools, the media, and communication channels all have their effect. Psychologists, sociologists, and educators agree that these factors have a tremendous impact on people, whether through conformity to societal norms or rebellion against them.

They also agree that it is notoriously difficult to determine the relative contributions of genetic and social factors to a particular behavioural trait, since the two sets of factors are complexly intertwined and virtually impossible to untangle. It is unknown whether nature or nurture has the greatest influence. What can be said is that a successful crop yield requires both good seed and good soil.

The scientific community does not give sufficient attention to a third factor: the influence that an individual has on his or her self. A human being is a rational entity. From infancy, a person learns to say “I” and understands that they are distinct from their parents and siblings.

This self-awareness allows people to reflect upon themselves, examine their motives, and look critically at their shortcomings. We can rise beyond self-deception and look at ourselves candidly so we can better ourselves.

This awareness extends to knowing the genetic shortcomings inherited from one’s parents and those which are a composite of genetic and societal factors, or due to our upbringing and education.

We can distinguish ourselves by adopting the idea of self-reform, however we came upon it, and making it a personal habit that we practice all the time, not just to change our outward behaviours, but also to improve our emotional responses and way of thinking. We can take control of our hearts and minds to a degree, and indeed we have a responsibility to do so.

The environment and society are the cradle of our success, the source which first compelled us to go forward, either in a positive, nurturing way, or in a negative way by spurring us to use our ingenuity to prevail over the challenges that it presents to us.

Compiled From:
"Nature Vs. Nurture & Personal Responsibility" - Salman al-Oadah

From Issue: 884 [Read original issue]

Understanding The Prophet's Life

Sobering Reality

The travels of a believer may be very long before he meets his Lord. Along the way, there are many things that may distract him. There are even enemies along the path. Satan, for example, is ever ready to take the believer away from the path. Therefore, the believer who is on this journey must always be seeking Allah's guidance and His help to keep him moving in the right direction. Any straying from that path could be disastrous; his end may come suddenly and he may never have the chance to return to the straight path. The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him), has awakened the believers to that sobering reality by his example of constantly making the following supplication,

"O the One who Turns the Hearts, confirm my heart upon your religion." [Tirmidhi]

Compiled From:
"Commentary on the Forty Hadith of al-Nawawi" - Jamaal al-Din M. Zarabozo, p. 1547

From Issue: 769 [Read original issue]

Blindspot!

Shariah

Cleverly manipulated exposure to the imagery of a whip cracking on a naked back and a veil enshrouding a woman’s face has led many to believe that the Shariah , the divine code of Muslim conduct, is in reality no more than a collection of values and practices that are primitive, uncivilized and barbaric. What to a Muslim is the object of his longing and endeavour has been very subtly projected as a relic from the dark ages which enslaves the woman and inflicts punishments on the criminal which are cruel, inhuman and degrading.

The Quran most certainly does prescribe corporal punishment for certain serious social crimes and it does lay down the principle of retribution, or qisas; it is very emphatic, too, about the crucial role of the family in human society and therefore insists on assigning different well-defined roles to men and women; and it does lay down many other regulations and laws and expects Muslims to obey the eternally valid injunctions of God and His Prophet.

But will these and similar provisions of the Shariah really plunge society back into darkness? Are they inhuman and barbaric? Are they an indicator of Islam’s inability to keep pace with the demands of human progress? The issues need to be examined seriously to determine the place and valued of the Shariah and its provisions in the ultimate order of human civilization and happiness. The need for this examination is especially acute in the view of the dogmatic position adopted by the West on these questions. A host of Western writers have said it, and the media continue to harp on the same theme: unless Islam is prepared to relent on these and other legal provisions of the Shariah there can and will be no accommodation; only a continuation of Western rejection of Islam’. Such vehemence makes one wonder whether the loud chorus about the Shariah, and such of its specific provisions as pertain to women and punishment, is in all cases the result of genuine misunderstanding and moral indignation, or whether the issue is merely being used by some as a whipping-boy to settle scores with Islam – old and new.

No apologies or excuses are needed to explain away or make acceptable to the West what has been so clearly laid down by the Quran and the Prophet in this regard and what has been so consistently accepted and adhered to by Muslims. There should be no place in dialogue with the West for such tortuous, self-deprecating arguments as: ‘polygamy is permitted, but the conditions of justice attached to it makes it effectively prohibited’. Or: ‘Corporal punishment is prescribed but hedged in with such unworkable requirements of evidence that it is virtually impossible to carry it out. Or, at least, it cannot be carried out unless an "ideal" just society is established, when it will in any case become unnecessary’.

Why those who advance this specious logic should think that God would lay down things which were impossible to practice is not made clear. As if He does not know how to say what He means, and say it clearly! Such excuses are unfair to the Quran and the Prophet, and an affront to their wisdom, and at the same time illogical and implausible to the unconvinced.

Source:
Shariah: The Way of Justice” - Khurram Murad

From Issue: 476 [Read original issue]