Cycle of Time, Diffusion of Sunna, Making Difference

Issue 864 » October 16, 2015 - Muharram 3, 1437

Living The Quran

Cycle of Time
Al-Tawba (The Repentance) - Chapter 9: Verse 36 (partial)

"The number of months, in God's sight, is twelve as set by God's decree on the day when He created the heavens and the earth. Of these, four are sacred, according to the ever-true law [of God]. Therefore, do not wrong yourselves by violating them."

This Quranic statement refers to the origin of time and the way it runs to the nature of the universe and how God created it, and to the origin of creation of both the heavens and the earth. It tells us that there is a permanent cycle of time consisting of twelve months. That it is permanent is evident from the fact that in every cycle there are twelve months. This is included in God's decree, which means that it is part of the divine law for the universe. Hence, the cycle is permanent and the months are twelve, without any possibility of increase or decrease. Its movement is in accordance with the divine law set into operation when God created the heavens and the earth.

The reference to the fact that this time cycle is permanent serves as a prelude to making certain months sacred. Their selection and sanctity is part of God’s decree or His law which cannot be changed at will. It simply cannot be made subject to people’s desires who may wish to bring one month forward and put another back. Its permanence is similar to that of the seasons which follow one another according to a constant law: ‘according to the ever-true law of God.” This religion is, then, in perfect harmony with the law which governs the creation of the heavens and the earth and their functions.

This short passage refers to a series of important aspects that follow and strengthen one another. It establishes a firm link between the laws of nature and the requirements and obligations of this religion of Islam, so that people truly appreciate its solid foundation and deep roots.

You should not wrong yourselves in these four sacred months, the sanctity of which relates to a law of nature which applies to the whole universe. This law makes it clear that God is the Legislator in human life and in the universe at large. Do not wrong yourselves by violating the sanctity of these months which God has willed to be a period of peace and security for all. Whenever human beings violate God’s rules they wrong themselves because they actually expose themselves to punishment in the life to come and to fear and worry in this life when all months become a period of war without intermission.

Compiled From:
"In the Shade of the Quran" - Sayyid Qutb, Vol. 8, p. 123, 124

Understanding The Prophet's Life

Diffusion of Sunna

The Prophet (peace be upon him) took the following measures to spread his Sunna:

1. Establishment of schools

'Schools' were established by the Prophet in Madina very soon after his arrival. His general policy was to send teachers and preachers to different areas outside Madina. For example delegates were sent to Adhal and Qara in 3 A.H., to Bir Mauna in 4 A.H., to Najran and to Yemen and Hadramaut in 9 A.H.

2. The Prophet's directions about diffusion of knowledge

The Prophet says: "Pass on knowledge from me even if it is only one verse." [Bukhari]

The same emphasis is noticeable in his orations at the farewell Hajj where the Prophet said: "Those who are present (here) should convey the message to those who are absent." [Bukhari] It was therefore, a common practice among Companions to tell absentees about the Prophet's deeds and sayings.

3. Creation of incentive for teachers and students

The Prophet not only gave directions to educate the people but also mentioned great rewards for teachers and students. He stated that learning and the pursuit of knowledge is obligatory on every Muslim [Ibn Majah]. One who conceals knowledge is liable to go to Hell [Musnad], a fact which is mentioned in the Quran [Quran 2: 159, 174].

a) Reward for students:

The Prophet said: "If any one pursues a path in search of knowledge Allah will thereby make easy for him a path to paradise, and the angels spread their wings from good pleasure with one who seeks knowledge, and all the inhabitants of the heavens and the earth, even fish in the depths of water, ask forgiveness for him." [Musnad]

b) Reward for teachers:

In this regard the Prophet said: "When a man dies, his acts come to an end, with three exceptions: Sadaqa Jariya (recurring charity), knowledge from which benefit continues to be reaped, and the prayers of a good offspring for him." [Muslim] It applies to both male and female.

Compiled From:
"Studies in Hadith Methodology and Literature" - M. M. Azami, pp.10, 11


Making Difference

There is a false notion that only the elites in our societies matter and that all change, progress, or setbacks emanate magically from within their dark or greedy souls. You can sense this awe and respect for the powerful any time you walk past a magazine stand. Who are on all those covers? It's always the richest businessmen, the most famous actors, and the fastest cars. Don't even get me started on those muscle magazines! This world we live in worships and respects the strong and the mighty. It's an unfortunate fact of life that nobody gives enough credit to the weak and the humble. But, the fact is, even the smallest creature can change the world.

In your travels you will meet plenty of people who will doubt that one person can make a difference. There are those who would rather put their faith in strong armies, charismatic leaders, and large corporations. There are others—including most dictators and plenty of people on the far left—who will choose to see conspiracies at every turn. To these ladies and gentlemen, it's always the CIA, the NSA, the WTO, or the Illuminati that are behind everything that happens on the planet. Whether you're catching flak from people on Twitter or from the state-run media outlets of the world's autocracies—channels like the Kremlin's Russia Today or the Saudi, Iranian, and Venezuelan news agencies—just try to be patient and realize that it's all part of the game.

The problem is that plenty of people, no matter their political position, suffer from a pervasive sense that only big governments or institutions matter in this world. In your career as an activist, people will either doubt your ability to achieve anything as an individual or, if they see you succeeding, insist that you must be a puppet for larger, more-sinister forces. In both cases they'll really just be telling you that they don't believe in their own ability to make a difference. Do them a favor and prove them wrong.

Compiled From:
"Blueprint For Revolution" - Srdja Popovic