Archive for the ‘Metaphors’ Category

Being a beacon of light

Thursday, January 2nd, 2014

Brother, why do people, believers and non-believers, not understand the power of faith?

And question number two: The prostration of the heart. I have read that once the heart prostrates it remains in that position. That the body returns to the upright position but the heart has no fear of death. Can you give me some links to ponder this one?

Lastly, I have caught so many blessings my hands are teaming full. Now…what do I do with the blessings. How do I serve my Lord and Creator such that the blessings are spread as the hadith about the corn…how does one make one blessing turn into the thousands? I am a simple woman. I am not Yusef (Joseph, peace be upon him).

I would respectfully disagree that the heart remains prostrate. Did you know that the word for heart in Arabic, Al-Qalb, literally means that which keeps turning over? Recall the supplication of the Prophet (PBUH), “O Turner of hearts, steady my heart upon Your religion. O Diverter of hearts, direct my heart toward obeying you.” (Narrated in different versions by Umm Salama and Anas and reported and rated between authentic and sound by At-Tirmizhi and Al-Albaani).

I wish the heart could be set once and for all, the task of faith would’ve been easy.

People underestimate the power of faith because it does not work the way they expect! People want things now and faith produces results on God’s own timing. People want specific things, but faith brings them what God has determined to be best for them. “And God knows and you do not know.” (3:66)

The way to turn one blessing into thousands is to “lend God a goodly loan” (57:18). That expression God uses in the Quran several times and it a surprising statement, isn’t it? How do we creatures lend anything to our Creator? And what do we lend Him? He is the owner of everything we’ve got, including our lives. How do you lend someone something he owns and you don’t?

The best way to understand this metaphor is to contemplate an Egyptian proverb that says, “Do the good and throw it in the river!” What the Egyptians mean by that is that we are to do good and not expect anything in return because we know that God will reward us for it sometime somehow. That is the goodly loan. You do not collect interest on it nor recall it nor does it become due any time, but it pays off big time. You just don’t know when or how.

A disproportionate reward?

Tuesday, November 27th, 2012

Hope you are doing good by the grace and blessings of Allah(SWT).

I was asked this question by one of my friends recently and he asked me whether life in paradise is finite or eternal? I gave him the answer saying eternal. But then he put forward a question saying, when this life we live for(say about 60-70yrs) is finite, then how come righteous people are rewarded with infinite time in the paradise? I had given it a thought and I did derive at an answer. But I would like to hear it from you too brother.

Secondly, I would like to know about Islamic rulings on Movies? And related to Music, Is melody, slow songs, love songs, songs that stir your emotions allowed?

Usually, this question is asked about the flip side: is punishment of the hellfire disproportionate? The answer to both sides of this question is no, for the simple reason that “God does not do a spec’s weight of injustice” (4:40).

One may look at a good deed and think that it is rather minor, but God sees it as fabulous, and because He does, He rewards it more generously than the person who did it ever hoped for. The flip side of this is also true: one may say or do something that he doesn’t think is too bad, but God sees it as a grave sin, and because He does, He punishes it far more severely than the person who committed it ever feared.

To give you an example. God says in the holy Quran, “Did you not see how God strikes a parable of a good word like a good tree: its foundation is firm and its branch is in the sky. It delivers its food every season with the permission of its Lord!” (14:24-25). Did you get the reason for the seemingly disproportionate reward? It is a deed that constantly breeds good deeds. Its benevolent effect does not only positively touch the lives of many contemporary people, but goes on and on for all generations to come. That is why God rewards it so much. And bear in mind that the good deed referred to in this verse appears minor. It is just a good word!

As for your question about music, songs and stirring of emotions, it depends on the environment where the music is played, the lyrics of the songs and the emotion that is stirred and what that leads to. Music is neither good nor bad on its own, as Sheikh Shaarawi once said, may God bless his soul. If it is accompanied by lewd or violent acts or lyrics then it’s forbidden. Otherwise, how can it be bad, when we know that it soothes the soul, puts one in a good mood, a romantic mood or a patriotic mood? Documented evidence is plenty that music speeds up healing of wounds and calms the nerves of patients about to undergo surgery! See the Music category for more posts about this.

Likewise are love songs and love movies. It depends on whether they contain indecent lyrics or scenes. The emotions stirred by music, poetry, motion pictures, or art works in general can be benign and can be malicious. Art is neither good nor bad in the absolute. Art stems from love of beauty and awe at God’s creation and it is in fact an unconscious desire to connect with God, as the late President of Bosnia, Alija Izetbegović wrote in his book “Islam and the West.”

Can one sell one’s soul to Satan?

Tuesday, July 26th, 2011

Do you know Lady Gaga? I heard that she worships, or sold her soul to satan and that’s why she’s successful. Is there really something that you sell your soul and become successful? Doesn’t success comes ONLY from Allah (SWT)? Please don’t talk about Lady Gaga at all and that all forms of music is haraam. I want to talk about people being successful by worshiping Shaytan. This not about Lady Gaga but applies to others to.

Not all forms of music is haraam (forbidden). See the Music category for explanation.

“Selling one’s soul to Satan” is a metaphor. It means following Satan’s whispers in violation of God’s teachings. The Quran calls this “being an ally of Satan”, e.g.,

“[Abraham speaking to his father], ‘O my father, do not worship Satan. Indeed Satan has ever been, to the Beneficent, disobedient.
O my father, verily, I fear that there will touch you torment from the Beneficent so you would be to Satan an ally.’ ” (19:44-45)

Abraham’s father did not, to the best of our knowledge, sell his soul to Satan, or engage in what is commonly known as Satanic rituals. However, he worshiped idols. This is what prompted Abraham to plead with his father to stop that blasphemy and follow him instead in worshiping the only true God. Abraham equated worshiping idols to worshiping Satan.

Now, your question was about whether dedication to Satan can result in success. If you define success as material wealth, fame, etc., then the answer is yes! We learn that from the holy Quran,

“So when they forgot that by which they had been reminded, We opened to them the doors of every thing until, when they rejoiced in that which they were given, We seized them suddenly, and they were [then] in despair.” (6:44)

The Quran teaches us to never be impressed with abundance of worldly goods, regardless of its source,

“And do not extend your eyes toward that by which We have given enjoyment to [some] categories of them, [its being but] the splendor of worldly life by which We test them. And the provision of your Lord is better and more enduring.” (20:131)

And that goes double if the source of the wealth is unlawful,

“Say, ‘Not equal are the filthy and the pure, although the abundance of the filthy might impress you.’ So fear God, O you of understanding, that you may be successful.” (5:100)

God teaches us to seek what is good in both this life and the Hereafter, not just what is good in this life. He says,

“…And of the people are [some] who say, ‘Our Lord, give us in [this] the nearest [life]’; they will not have in the lasting [life] not a share.
And of them are [some] who say, ‘Our Lord, give us in [this] the nearest [life] good and in the lasting [life] good, and shield us from the torment of Hell.
Those will have a share of what they have earned, and God is swift in account.” (2:200-202)

Does Islam have a flag?

Tuesday, January 11th, 2011

In my country of India, I see people using green flags on which a crescent and a star are drawn. Is that the flag of Islam? Is there a significance to the color green in Islam?

I asked a scholar and he said that Islam has no flag and green has no significance in Islam.

I beg to differ. Muslim troops always had one fighter carrying Al-Liwaa’, which is a long stick with a flag tied to its top. Its objective was to identify where Muslim troops are, so that other troops can join them. Another job of Haamil-ul-Liwaa’ (flag carrier) was to rally the troops.

Therefore, there was a flag for Muslims.

As for the color green, it had significance to the Arabs. Because it is the color of plantations and grass, it always was a metaphor for prosperity and blessings. For instance, the Prophet (PBUH) said, “The world is green and pretty, and God has appointed you custodians of it to see how you will do.” Reported by At-Tirmizhi, Ibn Maajah, Ibn Hanbal and Ad-Daarimi and rated authentic by Al-Albaani. The Prophet (PBUH) always disliked ugly names, and had the habit of changing them. One day he passed by a town called `Afira (dusty or arid), he renamed it Khadhira (green), reported by Ibn Hanbal and Abu-Daawood and rated authentic by Al-Albaani.

And we know that green is the color of clothes people wear in Paradise (18:31, 76:21), so clearly the color has Islamic meaning.

Does everything have a life?

Monday, January 3rd, 2011

I believe that everything is alive. If I were to stomp on the floor hard with the intention, on the Day of Judgment it will say that I did it. Am I off base?

No. Obviously the life of other creatures differs from our lives, like the life of plants is different from the life of fish, for instance. God tells us in the holy Quran that the sky and the earth “did not weep” for the people of Pharaoh when they drowned! (44:29)

And God tells us that rocks sometimes fall down “out of fear of God” (2:74)

In Chapter 18, the story of Moses and the sage is told. In that story, the Quran says that there was a wall that “wanted” to collapse! From this, some scholars said the wall has a will. Is this true?

And we also know the hadeeth where a palm tree trunk cried when the Prophet (PBUH) got a new pulpit. So, the tree too has feelings!

The wall wanting to collapse is a metaphor! The Arabs used metaphors liberally and frequently, and so does the Quran and the Hadeeth. The metaphor means that the wall was so unstable, it looked like it wants to fall.

Interpreting metaphors literally has been a cause for misunderstanding and even some strange beliefs.

The tree, being a plant, is alive of course. Modern research has shown that plants have feelings. I’m not surprised.

Can we touch Satan, or the angels?

Saturday, December 11th, 2010

Satan whispers to people right? So that means he must come close to our bodies. But what happens if we just randomly extend our hand lets say forward and Satan is standing or whatever in front of you (Scary thought I know); is it possible that we might might touching Satan?.

Same goes for Angels, lets say an Angel is beside you and randomly extend your arm to the side are you actually touching the Angel?

No, we can’t. The reason is that we must have the ability and we don’t. Satan does have the ability to touch our bodies, evidenced by 2:275. Just like the fact that he can see us, but we cannot see him.

Satan is part of us, no? I think there is a hadeeth that says so.

No, he’s not. The hadeeth you refer to tells a metaphor to drive home the point that Satan is ever so close to us, always around trying to tempt us away from God. Metaphors have been used by the Arabs in abundance even in their everyday talk, and any student of Arabic literature and poetry can see that. The Quran used the same literary device often. Taking metaphors literally has unfortunately caused many Muslims to hold weird beliefs, even about God Himself.