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Today's Reminder

April 13, 2024 | Shawwal 4, 1445

Living The Quran

Revelation and Poetry
Ya Sin (Ya Sin) Sura 39: Verse 69

"We have not taught the Prophet poetry; nor is it fitting for him [to be a poet). This is but a reminder and a Quran making all things clear."

God in all His limitless glory denies that He taught His Messenger the art of poetry. Since God did not teach him this, he will not learn it. No one will ever get to know anything other than what God teaches them. The verse also makes it clear that poetry is not suitable for God's Messenger.

Poetry takes a different line from that of prophethood. Poetry is an interaction which may change from time to time. Prophethood, on the other hand, means revelations bestowed from on high, outlining a firm system and a clear code that should be implemented as it conforms to God's law, which operates throughout the universe. Unlike poetry, it does not change to suit moods and desires.

Moreover, prophethood means constant contact with God, learning directly from what God reveals and an untiring attempt to mould human life in a way that pleases God. In its highest standards, poetry expresses a human longing for what is perfect and beautiful, but it remains a human effort confined within man's capabilities and limitations. At lesser levels, poetry is an expression of reactions and desires that may be strongly carnal. Indeed, prophethood and poetry are far apart: one is at best a longing that issues from the earth while the other is true guidance from on high. The role of revelation is to be a reminder as it works on the mind keeping it alert, and the Quran is to be recited.

Compiled From:
"In the Shade of the Quran" - Sayyid Qutb, pp. 224, 225

From Issue: 952 [Read original issue]

Understanding The Prophet's Life

Mira

The word mira, or mumarat, means an indulgence in soul-destroying arguments which serve no worthy purpose and mar the climate of fraternity and peace. Mira often consists in objecting to the speech of another person in order to show its defects either explicitly or by implication. The motive is usually self-commendation and the attribution of ignorance to others. The hallmark of mira is that it humiliates its victim, and leads to embitterment and hostility.

Mira is often referred to as the opposite of husn-al-khulq - good and pleasant character. The Sunnah emphasizes the moral enormity of mira to such an extent that it is held to interfere with the integrity of faith of the believing perpetrator. Thus, according to one Hadith:

Perfection in faith (Iman) cannot be accomplished unless the believer abandons distortion in the jokes he makes, and abandons acrimonious contention (al-mira), even if what he is saying is true. [Al Maqdisi]

The relevance of mira to personal piety is seen in the following Hadith which promises distinction and a great reward for those who avoid it.

A dwelling shall be built in the highest [echelons] of Paradise for him who refrains from mira even though he be in the right; and for him who is in the wrong but refrains from mira, a dwelling shall be built in the outer realms of Paradise. [Tirmidhi]

Compiled From:
"Freedom of Expression in Islam" - Mohammad Hashim Kamali, pp. 153-155

From Issue: 693 [Read original issue]

Blindspot!

Shariah-Oriented Policy

Siyasah shariah or Shariah-oriented policy is generally seen as an instrument of flexibility and pragmatism in Shariah, designed to serve the cause of justice and good government, especially when the rules of Shariah fall short of addressing certain situations or developments. Siyasah shariah means government in accordance with the goals and objectives of Shariah and in its widest sense applies to all government policies, be it in areas where the Shariah provides explicit guidelines or otherwise.

Essential harmony with the spirit of the Shariah may at times even justify a certain departure from its letter. This may be illustrated by many of the policy decisions of Umar b. al-Khattab, may Allah be pleased with him. In one such decision he refused to assign the fertile lands of Iraq as war booty to the warriors even though the Quran had clearly entitled the warriors to war booty (8:45). Change of circumstances also led the caliph Umar to impose zakah on horses despite the fact that the Prophet, peace be upon him, had exempted these animals from the payment of zakah. It is interesting to note that caliph Umar b. Abd al-Aziz in an effort to revive the early Sunnah, once again abolished the zakah on horses.

It is similarly reported that the third caliph Uthman b. Affan, validated the right to inheritance of a woman whose husband had divorced her in order to be disinherited. The husband's right to divorce was thus deemed prejudicial and therefore obstructed on the grounds, it would seem, of just siyasah.

The decision of Caliph Umar seem to stand in a class of their own and tend to represent the upper limits of siyasah. No other leader would appear to have surpassed the calibre and boldness of Umar's decisions in that they actually went against the clear text of the Quran. Many commentators have discussed and analysed them but no one has actually disputed the propriety and aptitude of those decisions.

Compiled From:
"Shariah Law - An Introduction" - Mohammad Hashim Kamali, pp. 225-231

From Issue: 732 [Read original issue]