Human Struggle, Secret of Love, Dealing with TV

Issue 580 » May 7, 2010 - Jumada al-Awwal 23, 1431

Living The Quran

Human Struggle
Al-Maarij (The Stairs of Ascent) Sura 70: Verse 19

"Surely human has been created with a restless, impatient disposition."

Each person has two aspects: one angelic, pure, and spiritual; and the other one turned to the elements, plants, and animals. All people are "children of the world." We have been equipped with lust, and anger, and intellect. By nature, we are fallible, forgetful, neglectful, fond of disputing, obstinate, selfish, jealous, and much more. Since our free will distinguishes us from other conscious beings, such as angels, these powers, faculties, and negative-seeming feelings are not restricted. However, to attain individual and collective happiness in both worlds, and to rise to higher ranks of humanity, we should restrict these powers according to certain precepts and channel them into virtues. For example, impatience and restlessness can be channelled into the virtue of alertness to danger, or the pre-emptive preparation against it; or into the virtue of promptness and impulsiveness towards what is best, when there is the occasion or opportunity to do good things.

Our human nature is no more than our struggle against the negative and/or negative-seeming aspects of our character, restricting or channelling these into virtues, and acquiring distinction with good qualities so that we may become good, worshipful servants of God and useful members of society.

Compiled From:
"The Quran: Annotated Interpretation in Modern English" - Ali Unal, p. 1172

Understanding The Prophet's Life

The Secret of Love

Muhammad's (peace be upon him) life journey offered at every stage an existence devoted to the worship of God. The heart cannot but commune with such a being as he follows the path to freedom: freedom not only to think or act, for which Muhammad fought with dignity, but also the freedom of a being who had liberated himself from his attachments to superficial emotions, destructive passions, or alienating dependence. Everybody loved, cherished, and respected his ego, to give himself, and, in turn, to love without bondage. Divine love was free from human dependence. He submitted, and he was free: he submitted in the peace of the divine, and he was free from the illusions of the human. He had once told one of his Companions the secret of love: "Keep away from [do not envy] what men love, and men will love you." [Ibn Majah]

God had inspired him to follow the path to the Love that continues this love: "My servant keeps getting close to Me through freely chosen devotions until I love him; and when I love him, I am the hearing through which he hears, the sight through which he sees, the hand through which he holds, and the foot through which he walks." [Bukhari] God's love offers the gift of proximity to the divine and transcendence of the self. God's Love is a Love without dependence, a Love that liberates and elevates. In the experience of this closeness one perceives the presence of the Being, of the divine.

Compiled From:
"In The Footsteps of The Prophet" - Tariq Ramadan, p. 215


Nine Tips To Dealing with TV

It’s tough to escape peer pressure when your friends keep talking about the clothes, the music and the stars. Today, Television defines teen culture. With its barrage of alluring advertisements and captivating shows, it tells you what is cool and what is ‘in’ and ‘out’. Let Islam, not the media, decide your dress code, morals, and values.

1. Watch what is Halal. Stick to the most “clean” material you can find. TV should be used with discretion to watch educational and insightful programs or decent entertainment.

2. Remove the TV from your room. Having a TV set in your own room encourages you to watch it more. You are less likely to be tempted by Shaytan to watch something indecent when you have a parent, a sibling, or a friend watching with you. Remember, Shaytan loves attacking people who are ‘bored’, sitting idle, or in a company of bad people. Keep the TV in the main room, where it won’t distract you.

3. Protect your heart from hardening. Frequent sinning through consuming violence, profanity, and pornography on TV hardens and blackens the heart. It may reach a point that the heart may no longer respond to reminders of death, Allah (SWT), or the Quran. Fear of Allah (SWT) may completely vanish. This is the worst thing that can happen to you!

4. Adopt and support Islamic media. Hundreds of educational or entertainment multi-media products crafted by Muslim artists, writers, producers, and singers hit the market every year. These cartoons, movies, and songs could be enjoyable for the entire family!

5. Limit viewing time. If you have to watch TV, limit yourself. Write down a number of hours per week and stick to your limit.

6. Resist the urge. Are your fingers twitching to press that remote? Stop, step outside and do something. You don’t have to play sports, but do activities that make you happy.

7. Keep the box off when you're doing other things. Whether you’re eating dinner, doing your homework, or reading a magazine, you don’t need the TV to be on at the same time--keeping it on simply encourages you to watch TV more and neglect other activities.

8. Use a PVR to screen material. Fast-forward dubious content, blitz through commercials, and stick with what’s good.

9. Have a TV free get-together with friends. Make the following rule: no one will watch TV or movies in the living room. If you want to go further, make it a rule that the topics of conversation cannot revolve around the latest twist in a soap opera or the most recent plot on a sci-fi show. Play basketball, go for a walk, do anything but watch TV.

Compiled From:
"Turn Off TV - Turn On Life" - Young Muslims Publications