Lie on Allah, Dua of the Oppressed, Catching Joy
Issue 955 » July 14, 2017 - Shawwal 20, 1438
Lie on Allah
Yunus (Jonah) Sura 10: Verse 59
"Say, 'Have you considered what Allah has sent down for you as providence? Of it you treat some as unlawful and some as lawful.' Ask, 'Is it Allah who has allowed you do to that, or do you fasten (a lie) on Allah.?'"
The reference of course is to the pagan practice (continued down this age, even by Muslims) of arbitrarily declaring Allah's lawful as unlawful and His unlawful as lawful. Zamakhshari warns: The verse conceals a strong warning to those who are used to arbitrarily declaring this or that lawful or unlawful. Such declarations should only be made when they can be backed by a clear evidence. When one hasn't got them, let him hold his peace. Otherwise he will be fastening a lie on Allah.
Hence, we see that, according to the Hanafi scholars, an unequivocal textual commandment is required to declare a thing unlawful. Thanwi adds that this verse refutes those who, for ascetic reasons, treat some of Allah's bounties as unlawful to themselves. All that can be allowed is that there is no harm if it is temporarily resorted to, (as a cure for certain base desires or traits, or a firmer control over one's self).
"Ishraq Al-Ma'ani" - Syed Iqbal Zaheer, p. 197
Dua of the Oppressed
With Abu Talib's death, Abu Lahab became the leader of Banu Hashim. He withdrew the clan's support for Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), which led to the increased persecution of the Muslims in general, and of the Noble Prophet in particular. He was exposed to exceedingly insulting behavior from the Quraysh, and so he chose to seek protection from the people of a nearby city called Taif. The leaders of Taif rejected his request for help and insulted the Noble Prophet, sending their children, slaves, and lowly folk to pelt him with stones. Later, the Prophet would recount this moment as the most difficult of his entire mission. Bloodied from the assault, he retreated to a vineyard and prayed a powerful and moving supplication (dua):
"O Lord, to You alone I complain of my diminished strength, limited strategy, and insignificance in the eyes of others. Most Merciful of those who show mercy, You are Lord of the downtrodden and my Lord: to whom will You leave me? To those who mistreat me, or to an enemy in whose hands You place my affair? As long as Your wrath is not upon me, it concerns me not, although security is easier for me. I seek refuge in the light of Your Countenance, which illuminates darkness; and the affair of this world and the next is set right, from Your wrath descending upon me, or Your displeasure enveloping me. For You alone have the right to reprimand until You are pleased; and there is no strength, no power, save with You."
In these words, he complained to God of his situation and expressed that his ultimate concern was God's contentment with him. There in the vineyard, an angel came to Prophet Muhammad and offered to punish those who insulted and attacked him, and to destroy the city and its people by smashing them between two mountains. But the Prophet desired guidance for people, not revenge or domination over them. He refused, expressing hope that perhaps their descendants would believe in God.
"Being Muslim: A Practical Guide" - Asad Tarsin, pp. 139, 140
With practice, you can strengthen your capacity to notice, resonate with, and celebrate the happiness of others. Here are five everyday practices for catching joy. As you strengthen your intention to notice joy, you will surely discover your own favorite ways to witness and share in the happiness of others.
1. Watch a child or animal play. Delight in their joy, energy, and wonder. Let yourself smile or laugh as their playfulness awakens a similar spirit in you.
2. Watch an athletic, artistic, or other kind of competition without taking sides. Appreciate the effort, skill, or artistry of all competitors—and celebrate the joy of whoever wins. Feel glad for their success, and watch how they celebrate it with others. See if you can extend your empathic joy to how they share the moment with friends, family, coaches, or teammates.
3. Help someone else celebrate their happiness. If someone shares good news, ask them to tell you more, and listen whole-heartedly. If you become aware of an accomplishment or milestone in a person’s life, write them a congratulatory email or Facebook post. Go beyond “pro forma” congratulations and really feel the joy of helping someone savor something positive.
4. Witness the good in others. Set the goal to notice when others display character strengths like kindness, honesty, courage, or perseverance. Take joy in seeing the good. Feel heart-glad about what you observe. Let yourself feel inspired by their actions to do good yourself.
5. Let someone else do something nice for you. This might not seem like a practice of empathic joy, but it becomes one when you begin to pay attention to how happy it makes the other person. Sometimes our own discomfort with receiving kindness, or fear of being a burden to others, gets in the way of seeing that joy.
"How to Overcome Stress by Seeing Other People's Joy" - Kelly McGonigal