Noble Role, Animal World, We

Issue 754 » September 6, 2013 - Shawwal 30, 1434

Living The Quran

Noble Role
Al-Baqara (The Cow) - Chapter 2: Verse 251 (partial)

"Had it not been for the fact that God repels one group of people by another the earth would have been utterly corrupted. God is limitless in His bounty to all the worlds."

This powerful statement takes us beyond the limited narrative and its personalities and events to reveal the fundamental Divine wisdom underlying the constant contention, power struggles and battles among the multitudes of mankind in the tumult of life. It depicts the incessant strife and the spirit of competition and rivalry that drive human beings to their various ends and objectives in this world, according to the overall Divine scheme under God's wise hand which leads them all towards progress and higher standards of life.

Were it not for this spirit of struggle and competition, life would be dull and stale. The conflict of interests and the variety of objectives that people seek in this world are the means by which human talent and energy are released and brought into play to reinvigorate and revitalise the human experience for the good of mankind. This dynamic movement produces the true human force of goodness, brings truth to the fore, enhances man's sense of right and wrong, and firmly establishes justice on earth. It enables true and sincere believers to identify their noble role in life. It provides them with the will and strength to persevere and fulfil that role in total obedience to God's order and tireless pursuit of His pleasure and blessings.

God then intervenes on the side of the believers so that the truth they are upholding will prevail. Human conflict becomes a positive and constructive struggle for the good of mankind and a better life in this world. The fact that the smaller group of believers have placed their trust in God, and are devoted to fulfilling His ultimate will in protecting life and establishing the truth and defending it, enables them to eventually triumph and prevail.

Compiled From:
"In the Shade of the Quran" - Syed Qutb, Vol. 1, pp. 306, 307

Understanding The Prophet's Life

Animal World

Islam views the animal world as a world in its own right, just like that of the human world, with its own characteristics, temperaments and feelings. Since they are a community like mankind, they too deserve mercy and affection. The Prophet, peace be upon him, said, "The Merciful showers mercy on those who are themselves merciful." [Ahmad]

The Shariah has prescribed legislation regarding compassion to animals. It is prohibited to mount an animal for a long period of time whilst it is standing still. The Messenger of Allah said, "Do not take the backs of your animals as chairs." [Ahmad]

Wanton killing of animals for fun and sport has been strictly prohibited. The Prophet said, "Whoever kills even one bird wantonly, it will complain to Allah on the Day of Judgment, 'O my Lord and Cherisher! This person had killed me in vain and not for any benefit.'" [Nasai]

Likewise using animals as targets for practice is also prohibited. The Prophet has cursed the person who uses a living object as a target. [Bukhari, Muslim]

Compiled From:
"The Islamic Civilization"- Mustafa Sibai, pp. 124, 125



We must learn to say 'we' again. Just as I can say 'I' and still belong to myself, we must be able to say 'we' whilst acknowledging our common sense of belonging. Some would like us to sit down at a table and discuss the best way of saying 'we' and of respecting 'one another'. And yet it is quite possible that the method itself is what is preventing us from getting the results we want.

Theories and debates about 'the sense of belonging' actually make it impossible for us to feel that we belong. We are talking about a feeling: we come to feel that we belong because we live that feeling, because we experience it. The common law protects us, but it is common causes that allow us to respect and love one another (by acting together 'for' some cause and not just 'against' a threat). A common commitment to respect for human dignity and saving the planet, or to the struggle against poverty, discrimination, every type of racism, and to promote the arts, the sciences, sports and culture, responsibility and creativity: these are the best ways of developing a real conviviality that is both lived and effective.

We become subjects who can say 'I' when we have discovered the meaning of our personal projects: we become 'we', a community or a society when we can decide upon a common collective project. In most circumstances, it is not dialogue between human subjects that changes the way they see others; it is the awareness that they are on the same path, the same road and have the same aspirations. When our consciousness acknowledges that we are travelling the same road, it has already half-opened the door to the heart: we always have a little love for those who share our hopes. 'We' exist by the sides of roads that lead to the same goals.

Compiled From:
"The Quest for Meaning" - Tariq Ramadan, pp. 48-49