Never Forget, Prosperity, Genuine Concern
Issue 569 » February 19, 2010 - Rabi al-Awwal 5, 1431
Living The Quran
Al-Duha (Daylight) Sura 93: Verses 6-11
"Did He not find you an orphan and give you shelter? And He found you wandering, and He gave you guidance. And He found you in need, and made you independent. Therefore, do not treat the orphan with harshness, nor chide him who asks. But the bounty of your Lord, proclaim."
These verses of the Quran carry several teachings: being both an orphan and poor was actually an initiatory state for the future Messenger of God, for at least two reasons.
The first teaching is obviously the vulnerability and humility he must naturally have felt from his earliest childhood. This state was intensified when his mother, Aminah, died when Muhammad, peace be upon him, was six. This left him utterly dependent on God, but also close to the most destitute among people. The Quran reminds him that he must never forget this throughout his life and particularly during his prophetic mission. He was orphaned and poor, and for that reason he is reminded and ordered never to forsake the underprivileged and the needy.
Considering the exemplary nature of the prophetic experience, the second spiritual teaching emanating from these verses is valid for each human being: never to forget one's past, one's trials, one's environment and origin, and to turn one's experience into a positive teaching for oneself and for others. Muhammad's past, the One reminds him, is a school from which he must draw useful, practical, and concrete knowledge to benefit those whose lives and hardships he has shared, since he knows from his own experience, better than anyone else, what they feel and endure.
"In The Footsteps of The Prophet" - Tariq Ramadan, pp. 11, 12
Understanding The Prophet's Life
The Messenger, peace be upon him, declares in a concise saying that summarizes the essentials of a happy economic and social life and prosperity in both this world and the next:
When you are involved in speculative transactions, occupied only with animal-breeding, content with agriculture, and abandon striving in the way of God to preach His religion, God will subject you to such a humiliation. He will not remove it until you return to your religion.
[Abu Dawud, Musnad Ahmad]
This hadith gives a very accurate description of the pitiable condition of Muslims over the last few centuries. Speculative transactions signify the dying of a healthy economic life and the resort to unlawful, self-abandoned ways of earning one's living. Contentment with agriculture and animal breeding is the sign of laziness and abandoning scientific investigation - the Quran explicitly states that God created humanity as His vicegerent and entrusted us with knowledge of the names of things.
Confining knowledge to religious sciences devoid of reflection and investigation inevitably results in contentment with animal breeding and agriculture, in idleness and the neglect of striving in the way of God. The ultimate result is misery, poverty, and humiliation.
Being powerful requires both spiritual and physical health as well as scientific and technical competence. Restricting the meaning of being powerful to physical strength shows one's total lack of understanding of what true power is based on.
"The Messenger of God: Muhammad" - Fethullah Gulen, pp. 193, 194
A genuine concern for society and compassion towards fellow human beings aids in shaping a right frame of mind and attitudes that are required for co-existence, interaction, co-operation and positive contribution.
Being solely concerned with the immediate needs and issues of the Muslim community, without giving due regard to mainstream issues, cannot earnestly cultivate a genuine concern for society. Also, indifference to one's own society, whilst engaging in activities that revolve around issues in Muslim countries, in the Middle East for example, cannot logically win significant support or respect for Islam. Of course, an awareness of what's happening in Muslim countries is undoubtedly important since Muslims are part of a world-community. However, this should not by any means distract attention away from the immediate environment in which one lives. Thus, anyone who has a concern for humanity cannot really remain detached or indifferent to societal issues and problems.
"Building a New Society" - Zahid Parvez, pp. 232, 233