Worship and service are inseparable [5:55]

Here is today's reflection from the Quran:

In Sura Maida, the Quran whilst talking about whom to take as guardians friends or protectors, says: those who keep up prayers and give alms while they bow. [Quran 5:55]

This verse begins by talking about how the believers should only take 3 entities as one's primary protectors or guardians:

  1. God: One's primary protector (walt) is God, one of whose Names is Walt
  2. His Prophet [saw] and then
  3. other believers as awliya' who are distinguished by two primary qualities:

a. they establish salaat and b.

give charity while they bow [that is, in a state of salaat or humility]

The verse refers to an incident in the life of the Holy Prophet (saw), which is widely reported by all major schools of Islamic thought.

A companion named Jundub reports: 'Once I performed the noon prayers in a mosque, behind the Prophet (saw) then, a beggar came in but no one attended to him. The beggar extended his hands towards the heaven and said, 'O God, bear witness! Here,...

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Choose your interpretations wisely [24:12]

Here is today's reflection from the Quran:

Yesterday we discussed verse 12 from Sura Hujarat where the Quran advises believers to stay away from suspicions and negative assumptions about other people.

Today's verse is from Sura Nur when Allah swt asks: When you [first] heard about it, why did not the faithful, men and women, think well of their folks (themselves) (Holy Quran 24:12).

In order to grasp the significance of this verse, we do need some context. These verses from Sura Nur were revealed when an innocent person was accused of an unchaste act, and this rumour was spread throughout the community.

The verses that were revealed clearly dealt with both aspects of the problem: the ones who started and spread the rumour and those who believed it. In these verses, both parties are reprimanded by Allah swt in the strongest of terms.

Additionally, it is interesting that instead of asking believers to think good of the one who is accused and the subject of the rumour, the verse says...

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Watch those suspicions [49:12]

Here is today's reflection from the Quran:

Today inshallah let us explore a 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). Our brains try to "figure everything out" and when there is a gap in our knowledge or understanding, the brain will fill in that information by making assumptions.

The default tendency of the brain is to make negative assumptions rather than positive ones and while there is a very good survival reason for this, it generally does not help us in daily life....

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Make space for others [58:11]

Here is today's reflection from the Quran:

In Sura Mujadilah (58:11), the Quran says: O you who believe! When you are told to make room in the assemblies (spread out and) make room: (Ample) room will Allah provide for you.

The Arabic word 'fasaha' which is used in this verse means widening, or making space. It can also be translated as amplifying or expanding.

This immensely practical verse from the Quran talks about the etiquette and adab of sitting in gatherings and it is so applicable these days when we are frequently gathering for the month of Ramadan. It is asking people to move and make space for others as they join the gathering.

When the Holy Prophet (saw) used to conduct assemblies, his followers would throng around him in their eagerness to get close and hear better what he had to sav. This meant that the weaker or more reticent of the people may have been crowded out and inconvenienced due to the enthusiasm of the others.

This simple command contains such a powerful...

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Did you notice the ease? [94:5]

Here is today's reflection from the Quran:

In Sura Inshirah, Allah promises us: Truly with hardship comes ease! [Quran: 94:5]

The message of verse 5 of Chapter 94 is repeated again in verse 6 which says, Truly with hardship comes (more) ease!

The scholars tell us that these verses means that:

1) Whatever difficulties or troubles are encountered by men, Allah always provides a solution, a way out, a relief, a way to lead to ease and happiness, if we only follow His Path and show our Faith by patience and right action. The solution or relief does not merely come after the difficulty: it is provided right along with it.

And that the

2) Emphasis and repetition may imply that there is more ease than difficulty.

Such a beautiful and hopeful verse of the Quran!

While we often read that there is a silver lining in the clouds, that hard times eventually pass, this verse reminds us that there is relief and ease not after a trial or challenging time, but right along with it.

Truly with...

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Give from that which you love [3:92]

Here is today's reflection from the Quran:

In Sura Al Imran, [3:92], Allah says: By no means shall you attain to righteousness until you spend (benevolently) out of what you love; and whatever thing you spend, Allah surely knows it.

Reflection: We all donate and give things away for various reasons: to declutter, to help someone out or to discard things that we no longer need or use. When we are looking to give away, we often reach for things or money that we can spare or that are no longer useful to us.

While this kind of giving may have its benefits, the verse in question is talking about a different kind of giving: giving from what you love most and what may still be useful or valuable to you.

While the result of the previous kinds of giving may be a clean house, a decluttered environment or a minimalistic and low-impact lifestyle, giving from what you love has the impact of unattachment to material possessions, spiritual growth and nearness to the Divine.

By severing our...

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Stop the blame game and accept responsibility [14:22]

Here is today's reflection from the Quran:

In Sura Ibrahim, verse 14:22, the Quran says: And do not blame me but blame yourselves.

Reflection: This verse from Surah Ibrahim is part of a conversation when on the Day of Judgement mankind attempts to excuse their actions by blaming Shaytan for misleading them.

Here is the full verse:

And Satan will say, when the matter has been decreed, "Verily God made you the Promise of truth; and I made you a promise, but I failed you. And I had no authority over you, save that I called you, and you responded to me. So do not blame me, but blame yourselves. I cannot respond to your cries for help; nor can you respond to my cries for help. Truly I disbelieved in your ascribing me as partner aforetime. As for the wrongdoers, surely theirs shall be a painful punishment.

Shaytan is telling mankind that instead of blaming him they should blame themselves. In other words, Shaytan is declaring that he was simply the influencer, he planted thoughts and...

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Seek counsel and consultation [42:38]

Here is today's reflection from the Quran:

And their rule is to take counsel among themselves. Sura Shuraa verse 42:38.

Reflection: This sentence in verse 38 is part of a passage that describes the people for whom the Hereafter will be so much better than the world. One of their qualities is that they seek counsel from one another.

Islam recommends that believers seek advice from each other, and discuss things to get the opinions of others.

Why: When we are in the midst of a situation or a problem, it is often challenging to see the big picture or reflect on how our behaviour is playing out in the situation. Our own self-interest and ego often results in tunnel vision, which may lead to actions not in our ultimate best interest.

Seeking counsel and consultation from a spouse, a good friend, a trusted colleague or a trained professional at such a time can be hugely beneficial as it can provide us with a sounding board and help illuminate blind spots and errors in thinking.

Seeking...

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Let not aggressive speech upset you [10:65]

Here is today's reflection from the Quran:

Yesterday we discussed how the Holy Prophet (saw) was guided to deal with the hypocrites who made covert plans to derail his mission. In addition to this, he was frequently subjected to insults and aggressive speech by those who had much to lose with the advent of the Islamic paradigm of monotheism and social justice.

In Sura Yunus, the Prophet (saw) is told: "And let not their speech grieve you; surely all honor belongs to Allah; He is the Hearing, the Knowing." [Quran 10:65]

While these words were addressed in the first instance to the Holy Prophet (saw), they have so much to teach us.

As we have been saying, words are powerful. They have the power to heal and the power to hurt. Even if we work on being mindful of our words, reality is that not everyone will respond. We may still encounter aggression and criticism. And sometimes such words will greatly impact our emotional and mental wellbeing, especially if we sense that they are unfair...

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Speak insightful words [4:63]

Here is today's reflection from the Quran:

"These are they of whom Allah knows what is in their hearts; therefore, turn aside from them and admonish them, and speak to them about their souls with penetrating words." [Quran 4:63]

The verse from Sura Nisa teaches the Holy Prophet (saw) how to deal with the hypocrites - those who professed belief with their tongues but harboured resentment and ill will towards the Prophet (saw). They were perhaps the most challenging enemy that he dealt with because they posed as friends and used covert means rather than open warfare to try and derail his mission.

The Prophet (saw) is instructed to turn away from these disbelievers.

-that is, to avoid openly punishing them. Instead, he is to admonish them and seek to persuade them with penetrating words rather than confronting them aggressively with force.

Scholars explain that turning away here may also mean to refuse to accept their excuses. Instead, he is to politely but firmly speak to them with...

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