Divine Invitation, Transitory Stage, Greatest Injustice

Issue 1033 » January 11, 2019 - Jumada al-Awwal 5, 1440

Living The Quran

Divine Invitation
Yunus (Jonah) Sura 10: Verse 25

"And God invites to the Abode of Peace, and He guides whomsoever He will to a straight path."

Invitations are four: First is the invitation to tawhid and bearing witness. Second is the invitation to praise and response. Third is the invitation to following and leadership. Fourth is the invitation to generosity and hospitality.

When someone wants to invite someone and to make his friends and dear ones his guests, the condition of the entertainment is that first he sends one of those close to him, one of his own special friends, to inform them and give them the good news. Then, when they come, he sends his dear ones to welcome them. He does not invite any of them alone, but rather he invites their friends and relatives as well. He sends steeds and torches in the road, and when they come their place is made up and ready. When they sit, he first gives them rosewater, then fruit is brought. The prepared food is then served. It is also a condition that the host not hold himself back from being seen by the guests, and finally that he send them back with respect and honour.

The Lord of the Worlds has made all of this ready and set it up for the entertainment of paradise, and He reports of it and explains it in the Quran. The first to call them and give them good news is Mustafa (peace be upon him). Then the angels and Ridwan will come to welcome them. He will send them noble steeds of light as mounts. He will send lamps of light for their road. He will not call them alone, but He will also call their relatives and near ones. Then He will make their place be paradise and gardens of bliss. Their beverage is poured sealed, fine wine, whose seal is musk. Their fruit will be much fruit, neither cut off nor withheld. Their food will be the flesh of birds as much as they have appetite. More exalted than all this is that He will turn them toward the vision of Himself so that they may see Him and be delighted. Their fresh and delighted faces will gaze on the majesty and beauty of the Real, and their faces will be brighter than the sun at daytime, having won the self-disclosure of the Possessor of Majesty.

O Chevalier, wait until you see happiness and you sit secure once and for all on the carpet of union with the Friend. From the Friend you will see "What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what has never passed into the heart of any mortal."

Compiled From:
"Kashf al-Asrar wa Uddat al-Abrar" - Rashid al-Din Maybudi. pp. 240, 241

Understanding The Prophet's Life

Transitory Stage

It is well known that subjects and wealth of a kingdom are subjected to the will of the king, and his service. As for Muhammad (peace be upon him) he knew that this life was a transitory stage.

Ibraheem b. Alqamah said that Abdullah said: "The Prophet lay down on a straw mat which had marked his side, so I said: 'O Messenger of God! I ransom you with my mother and father! Allow us to put bedding on this mat that you lay on, so your side would not be affected and marked.' The Prophet said: 'My example in this life is like a rider who took rest under the shade of a tree then continued on his journey.'" (Ibn Majah)

An-Numan b. Basheer said: "I saw your Prophet (during a time) when he was not able to even find low-quality dates to fill his stomach." (Muslim)

Abu Hurairah said: "The Messenger of God never filled his stomach for three consecutive days until his death." (Bukhari)

This does not mean that he could not obtain what he wanted; for the money and wealth would be placed in front of him in his Masjid, and he would not move from his spot, until he distributed it amongst the poor and needy. Among his Companions were those who were wealthy and affluent - they would rush to serve him and would give up the most valuable of things for him. The reason the Prophet renounced the riches of this world, was because he knew the reality of this life. He said: "The likeness of this world to the Hereafter, is like a person who dipped his finger in the ocean - let him see what would return." (Muslim)

Compiled From:
"Muhammad: The Messenger of God" - Abdurrahman al-Sheha, pp. 67, 68


Greatest Injustice

If sexual ethics in the Quran aim to promote contentment and spiritual welfare, why is s e x in Muslim societies, one may legitimately ask, the source of so much injustice and unhappiness? Why is the female body seen as a site of female shame and male honour? How has the barbaric practice of female circumcision, an inheritance from pre-Islamic cultures, survived? The simple answer to these questions is that such notions and practices have nothing to do with the Quran but everything to do with cultural traditions, customs and practices. They are not exclusively Arab or non-Arab; they are derived from and are part of many cultures. As time-honoured practices and ways of thinking and operating in the world, they were inveigled into the Quranic framework, retained and newly re-justified with the rubric of Islam; some even became part of the Sharia as it evolved through the centuries and exists today.

Women in Muslim societies face the greatest injustice in relation to rape. Under certain Sharia legislation, such as the Hudud Ordinance of Pakistan or the Hudud Bill of the Malaysian State of Kelantan, zina, i.e. illicit s e x, and rape are seen as the same thing and fall under the same rules. Of course, the two are quite distinct. Zina is consensual s e x, and even though it is out of wedlock, it may involve love and mutual affection. Rape is non-consensual s e x under force and duress: it is an aberration of power, violence and humiliation. Only a perverted mind would see both as the same. Yet, under Sharia legislation, the rules of zina are applied to rape; and the rape victim has to bring four male witnesses of just character to prove the charge against her attacker. The most frequent outcome is that the rape victim is doubly victimised: not only has she been raped, but she is also accused of adultery or fornication and imprisoned! So the rules that were supposed to protect women from slander are used to sanction state violence against them. Those who frame such laws and apply them in the name of Islam are the real transgressors, who 'overstep His limits' and 'will be consigned by God to the Fire, and there they will stay—a humiliating torment awaits them' (4:14).

Compiled From:
"Reading the Qur'an" - Ziauddin Sardar, p. 320