God's Hand, Elevated Faith, Personal View

Issue 892 » April 29, 2016 - Rajab 22, 1437

Living The Quran

God's Hand
Al-Zumar (The Throngs) - Chapter 39: Verse 21

"Have you not considered how God sends down water from the skies, and then causes it to travel through the earth to form springs? He then brings with it vegetation of different colours; and then it withers and you can see it turning yellow. In the end He causes it to crumble to dust. In all this there is indeed a reminder for those endowed with insight."

The Quran draws attention to a phenomenon that takes place everywhere on earth. Its familiarity, however, tends to make people overlook it. Yet it is remarkable in every step. The Quran directs us to look at how God's hand directs it step by step to produce its desired effects. The water that comes down from the sky: what is it, and how does it descend? This is a remarkable phenomenon, but we tend not to reflect on it because it is so familiar. The very creation of water is indeed a miracle. We know that it comes into existence when two hydrogen atoms combine with one oxygen atom under certain conditions. Our knowledge, however, should alert us to the fact that it is God's hand that made the universe, allowing the hydrogen and the oxygen to be available and to provide the conditions that allow them to combine and produce water, which is essential for life to emerge. In fact, without water, no life could have emerged. Thus we see how a series of measures culminated in the existence of water and the emergence of life. All this is of God's own making. Moreover, the very fall of rain, after the creation of water, is in itself a miraculous phenomenon, brought about by the system that operates the universe and the earth, allowing the formation of water and its fall by God's will.

Compiled From:
"In The Shade Of The Quran" - Sayyid Qutb, Volume 14, p. 339

Understanding The Prophet's Life

Elevated Faith

Scholars indicate that Iman is not constant. Our level of faith increases with obedience to Allah and decreases with disobedience. As believers, we should pay attention to our level of Iman, being aware of when it increases and decreases and striving to be in a state of elevated Iman as much as possible.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) stated that: "Every heart has a cloud covering it, with the similitude of a cloud covering a shining moon. It suddenly becomes dark when the cloud covers, but its brightness returns once the cloud has passed." [Al-Hilyah]

In this hadith, the Prophet presents an analogy. Our hearts are likened to the moon; just as the moon is sometimes covered by clouds that conceal its light, the heart is sometimes covered by clouds of sin that cover its light. At other times, the clouds go away, and the light shines again in the heart. The light increases when we strive to engage in acts that will increase our Iman.

The Prophet explained: "Faith wears out in the heart of any of you just as clothes wear out, so ask Allah to renew the faith in your hearts." [Al-Hakim]

Compiled From:
"Psychology from the Islamic Perspective" - Dr. Aisha Utz, pp. 64-65


Personal View

Any author might have a "personal view," that was developed by personal or social circumstances, but such a view has to be figured out, and its reasons have to be analyzed and assessed, to evaluate the differences and find out the outweighing interpretation. Tolerating different views does not mean necessarily that they are equally valid or convincing. It is the responsibility of and the challenge for the human intellect, in any time and place, to figure out the Quranic idea, according to the intellectual merits and capability on one side, and to the existing cultural and social circumstances on the other, since an interpretation of a Quranic text is not merely a linguistic or formal exercise. The Quran is a living guidance that continuously reveals new angles of interpretation according to the development of individual intelligence and social experience. It cannot be ambiguous or contradictory if it's ideas interact with the divine gift of the human mind. Prominent commentators on the Quran and the Sunna, and prominent theologians and jurists as well might have different interpretations, but each presented his argument for his view against others.

Ibn Hazm (d. 1064) might provide a strong argument for a view that appeared different from many dominating others - Ibn Taymiya (d. 1328) might abandon a dominant opinion in his school - the Hanbali - and adopt one of another school for stronger evidence. This is the responsibility of the interpreter of the divine message: who should not accept the different "possible" interpretations as equal, but has to use the various linguistic, logical and historical methods to figure out what represents the proper meaning of the valid text, and to provide the evidence for such a result, even if other views have been existing for a long time or even dominating. The 'existence' of a view, and even the 'size' of its followers, cannot figure out the final word or the ultimate truth, but it is the 'evidence' that is the decisive factor in reaching the right interpretation, although other different views should be tolerated and discussed "in the most convincing and kindly manner".

Compiled From:
"Muslim Women - The Family and The Society" - Fathi Osman