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Today's Reminder

July 05, 2022 | Dhuʻl-Hijjah 5, 1443

Living The Quran

Kindness All Around
Al-Nisa (Women) - Chapter 4: Verse 36

"Worship God alone and do not associate with Him any partners. Be kind to your parents and near of kin, to orphans, the needy, the neighbour who is related to you and the neighbour who is a stranger, the friend by your side, the wayfarer, and those whom your right hands possess. God does not love those who are arrogant and boastful."

The first commandment is to worship God, which is followed by a prohibition of worshipping anyone other than Him. This is a total and absolute prohibition of all sorts of worship which man has practised in all ages and communities.

This is followed by a commandment to extend kindness to parents in particular and relatives in general. We also note in this verse, as in many others, that Divine directives begin by emphasizing the need to be kind to one's relatives before widening their concern to include all those who need to be looked after in society or in humanity at large. Compassion towards others begins at home, in one's own immediate family. A person who has not shown compassion towards his family, hardly ever shows compassion towards others.

This commandment to extend our kindness to all these groups is followed by a comment which denounces conceit and arrogance, miserliness, suppression of God's favours, boastfulness and showing off. All these are attributes to one basic cause, namely, lack of faith in God and the Day of Judgement.

Compiled From:
"In the Shade of The Quran"- Sayyid Qutb, Vol 3, pp. 144-147

From Issue: 765 [Read original issue]

Understanding The Prophet's Life

Transformation

The hearts of all humans are between the fingers of Allah, and He turns them in any way that He desires. The Arabic word for heart, qalb, comes from the root qalaba, which means to change, alter, transform, or convert. The heart is constantly changing, and the greatest fear is that it would change from belief to disbelief. Even the Prophet (peace be upon him) used to supplicate for an obedient heart, saying: "Verily, the hearts of all the sons of Adam are between two fingers of the Compassionate, like one heart. He turns that to any direction He likes." Then the Messenger of Allah said: "O Allah, the Turner of the hearts, turn our hearts to Your obedience." [Muslim]

Guidance from Allah helps people to be sincere to Allah, both in their hearts and in their actions. It helps them to be steadfast and patient in times of adversity, and grateful in times of abundance and blessings.

The guidance that Allah provides come in many forms, but it is primarily through influencing the heart and soul of the individual.

Compiled From:
"Psychology from the Islamic Perspective" - Dr. Aisha Utz, pp. 116-117

From Issue: 890 [Read original issue]

Blindspot!

Hardening of Hearts

We routinely and rightly condemn the terrorism that kills civilians in the name of God, but we cannot claim the high moral ground if we dismiss the suffering and death of the many thousands of civilians who die in our wars as "collateral damage." Ancient religious mythologies helped people to face up to the dilemma of state violence, but our current nationalist ideologies seem by contrast to promote a retreat into denial or hardening of our hearts. Nothing shows more clearly than a remark of Madeleine Albright's when she was still Bill Clinton's ambassador to the United Nations. She later retracted it, but among people all around the world, it has never been forgotten. In 1996, on CBS's 60 Minutes, Lesley Stahl asked her whether the cost of international sanctions against Iraq was justified: "We have heard that half a million children have died. I mean, that is more than died in Hiroshima ... Is the price worth it?" "I think this is a very hard choice," Albright replied, "but the price, we think the price is worth it."

On October 24, 2012, Mamana Bibi, a sixty-five-year-old woman picking vegetables in her family's large open land in northern Waziristan, Pakistan, was killed by a U.S. drone aircraft. She was not a terrorist but a midwife married to a retired schoolteacher, yet she was blown to pieces in front of her nine young grandchildren. Some of the children have had multiple surgeries that the family could ill afford because they lost all their livestock; the smaller children still scream in terror all night long. We do not know who the real targets were. Yet even though the U.S. government claims to carry out thorough post-strike assessments, it has never apologized, never offered compensation to the family, nor even admitted what happened to the American people. CIA director John O. Brennan had previously claimed that drone strike caused absolutely no civilian casualties; more recently he has admitted otherwise while maintaining that such deaths are extremely rare. Since then, Amnesty International reviewed some forty-five strikes in the region, finding evidence of unlawful civilian deaths, and has reported several strikes that appear to have killed civilians outside the bounds of law. "Bombs create only hatred in the hearts of people. And that hatred and anger breed more terrorism," said Bibi's son. "No one ever asked us who was killed or injured that day. Not the United States or my own government. Nobody has come to investigate nor has anyone been held accountable. Quite simply, nobody seems to care."

We are now living in such an interconnected world that we are all implicated in one another's history and one another's tragedies. As we - quite rightly - condemn those terrorists who kill innocent people, we also have to find a way to acknowledge our relationship with and responsibility for Mamana Bibi, her family, and the hundreds of thousands of civilians who have died or been mutilated in our modern wars simply because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Compiled From:
"Fields of Blood" - Karen Armstrong, pp. 391, 392

From Issue: 854 [Read original issue]