Relying on God, Hard Times, Civic Education

Issue 808 » September 19, 2014 - Dhul-Qida 24, 1435

Living The Quran

Relying on God
Al-Kahf (The Cave) - Chapter 18: Verses 23 - 24 (partial)

"Never say about anything, 'I shall do this tomorrow,' without adding, 'if God so wills.'"

It is impossible for man to know what may happen in the future. Hence, he should not give any definitive judgement of it.

Every action a human being does or omits to do, indeed every breath a human being takes, is subject to God's will. The curtains hiding the future are stretched in full so as to hide everything beyond the present moment. Our eyes cannot discern what is behind that curtain, and our minds are finite, no matter how advanced our knowledge may be. Hence a human being must never say that he is definitely doing something tomorrow unless he attaches his intention to God's will. This is because tomorrow belongs to the realm that lies beyond the reach of human perception. As such, only God knows it. Hence, we do not make any assertion about it.

This does not mean that man should be fatalistic, giving no thought to the future and making no plans for it. He should not live for the present moment, cutting himself off from his past and future. No, this is not what the directive implies. Rather, what is implied is that every human being must make an allowance for what God may will in his case. It may well be that God may decide something different to what he intends. Should God help him put into effect what he intends, then all well and good. But if God's will moves in a different direction, he should not despair or be sad. All matters belong to God at the beginning and at the end.

What this means in practice is that every person should think and plan as they wish, but they must always remember to rely on God's help and guidance. This should not lead to laziness and disinterestedness. On the contrary, it should give us more strength, confidence, reassurance and resolve. We submit to God's will because it is beyond our knowledge until God makes it known.

Compiled From:
"In The Shade of The Quran" - Sayyid Qutb, Vol. 11, pp. 251, 252

Understanding The Prophet's Life

Hard Times

"Relief accompanies difficulties" - Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) [Nawawi]

It is the way of Allah - based on His infinite wisdom - to have mankind pass through stages in their lives. In general, people go through good times and they go through hard times. Naturally, it is when they go through hard times that they face the most psychological stress.

We should know that whatever hardship or difficulties we face will come to an end soon. It, therefore, behoves us to be patient and to have good expectations concerning Allah. Allah is the Most Merciful of those who are merciful, even more merciful than a mother towards her small infant. We should realize that the Merciful will not leave us in that situation for long if we are patient for the sake of Allah.

If a person lives a life of ease only, it becomes simple for him to forget about Allah. If a person is rescued by Allah in his darkest hour, that person should never afterwards forget Allah and what Allah has done for him. Indeed, there should be a close bond forged that may not have existed had Allah not tried His servant.

Compiled From:
"Commentary on the Forty Hadith of an-Nawawi" - Jamaal al-Din Zarabozo, pp. 784, 785


Civic Education

Commitment to truth and justice, avoidance of rash judgements, and remaining patient in the face of adversity must take a high priority in Islamic values. Yet at times of conflict and situations when one is exposed to divergent voices, the individual may find it hard to determine the sense of truth, balance and justice in all of them. This has now become a problem that Muslim societies face almost everywhere.

One would expect the media and organized education to provide the needed guidance on matters of concern to the community. Media and education planners should, perhaps, take more specific measures to identify clear agenda on civic education in their programmes. The schools may consider introducing a subject on civic education that provides perspectives on the ethical teachings of Islam, on nasihah, moderation, the meaning of Jihad, civil society matters and the crucial importance of peace for economic development that informs and sensitizes the people on what it takes to be a good citizen.

Compiled From:
"Shariah Law - An Introduction" - Mohammad Hashim Kamali, pp. 218, 219