March 26, 2023 | Ramadan 4, 1444
Living The Quran
Al-Nahl (The Bees)
Chapter 16: Verse 126
"If you should punish, then let your punishment be commensurate with the wrong done to you. But to endure patiently is far better for those who are patient in adversity."
When the Prophet, peace be upon him, saw the mutilated body of his uncle Hamza (may Allah be pleased with him) after the battle of Uhud, he said that he would mutilate 30 of the enemy. The Sahabah said they would carry out a slaughter never seen before by the Arabs. This verse was revealed to address that sentiment.
Aggression is an action that must be repelled with similar force in order to preserve the dignity of the truth and to ensure that falsehood does not triumph. Response to aggression, however, must not exceed the limits of repelling it. Islam is the faith of justice and moderation, peace and reconciliation. It repels any aggression launched against it or its followers without committing any aggression against others.
This is indeed part of the method of advocacy. To repel aggression within the limits of justice preserves the dignity of the Islamic message so that it suffers no humiliation. A humiliated message has no appeal for anyone. Indeed no one will accept that humiliation be suffered by a divine message. God does not permit His message to suffer humiliation without repelling it.
Yet at the same time that the rule of equal punishment is established, the Quran calls on believers to endure with fortitude and to forgive. This applies in situations when the believers are able to repel aggression and to eradicate evil. In such cases, forgiveness and patience are more effective and of greater value to the Islamic message. Personal position or prestige is of secondary importance when the interests of the message are better served by forgiveness and endurance.
In the life of the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, we have the best example. He and his companions were tortured, killed and driven out of their homes by the Makkans but they forgave them and accepted them as brothers after the opening of Makkah. The Prophet, peace be upon him, also taught soldiers to kill only combatants and not to destroy crops, kill Priests and Monks or destroy houses of worship. At the same time, warfare is allowed and fighting to protect one's family, property or life is a type of Jihad. We have to maintain our balance and not fight evil with evil or commit atrocities to respond to atrocity. We have to be patient and wait for the victory given by Allah to our struggle.
"In The Shade of The Quran" - Sayyid Qutb, Vol. 11, pp. 115-116
"Questions and Answers" - Abdullah Hakim Quick
From Issue: 501 [Read original issue]
Understanding The Prophet's Life
Seek the Good in Everyone
We must recognize that every person who believes in Allah and in His Messenger cannot be devoid of some inborn good, however evil his practice may be. Involvement in major transgressions does not uproot a person's iman unless the transgressor deliberately defies Allah and scorns His commands. Here, as elsewhere, we have to heed the Sunnah of the Prophet, peace be upon him, who used to treat wrongdoers as a physician would treat a patient, not as a policeman would treat a criminal. He was very kind to them and always listened to their problems.
During the lifetime of the Prophet there was an alcoholic who was repeatedly brought to the Prophet and was repeatedly punished, yet still persisted. One day when he was brought again on the same charge and was lashed, a man from among the people said: "May Allah curse him! How frequently has he been brought [to the Prophet to be punished]?" The Prophet said: "Do not curse him. By Allah I know he loves Allah and His Messenger." It is also reported that the Prophet said: "Do not assist Satan against your brother." The Prophet prevented them from cursing him because their action could create discord and ill feeling between the man and his fellow Muslim brothers - his transgression should not sever the bond of brotherhood between him and other Muslims.
Deep contemplation of the above example and incident amply demonstrates the Prophet's insight into the inherent element of goodness in man. We need, more than ever before, to study and follow the exemplary pattern that the Prophet has set for us. Those extremists who indiscriminately accuse whoever makes a mistake of kufr or shirk must understand that they have to change their strategy and learn that a great deal of the corruption and perversion they abhor results mainly from ignorance of Islam, bad company, or forgetfulness. The solution is to help people overcome and defeat all these problems. To be harsh, to accuse others of kufr, and to find fault with whatever they do only serves to alienate and estrange them. A wise man once said: "Rather than cursing darkness, try to light a candle for the road."
Islam: The Way of Revival,"The Ethics of Daw'wah and Dialogue" - Yusuf al Qaradawi, pp. 224, 225
From Issue: 539 [Read original issue]
Comprehending Allah's Names
When we beseech Allah by His names, we should do so with dignity, composure, and understanding.
There are two ways that we call upon Allah. The first is to beseech him with our petitions, to entreat him with the concerns we have about our worldly lives and our hopes for the Hereafter. This is what we usually understand by supplication (dua).
The second way we call upon Allah is through our devotions. We do so by invoking His names in our remembrances, by meditating upon the meanings and significance of those names. We do so by praising Him and glorifying Him as His noble attributes warrant through devotion in our prayers, our remembrances, and in our God-consciousness.
Ibn al-Qayyim observes: "Allah is Knowing and He loves those who have knowledge. He is Beautiful and He loves beauty. He is Merciful, and He loves those who show mercy. He is Kind and He loves those who show kindness to others."
When we take to ourselves something of the light of Allah's beautiful names by learning what they mean and developing ourselves and our temperaments accordingly, then we have truly comprehended His names.
It is as Ibn al-Qayyim explains, that Allah is Oft-Pardoning and He loves to pardon. Therefore, He rewards and blesses those of us who pardon their fellow human beings. He is Generous and loves for us to be generous as well. He is the Concealer of Faults, and He loves it for us to conceal the faults of those who might have wronged us. He is Merciful, and He shows His mercy especially to those of us who are merciful to others.
One way that we call upon Allah's names through our devotions is by reading the Quran. This is because the Quran is full of the mention of His names. We also do so when we call up their meanings in our minds so that they become a constant part of our lives. In this way, we become more fully reliant upon Allah, more penitent, more mindful of our conduct, and stronger in faith. These are all ways in which we bring Allah's names to full realization in our lives.
"Calling Upon Allah with Our Words & Deeds" - Salman al-Oadah
From Issue: 550 [Read original issue]