December 06, 2023 | Jumada I 23, 1445
Surah Hud (Hud) Chapter 11: Verse 118
Islam is the essence of all divine religions and is the mission of all Prophets from Adam to Muhammad, upon them be peace. It is the universal call directed to all men of all times and places without discrimination. The Arabs were called upon to raise the banner of Islam not because they were racially or culturally superior to their contemporaries, but in order that they, too, might do their share of commitment to the religion of God and make their contributions to humanity. It was precisely for this reason that Muhammad, peace be upon him, sometimes felt distressed when he saw some people turning their backs to the call of God. Righteous, and concerned as he was, and knowing what Islam meant for humanity, Muhammad believed and hoped that every man would naturally accept Islam without reservation. But this did not come through, and Muhammad like any other committed human being, experienced some frustration. To overcome this frustration, God revealed to him verses like this.
No leader can afford to be indifferent to his commitment and to those around him. On the other hand, he cannot afford to be possessed by excessive enthusiasm about things beyond his control, for this may well shatter his personality and destroy his entire purpose. True, he is committed and responsible for his commitment. True, too, he must do his utmost to honour his commitment. But we must remember that responsibility is proportionate to man's capacity and potential. Between these two poles of indifference and excessive enthusiasm, there is a very wide range for great actions and achievements.
God has created diverse people and has offered them the chance to participate in the shaping of history. He has created them differentiated so that they might know one another, be free to choose their commitments, and be responsible for their choice. This means that the business of the committed people is unfinished and their responsibility never ceases. This, in turn, gives the committed a sense of continuity, a goal, and a dynamism of motivation.
Islam: A Way of Life and a Movement, "Islam and Humanity" - Hammudah Abdalati, pp. 101, 102
From Issue: 722 [Read original issue]
Prophets were completely trustworthy and asked no wage for their services. Among his own people, Prophet Muhammad was famous for his trustworthiness even before his proclamation of Prophethood. He was known as al-Amin (the Trustworthy). Like his predecessors, he asked no wage for calling to God.
Prophets never thought of material gain, spiritual reward, or even Paradise—they strove only for God's good pleasure and to see humanity guided to the truth. Prophet Muhammad was the foremost in this respect. As he devoted his life to humanity's welfare in this world, he will do so in the Place of Gathering. While everybody else will care only about themselves, he will prostrate before God, pray for the Muslims' salvation, and intercede with God on behalf of others. [Bukhari]
Those who intend to spread the perennial values of Islam should follow these practices. Any message based on an impure intention, regardless of eloquence, will have no effect on people.
Aisha reported that sometimes no food was cooked for four successive days in their house. [Bukhari] One day, he told Gabriel: "It has been several days since someone has lit a fire to cook food in the house of Muhammad's family." An angel appeared and asked: "O Messenger of God, God greets you and asks if you would like to be a Prophet-king or a Prophet-slave?" He turned to Gabriel, who recommended humility. The Prophet raised his voice and replied: "I wish to be a Prophet-slave, who entreats God in hunger one day and thanks Him in satisfaction the next." [Ibn Hanbal]
God's Messenger used to eat with slaves and servants. Once a woman saw him eating and remarked: "He's eating as if he were a slave." God's Messenger responded: "Could there be a better slave than me? I am a slave of God." [Haythami]
"The Messenger of God: Muhammad" - Fethullah Gulen, pp. 36, 37
From Issue: 902 [Read original issue]
For most Muslims, Ramadan is family time. You get up together, eat Iftar together, pray together, etc. But what if you don't have your family near you?
Waking up in a lonely apartment and eating food you've sometimes burnt in an effort to catch Suhur in time are some of the realities of being a single Muslim in Ramadan. But there are ways to make Ramadan special when you're on your own. Here are few ideas.
1. Establish a Suhur telephone tree
Get a couple of friends together and establish a telephone tree to wake each other up for Suhur. Establish a time to call and a schedule of who will call whom. Make it a little exciting by adding some funny phrases every week that will really wake everyone.
2. Invite people over for Iftar
Even if even you couldn't eat the food the last time you cooked, invite people over for Iftar. Make it a potluck, order pizza or if you can afford it, get it catered. The food isn't the thing. The blessing is in the company, and you'll be rewarded for feeding everyone. Make sure to especially invite those who are away from their families.
3. Attend prayers at the local mosque/MSA
Even if the Imam's recitation isn't the best and the behavior of other Muslims can be more than annoying, try to attend Tarawih prayers organized by your local mosque or your Muslim Students' Association (MSA). While praying alone in peace and quiet is great, praying shoulder-to-shoulder with other Muslims with whom you have nothing in common except your faith is a unique and uplifting experience.
4. Keep the Quran playing when you are alone
It's often tempting to keep the TV or radio on when we're alone to avoid the silence. This Ramadan, find a Quran reciter you like and play their recitations during those moments when you want to fill your place with some sound. Choose selections you'd like to memorize, like the 30th part of the Quran.
5. Take care of others
Know a new person at the school/office? Is a friend who lives nearby having problems with their spouse? Or is someone you know having money problems? This Ramadan, reach out with an attentive ear, a generous hand, and most importantly, an open heart to others. Don't let these small opportunities for gaining blessings slip you by.
6. Pick and pursue Ramadan goals
Choose at least three goals to pursue this Ramadan. Whether it's curbing a bad habit or starting a good one, doing this will help you focus and work harder this month to change for the better. It takes 21 days to establish a good habit. With Ramadan, we've got 30. Why not make the best of it by picking up the good?
"A single Muslim's guide to Ramadan" - SoundVision.com
From Issue: 694 [Read original issue]