Today's Reminder

January 25, 2021 | Jumada II 11, 1442

Living The Quran

Govern Affairs
Al-Naziat (The Wresters) - Chapter 79: Verses 1-5

"By those that wrest violently, by those that draw out quickly, by those that glide serenely, by those that race to the fore, outstripping, and by those that govern affairs."

Regarding the varying interpretations for these verses as referring to different types of angels, different modes of death, or different types and phases of stars and/or other celestial bodies, among other things, al-Tabari says that they can be seen as a reference to all of these, for God is swearing by everything that exhibits the characteristics mentioned in these verses.

Al-Razi advises that we cannot say any of the interpretations are what is meant by God, but that we can say they are possible. He adds another interpretation in which these verses represent five phases in the return of the heart from what is other than God to God: "Those that wrest (al-naziat) are the spirits that move toward (tanziu ila) attachment to the most unfailing handhold [2:256; 31:22], or who are being wrested from the love of what is other than God. Those that draw out quickly (al-nashitat nasht) means that, after the return from bodily things, [the spirits] take to striving and assuming the character traits of God with utter zeal (nishat) and great strength. Those that glide serenely is then that, after striving, [the spirits] 'glide' in the realm of sovereignty, such that they cross these oceans and swim therein. Those that race to the fore, outstripping is an allusion to the variegation of spirits in the degrees of their journey unto God, and those that govern affairs is an allusion to the connection between the last levels of humanness and the first degrees of angelhood. So when the human spirits reach their farthest limit, which is the level of outstripping, they connect to the world of angels, which is what is meant by those that govern affairs.

Compiled From:
"The Study Quran: A New Translation and Commentary" - Seyyed Hossein Nasr

From Issue: 907 [Read original issue]

Understanding The Prophet's Life


Suspicion can ruin relations between people, particularly when it is based on flimsy evidence, or hearsay. The Prophet (peace be upon him) spoke in very clear terms about misplaced suspicion, giving clear orders to refrain from it. The following authentic hadith groups together some of the actions that cause discord within the community and make people dislike one another:

Abu Hurayrah reports that the Prophet said: 'Beware of suspicion, for suspicion is the worst form of lying. Do not spy against one another, or compete with one another. Do not turn your back on one another, nor envy nor hate one another, but remain - you servants of God - brothers and sisters'. [Bukhari, Ahmad, Muslim]

This hadith stresses the importance of maintaining good relations within the Muslim community. The Prophet highlights certain things that would undermine such relations, and he tells us not to allow ourselves to indulge in them. Boycott, envy and hate should never be allowed to exist, let alone flourish in any Muslim community. Relations between Muslims should always be close. All members of the Muslim community should look at one another as brothers and sisters. They must value this tie of brotherhood, because it is established on the best basis, which is servitude to God and pure faith.

However, the hadith begins with a warning against suspicion describing it as the most untrue of speech. This is an apt description because whatever is said on the basis of suspicion has no basis in reality. It is all conjecture, leading to false accusations and ideas. It poisons relations and leads to discord and hostility. It also encourages what the Prophet mentions next, which is spying on one another. People do not spy on their neighbours or competitors unless they have some sort of suspicion they want to explore. Hence, they try to gather information secretly, perhaps through spying. This is again forbidden. The Prophet teaches us that we should help one another not to entertain any doubt leading to suspicion.

Compiled From:
"Al-Adab al-Mufrad with Full Commentary: A Perfect Code of Manners and Morality" - Adil Salahi

From Issue: 1063 [Read original issue]


Sanctity of The State

Many have advocated the view that since the state in Islam applies the shariah, its rulings must be obeyed in all religious matters. This is an erroneous view simply because Islam does not endow the state with sanctity of any kind. The State in Islam is civilian in character; the head of state is elected by the people. He is not immune to error and he is accountable for his conduct like anyone else. In the event of crime or blatant violation of the trust of office, he may be sued and subjected to the authority of the courts without any claim to privileged treatment. “It is the greatest aberration (akbar al-khata)”, in al-Qaradawi’s phrase, “for the state or its supporters to think that it has a monopoly over legitimacy and truth, or to think that anyone who opposes them is necessarily wrong.” We listen to everyone who makes a contribution and we are entitled to decide for ourselves as to whose version is convincing and justified.

When the Mutazilite rationalists became prominent under the Abbasid caliphs, al-Mamun, al-Mutasim and al-Wathiq in the mid-ninth century, the state tried to compel the people to embrace the Mutazilite doctrines over whether the Quran was the created or uncreated speech of God. This led to what is known in Islamic history as the Mihnah (‘inquisition’) that entailed persecution of many leading scholars, including the Imam Ahmad b. H?anbal (d. 869). The Imam resisted intense pressure due to his belief that the state had no authority to impose its views on anyone, let alone resorting to coercive action over speculative issues. Islamic history has recorded this as a violation of the freedom of expression that everyone must enjoy.

Compiled From:
"Diversity and Pluralism" - Mohammad Hashim Kamali, pp. 40-42

From Issue: 874 [Read original issue]