October 17, 2021 | RabiĘ» I 10, 1443
Al Baqara (The Cow) Sura 2: Verse 188 (partial)
Fasting requires one to abstain from eating, which would necessarily be eating what is legal. Right after the passage on fasting and its purpose, we are told not to eat, in a general sense, that which is illegal, or acquired through corrupt means. The Quran repeatedly condemns corruption of all kinds. The fast is a physical and spiritual discipline to control one's desires. It is a device not just for coming closer to God but also for learning the importance and true meaning of God consciousness. When the fast is over, the spiritual renewal moves on to the next challenge: to control one's passion for vanities, for greed and illegal possession.
We are not to think of fasting in a narrow perspective. The task of following the right path is extensive and all inclusive: it touches all aspects of human life. As so often, the Quran indicates the integrative and inclusive aspect of its underlying principles by such switches of subject matter. The technique presents a challenge: to reason with the shifts of subject matter to find the connection of underlying and unifying principle. Balance and equity apply across the whole range of human life. The insight and lessons of spiritual discipline apply to and operate in all the mundane aspects of our human nature and daily life.
"Reading the Qur'an: The Contemporary Relevance of the Sacred Text of Islam" - Ziauddin Sardar, pp. 130-134
From Issue: 948 [Read original issue]
Destroyer of Pleasures
"Remember the destroyer of pleasures - death - often. Verily, no one remembers it during straitened times in his life except that it makes the matter easier upon him. And no one remembers it during times of ease except that it makes the matter tighter upon him." - Al-Bayhaqi
When one feels disappointed by the lack of comforts in this world and then remembers death, he will realize that there is no real comfort or joy in this world for one to be depressed about. Hence, his affair will be made easier by remembering death. And, during times of ease and material comfort, when one remembers death, one keeps oneself from getting overly attached to and fond of these worldly items. The person will realize that such things are not necessities but it is faith and good deeds that are needed.
The believer must always be conscious of the fact that he is living in the shade of death. At any moment, death may overtake him. When this realization is clear in the person's mind, he will constantly be preparing for his death. And there is only one way to actually prepare for death: by performing good deeds and abstaining from evil deeds.
“Commentary on the Forty Hadith of al-Nawawi” – Jamaal Al-Din M. Zarabozo, Vol 3, pp. 1548-1549
From Issue: 481 [Read original issue]
Art and Science
There is an order to an engine and an order to a melody. These two orders cannot, even in the final analysis, be reduced to a common source. The first is a spatial or quantitative combination of relations and parts in accordance with nature, logic, and mathematics. The second maintains a combination of tones or words in a melody or in a poem. These two orders belong to two different categories: science and religion, or from this point of view, science and art.
The existence of another world (another order) in addition to the natural one is the basic premise of every religion and art. If only one world existed, art would be impossible. In fact, every work of art is an impression of a world to which we do not belong and from which we have not arisen, into which we have been cast. Art is a nostalgia or memory.
Somebody once said that art is a call for the creation of man, and every science must finally conclude that man does not exist. Art is therefore in natural opposition to the world, to all of its science, its psychology, its biology, and its Darwin. Essentially, this is a religious opposition. Religion, morality, and art are on the same geneological branch that springs from the act of creation. That is why Darwinian negation of creation - because it renounces this act - is the most radical negation not only of religions but of ethics, art, and law as well. If man is really "made according to Darwin," if that is not solely a support, a frame for his spirit and for his "self," then art has nothing to do, and the poets and tragedians delude us and write nonsense.
"Islam Between East and West" - Alija Ali Izetbegovic, pp. 77, 78
From Issue: 904 [Read original issue]