Say what you mean [33:70]

Here is today's reflection from the Quran:

"O you who believe! be God conscious and speak the right word." [Quran 33:70]

The verse from Sura Ahzab exhorts believers in particular to speak

"Qawlan Sadid", words that are truthful, just, appropriate. The term sadid comes from the word sadd which is a dam, a barrier. Just as the force of water needs to be tamed in order to be benefcial, similarly our words need to be disciplined in order to hit the mark.

The reward for such language in spelled out in the following verse where Allah says: that He may set your deeds aright for you, and forgive you your sins. [Quran 33:71]

The expression qawl sadid signifies, literally, "a saying that hits the mark", words that are truthful, relevant and to the point. It is speech that is upright and free from any corruption. It means speaking in a way such that the outward expression corresponds to the inward meaning of what we trying to say. This applies specially when we are giving testimonies or...

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Speak nobly to your parents [17:23]

Here is today's reflection from the Quran:

And speak to them a generous word [Quran 17:23]

This segment is from a verse in Sura Isra. [the full verse is this: And your Lord has commanded that you shall not serve (any) but Him, and goodness to your parents. If either or both of them reach old age with you, say not to them (so much as) "Ugh" nor chide them, and speak to them a generous word

Here Allah is advising us that an important part of honouring and showing goodness to your parents is how you speak to them.

Qawlan Kariman means noble words, gentle and soft words showing honour and esteem.

We have a major obligation of excellence of conduct towards our parents. After God, they are the most important object of our love, attention and affection.

And because children mean so much to parents, the hearts of parents tend to be very sensitive towards their children. And they become more sensitive as parents age, when roles are reversed and when they may be forced to depend on those to...

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Speak the best [17:53]

Here is today's reflection from the Quran:

And say to My servants (that) they speak that which is best[17:53] 

This verse from Sura Bani Israel lays out the general and foundational principle for speech in Islam: Speak that which is Ahsan (beautiful, excellent, kind)

That which is the best encapsulates all rules and principles of good communication. The famous saying (which has been attributed to many different sages and masters over the years) comes to mind:

Before you speak, let your words pass through three gates:

At the first gate, ask yourself "Is it true?"

At the second gate ask, "Is it necessary?"

At the third gate ask, "Is it kind?" 

This saying, although clichéd, has the wisdom to help us pause and become conscious of our words. Because talking is so natural we are often unaware of the power of our spoken words, our speech can sometimes run away from our mouths before we have had a chance to engage our brains. 

So let us explore these three...

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Recognize the power of words [14:24-25]

Here is today's reflection from the Quran:

Have you not considered how Allah sets forth a parable of a good word (being) like a good tree, whose root is firm and whose branches are in heaven, Yielding its fruit in every season by the permission of its Lord? And Allah sets forth parables for men that they may be mindful. [Quran 14:24-25]
The verses for today’s reflection are from Sura Ibrahim and they compare the impact of a good word “kalimat tayyabba” to that of a good tree “shajjarat tayyabba”.
So what is a Kalimat Tayyabba, a "good word"?
In the first instance, scholars explain, that it is a word that calls to righteousness, to the Truth. But it is so much more than that.
The Quran compares a good word to a good tree (and later an evil word to an evil tree). It is interesting that we consider trees to have solid physical mass while we rarely consider our words in the same way. We think that they are spoken into air and disappear in the next...
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Speak gently in the face of aggression [20:44]

Here is today's reflection from the Quran:

Then speak to him a gentle word perhaps he may remember or fear. [20:44]
 
Today’s verse is from Sura Taha and these words are said to Prophets Musa (as) and Haroon (as) as they prepare to go and face the tyrant Pharaoh (Firoun) in his court.
It is interesting that instead of being told to face the aggressor with stern or harsh language, the two Prophets are told to approach him with gentleness and to speak a “layyin” (kind, gentle) word.
The wisdom behind this, scholars explain, is that when aggressors or tyrants are approached harshly, it is more likely to increase their obstinacy and pride.
Here, the verse says that when the aggressor is approached thus, one of three things may happen:
1.    Firoun might heed the admonition and accept the truth
2.    He may consider his actions and fear the outcome in front of God OR
3.    He may be indifferent and...
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Give full measure [17:35]

Here is today's reflection from the Quran:

And give full measure when you measure, and weigh with the straight balance. That is better and more virtuous in the end [Sura Isra, 17:35] 
 
Reflection: To give full measure when you measure, and weigh with the straight balance means to measure honestly rather than cheating people when trading goods and currency by using a balance that falsely overstates or understates the weight of what has been put upon it. It also means in a general way, to barter or exchange goods fairly and honestly so that what is given is equal to what is received.
Why: Trust is the basis of an evolved society. When business is carried out on the basis of trust, transactions are speeded up and less resources are needed for monitoring and accounting. There is a general feeling of security and people can focus on other matters rather than using their energy in constantly looking over their shoulder. In parts of Europe, for example, the entire...
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Resist the temptation to mock others [49:11]

Here is today's reflection from the Quran:

In Sura Hujarat (49:11), it says: O believers, let no group make fun of another, for they may be better than them.
Reflection: The word for mocking used in this verse, sakhara, according to Tafsīr al-Mīzān means to say something which degrades someone and puts them down. It could be verbal or a subtle indication or could even be imitation. The aim is to ridicule and make others laugh at the person.

While mocking and ridiculing another is often done in the guise of humour, we need to remindo ourselves that it is no laughing matter as 
Allah loves all His creatures and when we are mean to others, Allah is not happy with us.
 
Imam Sajjād (as) says: From among the sins that bring down the wrath of Allah are oppression done by one who is aware, trampling on the rights of others, and mocking and ridiculing others.
Mocking can be done in many ways - It could be a verbal "joke", a rolling of the eyes, an imitation of gait, word...
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Recognize and fulfill the purpose of fasting [2:183]

Here is today's reflection from the Quran:

O you who believe! Fasting has been prescribed for you, as it was prescribed for those who were before you, so that you may attain God consciousness.
‏(Sūrat al-Baqarah, 2:183)
 
The Islamic injunction for fasting in the month of Ramadan continues the practice of previous faith traditions which also involved some form of restraint and denial of material needs as a pathway to spiritual elevation. 
Today, let us briefly remind ourselves about the purpose of fasting. 
In Chapter 2:183, the Quran says: O you who believe! fasting is prescribed for you, as it was prescribed for those before you, so that you may attain God consciousness.
 
The ultimate purpose of fasting then, is not a mere abstention from food and drink but rather the development of inner strength, a super energy, this Taqwa,  which develops our self control so that we can live consciously and aligned with our ultimate purpose...
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How relevant is the Quran to my life? (Surat Yūnus, 10:57)

O mankind! There has indeed come to you an advice from your Lord, and a cure for that which lies within breasts, and a guidance, and a mercy for the believers. (Surat Yūnus, 10:57)

 

This verse from Sura Yunus is addressed to mankind as a whole and lays out four functions of the Quran. In a sense, we can say that it is the Quran self-defining what its role is:  

 

The verse says that the Quran:
1. Is a maw‘idhah which has several meanings: A maw’idhah is a piece of wise advice, a reminder to do good that is done gently, with care and concern.
• It is a reminder to stay away from evil.
• It is the kind of advice that affects the heart of the listener or has the potential to affect receptive hearts

2. It is a Shiffaun: A cure for what is in the chests.
• A cure for the diseases of the heart such as doubt, jealousy, hypocrisy and all sorts of spiritual and emotional ailments.
• Imam Ali (as) said that it contains a cure...

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Welcoming the Month of Ramadan [Reflections on the Sermon of the Holy Prophet (saw)]

Ramadan Mubarak to you and yours!

Today inshallah, lets reflect on the Sermon of the Holy Prophet (saw) Welcoming the Month of Ramadan.

The Holy Prophet (saw) addressed his followers on the day before Ramadan and said:

O People !

Indeed the blessed month of Allah has approached you laden with His Mercy, Blessings and Forgiveness.

Reflection: These are the energies that are abundant in this month, ours for the taking. The invitation is for all – not just those who are the most observant – it is addressed to mankind as a whole. This is sacred and precious time, to be used wisely.

It is a month which with Allah is the best of months. Its days are the best of days, its nights, the best of nights, and its hours are the best of hours.

Reflection: Sometimes we ask ourselves what is the problem if we carried on with our normal lives, or spend the long days entertaining ourselves so that the time of fasting is easier.

This statement, and the rest of the sermon answers this...

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