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Live by these principles (II)

More of the principles that we should be cultivating and implanting into our daily lives:

To steer clear of adultery and illicit relations: These illicit relations and perversions bring the greatest harm to individuals, families and societies. Refraining from and observing proper behaviour in such matters, leads to a healthy, happy upright and moral society. Regrettably nowadays these illicit relations have become a bane to society and this have led to many family breakups and the added heartache and misery to all those concerned.

We should all be committed to a lifestyle that is pure, clean and socially responsible. Islam and indeed all major religions teach that one should not come even close to adultery or fornication. 
‘Nor come near to adultery for it is a shameful (deed) and an evil, opening the road to other evils’. (17:32)

In the Bible: “You shall not commit adultery” (Exodus 20: 14); And Matthew 5; 28

To respect the sanctity of life and not to kill anyone: Some people may read this and ask ‘but what about the reports of many people being killed by Islamic militants’? Let us be clear about this, Islam does not allow the killing of innocent people. Some of these terrorist groups use the name of Islam for their own selfish and nefarious agenda. In some sections of the media there is an agenda, politics plays a major role too, to tarnish the name of Islam by adding the title ‘Islamist’ to any misdeed carried out anywhere in which a Muslim is involved.

Never will we read any report that says a gunman has killed people: for example the Danish student who killed over 70 school kids, being labelled with his religion.  Hitler killed millions but never has his religion ever been mentioned. Islam recognizes the sanctity of life and we should not do anything that may jeopardize it. One should avoid aggression and violence, because these things lead to murder. Every Muslim must be committed to peaceful ways. However, justice must be maintained, because just punishment brings safety and protects life.
Qur’an: ‘And kill not one another..’(4:29).In the Bible: “You shall not kill” (Exodus 20:13

To be humble and have no arrogance: Moderation and balance is the best thing in one’s behaviour as well as in one’s attitudes toward others. A Muslim should be a dignified and humble person. A Muslim should not not boastful, arrogant or pompous. Muslim thanks Allah for all His gifts and the ultimate praise and glory belongs to Allah.
‘Do not swell thy cheek with pride, nor walk in insolence through the earth; for Allah does not love an arrogant boaster. And be moderate and your pace, lower your voice….(Quran 31:18-19)

“Before destruction the heart of man is haughty, and before honour [is] humility” (Proverbs 18:12). “For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted”. (Luke 14:11)
To be careful with your money and not to be extravagant: A Muslim should live a balanced life style. Extravagance is frowned upon and not recommended, but also one should not become stingy and miserly. Importantly, money should be earned in Halal (lawful) ways and be spent in the correct manner. This must also be applied to all resources that Allah has given us. Careful, wise and responsible use of resources is a very important commitment of Muslims.

‘Those who, when they spend, are not extravagant and not miserly, but hold a just balance between those extremes… (Quran 25:67). And ‘…wear your beautiful apparel… eat and drink, but do not waste by excess, for Allah does not love the wasters’ (Quran 7:31). Further: ‘…but squander not your wealth in a manner of a spendthrift. Verily spendthrifts are brothers of the evil ones…… (Quran 17: 27).

The Bible says: ‘For the love of money is the root of all evil; which while some covet after, they have erred from faith and pierced themselves through with many sorrows’.  (1Timothy 6: 10) I have created the waster to destroy (Isaiah 54:16)
To fulfil the promises and your commitments: Promises and contracts are an important part of our daily lives. When promises are not kept, people lose trust in each other and the whole society becomes weak. Our commitment must be to speak the truth, to be honest and when we make a pledge we do our best to fulfil our pledges. However this commitment does not end with those around us but must include the commitment that we make to our Lord and Creator.

‘Those who faithfully observe their trusts and their covenants ….these will be the heirs, who will inherit Paradise; they will dwell therein forever’ Quran (23: 8-11). ‘O, you who believe, fulfil your undertakings…’ (Quran 5: 1)
“When you vow a vow to God, do not delay paying it, for he has no pleasure in fools. Pay what you vow. It is better that you should not vow than that you should vow and not pay”. Ecclesiastes 5: 4-5. “My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips”. (Psalm 89:34)

Refrain from Gossip and backbiting.
Many of us are prone to gossiping about others; to some it has become an important past time in their daily lives, they hunger for it. This includes back biting, carrying of tales, ridiculing and even making fun of others. This can be hurtful to the person being spoken about because when we do so, we do not realize the difference nor make the distinction between truth and falsehood of our assertions and accusations.

‘Woe to every slanderer and backbiter.’ (Qur’an 104: 1). ‘O you who believe avoid suspicion as much as possible; for suspicion in some cases is a sin: and spy not on each other nor speak ill of each other behind their backs. (Qur’an 49:12). And, ‘those who love (to see) scandal published broadcast among the Believers, will have a grievous Penalty in this life and in the Hereafter’.  (Qur’an 24:19). Bible “A gossip betrays a confidence; so avoid a man who talks too much. (Proverbs 20:19)

Enjoining good and forbidding wrong

We have been directed to enjoin good and guide people to what is right. Many of us see so many wrongs being committed yet we keep quiet and look the other way. We fail to differentiate between good and bad and as a result there is so much evil in this world. It is the responsibility of each and every one of us to remind one another of our obligations to our Lord and Creator.

‘Evil and good are not alike, even though the plenty of evil attract thee. So be mindful of your duty to Allah’ (Quran 5: 100). And the believers, men and women, are protecting friends, one of another; they enjoin right conduct and forbid indecency..’ (Quran 3: 100)
These are but a few, among the many of the universal principles that we should attempt to live by – but the greatest is that we should live a life that is in congruence with the ways of our Lord and Creator.

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The view of marriage in Islam

25th November 2020

Special honour for humankind

The creatures in this universe, created by The Almighty, are innumerable and of all these, man has been classed as the noblest and highest in virtue. It is interesting to note that all the other creations have been created for the service and use of mankind-and this has been revealed at many a place in the Holy Quran.

Thus The Almighty shows the special honour granted to humankind. Because we have been blessed with this special divine bestowment, mankind is called upon to conduct their lives in accordance with the command of Allah and not in pursuit of personal passion and lower desires.

Allah Almighty says in the Holy Quran: “We have indeed honoured mankind and carried them on both land and sea and we have sustained them from the good bounties and we have given them virtue over all creations.” (Quran 15:  70)

Other creatures, like animals, etc. may eat and drink anything and everything be it permissible or impermissible, be it clean or unclean, be it theirs or others-and this is not regarded as a sin.  Similarly they may fulfil their lower basic desires as and when they please – with no need of any marriage arrangement and within no set boundary of laws or regulations.

But human beings, the noblest of all creations, are required to engage in what is permissible only – even to fulfil one’s ‘lower’ desires in a permissible and modest manner that is in accordance with the Divine Command. The marriage ceremony (Nikah) has to be performed and no person is permitted to fulfil his or her lower basic desires outside the bond of matrimony.

Marriage ceremony

In Islam the marriage ceremony (Nikah) is simple and straight forward – when a man or women has selected a partner (spouse),arrangements are made to hold a gathering of people from the community – preferably  at the local masjid.  The proposal, from one party and acceptance from the other are clearly announced in the presence of the witnesses (minimum two required).  Prior to this the Imaam (priest) will start by quoting verses from the Quran that praise and Glory of the Almighty and invoking blessings and salutations upon the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).  He will also recite several verses from the Holy Quran and quote a few sayings of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).

Element of “God consciousness”

Amongst the verses that are recited a very striking one is: “Oh mankind, observe consciousness of duty to your Lord (The Almighty) who created you’re from a single soul and created therefrom the spouse (partner) and caused manifold increase of men and women from them both.  Fear the One in whose name you call out (The Almighty) and be mindful of the relationships, indeed Allah is ever watchful over you.” (Quran 4:  1)

Sacred union

Actually the nikah is a union of two people, rather two families, wherein there is a mutual agreement or covenant between and parties to respect one another, to fulfil the rights and duties to each other, to share happiness and sorrows with each other, to take the relatives and family members, to regard the profit or loss of the other as ones on profit or loss. etc…

Mutual rights and duties

The groom is called upon to fulfil all his duties towards the bride – his wife – and to make every effort in taking care of her general upkeep and well-being. The bride on her part also has a role in carrying out her services, and rights due to her husband. Both should serve and assist one another in health or illness, difficulty or happiness, and they should try by all means to be a pillar of support to give love, comfort and consolation to one another.

In this manner, before entering the bond of matrimony both parties are warned to be ever conscious of Almighty Allah – in fact the element of “God consciousness”’ is mentioned several times in the verses quoted.

Added dimensions in Islam

Allah Almighty declares in The Holy Quran states: “And from amongst His signs is that He created for you mates from amongst yourselves, that you may dwell in tranquillity with them, and He has put love and mercy between your (hearts): Verily in that are signs for those who reflect.” (Quran 30: 21)

Islam recognises the institution of marriage as a social and psychological necessity for every member of the community on the basis of the following reasons:

Firstly, marriage regulates and controls erotic behaviour and procreation.  Within marriage, sexual activity in Islam is regarded as normal and is encouraged between the married couple.  It is not a shameful act and should not be denied to members of either sex bound together in wedlock.  Restrictions to this approach may lead to personality disturbances and could even endanger the mental health of individuals which would have an adverse effect on the structures of society.

Secondly, marriage nurtures close companionship of husband and wife, resulting in kindness, love, and consideration for each other – as is understood from the above verse of The Holy Quran.   Moreover, it states the following in reference to the close relationship that exists between husband and wives: “They are your garments and you are their garments.” (Quran 2 : 187)

It is also recorded from the sayings of the Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him): “A man will be rewarded for what he spends on his wife, even for putting a morsel of food in her mouth (feeding her).”

Thirdly, the ‘institution’ of sincere marriage provides a stable atmosphere for the upbringing of children.  Love between husband and wife soon develops into a love of the offspring and eventually that love should then transcend to encompass all of Allah’s creation.

Both parents play differing, but invaluable, roles in the rearing of children.  It is the right of every child to have a father and a mother. A single parent family is not regarded as complete because it lacks the valuable role of another parent in rearing the child.

Regardless of our religion, race, tribe or any of the regular differences that people tend to make nowadays, a marriage should be a strong bond built on love, trust, faithfulness, respect for the foundation of a happy home and a future family.

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Joy or grief in the hereafter

17th November 2020

Just a ‘teaser’: we are all complaining of the ‘hot weather’ and ‘heat’ – but think about it, is this a reminder / warning from the Almighty that if we find this weather ‘hot’ can you imagine what the ‘fires of hell’ will be like should we get there?

Let us take this as a reminder and a ‘warning’ that we should change our lifestyles so that we follow in the path of righteousness and that which our Lord has directed. Failing this we will face the ‘fire of hell’ which undoubtedly will be many times worse than what we are facing on this earth.

Because as humans we have been favoured and bestowed with the power of intellect thus we enjoy greatness over other creation, coupled with a greater responsibility. Should that responsibility be misused then only on the Day of Reckoning will he know we will live in joy or in grief forever.

Since the dawn of creation Allah has sent down thousands of messengers, dozens of Divine Books but only ONE universal Message to humanity. That message of Divine Revelation and guidance is clear, unambiguous and eternal:

  • Allah is One, He is Master and Creator of the universe and of mankind and to Him is due all worship and obedience.
  • He has sent humanity Divine Revelation and guidance through His Messengers and His Books.
  • As death is inevitable in this world, equally is our resurrection in the Hereafter where everyone will face the consequences of their belief, unbelief and conduct in this temporal world.

This is the basic message, teaching and belief of every religion and without doubt we will all be called to account for our lives in this world and the manner in which we conducted ourselves, will be rewarded thereafter, the consequences of which may be joy forever for some or grief forever for others.

“It is He [Allah] Who created Death and Life, that He may try which of you is best in deeds and He is Exalted in Might, Oft-Forgiving.” (Qur’an: 67: 2)

 

In Islam the teachings of the Qur’an and the Last and Final Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) give clear guidance to the believer on how to live a life in this world so as to achieve success in the Hereafter.

‘If any do wish for the transitory things of this life, We readily grant them, such things as We will, to such persons as We will…… those who wish for the things of the Hereafter and strive for them with all due striving, and have faith, they are the ones whose striving is acceptable to Allah’ (Qur’an 17: 18-19)

In this world when a person sets out on a journey towards our Maker (Allah), he finds two paths, one leading to God and the other path to different destinations. A sincere and faithful believer will always try to find the right path and to live by the Divine injunctions, laws and code that his religion lays down. This requires us to live in harmony with the will of the Creator, in harmony with our own selves, and with the needs of the rest of creation. Unfortunately we have a tendency at times to toy with Divine Law and to surrender it to the laws of man and in the process to translate and interpret them into what fits in with our lifestyle of today.

If we are to use the intellect and the freedom of choice bestowed to us by God Almighty and follow His guidance, we will then live consciously in a state of “submission’ to Him, thus we will be virtuous. On the other hand when we ignore our Creators injunctions we work against the natural order, we tend to create discord, injustice and evil – and we become one without guidance. Therefore it is the intellect and the freedom of choice given to us that we are fully responsible for whatever we do.

However, it would be foolish for us to think of ourselves as totally independent and self-sufficient. If a person thinks in this manner, we become proud and. We will be inclined to become ungrateful for the bounties that we enjoy – the air that we breathe and the food we eat to sustain us, the eyes and ears we use to perceive the world around us, the tongue and lips we use to express our needs, wants and our inner most feelings and emotions. And being ungrateful, we will be inclined to forget or to reject the truth of the existence of God Almighty.

Unfortunately, people have varying views with regards to what the most important characteristic of a person is: for some it is the colour of his skin; for others, it is his economic situation – whether he is wealthy or poor; others think it is his , social or political standing, whether he is ruler or ruled; for others it is his social standing as an aristocrat, middle or working class; yet for some is his birth place and the language he speaks or the tribe he belongs to, etc..

‘Do men think that they will be left alone on saying “We believe”, and they will not be tested? We tested those before them, and Allah will certainly those who are true and those who are false’. (Quran 29: 2-3)

In Islam, these have no significance rather they are merely taken as signs of the creative power of God to enable people to recognise one another. The Almighty declares “O Mankind! Indeed we have created you as male and female, and have placed you in nations and tribes that you may have mutual recognition. However, the most honourable of you, in the sight of Allah is the one who is most God-conscious” (Qur’an: 49: 13)

Hence, the most important characteristic of a person is whether he is conscious of his Creator, believes in Him and through that consciousness submits to Him at all times and in all circumstances.

According to the Islamic view man is created by Allah in a pure state, free from sin. He also created us with the capacity or power to do both good and evil. He gave us the freedom to choose between doing good or evil. The good and evil therefore is connected with mankind’s freedom of choice and responsibility for their actions. “Good” may be whatever is pleasing to Allah and therefore beneficial to us.  Whereas “Bad/evil” may be whatever incurs the anger of God and is therefore harmful to man.

‘By the soul, and the proportion and order given to it; And its enlightenment as to its wrong and its right – truly he that succeeds that purifies it, and he fails that corrupts it….. (Quran 91: 7-10)

Therefore one of mankind’s main tasks is to keep away from and ward off evil. This is why Taqwa, piety and God consciousness is repeatedly mentioned in the Qur’an as the most important quality a person should develop in this regard. This means one must be conscious at all times not to over step the limits set by God. It works as a defence against evil and temptation by keeping a person within the boundaries of piety.

Continue Reading

Columns

Joy or Grief in the hereafter

3rd November 2020

Just a ‘teaser’: we are all complaining of the ‘hot weather’ and ‘heat’ – but think about it, is this a reminder / warning from the Almighty that if we find this weather ‘hot’ can you imagine what the ‘fires of hell’ will be like should we get there?

Let us take this as a reminder and a ‘warning’ that we should change our lifestyles so that we follow in the path of righteousness and that which our Lord has directed. Failing this we will face the ‘fire of hell’ which undoubtedly will be many times worse than what we are facing on this earth.

Because as humans we have been favoured and bestowed with the power of intellect thus we enjoy greatness over other creation, coupled with a greater responsibility. Should that responsibility be misused then only on the Day of Reckoning will he know we will live in joy or in grief forever.

Since the dawn of creation Allah has sent down thousands of messengers, dozens of Divine Books but only ONE universal Message to humanity. That message of Divine Revelation and guidance is clear, unambiguous and eternal:

Allah is One, He is Master and Creator of the universe and of mankind and to Him is due all worship and obedience. He has sent humanity Divine Revelation and guidance through His Messengers and His Books. As death is inevitable in this world, equally is our resurrection in the Hereafter where everyone will face the consequences of their belief, unbelief and conduct in this temporal world.

This is the basic message, teaching and belief of every religion and without doubt we will all be called to account for our lives in this world and the manner in which we conducted ourselves, will be rewarded thereafter, the consequences of which may be joy forever for some or grief forever for others. “It is He [Allah] Who created Death and Life, that He may try which of you is best in deeds and He is Exalted in Might, Oft-Forgiving.” (Qur’an: 67: 2)

In Islam the teachings of the Qur’an and the Last and Final Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) give clear guidance to the believer on how to live a life in this world so as to achieve success in the Hereafter.  ‘If any do wish for the transitory things of this life, We readily grant them, such things as We will, to such persons as We will…… those who wish for the things of the Hereafter and strive for them with all due striving, and have faith, they are the ones whose striving is acceptable to Allah’ (Qur’an 17: 18-19)

In this world when a person sets out on a journey towards our Maker (Allah), he finds two paths, one leading to God and the other path to different destinations. A sincere and faithful believer will always try to find the right path and to live by the Divine injunctions, laws and code that his religion lays down. This requires us to live in harmony with the will of the Creator, in harmony with our own selves, and with the needs of the rest of creation. Unfortunately we have a tendency at times to toy with Divine Law and to surrender it to the laws of man and in the process to translate and interpret them into what fits in with our lifestyle of today.

If we are to use the intellect and the freedom of choice bestowed to us by God Almighty and follow His guidance, we will then live consciously in a state of “submission’ to Him, thus we will be virtuous. On the other hand when we ignore our Creators injunctions we work against the natural order, we tend to create discord, injustice and evil – and we become one without guidance. Therefore it is the intellect and the freedom of choice given to us that we are fully responsible for whatever we do.

However, it would be foolish for us to think of ourselves as totally independent and self-sufficient. If a person thinks in this manner, we become proud and. We will be inclined to become ungrateful for the bounties that we enjoy – the air that we breathe and the food we eat to sustain us, the eyes and ears we use to perceive the world around us, the tongue and lips we use to express our needs, wants and our inner most feelings and emotions. And being ungrateful, we will be inclined to forget or to reject the truth of the existence of God Almighty.

Unfortunately, people have varying views with regards to what the most important characteristic of a person is: for some it is the colour of his skin; for others, it is his economic situation – whether he is wealthy or poor; others think it is his , social or political standing, whether he is ruler or ruled; for others it is his social standing as an aristocrat, middle or working class; yet for some is his birth place and the language he speaks or the tribe he belongs to, etc..

‘Do men think that they will be left alone on saying “We believe”, and they will not be tested? We tested those before them, and Allah will certainly those who are true and those who are false’. (Quran 29: 2-3)

In Islam, these have no significance rather they are merely taken as signs of the creative power of God to enable people to recognise one another. The Almighty declares “O Mankind! Indeed we have created you as male and female, and have placed you in nations and tribes that you may have mutual recognition. However, the most honourable of you, in the sight of Allah is the one who is most God-conscious” (Qur’an: 49: 13)

Hence, the most important characteristic of a person is whether he is conscious of his Creator, believes in Him and through that consciousness submits to Him at all times and in all circumstances.

According to the Islamic view man is created by Allah in a pure state, free from sin. He also created us with the capacity or power to do both good and evil. He gave us the freedom to choose between doing good or evil. The good and evil therefore is connected with mankind’s freedom of choice and responsibility for their actions. “Good” may be whatever is pleasing to Allah and therefore beneficial to us. Whereas “Bad/evil” may be whatever incurs the anger of God and is therefore harmful to man.

‘By the soul, and the proportion and order given to it; And its enlightenment as to its wrong and its right – truly he that succeeds that purifies it, and he fails that corrupts it….. (Quran 91: 7-10)
Therefore one of mankind’s main tasks is to keep away from and ward off evil.

This is why Taqwa, piety and God consciousness is repeatedly mentioned in the Qur’an as the most important quality a person should develop in this regard. This means one must be conscious at all times not to over step the limits set by God. It works as a defence against evil and temptation by keeping a person within the boundaries of piety.

Continue Reading
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