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Today's Reminder

April 14, 2024 | Shawwal 5, 1445

Living The Quran

Welfare of Humanity
Al-Maidah (The Table Spread) Sura 5: Verse 45

"We decreed for them in it (Torah): a life for a life, an eye for an eye, a nose for a nose, an ear for an ear, a tooth for a tooth, and a similar retribution for wounds. But for him who forgoes it out of charity, it will atone for some of his sins. Those who do not judge in accordance with what God has revealed are indeed wrongdoers."

Security and stability are basic human needs and are equally as important as food, clothing and shelter. Without security and stability, a human being is not able to properly conduct his daily life and contribute to the development and advancement of society. The ultimate objective of the Islamic legal code is to secure the welfare of humanity in the world and to build a civilization wherein every human being can live in a climate of peace, justice and security. This is a civilization that allows a person to fulfil his every spiritual, intellectual, and material need and cultivate every aspect of his being.

To safeguard human life, property and honour, Islam has prescribed punishments for those who commit crimes against these. These seemingly harsh punishments for murder, theft, fornication and rebellion are prescribed by the Creator and handed down through the teachings of all His prophets. On the one hand, these punishments are the just rewards for the crimes, and on the other, they also serve as deterrents to others to refrain from committing anti-social acts. In the case of personal injury, the victim has the option of foregoing the right of retaliation. This good by him may atone for many of his sins.

It is instructive to note that although the right of retaliation and the law of retribution are prescribed, the Islamic approach is to reform the individual and so it addresses the innermost soul of man and what motivates him. In this way, it tries to deter him from disobedience and make him obey Allah. The following passage on this issue by Sayyid Qu?b is very pertinent: "In the final resort, it is fear of God and consciousness of Him that work on man's conscience, both in public and in private. They are the motives that deter man from committing evil when no other human being sees him and when he is certain that he cannot be brought before the law in this life. Important and necessary as the law is, it cannot replace fear of God, because what escapes the hand of the law is far greater than the number of cases that are brought to justice. No human soul and no society can remain good if it relies only on the law without adding to it the fear of a higher, divine authority that works on human conscience."

Compiled From:
"Treasures of the Qur'an: Surah al-Fatihah to Surah al-Mai'dah" - Abdur Rashid Siddiqui

From Issue: 973 [Read original issue]

Understanding The Prophet's Life

Prayers in Congregation

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Prayer in congregation is twenty seven times better than prayer prayed individually.” [Bukhari, Muslim]

It would seem that this is only for the congregational prayer with the appointed imam. It is clear from the Sunnah that this distinction is only for the group who pray with the appointed imam in the mosque and not for any other congregation. This is because the hadith is an encouragement to attend the congregational prayer at the mosque with the appointed imam.

If someone prays with a group of people other than the congregation in the mosque with the appointed imam then he will receive the reward of praying with a group but not the reward of the proper congregational prayer at the mosque. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “The prayer of a man with another man is better than his praying alone, and the prayer of a man with two other men is better than his praying alone or with only one other man, and the more people there are, the more beloved it is to Allah.” [Nasai, Abu Dawud]

Compiled From:
"Islamtoday.net" - Khalid al-Mushaykih

From Issue: 841 [Read original issue]

Blindspot!

False Hope

It was common among Muslim scholars to discuss the delicate balance between hope and fear. If one is overwhelmed with fear, he enters a psychological state of terror that leads to despair — that is, despair of God's mercy. In the past, this religious illness was common, although less so today because, ironically, people are not as religious as they used to be.

An overabundance of hope is a disease that leads to complacency and dampens the aspiration to do good, since salvation is something guaranteed (in one's mind, that is). Human beings simply cannot handle being assured of Paradise without deeds that warrant salvation. Too many will serve their passions like slaves and still consider themselves saved. In Islam, faith must be coupled with good works for one's religion to be complete. This does not contradict the sound Islamic doctrine that "God's grace alone saves us."

There is yet another kind of hope called umniyya, which is blameworthy in Islam. Essentially it is having hope but neglecting the means to achieve what one hopes for, which is often referred to as an "empty wish." One hopes to become healthier, for example, but remains sedentary and is altogether careless about diet. To hope for the Hereafter but do nothing for it in terms of conduct and morality is also false hope.

Compiled From:
"Purification of the Heart" - Hamza Yusuf

From Issue: 890 [Read original issue]