Pre-requisites for the Quranic Reforms

quran-2Written by Mrs. Sumayya Ramzan (Kuwait). Translated by Raziuddin Syed (National Academy of Islamic Research Karachi)

The Holy Quran inculcates in a man’s personage that revolutionary reformation which moulds him into a firmament, absolute new to the world; and later, enables him to greet the change as his sole remedy. Only then the repercussions manifest, and only then the world gets a real behavioural change.

Actual Quranic models of such transformation, concerning the entire humanity, are the pious and committed companions of the Holy Prophet of Allah (sa) who had in their dark ages been deeply accustomed to pass their lives in sheer ignorance and bloodshed. But when moulded in the mint of Quran, they proved to be such nice people that mankind still feels proud of them.

Who can evaluate the vigour and capability this great Book carries in itself to develop the marvelous changes needed in the mankind for a healthy and civilized society? Who could ever imagine of people settled in deserts, who were indigent, bare footed, poorly dressed, uneducated, carried just a marginal intellect, and were never counted among the super powers of the then world, could escalate to the skies right from the dust? Noteworthy is the phenomenon that this entire change appeared in her life virtually, only when she stood determined to hold fast the chain of the Quran, to tie herself to  the Allah’s (swt) guidance, and to beseech Allah’s (swt) pleasure as the primary objective of her life.

Amazingly, the Quran brought this all-encompassing reform in a period of mere few years in an attempt to exhibit to the masses that just a small period suffices for a major reshuffle in their character depending albeit upon their desire to welcome that revolution.

Question arises: How did all that happen? How a community absolutely uncultured and in dire ignorance, turned into the most civilized and commanding nation of the earth?

Only strict determination and desire of a community to welcome that reform in its routine, daily business form the prerequisite for benefitting from the Quranic teachings.

Allah (swt) says,

“Verily! Allah will not change the good condition of a people as long as they do not change their state of goodness themselves (by committing sins and by being ungrateful and disobedient to Allah). But when Allah wills a people’s punishment, there can be no turning back of it, and they will find besides Him no protector.” (Al-Ra’d 13:11)

It was thus, within the years, that from amidst the desert  and ignorance (Jahiliyah), people rose to the zenith dismantling the then dominating vast and vibrant empires of Rome, Babylon, and Persia etc.; and later,  forwarded to them were the tools- altogether fresh for the world- for the evaluation and measurement of dignity and status of a person / nation.


An excerpt from the translated book of Sumayya Ramzan: Abiding by the Quran

Cloak with an Eternal Glow

Photo credit: TexasEagle / Foter / CC BY-NC

Photo credit: TexasEagle / Foter / CC BY-NC

The first time I met a princess;
Astonished, I don’t know how to express,
The look of an empress,
That leaves man always impressed.

A beauty that radiates from the heart,
Makes you look down when it meets your sight.
The show of modesty so bright,
That places her in the greatest heights.

Beauty –
A controversial discussion.
Whose is the duty
To judge in that position?

Their acclaimed beauty is skin scratched;
Nothing, but a facial mask!
To a pitiful task,
Obliged to what the society asks.

The sight that betrays the gaze,
As it cruises in lustful chase.
On flesh, a baked clay,
Leaving body and soul dazed.

Beautifully unique are these knights,
Who wear the flags of the One with Might.
Not parading what is meant out of sight,
These beauties you cannot smite.

With bigots from the society,
Plague to humanity,
Coming from their so-called liberty
To distort nature’s morality.

Freedom without values,
Forced in skimp and hills,
Degrading our milieu,
With shapes without skills.

She’s free from the eyes that prey,
Cover to the heart that prays,
Save the next generation from fray,
With guidance from the religious rays.

Clothe to please her Lord
Distinguished from them all
As believers in His law,
Who look away from human lure.

She’s free;
Freedom from the denizen of earth.
She’s beautiful in her Hijab and heart.
She’s a princess on earth
And a Queen in Jannah.

She’s better than Hurul-Ayan;
They didn’t pass through this worldly strain,
Obeying their Lord’s claim,
Eminent ladies of heavenly gain.

To all Hijabis,
The queen of Al-Jannah.

Who is Truly Strong?

truly strongBy Irada Mirzamagomedova – Writer

Strength. Power. What comes to mind when we hear these words? Someone may imagine a muscular athlete with a stern face, while someone else may think of the power of a thought or a word.

So who, in your opinion, is truly strong? Is it someone who can bend iron rods or pull a truck on his own? Yes, such people are ‘strong’ in the physical sense of this word; we cannot argue over this. However, how can we identify a person with a strong spirit? Here intuition will be of no help as a person with a strong spirit can only be identified through his deeds and his words. Have you ever heard the statement: strong is not the one who beats, but the one who can tolerate the beating? It is a fact that no special talent is needed to hurt someone. However, helping another person or finding enough strength within oneself to refrain from replying to an offender in kind is something that is in decline today.

It is not always true that those who possess willpower – which characterizes them as a strong person – are able to live through the hard times and trials of life without collapsing and falling in the eyes of the society as well as close ones. Often, the reason behind all the troubles of a ‘strong’ person is his inability to accept his own weakness. Unwilling to admit this, such people swing from one extreme to another as they seek a way out of difficulties, making use of means which exceed the limits of morality and conscience. Today, we witness such cases in our society more and more often.

Who is the strong one today, according to the standards of society? Is it someone who has power, money, and beauty?

Translated from Latvian to English by Laila Brence

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Struggle All the Way to Jannah

steppingstonesA believer’s faith in the meta-physical aspects of Islam: Iman, is not something that is in a constant state, but is in a constant state of flux. Every Muslim experiences highs and lows of Iman, and often at times these highs of Iman empowers a believer to make some life changing decisions. Similar is the case with a young Muslim girl, when she decides to start taking Hijab, and guard her modesty for the sake of Allah (swt). Slowly and gradually, the way she dresses up, the friends she hangs out with, the way she thinks and responds to things around her, everything changes, and Hijab becomes an essential part of her personality. But with this comes an extra responsibility. And some extra struggle.

So when she goes to a wedding (a typical Desi wedding), people stare at her or some aunties constantly give her smiles, as if she really needs it to feel comfortable in the crowd.  Ironically, it actually does the opposite; but she struggles.

When her mother wants her to loosen the scarf a bit, so that the flashy and glamorous neckline of her dress is visible; when she can see that her mother is a little uncomfortable with the piece on her head, and that she wants her daughter to look beautiful (according to what our society defines it), she struggles.

And when somebody asks her the reason for doing Hijab, and says: “But you are so beautiful.” Her heart sinks, not because she understands their point but because they don’t understand hers. And she struggles. She struggles within the boundaries of her heart.

When we have the right to look glamorous for the society, why don’t we have the right to guard our modesty for the sake of Allah (swt)? Suddenly, people give you a suspicious look, as if there’s been something wrong in your life, may be a tragedy, which made you take the decision. Parents think that there’s something wrong with their daughter and that she needs to comply with the society norms. Taking Hijab becomes something “abnormal” and the girl becomes an “extremist”. “She just needs to be normal!” So Hijab is for the ones who’re not really a part of the society. “They are different. They are not like us. We are not like them.” And this is something that is said by a mother, or father, or a friend, of a Muslim family.

How can one expect to have a distinction, without taking an exam?

In this materialistic world, where glamour is everything; a few hits on a profile picture or a few flattering comments about how beautiful you look, defines your worth and at times your dignity. It is indeed difficult to stick to your decision. And I don’t think it’s wrong to have these feelings. It’s human, perfectly human to fall. But how you strive and fight against your Nafs to rise up again (for the sake of Allah (swt)), is what defines your worth and you as a true submitter to Allah (swt).

Allah (swt) doesn’t want us to have an empty heart, cold and indifferent; He tests us by observing as to how we deal with everything inside it. Iman, love, and faith (Aqeeda) rest in the heart and so do hatred, jealousy and doubts. The point is not to clear your heart, but to beautify it with what is good for it, according to the Master who owns it.

How to deal with criticism

How do I deal with it? How do I answer them back? How do I tell them that this is not for anyone who wants to see me all dolled up, to please their eyes? But do I really need to give these explanations to feel good about it? Well, this has already been addressed in the Quran, to answer this restlessness.

“The life of this world is no more than illusion and vanity, while the abode of the Hereafter is far better for the righteous. Do you not understand?” (Quran 6:32)

Beautiful! He knows. He knows what you’re going through. And it was actually “meant” to be this way. So she struggles. But now we know, the struggles are indeed blessings. He repeats “Do you not understand?” Actually she missed the point. How can one expect to have a distinction, without taking an exam?  He is providing her with some bonus points to reach Jannah. By practicing patience, by being even extra polite to her mother and the aunties, by holding back her tears when she is alienated in a gathering, and by having complete faith in Him, and only Him. Her struggle would pay immense rewards Insha’Allah

Remember, “Isn’t Allah enough for His servants?” (Az-Zumar)

Are You Comfortable Being a Muslim?

strangersWe as human beings are most likely to give into the pressures of the society and perform deeds just to please the Nafs. Why do we give in? So that someone else can approve of our actions? Our own Nafs can give us some form of appreciation? Surely appreciation makes one feel excellent about oneself and feel motivated to do things with a robust energy. But the question is: Do we tend to bask too long in this “feel good” moment? And the answer comes in positive from within!

Islam is often emphasized as a religion of peace and brotherhood (which surely it is), whereas it also obligates that we follow its injunctions properly in order to enter the fold of Islam completely – as mentioned in the Quran. However many of us cling on to the part of maintaining brotherly ties and goodness way too tightly; when it comes to take a stance and do what is right, we find ourselves agonizing over the reactions of the people: What will my aunt’s cousin say? How will I show my face to the community?

Very conveniently we assume that Allah (swt) will understand and so we beneficially choose a path that is more compliant with the norms of society and our family’s expectations.

Well, do we see something wrong in this picture? Yes, of course! We aren’t worrying about Allah (swt). We really don’t care about Allah’s (swt) approval. Very conveniently we assume that Allah (swt) will understand and so we beneficially choose a path that is more compliant with the norms of society and our family’s expectations. Everything else seems to take precedence over our obligations as Muslims and we become more complacent in the matters of our Deen rather than pondering as to what can be healthy for our Iman.

This complacency results in a lower self-esteem and confidence as Muslims. There is a negative aspect to everything associated with the word “Islam”; Islamic teachings: my parents don’t agree with them. Islamic dress code: I will be ridiculed. An Islamic lifestyle: Oh! It’s too difficult to adopt; I’d rather live comfortably the way the society expects me to. Hence, we slowly edge away from the actions that boost our Iman .We start convincing ourselves unconsciously that our Deen is not good enough and as a Muslim, we are unable to function as a “normal” human being. However, in reality, this is far from the truth. Islam enables us to move beyond the cultural hang up and petty disputes that come with being a “normal” human being. It liberates us from the chains of ignorance gifted to us by our society.

While many elements convince the masses (Muslims included) that Muslim women are oppressed and Muslim men are complete savages, I strongly feel that we as Muslims are buying the stories they concoct about us. Whenever some negative image is portrayed about us, we tell ourselves: “Islam is the religion of peace”. Inwardly, we feel afraid as if someone is pointing at us and our confidence abandons us to openly proclaim our identity.

when someone calls us strange and outdated, instead of feeling ashamed or hurt; ask Allah (swt) to give you the ability to enlighten others with the spark of your Deen and prove yourself to be a blessing in disguise for the humanity

It is true that being the “strange” one in the crowd can be intimidating and we want someone to relate to us. But let’s not become complacent as Muslims, searching for some form of appreciation or comfort from the people. It does not mean that we break ties and turn into hermits. Rather ask Allah (swt) to make His Ordinance our foremost priority. Ask Him to fill our heart with the concern to uplift the plight of this Ummah and give us the strength and confidence to carry out our identity proudly like the companions of the Holy Prophet (sa) and some contemporary examples we find in the form of scholars and some legendary Muslimeen. Lastly, when someone calls us strange and outdated, instead of feeling ashamed or hurt; ask Allah (swt) to give you the ability to enlighten others with the spark of your Deen and prove yourself to be a blessing in disguise for the humanity. May Allah (swt) accept our prayers. Ameen.

In the end, I would like to quote this Hadeeth:

Narrated Abu Hurairah (ra), the Messenger of Allah (swt) said: “Islam began as something strange and will revert to being strange as it began, so give glad tidings to the strangers.” (Muslim)