February 29, 2024 | Shaʻban 19, 1445
Al-Qiyamah (The Resurrection) - Chapter 75: Verses 14, 15
"Oh, but the human being is a telling witness against himself, though he puts forth his excuses."
It is generally understood that people are influenced by two sets of factors. The first are biological, hereditary factors. Genetics determines many traits, like height, the colour of the skin, eyes, and hair, and numerous other physical traits. It is estimated that between forty to fifty percent of human intelligence is genetically determined, and genetics certainly has some impact on personality and behaviour.
Children inherit various traits from their mothers and fathers, and therefore get a combination of traits from both their parents. In this way, children are unique individuals, but also derivative of their parents at the same time.
Some people look at the genetic information inherited from the parents to be an inevitable and unavoidable result, and they use it as an excuse for their faults and bad character traits. This is blind, ignorant fatalism. It is lazy and self-indulgent to blame your mistakes on your genes and hormones.
The environment and society contribute the second set of factors that influence human behaviour. Family, friends, schools, the media, and communication channels all have their effect. Psychologists, sociologists, and educators agree that these factors have a tremendous impact on people, whether through conformity to societal norms or rebellion against them.
They also agree that it is notoriously difficult to determine the relative contributions of genetic and social factors to a particular behavioural trait, since the two sets of factors are complexly intertwined and virtually impossible to untangle. It is unknown whether nature or nurture has the greatest influence. What can be said is that a successful crop yield requires both good seed and good soil.
The scientific community does not give sufficient attention to a third factor: the influence that an individual has on his or her self. A human being is a rational entity. From infancy, a person learns to say “I” and understands that they are distinct from their parents and siblings.
This self-awareness allows people to reflect upon themselves, examine their motives, and look critically at their shortcomings. We can rise beyond self-deception and look at ourselves candidly so we can better ourselves.
This awareness extends to knowing the genetic shortcomings inherited from one’s parents and those which are a composite of genetic and societal factors, or due to our upbringing and education.
We can distinguish ourselves by adopting the idea of self-reform, however we came upon it, and making it a personal habit that we practice all the time, not just to change our outward behaviours, but also to improve our emotional responses and way of thinking. We can take control of our hearts and minds to a degree, and indeed we have a responsibility to do so.
The environment and society are the cradle of our success, the source which first compelled us to go forward, either in a positive, nurturing way, or in a negative way by spurring us to use our ingenuity to prevail over the challenges that it presents to us.
"Nature Vs. Nurture & Personal Responsibility" - Salman al-Oadah
From Issue: 884 [Read original issue]
The Sunna is the window opened on the Messenger of God, the sacred way leading to the blessings of Islam. Without it, Muslims cannot implement Islam in their daily lives or establish a connection with the Messenger. The Prophet, peace be upon him, encouraged Muslims to learn, implement and share his Sunna, saying:
"May God make radiant the face of the servant who has heard my speech and, committing it to memory and observing it in daily life, conveys it to others." [Ibn Maja]
The Messenger spoke distinctly and sometimes repeated his words so his audience could memorize them [Bukhari]. He taught them supplications and recitations that were not in the Quran with the same care and emphasis as he taught the Quran [Muslim]. He continually urged his Companions to spread his words and teach others what they knew. If they did not, he warned them: "If you are asked about something you know and then conceal that knowledge, a bridle of fire will be put on you on the Day of Judgment." [Tirmidhi]
Keeping these words and warnings in mind, the Companions strove to record the Sunna. They then lived their lives in accordance with Islamic principles and commands, and conveyed what they knew to others. They formed study and discussion groups to refine their understanding.
"The Messenger of God: Muhammad" - Fethullah Gulen, pp. 327-329
From Issue: 703 [Read original issue]
Solidify your financial position
The global recession of the last two years has shattered hopes of economic security for most people the world over. Keeping in mind that Allah is the Provider (Ar-Razzaq), start off by making a deep, sincere Dua asking God to increase your earnings in a Halal way. That can mean different things. It can translate into taking on a second job in your spare time or encouraging your older children to look for work, especially in the summer. On a larger level, it can include starting your dream business or even working with an existing one to strengthen it with your skills and talent, if not your capital.
If you're still in school, carefully consider your career path. While it's important to be passionate about what you do, a certain level of financial security is important for everyone to reach their potential in life. Research hot and upcoming fields, like green and sustainable development in all sectors, which big corporations are also seeking to fill with qualified personnel. Then see if you can marry your passion with a solid profession.
Remember that even with dire news about the shrinking job market, all Rizq, in all forms, is in the hands of Allah and He is in control of all things. We must do our part in thinking about the best way to earn that Rizq, then put our trust in Him to help us. And He will.
"7 goals to aim for in 2010" - Samana Siddiqui
From Issue: 564 [Read original issue]