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Be in a state of constant remembrance(DW#757 )

Continuing with our reflections on verses from Chapter 29 of the Quran, Sura Ankabut [The Spider], we have been exploring verse 45, in which the Quran lays out a three-point plan for success in this world and the next.
 
Recite that which has been revealed to you of the Book and keep up prayer(Salaat) (establish prayer); surely prayer keeps (one) away from indecency and evil, and certainly the remembrance of Allah is the greatest, and Allah knows what you do. [Holy Quran 29:45]

Towards the end of this verse, the Quran reminds about the most important point: certainly the remembrance of Allah is the greatest.

In other words, Salaat, like the other daily rituals is a tool. It is a tool for remembrance of God, which is the goal of every worship. The Quran in fact explicitly points to this in Surah Ta-Ha, verse 14 when Allah tells Moses: "…and establish prayer for My remembrance." [Holy Quran 20:14]

 
The daily, consistent and disciplined practice of...
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Establish prayer(DW#756 )

Continuing with our reflections on verses from Chapter 29 of the Quran, Sura Ankabut [The Spider], we have been exploring verse 45, in which the Quran lays out a three-point plan for success in this world and the next.

Recite that which has been revealed to you of the Book and keep up prayer(Salaat) (establish prayer); surely prayer keeps (one) away from indecency and evil, and certainly the remembrance of Allah is the greatest, and Allah knows what you do. [Holy Quran 29:45]

 
So the Holy Prophet (saw) is being told to announce that the way to keep focus in this world, and to seek strength through the trials of life is to

1)    recite the Book,
2)    establish Salaat and
3)    engage in constant Remembrance or Zikr.

Let us explore the second one today: Establish Salaat/prayer

When the Quran talks about the five daily prayers, it uses the word:"aqeemus Salaat": establish prayer. Don’t simply pray but establish...

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The three keys to success(DW#755 )

Continuing with our reflections on verses from Chapter 29 of the Quran, Sura Ankabut [The Spider], in verse 45, the Quran lays out a three-point plan for success in this world and the next.
 
Recite that which has been revealed to you of the Book and keep up prayer; surely prayer keeps (one) away from indecency and evil, and certainly the remembrance of Allah is the greatest, and Allah knows what you do. [Holy Quran 29:45]

So the Holy Prophet (saw) is being told to announce that the way to keep focus in this world, and to seek strength through the trials of life is to


1)    recite the Book,
2)    establish Salaat and
3)    engage in constant Remembrance or Zikr.

Let us explore the first one today:

1)    Recite the Book:
 The Quran is the operating manual for human beings laid out by the Creator for the optimal functioning of human beings.
 
Since the Creator knows the subtleties of our...
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Attach to strength rather than frailty(DW#754 )

Continuing with our reflections on verses from Chapter 29 of the Quran, Sura Ankabut [The Spider], in verse 41, Allah says:

The parable of those who take guardians besides Allah is as the parable of the spider that makes for itself a house; and most surely the frailest of the houses is the spider's house did they but know. [Holy Quran 29:41]

This verse is likening the the security systems of human beings to the frailty of a spider’s web.

There are several rather interesting features about the web built by the spider:

It affords no protection: Although the construction of the web is a remarkable feat of architecture, and looks beautiful, it does not fulfil a basic need of a house: protection. The spider’s web doesn’t protect it from elements at all. Wind, fire, water all penetrate through it. The mere brush from a broom or a hand can destroy it. How frail is this house!
It is build from within: Whist other animals use materials from nature to construct their...
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Learn from history and from your travels(DW#753 )

Continuing with our reflections on verses from Chapter 29 of the Quran, Sura Ankabut [The Spider], in verse 20, Allah says:

Say: Travel in the earth and see how He makes the first creation, then Allah creates the latter creation; surely Allah has power over all things.[Holy Quran 29:20]

This verse invites us to travel the earth in order to appreciate the cyclical nature of creation and to reflect on the mysteries of the Universe.

Traveling has been mentioned often in the Quran to broaden our horizons and to gain insight and wisdom.

In verse 46 of Suratul Hajj, for example, the Quran says: Have they not traveled over the land so that they may have hearts by which they may apply reason or ears by which they may hear? [Holy Quran 22:46]

In other words, traveling affords us the opportunity to expand our thinking and learn from interacting with other cultures and ways of thinking.

Very different from the culture of modern tourism which fuels consumerism and hedonism,...

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Remember the promise you made during the crisis?(DW#752)

Continuing with our reflections on verses from Chapter 29 of the Quran, Sura Ankabut [The Spider], in verse 65, Allah says:

So when they ride in the ships they call upon Allah, being sincerely obedient to Him, but when He brings them safe to the land, lo! they associate others (with Him)[Holy Quran 29:65]

This is such an interesting verse and especially relevant during this time.

Have you ever been on an airplane during severe turbulence? Did you look around and noticed how quiet everyone became? Or perhaps you were too busy praying yourself to even notice what others were doing? Silently praying and perhaps promising God about how you will turn your life around and be faithful to your values only if you are given a second chance at life?

This is the human tendency that the above verse refers to. Human beings instinctively call upon the Creator when the going gets tough. They turn to Him when others fail them, when the crisis seems far too big and we begin to realize that only...

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Prepare for the test(DW#751 )

For the next several days, we will inshallahexplore verses from Chapter 29 of the Quran, Sura Ankabut [The Spider].

In verses 2 and 3, Allah says:

Do men think that they will be left alone on saying, we believe, and not be tried?

And certainly We tried those before them . . .
[Holy Quran 29:2 & 3]

These verses are informing us about a fact of life: there will always be challenges to face and obstacles to overcome. In other words, we should not be surprised when we encounter challenges and upsets to our comfort and ease.  

What is the purpose of these trials?

It is interesting that the word for trial or test in Arabic is fitna, one of the meanings of which is "to melt gold in order to separate its impure parts".  Just like the true beauty and strength of gold is revealed once it is put in the furnace, our strength and resilience as human beings is revealed when we face adversity and obstacles.


Since our journey on this earth is to discover and...
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Do yourself a favour(DW#750 )

If you do good, you do good for your own souls, and if you do evil, it is for them [the souls]Sura Israa [Holy Quran 17:7]

In verse 7 of Chapter 17 [Sura Bani Israel/Isra], Allah lays out a foundational principle of the way He has created the universe. Whether we do good or evil, the effect of our actions impact us more than they impact anyone else. This is true on this plane of existence as well as the hereafter.

Firstly, this verse acknowledges freedom of choice for human beings. While we have been guided, internally and externally, the choice of action remains ours. We choose, every moment of our lives, whether to take the path towards our wellbeing and His pleasure, or against ourselves and away from His pleasure. (can you see how both are connected?)

So, even when we think we are doing others a favour by doing an act of kindness for them, or harming someone by criticizing them, being mean spirited, gossiping, betraying them, lying to them or any other act, this verse is...

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Heed the reminder(DW#748 )

In Sura Muzzammil, [Chapter 73, Versem19], Allah says: This is indeed a reminder
 
This verse refers to the Quran where Allah says that He has sent a reminder to the people in the form of the Quran.
 
A reminder by definition means that it is confirming or reminding human beings of something that they already know. Scholars explain that the verses of the Quran confirm the truth that Allah has already placed within ourselves in the form of fitrah or natural instinct.
 
Our fitrah or higher selves are guided by our conscience. This is the internal guidance which is confirmed and supported by the external guidance in the form of the Quran.
 
Since human beings are easily distracted and forgetful, we need to be reminded of our true nature, our best selves and the potential that we can rise up to. The verses also remind us to keep the big picture in mind, the meaning and purpose of creation, that we are on this earth for only a brief...
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Do not forsake the Book(DW#747 )

In verse 30 of Sura Furqan, there is a complaint from the Holy Prophet (saw): And the Messenger cried out: O my Lord! Surely my people have treated this Quran as a forsaken thing. [Holy Quran 25:30]
 
The Holy Prophet (saw) spent about 23 years of his life preaching the message of the Quran in order to transform his society, to banish ignorance and oppression and to establish social justice. This complaint is made by him to his Lord that despite his best efforts, his community (and those to follow) abandoned the true message of the Quran.
 
The potential of the Quran is to transform the individual and the society. However, in order to do that, the message needs to be read, reflected upon, acted upon and reflected in behaviour.
 
While the recitation of the Quran is alive and well within Muslim communities all over the world, its message of hope, mercy, compassion and justice remains an illusive ideal even today.
 
What do we need to do individually and as a...
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