Surah 68:33-52 commentary
drac16


Continuing onward; this'll finish up my study on surah 68. This'll be regarding verses 33-52.

Allah gives us a glorious promise in verse 34. Not only do the believers get rewarded with gardens, but also a reward that’s far better (i.e. living in Allah’s presence). Living with Him is the ultimate reward for those who love Him. It’s interesting, to me, that Allah mentions Himself as one of the rewards for the righteous. If you could go to Paradise and have all sorts of palaces, jewelry, food, gardens, a beautiful wife/husband, fancy cars and drinks, but God was not there, would you want to go to Paradise? The answer, for the believer, is no. Now don’t get me wrong, it’s nice to think about walking around the Garden of Eden, looking at beautiful waterfalls and prancing through fields of tulips whilst singing hymns, but if God were not present there, it wouldn’t be Paradise in the true sense.

Many people want to go to Jannah, they just don’t want God to be there. For the hater of God, Jannah is worse than even the lowest level of Hell, because he/she couldn’t bear being in a place where a God of Holiness lives. They hate the notion that there’s something greater and more important than themselves, so, when you think about it, Hell is a gift to them. Even Hell illustrates Allah’s mercy.

On the other hand, there are religious people who are so determined to believe that they are good that they’ll go to Hell for it. I’ve seen this before; people who are infuriated because things have not gone their way. They’ll even give a list of all the things they’ve done and they’re mad that God hasn’t given them this or that. "Oh, but I’ve prayed! I’ve fasted! I’ve served Allah for years and he still hasn’t given me a spouse!", they cry. That is the polar opposite of everything the Qur’an has to say. Who are we to say that we’ve done x, therefore God owes us y?

So why is all of this relevant? Because, in surah 68:35-41, Allah asks six consecutive questions to the religious and non-religious alike. He’s showing man his smallness and his inability to discern righteousness from sin on his own. He’s saying "Where were you from eternity past? Do you share a portion of divinity? Do you know something I don’t? Did you deliver books of revelation to countless prophets over many thousands of years? Do you have some secret get-out-of-jail-free card that allows you to escape judgment on Judgment Day?". Strong words indeed.

In verses 42 and 43, there’s a graphic picture of Judgment Day. When everyone who has ever lived is resurrected, all will be humbled (even the wickedest ones). When everyone sees their own smallness and helplessness and they see God for who He is, there will be no bravado. Shame will cover the disbelievers not only because Allah will prevent them from prostrating, but also because they refused to bow to Him while they were fully capable of doing so. Forgiveness of sins and Salvation were offered to them countless times during their earthly lives, but they chose to reject it.

Then, as we look at verse 44, we have what is, in my opinion, one of the best examples in all the Qur’an of God’s justice. If your khatib can’t formulate a khutba around surah 68:44, he doesn’t have it in him to preach :P. It’s time for muslims who live in the west, like myself, to look around and recognize that western world is in the midst of the judgment of Allah . We western muslims live in a land where there are people who idolize people like Barack Obama and Lil Wayne. What Miley Cyrus is wearing/doing is of more importance than the people of Palestine, Burma and Syria being slaughtered and persecuted, all the while, our governments stare off into space. It’s a bigger deal nowadays to lose your phone than to lose your virginity. That is God’s judgment and the majority of our population is completely oblivious to it.

I fully acknowledge that I am part of the problem of evil because I am a sinner and I need Allah’s mercy just as much as anyone else. Believers need not despair, though, because Allah ends the surah with a promise. If we will do our duty to the Lord with a humble heart, expecting nothing in return, He will lift us out of our hole and will save us, just as he saved prophet Jonah [peace be upon him] from the belly of the giant fish. Allah is closer to us than our jugular vein; He knows that it can be disheartening to see people reject our deen, insult us and other things like that, but He admonishes us to not give up. Yes, we ought to preach Islam to people and we ought to pray for people, but we must not think that our success or failure is based upon how many people we can convert. Success is based upon obedience to God—not on your statistics.


surah 68:1-32 Commentary
drac16


Ok, this is a continuation of the commentary I did last time. In this one, it's about surah 68, verses 1-32.

As far as I know, surah 68 was the first surah revealed to prophet Muhammad [peace be upon him] that had a disjointed letter at the beginning of it; in this case, it's the arabic letter 'nun'. There are a lot of surahs that start with one or more disjointed letters, but I suspect that only Allah knows the correct meaning behind them. The single arabic letter, nun, is not mentioned by itself in verse number 1-- it's mentioned alongside "..By the Pen and the (Record) which (men) write", which is interesting. Might it be that the single letter is relevant to what immediately follows it? perhaps the single letter is a symbol of absolute unity (i.e. there is only one correct path and this path leads to Jannah). That's something to think about; Allah knows best.

Allah appeals to the knowledge man has through written records. There are two kinds of knowledge; knowledge that's aquired through natural means, like books and scrolls and knowledge that's aquired by supernatural means, which is given by God, through revelation, ilm, etc. In verses 1-6, I believe Allah is saying, in essence, that even though we can ascertain truths by reading books, we can be just as certain about truths that are revealed by supernatural means. Indeed, the assurance that Allah gave to Muhammad [peace be upon him] in verses 1-6 is, to some extent, indicative of every believer's calling. Just as the pagans of Mecca thought that he [the prophet] was a lunatic for believing in a Resurrection [on Judgment Day], there are people today who would call us stupid for believing in things like a Creator, miracles, angels, the Hereafter and more. Prophet Muhammad [peace be upon him] was not insane for having believed what he believed and we are not insane for following him.

One thing that’s true of most false religions is that they’re man-centred. They typically put a lot of effort into the feeding of the egos of carnal men and women in hopes of making their message more appealing. There are people running around all over the place; full of carnality, steeped in wickedness and are yet confident enough that they are going to Heaven. The religions that are patted on the head by the dunya are the same ones that are too afraid to call out evil for what it is, lest they be called "intolerant" or "bigoted". In verses 7-15 of surah 68, we can see that Allah was calling His beloved prophet to lay hold on truth, even if it meant going against the norms of the culture, which included infanticide, polytheism, interest, cheating women out of their God-given rights, idol worship, etc. The Lord calls us to do the same; we must be careful not to conform our deen to the trends of the day or the desires of wicked men/women.

The story of the people of the garden, found in Surah 68:17-33, I believe to be a parable. Although the parable of the people of the garden is very similar to the parable of two men in surah 18:32-44, I'm convinced that they are different stories. In the parable of two men, there's one of them that does not repent [surah 18:42-43], but in the parable of the people of the garden, everyone repents [surah 68:32]. We could talk about the parable of the garden all day; there's no way for me to do it justice in one little post. In essence it's an illustration of the selfishness that's inherent in a man-centred worldview, which is what most of the world follows today. It's the view that you are the centre of your own universe; that your earnings are the natural result of your own talents and that your talents were solely developed by you. Moreover, this is a worldview that has people believe that, since they deserve all the credit for what they have, they get to choose how to spend their earnings as they see fit.

This ideology of I, Me, Mine is a dreadful cycle that, as the scriptures prove, only leads unsatisfaction, despair and ultimately God's judgment. Look at verses 23-25; "So they departed, conversing in secret low tones, (saying) 'Let not a single indigent person break in upon you into the (garden) this day' and they opened the morning, strong in an (unjust) resolve". What we have there is people of the garden waking up one morning to gather the fruits from their garden, in a sickening and callous attitude. Not only are they looking down upon the poor people of their society, but they are viewing themselves as superior because of their wealth. They're making sure to not share any of their earnings with the needy.

Is that not the very same thing we see today? you better believe it. There shouldn't be sports stadiums that cost tens of millions of dollars to make. There shouldn't be lotteries giving away $40 million dollars when there are people in our own backyards who don't even have homes. Subhanallah, the world is so money obsessed! we are absolutely blind if we don't see it. How often do we see a commercial for a car, a video game or iPhone and then immediately think "Aw man, I wish I had that." Are we suddenly not as well off as we were 30 minutes ago? I mean, can we think of anything beyond ourselves?

Surah 68:26-29 is a fascinating passage. Notice how the sinners repented only after Allah had destroyed their garden. Allah is the Lord of the Universe; He can give something whenever He wants and He can take something whenever He wants. God's punishment on the people of the garden was of a huge benefit, because it lead to the repentance of the people [of the garden]. As muslims, we sometimes forget how big of a miracle it is when anyone believes our message, because the only way for someone to come to Allah with a humble heart is when Allah rips apart their self-worship or dunya-worship. A genuine conversion is more than just someone saying the shahada-- it is a work of God upon that person's soul. He's got everything to do with it.

See the realization that the people came to, in verse 32? "It may be that our Lord will give us in exchange a better (garden) than this..". I am reminded of the time when Pharoah's sorcerers prostrated on their faces, confessing their sins in the presence of Moses [peace be upon him] and his miracles. They didn't care what Pharoah was going to do with them, because they had something more precious (i.e. the forgiveness and love of their Creator). It's more or less the same scenario here in the parable of the people of the garden; though they had lost their beautiful garden that they had laboured for, that was the furthest thing from their mind, because they found Allah, who is far greater than all the gardens to ever exist.

I want to spend the rest of eternity with Allah and I don't care what the cost is. Things like sex, video games, sports and all other worldly things cannot compare to the Lord. If there's anything to strive for, it's Him

Surah 96 commentary
drac16
On Ummah.com, which is a forum I go to, there's been a group of people that have read through parts of the Qur'an together and are sharing their input on it. Basically, it's a study group. Last week was the first week we did it and it was on surah 96. I've decided to copy/paste my response here, in my blog, so that others can get some insight into what I got out of surah 96. Inshallah, read the surah and keep it open on a seperate window so that you can follow along: http://quran.com/96. I'm no scholar, but since you're here, I assume you're interested in what I have to say, so here it is:

Ok, my dear brothers and sisters, did you see, in verse 1, the distinction that's made? it does not say "Read in the name of The Lord", rather, it is "Read in the name of your Lord". Did you catch that? God is making a point in expressing his nearness. Many times throughout the Qur'an and ahadith, the title "Lord of the Universe" is mentioned as being one of Allah's Names, but here in verse 1, Allah expresses affection by saying that not only is He the Lord of everything, He's also your Lord. There is tremendous continuity between the tender, affectionate tone Allah is using in surah 96:1 of and surah 50:16, which says that He [God] is closer to us [mankind] than our jugular veins. Allahu akbar!

In verse 2, it illustrates the Sovereignty of Allah . It says that He created each one of us out of a leech-like clot. No, you are not just some random accident, you and the rest of mankind and nature were brought into existence by Allah . He takes credit for all of that. For me, I get a sense that verse 2 is a perfect example of man's utter dependency on Allah, our Sustainer. If We needed him to form us, nurture us and grow us through stages when we were still in the bodies of our mothers, why would we need Him any less now that we're fully grown? a fetus does not need spiritual sustenance, but we need spiritual and physical susenance. Without spiritual sustenance, we'd be lost in sin, on our way to Hell and without physical sustenance we'd starve to death.

So let's go back up to verse 1; the prophet [peace be upon him] was told to read in the name of the One, True, Holy God. It wasn't "Read in the name of your own feelings, opinions and cultural traditions"-- no. Prophet Muhammad [peace be upon him] was commanded to read in the name of God Almighty. Speaking in God's name is not something to be taken lightly, so this may have been the reason why Gabriel [peace be upon him] squeezed our beloved prophet repeatedly (Allah knows best). By squeezing him, Gabriel was showing that the task preaching in God's name is a mighty important task, not to be taken lightly or half-heartedly.

In light of this, it makes perfect sense why the command to read is repeated in verse 4. In many contexts, reptition is used to stress importance. A coach may have gone over their strategy for the upcoming football game in the morning during practice, but he's going to repeat the strategy right before the game when he's in the locker rooms with his players. When a cat or a dog mishbehaves, it's important for the owner to say, often repeatedly, "No!" or, "Stop that!". By repeating the command, the animal knows that its owner is not pleased, which will hopefully result in the animal cleaning up its behaviour. A woman may say "I love you" to her husband multiple times over the course of a few hours; not because she thinks that her husband forgot, but because she is overcome with gratitude, happiness and love for her husband. Like I said, repitition is often used to stress that something is important.

In verses 6 and 7 we have a sharp warning against egotism. Egotism is everywhere in our world. Everything is about I, me and mine. Homosexuality, abortion, secular humanism and many false religions are full of carnality inasmuch as they perpetuate the idea that your own conscience [or at least what's left of it] is the highest moral authority. Knock on every door in your neighborhood and I guarentee that at least 95% of the people believe themselves to be good people and are on their way to Heaven. This is the total opposite of what Allah calls us to, which is a lifestyle based on Him being at the centre. It doesn't matter what I want to do with my life, how high my self esteem is or if my life is going how I want it to-- it's not about me. It's about Allah and renouncing the wicked ideology of I, me and mine.

[a follow up post that I made:]

I'd say that I agree with Meriadoc-- verses 9 and 10 do seem to be referring to Abu Jahl and his persecution of the early muslims. Might it be that the argument Allah makes, in verses 9-19, might also be alluding to present reality? In other words, could it be that when the scripture says "Seest thou one who forbids a votary when he (turns) to pray?" this is just an illustration for religious persecution at large?

Perhaps I'm reading too much into it, but I see huge implications in this text. It may be an admonishment [to us muslims] to not worry about those who seek to persecute us, as well as a warning to our persecutors. For example, if France does not remove its law banning niqabs and burqas, I believe Allah will bring that nation into judgment, based on verse 9-18 of surah 96.

Untitled
drac16

What I see going on in various Islamic communities is argumentation without compassion. There's a type of knowledge that humbles you and purifies you, but there's also a type of knowledge that builds up a wall of self-righteousness, brick by brick. What I want to talk about today, inshallah, is maintaining unity for the sake of Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala. I'm a firm believer that when you intend to learn something knew, you must make it a point to ask Allah to make you humble as you're learning it. The ego is so subtle in how it sneaks into your subconscious; and before you know it, you've developed a self-righteous attitude. 

I know I'm talking about the ego as if it's a real creature who eats, breathes and thinks, but that's how prophet Muhammad [peace be upon him] talked about it. He said that fighting against oppression is only the minor jihad-- the major jihad is the inner battle (i.e. battling to obey the Lord and to flee from sin). Not every muslim is in a circumstance where they'll have to be involved in lesser jihad [and women and children are exempt from it], but the major jihad is something every single muslim has to be involved in. Sleepers don't make it to Heaven. Surah 3:131-133 says "Fear the Fire, which is prepaired for those who reject Faith: And obey Allah and the Messenger; that ye may obtain mercy. Be quick in the race for forgiveness from your Lord, and for a Garden whose width is that (of the whole) of the heavens and of the earth, prepared for the righteous..". You and I must go to war against our respective egos-- this is a matter of life and death. Heaven and Hell are at stake.

There
are matters of our deen that leave no room for disagreement, but there are also matters that we don't necessarily have to agree on. I hate it when I come across someody who makes Islam seem as difficult as possible. They have their way of doing things and if you differ from them even slightly, they're liable to insult you and in some extreme cases, even accuse you of not being a muslim at all. Folks, we don't have to agree on every single aspect of our religion. We don't have to agree on whether the niqab is obligatory or not, nor do we have to agree on what to do with the index finger during tashadud. If we become divisive, God will judge us. "Be not like those who are divided amongst themselves and fall into disputations after receiving Clear Signs: For them is a dreadful penalty" (surah 3:105).

If we're sincere about wanting truth and wanting its effects to permeate our hearts as well as the hearts of non-muslims, then we should be sober-minded when someone asks us what we believe or why we believe it. Even if something bold is presented to you, like "Well, you're not one of those people who thinks homosexuality is wrong, are you?", that is not a foolish question. If you scoff and turn this person away, they may never find the answer to, in this case, Islam's view of homosexuality. For all you know, this person may have never had the chance to interact with a muslim before. If you interact with your peers with love and a cool head, God willing, they'll trust you enough to have even deeper conversations with you, leading to more dawah opportunities.

Whether you're interacting with muslims or non-muslims, there is no reason to puff yourself up with pride and think "How dare that person criticize me! does he know how educated I am?".


What I'm reading
drac16

Greetings, dear ones! it's time for another edition of what I'm reading!

I'm reading:

-Abdullah Yusuf Ali's english translation of the Qur'an


-Muhammad Asad's english translation of the Qur'an. I don't agree with Muhammad Asad's understanding of what jinns are, but otherwise, I'm liking his tafseer very much.

-'The God who justifies' [Kindle edition] by Dr. James White. Tthe depth of this book is incredible. Before I started reading this, I had no idea what imputed righteousness and infused righteousness were, much less how they differ and how understanding each of them is important to how we're to understand the apostle Paul's writings. Dr. White is an excellent writer.

I just finished:

-Eknath Easwaran's english translation of the Bhagavad Gita. The Bhagavad Gita is a masterpiece-- it's one of the best religious texts I've ever read. Krishna's statements about his own divinity seemingly come out of the blue and are difficult to understand, but otherwise, the Gita is brilliant.

-'A book of myths' [Kindle Edition] by Jeanie Lang. This was actually free in the Kindle store! It's a collection of ancient Greek pagan legends; stories about its gods/goddesses like Apollo, Aphrodite, Zeus, Diana, etc. Some of the stories are so off-the-wall that I struggle to imagine how anyone could've come up with them, like the story of Apollo and Daphne. Apollo chases after a woman named Daphne because her beauty sent his libido through the roof, but as soon as Apollo is about to catch up to Daphne, she turns into a tree in order to avoid his sexual advances. In another one, a man named Narcissus falls in love with his own reflection after seeing it in a pool. After he dies, a flower grows out of his corpse. There's a lot of weird stuff involving trees and flowers throughout Greek mythology.

I want:

-The Samaritan Pentateuch. It's what is believed to be the real Torah by a very small religious group called the samaritans. The samaritan pentateuch differs from the traditional jewish pentateuch, so I'm really curious to read this.

-'Bhagavad Gita As it is' by Srila Prabhupada. I rented this from a library and was blown away by Prabhupada's painstaking commentary of each individual verse. The Bhagavad Gita was originally written in Sanskrit and since sanskrit has whole bunch of words that are difficult to translate into english, the commentary is much appreciated. This translation of the Gita was made famous by the Hare Krishna movement, which is a hindu denomination that was founded by Srila Prabhupada himself.


Praying with confidence
drac16
If there's one thing that's consistent through the Qur'an, it's that Allah answers prayer. So many times throughout the Qur'an, we find Him answering the prayer of one or more people even when everything looked hopeless. He made a man survive in the belly of a fish without any oxygen, He made the Israelites cross the sea without a bridge and He made manna and quails rain down without a restaurant. Allah said that He responds and I am banking my soul on that. One of the most famous verses in the whole Qur'an, surah 2:186, says "When My servants ask thee concerning Me, I am indeed close (to them): I listen to the prayer of every suppliant when he calleth on Me: Let them also, with a will, Listen to My call, and believe in Me: that they may walk in the right way".

Oh yes! You and I need to believe that! the world needs to believe that! Even though it may seem, in some circumstances, that we are like mice beating our heads against a block of granite, be not discouraged. Just as He responded to Jonah's cry for help, He responds to those who trust in Him; "So We listened to him: and delivered him from distress: and thus do We deliver those who have faith" (surah 21:88).



Muslims must make it a point to go to Allah first for for all of our needs, desires and wishes. That's not to say that there's no place for medicine and whatnot, but if you look to the doctors above Allah Azza wa Jal, you commit an injustice and you dishonor Him. Allah Azza wa Jal has created you and I to be completely dependant on Him-- that is what He wants and that is what being His servant is all about. Surah 7:29 says "Say: 'My Lord hath commanded justice; and that ye set your whole selves (to Him) at every time and place of prayer, and call upon Him, making your devotion sincere as in His sight: such as He created you in the beginning, so shall ye return'".

Being a loner in Ramadan
drac16

I know that I'm basically a foreigner in this life. I value time alone; more so than time with people. Part of it is my own fault though, because if I intentionally isolate myself, my social skills are naturally going to take a hit. I don't particularly want to be known or to "fit in" because they'll just laugh at me or insult me behind my back.

That's how I feel all the time, but since we're in the holy month of Ramadan, it stings a little more to be a loner at this time of year. Dinner invitations, Iftaar, presents being exchanged and Tarawih are all going on and I don't really want to be a part of them. The Islamic faith, especially during Ramadan and Eid, put a big emphasis on social gatherings [like the ones I listed above], but since no one reaches out to me and I myself reach out to no one, it's kind of hard to spend every night alone whilst all my brothers and sisters in Islam are laughing, chatting, making new friends, feasting and whatnot.

I have this sense that nobody would want to spend time with me or get to know me, so I choose to, essentially, be a loner. But, don't get me wrong, I'm not going to just point fingers at everyone else. It's partially my own choice to avoid these gatherings. Islam is very much a social religion and I myself am anything but that, so I feel kind of lost at times.

I don't really know why I bothered to write this, since I don't want pity and it doesn't have much value as a blog post, but whatever. I feel a bit better after getting it all off my chest.

P.S. the reason the text on this blog post looks different than all the other ones is because I wrote this one in Microsoft Word and then copied/pasted it here-- I normally don't do that.


Pre-Ramadan thoughts
drac16
As of this blog post, Ramadan is going to be here in a few days. I'm thrilled, but also cautious and optimistic. Ramadan is basically a month-long celebration in which the blessings of God cleave to each muslim. We fast during the daylight hours and when we do this, it's as if we're seeing everything in a different way (and I'm sure most muslims feel the same way). In Ramadan, you don't see your morning cereal and coffee the same way-- you see them as manna from Heaven.

You finally remember how much of a blessing food and drink is. Trust me, when you haven't had anything in 17 or 18 hours, water and food taste better than you remember. It's a month of renunciation, but also a month of gratitude. To those who think that life is unfair, I invite them to take a walk through a cemetary and to look upon the tombstones of those who died earlier than they did. They didn't have the kind of opportunities that your age has allowed you to have. They don't have second chances, do they? In the same way, those who yell at their mother/wife because she didn't make your dinner in the exact way you wanted, I invite those people to fast for a month; let's see if you still complain about your mom's/wife's food then. Try me.

I go into this year's Ramadan [inshallah that I make it] with less faith than I did last year. I'm not particularly interested in Tarawih or Iftaar because those are optional. It's all well and good to strive hard in the cause of Allah, but my relationship with the Lord needs be repaired before I even think about the optional stuff for extra baraka (or 'blessings'). Whatever it is we're seeking to get out of Ramadan, I wish my dear brothers and sisters nothing but the best. May Allah, in His Providence, make this the best Ramadan yet.

Doubting my Islam
drac16
This is a blog post I never thought I would have to make.

I'm beginning to have some doubts about Islam; more specifically, doubts about what Islam has to say about marriage. I'm getting rather tired of all the pressure our deen puts on us to get married. I've jokingly said to my mom that I wish I was gay because at least if that were the case, my muslim brothers/sisters would understand why I don't want to get married. However, that's not the case because I'm a straight guy who doesn't want to get married. It's not because I want to live a life of dating and/or fornication-- that's utterly out of the question.

I wouldn't be able to handle the stress of being married. When you're married, you're no longer living for yourself-- you're living for yourself and your spouse (and there's a very big difference). You do everything together. In Islamic law, a husband is required to financially provide for himself, his wife and kids (if he has any). That includes groceries, paying bills, car payments, giving the wife money to go out with friends once in a while, buying the baby supplies, etc. The wife can contribute [financially] if she wants to and she can get a job if she wants to, but she is not required to. I have to give my wife money when she asks for it as well as paying all our bills, but she doesn't have to give me anything? to me, this is borderline gold digging and I can't understand why a man who claimed to have been a prophet would order married couples to live like this.

But even if I was rich and could support all of that, I still wouldn't want to get married. I suffer from depression, borderline personality disorder and social anxiety-- so much so that I can't hold down a job or a meaningful friendship (much less a marriage). I know that if I were to just jump into a marriage with all of these problems, it would be a nightmare. The stress that naturally comes from living a married life would rip apart what's left of my sanity, thereby causing me to be an absolute monster (and no woman deserves to be abused like that). Sure, staying single is obviously the better choice, but as far as Islam is concerned, there's no merit in staying single (quite the opposite, in fact).

In a very well known, often quoted hadith, the prophet Muhammad [peace be upon him] is reported to have said that when a muslim man/woman marries, he/she has completed half their deen [i.e. religious obligations]. We know that Jesus Christ [peace be upon him] stayed single, so was his deen only half-complete? that's not what surah 3:45 of the Qur'an would have us believe: "Behold! the angels said: "O Mary! Allah giveth thee glad tidings of a Word from Him: his name will be Christ Jesus, the son of Mary, held in honour in this world and the Hereafter and of (the company of) those nearest to Allah". I know that the general interpretation of Muhammad's saying [regarding 'marriage is equal to half our deen'] is to say "Well, he just meant that a good marriage will lead you closer to God. It'll shield you from promiscuity, adultery, fornication, homosexuality, quarreling, etc."

To that I would say that you don't need to get married to be able to avoid sexual sins and you don't need to get married to have victory over quarreling, jealousy, backbiting, etc. Honestly, I feel like this teaching on marriage being half your deen is a slap in the face to someone like me. I don't have the means to get married, nor will I ever, so am I, at very best, only going to be half as good as every muslim who is married?

*sigh*

I just don't get it. I'm still a muslim and I do affirm that there is no god but Allah and Muhammad is His messenger, but I'm starting to have my doubts. Would a prophet of God view marriage in this way?

Reflection On Anger and Justice
drac16
When anger arises, you must think of the consequences of acting on it. Anger often corrupts the mind, to where you can't think rationally, but instead act out of impulse. It leads to saying things you wouldn't normally say and doing things you wouldn't normally do in a sober mind-set (like yelling and cussing at a Mcdonalds cashier who has done nothing wrong)

Think of your mind as a group of dogs pulling a dog sled. What happens when even one of the dogs starts barking hysterically, refuses to pull its weight and bites the dog next to it? the whole crew of dogs and the sled's rider are affected. In order for the person in the sled to get anywhere, all of the dogs have to be working together (in unison). The same principle is true of the mind; in order to live a life in obediance to Allah The Most-High, your mind has to work in unison. If you let anger, lust, or pride dominate you, your life is not going to amount to much. If those three things are kept to a minimum, it causes your mind and spiritual heart to make progress, drawing you nearer to Allah with each passing day. That's similar to a group of dogs successfully pulling the sled by working together.



That's not to say that anger will cease to arise once you become a believer-- but that anger will not dominate you. Surah 94:6 says "Verily, with every difficulty there is relief" and 92:5-7 says "So he who gives (in charity) and fears (Allah) and (in all sincerity) testifies to the best, We will indeed make smooth for him the path to Bliss"

Look at the wisdom in surah 3:17 where Allah is speaking about those who will inherit Jannah [or 'Paradise'] "Those who show patience, firmness and self-control; who are true (in word and deed); who worship devoutly; who spend (in the way of Allah); and who pray for forgiveness in the early hours of the morning". What does it mean to show patience and firmness? it means to forgive, overlook the faults of others, to swallow your anger, but also to stand up for justice. There's not a contradiction between being the two. Being self-controlled is not the same as letting a person, persons, the law or something else walk all over you. The Qur'an goes on to say, in surah 4:135 "O ye who believe! stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to Allah, even as against yourselves, or your parents, or your kin, and whether it be (against) rich or poor: for Allah can best protect both"

In some cases, standing up for justice means turning someone in [to the law] when you know that they've committed a crime. Standing up for justice doesn't mean that you've failed to show patience, love and self-control. If I'm a loving person, does that mean that I can't report a murder if I see one happen? of course not. My love does not negate my hunger to see justice.

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