Dawn Has Come, Easier Options, Remember
Issue 847 » June 19, 2015 - Ramadan 2, 1436
Dawn Has Come
Al-Ahzab (The Confederates) - Chapter 33: Verse 43
So often we find that the darkest times in our lives are followed by the most precious. Often, it is at the moment when everything looks broken that something least expected lifts us and carries us through. Did not Prophet Ayoub (peace be upon him) lose everything one by one, before it was all given back and more?
Yes. For Prophet Ayoub, the night was real. And for many of us, it seems to last forever. But Allah does not allow an endless night. In His mercy, he gives us the sun. Yet there are times when we feel our hardships won’t cease. And maybe some of us have fallen to such a spiritual low in our deen (religion) that we feel disconnected from our Creator. And maybe for some of us, it’s so dark, we don’t even notice.
But like the sun that rises at the end of the night, our dawn has come. In His infinite mercy, Allah has sent the light of Ramadan to erase the night. He has sent the month of the Qur’an so that He might elevate us and bring us from our isolation to His nearness. He has given us this blessed month to fill our emptiness, cure our loneliness, and end our soul’s poverty. He has sent us the dawn that we might find from darkness — light.
"Reclaim Your Heart" - Yasmin Mogahed
The Prophet (peace be upon him) is reported to have said: “The best of your religion is the easier options therein.” [Bukhari]
Thus, when there are different answers to the same question and when easier options may be available in the practice of a religious duty, judgment, fatwa, and ijtihad, the easier option should be preferred.
The Prophet’s widow Aishah reported that the Prophet was always inclined toward preventing hardship and lightening the people’s burdens as far as possible. Thus, she reported that, “he [the Prophet] did not choose but the easier of the two options so long as it did not amount to a transgression.” [Muslim]
The Prophet has also advised the believers to take advantage of the concessions God has granted to them, for “God loves to see that His concessions are taken, just as He loves to see that His commandments are obeyed.” [Al Albani]
The purport of this message is illustrated in another hadith text with regard to fasting (of Ramadan): “It is not a virtue to observe the fast when one is travelling.” [Mishkat]
"The Middle Path of Moderation in Islam: The Qur'anic Principle of Wasatiyyah" - Hashim Kamali
If we listen to men and women living in the societies of the South, from Latin America to India and Indonesia or the African continent or the Middle East, we find that globalization is perceived mainly as a form of Westernization. If we listen to African-Americans, Latinos and new citizens of the United States, or the citizens of Canada, Europe or Australia, we find that they are uneasy about their culture, values and memories.
Officially, pluralist societies must take into account the diversity of the culture and historical experience of their citizens and residents. Values, symbols and language shape our consciousness, psychology and worldview, and so too does the memory of colonization, migration, exile and settlement (and sometimes of rejection and racism). Rather than allowing our memories to be torn apart by squabbles over universals or the higher truths of rival points of view, contemporary societies, both rich and poor and in both the North and the South, should be doing more to institutionalize the teaching of a common history of memories. They should be combining the wealth of all our memories, explaining different points of view, and trying to understand collective consciousnesses and collective hopes as well as historical wounds and traumas. Modern man must reconcile himself with a sense of history, and rediscover the essence of the cultural and religious traditions in an age of globalization. It cannot be said too often that globalization itself is producing a culture that exists on a world scale. That culture has a tendency to make other traditions and cultures, with their symbols, rites, arts and food, look ‘exotic’ or peripheral, though some of their artistic and culinary products can of course be integrated into the logic of its economy because they hold out the promise of substantial profits.
Languages, cultures and traditions should also be explained and promoted in our schools, just as they should be celebrated and encouraged by local cultural policies. Given the dominance of English, fast food and stereotypical consumerism, it is important to teach children more than one language, to introduce them to new intellectual worlds with different terminological points of reference, and thus to multiple sensibilities, tastes and points of view. Languages convey and transmit sensibilities; they have and are particular sensibilities. Studying the meaning of symbols, practices and customs calls into question the legitimacy of our own symbols, practices and customs and relativizes our certainties and pretensions.
"Duty To Remember" - Tariq Ramadan