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Today's Reminder

January 26, 2021 | Jumada II 12, 1442

Living The Quran

To Serve
Ya Sin (Ya Sin) Chapter 36: Verses 60, 61

"Children of Adam, did I not command you not to serve Satan? He is to you an open enemy. And serve Me alone, this is the Straight Way."

While explaining this verse in his al-Tafsir al-Kabir, Imam Razi points out that "do not serve Satan" means "do not obey Satan". It is not only forbidden to prostrate before him; it is equally forbidden to obey him. Hence, obedience to someone amounts to serving him. After making this point, Imam Razi asks: "If ibadah means obedience, then what is meant by the command 'to obey Allah, and His Messenger and those in authority among you'?" Does it mean that we are required to serve and worship the Messenger and those in authority among us? Imam Razi responds to this by saying that obedience to the Messenger and to those in authority among the Muslims amounts to serving and obeying God only if the order to obey is in accord with God's command. Obedience to them, however, will be reckoned as serving and worshipping them [rather than God] when people obey them in matters where obeying them has no sanction.

Imam Razi adds: "The angels prostrated before Adam at God's command, [and since it was in compliance with God's command], this was an act of worshipping none other than God. Imam Razi continues: "If someone were to come to you and ask you to carry out a command, consider whether this command conforms to God's command or not. If it does not conform to God's command, then his companion is Satan. In such a case, if one obeys him one is guilty of worshipping that person and his Satan. Likewise, if a person's self prompts him to do something he should consider whether God's Law permits that act or not. If that act is not permitted, then his self itself is Satan or Satan's companion. In case he follows the prompting of his own self, one is guilty of worshipping one's self."

Compiled From:
"Towards Understanding the Quran" - Sayyid Abul Ala Mawdudi, vol. IX, pp. 268, 269

From Issue: 792 [Read original issue]

Understanding The Prophet's Life

Heresies and Innovations

There is no question that heresies and innovations lead people away from the path of Allah - the only true path of spiritual purification. The Prophet (peace be upon him) made this point very clear when would state at the beginning of his speeches, "The worst actions are the invented ones. And every innovation is a going astray." [Muslim] In other narrations he would say, "And every going astray is in the hell fire." [Al-Nasai]. Furthermore, the Prophet also made it clear that heretical acts will never be accepted by Allah. He stated, "Whoever introduces anything into this affair of ours that does not belong to it will have it rejected." [Bukhari, Muslim]

Hence, by following innovations one is following a path that is, by definition, taking him away from the path of purification to a path that leads one to Hell. Thus, anyone sincerely interested in purifying his soul must take great pains to make sure that his beliefs and actions are free of any heresies or innovations. If he finds that he has some heretical beliefs or is practicing some innovations, he must leave them immediately, as they will never be pleasing to Allah and they are taking him away from his ultimate goal of worshipping Allah in the proper manner.

Compiled From:
"Purification of the Soul"- Jamal al-Din M. Zarabozo, pp. 401, 402

From Issue: 811 [Read original issue]

Blindspot!

Belonging

We have to come from somewhere. We may try to forget, regret or try to erase the fact or we may, on the contrary, make an effort to reclaim our origins, homeland or traditions, but our personal or family past will always be an important part of our being and our identity. Whether we like it or not, we belong to our memories. Life is short, and none of the important events we remember will ever disappear; images return or fade away, echo and mirror one another, speak with one voice or clash in the midst of our joys, pain, doubts or hopes. We are always looking for 'something' in the light of our past-belonging, because we want to rediscover certain joys, a few habits and a friendly or loving presence, or because we want to avoid suffering, abandonment, disappointment, pain or violence.

What are we looking for? Probably for well-being, peace, reassurance, harmony and love. Our past sometimes helps us and sometimes hinders us. We always have to revisit the past, understand it, disentangle it, tame it and forget it, but we can never really flee from it. We have to live with it and come to terms with it. We know that we have to seek and, basically, to find. Sometimes we do not even know what we are looking for, and other times we know exactly what we have to find, but cannot find it. And sometimes we have already found what we are still looking for. This is disturbing and difficult. And as we wander, we really want to belong to ourselves, to be ourselves and to feel that we possess ourselves.

Compiled From:
"The Quest for Meaning" - Tariq Ramadan, pp. 161-165

From Issue: 628 [Read original issue]