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Today's Reminder

November 27, 2020 | Rabiʻ II 11, 1442

Living The Quran

Ash-Shura (The Consultation)
Chapter 42: Verses 39-42

Principles of Retaliation
"And those who, when an oppressive wrong is inflicted on them, (are not cowed but) help and defend themselves. The recompense for an injury is an injury equal thereto (in degree): but if a person forgives and makes reconciliation, his reward is due from God: for (God) loves not those who do wrong. But indeed if any do help and defend themselves after a wrong (done) to them, against such there is no cause of blame. The blame is only against those who oppress men and wrong-doing and insolently transgress beyond bounds through the land, defying right and justice: for such there will be a penalty grievous."

The believers do not fall prey to the tyrants. Their tender heartedness and forgiving nature is not the result of any weakness. Their nobility demands that when they are victors they should forgive the errors of the vanquished; when they possess the power, they should avoid vengefulness and when a weak or subdued person happens to commit a mistake they should overlook it; but when a powerful person, drunk with authority, commits violence against them, they should resist and fight him with all their might.

These verses introduce three basic principles of retaliation:

1. The right limit of retaliation is that one should return the same sort of ill treatment that one has received; one has no right to return a greater ill treatment.

2. Although it is permissible to retaliate against the one who has committed violence, wherever pardoning can be conducive to reconcilement, pardoning is better for the sake of reconcilement than retaliation. And since man pardons the other by suppressing his own feelings, Allah says that the reward of such a one is with Him, for he has suppressed his own self for the sake of reforming the evil-doers.

3. One should not become a wrongdoer oneself in the process of avenging a wrong done by the other. It is not permissible to do a greater wrong in retaliation for the wrong done. For example, if a person slaps another, the other can return only one slap; he cannot shower his blows and kicks. Likewise, it is not right to commit a sin in retaliation for a sin. For example, if a wicked man has killed the son of someone, it is not right to go and kill the son of the former. Or, if a person has violated the chastity of another person's sister or daughter, it is not lawful for him to rape the former's sister or daughter.

Compiled From:
"The Meaning of the Quran" - By Sayyid Abul Ala Mawdudi, Vol. 4, pp. 551, 552

From Issue: 510 [Read original issue]

Understanding The Prophet's Life

Ribat

The Messenger, peace be upon him, once asked: "Listen. Shall I guide you to the things through which God blots out sins and elevates you to higher ranks?" When his Companions asked him to do so, he told them: "Perform wudu (ritual ablution) as correctly as possible, even in the most adverse conditions; walk to the mosque for each prayer, and wait for the next prayer after praying. This is the ribat, this is the ribat (preparation, dedication)." [Muslim]

The hadith begins with 'Listen' to stress the importance of what follows. In this case, it is the five daily prayers.

The prescribed prayer is the pillar of Islam. Without it, Islam cannot be maintained. When believers pray correctly, they are protected from evil thoughts and deeds. It is also a sacred ladder for ascending to the Presence of God. But before we climb it, we must perform wudu as perfectly as possible. From the first step toward wudu, believers begin to gain reward. While performing it, they are relieved of the stress of daily life and cleansed of sins. When performed in difficult circumstances, believers receive an even greater exhilaration.

God's Messenger describes the prescribed prayer as ribat, which can be translated as "dedication to something or guarding the frontier." By describing the prescribed prayers as ribat, God's Messenger also emphasizes that Muslims should dedicate their lives to Divine worship and organize their daily activities around the five daily prayers. They should ensure that they can pray when necessary and with full attention. After each prayer, they should wait expectantly for the next one. Those who pray in such a manner will be cleansed of sins and, moreover, protected against committing more sins.

Compiled From:
"The Messenger of God: Muhammad" - Fethullah Gulen, pp. 111-112

From Issue: 616 [Read original issue]

Blindspot!

Beyond Headlines

When you see violence in other parts of the world portrayed on the evening news, do you look at the rage and hatred in people's faces, or do you ask yourself about the distress that has inspired this anger? Make a habit of looking behind the headlines to the ordinary people who are affected by a crisis. Remember that they did not choose to be born into that part of the world. Like you, they simply found themselves in a particular situation and may have been forced to conduct their lives in a context of violence, deprivation, and despair.

We know from our own experience that deeds have long-term consequences. We are all affected, consciously and unconsciously, by the unkindness, neglect, contempt, and violence we have endured in the past. This is also true of whole nations: persecution, chronic warfare, bad governance, exploitation, marginalization, occupation, humiliation, enslavement, exile, impoverishment, and defamation all leave psychic scars that persist long after the event. They affect the way the new generation is brought up and can infiltrate the religious, intellectual, ethical, and social development of a country. People who have been taught to despise themselves cannot easily respect others. Those who have been brutalized by hatred, persecution, or oppression cannot cultivate the trust that makes it possible to reach out to others. We should ask whether our own nation has contributed to the problems of a particular region and realize that, in our global world, if we ignore the pain of a people, it is likely that at some point this negligence will rebound on us.

Compiled From:
"Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life" - Karen Armstrong, pp. 150, 151

From Issue: 769 [Read original issue]