Cause of Allah, Humour Guidelines, The Other World
Issue 928 » January 6, 2017 - Rabi Al-Thani 8, 1438
Cause of Allah
Al-Baqarah (The Cow) - Chapter 2: Verse 261
"The likeness of the wealth of those who spend it in the way of Allah is as the likeness of a grain of corn that grows seven ears, each ear having a hundred grains. Allah gives manifold increase to whom He wills; and Allah is all-Embracing, all-Knowing."
Fi sabilillah (in the cause of Allah) in Quranic terminology covers all works undertaken for the benefit of Islam and Muslims. Depending on the conditions, a work may be high or low on the list of priorities, but whatever is done abiding by the Islamic Shariah and seeking the pleasure of Allah, is covered by the term fi sabilillah — in the cause of Allah.
Like a grain of corn having seven ears and each ear a hundred grains, every good deed will be similarly rewarded seven hundred times over in the Hereafter. This has also been elucidated in various sayings of the Prophet, peace be upon him, where he is reported to have said that every good deed will be rewarded from ten to seven hundred times. This difference in reward is obviously based on the nature of every deed, the prevalent conditions of life, and the apparent as well as the inner condition of the doer of the deed. An act of virtue done under difficult conditions and scarcity of resources will naturally attract a higher reward than the one done under relatively easy conditions, prosperity and affluence. The feelings of the doers will also have an impact on their reward. There will be a difference in the reward for a good deed done willingly and cheerfully and the one that is rather done reluctantly and half-heartedly. The verse refers to the highest reward while saying, "Allah gives manifold increase to whom He pleases." Whatever Allah wishes or desires, it is never in contravention to demands of His justice and wisdom. In other words, He wishes this manifold increase only for those of His servants who deserve and truly qualify for it under the law prescribed by Him in this regard.
Considering their own limitations, humans may be surprised at the generosity of the reward they receive, but Allah is infinitely great, all-encompassing. The verse also reminds us that whatever good deed, small or great, secret or public one does, Allah is fully aware of it. Every worker should therefore rest assured that he will be fully rewarded for all his good works. Not only are the treasures of the Giver infinite and inexhaustible, His knowledge also comprehends all. There is no cause therefore for anyone to be worried about losing their due reward; everyone shall be rewarded in full.
"Pondering Over The Qur'an: Surah al-Fatiha and Surah al-Baqarah" - Amin Ahsan Islahi
Humour is recommended in principle and is deemed to partake in recreation (istirwah) both for the joker and his audience. The Prophet is known to have had a sense of humour and practiced it in his own interaction, words, and action, both with children and adults. It is a condition of a permissible joke, however, that it is clear of lies. Similarly, jokes, whether in words or in action, are either forbidden or reprehensible (mahzur, makruh) if they are tactless and harmful to one's audience or to those who may not be present, or when it involves taking of someone's belonging in the name of a practical joke. According to the instruction of a hadith: "None of you may take the belongings of your brother, in jest or in earnest." [Abu Dawud] Something that belongs to another person is taken playfully, if done so with the intention of returning it, otherwise it is in earnest and constitutes an offense. The hadith guidelines on humour also proscribe telling a lie even if it be in jest. Thus it is provided that "Faith is not perfect of a believer unless he abandons lying in the jokes he makes and abandons acrimony even if he is truthful." [Musnad]
"The Middle Path of Moderation in Islam: The Qur'anic Principle of Wasatiyyah" - Hashim Kamali
The Other World
Duty and interest, opposed to each other, are the two moving forces of every human activity. They can in no way be compared; duty is always beyond interest, and interest has no connection with morality. Morality is neither functional nor rational. If one risks one's life by entering a burning house to save a neighbour's child and comes back carrying the dead child in one's arms, can we say that the action was worthless since it was unsuccessful? Morality is what gives value to this apparently useless sacrifice, to this attempt without success, just as "Architecture is what makes the ruins beautiful."
The sight of defeated justice, which even if defeated wins our hearts, appears not to be a fact "of this world." After all, what reasons of this world (natural, logical, scientific, intellectual, or otherwise) can justify the action of a hero who falls because he remains on the side of justice and virtue? If this world exists in space and time only, and this nature is indifferent to justice and injustice, then the sacrifice of a hero is senseless. Nevertheless, as we refuse to consider it senseless, it then becomes a revelation of God, tidings of another world with meanings and laws opposite to this world of nature and all its laws and interests. We approve of this "absurd" act with all our heart, without knowing why nor asking for any explanation. The greatness of a heroic deed is not in success, as it is very often fruitless, nor in reason, as it is very often unreasonable. Drama retains the brightest trace of the Divine in this world. Here lies its unsurpassed and universal value and its significance for all people in the world.
The existence of other world should appear to us even more possible since we cannot consider tragic heroes defeated but as winners. Winners? Where, in which world have they been winners? Those who lost peace, freedom, or even life - in what way are they the winners? Obviously, they are not winners in this world. Their lives and their sacrifices in particular induce us to always ask the same question: Is there other meaning to human existence, a meaning different from this relative and limited one, or have these great and courageous men only been failures?
"Islam Between East and West" - Alija Ali Izetbegovic, pp. 109, 110