Use your resources for good (DW# 920)

Verse 77 of Chapter 28, Sura Qassas says: And seek by means of what Allah has given you, the abode of the Hereafter.
This verse talks about the advice his companions gave to Qarun, a very wealthy man of his time. Qarun’s advisors are reminding him that he has many resources at his disposal, resources which he could use to do good in this world, and thereby gain Allah’s pleasure, eternal reward and secure his place in the eternal life.  
This verse is a good reminder to all of us – each of has been granted abundant and unique gifts, gifts which are a trust from Him to be used in His service. For some of us that may be time, money or talents with which we can be a force for good on this planet. When we use these resources in service of a greater good, we are in a sense making a great investment, an investment which will result in a manifold return.
This verse reminds me of a rather sweet story from the life of the Holy Prophet...
Continue Reading...

Consider what you are sending ahead (DW# 919)

In Chapter 59 of the Quran, Sura Hashr, Allah says: O you who believe! be careful of (your duty to) Allah, and let every soul consider what it has sent on for the morrow [Holy Quran 59:18]
Scholars explain that this verse means that everyone should reflect upon their deeds and evaluate how they may fare on the Day of Judgment. According to the Islamic worldview, our brief existence in this lifetime is an important means to gather provisions for our eternal life which begins after we have left this "life".  

This verse advises us to reflect on what we are gathering and "sending ahead" for our eternal life. Which of our actions are going to count as provision for our eternal home?

I recently came across a lovely little book Golden Rules for Everyday Life by Omraam Mikhael Aivanhov which explains this idea beautifully.
Although he is not talking about the hereafter, he advises that we can prepare our future by living well today:

"We never...

Continue Reading...

Practical ways to counter negative interpretations (DW# 918)

Continuing with our discussion on verse 12 from Sura Hujarat where the Quran cautions the believers: O you who believe! Avoid much suspicion. Indeed some suspicions are sins. [Holy Quran 49:12]. Once we begin noticing our negative interpretations, we can become more mindful instead of allowing them to dictate our attitude and behaviour towards others.

Here are some practical ways to deal with negative assumptions which are mentioned in spiritual literature.
  • Practice thinking of more helpful interpretations which would cast the other person in a kinder light. Imam Ali (as) says: do not think evil of a word that has come out of your brother [in faith] while you can find a possibility of good in it.
  • Generally, when we make a mistake, we look to our good intentions to excuse our behaviour.

    For example: I meant to call that person, I meant to be there on time, I meant to keep that promise.

    When dealing with someone else’s behaviour, we sometimes look to...
Continue Reading...

Choose your interpretations wisely (DW# 917)

We are exploring verse 12 from Sura Hujarat where the Quran cautions the believers: O you who believe! Avoid much suspicion. Indeed some suspicions are sins. [Holy Quran 49:12]

Yesterday we spoke about how the human mind is a meaning-making machine and how most of our assumptions are negative.

Here is the thing, though: since most of our interpretations are based on our own world view, way of thinking and past baggage, they have little to do with the other person.
The good news is that we can change this habit of our mind and practice choosing more helpful interpretations.
The Quran alludes to this in Sura Nur when it says:  When you [first] heard about it, why did not the faithful, men and women, think well of their folks (Holy Quran 24:12). The verse cautions the believers about believing their own negative thoughts and advises them to think well of others, have positive interpretations and even when they hear something scandalous about others,...
Continue Reading...

Avoid suspicions (DW# 916)

Today let us start exploring another verse from Chapter 49, Sura Hujarat which discusses social relationships.
In verse 12, the Quran cautions the believers: O you who believe! Avoid much suspicion. Indeed some suspicions are sins. [Holy Quran 49:12]
A habit that can poison even a strong relationship is constant suspicion and negative interpretations about the thoughts, intentions, and motivations of the other person.
The human mind, as we may have all experienced, is a meaning-making machine. Thoughts pop in and out of our minds at a furious pace (60,000 plus a day according to some experts). And many of those thoughts can be negative.
When those thoughts involve other people with whom we are in a relationship with, they can cause havoc in the relationship. They can destroy trust and goodwill in the relationship itself while robbing us of our own peace of mind. And it can be exhausting to keep guessing motivations of another.
Spiritual masters...
Continue Reading...

Don’t give (nasty) nicknames (DW# 915)

The next clause in Verse 11 from Sura Hujarat reads: And do not defame yourselves or insult one another with nicknames; how evil is the iniquitous name after having believed! And whosoever does not repent, they are the wrongdoers.

This clause continues the verse's injunction about not hurting or insulting people through words of body language.

It reminds us that the manner in which abusing others in word and deed can undo the benefits of good deeds.
This is said to have been revealed in order to abolish the pre-Islamic practice of calling people by derogatory nicknames. In some instances, the nickname was because some evil deed they had done previously which earned them the abusive nickname. However, even after repenting, the nickname would often stick, reminding them of their past life which they had left behind.  
When such people came to faith, on occasion the Prophet would even change names whose meanings might be negative, such as when a man named...
Continue Reading...

A prayer for forgiveness (DW# 914)

We have been discussing how mocking and making fun of others is disliked by Him and is poisonous to our relationships.
As we become aware of this tendency within ourselves, it is possible that we begin to feel rather awful about what we have done in the past and how we may have hurt others and displeased God.
As always, the precious words of the Supplications of the Sahifa Sajjadiya come to our rescue.
Here is an excerpt from the Supplication for Monday from Du‘ās for the Days of the Week

"O Allah . . . I ask You concerning the complaints of Your servants against me: If there is a male or female servant from among Your servants, who has against me a complaint because I have wronged him in respect to himself [or herself], his reputation, his property, his wife or his child, evil words I have spoken about him in his absence, an imposition through inclination, caprice, scorn, zeal, false show, bigotry, whether he be absent or present, alive or dead,...

Continue Reading...

Why we are tempted towards deriding other people (DW# 913)

We are exploring verse 11 of Sura Hujarat which says: O you who believe! Let not one people deride another; it may be that they are better than they. Nor let women deride other women; it may be that they are better than they. [Holy Quran 49:11]
Let us give some background to the revelation of this verse. There were some righteous companions of the Holy Prophet (saw) who were beloved by him and therefore incurred the jealousy of others. This verse was revealed when some of the closest companions of the Holy Prophet (saw) were mocked and made fun of. Ammar, Bilal, Suhayl, Salman and Habib were used to be ridiculed by the people of Bani Tamim for their not having sufficient means of livelihood.

The people did not stop at the companions either. One of the wives of the Prophet (saw) Safiyah, was laughed at contemptuously and reminded that she was "merely" the daughter of a Jew.

This used to really upset her. When she complained to the Prophet (saw), the Holy Prophet...

Continue Reading...

Do not mock or make fun of others (DW# 912)

Verse 11 of Sura Hujarat says: O you who believe! Let not one people deride another; it may be that they are better than they. Nor let women deride other women; it may be that they are better than they. [Holy Quran 49:11]

This verse advises the believers from engaging in expressing contempt for, ridiculing, teasing or laughing at others in a scornful manner. It is interesting that although "people" includes women, here Allah swt has chosen to address the women separately. Scholars explain that it is to make doubly sure that believers do not engage in this destructive and hurtful behaviour and also because both genders may laugh at each for different reasons.

Scholars also explain that this verse includes all kinds of communication meant to belittle or laugh at someone, whether it is through words, subtle body language or even imitation. As long as the intention is to ridicule or make others laugh at the person, the offending behaviour would be captured in the scope of this...
Continue Reading...

The rights of brotherhood (DW# 911)

We started exploring verse 10 of Chapter 49 of the Holy Quran, Sura Hujarat where Allah swt says: The believers are indeed brethren, therefore make peace between your brethren.
The standard of love that is expected in the brotherhood of faith is encapsulated in this famous tradition of the Holy Prophet (saw):  "None of you truly believes until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself."
This ḥadīth, explain scholars,  goes to the heart of this Sura, which emphasizes a bond of faith that transcends those of kinship and suggests that one should no longer make alliances based merely upon tribal bonds as was the custom in pre-Islamic Arabia.
Bonds of faith are esteemed so highly in Islam that among the people whom the Prophet (saw) said will be granted Paradise, he lists "two men who love each other for the sake of God, meeting for that reason, and parting with this love."
This bond of brotherhood creates many rights and...
Continue Reading...

50% Complete

Two Step

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.