March 27, 2023 | Ramadan 5, 1444
Living The Quran
Al-Naziat (The Setting Stars)
Chapter 79: Verses 40-41
"But unto him who shall have stood in fear of his Lord's presence, and held back his inner self from base desires, paradise will truly be the goal."
How numerous the tongues that move with the name of Allah! But how meagre the benefit! An how rare the hearts that become genuinely humble at the mention of Allah! Yet how desperate the need of the world for those rare hearts!
Undoubtedly, the ruin of religion comes about when it digresses into empty words and forms. And the mission of religion will not have been accomplished until the day it creates in all men living conscience, pure mind and hearts that aim in awe at countenancing the divine. That is what true dhikr is!
Accounted among the influences of this kind of dhikr is that it curbs man's appetite for wealth. Thus, those who remember Allah are never obsessed by greed for more and more, and are certainly never demeaned by greedy or covetous constitutions. Rather, they earn their money honourably, and spend it on their legitimate needs without ever thinking to hoard or accumulate it.
"Remembrance And Prayer" - Muhammad Al-Ghazali, p. 159
From Issue: 467 [Read original issue]
Understanding The Prophet's Life
Ammar ibn Yasir reports that he heard the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) say: "Prolonging salah and shortening one's khutbah is a sign of one's understanding of the religion. So, prolong the prayer and shorten the khutbah." This is related by Ahmad and Muslim. Shortening the khutbah and prolonging one's salah shows one's understanding of religion, for such a person is able to comprehend and express much in a few words.
Giving his views on the subject, Ibn al-Qayyim says: "The khutbah of the Prophet reinforced the fundamental articles of faith, like belief in Allah, the Exalted, His angels, His books, His messengers, and the meeting with Him. He would mention the paradise and the hellfire and what Allah, the Exalted, has promised to His devoted servants and the people who obey Him and what Allah has promised to His enemies and the miscreant. While listening to his khutbah, the hearts would be filled with belief in Allah, His oneness, and His majesty. His khutbahs were not like speeches of those who speak only of matters of concern of common folk, lamenting earthly life and frightening people of the approaching death. Such speeches cannot inspire faith in Allah or strengthen belief in His oneness or move people by allusion to His mighty works in history, nor can they kindle in hearts intense love for Allah, making the listeners look forward eagerly to the time they will meet Him! The people who hear such speeches gain no benefit at all, except that they will die and that their wealth will be distributed and their bodies will be turned to dust. If we study the khutbahs of the Prophet and his companions, we find them imbued with perspicuous guidance, tawhid, attributes of Allah, explaining the basic articles of the faith, inviting people to Allah, and drawing their attention to His providential care that makes Him so beloved to His slaves. His khutbahs referred to Allah's dealings with others in the past so as to warn his listeners against His wrath and exhort them to remember Him, thank Him and win His pleasure and love. Those who heard these khutbahs were inspired with the love of Allah and they looked forward eagerly to meeting their Lord. As time went by, the example of the Prophet was forgotten and other things prevailed. The main purpose of the khutbah was forgotten. The eloquent and nice words that moved the hearts became rare in speeches. The main thrust of the khutbah was neglected. The hearts were no longer touched and the basic purpose of the khutbah was lost."
"Fiqh-us-Sunnah" - Al Sayyid Sabiq
From Issue: 814 [Read original issue]
The Journey Motif
Islam is a religion that is built upon the notion of journeying, making one's way through this world and back "home" to God. The journey motif touches almost every aspect of the Muslim's life. One example is the Islamic code of ideal living, the shariah. The word comes from and old desert word that describes the trampled path that leads to an oasis or water hole. By extension, then, the shariah is the way that leads to water, to life, and to the refreshment of the whole person. It is the way walked by others before and the way that others will walk after us.
According to the specificities of the Islamic shariah, this path or way of life includes a command to make a journey to God's "house" in Mecca, where Abraham and his son Ishmael erected the first temple or "house" for the worshiping of one God. And so, to celebrate the pilgrimage is to commemorate Abraham's journey from his home in Mesopotamia to the west, where he made his home and fathered two sons, Ishmael and Isaac. To celebrate the pilgrimage is to commemorate the journey of Ishmael and his mother, Hagar, in the desert wilderness where they miraculously found water in the form of a well/spring that gushed out of the arid, rocky ground when Hagar had given up all hope of life.
As a practical act and pillar of Islam, the pilgrimage is full of ancient and often perplexing actions, some of which may strike us as curious and others as bewildering. It is important to stress, however, that the experience of the pilgrimage is itself a journey, and no pilgrim's experience of the rites is ever separate from the journey.
In Arabic, the word for pilgrimage (hajj) is related to the word for "proof" (hujjah). Contemplating this connection, Muslim masters speak of the life-change that comes when one completes the journey. Pilgrims are meant to return reborn, with a certitude and commitment that they did not know before. We witness this in the conversations we have with those who have gone, in the testimonials we read from those who have made the journey and completed the ancient rites. They may put on their old clothes when they have finished, but many claim that these clothes belonged to someone else, to someone they used to be prior to the experience. While the rituals themselves are integral part of the hajj, often the journey itself proves to be the most transformative aspect of this fifth and final "pillar" of the faith.
"In the Light of a Blessed Tree" - Timothy J. Gianotti, pp. 58-62
From Issue: 707 [Read original issue]