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Today's Reminder

January 31, 2023 | Rajab 9, 1444

Living The Quran

An-Nisa (The Women)
Chapter 4: Verses 26-28

Better Substitute
"Allah desires to make clear to you and to guide you to the ways of the [righteous] people before you and to turn to you in mercy; and Allah is all-Knowing, Wise. And Allah desires to lighten your burden, for the human being was created weak."

One of the merits of Islam is that it shows mercy towards people in that whenever it forbids something it provides a better substitute with which to replace it. Islam forbids usury but allows profitable business. Islam forbids gambling, but allows winning prizes in contests of shooting, racing, wrestling, etc. Islam forbids adultery but urges Muslims to marry as soon as they can support a family. Islam forbids drinking alcohol but allows all other good and healthy drinks. Islam forbids what is bad in food but allows what is good and nourishing.

The same principle can be traced through all the teachings of Islam. For assuredly, Allah has no desire to make people's lives difficult, narrow, and circumscribed; on the contrary; He desires ease, goodness, guidance, and mercy for them according to the above verse.

Compiled From:
"The Principles of Halal and Haram" - Yusuf Al-Qaradawi

From Issue: 536 [Read original issue]

Understanding The Prophet's Life

Harm

On the authority of Abu Saeed Saad ibn Malik ibn Sinaan al-Khudri, may Allah be pleased with him: The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, "There is not to be any causing of harm (dharar) nor is there to be any reciprocating of harm (dharaar)."

Ibn Abdul Barr says that dharar means to harm someone else. Dharaar on the other hand refers to harming someone in response to some harm that was received from the other person but not in the manner that is correct or just according to the law. Hence, dharaar refers to responding to someone's harm in an improper way that goes beyond the limits of what is right and just.

Since wrongdoing and harm are to be completely avoided, this automatically implies that their opposites are to be acted upon. In other words, a believer is to bring about benefit or, at the very least, perform a neutral act. Hence, a believer's every deed should either be positively beneficial or, at the very least, not causing any harm to anyone.

If someone is harmed by someone else then the person has the right to defend himself and repel that harm, even if he harms the perpetrator in the process. Such does not violate the principle of this hadith. But a person does not have the right to "take the law into his own hands." The harmed person has two choices: either forgive the perpetrator or take his matter to the proper authorities.

In the same way that one cannot harm others, he also does not have the right to harm himself, his body or those he is responsible for. This principle, then, should also extend to the animal kingdom and environment.

Compiled From:
"Commentary on the Forty Hadith of al-Nawawi" - Jamaal al-Din M. Zarabozo, pp.1142-1161

From Issue: 680 [Read original issue]

Blindspot!

Gifts

In our attraction to problems, deficiencies, disabilities, and needs, the missing community conversation is about gifts. The only cultural practices that focus on gifts are retirement parties and funerals. We only express gratitude for your gifts when you are on your way out or gone. If we really want to know what gifts others see in us, we have to wait for our own eulogy, and even then, as the story goes, we will miss it by a few days.

In community building, rather than focusing on our deficiencies and weaknesses, which will most likely not go away, we gain more leverage when we focus on the gifts we bring and seek ways to capitalize on them. Instead of problematizing people and work, the conversation that searches for the mystery of our gifts brings the greatest change and results.

The focus on gifts confronts people with their essential core, that which has the potential to make the difference between work and life. Who we are at work is our life. Who we are in life is our work. The leadership task - indeed the task of every citizen - is to bring the gifts of those on the margin into the centre. This applies to each of us as an individual, for our life work is to bring our gifts into the world. This is a core quality of a hospitable community, whose work is to bring into play the gifts of all its members, especially strangers.

Compiled From:
"Community: The Structure of Belonging" - Peter Block, p. 139

From Issue: 585 [Read original issue]