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Today's Reminder

April 14, 2024 | Shawwal 5, 1445

Living The Quran

Idols of the Heart
Al-Baqara (The Cow) - Chapter 2: Verse 165 (partial)

"And [yet], among the people are those who take other than Allah as equals [to Him]. They love them as they [should] love Allah. But those who believe are stronger in love for Allah."

As humans, we are made to feel love and attachment towards others. This is part of our human nature. While we can feel this way about another human being, five times a day we enter into a meeting with our Lord and Creator. How often have we ever felt the whole world disappear while in His presence? Can we really claim that our love for Allah is greater than our love for anyone and anything else?

So often we think that Allah only tests us with hardships, but this isn't true. Allah also tests with ease. He tests us with naim (blessings) and with the things we love, and it is often in these tests that so many of us fail. We fail because when Allah gives us these blessings, we unwittingly turn them into false idols of the heart.

When Allah blesses us with money, we depend on the money rather than Allah. We forget that the source of our provision is not and never was the money, but rather it was the giver of that money. Suddenly we're willing to sell alcohol to avoid losing money in our business, or we need to take out loans with interest to feel secure. In so doing we are foolishly—and ironically—disobeying the Provider in order to protect the provision.

When Allah blesses us with someone that we love, we forget that Allah is the source of that blessing, and we begin to love that person as we should love Allah. That person becomes the centre of our world—all our concerns, thoughts, plans, fears, and hopes revolve only around them. If they are not our spouses, we are sometimes even willing to fall into haram just to be with them. And if they were to leave us, our whole world would crumble. So now, we have shifted our worship from the Source of the blessing to the blessing itself.

Compiled From:
"Reclaim Your Heart" - Yasmin Mogahed

From Issue: 851 [Read original issue]

Understanding The Prophet's Life

Reverence

The Prophet's modesty was apparent in the way he treated his followers. He realized that his Companions would be emulated by later generations of Muslims. Hence, he made sure to explain how he should be treated by them and by all Muslims. Umar ibn al-Khattab quotes him as saying: "Do not overpraise me like the Christians overpraise Jesus, son of Mary. I am only a servant of God. [In reference to me] say: God's servant and Messenger." (Bukhari, Ibn Habban.) How did they react to this? Anas ibn Malik says: "No one was dearer to them than God's Messenger. Yet when they saw him coming, they did not stand up because they knew he disliked that." (Ahmad, Tirmidhi.) He wanted to be seen as one of them.

The Prophet also impressed on his Companions that people distinguish themselves only by their manners and behaviour. In his address during his farewell pilgrimage, he said: "People, your Lord is one and your father is one. No Arab has an advantage over a non-Arab, nor a non-Arab over an Arab; nor does a red skinned man over a black one, nor a black one over a red skinned one, except through God-fearing." (Ahmad)

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

From Issue: 951 [Read original issue]

Blindspot!

Jahiliyyah

Can we brand a society as one of jahiliyyah, or ignorance, on the basis of the practices of its people? Islam does not slam on such a blanket verdict on the basis of behaviour. It may describe the behaviour itself as belonging to a social pattern or pagan ignorance, as we see in three of the four instances where the word occurs in the Quran: judgement [5:50], women's appearance [33:33] and strong emotions [48:26]. In none of these cases, however, does Islam brand the whole of society as pagan or ignorant. In fact, Islam acknowledges that everyone is capable of committing sinful actions, including serious ones. It urges those who slip into sin to repent so that they can earn God's forgiveness.

A society can be branded as ignorant, or jahili, if it upholds concepts about God that are contrary to His oneness and His essential attributes [3: 154]. It cannot be branded as such on the basis of the behaviour of certain sections in it.

Compiled From:
In the Shade of the Quran, "Introduction" - Adil Salahi, Vol 16, pp. x-xxiv

From Issue: 579 [Read original issue]