Taraweeh Reflections - Juz Three
Here are selected verses from the taraweeh recitation for each night with lessons for our lives today.
الَّذِينَ يُنفِقُونَ أَمْوَالَهُمْ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ ثُمَّ لَا يُتْبِعُونَ مَا أَنفَقُوا مَنًّا وَلَا أَذًى ۙ لَّهُمْ أَجْرُهُمْ عِندَ رَبِّهِمْ وَلَا خَوْفٌ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلَا هُمْ يَحْزَنُونَ
They who spend their wealth for the sake of Allah and do not thereafter mar their spending by stressing their own benevolence and hurting (the feelings of the needy) shall have their reward with their Sustainer, and no fear need they have, and neither shall they grieve.[Surah Baqarah, 2:262]
Here is the definition of real charity in Islam; it must be given solely for the sake of Allah.
It is easy to find the rich in all societies engaged in works of charity. They may do it to feel good, to advertise their generosity, to show their superiority over the receivers of their help, or just enjoy the praise it will bring. What is difficult is to give in charity to please Allah alone without any of these incentives. The success of charitable fundraising methods that employ these incentives is sufficient proof of this fact.
The Qur'an is emphatic that such tainted charity will bring not reward but punishment in the Hereafter. It is a matter of great concern that despite that, such methods are finding widespread use in the Muslim community.
Concern for Hearts Swerving
رَبَّنَا لَا تُزِغْ قُلُوبَنَا بَعْدَ إِذْ هَدَيْتَنَا وَهَبْ لَنَا مِن لَّدُنكَ رَحْمَةً ۚ إِنَّكَ أَنتَ الْوَهَّابُ
O our Sustainer! Let not our hearts swerve from the Truth after You have guided us; and bestow upon us the gift of Your grace. Surely, You, and You alone, are the Grantor of bounties in abundance. [Surah Ali 'Imran, 3:8]
As the previous ayah states, this is the dua of those who are firmly grounded in knowledge. They never become complacent with their iman (faith), as they are fully aware that one's iman is one's most precious treasure and needs to be carefully guarded. Further they know they cannot guarantee its protection themselves as their hearts can come under the influence of Satan or their own inclinations towards evil, so they must turn to Allah to seek His help in doing so. Additionally they appeal to the gift of Allah's mercy in seeking this help as it is not a payment for their deeds. They beg for it, claiming no entitlement. Needless to say, it is unimaginable that anyone consciously making this du'a will knowingly engage in such enterprises as may pose danger to his iman.
Creation of Jesus
إِنَّ مَثَلَ عِيسَىٰ عِندَ اللَّهِ كَمَثَلِ آدَمَ ۖ خَلَقَهُ مِن تُرَابٍ ثُمَّ قَالَ لَهُ كُن فَيَكُونُ
Surely, the case of Isa ( Jesus), in the sight of Allah, is like the case of Adam. He created him from dust, then He said to him, "Be", and he came to be. [Surah Ali-Imran 3:59]
This is the simple truth about the creation of human beings in general as well as that of Prophet Jesus. Evolution scientists rejected the first and have gone to complex and convoluted theories as an alternate explanation. Christians rejected the second and have gone to complex and unfathomable explanations about trinity and divinity of Prophet Jesus. To each we must ask: Based on what evidence do you reject the obvious, simple and straightforward explanation given here? Have you unearthed any facts-hard facts, not conjectures- that would show the impossibility of the assertion made here?
The Interfaith Dialogue
قُلْ يَا أَهْلَ الْكِتَابِ تَعَالَوْا إِلَىٰ كَلِمَةٍ سَوَاءٍ بَيْنَنَا وَبَيْنَكُمْ أَلَّا نَعْبُدَ إِلَّا اللَّهَ وَلَا نُشْرِكَ بِهِ شَيْئًا وَلَا يَتَّخِذَ بَعْضُنَا بَعْضًا أَرْبَابًا مِّن دُونِ اللَّهِ ۚ فَإِن تَوَلَّوْا فَقُولُوا اشْهَدُوا بِأَنَّا مُسْلِمُونَ
Say, "O people of the Book, come to a word common between us and between you, that we worship none but Allah, that we associate nothing with Him and that we shall not take human beings for our lords beside Allah." Then, should they turn back, say, "Bear witness that we are Muslims." [Surah Ali-Imran 3:164]
This sets both the basis and the tone of the interfaith dialogue that Islam called for fourteen centuries ago. It is good that some Christians and Jews are showing active interest in interfaith dialogue today. Muslims must take part in it while making sure it remains within the parameters established here.