Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Living the Quran
Al-Araf (The Heights)
Chapter 7: Verse 104-105

The Truth, The Whole Truth

"Moses said: 'Pharaoh, I am a Messenger from the Lord of all the worlds, and may say about God nothing but the truth.'”

Here is an encounter between truth and falsehood, faith and rejection. It is a scene which brings the Messenger, who calls on people to believe in the Lord of all the worlds, face to face with the tyrants who claim, and indeed practise, lordship over their people.

Moses (peace be upon him) combines good manners with self assurance, addressing Pharaoh with his simple title, "Pharaoh". He does not call him, "My Lord", as do those who do not really know who the true Lord is. He does so in order to point out to Pharaoh his true position while asserting at the same time the greatest fact in the universe: "I am a Messenger from the Lord of all the worlds."

Moses reasserts the fact stated by every messenger that preceded him. It is the fact that God is the only Lord of the universe; just one God and one Lord, and total submission by the whole universe to Him alone. Moses confronted Pharaoh and his powerful clique with this basic truth. He stated it clearly to his face, knowing that it meant revolution against Pharaoh, his regime and government.

A primary result of God's Lordship of the universe and all the worlds is that every regime and form of government, which exercises power over human beings without following God's law or abiding by His commandments, is illegitimate. It also means the removal of every form of tyranny that seeks to subjugate people to its own laws. Moses confronted Pharaoh with this great fact in his own capacity as a Messenger from the Lord of the universe, committed to stating the truth about God who gave him his message.

"In The Shade of the Quran" - By Sayyid Qutb, Vol. 6, pp. 177-179

Understanding the Prophet's Life
Relieving the Debts of Others

On the authority of Abu Huraira (may Allah be pleased with him) from the Prophet (may Allah's peace and blessings be upon him) who said, "Whoever alleviates [the situation of] one in dire straits who cannot repay his debt, Allah will alleviate his lot in both this world and the Hereafter." [Muslim]

Relieving one brother's debt is an act that is beloved to Allah - and has obvious implications for the strength of the brotherhood. There are basically two ways by which one can relieve a person's debt and gain the blessings mentioned in this hadith.

First, the loaner can wait until the impoverished debtor has the means to repay the debt. In fact, this is an obligation commanded by Allah. (See Al-Baqara 2: 180)

A second option is to reduce the debt or to forgive the debt completely. (See Al-Baqara 2: 180-181)

This hadith also includes giving the one in debt charity or a gift to help him pay off his debts. One may also extend him another loan so that he may pay off his current loan and have more time to pay off his new loan.

There are numerous hadith related to this topic that also demonstrate the emphasis that Islam places on such behaviour among brothers. For example, The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) also said,

There was a trader who used to give loans to the people. If he noticed that one was in straitened circumstances, he would tell his boy [working for him], 'Excuse him so that Allah may overlook [and forgive our sins] for us.' Therefore, Allah overlooked [his sins] and forgave him." (al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Ibn Uthaimeen points out that if a Muslim makes life very difficult for another Muslim by making him repay a debt that he simply cannot afford to pay, then Allah may also make life difficult for him both in this life and on the Day of Judgment.

Al-Qaari points out that the reward for this kind of act is true regardless of whether the debtor was non-Muslim or a Muslim.

"Commentary on the Forty Hadith" - By Jamaal al-Din M. Zarabozo, pp. 1316-1318

Cool Bits!
Islamic New Year 1425!

Umar ibn al-Khattab introduced the Islamic (Hijri) Calendar to keep track of letters with time-stamps thus uniting the different dating methods of his time.
Counting back to the year of the Hijrah to determine when to start:
16 July, 622 CE = 1 Muharram, 1 AH
Our year begins with Sacrifice (hijrah of Muslims, of Prophets) and ends with Sacrifice (hajj, hijrah of Hajra, hijrah of Ummah to Makkah)
Not from someone's birthday, or some king or ruler's orders, but from the foundation of the Islamic community, on brotherhood and unity we begin and end
Lunar: Based upon the moon, accurate, close, visible, reminder of the beauty, order, submission of Allah's creation but also its imperfection, its rise and fall, it needs the sun to shine, we interact with the signs of Allah when we look for the new moon every month, it is not passive time-keeping and time-passing, it's natural, animals, sea-creatures, oceans, plants, even human cycles are lunar timed
We rotate through the seasons, dynamic, perpetual, summer is not just in June, Eid is not just in winter, a nation of all times and all seasons, we remain steadfast no matter what the season
Note the meaning of the names of the months and compare to the pagan Gregorian names:
Muharram ["Forbidden" - it is one of the four months during which time it is forbidden to wage war or fight]
Safar ["Empty" or "Yellow"]
Rabi al Awal ["First spring"]
Rabi al Thani ["Second spring"]
Jumaada al Awal ["First freezing"]
Jumaada al Thani ["Second freezing"]
Rajab ["To respect" - this is another holy month when fighting is prohibited]
Shaban ["To spread and distribute"]
Ramadan ["Parched thirst" - this is the month of Islamic daytime fasting]
Shawwal ["To be light and vigorous"]
Dhul-Qadah ["The month of rest" - another month when no warfare or fighting is allowed]
Dhul-Hijjah ["The month of Hajj" - this is the month of the annual pilgrimage to Mecca, again when no warfare or fighting is allowed]
We look at history through the life of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), the greatest life ever lived, everything is either before or after Hijrah, "Allah has renewed time", it's a universal new beginning in the history of man and civilization with the Hijrah of the Prophet and our forerunners at its centre piece.

"Making Resolutions That Matter" - By Young Muslims Canada

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