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Today's Reminder

August 10, 2020 | Dhuʻl-Hijjah 20, 1441

Living The Quran

The Longing
Ibrahim (Abraham) - Chapter 14: Verse 39 (partial)

"... surely my Lord hears all prayers."

Abraham's long and humble supplication in this surah (verses 35-41), which also mentions a number of God's blessings and expresses gratitude and thanks for them, employing a fine musical rhythm, imparts an air of gentle tenderness and care which makes people's hearts long to be with God, and remember His grace and blessings. Abraham, the father of a long line of prophets, is seen as a pious servant who does not forget His Lord's grace, or his duty to be thankful for it. He is given as an example to be followed by God's servants who truly believe in Him, for, just before relating Abraham's supplication, the surah addressed them.

We note how Abraham repeats several times the addressing phrase, "My Lord" or "Our Lord". This repeated acknowledgement of God's Lordship over him and his offspring is significant. He does not mention God by His attributes of Godhead, but instead by His Lordship. Godhead has rarely been subject to controversy in societies. Nor was it so in the ignorant society of Arabia at the advent of Islam. What people have always argued about is the Lordship of God, and the need to submit to Him in everyday life on earth.

The Quran relates Abraham's supplication to the Arab idolaters, emphasizing his acknowledgement of God's Lordship to draw their attention to the fact that their own way of life was in complete contrast with what this supplication truly signifies.

Compiled From:
"In The Shade of The Quran" - Sayyid Qutb, Vol. 10, pp. 281-285

From Issue: 686 [Read original issue]

Understanding The Prophet's Life

Public and Private

Several ahadith, by different reporters, highlight the fact that the Prophet (peace be upon him) never used foul language. Anas ibn Malik reports: "God's Messenger was not given to the use of foul language, cursing or abusive names. When he expressed displeasure with someone, he would say, 'What is wrong with him; may he have dust on his forehead.'" (Bukhari.) In answer to a question about the Prophet's manners, Aishah said: "He never used foul or obscene language. Nor was he quarrelsome in the market place. He did not repay a bad turn with a similarly bad one, but would rather forgive and forebear." (Ahmad, Tirmidhi)

Some people put on an appearance when they are out and meet others. The Prophet, however, did not put any appearance other than his real manners. For example: "Some of his Companions visited Umm Salamah, his wife. They said to her: "Mother of the believers, tell us what is God's Messenger like in the privacy of his home." She said: "He is always the same in public and in private." (Ahmad, Tabarani.)

These ahadith together give us a picture of a person who turns away from whatever is unbecoming and to whom good conduct comes naturally; he realizes that whatever comes from God is good. He is the first to implement it, at home and in public. The Prophet was the same in public and with his own family: he never used abusive or insulting language, cursed or engaged in a verbal quarrel. He was aware of his task of "bringing good manners to perfection."

Compiled From:
"Muhammad: His Character and Conduct" - Adil Salahi

From Issue: 995 [Read original issue]

Blindspot!

Personal Accountability

One reason why taking responsibility and holding ourselvs accountable is challenging is that we live in an increasingly victimized society. To practice accountability is essentially a 180-degree turn from this basic, overwhelming cultural phenomenon of victimization. As the Russian proverb says, "Success has many fathers while failure is an orphan."

On the other hand, this is also a reason why taking responsibility is so powerful in building trust. While victimization creates dependency and distrust, accountability creates independence and trust. And the geometric effect is powerful. When people - particularly leaders - hold themselves accountable, it encourages others to do the same. When a leader says, "I could have done that better - and I should have!" it encourages others to respond, "Well, no, I was really the one who should have noticed that. I could have supported you more."

This is also true in a marriage or a family. When someone says, "I'm sorry I spent that money impulsively. That wasn't in harmony with our agreement," or "I shouldn't have yelled at you. That didn't show respect," or, on the other hand, "I committed to you that I'd be there, and I was," that acknowledgement of accountability encourages others to be accountable for their own behaviour. It also creates an environment of openness and trust.

Compiled From:
"The Speed of Trust" - Stephen M. R. Covey, p. 203

From Issue: 757 [Read original issue]