Capacity, Human Affairs, Loss of Gifts

Issue 966 » September 29, 2017 - Muharram 9, 1438

Living The Quran

Al-Baqara (The Cow) Sura 2: Verse 286 (partial)

"On no soul does Allah place a burden greater than it can bear"

This verse is meant to underline the important fact that although the responsibility to hear and to respond reposed in this community is an onerous one, equally great is the mercy and compassion of Allah: Allah never burdens Allah's servants with anything more than they can bear. Everyone is responsible as far as they have the capacity to shoulder a responsibility, and they will not be held accountable for what is beyond their power. All rules and laws of the Shariah are based on this principle which allows concessions to individuals facing genuine hardships or constraints. Allah does not like that Allah's servants should encumber themselves with burdens that they cannot bear, nor is it permissible for anyone else to burden them with what they are unable to bear.

It is also worth bearing in mind at this point that, as reported in ahadith, whenever the Prophet (peace be upon him) took a pledge from his companions to hear and to obey him, he would himself add the words: "to the best of (your) ability". This was a practical implementation of this verse. The concession and the glad tidings in it for the believers is quite obvious, especially at a time when the responsibilities for a most glorious Shariah were being passed on to them.

Compiled From:
"Pondering Over The Qur'an: Surah al-Fatiha and Surah al-Baqarah" - Amin Ahsan Islahi

Understanding The Prophet's Life

Human Affairs

"You know best the affairs of your lives in this world." [Muslim]

The affairs of this world are in the hands of human beings, believers and unbelievers. The Prophets were not sent to teach people professions, crafts or methods of agriculture, nor were they sent as architects, engineers or bridge designers. They were not sent as stomach or eye doctors. The core of their Message is to elucidate what people should believe, their acts of worship, morality, and how to purify the self and society. They convey the teachings which govern people's relationship with their Lord and their relationship with one another and prepare them for the return to Allah as pious and godfearing servants. There are many arenas in this world such as freedom of movement, invention and competition. They are the arenas of the means which must exist to achieve confirmed religious ends. The Lawgiver left it up to the believers as to how to achieve them and did not mention any specific rulings concerning them.

Compiled From:
"The Sunna of the Prophet" - Muhammad al-Ghazali


Loss of Gifts

Allah gives us gifts, but then we come to love them as we should only love Allah. We take those gifts and inject them into our hearts, until they take over. Soon we cannot live without them. Every waking moment is spent in contemplation of them, in submission and worship to them. The mind and the heart that was created by Allah, for Allah, becomes the property of someone or something else. And then the fear comes, the fear of loss begins to cripple us. The gift—that should have remained in our hands—takes over our heart, so the fear of losing it consumes us. Soon, what was once a gift becomes a weapon of torture and a prison of our own making. How can we be freed of this? At times, in Allah's infinite mercy, Allah frees us...by taking it away.

As a result of it being taken, we turn to Allah wholeheartedly. In that desperation and need, we ask, we beg, we pray. Through the loss, we reach a level of sincerity and humility and dependence on Allah which we would otherwise not reach—had it not been taken from us. Through the loss, our hearts turn entirely to face Allah.

What happens when you first give a child a toy or the new video game he's always wanted? He becomes consumed by it. Soon he wants to do nothing else. He sees nothing else. He doesn't want to do his work or even eat. He's hypnotized to his own detriment. So what do you do, as a loving parent? Do you leave him to drown in his addiction and complete loss of focus and balance? No.

You take it away.

Compiled From:
"Reclaim Your Heart" - Yasmin Mogahed