Demonstration of Resurrection, State of Recollection, Creating Change

Issue 719 » January 4, 2013 - Safar 22, 1434

Living The Quran

Demonstration of Resurrection
Surah al-Baqarah (The Cow) Chapter 2: Verse 260

When Abraham said: "Show me, Lord, how You will raise the dead, " He replied: "Have you no faith?" He said "Yes, but just to reassure my heart." Allah said, "Take four birds, draw them to you, and cut their bodies to pieces. Scatter them over the mountain-tops, then call them back. They will come swiftly to you. Know that Allah is Mighty, Wise."

Abraham, peace be upon him, did not question Allah's capability of raising the dead nor did he ask for a proof of that capability. He already had full faith in it. In fact, he did not ask a question at all; rather, he just requested a demonstration to gain personal knowledge of how resurrection happens. In asking for a demonstration, he was not out of line. All Messengers were given special knowledge, and taken through special experiences, to enable them to witness the faith to humanity on the basis of their personal observation, instead of just being told about it. Thus, like other Messengers, Abraham had asked to be shown a behind-the-scenes view of Allah's kingdom. It was from this perspective that he asked for this demonstration.

As shown, Abraham's request for a demonstration was about a matter of faith (raising the dead) put forth to help him do his prophetic job on the basis of personal knowledge. It was not about any action commanded by Allah, to which he always surrendered without ever asking a question - not even concerning the purpose of the command or its rationale.

Compiled From:
"Islam: Adopting Its Paradigms" - Ayub A. Hamid, pp. 64, 65

Understanding The Prophet's Life

State of Recollection

Spirituality, from an Islamic point of view, is the way in which the believer keeps his faith alive and intensifies and reinforces it. Spirituality is remembrance - recollection and the intimate energy involved in the struggle against the natural human tendency to forget God, the meaning of life, and the other world. All the practices prescribed by Islam, especially prayer, are in fact a means of recollection (dhikr).

Excellence, defined as the ideal behaviour of the Muslims, would be to attain a state where there was no forgetfulness. Excellence (al-Ihsan), the Prophet, peace be upon him, said, is "to worship God as if you could see Him, or even if you cannot see Him, He sees you. [Bukhari]" that is, to try to be with God in every situation.

Compiled From:
"Western Muslims and The Future of Islam" - Tariq Ramadan, p. 79

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