October 13, 2019 | Safar 13, 1441
Al-Rum (The Byzantines)
Chapter 30: Verse 54
State of Weakness
"It is God who creates you in a state of weakness, and then after weakness He brings about strength in you, and then after strength He brings about your weakness and old age. He creates what He wills; and He alone has all knowledge and power."
In this verse we see the beginnings in our own life, and we see the end brought to them in a vivid image as though it were happening before our own eyes. We only need to have a receptive mind to gather the inspiration behind the verse.
The weakness in man's formation meant here has several aspects to it. It includes the physical weakness of the single, tiny cell that makes the foetus which goes through several stages, remaining weak throughout all of them. This weakness continues during childhood, until the person reaches adolescence and the prime of youth. Another weakness is that of the substance from which man is made, which is clay. Had it not been for the breath of God's spirit, man would have remained in the physical image of clay or in an animal image. Both of these are very weak compared to man. There is also the psychological weakness that makes man yield to desire, passion and lust. It is again the breathing of God's spirit into him that gives him the ability and resolve to resist such emotions. Without this spirit man would have been weaker than animals which behave according to their natures.
The strength mentioned here covers all those aspects discussed under weakness: strength in physical build, human potential, mental ability and psychological constitution.
Old age is a decline into childhood in all aspects. It may be accompanied with psychological decline due to weakness of will. An old person may have an urge similar to that of a child without having the willpower to resist it. The Arabic word shaybah, translated here as 'old age' also connotes 'grey hair'. It is specially selected here to give a tangible impression of old age.
No one escapes these stages. They never fail to affect anyone who survives; nor are they ever slow so as to come later than usual. These stages confirm that mankind is subject to a greater will that creates and determines as it pleases. That is the will of God who determines the age, life and stages of every creature in accordance with perfect knowledge and elaborate planning.
"In The Shade of the Quran" - Sayyid Qutb, Vol. 13, pp. 397, 398
From Issue: 530 [Read original issue]
In Sahih Muslim, there is a hadith on the authority of Abu Huraira that describes the great reward for those people who complete and "perfect" their Islam. Abu Huraira narrated that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said,
"If one of you makes his faith excellent, he will be recorded for every good deed ten-fold to seven hundred fold. And for every evil deed he does, he will have recorded one similar to it, until he meets Allah."
According to ibn Rajab, every good deed will be recorded ten-fold. However, the increase upon that is determined by how much a person completes his faith. In other words, the purer his intention, the greater the deed he performed and so forth will lead the deed to being multiplied seven-hundred fold.
A hadith in Sunan al-Nasai states,
"If a servant accepts Islam and completes his Islam, Allah will record for him every good deed that he performed before [his Islam] and Allah will erase for him every evil deed that he did before [his Islam]. Then everything after that will be according to a retribution. For every good deed, he will be recorded ten-fold up to seven hundred fold. And for every evil deed he will be recorded similarly [one] for it, unless Allah overlooks that for him." [Malik, Al-Nasai]
This hadith shows that a person will be rewarded for the good deeds that he performed before becoming Muslim. His evil deeds will also be erased after becoming Muslim. However, this is conditional. This is conditional upon the fact that he perfects or completes his Islam. That is, it is conditional that he remains away from the evil deeds after he becomes a Muslim.
"Commentary on the Forty Hadith of an-Nawawi" - Jamaal al-Din Zarabozo, pp. 589, 590
From Issue: 904 [Read original issue]
When you experienced sadness yesterday, your situation didn't get any better by you being sad. Your son failed in school, and you became depressed, yet did your depression change the fact that he failed? Your father passed away, and you became downhearted, yet did that bring him back to life? You lost your business, and you became saddened. Did this change your situation by transforming losses into profits?
Do not be sad: You became despondent due to a calamity, and by doing so, created additional calamities. You became depressed because of poverty and this only increased the bitterness of your situation. You became gloomy because of what your enemies said to you; by entering into that mental state, you unwittingly helped them in their attack against you. You became sullen because you expected a particular misfortune, and yet it never came to pass.
Do not be sad: Truly a large mansion will not protect you from the effects of depression; and neither will a beautiful wife, abundant wealth, a high position, or brilliant children.
Do not be sad: Sadness causes you to imagine poison when you are really looking at pure water, to see a cactus when you are looking at a rose, to see a barren desert when you are looking at a lush garden, and to feel that you are in an unbearable prison when you are living on a vast and spacious earth.
Do not be sad: You have the true Religion to live by, a house to live in, bread to eat, water to drink, clothes to wear, a wife to find comfort with; why then the melancholy?
"Don't Be Sad" - Aaidh ibn Abdullah al-Qarni
From Issue: 635 [Read original issue]