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Today's Reminder

August 16, 2022 | Muharram 18, 1444

Living The Quran

Chosen Woman
Al-e-Imran (The House of Imran) Sura 3: Verses 42-43

"Behold! The angels said: 'O Mary! Allah has chosen you and purified you, and raised you above all the women of the world. O Mary! Prostrate yourself, and bow down (in prayer) with those who bow down.'"

Istifa, the word used in the text for choosing and selecting, in Quranic terminology refers to the selection of someone by Allah for a specific purpose. Allah chose Maryam for the manifestation of one of His great signs, which was also a great trust she was going to bear. Moreover, it was also a great trial. This required that Allah would specially prepare and train her to bear this trust successfully and to cope with any hardships involved. It is this preparation and training that has been referred to here as tahhir for purifying her. The verse also clarifies that her istifa or selection had a special significance. She was specially selected and chosen above all other women of the world. As in the present verse, when the particle ala is used after istifa it also gives a sense of preference or superiority. She was chosen out of all other women for this special purpose. It is a unique honour and she has no rival in this field.

To prepare her for this onerous burden, the heavenly voice advised her: Uqnuti li-rabbiki - worship your Sustainer devoutly. The word qunut means to incline towards Allah out of extreme humility and a sense of subservience. Salah or Prayer is the best expression of this humility and subservience.

Compiled From:
"Pondering Over The Qur'an: Surah Ali Imran" - Amin Ahsan Islahi

From Issue: 980 [Read original issue]

Understanding The Prophet's Life

Raising Hands

Amongst the etiquette of Dua that is known by all Muslims, young or old, is that of raising one's hands while making dua. Abu Musa al-Ashari narrated, "The Prophet, peace be upon him, made a dua, and I saw him raise his hands, until I could see the whiteness of his armpits." [Bukhari] Furthermore, Salman al-Farsi said that the Prophet said: "Indeed, Allah is Shy and Beneficent. He is Shy when His servant raises his hands to Him to return them empty, disappointed!" [Ahmad, Abu Dawud]

There are many reasons why raising one's hands in Dua is beloved to Allah. Of these reasons is that it is an indication of Allah's complete power and right to be worshipped. It proves - by actions and not only words - that Allah is worthy of being asked, and that He is the one Who Hears and Knows everything, for He knows the situation of His servant better than the servant himself. It demonstrates that man is poor and destitute for his Lord's blessings, for he has humbled himself in front of the One full of Honour, and raised his hands up to him, indicating his poverty. It is a physical manifestation of all that this noble act of dua embodies.

Compiled From:
"Dua: The Weapon of th Believer" - Abu Ammaar Yasir Qadhi, pp. 75, 76

From Issue: 746 [Read original issue]

Cool Tips!

Creating Change

When we talk about individual and collective change, it's important to realize that not all of us are going to engage in political action, advocacy or even small group efforts. Some of us may create change by changing the way we interact with people or changing our relationships. Others may raise critical awareness with friends and family members.

We need to find a method of change that moves and inspires us. Sometimes, as individuals, our efforts vary depending upon the issue. Whether we are trying to change something at our child's school, fighting to have offensive magazines removed from our local convenience store, trying to get better maternity leave at work or struggling to change national policy, the following six Ps work:

Personal: Even the most personal changes often have a powerful ripple effect through the lives of our families, friends and colleagues. Change can take many forms - there is nothing more inherently political than breaking through social-community expectations so we can live our lives at our full potential and help others do the same. Practicing courage, compassion and connection in the face of shame is a political act.

Pens: Write a letter. Most organizational leaders and legislators will respond to letters, e-mails or faxes. If you see an advertisement that's incredibly offensive, e-mail the company.

Polls: Vote. Find out how candidates feel about the issues that affect your life and vote.

Participation: Learn about the organizations that support your issues. Join them in the fight. Most organizations make it very easy to stay up to date on issues by e-mailing updates.

Purchases: The dollar is mightier than the sword; stop buying from people who don't share your values. Marketing research shows that women are the decision makers in an estimated eighty-five percent of household buying decisions.

Protests: A protest is not always a million people marching on the capital. Sometimes a protest is four or five people showing up at a school board meeting or in someone's office. Regardless of size and scope, when we come together to ask for what we need, some people will label our actions as "protest." If that stops us, we have to ask, "Who benefits by that?"

Reaching out to others allows us to identify and name what we share in common and creates the opportunity for both personal and social change.

Compiled From:
"I Thought It Was Just Me" - Brene Brown, pp. 131-134

From Issue: 719 [Read original issue]