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Today's Reminder

July 09, 2020 | Dhuʻl-Qiʻdah 18, 1441

Living The Quran

Common Sense
Al-Baqara (The Cow) - Chapter 2: Verse 189 (partial)

"It is not virtue if you enter your houses from the back. It is virtue if you fear Allah. Enter houses through proper doors and fear Allah so that you may prosper."

During the Jahiliyyah period it was customary among Arabs that until the completion of Hajj rites they did not enter their homes through doors. They did so thinking that until they finally returned from the House of Allah, they should not enter their houses in the normal way. Until the completion of Hajj they made their way into their houses through the roofs or walls. Worse, they regarded this as an act of great virtue. For them it amounted to paying tribute to the House of Allah. There was no divine directive to support this whimsical notion. The Quran dispels their misconception in the above verse.

The Quran upholds and recommends common sense on this account. This norm applies not only to the entrance to domiciles but also to all aspects of life. If one intends to learn the skills of a trade, one should do so in a proper manner. One is expected to learn the trade at the feet of a competent teacher, gain familiarity with the tools and advance one's knowledge step by step. Divine rules are based on human nature and common sense. If one does not follow the laws of nature, once cannot reach one's goal.

Compiled From:
"Guidance from the Quran" - Abul Hasan Ali Nadwi, pp. 232-234

From Issue: 905 [Read original issue]

Understanding The Prophet's Life

Test and Punishment

The sacred texts make it clear that the people who are tested the most in their lives are the prophets and then the righteous according to their degrees of piety. When people’s faith gives them great fortitude, they are tested more. When that faith is weak, the tests are lessened.

Sad b. Abu Waqqas asked the Prophet: “Which people have the greatest trials?”

The Prophet (peace be upon him) replied: “The prophets, then the righteous, and then the people according to their degree of goodness. Each person is tested according to his religious commitment. If he has great religious fortitude, his trials are increased, and if his religion is weak, his trials are lightened. A servant continues to be tested until he walks upon the Earth without sin.” [Sunan al-Tirmidhi]

Anas relates from the Prophet: “Great reward comes with great trials. When Allah loves a people, He tests them, and whoever accepts it attains His pleasure, whereas whoever shows discontent with it incurs His wrath.” [Sunan al-Tirmidhi]

Allah’s wrath is connected to being impatient with one’s trials, not with the sickness or calamity that constitutes the trial itself. Even in cases where it might be suspected that the calamity is Allah’s punishment, it always comes as a consequence of the sinful deed.

Illness and failure have their tangible worldly causes that are easy to discern. These normal happenings befall saints and sinners alike. All people, believers and unbelievers, are tried with sickness and misfortune, which increase or lessen with respect to people’s caution or recklessness, and the decisions they make to reach their goals. The difference is that when believers face misfortune, it either purifies their hearts and absolves their sins, or it raises their status in the Hereafter.

Therefore, how can we differentiate between tribulations that come to us as tests of our faith and those that come as punishments for our sins?

The basis for doing so depends on what happens after the calamity befalls, not before. If those faced with a calamity are patient, accept Allah’s decree, and seek His forgiveness for their sins, then this is a sign that their trial was in order to raise their status with Allah and cleanse them of sin. If, on the other hand, they grow despondent, bitter, and succumb to evil deeds as a result, then this is a sign of being denied Allah’s grace.

Compiled From:
"Our Beliefs about the Pain in Our Lives" - Salman al-Oadah

From Issue: 843 [Read original issue]

Blindspot!

Extremist Influence

Here are some signs parents should look for if they fear that their children are influenced by extremists, especially online:

  1. Sudden onset of anti-social behaviour;
  2. Spending excessive amount of time online, especially at night when most of the family is asleep;
  3. At risk youth may exhibit excessive secrecy regarding what sites they are visiting online, where they are going, who they are meeting;
  4. They may also be easily irritated when challenged on their political and religious views;
  5. Extremely suspicious and judgmental towards society in general;
  6. Uncommunicative towards their parents and siblings;
  7. There may be a sudden change in their circle of friends;
  8. External and overt expression of hyper-religiosity that is uncharacteristic of family culture;
  9. They start speaking about the world in extreme terms of good and evil with no room for compromise;
  10. Oversaturated in foreign news;
  11. Lack of interest in their regular friends;
  12. Disrespect of women and anti-women rhetoric;
  13. Disrespect of scholars that teach peace and harmony, and;
  14. Advocating isolation from society.

Compiled From:
"United Against Terrorism"

From Issue: 814 [Read original issue]