Pearls of Peace – An extract from Surah Baqarah 2

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Uzma Awan

Uzma Awan is a freelance writer. She writes on sustainability and Qur’an lessons and reflections.

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pearls6We hope that the first fast of this blessed month of Ramadan has gone smoothly. When you feel the hours are too long think, of the places where people fast for eighteen or even more hours. May Allah (swt) allow us to make the best of this month, ameen. Let’s dive into some more pearls of peace from the Book of peace.

Tests for the best!

Allah (swt) informs us that He is definitely going to test us with different types of tests. He says, “And certainly, We shall test you with something of fear, hunger, loss of wealth, lives and fruits, but give glad tidings to As-Sabirin (the patient ones etc.)” (Al-Baqarah 2:155)

Sometimes fear might over take us. Sometimes we might suffer loss in our business. We may not have enough wealth. We may lose our dear ones; our parents, our spouse and our children. Sometimes the production will be less. But who will have peace when being tested? Who, when afflicted with calamity, say: “Truly! To Allah we belong and truly, to Him we shall return.” (Al-Baqarah 2:155-156)

Surrender to the will of Allah (swt)

They are those who are contented with the decree of Allah (swt). They know that ‘we belong to Allah (swt)’ and everything that we have belongs to Allah (swt). When a calamity strikes them, they are quick to say, “Inna lillahi wa-innailahi rajioon” and move on with their life. If we adopt this approach, we will achieve peace. But if, we are someone not prepared to be tested, then what will we do in the hereafter? How will the believers be distinguished from the disbelievers if we are not prepared to be tested?

It is similar to going to school every day, attending classes and taking lectures. But when exams come we walk out of the examination hall saying, “I don’t want to be tested.” That indicates we wasted our time at school.

Quran’s main addressee is human being; therefore it holistically attends to every topic that is related to human life. If we follow the instructions laid out in the Quran, we will acquire the peace that we are searching for.

Thank Allah (swt) and eat from what is lawful

In this Surah, Allah (swt) talks about what we should eat. He says, “O you who believe! Eat of the lawful things that We have provided you with, and be grateful to Allah, if it is indeed He Whom you worship.” (Al-Baqarah 2:172) Stay away from unlawful and impure things. Eat Halal (lawful) and Tayyab (pure) and be thankful to Allah (swt). This will be the quality of someone who truly considers Allah (swt) as his Lord, Nourisher, Provider and Sustainer. People are dying out of hunger and drought while our houses are stocked with food and water, Alhamdulillah. May He make us His thankful servants. Ameen. The more we appreciate Allah’s (swt) gifts upon us, the more thankful we would be.

Strict avoidance of the Haram

Right after this verse  He warns us to stay away from the Haram, “He has forbidden you only the Maytatah (dead animals), and blood, and the flesh of swine, and that which is slaughtered as a sacrifice for others than Allah (or has been slaughtered for idols, etc., on which Allah’s Name has not been mentioned while slaughtering).” (Al-Baqarah 2:173)

This is just a small list of items that we are prohibited to eat. Haram affects our entire system, more details in the later section, Insha’Allah.

Fasting brings piety

Allah (swt) then mentions the month of Ramadan in the Quran, “O you who believe! Observing As-Saum (the fasting) is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become Al-Muttaqun” (Al-Baqarah 2:185)

Ramadan – the month of the divine revelation

This is the only month of the Islamic calendar which is mentioned this way. This is the month in which the Book of guidance was sent down by Allah (swt). Thus during this month we dedicate specific time for Quran. The Quran recitors should try their best to recite the Quran in such a manner that every letter is clear while those who are still learning the Quran should search for places where they can go and learn the Quran.

Go fasting, go healthy!

In the month of Ramadan, we not only fast for the sake of Allah (swt) but also improve our health. Fasting helps us to detoxify our bodies, physically as well as spiritually; according to a finding supported by Science. In the 1960s, the Stanford University campus conducted an interested experiment at a pre-school. The ability of four-year olds to resist temptation was tested. A marshmallow was placed in a room and the children were told that they could have the marshmallow immediately, or if they waited until the tester had run an errand and returned, then they could have two marshmallows. Some children waited for two marshmallows, while others ate one immediately. These same children were followed over 14 years to see how they managed in life.

Those who had resisted temptation at four were now, as adolescents, more socially competent, personally effective, self-assertive, and better able to cope with the frustrations of life. The third or so who grabbed the marshmallow, however, tended to have fewer of these qualities and shared instead a relatively more troubled psychological portrait. Surprisingly, those who had waited patiently at four were far superior as students to those who acted on whim. Moreover, they had dramatically higher scores in their SAT tests. There is perhaps no physiological skill more fundamental than resisting impulse. It is the root of all emotional self-control, since all emotions, by their very nature, lead to one or another impulse to act. (Coleman, Daniel, Emotional Intelligence, London: Bloomsbury, 1996, pp. 81-82.)

People stop eating certain foods to detoxify their bodies and go on a diet. Allah (swt) gives us an entire month to detoxify and get back in shape. But sadly, we treat the month of fasting as a month of feasting. Women are busy in the kitchen the entire day making delicacies for Iftar, leaving no time or energy to stand up in Taraweeh and worship the One Who provided them Rizq. It seems as if this is the only month when we get to eat something.

Yes, Allah (swt) has called cooking an act of worship when done with the intention of feeding one’s family. However, we also need to keep ourselves in check. When we begin wasting our time in decorating food then it is no more an act of worship. Most often, the decoration done so precisely and artistically goes to waste. No one eats the carved salad or the chocolate sauce sprinkled on the platter. We are wasting what we have been given in abundance while there are people dying out of hunger.

Make invocations before Fajr (at Sahoor)

Allah (swt) then mentions how close He is to us, “And when My slaves ask you (O Muhammad (sa)) concerning Me, then (answer them), I am indeed near (to them by My Knowledge).” (Al-Baqarah 2:186)

When one senses the closeness of Allah (swt), he is at peace. Allah’s (swt) closeness protects one from evil and sins. Allah (swt) continues, “I respond to the invocations of the supplicant when he calls on Me (without any mediator or intercessor). So let them obey Me and believe in Me, so that they may be led aright.”

Everyone is calling Allah (swt) at the same time for different things, and Allah (swt) is listening to each one us, giving us what we have invoked Him for, at the right time. Never underestimate calling out to Allah (swt). When you get up for Sahoor, remember Allah (swt). Keep your Dua list handy.

The hidden truth about our needs

An overlooked gift of Allah (swt) to us is that He keeps us in need. Had He not kept us yearning, would we have remembered Him? May Allah (swt) fulfill our needs. Ameen.

Bribery – a major sin

Allah (swt) then warns us of bribery, And eat up not one another’s property unjustly (in any illegal way e.g. stealing, robbing, deceiving, etc.), nor give bribery to the rulers …” (Al-Baqarah 2:188)

Sheikh Muhammad Salih Al-Munajid explains, “Bribery means giving money to someone through whom a person takes something that has no right to, such as bribing a judge to judge in his favour wrongfully, or bribing an official to give him preference over others, or to give him something to which he is not entitled. Bribery is a major sin, because the Prophet (sa) said: ‘May the curse of Allah (swt) be upon the one who pays a bribe and the one who takes it.’ (Ibn Majah) It must be known bribery is only permissible when a person cannot attain his rights in any other way. But in that case it is Haram for the one who takes it but not the one who gives it.”

Dishonest transactions/ dealings

Similarly, if you are selling something, do not deceive someone by misquoting the price or selling them a damaged good. If there is some defect be honest and let them know. Charge an honest profit because if the buyer finds out your products are over-priced, he is not going to return for another purchase and also give negative feedback to others.

Worse, the person can curse you because of your lying. Are you willing to risk your peace and contentment for a little amount of money? Honesty builds trust and strengthens relationships. It will also give you a competitive edge over others.

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