September 17, 2021 | Safar 9, 1443
Al Hujurat (The Chambers) - Chapter 49: Verse 15
"The believers are those who believe in God and His Messenger, then have not doubted, and have struggled with their possessions and their selves in the way of God; those - they are the truthful ones."
One may read this verse in the strict sense and maintain that it only addresses the question of armed struggle, and that this armed struggle imposes itself whenever there exists aggression. However, it would be reductionist to draw just that instruction. In a broader sense, a sense which is confirmed by the entire Quranic message and that of the traditions of the Prophet, peace be upon him, "fighting in the path of God" (jihad) means mobilising all our human forces, directing all our efforts and giving of our properties and our own persons in order to overcome all adversities whether they be injustices, poverty, illiteracy, delinquency or exclusion.
The Quran offers such latitude in the interpretation of the word jihad, which is of a learned and scientific nature, one which relies on dialogue, discussion and debate. On another level, it is the Prophet who presents an extensive interpretation of the word when he asserts, for example, that "Pilgrimage is a jihad". One realises that the troubles, efforts and suffering endured by the faithful during a few days in Makka, in order to give strength to their faith and answer the call of the Creator, are a jihad in the path of God.
We will not deny that there are struggles wherein circumstances lead us to direct confrontation, in order to oppose a purge here, a military occupation there, or other type of aggression such as the one we have witnessed in Bosnia and Chechnya. However, it cannot simply be a question of focusing our attention on these events alone and forgetting the broader type of fight which occurs daily and is, therefore, so much more urgent. Nowadays, our enemies, in the path of God, are hunger, unemployment, exploitation, delinquency and drug addiction. They require intense efforts, a continuous fight and a complete jihad which needs each and everyone's participation.
How many are those Muslims who want to fight beyond their own doorsteps, who want to offer, in the most sincere fashion their own persons for the cause of Islam. But, filled with this intention, they forget and remain blind to the fight that must be carried out here in their own locality, to the cause that ought to be defended in their own neighbourhoods, cities and in every country. To those who sought to assist Palestine in its fight against Zionist colonisation in the 1940s, and who perceived this expedition as representing the fulfilment of their ideal, Hassan al-Banna said: "Dying in the way of God is difficult, but living in the way of God is still more difficult." This jihad is a jihad for life, in order that every human being is given the rights which are his. The entire message of Islam carries this requirement as well as its necessary achievement.
"Islam, The West and the Challenges of Modernity" - Tariq Ramadan, pp. 66-69
From Issue: 659 [Read original issue]
Poor-due of Ramadan
The Messenger made incumbent on every male or female, freeman or slave, young or old, the payment of one sa' of dates or barley as charity or poor-due or charity for Ramadan. The people then equalized one sa' of dates or barley with half a sa' of wheat. Others used to give dates. Once there was scarcity of dates in Medinah and they gave barley. Even if a baby is born to the family before the Festival prayer, the poor-due at the end of Ramadan (zakat al-fitr) becomes obligatory on the guardians to be paid on behalf of the newly born child. The head of the family is responsible to pay on behalf of each member of the family, especially if they are young, but if they are adults then they must pay it by themselves. The husband must pay on behalf of the wife. Any person who possesses the day's provision for self and family has to pay the poor-due at the end of Ramadan.
The poor-due purifies the soul of the fasting person. Ibn Abbas narrated, "The Messenger, upon whom be peace, made charity of poor-due compulsory as purification of a fasting person from vile discourse and vain talks and also as food to the poor and the needy." [Abu Dawud] In another narration, Ibn Abbas said, "The Messenger enjoined charity of the poor-due so that those who observe fasting are purified of their indecent and shameful errors, and the poor and the needy ones are enabled to arrange for their necessities of food and clothing." [Abu Dawud] Therefore a person who gives his poor-due before the prescribed Festival prayer will be accepted by God as poor-due marking the end of Ramadan, but whosoever gives it after the prescribed Festival prayer will be treated as an ordinary charity. Poor-due also serves as a token of thankfulness to God for having enabled him or her to observe the fast.
Ramadan: Motivating Believers To Action, "The Poor Due at the End of Ramadan" - Navid Hanif
From Issue: 1001 [Read original issue]
There are many people who love virtue. They love to pardon those who have wronged them. They love acquiring religious knowledge, exhibiting good manners, and behaving ethically. It is the way they are, even without formulating any conscious, deliberate intention to be that way. They love what is good in the same way that people love beauty, comfort, and camaraderie.
It is good for people to have such tendencies. They benefit those who possess them as well as the people around them. A natural love of virtue is something desired in Islam, even without formulating a specific intention to do something good. Such deeds are worthy of blessings in their own right.
Having such a conscious intention to do the deed for Allah’s sake just adds to the deed's blessings.
This means that doing good for the sake of doing good is something Allah and His Messenger have enjoined upon us. Every virtuous deed we do voluntarily through our actions, our wealth, our influence, or our gifts is something encouraged by Islam.
When we do so because of our good natures, this is virtuous. This is blessed.
We might begin an act of virtue without thinking about it, but then renew our intentions so we do so consciously and deliberately for Allah's sake, thereby increasing our reward.
Good deeds do not go unrewarded. True goodness is never unnoticed by Allah. This is why Allah rewards unbelievers in this world for the good deeds that they do, even though they do not have the intention to do so for Allah.
"Doing Good for Goodness' Sake" - Salman al-Oadah
From Issue: 887 [Read original issue]