November 27, 2020 | Rabiʻ II 11, 1442
Al-Imran (The House of Imran) - Chapter 3: Verse 78
"There are some among them who twist their tongues when quoting the Scriptures, so that you may think that [what they say] is from the Scriptures, when it is not from the Scriptures. They say: 'It is from God', when it is not from God. Thus, they deliberately say of God what they know to be a lie."
When religious men are corrupt they allow themselves to be used as a tool for the falsification of facts. In this manner, they take advantage of their guise as men of religion. The example employed by the Quran in relation to the people of earlier revelations is well known to us today. They impose on the verses and statements of their own revelations arbitrary interpretations and conclusions, claiming that these represent the precise meaning intended and that, as such, they constitute God's message. In actual fact, however, their conclusions are in sharp conflict with the very essence of Divine faith. They are able to achieve this contortion because the majority of people cannot differentiate between the true essence of faith and the true meaning of these statements on the one hand, and the fabricated conclusions they arbitrarily impose on these same statements on the other.
We are today well aware of such people who are wrongly described as religious. Indeed, they are religious professionals who look upon religion as a profession and who use it in order to satisfy all sorts of prejudice. They do not hesitate to make use of any religious text when it seems to them that by so doing they serve their own material interests. It does not concern them that their arbitrary interpretations of God's revelations contradict the basic principles of faith. They try hard to detect even the slightest hint of linguistic ambiguity in a Quranic verse so that they can endorse any desire, tendency or prejudice which serves their immediate interests.
This sort of corruption is not exclusive to the people of earlier revelations. It is evident in every nation where religious faith has been greatly devalued as a result of the relentless pursuit of trifling worldly gains. It gains currency in any nation where people are so dishonest that they do not hesitate to deliberately and knowingly tell a lie about God and distort His words in order to win favours and satisfy their own perverted desires. Here God warns the Muslim community against falling into this slippery way; a path on which the Children of Israel fell and which led them to be deprived of what they had been entrusted with, namely the leadership of mankind.
"In The Shade of The Quran" - Sayyid Qutb, Vol 2, pp. 106, 107
From Issue: 870 [Read original issue]
Service to Other
Ibn Abbas reports that, while he was once in retreat (itikaf) to the mosque in the Masjid al-Nabi (The Messenger’s mosque) a certain man came to him, greeted him and sat down. Ibn Abbas said to him, “I see that you seem sad and troubled.” The man replied, “Yes. O son of the uncle of the Messenger, I am indeed troubled in that I have an obligation to fulfill towards someone. I swear by the holiness of the inmate of the grave of this honoured resting place that I am not able to fulfill this obligation.” Ibn Abbas inquired, “Shall I intercede with that person on your behalf?” The man replied, “By all means, if you so wish.” Ibn Abbas put on his shoes and proceeded out from the mosque. The man, seeing this, said, “Have you forgotten that you are in retreat to the mosque?” Tears filling his eyes, Ibn Abbas replied, “No, but the occasion is still fresh in my mind when I heard the esteemed inmate of this tomb say, ‘Whoever sets forth in the way of settling a necessary affair on behalf of his brother, that service shall be better for him than to perform retreat to the mosque for ten years; and whosoever performs retreat to the mosque for a day, God will spread three trenches between him and hellfire, the width of each trench being greater than the distance between heaven and earth.” [Baihaqi]
In the above tradition we are told that performing a service for one’s brother brings a reward greater than ten years of retreat to a mosque. For this reason Ibn Abbas broke off his retreat to the mosque. It was of course possible for him to continue it afterwards. The Sufis say that God has such sympathy for very few things as He has for a broken heart. It is for this reason that we have been so much warned of the appeals to God of that person whose heart has been hurt through any unjust treatment or persecution. Whenever the Messenger appointed anyone as a governor, in addition to advising him, he would also warn him to beware of the invocation (to God) of the persecuted.
Ramadan: Motivating Believers To Action, "Retreat to a Mosque" - Muhammad Zakariyya Kandhlawi
From Issue: 900 [Read original issue]
Competition can be extremely healthy. It drives us to improve, to reach and stretch. Without it, we would never know how far we could push ourselves. However, there is a sunny side and a dark side of competition, and both are powerful. The difference is this: Competition is healthy when you compete against yourself, or when it challenges you to reach and stretch and become your best. Competition becomes dark when you tie your self-worth into winning or when you use it as a way to place yourself above another.
Let's use competition as a benchmark to measure ourselves against, but let's stop competing over boyfriends, girlfriends, status, friends, popularity, positions, attention, and the like and start enjoying life.
"The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens" - Sean Covey, pp. 155, 156
From Issue: 681 [Read original issue]