Friday Nasiha: Weekly Reminders For Success

Friday Nasiha - Weekly Reminders for Successful LifeIn the name of Allah, compassionate & merciful بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِ
Peace be with you السلام عليكم

Living the Quran
The Finest Form
Qu'ran, At-Teen, The Fig (95:4-6)

"We indeed have created man in the finest form, then We brought him down to the lowest of the low, except for those who believe and do good deeds; for theirs shall be an uplifting recompense."
(Qur'an, 95:4-6)

God has perfected all His creation; and the special emphasis laid here and elsewhere in the Qur'an on man's being endowed with perfect form, shows clearly that man has enjoyed extra divine care. God's care is most clearly apparent in the moulding of man's highly complicated physical structure and his unique spiritual and mental make-up.

As man abuses his mind and body for evil, notwithstanding his creation in the best mould, God lets him pursue the evil path, which ultimately renders him as the lowest of the low. This is commonplace in our society. Those given to vices such as geed, lust, selfishness, unlawful sexual gratification, drinking, meanness and anger sink to the abyss of degradation. This is true of nations and communities who behave worse than beasts as they fight against one another. A beast kills only its prey for food; it does not indulge in mass slaughter. However, man is liable to committing genocide. A beast draws upon only its teeth and claws for attack. In comparison, man abuses his mental faculties for manufacturing a plethora of deadly weapons for wiping out entire cities. A beast only kills and injures. Yet, man has invented perverted and chilling forms of torture, all of which are unthinkable for a beast. 

Man sinks himself to such depravity that for taking revenge he makes naked women parade publicly, commits gang rape, molests women before the eyes of their fathers, brothers and husbands and kills children in front of their parents. Mothers are forced to drinking the blood of their children; men are burnt and buried alive. No beast can sink to such depths. While committing such evils, man proves himself to be the lowest of the low. He debases even faith, the most sacred thing for man. His abuse of faith consists in elevating trees, stones, animals and even male and female reproductive organs to godhead. He keeps prostitutes in temples and has illicit sex with them. Nor does he spare his gods and goddesses, as he attributes to them such indecent and obscene acts as may even put a degenerate person to shame.

Those who profess faith and do righteous deeds are exempted from being reverted to the lowest of the low. Thus the importance of faith in human life becomes clear. Faith is the elevating path through which upright human nature ascends to its ultimate perfection. It is the rope stretched between man and his Maker. It is the light showing him where to step along the elevating path. When the rope is cut and the light put out, the inevitable result is the fall down the steep path into the lowest of the low. The clay element in man's make-up separates from the spiritual element and man, along with stones, becomes the fuel for hell-fire.

Compiled From:
"In The Shade of The Quran" - Sayyid Qutb, pp, 255-257
"Towards Understanding the Quran" - Sayyid Abul Ala Mawdudi, Part 30, pp. 186-189

Understanding the Prophet's Life
Why Hell?

Hell. The word conjures up images of fire and suffering. But the purpose of Hell in Islam is not only to punish, but also to purify. Hell is not the headquarters of Satan and his devils, as is the popular idea in Western Culture. Satan has no throne in Hell from which he directs his plans against true believers in God. Hell is a place that God created for punishing and purifying. Satan does not want to go there, and neither does anyone else.

Hell is not the province of a cruel God. It serves a purpose: to purify warped souls. Once a woman and her son were sitting in a gathering listening to the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, as he gave a sermon. The child wandered away from his mother and tried to put his hand in the fireplace; the mother instinctively snatched her child away to safety. She thought for a moment about what she had done and asked the Prophet how Allah could punish those He loved in Hell when she as a mother wanted only to protect her little one. The Prophet bowed his head and cried softly and then answered to her by saying that Allah does not like to punish. He punishes only those who have rejected Him and committed evil actions. Wouldn't the mother also correct her son when he did wrong? Thus, we find the purpose of Hell justified.

Compiled From:
"The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Islam, 2nd Edition" - Yahiya Emerick, pp. 78-80

Artistic Creativity

If Islam's message calls on us to understand the meaning of life and to respect people's common good by celebrating life, peace, dignity, welfare, justice, equality, conscience, sincerity, contemplation, memories, and cultures, then the Universe of artistic expression is opened wide to everybody's creativity. What is at stake is not to produce "Islamic" songs that only speak of such "Islamic" motives as God, the Prophet, respecting parents and norms, and similar things; it is to express through art the feelings and experiences that are part of humankind's hearts and daily lives, with talent and art. Speaking about childhood, fears, tensions, desires, love, friendship, wounds, separations, hopes, and death in an intimate, natural, universal way is "Islamic" and it is not necessary to add specific references linked to a Universe of norms, such as verses, ahadith, or Arabic words to give the impression that the work or product has been "Islamized." Such an attitude reveals a deep lack of self-confidence in the forms of culture and art in general. Obsessed by the fear of transgressing norms, people no longer know how to simply talk about meaning; they find it difficult to convey the most natural emotions and share life experiences that transcend religious belonging, although those give norms their true meaning.

What must characterize contemporary art nurtured by Islamic ethics is its capacity to speak about everything, the universal inner self, aspirations and contradictions, good and evil, quest and betrayal, with nobility, sincerity, and warmth. The point is not, either, to imitate the popular productions of global culture and copy their rhythms or their methods of production while "Islamizing" them. It is urgent to invest time and thought in the now central area of culture and the arts, to devise an alternative that is altogether original, appealing, and faithful to the ethical outcomes.

Compiled From:
"Radical Reform: Islamic Ethics and Liberation" - Tariq Ramadan, pp. 203-206


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