Lessons from Sura Ankabut: Lesson 5: Recite the Book, establish Salaat and keep Zikr alive

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Continuing with our reflections from Sura Ankabut, in this post we will look at a three point action plan that Allah swt gives to the Prophet (saw) and to mankind.

In verse 45, the Prophet (saw) is commanded by Allah swt:

اتْلُ مَا أُوحِيَ إِلَيْكَ مِنَ الْكِتَابِ وَأَقِمِ الصَّلَاةَ إِنَّ الصَّلَاةَ تَنْهَى عَنِ الْفَحْشَاء وَالْمُنكَرِ وَلَذِكْرُ اللَّهِ أَكْبَرُ وَاللَّهُ يَعْلَمُ مَا تَصْنَعُونَ
[29:45] 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.

In this verse, the Prophet (saw) is told that the way to keep focus in this world, and to seek strength through the trials of life is to recite the Book, keep up Salaat and engage in constant Remembrance or Zikr.

1) Recite the book:

It is essential to recite the book, reflect on it and apply it so that the knowledge and guidance becomes internalized. Given that the...

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Lessons from Sura Ankabut: Lesson 6: “If I strive, He will guide”

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This is the final ayat and the last lesson of the Sura. It tells us that although the struggle and the trials sound overwhelming, we have the strength of The Greatest behind us. We are not alone in this.
وَالَّذِينَ جَاهَدُوا فِينَا لَنَهْدِيَنَّهُمْ سُبُلَنَا وَإِنَّ اللَّهَ لَمَعَ الْمُحْسِنِينَ
[29:69] 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.

In this world, we are forever striving. Striving at all times is unavoidable. Life and the fruits of life are based on striving. To get anything in life, we have to try hard, fail, try again until we get somewhere. This verse reminds us that for ultimate success, we need to strive to get connect with Him and please Him. This will be the best outcome for all the effort and struggle we put in. The best return for effort invested wisely.

This last verse of Surah Al-‘Ankabut, points to the epitome of the whole Sura and completes the...

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Lessons from Sura Ankabut Lesson 3: Travel fi sabillilah

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The next lesson from Sura Ankabut is that of travel, journey and movement.

Everything in nature is in movement, from the atoms that form the basis of life to the earth and the creatures that walk on it.

In fact, creation itself is on a journey from Allah, back to Allah. (inna lillahe wa inna ilayihi rajioon).

Just as creation is in constant and instinctive movement, so too human beings need to be in a constant state of movement. To change and grow, we need to make this movement intentional. We are told that our tomorrow must never be the same as our today. We cannot hang out or chill. We need to be in constant movement, doing constant jihad, constantly growing.

Our lower nature, of course, does not like growth or change. We love what appears to be permanent. We want to preserve youth and health and beauty. At some point, we begin to recognize that it is losing battle. No matter how hard we try and hold on, control, the moment slips away. Change happens. Wisdom lies in accepting...

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Lesson from Sura Ankabut. Lesson 4: Dust those cobwebs!

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In Sura Ankabut, Allah swt likens the security systems of human beings to the frailty of a spider’s web:

مَثَلُ الَّذِينَ اتَّخَذُوا مِن دُونِ اللَّهِ أَوْلِيَاء كَمَثَلِ الْعَنكَبُوتِ اتَّخَذَتْ بَيْتًا وَإِنَّ أَوْهَنَ الْبُيُوتِ لَبَيْتُ الْعَنكَبُوتِ لَوْ كَانُوا يَعْلَمُونَ
[29:41]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.

There are several rather interesting features about the web built by the spider:
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 the house!
From within: Whist other animals use materials from nature to...

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Lessons from Sura Ankabut Lesson 2: Recognize the test

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In the last post, we looked at the meaning of tests and trials for believers and asked the question “why does Allah test us?” In this post, inshallah we will look at the ways that He tests us.
How does He test?
a. Both blessings and life challenges are tests:
Human beings tend to become very complacent when things are going well. We become distracted through, and engrossed in, our blessings. We forget Him who gave us these blessings.
Allah swt reminds us in the Quran that both blessings and challenges are tests.

إِنَّا خَلَقْنَا الْإِنسَانَ مِن نُّطْفَةٍ أَمْشَاجٍ نَّبْتَلِيهِ فَجَعَلْنَاهُ سَمِيعًا بَصِيرًا
[76:2] Surely We have created man from a small life-germ uniting (itself): We mean to try him, so We have made him hearing, seeing.

فَأَمَّا الْإِنسَانُ إِذَا مَا ابْتَلَاهُ رَبُّهُ فَأَكْرَمَهُ وَنَعَّمَهُ فَيَقُولُ رَبِّي أَكْرَمَنِ
[89:15] And as for man, when his Lord tries him, then treats him with honor and makes him lead an easy life, he says: My Lord honors me.

...

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Lessons from Sura Ankabut - Lesson 1: You will be tried

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Lesson I: You will be tried, so prepare for it:

 

One of the central themes of Sura Ankabut is that of fatana, or trials.

 

In Ayat 2 and 3, Allah says:

 

أَحَسِبَ النَّاسُ أَن يُتْرَكُوا أَن يَقُولُوا آمَنَّا وَهُمْ لَا يُفْتَنُونَ

[29:2] Do men think that they will be left alone on saying, We believe, and not be tried?

 

وَلَقَدْ فَتَنَّا الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِهِمْ فَلَيَعْلَمَنَّ اللَّهُ الَّذِينَ صَدَقُوا وَلَيَعْلَمَنَّ الْكَاذِبِينَ

[29:3] And certainly We tried those before them, so Allah will certainly know those who are true and He will certainly know the liars.

 

1) What is fitna?

 

Fitna is derived from the verb fatana, which amongst other things, means to prove.

 

Fitna also means “to melt gold in order to separate its impure parts” and since the real essence of man is recognized in difficulties and calamities from the false mottoes, such trials and tests are called fitna.

In faith,...

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Parenting in light of Quran and Sunnah part 3

In this module, we explore the challenges faced by modern-day parents and discuss ways to address those challenges.

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Parenting in the Light of Quran and Sunnah part 3 from Marzia Hassan on Vimeo.

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Parenting in Light of Quran and Sunnah part 2

Parenting in the light of the Quran Part 2 for You Tube

The Islamic Parenting Contract
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Parenting in light of Quran and Sunnah part 2 from Marzia Hassan on Vimeo.

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Suratul Luqman: Lesson 1: Access to the wisdom of the Quran is through Ehsan and Gratitude

An overarching theme of Chapter 31, Suratul Luqman is wisdom. In Aya 2, Allah swt says:

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِ
الم

[31:1] Alif Lam Mim.

تِلْكَ آيَاتُ الْكِتَابِ الْحَكِيمِ

[31:2] These are verses of the Book of Wisdom

Wisdom means knowledge combined with insight, perception, the ability to decipher appropriate action and the will to follow through on that action. Wisdom is also related to adl, it guides towards putting all things in their proper place, giving everything it’s proper due.

Allah certifies that the Quran is a book of wisdom. The infinite wisdom of this book, which has been revealed by the All Wise, has the power to change the destiny of man and raise him to the status of being a vice gerent of the Almighty.

A wise man is not only a man versed in knowledge, but one carrying out in practical conduct ('amal) the right course in life to the utmost of his power. A wise man is he who recognizes the wisdom in acting upon that which comes...

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