Today's Reminder

December 07, 2023 | Jumada I 24, 1445

Living The Quran

Ghafir (The Forgiver)
Chapter 40: Verse 56 (Partial)

Puffing Up
"And they have pride in their hearts and will fail to reach it"

When a man feels superiority over others and with this a sort of inward elation, this is called pride. It differs from vanity in as much as vanity means consciousness of one's elation while pride requires a subject, an object and a feeling of elation. Suppose a man is born solitary in the world, he may be vain but not proud, because in pride man considers himself superior to others for certain qualities of his self. He allots one position to his self and another to others, and then thinks that his position is higher, and is therefore elated. This "puffed up" feeling which imparts a sense of "touch me not" is called pride.

lbn Abbas says that the above sentence in the Quran means that the thought of inward greatness will be denied to them. This thought is the source of inward and outward actions, which are so to speak the fruits of it.

A proud man will not tolerate any other to be on equal terms with himself. In private and in public he expects that all should assume a respectful attitude towards him and, acknowledging his superiority, treat him as a higher being. They should greet him first, make way for him wherever he walks; when he speaks everyone should listen to him and-never try to oppose him. He is a genius and people are like asses. They should be grateful to him, seeing that he is so condescending. Such proud men are found especially among the 'Ulama'. Sages are ruined by their pride.

Virtues are the doors of Paradise, but pride and self- esteem lock them all. So long as man feels elated he will not like for others what he likes for himself. His self-esteem will deprive him of humility, which is the essence of righteousness. He will neither be able to discard enmity and envy, resentment and wrath, slander and scorn, nor will he be able to cultivate truth and sincerity, and calmly listen to any advice. In short, there is no evil which a proud man will not inevitably do in order to preserve his elation and self-esteem. Vices are like a chain of rings linked together which entangle his heart. Therefore, an atom of pride is Satan's spark, which secretly consumes the nature of the sons of Adam.

"Ihya Ulum-ud Deen" (The Revival of the Religious Sciences) - Abu Hamid Al-Ghazzali

From Issue: 489 [Read original issue]

Understanding The Prophet's Life

Lost Belonging

The Prophet, peace be upon him, taught his Companions both deep faith and the exploitation of intellectual creativity in all circumstances. The genius of peoples, the wisdom of nations, and healthy human creativity were integrated into their mode of thinking, without hesitation or timidity. As the Prophet forcefully stated: "[Human] wisdom is the believer's lost belonging; he is the most worthy of it wherever he finds it."[Bukhari] This was an invitation to study the best human thoughts and products and adopt them as part of humankind's positive heritage (maruf, what is acknowledged as the common good). On a broader level, it meant showing curiosity, inventiveness, and creativity in the management of human affairs, and this appeared not only through his approach to war and strategies but also through his way of considering the world of ideas and culture.

Compiled From:
"In The Footsteps of The Prophet" - Tariq Ramadan, p. 138

From Issue: 736 [Read original issue]


Residing in Makka

Cautiously apprehensive scholars find fault with permanent residence in Makka on three grounds:

One, fear of boredom and over-familiarity with the House, for this may tend to douse the ardour of reverence in the heart. That was why 'Umar, may God be pleased with him, used to beat the people who had completed their Pilgrimage, crying: 'Yemenis, back to Yemen! Syrians, back to Syria! 'Iraqis, back to 'Iraq!' For the same reason 'Umar, may God be pleased with him, was careful to prevent people from excessive circumambulation, saying: 'I am afraid people will get too familiar with this House.'

Two, nostalgia stimulates a yearning to return. God, Exalted is He, has made the House a concourse secure for mankind, i.e. a place where they should congregate, returning to it time and again and never ceasing to aspire to it. Someone said: 'That you should be in another town, with your heart yearning for Makka, attached to this House, is better for you than being there, bored with long residence and hankering after another town.'

Three, fear of committing errors and sins there. That is a grave peril, likely to excite the anger of God, Great and Glorious is He, on account of the nobility of the place. Ibn Masud, may God be pleased with him, said: 'In no city but Makka is a man chastised for his mere intention, before he has acted on it.' Then he recited the words of the Exalted One: 'Whoever purposes to violate it wrongfully, We shall make him taste a painful doom.' [al-Hajj, 22:25] That is to say, punishment is entailed by the mere purpose. It is said that evil deeds are compounded in Makka, as are good deeds. Ibn Abbas, may God be pleased with him, used to say: 'Monopolistic hoarding in Makka constitutes violation of the Sanctuary.'

Compiled From:
"Inner Dimensions of Islamic Worship" - Imam Al-Ghazali

From Issue: 1061 [Read original issue]