The Freedom of Responsibility

Yusuf `alayhi sallatu wa sallam (may Allah send his peace and blessings on him) faced many difficulties in life; over a period of decades he was thrown into a well by his brothers as a young boy, sold into slavery, seduced by a beautiful and powerful woman in his youth and then thrown into jail for refusing adultery. In the first two trials he had no choice, but in the last he chose to not commit adultery and was punished for it. Allah describes what follows in these verses:

12:30

“And women in the city said, ‘The wife of al-’Azeez is seeking to seduce her slave boy; he has impassioned her with love. Indeed, we see her [to be] in clear error.’” (Quran, 12:30)

12:31

“So when she heard of their accusation, she sent for them and prepared a banquet for them; she gave each one of them a knife (to cut the foodstuff with), and she said [to Yusuf]: ‘Come out before them.’ Then, when they saw him, they exalted (at his beauty) and (in their astonishment) cut their hands. They said: ‘How perfect is Allah! No man is this! This is none other than a noble angel!’” (Quran, 12:31)

12:32

“She said, ‘That is the one about whom you blamed me. And I certainly sought to seduce him, but he firmly refused; and if he will not do what I order him, he will surely be imprisoned and will be of those debased.’” (Quran, 12:32)

Here we see the stark distinction between Yusuf (as) and the wife of the `Aziz. While Yusuf (as) feels a strong sense of responsibility for his actions, the wife of the `Aziz actually tries justifying her attempt. When word got around that she tried to seduce Yusuf (as), she calls the women to her home and shows them Yusuf (as). Once they have become bewildered and shocked at his beauty, she simply says: “That is the one about whom you blamed me.” In other words, “Now do you understand why I did it? He’s just too beautiful!”

This shifting of blame is problematic, and we naturally tend to fall into it as humans. Although we might seem stressed when we vent about things we have to do or things that we cannot do, many times we are just making excuses.

This Ramadan, it is time to stop making excuses every time we fail to utilize the opportunities this blessed month provides us with. It is time to take full advantage. With a sincere intention and some effort, Allah will make a way out for you just as He granted freedom and success to Yusuf (as) later in the story. Pick your friends wisely and get cracking!

Forgiveness : The Glue for a Broken Heart

Crash.

Bang.

Smash.

‘What was that?!

That was the sound of a once sound heart, shattering into a million pieces. Imagine you are the person carrying that heart: covered in pain and soaked in tears. Maybe you don’t have to imagine, because maybe that is your heart.

We are the broken-hearted.

Betrayal, oppression, deception, whatever it may be that happened to us—the result is the same, a broken heart at the hand of a human. A broken heart that feels like it can never be fixed, and it was entirely someone else’s fault. It would be enough if they had just hurt us, and all we had to do is deal with the pain that came from their actions, but no. Rather, the hurt, the pain, the brokenness…it brought out the worst in us, allowing us to see our own faults, and painful ones at that. How do we go on? How do we move on with life and shift our focus back to the One who deserves it? How do we stop obsessing over the wrongs that occurred and start focusing on the only One who should be obsessed over? One word: Forgiveness.

When a person is soaked in sin and wants to return to Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala (exalted is He), they begin with repentance. The person whole-heartedly turns to Allah, asking Him to forgive utterly and completely, even though the asker may not be deserving. Likewise, the path back to Allah (swt) after a severely broken heart, at the hand of a human, is forgiveness.

When it comes to forgiveness, the key is shifting how we see forgiveness. As always, Allah (swt) has given us a beautiful tool to make this shift, and that is the story of Prophet Yusuf `alayhi as-salaam (peace be upon him).

Of the many fruitful parts of the story of Prophet Yusuf (as), is that of his being wronged by the wife of his master. She attempted to seduce our beloved Prophet Yusuf (as). Not only did she attempt to seduce him, but she landed him in jail by blaming him of the unthinkable instead of taking the blame! IMAGINE! This is a woman whom, as the wife of his master, he was supposed to be able to trust. This was a woman whom he served during the day. Yet when her desires took over, she wronged him many times over!

Despite all of this, Prophet Yusuf (as) did not act wrongfully, nor did he hold a grudge. Why? Prophet Yusuf (as) knew the reality of forgiveness. When all was exposed and the truth revealed, Yusuf (as) made a revolutionary statement. He said: “I do not free myself from all blame. Truly, the nafs (base self) is inclined to evil, except for those who my Lord grants His Mercy. Truly, my Lord is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.”

Allahu Akbar! (God is Greater!) A huge, humbling, life-changing lesson we can take from his statement is: You are not the oppressor in this situation only because Allah (swt) has blessed you with His Mercy. Every soul has the ability to wrong others, every soul has the ability to be the oppressor, and only Allah’s mercy prevents that.

The next time we begin to feel this immense and absolute anger towards the person who has harmed us—let’s make that shift, and forgive. Forgive the one who has wronged us not because that person deserves it; rather, forgive them as a sign of gratitude to Allah (swt). Forgive as a symbol of our thanking Him for blessing us to be of those who have never thought of hurting a person in the manner that we have had to endure. Forgive as a symbol of our thanking Him for making us the oppressed and not the oppressors. There is no sin in being the oppressed; rather, Allah tells us that He is with the one who has been wronged and is constantly answering their du`a’ (supplication). But what of the oppressor? They have the anger of Allah (swt) and the displeasure of Allah (swt). And realize that the one who has oppressed you has oppressed themselves more. For it is that person who will have to stand in front of Allah (swt) on the Day of Judgment and have their oppression accounted for, if they are not of those who have repented. So on that Day, they will be their own greatest victims.

Forgive as a statement that says, ‘Oh Allah I’m not forgiving them for their own sake, rather I am forgiving them as a sign of gratitude to You for steering me clear of those desires. I’m forgiving them out of my love for You. I’m forgiving them because I know You love it when a slave of Yours is merciful to others and I want to be of the ones that You love. My desires tell me to wish evil for them and to hold this grudge, but I put You over my own desire and I forgive them.’

Pray for those who hurt you. Pray for those who do not accept you. Love them for the sake of God. Pray that they realize their wrongs before they face their Lord. Pray that no one ever has to go through the same thing you did at the hands of this person. Love your oppressor for the sake of God, because love is the only emotion that is strong enough to penetrate a hardened heart, but know it will take time. Perhaps years, but you will be a better person because you chose to take the higher route: Forgiveness. 

An Aspect of the Quran’s Miraculous Nature

An Aspect of the Quran’s Miraculous Nature
Dr. Abu Ameenah Bilal Philips

For a scripture to qualify as divinely revealed it must be totally accurate in its descriptions of reality: the past, the present and the future. The Quran has many stories about previous prophets and their peoples. Some of these stories have elements in them that can be checked out for their accuracy. One example of the Quran’s precision in its historical descriptions is in the story of Prophet Yusuf (Joseph), who was sold as a slave in Egypt, but rose to become an important official in the government, which made it possible for him to bring his whole family to live there in honor.

Most historians agree that the entry of the Children of Israel into Egypt occurred when the northern half of the country was ruled by the Hyksos, Semitic invaders who were the first non-Egyptians to rule that country since the rise of the Old Kingdom. The Quran always calls the Egyptian ruler who confronted Moses by the title of “Pharaoh.” Every Egyptian ruler was called by this title starting from the reign of Amenhotep IV in the 14th century BC, but not before that. Yusuf lived at least two hundred years before Amenhotep IV. The Quran consistently refers to the ruler in Yusuf’s time, as “al-malik,” the king:

“The king [al-malik] said, ‘Bring him to me.’…” [Surah Yusuf 12:50]

It should be noted that the Bible refers to the ruler of Joseph’s time as “Pharaoh,” which was an anachronism inserted by the scribes who wrote the books of the Old Testament centuries after Moses.

Bucaille, Maurice, Moses and Pharaoh: The Hebrews in Egypt, p. 176. Tokyo: NTT Mediascope, 1st ed. 1994.

This part of the chapter is based on Dr. Maurice Bucaille’s book “Moses and Pharaoah. The Hebrews in Egypt”

There Will Come Seven Hard Years

There Will Come Seven Hard Years
Source : Eden Books 1998, Shaykh Muhammad Al-‘Abdah – On Contemporary Dawah

When an opportunity arises whereby the Call to Allah becomes an active process, wherein Callers may forge links with the people and guide them, why isn’t such an opportunity exercised by those best capable of succeeding?

The story of Allah’s Prophet Yusuf (peace be upon him) showed an out-standing far-sightedness when he wisely utilised the present period of prosperity to prepare for the coming period of austerity. He did not deceive himself or the people in thinking or promising that things were improving constantly with-out any setbacks.

Muslims believe that Allah does test the believers with infertile years of grimness so that they might emerge from such a period with more clarity and purity. The Muslims might also emerge with a better comprehension and an awareness that might make them more able to use every opportunity under every circumstance to take assured steps forward. We know what our enemies mischievously plot against us day and night, as well as those who actually harm and oppress Muslims. So when Allah takes those persons away, Muslims ought to take such an opportunity and multiply their efforts and solidify their positions.

The peace-treaty of al-Hudaybiyah was a golden opportunity which the Messenger of Allah best used. He agreed to Quraysh’s conditions and the Muslims were subsequently able to deliver the Message of their Lord amongst the tribes unhindered. In a short period of time, the number of Muslims multiplied so that while the number of the companions who witnessed al-Hudaybiyah was 1,400, this total rose magnificently to 10,000 who witnessed the conquest of Makkah two years later. It was that victorious treaty of al-Hudaybiyah which Allah described in: “Verily, [O Muhammad] We have laid open before you a manifest victory.” [Surah Al Fath 48:1] Indeed, it was a victory through the opportunity it gave for the Muslims to proclaim Da’wah leading to the people embracing Islam in droves.

Truly, the invitation to Islam in a calm atmosphere of freedom of speech and discussion, through the establishment of proof and evidence coupled with fine speech will undoubtedly have a great effect amongst people. This will occur as truth vis-a-vis falsehood has a distinctively innate strength. If the Da’wah was pleasantly carried out and the Caller possessed the relevant knowledge, was aware of Islam’s general goals and was alert to his surroundings, the results will be pleasing by the will of Allah.

The constant wasting of opportunities through our simplicity of thinking will inevitably end in dismay and displeasure. Particularly if we believe that a period of calm will eternally last, and that things are heading in the direction of our choice. Occasionally, it is observed that our efforts and energies are dissipated in very pale and insignificant actions, and so the days and years pass by without the establishment of a satisfactory process to which our future generations can add and contribute to.

The Likeness of Ramadan and Prophet Yusuf (AS)

“The month of Ramadan to the other months is like Yusuf (AS) to his brothers. So, just like Yusuf was the most beloved son to Ya’qub (AS), Ramadan is the most beloved month to Allah.

A nice point for the nation of Muhammad (صلى الله عليه و سلم) to ponder over is that if Yusuf (AS) had the mercy and compassion to say  “There is no reproach for you today…” (Surah Yusuf 12:92), Ramadan is the month of mercy, blessing, goodness, salvation from the Fire, and Forgiveness from the King that exceeds that of all the other months and what can be gained from their days and nights.

Another nice point to think about is that Yusuf’s brothers came to rely on him to fix their mistakes after all those they had made. So, he met them with kindness and helped them out, and he fed them while they were hungry and allowed them to return, and he told his servants: “Carry their belongings with you so that they don’t lose them.” So, one person filled the gaps of eleven others, and the month of Ramadan is likewise one month that fills the gaps of our actions over the other eleven months. Imagine the gaps and shortcoming and deficiency we have in obeying Allah!

We hope that in Ramadan, we are able to make up for our shortcomings in the other months, to rectify our mistakes, and to cap it off with happiness and firmness on the Rope of the Forgiving King.

Another point is that Ya’qub (AS) had eleven sons who were living with him and whose actions he would see at all times, and his eyesight did not return because of any of their clothing. Instead, it returned due to Yusuf’s shirt. His eyesight came back strong, and he himself became strong after he was weak, and seeing after he was blind. Likewise, if the sinner smells the scents of Ramadan, sits with those who remind him of Allah, recites the Quran, befriends on the condition of Islam and faith, and avoids backbiting and vain talk, he will (by Allah’s Will) become forgiven after he was a sinner, he will become close after he was far, he will be able to see with his heart after it was blind, his presence will be met with happiness after it was met with repulsion, he will be met with mercy after he was met with disdain, he will be provided for without limit or effort on his part, he will be guided for his entire life, he will have his soul dragged out with ease and smoothness when he dies, he will be blessed with Forgiveness when he meets Allah, and he will be granted the best levels in the Gardens of Paradise.

So, by Allah, take advantage of this greatness during these few days and you will soon see abundant blessing, high levels of reward, and a very long period of rest and relaxation by the Will of Allah.

By Allah, this is the true relaxation…”

[‘Bustan al-Wa’idhin wa Riyad as-Sami’in'; p. 213-214]

 

Source : http://iskandrani.wordpress.com/

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