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Monthly Archives: June 2016

Day 4 #Ramadan #Quran #Verseoftheday #DontTurnAwayYourFace

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He frowned and turned away

Day 4 – DON’T LOOK AWAY, DON’T TURN YOUR FACE AWAY

This one scares me…The first ten verses actually.

So this is what happened: This surah was revealed in the Meccan era. Muslims were facing the oppression of the powerful Quraish. The Prophet of Allah Muhammad (saw) wanted to get the message of Allah across to the leaders of Mecca so that the oppression would stop and Islam would gain foothold, though the message was in no way exclusive only to the rich and famous, and the fact that so many earliest Muslims were from the underprivileged strata of Meccan society.

The background of the revelation of this and the following verses is that once the Prophet (saw) was deeply engaged in trying to explain the Holy Qur’an to some pagan Quraish leaders such as ‘Atabat‑ibn‑i‑Rabi ‘ah, Abu‑Jahl, ‘Abbas‑ibn‑’Abdul‑Mutallib and some others. He was hopeful that it would attract them to Islam, and in so doing, surely a lot of others would come to Islam, too. But, suddenly, he was interrupted by a blind man, ‘Abdullah‑ibn‑Ummi‑Maktum, who was apparently poor, so that no one took notice of him. He wanted to learn the Qur’an and asked the Prophet (saw) to teach him. He repeated his statement again and again, because he did not know exactly whom he was talking to.

The Holy Prophet (saw) in that moment did not like the frequent interruptions and this was seen on his face.

He turned away from ‘Abdullah and continued the work at preaching Allah’s Message to them.

At that moment he received the verses stated above.

The translation of the first ten verses of this Surah from the 30th Juz are as under:

1. He frowned and turned away
2. Because there came to him the blind man
3. And what would make you know that he might (spiritually) purify himself
4 Or become reminded so that the reminder might profit him?
5. As to one who regards himself self‑sufficient
6. To him do you address yourself!
7. Though it is no blame on you if he would not (spiritually) purify himself.
8. But as to him who comes to you striving hard
9. And he fears (Allah in his heart)
10. Of him you were unmindful.

So in this verse 80:1 of the Quran, and the verses that follow, Allah (swt) is admonishing the best of the best in the sight of Allah, Muhammad (saw). No one is closer to perfection than the last Prophet (saw). Yet, look how he is being reminded. So high is the honour and stature of a sincere person in the sight of Allah, even though he is poor and blind.

How many times, may Allah forgive us, have we judged someone on the basis of their financial status or their physical appearance? How many times have we been dismissive or demeaning to someone who is not influential or rich or powerful? How many times we punish people by our indifference and silence? Our body language suddenly becomes respectful and our choice of words becomes careful when we address someone who has a position. But with a poorer person we could care less.

It reminds me of that beautiful hadith:

عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يَنْظُرُ إِلَى صُوَرِكُمْ وَأَمْوَالِكُمْ وَلَكِنْ يَنْظُرُ إِلَى قُلُوبِكُمْ وَأَعْمَالِكُمْ

(2564 صحيح مسلم كتاب البر والصلة والآداب باب تحريم ظلم المسلم وخذله واحتقاره ودمه وعرضه وماله)

Abu Huraira reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said,

Verily, Allah does not look at your appearance or wealth, but rather he looks at your hearts and actions.” (Sahih Muslim 2564)

Tremendous lesson here.

Also, I feel enormous love for the Prophet of Allah (saw) when I read this and similar verses. To be humanity’s ultimate role model, his every action was checked more strictly than anyone else on earth. What a heavy responsibility he carried all his life, and what all he went through, to be our role model.

The Quran is indeed the words…. Allah’s final message to humanity, pure and unadulterated. If it were, God forbids, authored by our beloved Prophet (saw), verses admonishing him would not have been part of it.

As for ‘Abdullah, after this revelation, the Prophet (saw) always held ‘Abdullah in high honor, and whenever he saw him he used to tell him

“Hail to the one for whom Allah admonished me.”

And, then, he questioned the man:

“Is there anything that I can do for you?”

The blind man became a true and sincere Muslim and as a direct appointment by the Prophet, himself, become a governor of Medina on two occasions when the Prophet (saw) went to battle.

May peace and blessings of Allah be upon Muhammad (saw), the final messenger, and may Allah enable us to follow his beautiful path.

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Day 3 #Ramadan #Quran #Verseoftheday #PerfectImperfections

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Day 3 – WHEN WE SAY “I DON’T LIKE HER NOSE” or “HE IS SO DARK”

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It is Allah who made for you the earth a place of settlement and the sky a ceiling and formed you and perfected your forms and provided you with good things. That is Allah , your Lord; then blessed is Allah , Lord of the worlds.

So imagine this: You look at someone and say something like “Her nose is so broad” or “such small eyes!” or “poor thing is so dark” or “what a good looking woman but what bad looking feet”. Often, the person saying this has no idea what a serious offence he/she has committed. And Who it is they have offended.

Let’s see the verse again. What a beautiful, majestic ayah this is from Surah Ghafir, also known as Surah al-Mumin. Allah, the Exalted, is reminding us of His place in our lives. The Master Creator mentions the creation of the planet we call home, and the mighty sky over our heads, and then goes on to mention His supreme creation – mankind. You. Me. Us.

First the ayah mentions that He created us and then says he created us beautifully in an “ahsan” (most beautiful) manner….in a design that is perfect in the sight of Allah.

When we criticize or think less of or ridicule someone’s physical attributes, we actually question Allah’s (swt) creation. Social conditioning has a lot to do with it. We come to believe only a certain kind of physical appearance is beautiful. In most cultures, a lighter complexion is considered beautiful. The millions and billions of dollars that globally go into whitening products are a testimony to that. Supremacy of the “white” is a part of this collective complex. More than 1400 years ago, the Prophet Muhammad (saw) elevated the ranks of the Abyssinian slave, Bilal (ra). Yet here we are, centuries later, commenting on people’s complexions. Have we really come of age?

In the upper tiers of urban societies, thin is beautiful. To other cultural sensibilities, a fuller body is beautiful. To some, coloured eyes are beautiful. To others they are not. Thinner or thicker lips, sharper or upturned noses, long fingers, small waistlines, taller statures…..are we talking about Allah’s creation or are we picking and choosing items in a shopping mall?

If you have true love of Allah, every creation of Allah is beautiful in a unique, unparalleled fashion. This is how he wanted you to look. This is who you are. Yes, our bodies are Allah’s amanah (trust) and we must take care of them and maintain them, but not to appease people’s ideas of beauty, but to feel good and healthy.

Here’s praying that our human pettiness, and the hurtful comments that we may have unconsciously uttered about someone’s physicality, are forgiven.

Allah is Beautiful, and loves the beautiful, and all that He created in His divine wisdom is beautiful.

Time to grow up and start thinking differently.

To every one out there, the thing to say is “hey, beautiful”!

 

Day 2 #Ramadan #Quran #Verseoftheday #TooMuchHalaal

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Day 2 – TOO MUCH OF A HALAAL THING

7_31

O children of Adam! Beautify yourselves for every act of worship, and eat and drink [freely], but do not be extravagant (waste): verily, He does not love the extravagant!

Oh man! This one’s a toughie. Reason being that with the forbidden stuff, we know its a no-no. But this is all allowed, in fact recommended stuff….Allah has allowed us to eat well and dress well and enjoy the blessings He has given to us, but be thankful and share with those who have less than us. So far so good. But that’s not all. The use of all things good is conditional – do not overspend or waste or use it for means of being pompous and showing off.

Ramadan, ironically enough, is the toughest time to act on this verse. On one hand during Ramadan charity flows like water, for Muslims do believe in charity as one of the paths to Paradise. Yet, because the affluent Muslims give so much for Allah’s pleasure, they assume that if they are giving enough charity, that is a licence to be spendthrift and waste and flaunt. “Itna to deti hoon Allah ke raastay mein. Phir agar iftar par dus dishes rakh leen to kya farq parta hai (I give so much in the path of Allah. So what if I serve prepare 10 food items for iftar)” is the common retort. Fact is, giving charity does not justify overspending and wasting. One of the very things Ramadan aims at developing in us is accountability for Allah’s blessings. Extravagance saps that sentiment. Those who can afford it buy two dresses per day for the three days of Eid, run to “all you can eat” deals, and host iftars that are elaborate spreads fit for kings. So much time, effort, and money goes into all this. And to what end?

In our over zealousness for Ramadan, we over-buy, overspend, overeat, overdress, overcook, over-hoard groceries pre Ramadan. We overdo everything. The word for this is “Israaf” and one who does this is a “Musrif” and that is precisely the person Allah does not want us to become. Irony of ironies – we really work hard in Ramadan to ward off haraam (and even halaal during the fasting hours) to please Allah, but end up displeasing Him (God forbids) by extravagance.

Very related to Israaf is “Tabzeer” – wastage. There’s only so much you can wear or eat or hoard. When we overdo it all, we end up wasting it all. Food in the bin after a dinner is testimony of this – the over-piled dinner plates are the issue.

I found it fascinating that as I searched for verse 7:31 on the internet, I came across 1 Corinthians 7:31, and here is what the biblical verse says: “Those who use the things of the world, as if not engrossed in them. For this world in its present form is passing away.”

Extravagance is a symptom of a deeper disease: We are too attached to this world, and too involved in its hedonistic pleasures.

Islam is beautiful. We are advised not to renounce any pleasures, but just keep it under check and balance. So let’s try and do that, lest overdoing halaal makes it the opposite.

Pearls from the amazing Surah Taha – Lesson in Gentleness

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It is here…the most blessed of months. Ramadan ❤

What I am hoping to do here is InshaAllah post verses from the Holy Quran in the coming month….as nothing more but a reminder for myself. For when we share knowledge with others, we inevitably are the first addressees of it. These verses are not in any particular order. But each one has touched my heart and taught me what I needed to learn. May we all be able to act upon each verse of the glorious Quran. Ameen.

SPEAK GENTLY

20:44

“And speak to him mildly, perhaps he may accept admonition or fear Allah.” (20:44)

So imagine this. There is this person who is arrogant, rude, dismissive, and thinks it his right to not just demean you but also threatens to kill you. And knowing him, he will. Yet, you are asked to go to him and share with him with utmost sincerity what will make his life better, both here and in the Hereafter. But your being sincere does not mean you cannot anticipate that this person is going to humiliate and insult you publicly…you are well aware and are expecting a terrible response. Yet, you are told to swallow your pride and go to him, hope and believe that your sincerity MAY bring out the inherent human goodness in his heart, and here comes the tough part…..speak to him gently and mildly….modulate the tone of your voice in a way that it is polite and congenial and choose words carefully. May be…just may be….he may understand.

This is what the two Prophets Moosa (as) and Haroon (as) are being told to do as they are being sent to the court of Pharaoh. What a massive, massive test of faith!

For those who have studied the 20th chapter of the Quran, Surah Taha, from which this verse is taken, would know what a touching chapter it is, as it talks about the entire odyssey of Moosa (as)…. from being separated as an infant from his mother, to being brought up as the adopted prince of Egypt, to having to live in the desert as a nomad, and then being called upon as a Prophet to lead his people out of bondage….and confront the very person he would have most liked to avoid confronting….and on top of it do that “gently”.

What a life! And through it all, Moosa (as) as Allah’s apostle is very human and real…showing human emotions like anger and fear….yet always obedient to his Creator.

For those of us who have had a life less ordinary, this Surah is like a mirror. It tells you about how Moosa (as), a role model for us, handled “change” in life.

It is much too easy to be harsh….much too easy to be snappy and rude and intimidate people with sarcasm or taunts or a loud harsh way of speaking. They may be quietened. But then they do not really listen to you. It takes courage and a big heart to speak gently.

This verse reminds us that it is not only important that we keep a track of what we say but how we say it. In person, or on social media. In agreement or in disagreement. The choice of words, the tone, and also the sincerity matters….for even if sometimes the tone is soft and the words are mild, the words under-laced with sarcasm do not touch hearts.

May Allah help us speak gently….from our heart.

Some beautiful lessons from Surah Taha:

·         Open my heart. What a dua! Open-heartedness helps us develop empathy, and shun selfishness. (20:25)

·         Pray for better communication skills. It enables you to understand and be understood. (20:27/28)

·         On the path of Allah’s pleasure, don’t take a solo flight. Get some steam from your family. Develop a support group from within your closest circle. You need the support so pray for it. (20:29)

·         If you are popular and loved, it is also a blessing from Allah. It is a special gift. Use it well. (20:39)

·         It helps to remember some mistakes you made in the past. If you have repented and turned around, don’t pretend your past never happened. Acknowledge it, and thank Allah for the chance of having turned around. This keeps us humble. (20:40)

·         Allah makes us go through ups and downs and various stops and stations in the journey of life because Allah is grooming us and carving us for something we are meant to do at a later stage. Trust His decisions. (20:41)

·         Always believe in the inherent human goodness. You never know when someone may have a change of heart and turn over a good leaf. (20:44)

·         The process of learning never ends. Keep learning; keep growing. For a deeper understanding of the Quran, step one is attending daura or classes. But you also have to do self-study…..ghaur o fikr….reflect….individually. How will you do it? Take one ayat. Read repeatedly. Reflect on the many interpretations. Then read many tafaaseer of it. Then ask your teachers about that verse.  Don’t just say “Rabbi zidni ilma”. Take each verse of the Quran and when you are reading it ask Allah “Ya Allah, explain its meaning to me”. (20:99/100)

·         Turning away from the message of the Quran has lasting detrimental effects on our lives. One of them, mentioned here, is a restriction of the heart – having everything yet not being content, unexplained sadness, easy things becoming difficult, deep-seated depression. (20:124)

·         Looking longingly at blessings of other people robs us of contentment. Appreciate what you have instead of constant comparisons. (20:131)