Thursday, June 03, 2004

Living the Quran

Living the Quran
Al-Baqara (The Cow)
Chapter 2: Verse 213

Single Community, Divergent Views, Divine Standard
All Mankind were once one single community. Then God sent forth Prophets to give them good tidings and warn them, and with them He sent down the Book, setting forth the truth, to judge between people over all on which they differed.

Single Community – Single Start

Humanity emerged as a single community, living according to the same code and upholding similar beliefs. The Quran asserts here that mankind shares the same origin and that we are members of the same human family. Such was the will of God to instil the family principle in human life and establish it as a cornerstone of the human community. There was a time when this early group remained close-knit and uniform in its outlook and understanding; however, with time the people had to scatter in various directions, thereby evolving their lives in different ways. New trends, fresh ideas and advanced social norms arose which, as God knew, would be useful and advantageous to human society.

Different Communities – Various Prophets
With progress and diversity came differences, disagreements and divisions. New beliefs, traditions and ideologies came into being that were accepted in various degrees by the communities. It was then, that God in his infinite wisdom sent down prophets to the various communities to convey the promise of success and to warn against deviation. The propensity to differ and disagree is fundamental to the human disposition, and essential for the fulfillment of man’s role as God’s Khalifa (vicegerent) on earth.

A Single Standard
However, it is essential that there should be a proper and valid standard by which differences and divisions may be judged and evaluated. Can human beings come up with such a standard that would serve as a reference point for all mankind throughout time? Such a responsibility requires an infinite and comprehensive knowledge of past, present and future events, not restricted by the limitations of time and space. It also requires perfection, total self-sufficiency, and freedom from all needs, instincts, ambitions, desires and fears that constrain and control human beings. Hence, the source of such a Standard can only be God.

And He has sent us that standard, in the form of the Book, whose message the Prophets have conveyed time and time again. The later part of the ayah affirms that this Book, the revelation of God to mankind, has come with the definitive and absolute truth. This book is vital in determining the source of human values, thought and understanding, and for defining the laws that govern human relations. Without this authority society would be at a loss, life would descend into chaos, confusion and strife, and mankind would know no peace or happiness – much like it is, in today’s world.

Source:
In The Shade of The Quran - by Sayyid Qutb, Vol 1, pp. 312-315

Understanding the Prophet's Life Special Place in the Prophet's Heart
Aishah, may Allah be pleased with her, narrates that whenever the Prophet, peace be upon him, talked about Khadijah, may Allah be pleased with her, it was in terms of the highest praise. In reference to her, the Prophet once said:

“I have not yet found a better wife than her. She had faith in me when everyone, even members of my own family and tribe, did not believe in me, and accepted that I was truly a Prophet and a Messenger of Allah. She converted to Islam, spent all her wealth and worldly goods to help me spread this faith, and this too at a time when the entire world seemed to have turned against me and persecuted me. And it is through her that Allah blessed me with children.”

Khadijah passed away just three years before the Prophet’s migration to Al Madinah. She died at the age of 65, having given almost 25 years to Muhammad and the cause of Islam. When Muhammad saw her in the throes of death he consoled her saying, Allah had so ordained it, and that the thing she was dreading would prove favourable for her. Her eyes lit up and as she gazed at her beloved husband, her soul left its earthly body. Her grave was prepared near Makkah. The Prophet, himself, stepped into it to see that everything was as it should be, and with his own hands lowered her gently into it. Thus, passed away the Mother of all Muslims, the one who had sacrificed her all for Islam.

The Prophet never forgot her and whenever he would receive a gift he would ensure that some of it was sent to one of Khadijah’s friends. When asked why he replied as follows: “I have great regard for her friends, as she has a special place in my heart.”

Source:
Great Women of Islam - By Mahmood Ahmad Ghadanfar, pp. 28-30

Our Society, Our Responsibility What excuse do we have?
When Umar ibn Abd al Aziz died, learned men came to his wife to express sympathy and say how great a calamity had struck the people of Islam by his death. And they said to her, ‘Tell us about him – for the one who knows best about a man is his wife.’

And she said: “He never prayed or fasted more than the rest of you, but I never say a servant of God who feared Him more than Umar. He devoted his body and his soul to the people. All day he would sit tending to their affairs, and when night came he would sit up while business remained. One evening when he had finished everything, he called for his lamp – for which he used to buy the oil from his own money – and prayed two Rakats. Then he sat back on his legs, with his chin in his hands, and the tears ran down from his cheeks, and this didn’t stop until dawn, when he rose for a day of fasting.

I said to him, ‘O leader of the believers, is there something bothering you tonight?’ And he said, ‘Yes, I saw how I was occupied while governing the affairs of the community, all its black sheep and its white sheep, and I remembered the stranger and the poor and the needy, and the prisoners of war, and all like them in the far places of the earth, and I realized that God most high will ask me about all of them, and the Messenger of Allah will testify about them, and I feared that I should find no excuse when I was with God, and no defense with the Prophet.’

Source:
"A History of Muslim Civilization" - by Huseyin Abiva & Noura Durkee, Vol 1, p. 285


We condemn the torture and mutilation of prisoners of war. Violence breeds more violence. Let us pray and work towards world peace and justice

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