Living The Quran Living The Quran

Superficial Attraction
Mariam (Mary) - Chapter 19: Verse 73

"When Our revelations are recited to them in all their clarity, the unbelievers say to those who believe: 'Which of the two sides has a better position and a superior community?'"

The elders of the Quraysh at the time of the Prophet used to listen to God’s revelations being recited to them, but then they would behave arrogantly towards the believers, branding them as poor and weak, and boasting about their own wealth and petty social values. Had the message preached by Muhhammad been any good, would his followers be those who had no power or influence in the Quraysh society? Would they have met in a humble place like al-Arqam’s house? Would his opponents be those who enjoyed all the luxuries and social prominence?

Such is worldly logic, advanced by those who have no aspiration to any truly high horizon. It is divine wisdom that keeps faith free of all adornment and superficial attraction, offering no temptation. Thus, only those who take it for its real value, without hope of immediate gain, will accept it. By contrast, those who are after wealth, worldly interests, pleasures and the like will turn away from it.

Compiled From:
"In The Shade of The Quran" - Sayyid Qutb, Vol. 11, pp. 370, 371

Understanding The Prophet's Life Understanding The Prophet's Life

Coexistence

Too many people see the idea of coexistence as a strategy to resort to in times of weakness. This is not true at all. What we see if we observe the world is that coexistence really comes into full flower and sets its roots deep when there is strength. The societies which have the power to promote coexistence and peace are the same ones who have the power to instigate and successfully conduct a war. By contrast, those who are weak can neither conduct war nor bring about peace. It is, indeed, at times of weakness and instability that we find the noble idea of coexistence to be most imperilled.

It shows strength to be able to accommodate disagreements and dissention, to be able to encompass various outlooks, social tendencies, and aspirations while not having any group’s vested interests spiral into discord or civil strife. Strength is not about imposing one particular view by force.

Once, the Prophet (peace be upon him) saw a funeral procession pass by. He stood for it. When he was told that it was the funeral of a Jew, he replied: "Was he not a human soul?" [Bukhari, Muslim]

The purpose of religion contrary to what some people seem to think is not to cause conflict between people, but rather to give a moral shape and harmonious order to human interaction and to ensure successful cooperation in improving our lives on Earth.

Coexistence preserves human life. It opens the doors to dialogue. It is the atmosphere in which the Message of Islam prospers, where it can present itself with the reason, evidence, and logic that so enriches the Quran.

Compiled From:
"Coexistence is Strength"- Salman al-Oadah

Blindspot! Blindspot!

Individual Consciousness

The presence of God, the Creator of all things and all men, is an appeal to the individual consciousness: all moral teachings are in fact meaningful only because they demand that we work upon ourselves, upon our behaviour, our feelings, our emotions and our fears. From Hinduism to the monotheisms and through Socrates, Plato and Aristotle, the common message is that we are all, naturally and potentially, inclined to reject the other, and to be intolerant and racist. Left to our own devices and our raw emotions, we can be deaf, blind, dogmatic, closed and xenophobic: we are not born open-minded, respectful and pluralist. We become so through personal effort, education, self-mastery and knowledge.

Faith means confidence, a state of peace and balance and being at ease with ourselves. The quest for that inner peace is regarded as one of the preconditions for a serene relationship with the other and with differences. The universal message we find in the maxim ‘Love thy neighbour as thyself’ is an ideal that reveals three dimensions: first, it is indeed a question of love, or a disposition of the heart; second, love for the other means paying special attention to a love for oneself (‘as thyself’) which must be experienced, and deepened, as an invitation to look outwards, and not as a prison; and lastly, loving ourselves and finding inner peace is an implicit precondition for loving and welcoming others into the peace of our hearts. This is a love story. It is also a story about consciousness and demands: it is about knowing ourselves, recognizing our darkest natural temptations and going in search of our hearts’ noblest aspirations. The price for serene, respectful encounter with the other is the engagement in an encounter with oneself.

All philosophies, spiritual traditions and religions call upon us to examine our conscience, to work upon ourselves, and never to forget the need for trust and love, in oneself, of oneself, and in others.

Compiled From:
"The Other Within Me" - Tariq Ramadan

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