Be a force for good [5:2]

Sura Maidah verse two says: O, You who believe . . . help one another in goodness and piety. [5:2]

Cooperating with others in goodness is one of the basic principles for a society build on spiritual and ethical values. When people of faith work together, they motivate and provide encouragement and enthusiasm for each other. The energies of the universe synchronize to further a cause which is thus initiated.

1. The law of synergy: All of us have different and complementary talents. When we cooperate and work together as a team, we create synergy, which is an interaction of multiple elements to produce a result greater than the sum of their individual effects.

To put it simply, when two people combine different talents to cooperate on a worthy project, their efforts produce the equivalent not of four people but rather the work of twenty two or more. This is simply the scientific law of synergy which is apparent in the world of nature [such as the flight of geese].

Every act of...

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The reward for perseverance [25:75]

The verses we have been considering the last few days lay out the qualities of His special servants or the Ibad ur Rahman, some of which are the following:

They are those who:
Are humble in their demeanour [25:63]
Do not engage with the ignorant [25:63]
Worship at night [25:64]
Seek forgiveness continuously [25:65]
Avoid falsehood and vanity [25:72]
Attend to His communication [27:73]
Adopt balance in your spending [25:67]
Pray for family and future generations [25:74]

Verse 76 of Sura Furqan goes on to say:
It is they who shall be rewarded with the lofty abode for having been patient/constant, and they will be met therein with salutations and [greetings of] peace.

People such as these whose knowledge, speech, thought, self-control and demeanour show that they are the finest exemplars of what it means to be human and deserving to be counted as Servants of the All Merciful.

They serve to guide us and to inspire emulation. In that sense, they are true leaders. They are like guiding lights and...

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Pray for future generations [25:74]

And they who say, “Our Lord! Grant us in our spouses and our offspring the joay [comfort, coolness, delight] of our eyes and make us imams [leaders] for the God-conscious” [25:74]

The last quality mentioned of the Ibad ur Rahman is that they have a fervent prayer consisting of two parts:

Firstly for Allah [swt] to grant them delight in their closest relationships of marriage and children and secondly to make them leaders amongst the God-conscious people.

This is such a beautiful supplication that we can all commit to memory!

The word that the Quran uses “Qurrata ayun” is challenging to translate into English. One explanation is that these are “tears of joy” or deep delight in your spouses and progeny.

Scholars explain that “coolness of the eyes” is understood to be of a spiritual nature, not mere worldly enjoyment of children and spouses [which in itself is a beautiful gift]. In other words, seeing your children following your values...

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Adopt balance in your spending [25:67]

Another quality mentioned in Sura Furqan of the Ibad ur Rahman is that they are “qawama”, they adopt the “just mean” spending.

Verse 67 says:
And they who when they spend, are neither extravagant nor parsimonious, and (keep) between these the just mean. [25:67]

Islam at its core, is the “middle path”, the path between two extremes and Prophetic traditions state that “a virtue lies between two vices”.

In this case, the virtue mentioned is that of infaq or spending on others. The idea of spending is of course taken as a given. Others have a right in what has been granted to us in trust and we are means by which they are given sustenance.

And, as in all areas of life, we have to be mindful and responsible in how we give.

Another similar verse of the Quran says: And let not thine hand be shackled to thy neck; nor let it be entirely open [17:29].

So let us consider what this implies.

In ordinary spending this is a wise rule of course...

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Attend to His communication [27:73]

Continuing with painting a portrait of the Ibrad ur Rahman, verse 73 of Chapter 25, Sura Furqan points to another characteristic of these sincere believers:

And they who, when they are reminded of the signs of their Lord, fall not deaf and blind against them [25:73]

Scholars explain that the “falling deaf and blind” refers to the act of falling down, to snore, to droop down as if the person were bored or inattentive, or did not wish to see or hear or pay attention. In other words, it is ignoring or being inattentive to the message being conveyed.

The Quran mentions spiritual deafness and blindness in other places and reminds us that we can have eyes and ears but still be deaf and blind.

Truly God-conscious are those who are deeply desirous of understanding the message, and therefore "listen to it with wide-awake ears and look into it with seeing eyes". Because they are connected to the All Compassionate and trust that all instructions of come from Him are for their...

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Avoid falsehood and vanity [25:72]

Continuing with our series of exploring some of the characteristics of the Ibadur Rahman, verse 72 from Chapter 25 [Sura Furqan] says:

And they who do not bear witness to what is false, and when they pass by what is vain/idle talk, they pass by nobly. [25:72]

Another two qualities of the sincere servants of the All Compassionate is that

1) they do not testify falsely or give false evidence, and not do they take part in anything which implies falsehood or fraud.

Scholars explain that to witness no falsehood has three meanings, all of which are implied in this passage: (1) firstly not to give evidence which is false by lying or bearing false witness and (2) secondly, not to assist in anything which implies fraud or falsehood or lead to deception in any way. And (3) not to participate or attend situations or gatherings where there is falsehood.

2) the second quality mentioned in this verse is that when they encounter either falsehood or frivolity or obscenity, they have no time for it,...

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Seek forgiveness continuously [25:65]

Continuing with the portrait of Ibad ur Rahman, verses 65 & 66 from Sura Furqan outline another quality:

[25:65] And they who say: O our Lord! turn away from us the punishment of hell, surely the punishment thereof is lasting

Servants of the Ibad ur Rahman are in continuous touch with their own humanity, with their propensity to make mistakes, to offend, to fall short and to choose evil over good in the moment. They are deeply aware of their own shortcomings due to the nature of being human.

They also recognize that every action has a consequence and that the Hereafter is a place of accountability. They understand that while this world often hides the true impact and consequences of our actions, that in the Hereafter the impact will become apparent.

Theirs is a prayer of humility: they rely not on any good works which they may have done, but on the Grace and Mercy of Allah. They realise that while Allah [swt] is infinitely Merciful, that the courtesy of the Ibad ur Rahman is...

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Worship at night [25:64]

Continuing with our series of drawing a portrait of the Ibad ur Rahman [the Servants of the All Compassionate], verse 64 of Chapter 25, Sura Furqan says:

And they who pass the night prostrating themselves before their Lord and standing. [25:64]
So the third quality mentioned of the Ibad ur Rahman is that In the pursuit of spiritual elevation and perfection of servitude to the All Compassionate they are drawn to the tranquility of the night, seeking solace in the worship of their Creator.

The act of waking in the depths of the night, when the world is cloaked in darkness and asleep, while worldly distractions fade away, is a testament to their sincerity. It's a time devoid of pretense, where believers immerse themselves in heartfelt supplication and connection with the Divine. The Ibad ur Rahman deprive themselves of pleasant sleep at this time and turn to what is of greater value. They understand the significance of these moments, drawing energy and peace from their intimate...

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Do not engage with the ignorant [25:63]

Yesterday we started discussing the qualities of the Ibad ur Rahman [servants of the Most Compassionate] from Chapter 26, Sura Furqan. We said that we need to reflect the quality of compassion within ourselves and then we discussed the first quality from verse 63: the quality of humility.

Today, let us look at verse 63 again and explore the second quality of Ibad ur Rahman which reads:

The servants of the Compassionate are those who walk humbly upon the earth, and when the ignorant address them, say, “Peace.”

The second characteristic of these special servants of the Most Merciful is that when confronted with prideful ignorance, foolishness, aggression, pointless arguments or badgering, they do not engage with such behaviour and simply say: Peace. When people are addressing them with the aim to ridicule them or bait them into arguing, they maintain their emotional balance and do not accept the bait.

We recognize the word “Salaam” as the Muslim greeting of...

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Be servants of the Merciful [25:63]

Today’s reflection is from Sura Furqan and over the next few days, we will look at selections from verses 63-76 in Chapter 25 Sura Furqan, where the Quran talks about the qualities of Ibad ur Rahman or the Servants of the Most Merciful.

The verse reads: The servants of the Compassionate are those who walk humbly upon the earth, and when the ignorant address them, say, “Peace.”

The word “ibad” which is usually translated as “servants” or “slaves” means so much more than that. An Abd is in essence, one who is so aligned to the wishes of the Master that he has no wish or no self of his own.
From head to toe, he is enslaved to the wishes of the one whom he serves. And whom does he serve: The Rahman or the Most Compassionate and most merciful.

It is interesting to note that previously in this Sura, when the disbelievers had been told to submit to the Rahman, they mocked the Holy Prophet [saw] by asking “What is the Ar...

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