Envy

Envy is one of the most dangerous diseases. It can lead to actions people never imagine they would do. Here is a quick list of stories that came to mind when I was reading the Quran and reflecting on story number 2 below:

1- What made Iblis disobey the order of his Lord and refuse to prostrate to Adam is envy: “… see this one whom You have honored above me; if You give me respite to the Day of Judgement, I will seize and mislead his offspring, all but a few”

2- What made the son of Adam to kill his brother is envy: “… when each offer a sacrifice, it was accepted from one but not from the other; he said, I shall kill you …”

3- What led the Brothers of Yusuf (pbuh) to get rid of him was envy: “They said: Yusuf and his brother are dearer to our father than we, while we are a strong group … Kill Yusuf or cast him out to another land …”

4- What drove the Israelites to object to the assignment of Talut as a king, despite his knowledge and strength was envy: “They said, how can he be a king over us when we are fitter than him for the kingdom and he is not given enough wealth …”

5- What made the Israelites reject the message of Muhammad (pbuh) was envy: “Do they envy men for what Allah has given them of His blessings?”

6- After the people of the book were sure that the message the Prophet (pbuh) is the truth from Allah, the wishes of many of them were not to believe in it but to deviate those who had already believed, “Many of the people of the Scripture wished that they could turn you away as disbelievers after you have believed, out of envy from their own selves, even after the truth become manifest unto them …”

Search deeply in your heart, you will probably find that the source of most of your problems is envy. It is not that people envy you. That you have no way to search for. It is about YOU HAVING ENVY IN YOUR HEART TOWARDS OTHERS. 

One solution?, Well, keep in mind the following paragraph:

Others really do not have to lose what they have or what they achieved for you to get it. As a matter of fact, it is better for you to think of how to be as good or better than others by climbing up to their level as opposed to working deliberately to bring them down to yours.

On Freedom of Expression and Religion

A very brief post about this very important subject. In my favorite format (bullets), I say:

  • Freedom of expression is a gift Allah (swt) has granted us. As a matter of fact, one of the elements of His Mercy is that he taught man how to express himself: “The Most Merciful * has taught the Quran * has created man * has taught him articulate speech” [55:1-4]
  • Offensive speech, especially that of racist nature or that which encourages crime, is wrong and should not be allowed
  • I admit that there is actually a thin boundary between freedom of expression and offensive speech
  • Religion is one of the things that many people hold dear. People who are committed to their religion would find it offensive if you criticize their religion, beliefs, or religious figures. No matter how sensitive you try to be or how polite you are, it will be perceived as offensive
  • There are many calls to keep religion out of the domain of free speech and avoid this sensitive subject; hence avoid offense. I disagree with that. Why? Next bullet
  • I view religion as the true faith, belief, and way of life one must embrace. Therefore, it is an obligation that one deliberately seeks the truth and spares no effort in finding it. In that endeavor one should allow critical thinking, challenges, and even criticism.
  • We can’t stop people from being critical in such an important issue such as religion even though it may appear offensive. One should not get offended by an argument. One should get excited to think more, understand more, and, in the end, either confirms one’s belief or corrects it.
  • HOWEVER, I am against ridiculing, insulting, cursing, lying, etc. To me this is not free speech even if some want to include it. Well, it is a thin boundary anyway. “Do not insult those whom they worship other than Allah, for they may insult Allah in ignorance out of spite …” [6:141]

 

My Lord is with me and He will guide me!

Mousy (pbuh) was able to quickly and confidently say “Ney, My Lord is with me and He will guide me!”

How was he able to do that? What lead him to this strong belief? What can we do to be like him? Listen to my speech on Friday commemorating the 10th of Moharam, the day when Allah saved Mousy and his people from Pharaoh

Be the Wick!

Olive oil is full of energy. It almost lights on its own. Dipping a little tiny worthless thread in it, surrounding the thread with pure glass, and putting the final product in a niche will produce real light. The oil won’t light on its own although it almost does. The glass protects the burning thread from being extinguished by a little blow of air. It will make sure the light spreads beautifully and uniformly. Putting the glass on the floor may cause light to be blocked by obstacles or the lamp to be broken by people kicking it. Putting it in the niche allows its light to bypass obstacles and protects it from damage. The Qur’an (olive oil) is full of guidance. It almost guides people on its own. When we (threads) dip ourselves in it we will light. If we let this light go out through our character (glass), it will help people see this light and benefit from it. We need to take shield by some little rules and guidelines even if tough and tight (niche). We will hereby protect the product (the lamp) and hence the light. Without that, the Qur’an will continue to be full of light and will continue to ‘almost’ guide. We will continue to be worthless tiny threads. Most unfortunately, the world will continue to be waiting for light.

Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth. The parable of His Light is as if there were a Niche and within it a Lamp: the Lamp enclosed in Glass; the glass as it were a brilliant star: lit from a blessed Tree, an Olive, neither of the East nor of the West, whose Oil is well-nigh luminous, though fire scarce touched it: Light upon Light! Allah doth guide whom He will to His Light: Allah doth set forth Parables for men: and Allah doth know all things. (Lit is such a light) in houses, which Allah hath permitted to be raised to honour; for the celebration, in them, of His name: in them is He glorified in the mornings and in the evenings, (again and again) By men whom neither traffic nor merchandise can divert from the Remembrance of Allah, nor from regular Prayer, nor from the practice of regular Charity: their (only) fear is for the Day when hearts and eyes will be transformed (in a world wholly new) [24:35-27]

Fourth Law of Victory – My Lord ‘hurls’ the truth

Never hunted before, you look at an experienced hunter carrying his bow and arrows. A bird is flying at a very far distance. The hunter grabs the arrow, puts it in the bow, gets ready to shoot. You are watching curiously to see what is going to happen. To your surprise, the hunter does not throw the arrow at the bird. He throws it in a completely different direction, way ahead of the bird. You, according to your limited hunting experience, say, “He will never hit!” Something amazing happens. The arrow drifts a little due to the wind, the bird continues to fly, and finally the arrow just hits the bird. The hunter has experience. He has knowledge of what is going to happen. He calculates the speed of the wind and the speed of the bird. He developed a skill of how and where to shoot the arrow to be able to hit.

This is exactly how Allah (swt) “throws” the truth on the “falsehood” to defeat it. Inspired by a nice thought of

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Third Law of Victory – One day = a 1000 years

Ridiculing the Prophet (pbuh), people from Mecca came to him asking him to expedite Allah’s punishment. They even said, addressing Allah, “If that [which Muhammad is telling us] is the truth from you, send on us stones from the sky or bring us a sever atonement.” They said so while mocking the prophet (pbuh), harming him, and torturing and killing those who believed on him.

It wasn’t an easy situation. The oppressors were strong. They were so evil. The people of the truth were weak and oppressed. Khabbab Ibn Al-Aratt, one of the great companions of the prophet, suffering tremendous torture,* met the prophet in the city at night. Out of pain, he complained to the prophet about the huge suffering they are going through. “O Messenger of Allah, shouldn’t you ask Allah  for support? Shouldn’t you supplicate for us?

The truth was apparent: the prophet and his companions on one side and his enemies and oppressors on the other; that is a clear truth and a clear falsehood. However, both sides are calling for the same thing, expediting Allah’s intervention. The believers are asking the prophet, “Shouldn’t you call for Allah’s support? Shouldn’t you supplicate that Allah removes this suffering?” The oppressors are asking the same thing, out of mockery and ridiculing. It is the same question again: “When is the victory of Allah?!

The Messenger (phuh) answers Khabbab stating a very important law by which Allah’s victory comes.

O Khabbab, many of the people before you were tortured. They would be split by a saw into two halves and will be combed by combs of iron to split between the bones and the flesh. This never turned them away from their faith. I swear by Allah that He will finish this matter [by granting victory to His message] to the extent that people will travel from San’aa to Hadramawt [across the whole Arab peninsula that is] fearing nothing but Allah, and the wolf for their sheep. Yet, you are hasty.

Allah answers those mocking enemies by telling his Messenger and all of us about this very important law, that which I called the Third Law of Victory:

They ask you to hasten the punishment. Allah shall most certainly not fail His promise; but a day with your Lord is as a thousand years of your reckoning

The truth is going to prevail. The support will come. The falsehood will be defeated. The oppressors will be brought to justice. However, these things do not happen over night. Allah has a wisdom of giving things its due time. Noah had to spend 950 calling his people and suffering the mockery and the disbelief before Allah granted him victory. The people of the cave had slept for over 300 years before they woke up to find the city once ruled by their oppressors a city of believers.

According to this Law, victory will come, perhaps not in our life time; but it will come. It will come at the time Allah planned, for, one day with Allah is as a thousand year of our reckoning.

Read more about this series: The Law of VictoryThe First Law of Victory, and The Second Law of Victory

* Years later, when Omar Ibn Al-Khattab asked Khabbab to mention some of the suffering, he showed them his back and none of the people present were able to look at it and asked him to cover it. May Allah be please with them all.