Archive for the ‘Poetry’ Category

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.”

Did the Prophet (PBUH) say any poetry?

Wednesday, May 25th, 2011

Very little, and he wasn’t good at it! Which makes the miracle of the Quran that much more remarkable. The undisputed masterpiece of Arabic language and literature was delivered to us by a man who was never known for any particular literary talent, and who could not even read or write!

I recall two lines of poetry that he is reported to have said. The first was during the battle of Uhud, when the polytheists started to gain a foothold and the morale of Muslims declined sharply. The Prophet (PBUH) said this poem line,

أنا النبي لا كذب…أنا ابن عبد المطلب

“I’m the Prophet, no fib…I’m the son of Abdul-Muttalib!”

The second poem was a supplication for his followers,

اللهم إن العيش عيش الآخرة…فاغفر للأنصار والمهاجرة

“O God, the living is the living of the Hereafter…Forgive the supporters (Medinites) and the migrants (Meccans).”

The polytheists of Mecca tried everything to explain away the Quran, which awed them like nothing they have ever heard. They used to sneak up at night near the mosque in order to hear it recited without anybody knowing they were listening! One of the ridiculous accusations they made against the Prophet (PBUH) was that he was a great poet, and that explains the Quran. God ridicules this theory in verse 69:41,

“And it not the utterance of a poet. How little do ye believe!” (69:41)

The Quran is not a poetry book, though it often sounds like poetry. Any student of poetry can quickly dismiss the claim that the Quran is poetry. The polytheists of yesteryear and the antagonists of today all fail to explain away the Quran, or explain how an average man, in terms of literary prowess, was able to produce that masterpiece.

The answer quite simply is what the Quran says about itself. It is a revelation from God and by Him. Muhammad, peace be upon him, simply received it and related it to us exactly as it was revealed to him.

How do we raise our thoughts above desire?

Monday, May 9th, 2011

Our eyes behold an object and we become attached to the object. Thus we are told to lower our gaze. Like a child in a candy store when I see it..I want it. I want to consume it. Often in our lives we see beauty and we become consumed by desiring the object. We can get no rest until it becomes ours.
The question becomes how do we Islamically discipline ourselves to detach from the beholding and gain an understanding that we can love the object but not desire it.
What ayats and hadeedths would help us to refrain from acting on our desires.

Faith in God means trusting His judgment. When He says, “Do this,” believers do it, even if they don’t really want to, because they trust that God would not have ordered them to do if it weren’t beneficial to them. Likewise when God says, “Don’t do that.” Believers refrain from it for the harm they know must be in it.

Thus, it is faith, first and foremost, that leads a person to overcome his or her desire for or against something. People even do that out of perception, so doing it out of faith is all the more reason.

The mechanism that hones self-discipline is commitment to, and steady practice of, religious teachings. Taqwa is its name. The word means keeping a shield between you and God’s displeasure. Sort of like when you say, “Don’t let your guard down!”

Ali ibn Abi-Taalib, may God have been pleased with him, defined and summarized Taqwa succinctly and eloquently in this poem,

الخوف من الجليل
والعمل بالتنزيل
والرضا بالقليل
والاستعداد ليوم الرحيل

Fear of the Majestic One,
Commitment to the Revelation,
Contentment with little,
And preparation for the day of departure!

Knowing that, one can train himself or herself with recitation of the Quran, prayer, fasting, charity, good deeds, supplication, being mindful of God, being on alert from Satan, being conscious of, and in control of, one’s negative emotions, contentment with what life throws one’s way, all the while being mindful of where we are going and how to get the best life in the Hereafter.

There are many verses in the Quran that teach us self-discipline. For instance,
“And do not wish for what God has favored some over others…” (4:32)
“God extends provision for whom He wills and measures [it]. And they rejoiced in [this] the nearest life, while the nearest life is not, compared to the Hereafter, but [brief] enjoyment.” (13:26)
“But as for him who feared the stature of his Lord, and prohibited [his] soul from desire, then the Garden is the abode [for him].” (79:40-41)

The Prophet (PBUH) is reported to have said, “Be content with what God has allotted to you and you will be the richest of people!” Narrated by Abu-Hurayra and reported by Al-Albaani who rated it Hasan (sound).

A poem with a quiz

Monday, April 25th, 2011

This is a humble attempt by me at poetry! I wrote this poem some time ago, inspired by certain verses and hadeeths. Your assignment, should you choose to accept it 🙂 is to figure out whom the poem is talking about and what verses and hadeeths are expressed in the following paragraphs.

Who Am I?
Most people believe that money and power
Are the best things in life.
I believe the best life has to offer
is, without doubt, a good wife.

When good happens,
I’m filled with gratitude.
When bad happens,
I stay in a calm mood.
I always have
a good attitude.

Hearing God’s words,
Makes my heart tremble.
Watching His signs,
Makes me humble.
Walking in His light,
I no longer fumble.

Some see sin a fly
They can swat dead.
I see it a mountain
Ready to fall on my head.

I’m a palm tree reaching high,
High up into the sky.
Yet, I have a deep root,
And every season I give fruit.
So, who am I?

A poem by Imaam Ash-Shaafi`i

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

I know you love poetry, especially by Imaam Ash-Shaafi`i, rahimahullah, so here is one:

عليك بتقوى الله إن كنت غافلا **يأتيك بالأرزاق من حيث لا تدري
وكيف تخاف الفقر والله رازق **فقد رزق الطير والحوت في البحر
ومن ظن أن الرزق يأتي بقوة **ما أكل العصفور شيئاً مع النسر
تزول عن الدنيا فإنك لاتدري **إذا جن عليك الليل هل تعش إلى الفجر
فكم من صحيح مات من غير علة **وكم من سقيم عاش حيناً من الدهر
وكم من فتى أمسى وأصبح ضاحكا **وأكفانه في الغيب تنسج وهو لا يدري

May God reward you well. Lovely poem. Here is its translation:

Commit to consciousness of God, if you’ve been heedless,
He will bring you sustenance from wherever you wouldn’t know.
How can you fear poverty knowing that God is Provider,
He provided for birds and the whale in the sea.
To whomever thought that sustenance is obtained by strength,
A sparrow wouldn’t be eating with eagles!
You depart the world [when you sleep] and you don’t know,
when night covers you, will you live till dawn?
How many healthy ones died without a sickness,
and how many sick ones lived for some time.
And how many a youth laugh night and day,
while their coffin in the Beyond is being sewn and he doesn’t know.

Let the beauty you seek be what you do

Sunday, March 6th, 2011

I’d like to share with you this poem by Rumi, of whom I’m a huge fan, may God bless his soul,

Absorbed in this world,
you’ve made it your burden.
Rise above this world;
There is another vision.
All your life you’ve paid attention to your experiences,
but never to your Self.
Are you searching for your Soul?
Then come out of your prison.
Leave the stream,
and join the river that flows into the Ocean;
It will not lead you astray.
Let the beauty you seek be what you do.

How beautiful! Rumi was indeed a genius poet. Thank you so much for sharing.