Today's Reminder

April 01, 2023 | Ramadan 10, 1444

Living The Quran

Muhammad (Muhammad) - Chapter 47: Verse 4 (partial)

"... and had God so willed, He could have indeed put them down [those who stubbornly denied the truth] Himself; but He willed to test you all through one another."

There may be certain moral values which are agreed upon by all human beings, or most of them, in different times and places, and which can be included in the "common sense," but they may be understood and practiced in different ways. Since Islam is the last of God's messages to humankind, as Muslims believe, it provides the permanent principles and the dynamics for responding to the human change. Change follows the general natural laws of God. The human societies have their natural laws, and the succession of social or political powers follows certain laws, just like the succession of day and night. With regard to the general natural laws, God does not treat Muslim individuals or societies exceptionally or with favouritism.

Muslims have to struggle, suffer and persevere according to the natural laws. Their religiosity and sincerity would definitely be rewarded in the life to come, but in this world they obtain the best through the individual and social peacefulness balance, and steadfastness as a result of the belief in the One God and the life to come. Praying to God for something beneficial in this world life may be positively answered, according to the Prophets tradition, by granting the person who has prayed something good rather than what he/(she) has prayed for, in this life or in the life to come.

Compiled From:
"Islam and Dynamics of Change" - Fathi Osman

From Issue: 923 [Read original issue]

Understanding The Prophet's Life


Abu Saeed reported that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) came to us while we were discussing about Dajjal and said, "Should I not inform you of that which I fear for you even more than the dangers of Dajjal? It is the hidden Shirk (Riya); A person stands to pray, and he beautifies his prayer because he sees the people looking at him." (Sunan Ibn Majah vol. 2, #3389)

The primary cause of riya is a weakness in Iman (Faith). When a person does not have strong faith in Allah, he will prefer the admiration of people over the pleasure of Allah.

There are three symptoms that are indicative of riya, and it is essential that a believer avoid all of them.

1. The love of Praise - As mentioned in a hadith of the first three people being thrown into the hellfire; the scholar (who taught for fame), the martyr (who fought for fame), and the person who gave his money in charity (so people would say he is generous). All three of these people desired the pleasure of people over the pleasure of Allah. The person who desires the praise of people must feel some pride in himself, for he feels himself worthy of being praised. There is a danger, therefore, of him becoming arrogant and boastful.

2. Fear Of Criticism - No one likes to be criticised. The dislike of criticism regarding religious practices may be divided into two categories:

a) The first category is that of a person who neglects a commandment of Allah in order to avoid the criticism of his peers.
b) The second category is that of a person who obeys certain commandments of Islam, not for the sake of Allah, but because he fears people will look down on him and criticise him if he does not do it. For example, a man may perform his formal prayers in the mosque because he does not want people to criticise him for praying at home, or to think that he is not praying at all.
3. Greed for people's possessions - If a person covets what other people possess, whether it is rank, money or power, then he will wish them to envy him similarly. For example, if he is jealous of a position of a certain person in society, he will try by every possible means to attain the same position. Such desires lead people to spend their lives putting on a show for other people so that they will admire their rank, money, or power.

Compiled From:
"Riyaa: Hidden Shirk" - Abu Ammar Yasir al-Qathi

From Issue: 675 [Read original issue]


Moral Authority

Moral authority is primary greatness (character strengths); formal authority is secondary greatness (position, wealth, talent, reputation, popularity). The interesting thing about Moral authority is what a paradox it is. The dictionary discusses authority in terms of command, control, power, sway, rule, supremacy, domination, dominion, strength, might. But the antonym is civility, servitude, weakness, follower. Moral authority is the gaining of influence through following principles. Moral dominion is achieved through servanthood, service, and contribution. Power and moral supremacy emerge from humility, where the greatest becomes the servant of all. Moral authority or primary greatness is achieved through sacrifice.

There are times of great chaos, confusion and survival when the strong hand of formal authority needs to be used to get things back on track, to a new level of order and stability or to a new vision. However, in most cases when people use their formal authority early on, their moral authority will be lessened. Remember that when you borrow strength from position, you build weakness in three places: in self, because you are not developing moral authority, in the other, because they become codependent with your use of formal authority; and in the quality of the relationship, because authentic openness and trust never develops.

Compiled From:
"The 8th Habit" - Stephen R. Covey, pp. 299-302

From Issue: 684 [Read original issue]