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Today's Reminder

February 29, 2024 | Shaʻban 19, 1445

Living The Quran

Unlettered
Al-Jumuah (The Congregation) - Chapter 62: Verse 2

"It is He who has sent among the unlettered a Messenger of their own, to recite to them His signs, to purify them, and to instruct them in Scripture and Wisdom, although they had been, before, in manifest error."

Some of these words are very interesting. God is mentioned in the third person, because the ignorant, primitive, and savage Arabs did not know Him. As there was no "He" in their minds, God first emphasizes the darkness of their nature, their great distance from Him, and indicates that they cannot be addressed directly by Him.

Then God calls them unlettered. They were not all illiterate, but they had no knowledge of God and the Messenger. The word among shows that the Messenger was one of them, but only in the sense of being unlettered. Being chosen by God, he could not possibly belong to the Age of Ignorance. However, he had to be unlettered so that God would teach him what he needed to know. God would remove him from his people, educate him, and make him a teacher for all unlettered people.

The phrases to recite to them His signs and to purify them point out that he teaches them about the meanings of the Quran and of creation in a gradual manner, and informs them how to strive for spiritual perfection. He guides them to higher ranks by explaining the Quran and the universe to them, and showing them in minute detail how to lead a balanced and exemplary life in every sphere of activity.

The sentence although they had been, before, in manifest error indicates that God would purify and educate them even though they had gone astray. He did all of this through an unlettered Messenger and by teaching them the Quran. Throughout history and even today, this Book has met the needs of countless brilliant scientists, scholars, and saints.

Compiled From:
"The Messenger of God: Muhammad" - Fethullah Gulen, pp. 183, 184

From Issue: 819 [Read original issue]

Understanding The Prophet's Life

A Women of Paradise

Ibn Abbas said to Ata b. Rabah: "Do you see that black lady? She approached the Prophet (peace be upon him) and said: 'I suffer from epilepsy and during a fit, my body becomes exposed. So please supplicate Allah on my behalf.'

"Then the Prophet said to her: 'If you choose, you might rather bear it patiently and you will attain Paradise on account of it. Or if you like, I will beseech Allah to cure you.'"

"She said: 'I will bear it patiently. But my body gets exposed, so please beseech Allah that my body will no longer be exposed.'"

"The Prophet (peace be upon him) beseeched Allah for this."

[Sahih al-Bukhari (5652) and Sahih Muslim (2576)]

The woman's name was Suayrah – though some say her name was Shuqayrah – al-Habashiyyah al-Asadiyyah. She was known as Umm Zufar. She had been Khadijah's lady in waiting. After Khadijah's demise, the Prophet (peace be upon him) used to show her extra deference and respect. When she grew older, she became afflicted with epilepsy, and her body would become exposed due to the severity of her seizures.

Here are five things we can learn from this incident:

1. We need to turn to Allah with our needs. It is Allah alone who can cure our ills and alleviate our suffering. Medical doctors admit that faith has a great affect on healing, often more pronounced than medications, though medications certainly can benefit us.

2. We also learn how virtuous the quality of patience is. When we bear illness in patience and fortitude, it is a means by which our sins are forgiven and by which we attain Allah's blessings and entrance into Paradise.

3. We can also see how the Prophet's glad tidings were a help and a comfort to her. It gave her hope. The role of a positive attitude in coping with illness and in aiding the recovery process is well-known.

4. We can see the respect that the Prophet (peace be upon him) showed this woman by his giving her the choice. He respected her right to make the decision for herself in a matter that affected her life. He let her know her options, while showing that he was well aware of the extent of her suffering. He knew it was best for her to be patient if she had the fortitude to bear her illness. However, he trusted her to make the decision for herself.

5. We can learn from this woman the value of modesty. We can see her concern for keeping her body from being exposed when she had a seizure, in her asking the Prophet (peace be upon him) to beseech Allah to protect her modesty when she was not able to control her movements and was free from all blame. We can also see how the Prophet (peace be upon him) readily complied with her request.

Source:
Shouldn't I point out to you a woman of Paradise?” – Munâ al-Qâsim

From Issue: 482 [Read original issue]

Blindspot!

Finding Wisdom

We know that information is not wisdom. We also know that knowledge is not wisdom. As your knowledge increases, your ignorance becomes larger, or at least your awareness of your ignorance becomes larger. So the more you know, the more you realize you don't know. What if you were trying to serve purposes greater than your knowledge - greater than your comfort zone? This would create genuine humility and a desire to draw upon help from others - from a partnership or team. Successfully working with others makes one's knowledge and abilities productive and necessitates the creation of a complementary team of people who possess knowledge and abilities that can compensate for and make irrelevant one's individual ignorance and weaknesses. When information and knowledge are impregnated with worthy purposes and principles, you have wisdom.

Another way of putting this would be that wisdom is the child of integrity - being integrated around principles. And integrity is the child of humility and courage. In fact you could say that humility is the mother of all the virtues because humility acknowledges that there are natural laws or principles that govern the universe. They are in charge. We are not. Pride teaches us that we are in charge. Humility teaches us to understand and live by principles, because they ultimately govern the consequences of our actions. If humility is the mother, courage is the father of wisdom. Because to truly live by these principles when they are contrary to social mores, norms and values takes enormous courage.

Compiled From:
"The 8th Habit" - Stephen R. Covey, pp. 295-297

From Issue: 682 [Read original issue]