Man's Striving, Essential Unity, Fantasizing
Issue 566 » January 29, 2010 - Safar 14, 1431
Al-Najm (The Star) Sura 53: Verses 39-41
The above verse boost the morale of not only Muslims but of all mankind, provided they have a clear view of life and champion a sound cause. For all committed people the above passage carries an inspiring message. It is especially relevant for institutions engaged in training younger generations, for it contains an elaborate moral code and set of guidelines for the young.
Allah has promised man that he will obtain success in his striving. It is emphasized in the Quran that man's efforts will bear fruit. As to the time-scale of gathering the fruit of one's striving, the Quran hints that this may take a very long time. Man is thus told not to despair if he does not gain immediate results. Man is to be credited for much in the world - the vast empires, the rise of various civilizations, the spread and advancement of knowledge, and intellectuals appearing on the public scene. All these are manifestations of man's striving.
"Guidance from the Holy Quran" - Sayyid Abul Hasan Ali Nadwi, pp. 229, 230
The Essential Unity
Women are secondary beings in the minds of many, including those self-appointed defenders of women's rights as well as many self-proclaimed Muslim men. For us, a woman is part of a whole, a part that renders the other half useful. We believe that when the two halves come together, the true unity of a human being appears. When this unity does not exist, humanity does not exist - nor can Prophethood, sainthood, or even Islam.
Our master encouraged us through his enlightening words to behave kindly to women. He declared: "The most perfect believers are the best in character, and the best of you are the kindest to their families." [Abu Dawud] It is clear that women have received the true honour and respect they deserve, not just in theory but in actual practice, only once in history - during the period of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him.
"The Messenger of God: Muhammad" - Fethullah Gulen, p. 162
It is a disease of the heart when one is engaged in matters that are of no concern to him. For example, reflecting on things that are prohibited, such as lustful fantasizing about the beauty of a person one is not married to. In essence, what is forbidden to do is likewise forbidden as an object of reflection. Included in this is thinking about the weaknesses or faults of others, whether they are present or not. Spending time thinking or talking about other people's faults is foolish. Times is short and is better invested in recognizing one's own shortcomings and then working consistently to eradicate them.
It is also prohibited according to scholars, to reflect on the nature of God's essence. This does not mean that one should not reflect on His attributes revealed in the Quran. Rather, trying to conceive of the very essence of God is so beyond our capability, our conclusions will always be wrong. Being wrong about something like this is not inconsequential. Many religious communities before Islam and after indulged in this activity and have come up with terribly erroneous theologies regarding God. For this reason, we are told to stay away from that kind of internal or external dialogue and reflect instead on what God has revealed about Himself and His awesome majesty, knowledge, and power. Let that kind of reflection deepen our love of Him and our desire to follow His commandments and thus prepare for the Hereafter, a momentous time when the veils will be removed from our eyes and when our understanding of God will reach beyond what is possible in this world.
"Purification of the Heart" - Hamza Yusuf, pp. 51-52