Few Good Men for Mankind

116. If only there had been among the generations before you persons having wisdom, prohibiting (others) from Fasad (corruption) in the earth, except a few of those whom We saved from among them! Those who did wrong pursued the enjoyment of good things of (this worldly) life, and were criminals.

Those who commit Fasad will corrupt the Earth, ranging from criminal activities (theft, murder, drugs etc) to environmental pollution. Without the knowledge of Islamic values people will fail to distinguish between good and bad deeds. A community may believe that real peace and happiness rests in industrial revolution, scientific discoveries or sophisticated medical research. These can be good for mankind, but not at the expense of diminishing value system.

By adopting incorrect values individuals begin to see fundamental changes in behavior and conduct of families, societies and larger group of communities. Allah swt tells us the cause and effect of non Islamic values. Cause is our pursuit of enjoyment in the world and its effect is criminality. By going out of Islam’s circle, concepts such as Day of Judgement, Accountability, Book of Deeds, Heaven, Hell, Mercy, Forgiveness and Intercession will cease to be guidance for us. In their place we get other concepts like career, rewards, recognitions, titles, profits, shares, dividends, bonuses etc as motivation for good work. When we start pursuing materialistic objectives thinking that their achievement will provide salvation we end up corrupting our Earth, although we might be thinking that we are doing a noble job.

Our good deeds will be good only when they are truly good for all humanity, without discrimination to anyone. Since we don’t have complete knowledge of what is good or bad for all of humanity, therefore we have to rely on some power to inform us. That is none other than Allah swt who created the Universe and everything in it, so He only knows the true need of humanity.

Humanity needs a few good men and women who believe in Allah swt and His Messenger swm in order to keep reminding people about the existence of God and our inevitable return to Him swt. God’s message to humanity would be lost in text books and libraries had it not been for these few people. As Allah swt mentions these group of people were always “few”.

Strengthen Family Bondings

My eldest child watches cricket, 5 day tests included, younger one likes Pokemon, and the youngest one likes to continuously change channels. Their mother likes dramas and soaps. I personally prefer Peace TV when I get a chance once in a blue moon. That’s right, I hardly ever get a chance to see anything because I don’t like anything that goes on, so I just stay in my room or I just go somewhere away from the TV station. After work, wish I could spend more time with my family, but it never materializes. I tried to join them in their entertainment but that failed.

Media for all its good intentions is harming family life. More than 100 channels are available through cable but they manage to show only silly programs 24 hours a day. Their morals range from “fun & games” in a rare good program to mostly lust and corruption in general. There are some creative shows, of-course, but not in the same proportion as other useless ones.

Ads, dramas, cartoons and soaps are causing problems in families. They provide entertainment but they also chip away at precious family time. Worse, TV content gives certain messages that support individualistic happiness, temporal nature of things and a secular materialistic view of life. As a father I wish to see all my children live happily, not necessarily as a joint family but as a united family. Siblings must not only come to help each other, they should run towards each other to lift themselves up when they are down and to be there for any need. Brothers and sisters are sources of trust and confidence. They should rely on each other for all kinds of support.

We should see how Islam highly encourages family bonding. One particular story knocked me off.

The young man went to attend the weekly hadith lecture of Sayyidna Abu Huraira, Radi-Allahu anhu but the routine opening announcement stopped him. “If anyone sitting here has severed any ties of kinship (qata-ur-rahim), he should leave.” He recalled that an aunt lived in the town with whom he had not been on speaking terms. The young man quietly left the gathering and went straight to his aunt’s home. He asked for forgiveness for his past behavior and sought rapprochement. When the aunt inquired about the reason for this change of heart, he narrated the entire incident. She accepted the apology but asked him to inquire from Abu Huraira, Radi-Allahu anhu, the reason for this unusual announcement. Why did he leave all the other major sins and focus only on this? What was so special about ties of kinship? Sayyidna Abu Huraira replied that he had heard from the Prophet that our deeds are presented to Allah every Thursday night and anyone who has severed family ties has all his good deeds rejected. He did not want any such person sitting in his gathering, which was held on the same night, for fear that it could deprive the entire gathering of blessings. Another hadith explains further the reason for this fear: “Allah’s mercy will not descend on people among whom there is one who severs ties of kinship.” [Baihaqi, Shuab Al-Iman]

A cursed person is one who is deprived of the mercy of Allah. It is an indication of this deprivation that this sin is punished in this world as well as in the Hereafter. “There is no sin more deserving of having punishment meted out by Allah to its perpetrator in advance in this world along with what He stores up for him in the next world than oppression and severing ties of family.” [Tirmidhi].

Another hadith highlights the high stakes involved here in a compelling way: “Rahim (family ties) is a word derived from Ar-Rahman (The Compassionate One) And Allah says: ‘I shall keep connection with him who maintains you and sever connection with him who severs you.’” [Bukhari]

Silatur-rahim has been defined as politeness, kind treatment, and concern for all one’s relatives even if distantly related, corrupt, non-Muslim, or unappreciative. [Shaikh Abdul Wakil Durubi in Reliance of the Traveller]. While nearly every religion has emphasized good family relations, Islam has taken it to unprecedented heights. It is a duty to be discharged without an eye for reciprocity. A Muslim is required to be kind even to his non-Muslim relatives. Similarly he is required to be kind to even those relatives who are harsh to him.

The most telling example in this regard is that of Sayyidna Abu Bakr, Radi-Allahu anhu. Among the many people who benefited from his generosity was a relative Mistah, Radi-Allahu anhu. The latter, unfortunately became involved in the scandal about the Mother of Believers, Sayyida Aisha, Radi-Allahu anha, which was started by the leader of the hypocrites. It was a whole month of torment and torture for all involved, after which verses of Surah Noor were revealed exonerating her and prescribing punishment for those involved in the false accusation. Feeling hurt and betrayed, Sayyidna Abu Bakr, Radi-Allahu anhu, vowed never to help Mistah again. Yet the Qur’an asked him to forget and forgive and continue helping his relative, which he did. Is there another society that can even come close to this standard in maintaining family ties?

Islam came to set all our relationships right. This includes our relations with Allah as well as with other human beings. Silat-ur-Rahim is a very important part of the latter.

We need to go back to our family values in Islam and start with the message of love, kindness and understanding for all. Our children should hear stories of kindness in Islamic history and take pride in them so as to live those principles in their lives as well. Our women must be told that their status with Hijab is a lofty form of ibadah. We may not be able to throw away that TV in the garbage but at least we can reinforce the Islamic messages of love and affection to our families.

Surah An Nur Ayah 35

35 Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth. The metaphor of His Light is that of a niche in which there is a lamp, the lamp inside a glass, the glass like a brilliant star, lit from a blessed tree, an olive, neither of the east nor of the west, its oil all but giving off light even if no fire touches it. Light upon Light. Allah guides to His Light whoever He wills and Allah makes metaphors for mankind and Allah has knowledge of all things.

Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth.

Al-Qurtubi: In a metaphorical senses, the Arabs say that “the words have light” and “an illuminating (lit. light-giving) Book.” It is permissible to say that Allah is Light in order to praise Him because He brought things into existence, and He began and originated the light of all things, but He is not one the physical lights that can be perceived by the senses. Nonetheless, the Prophet was asked, “Have you seen your Lord?” and he said, “I saw him as a Light.” As for it being guidance, Ubayy ibn Ka’b and others said, “He adorned the heavens and the earth with the sun, the moon, and the stars, and He adorned the earth with the Prophets, scholars and believers.

” The metaphor of His Light is that of a niche in which there is a lamp,

Al-Qurtubi: He means the quality of His proofs which He casts into the heart of the believer, and these proofs are called “light”. Allah calls His Book a light when He says, “We sent down a clear Light to you,” (4:174) He also called His Prophet light where He says, “A Light has come to you from Allah and a clear Book.” (5:15) This is because the Book guides and makes clear, as does the Messenger. One reason that it is related to Allah is because He makes the proof firm and clarifies it. There is another possible meaning for this ayat which is that the second sentence resembles the first if light is taken to mean guidance and the perfection of the brilliant evidence and proofs of Allah in His creation. The pronoun in “his light” can also refer to the believer.

the lamp inside a glass,

The lamp is the wick with its fire. The meaning is that it is in lamp made of glass because the light in it is more radiant because it is a transparent body.

Ruh al-Bayan: The purpose of the lamp in the glass and the glass in the niche is that when the place is more constricted, the light is more intense. If the place where the lamp is placed is an open area, then the light disperses.

the glass as though it were a dazzling star

Al-Qurtubi: Ka’b al-Ahbar makes the entire ayat refer to Muhammad, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, i.e. the metaphor of the light of Muhammad. The Messenger of Allah is the niche, the lamp is prophethood, the glass is his heart, the blessed tree is the revelation and the angels who brought it, the oil are the proofs and evidence which contain the revelation. If it is taken to mean the believer, as Ubayy says, then the niche is his chest, the lamp is belief and knowledge, the glass is his heart, and the oil are the proofs and evidence it contains. Jalalayn: “Dazzling” means that it drives away the darkness. The word is derived from “pearls” because of its purity.

lit from a blessed tree, an olive,

Al-Qurtubi: This can also be taken to refer to the Prophets, in which case Adam would be the blessed tree, or Ibrahim because Allah called him “blessed”.

neither of the east nor of the west, its oil all but giving off light even if no fire touches it.

To stress the description of its purity and excellence. Ibn Kathir: Ibn ‘Abbas went to Ka’b al-Ahbar and said, “Tell me about His words, ‘its oil all but giving off light even if no fire touches it.'” He said, “Muhammad almost makes things clear to people without even saying that he is a Prophet, even as the oil almost shines.” Or the proofs of the Qur’an almost make things clear before they are recited.

Light upon light

Ibn Kathir: Ibn ‘Abbas says that it means the belief and actions of the slave of Allah. Ubayy ibn Ka’b said, “The believer is transformed into five lights: his words are light, his actions are light, his going in is light, his going out is light, and he will go to light on Day of Rising to the Garden.” It is also said that “light upon light” is the light of the QurÕan and the light of belief when they are joined together.

Allah guides to His Light whoever He wills

i.e. Allah gives success to whomever He will in finding the truth, i.e. Islam.

Ibn Kathir: It has come in hadith, “Allah Almighty created creation in darkness and then on that day He cast to them some of His light. Whoever got some of His light on that day is guided, and whoever missed is misguided.” So it is said that He knows the one who deserves to be guided from the one who deserves misguidance. Abu Sa’id al-Khudri reported that the Messenger of Allah said, “There are four kinds of hearts: a divested heart which is like the lamp and shines; a covered heart which is tied up in its covering; an inverted heart, and a doubled heart. The divested heart is the heart of the believer which is his lamp in which is his light. The covered heart is the heart of the unbeliever. The inverted heart is the heart of the hypocrite who recognised and then denied. The doubled heart is the heart which contains both belief and hypocrisy. The likeness of belief in it is like the plant which good water extends, and the example of hypocrisy in it is like the wound which is spread by blood and pus. It is dominated by whichever of them is dominant.”

and Allah makes metaphors for mankind

Jalalayn: He makes things clear for them so that they reflect and believe.

[as-Sawi: Thus no doubt will affect the believer. He will see with insight as he sees with his actual eyes. Allah makes both bear witness. In hadith, “Fear the perspicacity of the believer. He sees by the light of Allah.”

Ibadah in Public Life

My friend commented “instead of building Taqwa this is what we are doing during this month:

a. overeating iftar and feeling exhausted due to that

 b. Clumsy movement at desk, as if fasting spares us the regular daily activities

c. Impatient driving and jamming up the street as if its quoted in religion to have iftar at home

d. Hoarding commodities and profiteering through overpricing groceries

e. Worst of all wasting money for extravagant clothing that we really don’t need

f. Watching vulgar in TV on occasion of EID to unleash from the month long refrainment.

g. Launch drowns and bus clashes, wreckless driving on the interstate and overloading the boats. Ppl die. The Ramadan culture that we have developed locally misguides a naive observer about the religion. Lets not make it a ritual , its a pillar of Islam.”

My friend is absolutely correct. Our greed, gluttony and lust does not slow down in our public dealings. We are constantly reminded that “islam is like any other religion. It is a private affair, for spiritual benefit only”. People who study Islamic texts fall for this. They tell muslims in muslim majority countries to fix their aqeedah, tajweed and rukun of ibadah. Whereas they tell Muslims in the west that their most important duty is to protect their children from bad western elements through personal ibadah and memorization of texts. For this post I would like to get back to my friend’s remarks.

Assume that I am a commodity trader. In Ramadhan I fast, pray, say Taraweeh, give sadaqah, spend on family and children. But I hoard sugar, onions and other essentials until prices increase. I know very well its wrong, but I do it anyway. why? We squeezed Islamic concepts down to an individual level where it is practiced at home only. Public life ceased to hold Islamic concepts of deen, duniya and akhira for regulating our society. Religion became a private affair where ibadah is limited to salah, sadaqah and hajj, so that other activities are not counted as worship of Allah swt. But as individuals we love to practice our Deen, by “privately” following the Holy Shariah although it is not in force as it is supposed to be.

Assume for a moment, Islam existed comprehensively at home and in public. Traders would likely behave differently if trading was regarded as an act of ibadah like any other forms of ibadah (like salah). They would be told to follow the way of Holy Prophet Muhammad swm for salah, business and everything else, all of which would be counted as part of ibadah. Following hadith would be read and applied by both traders and hadith scholars alike, as a means to please Allah swt.

Sayyidina ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) reported Prophet Muhammad (may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him) as saying, “He who brings goods for sale is blessed with good fortune, but he who keeps them till the price rises is accursed.” (Ibn Majah and Darimi)

 Men would lower their gaze, women would cover themselves, honesty, humility, kindness, charity, ilm, struggle against injustice etc would all be held as ibadah for Allah swt.

Al Muttaqun – MVP (Most Valuable Person) in the World

Every country in the world dreams to have citizens who compete with each other to do good deeds, to avoid bad deeds, to give charity and to remember Allah swt and His commandments all the time. They don’t need laws or constitutional charters to make them good human beings. They don’t ask for any reward from any human being either, in fact they are happy not to be rewarded in this life because they hope to get that reward in a much better place, Jannah.

Allah swt provided solutions to mankind through Prophet Muhammad swm and through His swt revealed words in the Holy Quran. He swt prepares Believers in a way which is possible only by Him swt. The most valuable person in the world is Al-Muttaqeen.

“O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become Al-Muttaqun (the pious).

(Fasting) for a fixed number of days, but if any of you is ill or on a journey, the same number (should be made up) from other days. And as for those who can fast with difficulty, (i.e. an old man, etc.), they have (a choice either to fast or) to feed a poor person (for every day). But whoever does good of his own accord, it is better for him. And that you fast, it is better for you if only you know.” (2:183-84).

During Ramadhan, fasting men and women abstain from food, drinks and bad conduct. They give charity, gifts and behave differently towards people. They know they can eat and drink in a corner without being noticed. But their awareness that Allah swt knows everything and that He swt will account for every action deters them from breaking fast. This is the world’s most efficient training program to become Al Muttaqeen.

“Fasting is good for health”, or “it makes us feel pity for the poor” are not proper Islamic explanations.

Allah intends for you ease, and He does not want to make things difficult for you. (He wants that you) must complete the same number (of days), and that you must magnify Allah for having guided you so that you may be grateful to Him” (2: 185).

Fasting in Ramadhan is a commandment of Allah swt to train the Believers to become Al Muttaqeen. Our dhikr and praise for Allah swt is to be grateful to Him swt for His Guidance. It has nothing to do with health or wealth, although there can be some benefits in it.

“Verily! We have sent it (this Quran) down in the night of Al-Qadr.

And what will make you know what the night of Al-Qadr is?

The night of Al-Qadr is better than a thousand months

Therein descend the angels and the Ruh (Gabriel) by Allah’s Permission with all Decrees,

Peace! until the appearance of dawn (97:1-5)

The Holy Quran is the uncreated Word of the Creator swt. So long as we hold fast to the Book of Allah swt and the Sunnah of His Prophet swm we will not be lost. This is the best month to start learning the Holy Quran, its meanings, its Tafsir and its commandments, insha Allah.

Below are some notes on fasting which I gathered from different sites. References are provided.

Some HADITH on FASTING

Abu Huraira related that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: Whoever fasts during Ramadan with faith and seeking his reward from Allah will have his past sins forgiven. Whoever prays during the nights in Ramadan with faith and seeking his reward from Allah will have his past sins forgiven. And he who passes Lailat al-Qadr in prayer with faith and seeking his reward from Allah will have his past sins forgiven (Bukhari, Muslim).

Abu Huraira related that Rasulullah said: If anyone omits his fast even for one day in Ramadan without a concession or without being ill, then if he were to fast for the rest of his life he could not make up for it (Bukhari).

Abu Huraira related that the Prophet said: Allah the Majestic and Exalted said: “Every deed of man will receive ten to 700 times reward, except Siyam (fasting), for it is for Me and I shall reward it (as I like). There are two occasions of joy for one who fasts: one when he breaks the fast and the other when he will meet his Lord” (Muslim).

Abu Huraira related that Rasulullah said: Many people who fast get nothing from their fast except hunger and thirst, and many people who pray at night get nothing from it except wakefulness (Darimi).

When to start fasting

Ibn Umar related that the Prophet said: Do not start fasting unless you see the new moon, and do not end fasting until you see it. If the weather is cloudy then calculate when it should appear (Bukhari, Muslim).

The Suhoor meal (which is eaten before dawn)

Anas related that Rasulullah said: Take the Suhoor meal, for there is blessing in it (Bukhari, Muslim).

Breaking your fast

Salman ibn Amir Dhabi related that the Prophet said: Break your fast with dates, or else with water, for it is pure (Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi).

Fasting during a journey

Aisha related that Rasulullah was asked whether one should fast when on a journey, and he replied: Fast if you like, or postpone it if you like (Bukhari, Muslim).

Behavior while fasting

Abu Huraira related that the Prophet said: If a person does not avoid false talk and false conduct during Siyam, then Allah does not care if he abstains from food and drink (Bukhari, Muslim).

Forgetfully eating or drinking while fasting

Abu Huraira related that Rasulullah said: If anyone forgets that he is fasting and eats or drinks he should complete his Siyam, for it is Allah who has fed him and given him drink (Bukhari, Muslim).

Providing for those who are breaking the fast

Zaid ibn Khalid Juhni related that the Prophet said: He who provides for the breaking of the Siyam of another person earns the same merit as the one who was observing Siyam diminishing in any way the reward of the latter (Tirmidhi).

Lailat al-Qadr

Aisha related that the Prophet said: Look for Lailat al-Qadr on an odd-numbered night during the last ten nights of Ramadan (Bukhari).

Anas ibn Malik related that Rasulullah said: When Lailat al-Qadr comes Gabriel descends with a company of angels who ask for blessings on everyone who is remembering Allah, whether they are sitting or standing (Baihaqi).