Pearls of Peace – An extract from Surah Maidah

pearls7Learning the Quran – a better trade!

Many people do not study Quran or learn the basics of their religion, because they measure it along worldly benefits. People say, “What will I get by studying the Quran? It cannot pay my bills.” When people put the Shariah behind their backs, it is then that they lose peace from their lives. Surrender to Allah (swt), His commands and the teachings of His Prophet (sa) and you will attain peace Insha’Allah. You will see the benefits right away and eventually you will see it was a better trade. May Allah (swt) gives us the ability to surrender to Him and His commands. Ameen.

Then, there are people who conduct debates on Quranic verses. They adopt a pick-and-choose policy in Islam. Sometimes, they would negate the Prophetic narrations and even challenge them. Look at what Allah (swt) says, “This day, I have perfected your religion for you, completed My Favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion. But as for him who is forced by severe hunger, with no inclination to sin (such can eat these above-mentioned meats), then surely, Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (Al-Maidah 5:3)

This was one of the last verses to be revealed. The Jews present at the time of its revelation commented; if this verse was revealed to them, they would have rejoiced and celebrated that day. What is our attitude in contrast? We challenge the Quran and conduct debates on it? Nothing can be added or deleted from what the Prophet (sa) conveyed to us. The creditability of Shariah is valid till the last moment of this world.

Honouring commitments

Once again, we study the obligation of honouring our commitments, “O you who believe! Fulfill (your) obligations.” (Al-Maidah 5:1) We barely reach on the time that we commit for an appointment. So let’s not talk about our very important  official contracts, as it would lead to nothing but shame.

Then Allah (swt) guides us regarding how we should live with one another in a society, “Help you one another in Al-Birr and At-Taqwa (virtue, righteousness and piety); but do not help one another in sin and transgression.” (Al-Maidah 5:2) A person who plots evil plans cannot live in peace. Likewise, a person, who helps the evil person accomplish his evil plans, earns the burden of the sin as the person who initiated it. Why would someone want to waste his time and energy for something that can never be beneficial for him? Allah (swt) says, “O you who believe! Stand out firmly for Allah and be just witnesses and let not the enmity and hatred of others make you avoid justice.” (Al-Maidah 5:8) Even if you have to stand against your own father or your son in justice do not back away. A Muslim cannot love anyone more than he loves Allah (swt). Therefore, nothing should stop him from abiding by what Allah (swt) has commanded.

Salah – the cleansing gift

Many of us treat Salah as a burden; forgetting that it was actually given as a gift to the Prophet (sa). And because we consider it as a burden, our attitude towards Salah is that of laziness. We delay it to the last possible time, and when we get up, we are least particular about our clothes or purity. Standing in Salah is equivalent to standing before Allah (swt). If one knows he is going to have a meeting with Allah (swt), how should his dress be like and what should be his state of cleanliness? Allah (swt) says, “O you who believe! When you intend to offer As-Salat (the prayer), wash your faces and your hands (forearms) up to the elbows, rub (by passing wet hands over) your heads, and (wash) your feet up to ankles.” (Al-Maidah 5:6)

The Prophet (sa) informed us that every time a person performs ablution, his sins are wiped off. If we consciously remember this statement each time we perform Wudhu, would we rush through it? Bilal’s (ra) footsteps were heard in Paradise because he used to perform fresh ablution for each Salah, and also offer two Rakats of ablution before the Salah.

Not only does a person who performs his ablution correctly, feels contentment and cleanliness; but Shaytan too stays away from a person who is in a state of purity. May Allah (swt) help us understand how high the level of ablution is in His Sight. Ameen.

What happens when we hear the word ‘Shariah’?

Images of one eye and amputated arms cross our minds. Subhan’Allah! It is Allah’s (swt) law that we are talking about. Allah (swt) says, “Cut off (from the wrist joint) the (right) hand of the thief, male or female, as a recompense for that which they committed, a punishment by way of example from Allah. And Allah is All-Powerful, All-Wise.” (Al-Maidah 5:38)

Anywhere in the world, where you see the crime rate high, know that their justice system is weak or probably it is almost non-existent. The reason Allah (swt) has decided for harsh punishment for the criminals, is to deter them and others from repeating the crime. One has to set the example. If the law of Allah (swt) was being followed in its actual sense, would the crime rate and the number of rapes be as high as they are today? May Allah (swt) protect our men, women and children. Ameen.

Halal consumption

Allah (swt) then tells us what we should consume, “And eat of the things which Allah has provided for you, lawful and good, and fear Allah in Whom you believe.” (Al-Maidah 5:88) The Halal and Tayyab means no begging, no stealing and no eyeing what your neighbors are eating. Do not put anything and everything that you come across in your mouth. Find out the source and know what you are eating. Some people live on packaged food and do not give much value to fresh vegetables and fruits. Many of us do not even know where our food comes from. If it is a command from Allah (swt) to be particular about what we are eating, shouldn’t we find the source? Secondly, some people consider it piety to consume stale and rotten food. They would not throw if the food has gone bad, but rather eat it and end up with food poisoning. Allah (swt) has not made Haram upon His slaves to eat good food. What matters is that what you are eating is permissible; it is bought with Halal income, and there is no extravagance in your consumption.

Society blues!

He then talks about some of the prevalent ills of the society, “O you who believe! Intoxicants (all kinds of alcoholic drinks), gambling, Al-Ansab, and Al-Azlam (arrows for seeking luck or decision) are an abomination of Shaytan’s (Satan) handiwork. So avoid (strictly all) that (abomination) in order that you may be successful.” (Al-Maidah 5:90)

The problem of drug addiction has gone out of our hands. Little children are drug addicts. Dad is not home because he is busy drinking with his friends. Some people say, “I am only a social drinker.” as if that is something acceptable. Some say, “Well, the entire world is drinking,” Allah (swt) says, “Say (O Muhammad ): Not equal are Al-Khabith (all that is evil and bad as regards things, deeds, beliefs, persons, foods, etc.) and At-Tayyab (all that is good as regards things, deeds, beliefs, persons, foods, etc.), even though the abundance of Al-Khabith (evil) may please you.” (Al-Maidah 5:100)

Accidents and divorces are taking place due to drug addiction and drinking problem. Homes are breaking and families are tearing apart. Quit this evil habit today and attain peace in your life.

If the entire world is following what is sinful and forbidden; neither should we follow them nor be fearful of their reaction, Allah (swt) says, “O you who believe! Take care of your own selves, [do righteous deeds, fear Allah much (abstain from all kinds of sins and evil deeds which He has forbidden) and love Allah much (perform all kinds of good deeds which He has ordained)]. If you follow the right guidance and enjoin what is right (Islamic Monotheism and all that Islam orders one to do) and forbid what is wrong (polytheism, disbelief and all that Islam has forbidden) no hurt can come to you from those who are in error. The return of you all is to Allah, then He will inform you about (all) that which you used to do.” (Al-Maidah 5:105)

Allah (swt) is the only Being Who we should really revere and be fearful of. Nothing and no one else can destruct us except Him. If we are doing what Allah (swt) commanded us to do, and if we have surrendered to Him, He will protect us and look after our well-being. Insha’Allah.

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

“Word Wise”

Word Wise“Mummy!”


“Come Quickly!”


I am sure you have heard these phrases often enough and usually when you are in the middle of something you cannot turn away from: talking on the phone, frying dinner, or taking that much needed shower. If you are like me, you probably respond with:


“I’ll be done in five minutes.”

“Be there in a minute.”

“Give me a second.”

Then you desperately try to finish your work within the next ten minutes and make a mad dash to see, what your little one’s emergency is (usually a squashed bug, a request for a cup of water, or a need for changing shirt because of a spilt cup of water).

This seemed like the usual scheme of things for me, until Mr. Suleman Ahmer (“Timelenders”) stated the obvious: one never completes a shower in five minutes. This seemingly small statement, amongst many words of wisdom and stories of experience (which you can enjoy by attending Mr. Ahmer’s “Strategic Time Management Training Course”), was a splash of cold water in my face. I came to realize, how carelessly we use words, and why our children do not take us seriously.

It all begins with a simple concept: keep your word – all the time, every time. Whenever we say we are going to do something, we are making a promise, without actually saying the word ‘promise’. If we say we are going to finish our work in a minute, it means we will stop our work in a minute. Otherwise, we will break our promise – hence, we should be more realistic regarding the time we need for completing our tasks.

Parents are practical examples that children learn from. They watch us go through our usual mundane routines, adopting things we never give much notice to. Imagine a child, who tosses his book bag on the floor and calls out, “Honey I’m home! What’s for dinner?” Thus, when we break our word, we teach our children several things:

1. Time (especially yours) has no value: Have you ever wondered, why it takes so long for your child to come to you, when you have been yelling: “Come here right now!” for at least five times?

2. You are not to be taken seriously: How many times have our children promised to do (or not to do) something and then done exactly the opposite?

3. You are not to be trusted: Every time you tell your child you will get him something and you do not, you tell her that you cannot be trusted. Do not most children insist that the grown-ups say ‘promise’ in answer to their requests?

4. Allah’s name is to be taken lightly: We use the term ‘Insha’Allah’ to buy time. A familiar scene: at the supermarket, a child is screaming for a toy, and the harassed parent promises to buy it later, Insha’Allah. No longer is such a promise acceptable – the child will yell: “Don’t say Insha’Allah, say yes!”

Breaking promises and teaching our children to do so is not taken lightly by Allah:

“…And fulfil (every) covenant. Verily! the covenant, will be questioned about.” (Al-Isra 17:34)

Prophet Muhammad (sa) said: “The signs of a hypocrite are three: whenever he speaks, he lies; whenever he is entrusted, he proves to be dishonest; whenever he promises, he breaks his promise.” (Bukhari)

Just as dishonesty and lying are major sins, breaking promises falls into the category of a sin, which will be forgiven only on the following conditions:

  1. Ask forgiveness from the person to whom you made the promise,
  2. Ask Allah to forgive you (make Taubah).

This seems easy enough, but before you go and ask your 4-year-old to forgive you, keep in mind that his statement will not be considered valid, till he reaches the age of puberty.

The Prophet (sa) said: “There are three (persons) whose actions are not recorded: a sleeper till he awakes, a boy till he reaches puberty, and a lunatic till he comes to reason.” (Abu Dawood)

A child below puberty is innocent, which is why he may forget the promises you made (though Allah still remembers them). Because of this, we have to wait till his puberty age, before making our apologies.

This puts most of us in a dilemma – if our children are very young, we may have to wait a while before we can speak to them about our broken promises. A brother suggested writing our apologies in our wills, since we cannot predict, if we will still be around, when our children are old enough for forgiving us. Another brother, understanding the gravity of this sin, went to his parents and forgave them for the promises they had broken to him, Subhan’Allah.

Now, that I understand the weight my words hold, I no longer use such phrases as “in a minute” or “give me a second.” I take myself more seriously and make Dua that my children will too. May Allah (swt) help us make realistic promises, keep our word, and teach our children to keep their promises as well. Ameen.

Remember – Promises are meant to be kept.