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A gift to ourselves(DW# 797)

Dr. Lerner explains that a good apology can restore our own self respect and also how much others respect us.  
 
Our self-respect and level of maturity rest squarely on our ability to see ourselves objectively, to take a clear-eyed look at the ways that our behavior affects others, and to acknowledge when we’ve acted at another person’s expense. The good apology also earns us respect in the eyes of others, even though we may fear the opposite.
 
I would add that although taking responsibility earns us respect in the eyes of others, the greater benefit is that we restore our own self respect and self esteem.
 
When our conscience is pricking because we have harmed someone, it is so easy to try and make ourselves feel better by trying to avert the blame from ourselves and onto the other person. This does NOT work. We may distract ourselves in the short term but it comes at enormous spiritual and emotional cost.
 
The path to apologizing may...
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Talk to the best listener(DW# 760)

Our verse for reflection today is from Chapter 12, Sura Yusuf (Joseph).

When Prophet Yusuf (as) is separated from his father Prophet Yaqub (Job) (as), Yaqub (as) is so grief stricken that his other sons fear for his life and wellbeing. To them, he replies:

I complain of my anguish and grief only to Allah [Holy Quran 12:86]

There are times in our lives when we are so distraught that we do not know where to turn. If we are lucky, we have good friends, family and others who can listen to us for a bit, who provide the much needed support and guidance at times when we are unable to make it through on our own. But we sometimes get frustrated when, despite their best intentions, they fail to truly "get us". Or we may be wary of stretching the limits of people’s goodwill and support. We are concerned that their patience with us will run out well before our troubles or grief have run it’s course.

 
At times like this, let us remind ourselves that His door is always...
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If we strive, He will guide(DW# 759)

Continuing with our reflections on verses from Chapter 29 of the Quran, Sura Ankabut [The Spider], verse 69, the final verse of the this Sura says:

And (as for) those who strive hard for Us, (in Us) We will most certainly guide them in Our ways; and Allah is most surely with the doers of good. [Holy Quran 29:69]

This is the final ayat of this Sura. The chapter ends with an important statement that encapsulates the theme of the Sura: Although the journey of righteousness towards Allah is challenging, you do not need to traverse it alone. He will hold your hand, strengthen your spirit, stabilize your footing and steer you forward.

A beautiful promise that gives hope and meaning to the struggling wayfarer.

In this world, we are forever striving.  Everything we achieve comes as a result of striving and effort. To get anything in life, we have to try hard, fail, try again until we get somewhere. This verse reminds us to invest this effort wisely. For the best return. To strive...

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Prepare to return from whence you came(DW# 758 )

Continuing with our reflections on verses from Chapter 29 of the Quran, Sura Ankabut [The Spider], verse 57 says:

Every soul must taste of death, then to Us you shall be brought back.[Holy Quran 29:57]
 

The only certainty is death. This verse reminds us of this fact of life. For human beings, the sojourn on this plane of existence is but a brief transit stop.

We are all, in a sense, waiting in the departure lounge. The tickets and visas for our travel have been arranged. We simply do not know when our flight is scheduled to leave. Unlike other journeys (mentioned in this Sura), the journey of death is choice less. Allah swt guarantees that we will all taste it. The choice lies in how we prepare for it.

For believers, we are reminded that the purpose of this transit stop is simply to gather provisions for the life that lies ahead.

The injunction to remember death at all times is of course not new to Islam. Philosophers and Stoics through the ages have always embraced the...

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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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