June 25, 2021 | Dhuʻl-Qiʻdah 15, 1442
Al-Araf (The Heights) - Chapter 7: Verse 94
Some might ask why, if we are indeed on the side of God, does victory not come easily. Some might wonder why God doesn't just give the righteous victory without immense struggle and sacrifice. The answer to this question is given by God in the above verse.
Here Allah says that the purpose of the affliction is to reach a state of tadaru. Tadaru is humility before God — but it is not just humility. To understand the concept of tadaru, imagine yourself in the middle of an ocean. Imagine that you are all alone on a boat. Imagine that a huge storm comes and the waves become mountains surrounding you. Now imagine turning to God in that point and asking for His help. In what state of need, awe, dependency and utter humility would you be in? That is tadaru. Allah says He creates conditions of hardship in order to grant us that gift. God does not need to make things hard for us. He creates those situations in order to allow us to reach a state of closeness to Him, which otherwise we'd be unlikely to reach.
"Reclaim Your Heart" - Yasmin Mogahed
From Issue: 891 [Read original issue]
Imam Ahmad relates from Abu Hurairah that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "No one leaves his home but finds two banners waiting at his door: one of them in the hand of an angel and the other in the hand of a devil. If he intends to do what pleases Allah the angel will follow him with his standard, and he remains under the banner of the angel until he returns to his house, but if he sets out for what displeases Allah the devil with his banner follows him about, and he remains under the devil's banner until he returns to his house."
Muslim and Ahmad relate on the authority of Abdullah ibn Masud that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "There is none among you but has been assigned two companions: a jinn and an angel." Somebody asked: "Even you O' Messenger of Allah!" "Yes, even me," answered the Prophet, "but Allah helped me, therefore it can direct me only to good."
Both the angels and the devil play only a persuasive role, which on the whole has no practical effect on the human will as such, with the result that man remains free to choose whichever way he may want to move without any outside intervention or interference. In other words, he and he alone is responsible for all his actions. Nevertheless in some ahadith great emphasis is laid on good relations between believers and angels and the need to make these bonds still closer and stronger for noble and good ends. Concern about improving one's relations with angels leaves no room for the devil's machinations. The emphasis and the oft-repeated advice about fostering good relations with angels shows that it cannot be accomplished but through a voluntary effort by man: hence the need to warn him against the hazards of neglecting them in the course of his life.
"Freedom and Responsibility in Quranic Perspective" - Hasan Al-Anani, pp. 83-86
From Issue: 802 [Read original issue]
The Passing of a Prophet
Muhammad conducted one final pilgrimage to Mecca when he was nearing 63 years of age. he delivered a famous address, known as his Farewell Speech, and then retired to Medina where he tried to continue with his duties as best as he could. By this time, however, he was frail and weak, owing to age (and possibly also due to an unsuccessful poisoning attempt directed against him years before by a woman belonging to the Banu Nadir). He became progressively reflective and introspective in the eyes of those around him and made more frequent visits to the graveyard to commune with his thoughts. When he became too ill to lead the congregational prayers in the mosque, he chose Abu Bakr to stand for him. Finally, after suffering through several days of intense fever, Muhammad raised his eyes to Heaven and called out, "Better the next world on high." With his head resting in his beloved Aishah's lap Muhammad, peace be upon him, passed away. The date was Monday, the twelfth of Rabi Al-Awwal, in the eleventh year of Al-Hijrah (8th of June in the year 632 C.E.). He was buried in the place where he breathed his last. Today the famous green dome of the Prophet's Mosque in Medina marks the spot where his grave lies.
His life and mission touched upon the hearts of a people who were living in superstition and idolatry. The teachings he promoted uplifted the status of women, gave rights to the poor, regulated the moral and social life of his followers, and provided a path to salvation for millions. Michael Hart, in his book The One Hundred Most Influential People, ranked Muhammad as the most important person who ever affected our world because of his example, success, and enduring message. He was able to successfully fuse the tenets of religion and politics on a level no one has been able to do since. Writers from Washington Irving to Mahatma Gandhi have praised him for his sincerity and noble character. Such was Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah:
Philosopher, orator, apostle, legislator, warrior, conqueror of ideas, restorer of rational dogmas, of a cult without images; the founder of twenty terrestrial empires and of one spiritual empire, that is Muhammad. As regards all standards by which human greatness may be measured, we may well ask, is there a man greater than he? (Lamartine, Historie De La Turquie, Vol. II, pp. 276-277, 1854)
"The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Islam, 2nd Edition" - Yahiya Emerick, pp. 311, 312
From Issue: 620 [Read original issue]