Archive for the ‘Environment’ Category

Are we at fault for all bad things?

Saturday, September 14th, 2013

I would like to know why do we tell “Everything good is from Allah SWT and everything bad is from us.”

If you have already answered this question in your older posts, please provide me the link.

You are referring to verse 4:79, but you should also take verse 4:78, which establishes the context, in order to understand it:

“{4:78} Wherever you may be, death will catch up with you, even if you should be within towers of lofty construction. And if good comes to them, they say, “This is [coming] from God”; and if a bad [thing] hits them, they say, “This is [coming] from you.” Say, “All [things come] from God.” So what is [the matter] with those people that they can hardly understand a statement?

{4:79} What comes to you of good is [caused] by God, but what comes to you of bad is [caused] by yourself. And We have sent you, [O Muhammad,] to the people as a messenger, and sufficient is God as Witness.”

Most translations I read of these two verses fail to distinguish between the two different prepositions that God used here, namely من and من عند, which would lead the English reader to view these two verses as contradictory to each other! 4:78 says that God is the source of all things, good and bad, while 4:79 says that only good things are caused by God while bad ones are caused by us. The distinction specified in the Arabic is lost in the translation and leads to a wrong conclusion! Rather, من عند means “comes from the reservoir of” while من means “is caused by.” Thus, to be faithful to the Arabic, and in doing so dispel confusion, I suggest the above translation.

It is particularly interesting to me that in 4:78, God chastises people for not understanding plain talk. That means that this distinction I explained above was clear enough, yet people did not get it. Indeed, the source of all things is God. Who else is or can be a source? But the cause of something is creature action. If we don’t do the wrong things, nothing wrong will happen! The Sunna (way) of God is that everything is in order, working as planned, in harmony, in precise measure and timing, well designed for maximum benefit. That is why God says that the cause of good is He. God does not do anything to ruin His plan or design. But we often do.

Why are there wars, famine, scarcity, disease, poverty, ignorance, etc., in the world? It is all caused by human action. We are all capable of choosing right, but some of us willingly and knowingly choose the wrong. The result is suffering. That is the cosmic law of cause and effect that God created and set forth.

Related post: Why is there suffering, death, evil and injustice in the world?

Focus on the rain

Saturday, January 26th, 2013

I am concerned about a brother. He is on the brilliant end of the scale. He is one of the most compassionate human beings I know. He is a good person. He supports many many people. Should someone need a hand he drops everything and does it for them. He is respected for his skills and accomplished.

He was turned off to Islam. The Muslims are what he has difficulty with. As Yusuf Islam has stated he was glad he became Muslim before he met many!

I make dua (supplication) that Allah subhana wa taala soften this brother’s heart to Islam. He is knowledgeable about the history and politics of Islam. Any suggestions?

The Prophet (PBUH) gave a parable one day. He said that rain falls on the earth carrying blessings but different terrain react differently to those blessings. Fertile soil blooms with flowers and vegetation, rocks are washed but that’s about it, sand brings out palm trees and cactus but not much more, etc. Human reception of God’s blessings is kinda like that. This brother should not be disillusioned because all he sees is rocks. He should instead focus on the rain!

It is understandable to be frustrated by an environment that does not nourish spirituality and righteousness. But this brother should keep in mind that being a Muslim does not mean following other Muslims; being a Muslim means following God and His Messenger. Whether his fellowship consists of him alone, like Abraham’s was at first, or has billions of faithful people, should not be the primary concern of a believer, as nice as it is to have.

I have a feeling that things will be alright. Tests of life are tests of character. They expose a person’s true colors. From what you said, it sounds like the seed of goodness is in this brother. I know someone who once had a bout with doubt and left the faith for several years but came back. That was a much harder test than what this brother is going through. A believer comes out of such tests stronger and so will this brother, insha-Allah (God willing).

On gentleness and responsibility

Monday, May 7th, 2012

We are such passionate beings we forget the message of Allah is one that encourages the best of manners. But it is more than a superficial gesture. We have to recall the gentleness that the Prophet always carried. We forget the strength of being kind and gentle. The refinement it carries. The respect it brings upon the personhood of the gentle being.

One day a man said something abusive to the Prophet (PBUH). `Aa’isha (RA) was standing there and heard it and she returned it in kind! The Prophet (PBUH) promptly said to her, “Easy now, `Aa’isha, God loves gentleness in everything.” Narrated by `Aa’isha and reported by Al-Bukhaari.

Indeed, the Prophet (PBUH) was gentle and friendly even to his enemies. God says in the holy Quran, “So by mercy from God, [O Muhammad], you were lenient with them. And if you had been rude [in speech], thick-hearted (harsh), they would have disbanded from about you. So pardon them, ask forgiveness for them and consult them in the matter. And when you have decided, then rely upon God. Indeed, God loves those who rely [upon Him].” (3:159)

A major role for gentleness is in the call to Islam. God emphasizes that calling people to Islam must be done with “wisdom and good preaching” and that arguing with them must be “in the most beautiful manner” (16:125). Yet, you find some Muslims today that drive away potential converts by the way they behave, by the way they talk and even by the way they look! Why would anybody in their right mind consider giving Islam a first look after seeing what these Muslims do?

That is the opposite of Da`wa (proselytizing)! The Prophet’s advice to his missionaries has been, “Make things easy and don’t make them difficult. Give good news and don’t repulse.” Narrated by Anas ibn Maalik and reported by Al-Bukhaari, and also narrated by Abu-Moosa Al-Ash`ari and reported by Muslim. See how beautiful the Prophet’s advice has been and how many Muslims do the exact opposite!

Most major figures in history are either remembered for being gentle or ruthless. But, we forget that a major component of piety is gentleness.

Did you notice that the gentle are far more remembered? How many people remember Abraham (PBUH) and are named Abraham? How many people remember Nimrod, if that’s even his name?

And my major thought; the one that makes me write to you is our lack of understanding of the covenant we have made with Allah. The one we forget so easily. We proclaimed to Allah subhana wa taala, and let me know if I am wrong, that we would take care of His Earth and all its inhabitants. Is not the English word vicegerent? I wish I knew the Arabic word.

The Arabic word is Khaleefa, which means deputy. A deputy’s job is to take care of things on behalf of the King. God made it clear that man’s job on earth was to be His deputies (2:30). When God appointed David (PBUH) King of Israel, He said to him, “O David, We have made you a deputy in the land, so judge between people with the truth and do not follow desire.” (38:26)

As I mentioned in a previous post, all suffering, misery and imbalance in the world is a direct, predictable result of injustice, which comes from not abiding by the truth and following desire instead.

God praises people who cultivate and improve the earth and chastises those who ruin it and spread mischief.

We do not recall that we are the ones who are responsible for the contents of the Quran. We have forgotten that we are responsible and accountable.

Excellent point. In fact, God vowed to preserve the text of the Quran, but left to us the preservation of its teachings. But even the text of the Quran would not have been preserved if it weren’t for the righteous people who did the work! There were attempts early on to have differing versions of the Quran, however slight, but they all failed, thanks to upstanding leaders such as Uthmaan ibn `Affaan, may God have been pleased with him.

You are indeed correct that we have a covenant with God. I talked about that in this earlier post. God expects us to fulfill all covenants we make. Consider:

“O you who have believed, fulfill contracts.” (5:1)

“And fulfill [the terms of] a treaty. A vow will be accounted.” (17:34)

“And remember the favor of God upon you and His covenant with which He bound you when you said, ‘We hear and we obey’; and watch out for God. Indeed, God knows well what is within.” (5:7)

“They fulfill their pledges and fear a Day whose hardship flares up.” (76:7)

God guarantees sustenance, so why do people die of hunger?

Wednesday, April 6th, 2011

In Surah Hud (Chapter 11), verse 6, Allah says that He has created provisions for all the creatures. I wonder then why people die of hunger? Why is there starvation?

What is the true meaning of this verse?

Starvation is man made. There is plenty of food for all creatures on earth. Did you know that some governments pay farmers NOT to farm? The reason is that if the harvest is plenty, food prices will go down and that would cut into the profits of agricultural and food companies! When people place profits over feeding humanity, imbalance occurs. God’s design has balance.

Verse 11:6 does not guarantee that everyone will find food, it guarantees that God will provide sustenance for all creatures and He has. In the forest, animals do not wake up in the morning to find their daily regimen of food by their nest. They spend all day looking for it. If man takes it away from them for some industrial or military purpose, the animals will die. That is why we humans are Khaleefas (stewards) in the earth. We promised God that we will take care of the earth and its resources that He provided, but look what we’ve done.