Short Break, True Mujahid, Gifts

Issue 585 » June 11, 2010 - Jumada al-Thani 28, 1431

Living The Quran

Short Break
Al-Jumuah (The Congregation) Sura 62: Verses 9-10

"Believers! When the call to prayer is made on Fridays, go straightaway to the prayer and leave off your trading. This is best for you, if you but knew it. When the prayer is finished, disperse in the land and seek God's bounty. Remember God often so that you may be successful."

Every now and then, people need a period of time when they free themselves from their preoccupation with earning a living and the attractions of worldly life. They need such periods when they can be in close contact with their Lord, glorifying Him and experiencing the happiness resulting from dedication to His service. They need to fill their hearts and lungs with the pure, clean and refreshing air that comes with such dedication.

The Islamic system provides a perfect balance between the needs of life on earth, with all that it requires of work and effort, and the need to be away from all this for a short while to attend to worship. Time spent away from the preoccupations of this life is necessary to keep the heart alive. Without it, it cannot live up to the great trust God has given us and nor can it fulfil its duties. It is important to remember God while we are busy earning our living, for such remembrance transforms our work activities into acts of worship.

Compiled From:
"In The Shade Of The Quran" - Sayyid Qutb, Volume 17, pp. 16, 17

Understanding The Prophet's Life

True Mujahid

The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, "The [true] mujahid is the one who strives against his own soul." [Tirmidhi]

The soul is not necessarily inherently evil. However, the soul has both propensities in it: it can turn toward good and it can turn toward evil. Hence, the individual has to work to extinguish or greatly weaken the evil propensities. This is a type of struggle and, hence, it is a kind of jihad.

In fact, there are various types of jihad. Unfortunately, many times people go to extremes by stressing one at the expense of others. Although all of those extremes are to be avoided, the overall importance of "victory" in the jihad against the soul needs to be emphasized. When one encounters the enemies on the physical battlefield, the most that can happen to a person is that he loses his life. His enemy cannot pry the faith from the believer's heart. His enemy can only put an end to the believer's worldly life. But if the believer loses his life while having faith and fighting for the sake of Allah, that is not a bad thing whatsoever. His worldly life may come to an end but he has gained an everlasting victory and happiness. On the other hand, if the believer loses in the battle against evil inclinations in one's soul, he will harm his own soul. In fact, if he does not strive against any of the evil inclinations in his soul, the result can be everlasting misery and punishment in the Hereafter.

Compiled From:
"Purification of the Soul: Concept, Process and Means" - Jamaal al-Din M. Zarabozo, p. 344



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