Qur’an reflection 7: Give pardon and take the good

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Take what is given freely, enjoin what is good, and turn away from the ignorant. [Qur’an, 7:199]
This verse is so beautiful. We are given three steps to good character:
1- There are three meanings to the first part:
a) Allah tells us to take what is easily given by people, meaning not to overburden them. This can apply to charity or other things.
b) Allah is telling the Prophet (pbuh) and us to “give pardon” as that is one of the meanings of “afw”. So pardon people who have wronged you.
c) Take the best of people’s characters. Look for the good in people.
2- Enjoin what is good: Encourage people to do good and speak the truth. This is of course tempered by wisdom, and we have the best example in the Prophet (pbuh). Once the Prophet (pbuh) was standing with a young companion when a beautiful young woman came to ask him a question. The make companion could not take his eyes off her. The Prophet (pbuh) saw this, and he could have shouted at him or embarrassed him. Rather, he looked at the young companion, and gently turned his face so that he would be looking at the Prophet (pbuh) and not the woman. He enjoined what was good without being harsh. May we learn from his example.
3- Stay away from the ignorant: It doesn’t say to curse them or mock them, but rather to turn away from them especially if you find yourself being influenced by them.

Qur’an Reflection 6: You have a role

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

And it is not for the believers to go forth [to battle] all at once. For there should separate from every division of them a group [remaining] to obtain understanding in the religion and warn their people when they return to them that they might be cautious. [Qur’an, 9:122]
In the age of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat, it is easy to feel inadequate and that we have to do what others are doing. It is also easy to be deceived by only one aspect of people’s lives. In the aya above, Allah tells us that when the believers go to battle, there should be people who stay, study the religion and teach. It may seem less important to the outside, but Allah is telling us that it is needed.
The moral is that you should be doing something, but don’t feel disheartened if it seems that other people are doing things that are more important than you or have achieved more fame. ‘Umar was famous and he was of the ten promised paradise, but Uways was described as being someone who is “unknown on earth and well-known in the heavens”. Uways was also of the people of paradise and the people who will be allowed to give intercession. Everyone has their role, and as long as we are doing something, then that is appreciated by Allah.

Qur’anic Reflections 5: Take care of what you have to do, Allah will take care of you

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Indeed, my protector is Allah , who has sent down the Book; and He is an ally to the righteous. [Surat al-A’raf, 7:196]
The Prophet Saleh (as) was sent to his people and was calling them to goodness. In the previous verses Prophet Saleh was trying to explain to them how illogical it was that they were worshiping multiple gods. He ends by telling them that his protector is Allah, who takes care of the “saliheen”. A “salih” is basically the opposite of a corrupt person: so a good righteous person. Prophet Saleh (as) declares that Allah is his protector but he then reminds us: And Allah takes care of the good people. So be good, even if other people don’t get it. Be righteous. Allah will take care of you.

Qur’anic Reflections 4: Whoever has wisdom has much good

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

He gives wisdom to whom He wills, and whoever has been given wisdom has certainly been given much good. And none will remember except those of understanding. [Qur’an, 2:269]
The world we live in values certain forms of intelligence: getting high grades in a maths exam for example, or inventing something new. Some of us may even compete over how much we know. But Allah points us to an important trait: wisdom. Wisdom is not about knowing, but rather what you do with what you know (and what you don’t). Wisdom is calming an argument before it escalates. Wisdom is knowing when to engage and when to step back. Wisdom is doing the best that the situation requires, as opposed to being led by desires or self-righteousness.
And wisdom will come through experience if we learn the right lessons.
This Ramadan, let’s be wise.

Qur’an Reflections 3: Race towards good

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم


For each [religious following] is a direction toward which it faces. So race to [all that is] good. Wherever you may be, Allah will bring you forth [for judgement] all together. Indeed, Allah is over all things competent. [Qur’an, 2:148]

As Muslims, we sometimes get caught up in minute details and forget the bigger picture. We argue over things in which there are difference of opinion and we ignore that which there is no difference of opinion. This aya reminds us of what we should be focusing on. It tells the Muslims not to be concerned with those who were arguing over the changing of the qibla, but race towards good, keeping in mind that we will all return to Allah.

That is what we should be focused on: doing good in all its forms and not delaying it. If you have an opportunity to do good, don’t let it pass you by. There is no disputation about that, so race towards what is good. Remember that whatever good we do is actually an opportunity from Allah, big or small, and affects all our relationships for the better: with Allah, with ourselves, and with other people.

Qur’an Reflections 2: Focus on what you have

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم


‘And We said, “O Adam, dwell, you and your wife, in Paradise and eat therefrom in [ease and] abundance from wherever you will. But do not approach this tree, lest you be among the wrongdoers.” But Satan caused them to slip out of it and removed them from that [condition] in which they had been…’ [Qur’an, 2:35-36]

Sometimes all we do is focus on the thing that we do not have or are not allowed to have. Allah gave Adam and Eve everything is Paradise and said simply: Do not approach this tree.
Adam and Eve slipped up, as is human to do. But it also teaches about our nature; despite being given so much, we tend to focus on those things we cannot have.
Are we focusing on alcohol when we can drink everything else? Are we fixated on a pre-marital relationship when we are encouraged to get married?
This is in the realm of what is permissible and what is not. If we truly trust in Allah, then we can understand that what is impermissible has a material and spiritual harm. It is for a wisdom that He knows.
We also learn something else at a metaphorical level: focusing on the things we don’t have and ignoring the things we have is the recipe for being unhappy- for removing ourselves ‘out of paradise’ as it were.
This is separate from being determined to achieve goals. Here we are talking about our internal state. We can want what is better without being angry at the present.

Qur’an reflections 1: There is always good

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

And [mention, O Muhammad], when your Lord said to the angels, “Indeed, I will make upon the earth a successive authority.” They said, “Will You place upon it one who causes corruption therein and sheds blood, while we declare Your praise and sanctify You?” Allah said, “Indeed, I know that which you do not know.” And He taught Adam the names – all of them. Then He showed them to the angels and said, “Inform Me of the names of these, if you are truthful.”
They said, “Exalted are You; we have no knowledge except what You have taught us. Indeed, it is You who is the Knowing, the Wise.”

He said, “O Adam, inform them of their names.” And when he had informed them of their names, He said, “Did I not tell you that I know the unseen [aspects] of the heavens and the earth? And I know what you reveal and what you have concealed. And [mention] when We said to the angels, “Prostrate before Adam”; so they prostrated, except for Iblees. He refused and was arrogant and became of the disbelievers. [Qur’an, 2:30-33]

No matter how bad things are, there is always good in the world.

When Allah tells the Angels that He is going to create human beings, the Angels are astonished. Because of our free will, we are able to do much harm and some of us choose to do so. Allah then teaches Adam “the names”. What are these names?

According to the tafseer, it is the names of the prophets and the righteous people. It is an answer to the question of the Angels, “Will You place upon it one who causes corruption therein and sheds blood, while we declare Your praise and sanctify You?” And Allah says “Indeed, I know that which you do not know.”

He knew that there would be people – upright, noble people – who would come who would do good. We might ask the same question as the Angels when we see all the bloodshed around the world, but Allah reminds us: there is good.

That good could be you.

May Allah make us of them.