June 17, 2021 | Dhuʻl-Qiʻdah 7, 1442
Al-Sajda (The Prostration) Sura 32: Verse 5
After mounting the Throne, God directs the affair, making it descend from the highest heaven to the lowest level of the earth, which refers to His control over all affairs and the carrying out of His Decree for the duration of the world or to the descent of revelation. What ascends to God are the angels or the Command, meaning that everything that was created by the Command ascends unto Him on the Day of Resurrection. That its measure is as a thousand years of that which you reckon indicates the severity of the terrors of that Day for the disbelievers and is elsewhere likened to fifty thousand years. Such disparity also indicates the difference between duration in the spiritual world and that in the world of form and matter.
Regarding the importance of understanding the manner in which God directs the affair, al-Tustari is reported to have said, "He reveals to His servants from His Knowledge that which is a means of guidance and salvation for them. The person who is content with the decreed provision resulting from God's directing for him will have the evil of his own directing disposed of and removed from him. Thus [God] will have returned him to a state of contentment with the Divine Decree and rectitude in the face of the unfolding of what is destined for him. [Such people] are among those who are brought nigh [unto God]. Truly, God created people without any veil, and then made their directing [for themselves] their veil."
"The Study Quran: A New Translation and Commentary" - Seyyed Hossein Nasr
From Issue: 1036 [Read original issue]
Bukhari records that God's Messenger, peace be upon him, said: "The Muslim is one from whose tongue and hand Muslims are safe. The Emigrant is one who emigrates from what God forbids."
This hadith describes the ideal or norm by beginning with the Muslim, as opposed to a Muslim. In this way, our Prophet draws attention to the qualities of perfect Muslims, not to those who are only nominal Muslims.
Our Prophet mentions the tongue before the hand, for slander, gossip, and insult often do far more damage than physical violence. If people can refrain from verbal assault, they can more easily refrain from physical assault. Moreover, self-defense against physical violence is often easier than that against gossip and slander.
Emigration means more than leaving one's family, house, possessions, and native land for the sake of God. To be capable of the latter, one must emigrate from the material to the spiritual dimension of his or her being, from worldly pleasures to an altruistic life, and from selfish aims to living for a Divine cause. Therefore, obeying Divine prohibitions is directly related to being a good Muslim and to sacrificing one's life in the service of people purely for the sake of God.
"The Messenger of God: Muhammad" - Fethullah Gulen, pp. 104, 105
From Issue: 654 [Read original issue]
Breaking Bread Together
In creating the conversation and social space that support community, another dimension of welcome is what has traditionally defined culture: food. It brings the sacred into the room. It is the symbol of hospitality. It is as direct as we can be about a life-giving act. When we take it seriously, we know how to do this right. What is needed is consciousness about having food and what kind of food fits our intention.
One small request: Most food served in meetings is about satiation, not about health. Even in health care settings and meetings about creating healthy communities, we serve pastries, cookies, fast food, chips, pretzels. This is not food; it is fuel and habit that is nutritionally and environmentally unconscious.
Let there be apples, grapes, bread (unleavened if possible). Natural, healthy food, prepared by local merchants. Food that reflects the diversity of the world we are embracing. Grown within 50 miles of our gathering place to reduce the carbon footprint.
Some people will complain. Let them.
"Community: The Structure of Belonging" - Peter Block, pp. 148-149
From Issue: 526 [Read original issue]