Walk with humility [17:37]

Here is today's reflection from the Quran:

In Sura Isra (17:37) Allah savs: Do not strut arrogantly about the earth, you cannot break it open, nor match the mountains in height.

We live in a culture which encourages self-aggrandization and promotes "strutting our stuff". This verse from Sura Isra reminds us that such arrogance in thinking and posture, and self-congratulatory behaviour is not compatible with leading a spiritual life.

Scholars explain that insolence, or arrogance, or undue elation at our powers or capacities, is the first step to many evils. Pride as the old saying is, goes before a fall. Pride and arrogance keeps our focus on ourselves and prevents us from seeing the big picture and from connecting to others in service. It also gives us a very skewed perspective of our own importance and leads us to devalue others.

Keeping a realistic perspective on our strengths and limits becomes harder when you lead a public life as so many of us do on social media and when you...

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Consider what you are sending ahead [59:18]

Here is today's reflection from the Quran:

In Chapter 59 of the Quran, Sura Hashr, Allah says: O you who believe! be careful of (your duty to) Allah, and let every soul consider what it has sent on for the morrow [Holy Quran 59:181

Scholars explain that this verse means that everyone should reflect upon their deeds and evaluate how they may fare on the Day of Judgment. According to the Islamic worldview, our brief existence in this lifetime is an important means to gather provisions for our eternal life which begins after we have left this world.

This verse advises us to reflect on what we are gathering and "sending ahead" for our eternal life. Which of our actions are going to count as provision for our eternal home?

I came across a lovely little book Golden Rules for Everyday Life by Omraam Mikhaël Aïvanhov which explains this idea beautifully.

Although he is not talking about the Hereafter, he advises that we can prepare our future by living well today:

"We never know...

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Practice small acts of kindness [99:7]

Here is today's reflection from the Quran:

In Sura Zilzal, [99:7] Allah says: So. he who has done an atom's weight of good shall see it

Reflection: Scholars explain that this verse (and the one following it) means that on the Day of Judgement Man will recognize the impact of his actions - he will be shown the actual outcome of his good and bad actions on the Day. And the implication is that even the smallest of deeds will incur more reward than we can imagine.

Human beings are naturally shortsighted - we generally have no idea the impact that the smallest of our actions have and this verse reminds us to be mindful of the impact of good actions and to keep doing these seemingly insignificant kindnesses and good deeds even if we don't think they will amount to much.

The virtue of deeds with Him is never in the quantity but is always focused on the intention behind it. In other words, the smallest of good deeds done with a pure intention are weightier than the largest of deeds done for...

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If I strive, He will guide [29:69]

Here is today's reflection from the Quran:

The final ayat of Sura Ankabut reminds 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.

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. [29:69]

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 connected 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 theme of trials and of travels which is found throughout this Sura.

It is telling us...

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Remember the promise you made during the crisis? [29:65]

Continuing with our reflections on verses from Chapter 29 of the Quran, Sura Ankabut [The Spider], in verse 65 Allah says:

So when they ride in the ships they call upon Allah, being sincerely obedient to Him, but when He brings them safe to the land, lo! they associate others (with Him) [Holy Quran 29:65]

Have you ever been on an airplane during severe turbulence? So much turbulence that you begin to think about your mortality. Did you look around and noticed how quiet everyone became? Or perhaps you were too busy praying yourself to even notice what others were doing? Silently praying and perhaps promising God about how you will turn your life around and be faithful to your values only if you are given a second chance at life?

This is the human tendency that the above verse refers to. Human beings instinctively call upon the Creator when the going gets really tough. They turn to Him when others fail them, when the crisis seems far too big and we begin to realize that only Divine...

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Prepare for the test [29:2&3]

Here is today's reflection from the Quran:

In Chapter 29 of the Quran, Sura Ankabut [The Spider], verses 2 and 3, Allah says: Do men think that they will be left alone on saying, we believe, and not be tried? And certainly We tried those before them [Holy Quran 29:2 & 3]

These verses are informing us about a fact of life: there will always be challenges to face and obstacles to overcome. In other words, we should not be surprised when we encounter challenges and upsets to our comfort and ease.

What is the purpose of these trials?

Shows us the extent of our faith: Reveals to ourselves since He already knows. Reveals to us if our faith is Faith of the tongue or faith of the heart.

Building strength and resilience: It is interesting that the word for trial or test in Arabic is fitna, one of the meanings of which is "to melt gold in order to separate its impure parts". Just like the true beauty and strength of gold is revealed once it is put in the furnace, our strength and...

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Attach to strength rather than frailty [29:41]

Here is today's reflection from the Quran:

In Sura Ankabut [The Spider] verse 41, Allah says: 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. [Holy Quran 29:41]

In this verse, Allah warns us of taking guardians other than Allah. He uses the parable of a spider's web to explain how fragile these security systems are.

There are several rather interesting features about the web built by the spider:

It affords 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 which is 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 is this house!

It is build from within: Whist other animals use materials from nature to...

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Recognize the value of the Night of Qadr [97:3]

Here is today's reflection from the Quran:

The grand night is better than a thousand months [Sura Qadr, 97:31]

Laylatul Qadr (the grand night, night of power, night of destiny) is the anniversary of the night when the verses of the Quran were revealed to Prophet Muhammad (saw). This night, the holiest in the Islamic calendar, is a celebration to commemorate the arrival of the final guidance for humankind. While we know that Laylatul Qadr is during the last ten nights of the month of Ramadan, Allah swt in His infinite wisdom, has decided to keep the exact date a mystery.

The verse we are discussing from Sura Qadr today, tells us that Laylatul Qadr, or the Grand Night is better than a thousand months.

In the verse preceding this one, the Quran has invited us to raise our consciousness by asking And what will make you comprehend what the grand night is? [97:2].

The verse [97:3] answers this question by informing us that the Grand Night, or Laylatul Qadr is better, more elevated than...

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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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