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Today's Reminder

January 31, 2023 | Rajab 9, 1444

Living The Quran

True Believer
Al-Anfal (The Spoils of War) Chapter 8: Verses 2-4 (partial)

"Only those are [true] believers who, whenever God is mentioned, their hearts quiver, and when His signs are recited to them, they increase them in belief, and upon their Lord they place reliance, those who attend divine service steadfastly, and expend [in alms] of what We have bestowed upon them. These are the believers in the true sense."

Iman, 'belief' or 'faith', is the very centre of the sphere of positive moral properties. 'Belief' is the real fountainhead of all Islamic virtues; it creates them all, and no virtue is thinkable in Islam, which is not based on the sincere faith in God and His revelations.

In the above passage, 'belief' is considered exclusively in its religious aspects. This passage furnishes an almost perfect verbal definition of the 'true believer'. This verbal definition pictures 'the believer in the true sense of the word' as a genuinely pious man, in whose heart the very mention of God's name is enough to arouse an intense sense of awe, and whose whole life is determined by the basic mood of deep earnestness.

Compiled From:
"Ethico Religious Concepts in the Quran" - Toshihiko Izutsu, pp. 184, 185

From Issue: 784 [Read original issue]

Understanding The Prophet's Life

Frequent Forgiveness

The Prophet said: “Whoever asks Allah’s forgiveness often, Allah will give them relief from every worry, make a way out for them from every difficulty, and provide for them from whence they least expect it.” [Abu Dawud, Al-Nasai]

Ibn al-Qayyim comments in Zad al-Maad:

As for the effect that beseeching Allah’s forgiveness has on our fears, worries, and difficulties, one thing all rational people from all nations and faith traditions agree upon is that sins and corruption cause anxiety, fear, and depression, as well as diseases of the heart. Indeed, even after the sinful people have had their fill from indulging in sin, the resultant anxiety and worry that remains in their hearts causes them to return to the sin again to ward away those feelings. Since this is the effect that sins and transgressions have on the heart, the only real cure is to beseech Allah’s forgiveness.

It seems that Ibn al-Qayyim is alluding to addiction, which not only relates to alcohol and drug use, but to any habitual sin, like illicit affairs and pornography. This requires appealing to Allah for forgiveness frequently, as well as seeking treatment, engaging in wholesome activities, and keeping good company.

Addiction of any kind requires professional help, since addiction itself compels the perpetration of the act, even in the absence of any pleasure. The pleasure of the activity might have been what got the addict started in the first place, but then when it turns into a psychological or physical dependency, the compulsion to do it remains even in the absence of any positive sensation.

Compiled From:
"Always Ask Allah to Forgive You" - Salman al-Oadah

From Issue: 855 [Read original issue]

Blindspot!

Fathers

Muslims naturally feel inclined to place the mother at the centre of the process of raising children, unwittingly ignoring the father’s role. Islamic tradition does stress the role of the mother. For example, when asked who a Muslim should love most, the Prophet Muhammad said, “Your mother, your mother, your mother and then your father.” It is also said that paradise lies at the feet of the mother. As a result, we tend to focus on the father as an individual, not as someone who should and can play a central role within his family.

We need to creatively tap into Islamic values for solutions because that is what Muslim families are most likely to be receptive to. The father is more than just an individual. He can play an important role, far beyond that of just the financial protector. The Prophet Muhammad himself was a role model as a father. When his own daughter would come to him, he would stand up out of respect for her, as people in traditional societies often do. We have forgotten these aspects of the Prophetic example. We are replacing these values with an obsession with enforcing rights and duties. That is what is destroying the spirit of the family.

Many fathers miss the opportunity to educate their children and accompany them through life. An absentee father spends long hours working or engaged in voluntary community service, at the expense of time with his family. Muslims keep saying the Islamic tradition cares for wholesome family life but Muslims themselves are having a difficult time upholding these values because we have lost our grasp of what it means to be a good Muslim and a good parent.

Muslim families need to share experiences with those who share the same problems. We need to be open and learn from different sources, including non-Muslim ones. We need to take the best from mainstream psychology and social studies and incorporate these into solutions custom-made to help Muslim families. We don’t necessarily have to integrate into society by abandoning our heritage but rather, integrate the positive things we learn from society into our lives.

Compiled From:
Fatherhood in Islam” – Tariq Ramadan

From Issue: 599 [Read original issue]