Today's Reminder

June 01, 2023 | Dhuʻl-Qiʻdah 12, 1444

Living The Quran

Freedom to Move
Al-Isra (The Night Journey) - Chapter 17: Verse 70

"We have conferred dignity on all the children of Adam; bore them over land and sea; given them sustenance from the good things of life; and conferred on them favours above a great part of Our creation."

Islam considers “human dignity” fundamental to its guidance for the right way of life. All the children of Adam, whatever their race, ethnicity, gender, age, social status and beliefs may be, have been granted dignity by their Creator without any distinction, and this human dignity must be secured and maintained by His guidance and laws through the Muslim teachers and authorities, and should never be subjected to violation or declination. Human dignity is comprehensive; it encompasses all human dimensions: spiritual, moral, intellectual and physical. Sustenance from the good things of life must be secured for every human being through fair conditions of work and decent social welfare for those who cannot work temporarily or permanently. Freedom to move from one place to another is an essential feature of human dignity that fulfills the universality of the human creature with his or her unique spiritual, moral, and intellectual potential. Any restrictions in this respect within the country or throughout the world must be considered against human dignity.

Human dignity comprises the fulfillment of obligations as well as the security of rights. Thus, the Quran uses the word “dignity” to underscore the correspondent human rights and obligations, which should be together carried out to secure the human dignity.

Early jurists gathered out from the various rules of Islamic Law (sharia) held that its goal is securing and developing the human being in these five basic areas: life, family and children, mind, freedom of faith, and rights of ownership whether private or public. Human dignity is supported in Islam by educational and organizational measures, and is not presented as empty words, mere rhetoric or personal piety.

Compiled From:
"Islam in a Modern State: Democracy and the Concept of Shura" - Fathi Osman, pp. 9, 10

From Issue: 815 [Read original issue]

Understanding The Prophet's Life

First Entry

When the Prophet (peace be upon him) was about to enter Khaybar as a victor, he stopped and said:

'O God, Lord of heavens and what they overshadow, Lord of the lands and what they are made to grow, Lord of the devils, and what into error they throw, Lord of the winds and what they winnow, we ask You for the good of this town, and the good of its people, and the good of what is in it, and we take refuge in You from its evil and the evil of its people, and the evil that is in it. Forward, in the name of God.' [Ibn Ishaq]

The Prophet used to regularly repeat these words, whenever he entered a town for the first time.

Compiled From:
"War and Peace in the Life of the Prophet Muhammad" - Zakaria Bashier, pp. 213, 214

From Issue: 772 [Read original issue]


Artistic Creativity

If Islam's message calls on us to understand the meaning of life and to respect people's common good by celebrating life, peace, dignity, welfare, justice, equality, conscience, sincerity, contemplation, memories, and cultures, then the Universe of artistic expression is opened wide to everybody's creativity. What is at stake is not to produce "Islamic" songs that only speak of such "Islamic" motives as God, the Prophet, respecting parents and norms, and similar things; it is to express through art the feelings and experiences that are part of humankind's hearts and daily lives, with talent and art. Speaking about childhood, fears, tensions, desires, love, friendship, wounds, separations, hopes, and death in an intimate, natural, universal way is "Islamic" and it is not necessary to add specific references linked to a Universe of norms, such as verses, ahadith, or Arabic words to give the impression that the work or product has been "Islamized." Such an attitude reveals a deep lack of self-confidence in the forms of culture and art in general. Obsessed by the fear of transgressing norms, people no longer know how to simply talk about meaning; they find it difficult to convey the most natural emotions and share life experiences that transcend religious belonging, although those give norms their true meaning.

What must characterize contemporary art nurtured by Islamic ethics is its capacity to speak about everything, the universal inner self, aspirations and contradictions, good and evil, quest and betrayal, with nobility, sincerity, and warmth. The point is not, either, to imitate the popular productions of global culture and copy their rhythms or their methods of production while "Islamizing" them. It is urgent to invest time and thought in the now central area of culture and the arts, to devise an alternative that is altogether original, appealing, and faithful to the ethical outcomes.

Compiled From:
"Radical Reform: Islamic Ethics and Liberation" - Tariq Ramadan, pp. 203-206

From Issue: 625 [Read original issue]