Issue 99 » January 5, 2001 -




"And (such is a man that) when an affliction (difficulty) befalls him, he cries out to Us, reclining and sitting and standing.  But no sooner than We have removed his affliction, he carries on as if he had never cried out to Us to remove his affliction. Thus this is the way the misdeeds of the transgressors are made fair-seeming to them."

[Al-Quran- Sura Yunus 10: 12]


Context of Revelation:
- The prolonged and severe famine which had virtually destroyed the people of Makkah, had ended just a little before the revelation of this verse. The famine was so acute that at one stage Abu Sufyan had approached the Prophet, peace be upon him, with a request to ask Allah to deliver them from this hardship. However, no sooner had the famine ended and heavy rains brought about a rich harvest and prosperity than the Makkans reverted to their old evil habits and to their hostile machinations against Islam.

Relating to our present context:
- Many Muslim youth crowd into the Masjid before exams, imploring Allah to give them good grades. But as soon as the exams are over and the marks are out, they go back to their old ways of missing their prayers and disobeying Allah in many ways.
- Similarly others turn to Allah only when they are faced with calamities, like family conflicts, financial and career stress, divorce, death of the loved ones...etc. But as soon as Allah Solves their problems they return to their old ways.
- We should worship Allah in our bad AND good times. During our bad times we should ask for His help and in our good times we should thank Him for His blessings.
- Those who worship Allah only during their bad times are termed as 'transgressors' in this verse. 
[Compiled from "Towards Understanding the Quran", by S. Abul Ala Maududi, vol. IV]
"I will lose 10 lbs"; "I will exercise more"; "I will spend my money more carefully" - these are just some examples of the kind of resolutions many of us make at various time markers in our lives, most notably, at the beginning of a new year. But for most Muslims, while the goals we set are usually praiseworthy, few, if any, are aimed at contributing to Islam on a community level.
We might, for instance, aim to read more Islamic books or give more in charity. But we wouldn't intend to teach at the local weekend Islamic school and share our knowledge or devote our time, not just our money, to a Masjid building project. It's time to focus not just on our own personal development. We've got to start considering what we can do for Islam in our community and for the Ummah in general.
Below are 6 ideas that you can use or simply check out to jump start your own thinking and planning process to develop resolutions.
Remember the fights in the Masjid? Or the wonderful active sister who left the Masjid because of a dispute with the Board of Directors? What about the brother who was a great teacher at the Islamic school until the administration decided to reduce his salary without informing him well in advance? These are all cases where conflict resolution could have come in handy. There is a crying need for Muslims who can negotiate and mediate amongst Muslims. This is a skill every Muslim community needs to invest in.
It's also a skill you should consider developing. You could do a degree in conflict resolution, but you don't have to go that far. You can attend seminars and/or one-day classes. Business schools may offer a course a few weeks long in conflict resolution. Consider gaining and taking these skills to the Masjid and to your local Islamic center.
To be continued in the next issue....
Taken from www.SoundVision.com
May his nose be rubbed in dust!
Abu Huraira, may Allah be pleased with him, reported that the Prophet  of Allah (peace be upon him) once said:

"May his nose be rubbed in dust! May his nose be rubbed in dust! May his nose be rubbed in dust!" So I asked, "Who, O Messenger of Allah?" He said : "Who has parents with him, while they are old, whether one of them or both of them, then does not enter the Paradise (though serving them and obeying them.)"
(Collected by Muslim)
[Lessons: When was the last time we argued with our dad, or disobeyed our mom, or insulted them in front of the rest of the family? Probably not that long ago! We all know in our hearts what we do, whether we want to admit or not. Disrespect or disobedient to our parents is probably the worst social and moral disease that the Muslim community faces today, after Zina and indecency in the society. Most of the times it is our pride, anger, and selfishness that makes us forget the fact they were the same parents who spent sleepless nights for us, cared for us, and even cried for us, in our difficult times.....and all that probably happened when we were not old enough to even realize their sacrifices. Often, those who have changed and have become practicing Muslims, think they are "better" and more "knowledgeable" than their parents. This could be true, no doubt, but it doesn't allow us to treat our parents like kids off the street. Allah has commanded us in the Quran, right after the command of Worshipping Allah alone, to Honor our parents and to lower our wings of mercy to them. In an individualistic and materialistic society, such as ours, unfortunately these virtues are rarely found. "May his nose be rubbed in the dust!" -very rarely did the Prophet (peace be upon him), who was the most merciful person on earth, use such a harsh language! Let us not destroy and loose our Hereafter with our pride and carelessness in honoring our parents.]
Reflections on Tazkiya and Self-Development
First Step to Change & Paradise!
The first step in self-development, then, is to concentrate single-mindedly on Paradise. Indeed, the one who is unsure of his destiny in life, torn between this world and the Next, like the one standing with his feet in two separate boats- will be thrown off the balance. Many of our difficulties that we face are due to this lack of commitment to this Goal.
The selection of our ultimate goal of Paradise may involve an absolute break with our past. To choose this new goal in one's life is in fact to choose a new life, to begin a new journey. Embark on this new journey by refreshing your Wudu (ablution) and offering two Rakas (units) of prayer, reminding yourself of all the punishment of Hellfire you have just resolved to avoid at all costs and all the rewards of Paradise that you will strive to achieve! Remind yourself also of the important landmarks on the journey: imagine death as near; imagine the moment when the Angel of Death will declare, "Your time is over, now you must follow me"; imagine that moment when you will be made to stand before Allah, the Most High, and image the consequences of the Judgment. When you have completed the two Rakas then make a commitment once more that all your efforts will be directed towards achieving Paradise, and ask Allah to help you.
While improvement in your habits and actions is a life-long process, the desire to achieve it can thus be sparked in a moment. This desire will provide the momentum for attaining your goal- The good pleasure of Allah and Paradise.
Let's take this first step towards Change!
To be continued in the next issue....
[Taken from "In the Early Hours" by Ustadh Khurram Murad (Rahimahullah), edited by Riza Mohammed]
[A book review of "In the Early Hours" is available at: http://www.youngmuslims.ca/bookreview/default.asp]