Principles of Retaliation, Victory of Moses, 6 Easy Things

Issue 510 » January 2, 2009 - Muharram 5, 1430

Living The Quran

Ash-Shura (The Consultation)
Chapter 42: Verses 39-42

Principles of Retaliation
"And those who, when an oppressive wrong is inflicted on them, (are not cowed but) help and defend themselves. The recompense for an injury is an injury equal thereto (in degree): but if a person forgives and makes reconciliation, his reward is due from God: for (God) loves not those who do wrong. But indeed if any do help and defend themselves after a wrong (done) to them, against such there is no cause of blame. The blame is only against those who oppress men and wrong-doing and insolently transgress beyond bounds through the land, defying right and justice: for such there will be a penalty grievous."

The believers do not fall prey to the tyrants. Their tender heartedness and forgiving nature is not the result of any weakness. Their nobility demands that when they are victors they should forgive the errors of the vanquished; when they possess the power, they should avoid vengefulness and when a weak or subdued person happens to commit a mistake they should overlook it; but when a powerful person, drunk with authority, commits violence against them, they should resist and fight him with all their might.

These verses introduce three basic principles of retaliation:

1. The right limit of retaliation is that one should return the same sort of ill treatment that one has received; one has no right to return a greater ill treatment.

2. Although it is permissible to retaliate against the one who has committed violence, wherever pardoning can be conducive to reconcilement, pardoning is better for the sake of reconcilement than retaliation. And since man pardons the other by suppressing his own feelings, Allah says that the reward of such a one is with Him, for he has suppressed his own self for the sake of reforming the evil-doers.

3. One should not become a wrongdoer oneself in the process of avenging a wrong done by the other. It is not permissible to do a greater wrong in retaliation for the wrong done. For example, if a person slaps another, the other can return only one slap; he cannot shower his blows and kicks. Likewise, it is not right to commit a sin in retaliation for a sin. For example, if a wicked man has killed the son of someone, it is not right to go and kill the son of the former. Or, if a person has violated the chastity of another person's sister or daughter, it is not lawful for him to rape the former's sister or daughter.

Compiled From:
"The Meaning of the Quran" - By Sayyid Abul Ala Mawdudi, Vol. 4, pp. 551, 552

Understanding The Prophet's Life

The Victory of Moses

The most virtuous day of Muharram (the First Month of Islamic Calendar) is the day of Ashura - the tenth of Muharram. It is reported in Sahih al-Bukhari, when Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) came to Madinah, he saw the Jews fasting on the day of Ashura. He said: 'What is this?' They said: 'This is the day when Allah saved Musa from drowning, so we fast on this day.' Then he said: We have more right to Musa than you.” So he fasted on this day and advised the Muslims to do the same.

Also, Ibn Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated: “When Allah's Messenger observed the fast of the day of Ashura and ordered (his Companions) to fast, they said: “O Messenger of Allah! It is a day revered by Jews and Christians.” Allah's Messenger said: The coming year, if Allah wills, we will fast on the ninth (also).[Sahih Muslim, vol: 1, p: 359]

Ibn Abbas also reported: I never saw the Prophet more keen to fast on any day other than the day of Ashura and any month than the month of Ramadan.[Sahih al-Bukhari]

The phrase 'more keen' of Ibn Abbas indicates that the Prophet looked forward to fast on the day of Ashura in order to earn the reward for doing so. The Prophet said: Fasting the day of Ashura, I hope will be an expiation of sins for the year before. [Sahih Muslim v: 1, p: 368]

Thus, the day of Ashura is mercy from Allah and an opportunity for one to get his sins forgiven. It is recommended for the Muslim Ummah to fast both the tenth and the ninth of Muharram since Allah's Messenger fasted the tenth and intended to fast the ninth. Another important thing to be understood here is that voluntary fasts are expiation for minor sins, as long as one completely refrains from major sins and is always cautious about minor sins. Some people who are deceived rely greatly on voluntary worships (like fasting on the day of Ashura or the day of Arafat) while neglecting the obligatory worships (praying five daily prayers, fasting in Ramadan, etc.)

Compiled From:
"Muharram: The Month of Allah" - As-Sunnah Bimonthly Islamic Newsletter

Cool Concepts

6 Easy Things

Normally, we begin a new year with hope for change, but then we change and lose hope that we can ever accomplish our goals. One way to reverse this cycle is to start small to build big. Here are six easy things you can do in the coming year:

1. Read the Quran 5 for 5
Just five days a week, read the Quran for not more than five minutes, but here's the catch: you must shut yourself off from everyone and everything and give Allah's Word absolute attention. This small step will give you a deeper appreciation for life's meaning, ultimately leading to change in surprising ways. Some ways to do this: in the morning before everyone wakes up; in the evening after everyone has gone to bed; during lunch hour in the car; on the bus/train on the way to school/work; on breaks between classes; when the baby is napping; at the laundromat doing your weekly laundry. Just remember to watch the time and set an alarm if needed so you read for only five minutes.

2. Call or sincerely pray for your parents no less than once a week
In the Quran, Allah orders us not to say even “Uff” to our parents (17:23). Today, many of us may not utter this demeaning word to mom and dad. However, we express our disrespect by not keeping in touch. Yes, life is busier than ever and time is stretched to the max. But these are not valid excuses for ignoring those who nurtured us when we could do nothing on our own. While visiting is also very important, this may not always be possible on such a regular basis if you live in another state or country. Calls are the first step in re-establishing greater connection.

In the upcoming year, set a time in your appointment book to call your parents at least once a week. If your parents have passed away, spend five minutes weekly to make a sincere, deep Dua for their forgiveness and for Allah to grant them the best in the Hereafter for all they did for you.

3. Read to a child for just 10 minutes
Young children whose parents read aloud to them have better language and literacy skills when they go to school, according to a number of studies. This in itself is an incentive to take just a few minutes during the week to do so. But reading to kids, whether that is your own children, a younger sibling or a nephew/niece is also a wonderful way to offer some short but long-lasting Islamic lessons. Today, the range and quality of Islamic books for kids is better than ever. Start off with a couple of simple ones from the Quran, the life of the Prophet and some timely theme and then continue this great habit as the year continues. On the days you can't read in person, do it over the phone or by webcamera.

4. Transfer the money saved from 1 cost-cutting habit for a continuous good cause
About 80 percent of Americans are stressed because of the economy, according to a recent survey. This has led many to cut back on all kinds of spending, from holiday gift giving to the ritual morning latte. While we tighten our belts though, let's use at least some of the money saved for a good cause. Consider this: the International Labor Organization estimates the number of workers living on $2 a day or less will surge by 100 million. Use some of your saved cash to support a family, the education of one child or one orphan for a year in a developing country.

5. Attend one regional or national Islamic conference
A strong community is built by great individuals, but great individuals are products of their communities. That's why it's so important to connect and network with other Muslims not just in our own neighbourhoods and cities, but on a state-, country- and worldwide basis as well. Doing so allows us to not only hang out socially, but to discuss some of the common problems we face and come up with viable solutions for them. Aim to attend at least one Muslim conference in the coming year so you can reap the blessings of community and strengthen your own faith on a personal level.

6. Adopt and share one habit to save the planet
Thanks to the environmental movement, we are now more aware of how our daily habits are leading to our planet's destruction. In the coming year, pick just one habit that can help you become a better steward of the earth. Some simple ideas: turn off the faucet while brushing your teeth; recycle your newspapers and magazines; turn off the shower when soaping up; bring your own canvas bags to the grocery store instead of using plastic ones. Then, get your youth group, Halaqa group and mosque/Islamic center to adopt the same.

Compiled From:
"6 Easy Things You Can Do For Islam in 2009" - SoundVision.com