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Today's Reminder

June 19, 2024 | Dhuʻl-Hijjah 12, 1445

Living The Quran

Natural Path
Al-e-Imran (The House of Imran) Sura 3: Verse 51

"It is Allah Who is my Sustainer and your Sustainer. So worship Him. This is the straight way."

This represents the correction of the oft-repeated phrase "my father and your father" used in the Gospels. The Quran corrects this mistake and explains what Jesus had stated was in fact "Allah alone is my Sustainer and your Sustainer, so worship Him and Him alone." But instead of following this clear and explicit teaching, the Christians put on it an essentially allegorical and unclear interpretation. The word ab in Hebrew is used both for father and sustainer or nourisher and the word ibn is used both for son and for abd meaning a servant or a slave. Obviously, when a word is thus used in a possible dual sense, its actual sense at a specific place can be determined in the light of its context alone.

When the Christians adopted the creed of the divinity of Jesus, they used whatever material they could lay their hands on to support their creed, ignoring its context and original signification. Later, when the original Injil was lost and was replaced with translations only, the meaning and interpretation of everything underwent a drastic change and distortion. However, despite all these distortions, there are still in the Injil indications that clearly show that whenever Jesus uses the word ab for Allah, he invariably means rabb or Sovereign Sustainer. In fact at some places, by using other synonyms of this word, he makes his message amply clear. For instance, he is reported to have said: "Go instead to my brothers and tell them, 'I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God'" (John 20: 17).

From this statement, it is quite clear that Jesus uses the word ab for Allah in order to emphasise Allah's providential care and compassion for His creation and definitely not to trace his lineage to Him. Moreover, Jesus also states that Allah is his God as well as the God of all.

The straight path to Allah is to accept Him as the Sovereign Sustainer of all, ours as well as of all others and to worship and adore Him alone. Those who have introduced crookedness in it and have consequently strayed into labyrinths of error, polytheism and unbelief - are lost. There is no crookedness in this path and it leads directly to Allah. The use of the indefinite form - siratun mustaqimun (straight path) - underlines the importance and pre-eminence of this natural path.

Compiled From:
"Pondering Over The Qur'an: Surah Ali Imran" - Amin Ahsan Islahi

From Issue: 982 [Read original issue]

Understanding The Prophet's Life

Making Beautiful

The Sunnah is emphatic on cleanliness in terms both of personal hygiene and the living environment. The Prophet has thus been quoted to have said that "cleanliness is one half of the faith." [Muslim]

As an integral aspect of beauty (jamal) within and outside the rituals of the faith, the Prophet has also said that "God is beautiful and He loves beauty." [Muslim] Commentators have viewed that the reference here is to one's body, living quarters, and surrounding environment.

The appreciation of beauty is not merely a question of subjective aesthetics; it is also an objective aspect of the function of the intellect. Beauty thus takes one to the heart of ethics. The Arabic ihsan, which is also a recurrent Quranic word, is often translated as "virtue" or "excellence," also means "making beautiful" and means to beautify. Virtue and ihsan can thus be understood as that which makes the soul beautiful. In this light, the relationship among the intellect, ethics, and aesthetics is captured in one of the sayings of Imam Ali: "The excellence of the intellect is in the beauty of things outward and inward." Beauty is comprehensive when the outward beauty of form and action is complemented by inward beauty, that is, beauty of the soul, or virtue.

Compiled From:
"The Middle Path of Moderation in Islam: The Qur'anic Principle of Wasatiyyah" - Hashim Kamali

From Issue: 850 [Read original issue]

Blindspot!

Injustice

Humanity is our real common denominator. We share a proximity with all other human beings, and have a common set of inalienable rights as neighbours and kin in this world. This shared identity, our many shared interests, and basic ethics can provide us with a peaceful means to engage with each other when we differ.

People disagree with each other. This needs to be acknowledged. We should not shy away from our disagreements or try to gloss them over. The critical matter is to make sure we uphold the rights of those who disagree with us.

People do not have to share the same set of values and the societal identities to be just with one another. We must speak truthfully and act justly with everyone without exception. Injustice is always a sin. It is never allowed.

We need to make ourselves the keys to a better future and obstacles to misfortune. We should emulate the example of Prophet Muhammad when he arrived in Madinah, where Muslims lived along with pagans and Jews. Whenever there was tension, he acted to calm things down.

We should never think that conflict is the best way to reach our goals. When people give up on reason and the loudest, angriest voice wins the day, it is a crisis of major proportions.

Compiled From:
"Personal and Societal Crises" - Salman al-Oadah

From Issue: 905 [Read original issue]