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Today's Reminder

September 27, 2021 | Safar 19, 1443

Living The Quran

Intellectual Faculties
Yunus (Jonah) - Chapter 10: Verse 100

"And it is not for a soul to believe except by permission of God , and He will place defilement upon those who will not use reason."

All of God's bounties are solely at His disposal and one can neither have access to any of these without His leave, nor can one confer them on others. The bounty of having faith and being directed to the right path is also fully contingent upon God's leave which is based on whether or not people's intellectual faculties are alive. Those who do not use their intellectual faculties or those who use them in improper ways, are devoid of God's leave to believe.

The Quran attaches great importance to the intellectual activities or faculties, all of which it relates to the "heart;" these faculties are reflection, using reason, considering, knowledge, insight, "hearing," etc. It regards anyone who is devoid of these as being dead. Even if we relate all these to the heart, or each to a different faculty, the way to keep these alive is to refrain from being pre-conditioned, and to avoid prejudices, incorrect viewpoints, evil intentions, sins, wrongdoing, arrogance, and selfishness. These are the vices which prevent one from believing.

Compiled From:
"The Quran: Annotated Interpretation in Modern English" - Ali Unal, pp. 444
"Towards Understanding the Quran" - Syed Abul Ala Maududi, Vol. 4, p. 69

From Issue: 634 [Read original issue]

Understanding The Prophet's Life

Evil Inclinations

A very important aspect in the jihad against the evil inclinations of the soul is the repelling of any evil thoughts that pop into one's mind. Evil ideas occur to everybody. The important thing is to cast them out as soon as they appear and not to allow them to grow and flourish until the person himself begins to desire or intend to do that evil act. When caught in their early moments, there is no sin upon the person for what occurred in his mind. A hadith, recorded by al-Bukhari and Muslim, states:

"Verily, Allah has overlooked for my nation what their souls think about as long as they do not act on it or speak about it."

As one allows the evil thoughts to persist, the stronger they become and the more difficult they are to overcome and defeat. If the individual allows them to grow until they become true wants and intentions, then he may commit a sin depending upon the entire situation and what he does afterwards.

Compiled From:
"Purification of the Soul: Concept, Process and Means" - Jamaal al-Din M. Zarabozo, p. 348

From Issue: 705 [Read original issue]

Blindspot!

Tangible Ideas

Quranic examples provide concrete information about the application of moral precepts. In order to apply the moral principles of the Quran, a reader must have some practical understanding. Practices are rooted in contexts. Readers who interpret the significance of the women cited in the Quran often come to the text with notions of appropriate functions for women. When these are supported on the surface of the Quranic portrayal, they do not look further at the examples. This has led to a great deal of oversimplifications and contradictions when the perspective of the individual exegete is superimposed on to the Quran itself.

The Quran is not a manual of directives which only commands the individual reader to perform certain actions or fulfil particular characteristics. By citing concrete events, it makes conceptual ideas tangible. The female and male characters are particularly important to demonstrate certain ideas about guidance. The characters and events in the Quran should always be examined in the light of this overall goal.

It should be noted that all references to female characters in the Quran use an important cultural idiosyncrasy which demonstrates respect for women. Except for Mary, the mother of Jesus, they are never called by name. Most are wives and the Quran refers to them by means of a possessive construction (the idafah) containing one of the Arabic words for wife: imraah (woman), nisa (women), or zawj (spouse, or mate) pl. azwaj, and the name of a particular male; for example, the imraah of Imran, or the zawj of Adam.

Even an unmarried woman or one whose husband is not mentioned is linked with some male: Ukht-Musa, the sister of Moses; Ukht-Harun, sister of Aaron, another name for Mary; Umm-Musa; the mother of Moses. However, this particular manifestation of respect is restricted to that context. The general principle—that women should be addressed respectfully—is intended for those who read the Quran at other times.

Compiled From:
"Quran and Woman" - Amina Wadud, pp. 32, 33

From Issue: 1001 [Read original issue]