Pearls of Peace – An extract from Surah Ali’ Imran

pearlIn this Surah we learn a powerful Dua that is a source of our peace, “(They say): “Our Lord! Let not our hearts deviate (from the truth) after You have guided us, and grant us mercy from You. Truly, You are the Bestower.”(Al-Imran 3:8)

After you have been guided, don’t return to your old state. People start offering five daily prayers, and then suddenly drop down to four, then three, to eventually abandoning it. People have been modestly dressed for years but due to peer pressure or Shaytan’s whisperings they abandon the good dress for immodest clothing. Don’t regress. Move forward and earn the pleasure of Allah (swt).

Who can earn Allah’s (swt) pleasure?

As we are talking about earning the pleasure of Allah (swt), let’s learn about the ones who can earn it. Allah (swt) says, “(They are) those who are patient ones, those who are true (in Faith, words, and deeds), and obedient with sincere devotion in worship to Allah. Those who spend (give the Zakat and alms in the Way of Allah) and those who pray and beg Allah’s Pardon in the last hours of the night.” (Al-Imran 3:17) These are the ones who will attain Paradise – the home of eternal peace and contentment. May Allah (swt) make us amongst them. Ameen.

The honour lies with whom?

People search for honour and dignity through various means. Some earn it through their academic accolades and others through their financial status. Honour and dignity is in the Hands of Allah (swt). “Say (O Muhammad (sa)): “O Allah! Possessor of the kingdom, You give the kingdom to whom You will, and You take the kingdom from whom You will, and You endue with honour whom You will, and You humiliate whom You will. In Your Hand is the good. Verily, You are Able to do all things..” (Al-Imran 3:26).

You want honour? Ask Allah (swt), Al-Muiz. When Allah (swt) honours people with respect and dignity; they sometimes become arrogant. Remember if He has given you He can snatch it away at any time. Have little earned from honest living and be content with that. Don’t cheat or look down upon others.

Love Allah (swt) and His Messenger (sa)

The discussion then changes to an important matter. We all claim our love for Allah (swt) but how many of us actually fulfill the conditions of this love? Allah (swt) says, “Say (O Muhammad (sa) to mankind): “If you (really) love Allah then follow me (i.e. follow the Quran and the Sunnah), Allah will love you and forgive you of your sins. And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.”” (Al-Imran 3:31)

Loving Allah (swt) is one thing but when Allah (swt) loves a person, do you think that person will ever lose contentment? How does one know if Allah (swt) loves me or not? The sign of Allah’s (swt) love is, when one follows the footsteps of His Messenger (sa). May Allah (swt) grant us His love, and may we be among those who are resurrected with Muhammad (sa). Ameen.

Acceptance of Dua – based on strong faith in Allah (swt) and His will

Story of prophet Zakariya (as)

A beautiful incident is narrated from which many people derive comfort. People are married for years without children, and this is the Will of Allah (swt). May He make matters easier for them. Ameen. Allah (swt) mentions the story of Prophet Zakariya (as). Prophet Zakariya (as) and his wife were really old and they didn’t have any children. He was assigned the care of Maryam (as). “So her Lord (Allah) accepted her with goodly acceptance. He made her grow in a good manner and put her under the care of Zakariya (Zachariya). Every time he entered Al-Mihrab to (visit) her , he found her supplied with sustenance. He said: “O Maryam (Mary)! From where have you got this?” She said, “This is from Allah.” Verily, Allah provides sustenance to whom He wills, without limit.” (Al-Imran 3:37)

Witnessing this miracle before his eyes, prophet Zakariya (as) got encouragement to ask Allah (swt) for a child. If He can provide Maryam (as) with off season fruits, then He can certainly provide him with a child.

The hopeful Dua of Zakariya (as)

“At that time Zakariya (Zachariya) invoked his Lord, saying: “O my Lord! Grant me from You, a good offspring. You are indeed the All-Hearer of invocation.”” (Al-Imran 3:38)

Moral of the story

This teaches us an important lesson that is whenever you see the Qudra (power) of Allah (swt), make Due for yourself. That is a time of acceptance of Dua. The next time you see someone bestowed by Allah (swt) or when you look at the mountains, the trees, the fruits and the sea; don’t forget to make Dua for whatever tiniest issue you have. Allah’s (swt) majestic creation should strengthen our Iman in Him.

Build relationships with true promises

One cause of lacking peace in our lives is over committing or not fulfilling our covenants. We fail to honour our contracts and commitments and that results in a great disaster. We risk our reputation and lose crucial relationships. When you promise something then deliver it. If you cannot deliver it do not promise.

Now emphasis is on keeping the promises, Allah (swt) says, “Verily, those who purchase a small gain at the cost of Allah’s Covenant and their oaths, they shall have no portion in the Hereafter (Paradise). Neither will Allah speak to them, nor look at them on the Day of Resurrection, nor will He purify them, and they shall have a painful torment.” (Al-Imran 3:77) Be as truthful and sincere as you can be in honoring the covenant of Allah (swt). We don’t wish to be among those with whom He will neither speak  nor look at them.

Break-free from the love of the material world

What happens when your child drops your S4 and the screen breaks? Does all hell break loose over a cell phone? How do you react when your maid burns your brand new dress while ironing it? Many people beat their children and servants over a small mistake to the point that it results in their death. Allah (swt) instructs us not to attach ourselves to the material possessions of this world.

He says, “By no means shall you attain Al-Birr (piety, righteousness, etc., it means here Allah’s Reward, i.e. Paradise), unless you spend (in Allah’s Cause) of that which you love; and whatever of good you spend, Allah knows it well.” (Al-Imran 3:92)

Your spirituality is your wealth

If your wealth is affecting your spirituality, then share it with those who don’t have it. Your heart will be at peace and make you humble. If our wealth is making us haughty and egotistical, then certainly it’s not worth it. The only time we should be really proud of ourselves is when in the Hereafter, we are handed our book in the right hand and we are given the glad tiding of Jannah. May Allah (swt) make us of those who are pleased with Him and He is pleased with them. Ameen.

Ready for the inevitable?

The various reminders of death in the Quran tell us that we need to be prepared for death at all times. Allah (swt) says, “O you who believe! Fear Allah (by doing all that He has ordered and by abstaining from all that He has forbidden) as He should be feared. (Obey Him, be thankful to Him, and remember Him always), and die not except in a state of Islam (as Muslims) with complete submission to Allah.” (Al-Imran 3:102).

How does one prepare for death? By submitting to Allah (swt); submitting to whatever He has commanded us to do and whatever He has commanded us to abstain from.

Being compassionate is our Deen

Allah (swt) says, “You are the best of peoples ever raised up for mankind; you enjoin Al-Maruf (i.e. all that Islam has ordained) and forbid Al-Munkar (all that Islam has forbidden), and you believe in Allah.” (Al-Imran 3:110).

This means a believer is not selfish. He is not just concerned about his Hereafter but also encourages others to do good and stops them from committing wrong. Similarly, a believer does not make fun of someone who is going through a trial; it is a trait of an enemy to laugh at someone’s misery.

Allah (swt) says, “If a good befalls you, it grieves them, but if some evil overtakes you, they rejoice at it. But if you remain patient and become Al-Muttaqun, not the least harm will their cunning do to you. Surely, Allah surrounds all that they do.,” (Al-Imran 3:120).

Here vs. Hereafter

Why do you want to risk your Akhirah over a temporary situation of this world? If a person is going through distress, we don’t say, “He deserved it.” Why if Allah (swt) makes that happen to us? A believer lives between the state of fear and hope at all times. He is neither too content with his life nor negligent. He certainly isn’t jealous of others. He knows if Allah (swt) can provide a fellow human being with something then He can certainly provide him as well.

May Allah (swt) humble our hearts and not make this world the main focus of our lives. May we be more worried about the Hereafter then the petty issues of this world. May Allah (swt) grant us peace. Ameen.

(Adapted from Mufti Ismail Menk’s “Pearls of Peace” series, Cape Town, Ramadan 2013. The lecture can be listened to at this link.)

 

Protein Synthesis in the Cell is a Miracle

human cell2Every process in the body takes place by way of proteins. For that reason, every cell needs protein at every moment. As a result, protein needs to be manufactured in the body every second.The place in the cell where protein is manufactured is the DNA.

When any of the 100 trillion or so cells in the body needs protein, a message is sent to the DNA by way of hormones.The proteins in DNA, in other words enzymes, go into action in order to take the code necessary for the protein to be manufactured from the DNA.The way those enzymes find the information needed to be able to manufacture a single protein is like trying to find a single page in an encyclopedia of 1,000-thousand volumes.

That part of the DNA containing this code is opened up. Enzymes open up the relevant part of the helix and hold it open as far as the end of the section from where the relevant code will be extracted. There is no need for any other sections to be opened up.While these enzymes hold open the edges of the section needed for the code, another enzyme arrives on the scene and produces a copy of the section in question.The extracted copy is called the “messenger RNA”. The messenger RNA sets out for the factory where the protein is to be manufactured.

The messenger RNA carefully transports the copy and leaves the nucleus. There are gatekeepers waiting at the exit from the nucleus during this stage. They decide what can enter the nucleus or not and open the gate accordingly. The gate is always opened for messenger RNA.

Not a single enzyme fails to reach its target and objective; production never goes wrong inside the factory; the special folding of the new protein chain is never forgotten; the messengers never get lost.

The messenger RNA takes the copy and departs the nucleus, carrying the copy directly to the ribosome, the factory where the new protein is to be manufactured.The messenger RNA binds to the relevant part of the ribosome and begins preparations for the manufacture of new protein. In order for production to take place in the ribosome, the factory in other words, raw materials have to be brought in and installed in line with the code.

These raw materials are amino acids. These are brought in by “transfer RNA”. The amino acids are brought in and establish a glorious protein chain, consisting of at least a hundred sequences each.Amino acids bind to one another with special chemical bonds known as “Peptide bonds”. These chemical bonds are some of the most powerful bonds of all. Proteins therefore have a very sound structure and are not easily damaged by external factors.

The way these amino acids are arranged determines the nature of that protein. It is therefore exceedingly important which amino acid follows which in the sequence. Enzymes never make a mistake as they establish the sequence. After the new protein chain has been manufactured, it is sent to a special section in the factory that is the ribosome, where it assumes a special three-dimensional form through being folded and pleated in various ways.

This three-dimensional shape created by this folding and pleating determines the nature of the protein. Unless it is given a special shape the protein cannot function, even if the sequence is completely accurate.When the chain assumes its three-dimensional form, the process is now complete. A new protein has been built. When the new protein departs this special section, an enzyme arrives on the scene. It picks up the newly constructed protein and carries it right to where it is needed in the cell.

The protein synthesis process, described here is in very general terms. It takes place in every cell2000- two thousand times per second. All the components know what to do as they carry out the process. Not a single enzyme fails to reach its target and objective; production never goes wrong inside the factory; the special folding of the new protein chain is never forgotten; the messengers never get lost. The cell is aware of the importance and delicate nature of this production at every moment.

every part of the cell acts under our Lord’s inspiration at every moment. Every enzyme, every amino acid and every atom that goes to make them up is a manifestation of Almighty Allah’s (swt) infinite power

They know, because every part of the cell acts under our Lord’s inspiration at every moment. Every enzyme, every amino acid and every atom that goes to make them up is a manifestation of Almighty Allah’s (swt) infinite power and omniscience. Everything has bowed its head to our Almighty Lord, Lord and Ruler of all the worlds, He Who is omnipresent at all times. Everything is in His knowledge and all things have submitted to Him. Creating all these worlds from nothing is the easiest matter for Allah (swt) the Merciful.

 “To Him belongs all that is in the heavens and all that is on the earth. And verily, Allah He is Rich (Free of all wants), Worthy of all praise.” (Al-Hajj 22:64)