Followers

Sunday, May 20, 2018

DR MAZLEE MALIK – My Thoughts


Since Dr Mazlee was appointed the Minister of Education, I have received scores of calls, WhatsApp and enquiries about him. I have hesitated to provide any comments as I have inadequate knowledge and minimal interaction with Dr Mazlee. I also am worried about my own biases and may not do justice to both he and the enquirers. Perhaps I share with you my biases first and propose some ideas to rectify the concerns.

Firstly, I might be biased because I was totally elated when Tun first announced that he personally will take the position. Changing it was a downer, and I am still brooding over losing Tun as the Minister of Education.

Why …?

While the other ministries are important, I see the Ministry of Education as the most crucial. In leading and managing change, we need to balance between managing today and managing tomorrow. In other words, we need to manage two-time dimensions - the short term and long term. Where values of the citizens are concern, the Ministry of Education is the portion that is most central and decisive in managing tomorrow. That is preparing Malaysia and Malaysians for the future. The real dawn of the new era! That is why I was totally ecstatic when Tun was to lead the Ministry.

Secondly, I see myself as an Islamist. In fact, I see Tun as an Islamist too. I would not want to lump all Islamist into one box. I will not make my decisions based on if someone is an Islamist or not. I also do not like labelling someone narrowly as it will not give a fair assessment about the individual. I would want to check their character and past performance.

There are good Islamist and there are bad ones too. In fact, I would choose a good Christian, or Hindu or Buddhist over a corrupt Muslim as my leader.

But, allow me to unpack a little about what I mean by a good Islamist within the context of why some segments within Malaysia are disagreeing with Dr. Mazlee’s appointment.
Pluralism.

A good Islamist to me is someone who do not try to monopolize God and the Heavens. A good Islamist have an undivided conviction that God’s mercy encompasses all; Muslims, Non-Muslims and atheists too. He or she accepts and embrace pluralism in the way of life. By pluralism, I do not mean equating each religion or way of life as the same. That would be an obvious error. No two religions are the same. In fact, even within a religion one can find differences.

Pluralism represents the acceptance of a diversity of views or stands rather than a single approach or method toward life. It is the idea that we can agree to disagree, to you your religion, to me mine (Quran chapter 109). There is no compulsion in religion and way of life (Quran 2:256).

It is the ability to see reality, that is, the universe and the earth that we live in is by design a diverse one. To go further, the availability of many religions and path is by design God’s creation (Quran 10:99, 5:48, 64:2) and as such we need to learn to live with it. We do not ignore the differences of various religions (and cultures). We try to understand the different ‘other’. Ultimately, we are willing to defend them should they are wrongly condemned or attacked (Quran 22:40).

To go further, a good Islamist practices pluralism within his own religion. In other words, he or she practices diversity and inclusion within the Muslim world. They prevent takfir (declarations of apostasy) between Muslims. This is perhaps one of the most critical concern and worry about Dr Mazlee’s appointment amongst some Muslims, rightly or wrongly. Is he open to diversity and inclusion within the Muslim world?

Thirdly, my limited interaction with Dr. Mazlee.

My few interactions with him were pleasant. He was humble and, in his talks, and presentations, he is open to differences and practiced moderation. He seems willing to listen to the other side. His manner was not arrogant and he does not look like someone who will impose his position on others. Within the ‘spectrum of the religious scholars’, he is on the moderate side. At least that’s how I feel.

My little concern is my experience in a WhatsApp group I once joined of which Dr. Mazlee and many other ‘Muslim scholars’ were members – including a very popular Mufti. As I always keep my discussions and evidence from the Quran and was critical to certain approaches on the collection of Hadiths, Dr. Mazlee was quick to be label me as ‘Anti-Hadith’. I dislike being narrowly labeled and prefer healthy deliberations. Labelling someone is an easy way out. (by the way, Tun is also labeled as ‘Anti-Hadith’ when he took a critical position on the collection of the Hadith!)

So what next?

I find it sad and unfair that Dr Mazlee is made to justify his appointment. I will not like it if I am in his shoes. However, like it or not Dr. Mazlee will need to nip this in the bud. He must REMOVE THE UNCERTAINTIES. To lead successfully a leader must be totally determined to remove uncertainties as failing which, Dr. Mazlee loses power and influence and in the long run will fail and fall. We cannot afford to let the Ministry of Education fail.

In other words, either Dr. Mazlee clarify the uncertainties and confusions experienced by his distractors and come out on top, or he can submit to the uncertainty, and end up the victim. There is nothing more crucial in legitimate leadership and power as the ability to remove uncertainties.

How?

May I humbly suggest Dr Mazlee to make a clear stand to support and do the following.

1. That he unequivocally supports the ambitions of Rukun Negara especially items 2 and 4 that aims to “maintain a democratic way of life” and “ensuring a liberal approach to her rich and diverse cultural traditions”. Some feel that there is a reluctance among certain groups of people in taking a strong stand towards the Rukun Negara because of their wish to change the character of the country towards a more theocratic state and curb the liberal character of the nation. By standing firm with the Rukun Negara Dr. Mazlee will disassociate himself from these groups.

2. That he explicitly stands by the Amman Message. The Amman Message is a statement calling for tolerance and unity in the Muslim world that was issued on 9 November 2004 (27th of Ramadan 1425 AH) by King Abdullah II bin Al-Hussein of Jordan in an international Islamic conference of 200 of the world’s leading Islamic scholars (‘Ulama) and leaders from 50 countries. They unanimously agreed on three fundamental issues (which became known as the ‘Three Points of the Amman Message’):

a. They specifically recognized the validity of all 8 Mazhabs (legal schools) of Sunni, Shi’a and Ibadhi Islam; of traditional Islamic Theology (Ash’arism); of Islamic Mysticism (Sufism), and of true Salafi thought, and came to a precise definition of who is a Muslim.
b. Based upon this definition they forbade takfir (declarations of apostasy) between Muslims.
c. Based upon the Mathahib they set forth the subjective and objective preconditions for the issuing of fatwas, thereby exposing ignorant and illegitimate edicts in the name of Islam.

Among the Malaysians who signed the statements were former PM Abdullah Badawi, Anwar Ibrahim, Khairy Jamaluddin and Professor Hashim Kamali. Should Dr Mazlee take this stand he would remove any certainties among those who feel that he will not practice diversity and inclusion with the Muslim community. For further info go here http://ammanmessage.com/

3. Call for a dialogue with the detractors. Deal with their concerns. Ask for feedback and sought their opinion. I have seen Dr Mazlee in his presentations. I am sure he will be able to manage the distractors and find a justly balanced understanding and compromise.

Should Dr. Mazlee make the above stand and act on them, I have strong convictions that he will be able to remove the uncertainties surrounding his appointment. I for one, will support him. I wish Dr. Mazlee the best and GodWilling he will consider my suggestions

To my dear Malaysians, let’s also practice this mantra.

May all of us guide ourselves with love, logic and wisdom. Love, because love makes us fair with our hearts; Logic, because logic makes us fair with our minds; and, Wisdom, because wisdom leads us to combine our love and logic in the way of God and for the benefit of Malaysia and Mankind.

Peace,
Anas Zubedy
Kuala Lumpur

Friday, May 18, 2018

‘Liberalism’ is a good word

I refer to the article entitled, “Jangan liberal agama, bekas pegawai khas Najib ingatkan Dr Mahathir”. In the article, Fathul Bari Mat Jahaya is quoted as saying, “Kita tidak mahu buka sampai menjadi liberal. Kita tidak mahu liberal sampai meninggalkan fundamental agama. Fundamental itu tetap kena ada.”
Although stressing the need to return to the fundamentals of Islam, Fathul seems to propose otherwise by demonising liberalism. Let me explain. The most fundamental source of Islam is the Quran and examples of the Prophet. As such, Muslims, Fathul included, must work within the parameters of the Quran and the Prophet’s example.
If we follow these two fundamental resources, we will discover that “liberalism” is actually considered a good word. Kindly allow me to unpack my arguments.
Liberalism is a ten-letter word, but to many Muslims, Fathul included, it’s a five-lettered one: HARAM. They see it as a bad word and not in line with Islam, which is rather unfortunate. On the other hand, I see Prophet Muhammad as the ultimate liberator of humanity.
Let me explain.
While the West and the world generally see John Locke, the 17th century English philosopher and physician, as the father of liberalism, I found my liberal role model in Prophet Muhammad. With all due respect to Locke, to me, none in history can beat the Prophet in liberating humanity. The Quranic verses shared at the end of this article will provide ample evidence – and these verses are not exhaustive.
But first, we need to relook the preconceived notion of the word “liberal”. By “liberal”, I do not mean liberalism in the loose sense that is promoted by the hedonistic and freewheeling Western media-driven culture and the misunderstandings by a large segment of Muslim opinion makers. We are not asking or telling mankind to sunbathe or run around in the nude. That is an extremely shallow idea of liberalism.
The Quran chapter 39 verse 18 cautions us not to fall into this trap and tells us to choose the better meaning.
“Those who listen to the Word, and follow the best (meaning) in it: those are the ones whom Allah has guided, and those are the ones endued with understanding” – Quran 39:18
As such, by “liberal”, I am suggesting the ideas of liberty and equality, not unrestrained freedom.
We want to free humans to discover their real potential and explore their talents. The type of liberalism that encourages people to listen to others, be their best and to act with empathy, just like the Prophet did – as a mercy to all creation. A true liberator.
We must remember that when the Prophet announced this Quranic guidance, it was 1,400 years ago. He did not just propose a theory or a philosophy, but acted on it – he created a liberal society long before the word “liberal” was coined. He was a liberator who impacted his society and generations to come in mind, body and spirit.
The following 10 verses should suffice as evidence:
1. The Prophet liberated women making them equal to men
“As for anyone – be it man or woman – who does righteous deeds and is a believer withal – him shall We most certainly cause to live a good life and most certainly shall We grant unto such as these their reward in accordance with the best that they ever did.” – Quran 16:97
2. Gave rights to everyone to do business and be successful
“If one desires the rewards of this world, [let him remember that] with God are the rewards of [both] this world and the life to come: and God is indeed all-hearing, all-seeing.” – Quran 4:134
3. Liberated humans from ridiculous beliefs, or kepercayaan-kepercayaan mengarut, and instead guided man to contemplate the wonders of creation
“ARE, THEN, they who are bent on denying the truth not aware that the heavens and the earth were [once] one single entity, which We then parted asunder? – and [that] We made out of water every living thing? Will they not, then, [begin to] believe?” – Quran 21:30
4. Made the freeing and liberating of slaves and those in debt, helping the poor etc, a duty (taqwa)
“The offerings given for the sake of God are [meant] only for the poor and the needy, and those who are in charge thereof, and those whose hearts are to be won over, and for the freeing of human beings from bondage, and [for] those who are over burdened with debts, and [for every struggle] in God’s cause, and [for] the wayfarer: [this is] an ordinance from God – and God is all-knowing, wise.” – Quran 9:60
5. Liberated mankind through education and encouraging the pursuit of knowledge, gave rights to education for all men and women equally
“READ in the name of thy Sustainer, who has created man out of a germ-cell, Read – for thy Sustainer is the Most Bountiful One, who has taught [man] the use of the pen – taught man what he did not know!” – Quran 95:1-5
6. Liberated the orphans, the poor and the needy from the clutches of poverty by giving them rights to the wealth of the nation
“And in whose possessions there is a due share, acknowledged [by them], for such as ask [for help] and such as are deprived [of what is good in life]” – Quran 70:24-25
7. Liberated mankind to choose what to believe by declaring that there is no compulsion in religion
“THERE SHALL BE no coercion in matters of faith. Distinct has now become the right way from [the way of] error: hence, he who rejects the powers of evil and believes in God has indeed taken hold of a support most unfailing, which shall never give way: for God is all-hearing, all-knowing.” – Quran 2:256
8. Liberated places of worship and set rules to protect them
“Those who have been driven from their homelands against all right for no other reason than their saying: ‘Our Sustainer is God!’ For, if God had not enabled people to defend themselves against one another, all monasteries and churches and synagogues and mosques – in [all of] which God’s name is abundantly extolled – would surely have been destroyed [ere now]. And God will most certainly succour him who succours His cause: for, verily, God is most powerful, almighty.” – Quran 22:40
9. Gave rights to all ways of life/faith to co-exist with Islam and declared that religious diversity is intentional
“And unto thee [O Prophet] have We vouchsafed this divine writ, setting forth the truth, confirming the truth of whatever there still remains of earlier revelations and determining what is true therein. Judge, then, between the followers of earlier revelation in accordance with what God has bestowed from on high, and do not follow their errant views, forsaking the truth that has come unto thee. Unto every one of you have We appointed a [different] law and way of life. And if God had so willed, He could surely have made you all one single community: but [He willed it otherwise] in order to test you by means of what He has vouchsafed unto, you. Vie, then, with one another in doing good works! Unto God you all must return; and then He will make you truly understand all that on which you were wont to differ.” – Quran 5:48
10. Declared that diversity and inclusion is the right way and made consciousness the criteria for morality
“O men! Behold, We have created you all out of a male and a female, [and have made you into nations and tribes, so that you might come to know one another. Verily, the noblest of you in the sight of God is the one who is most deeply conscious of Him. Behold, God is all-knowing, all-aware.” – Quran 49:13

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

THE TRUST DEFICIT AND THE BN DEFEAT

Chandra Muzaffar

The significance of the fourteenth General Election goes beyond Malaysian shores. 9th May will be remembered as the day when the multi-ethnic population of a country ousted the world’s longest ruling coalition through the ballot-box in a peaceful atmosphere without a drop of blood.

This is unique in emerging democracies in the Global South. It makes one proud to be a Malaysian.

This victory of the political opposition should be placed within its proper perspective before we try to explain the reasons for it. Also, what are the challenges that the Pakatan Harapan led government now faces and will it be able to handle them? 

Since the early years of Independence, Malaysia has had a functioning opposition. There hasn’t been a single moment in our history when there was no one on the opposition benches, not in 1964 nor in 1974 nor in 2004, occasions when the ruling coalition in the form of the Barisan Nasional and its predecessor, the Alliance, won overwhelmingly in Parliamentary elections.
Opposition parties forging coalitions to defeat the Alliance or the BN has also been happening for a long time. A partnership of two left parties, the Parti Rakyat and the Labour Party called the Socialist Front for instance did fairly well in the 1959 General Election.

40 years later there was a more earnest attempt to create a four party coalition comprising PAS, DAP, KeAdilan and Parti Rakyat . Named the Barisan Alternatif,(BA) the coalition sought to mobilise voters in the 10th General Election in 1999 through allegations of abuse of power and authoritarianism against Dr. Mahathir Mohamad and the BN. The ‘black eye’ of the incarcerated Anwar Ibrahim was a major rallying point for the BA. The BA, specifically PAS, made some electoral gains notably capturing the state of Terrenganu.

However, it was in the 2008 General Election that the opposition really made great strides, denying the BN its two-thirds parliamentary majority for the first time and capturing four states, namely Kedah, Penang, Perak and Selangor, apart from retaining control over   Kelantan. Anwar was an important campaigner as he was in the 2013 contest in which the opposition Pakatan Rakyat consisting of PAS, the DAP and Keadilan remained in power in Kelantan, Penang and Selangor and continued to deny the BN its two-thirds majority in Parliament. In fact, the opposition increased its parliamentary representation by 7 seats.

The issues that brought the votes to the Pakatan Rakyat in the twelfth and thirteenth General Elections were related to allegations of restrictions to civil and political rights, corruption, socio-economic injustices, ethnic polarization and, in the case of PAS, the inability of the BN to implement Islamic law. In themselves, these issues were not new except that the environment had changed with the alternative media playing a huge role in shaping public perceptions. They served to erode the support base of the ruling BN.

It is against this backdrop that one should view the defeat of the BN in the recently concluded General Election. Each and every issue that had been part of the opposition’s menu in the past now assumed a more concrete manifestation.

Thus, the neglect of the bottom 40% of society and the marginalisation of a substantial segment of the middle-class amidst rising cost of living that had become pervasive in the last 5 or 6 years found a villain in the Goods and Services Tax (GST) introduced in April 2015. This was undoubtedly a chink in the armour of the BN which exposed the government’s vulnerability. But it would not have had such an adverse impact had it not been for the 1MDB scandal. A mammoth money-laundering scam implicating  Najib, his family and his sidekicks, the then Prime Minister sought to conceal and camouflage it through dismissal of political comrades, by squeezing out public officials and by emasculating local inquiries. Not a single person has been charged for any of the wrongdoings connected with 1MDB or its affiliates within Malaysia. It is this utter lack of honesty and integrity on the part of the Najib government that incensed a lot of Malaysians and convinced them that they should oust him. If anything, suspicions about the mismanagement of FELDA reflected in the sale of land and properties and alleged misdeeds in other government linked outfits further undermined his credibility. To put it in a nutshell, over a period of 4 or 5 years, a yawning trust deficit had developed between Najib and the people.

The verdict at the polls was a mirror of that deficit.

What exacerbated the trust deficit was the conduct of the election itself. As in 2013, Najib campaigned as if he was in a presidential race where everything is focussed upon him. Since there was already a trust deficit, it weakened his position further. The temporary dissolution of Mahathir’s party by the Registrar of Societies and the ban on his image in the campaign by the Election Commission intensified the anger among voters. Most of all, it was the viciousness with which Mahathir was savaged in the government linked media that increased their disgust towards the incumbent. There was a total lack of manners, of courtesy which is so integral to Malay culture. This gross, crude violation of ‘adab’ in Najib’s campaign cost him dearly. 

Najib had underestimated the strength of the bond between his nemesis and the people. At the helm of the nation for 22 years, there was a high degree of appreciation of Mahathir’s  contribution to the well-being of the masses, even if many were also aware of the downside of his leadership. As leader of the Pakatan Harapan, he demonstrated two dimensions of his leadership which were critical to the success of his coalition.

One, he solidified a disparate coalition by endowing the four parties with a sense of common purpose. A common logo was an outstanding achievement. Previous attempts at creating such a unifying symbol among opposition parties had failed. The logo gave Pakatan a shared identity as a result of which the voters’ confidence in the coalition heightened.

Two, Mahathir also succeeded in convincing the people that their overriding mission was to overthrow a leader who was perceived as corrupt and greedy. It was a simple direct message which he clinched by telling the voters that if they did not fulfil their mission Malaysia was doomed. Hence, Pakatan’s battle-cry “to save the nation.”
Formulating effective strategies to combat corruption would therefore be the Pakatan’s greatest challenge. Its manifesto contains some ideas on this, including making political donations transparent. It also seeks to make the anti- corruption commission truly independent of the Executive by providing the Malaysian parliament with authority over the body.

There are many other office-holders and institutions vital for good governance that the Pakatan has identified which will also be subjected to parliamentary oversight. The Council of Elders that Prime Minister Mahathir has established to address matters pertaining to finance and the economy may also have to provide inputs on governance and integrity.

There are of course other equally serious challenges that the new government will have to face. The widening income gap between those who have a lot and those who have a little which has far-reaching consequences for other sectors of society should be the nation’s priority. Certain laws which subvert the quest for human dignity should also be reviewed. Creating conditions that are conducive for the growth of empathy and understanding among the communities is of crucial importance.

For Pakatan to implement the onerous tasks ahead, there will have to be internal cohesion. This is especially true of a coalition like Pakatan Harapan. It stands to reason that Dr. Mahathir be given a bit of time and space to strengthen the sinews of the coalition as it leads the quest for a better Malaysia.

The above article is based upon a presentation made at the Yusuf Ishak Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS), Singapore on the 11th of May 2018.

14 May 2018.

Friday, March 30, 2018

What does the Quran say about PROPHET MUHAMMAD?


The Quran provide many clear verses about Prophet Muhammad. Here I would like to share some selected verses showing the kind of man he was. To me, he is the best role model I can ever have (Quran 33:21) and the standard for moral excellence.

The Quran say he was sent as a mercy to all at 21:107 and was sent to all of mankind at 34:28. He truly cared for all of us at 9:128. He is a witness to God’s goodness as he strives and became very successful. He came to provide us hope and he is the lamp that gives a bright light at 33:45-47.

He was a man just like other prophets before him and his death is natural. We must continue his work as God lives at 3:144. As he is human, he makes mistakes but he reflected, learn and change (80:1-10).

He is good nature, kind and compassionate at 3:159 and he does not force anyone to follow him at 2:256. His KPI is to deliver the message of the Quran that he did par excellence at 75:16-19. After all that he has done for us, yet, he does not ask or expect any reward from us (Quran 25:55-58, 38:86-88).

To be successful, we are to follow Allah and The Prophet (Quran 3:32, 4:69, 8:20, 4:80) and the way to follow The Prophet in order to get the right guidance is to follow The Quran at 7:158.

Here are the selected verses from the above.  

All emphasis are mine to help readers focus on a particular message.

1.    VERILY, in the Apostle of God you have a good example for everyone who looks forward [with hope and awe] to God and the Last Day, and remembers God unceasingly. Quran 33:21

2.    And [thus, O Prophet,] We have sent thee as [an evidence of Our] grace towards all the worlds. Quran 21:107

3.    NOW [as for thee, O Muhammad,] We have not sent thee otherwise than to mankind at large, to be a herald of glad tidings and a warner; but most people do not understand [this], Quran 34:28

4.    And as for thee,] O Prophet - behold, We have sent thee as a witness [to the truth], and as a herald of glad tidings and a warner, and as one who summons [all men] to God by His leave,  and as a light-giving beacon. And [so,] convey to the believers the glad tiding that a great bounty from God awaits them; Quran 34:45-47

5.    AND MUHAMMAD is only an apostle; all the [other] apostles have passed away before him: if, then, he dies or is slain, will you turn about on your heels?  But he that turns about on his heels can in no wise harm God - whereas God will requite all who are grateful [to Him].- Quran 3:144

6.    HE FROWNED and turned away, because the blind man approached him! Yet for all thou didst know, [O Muhammad,] he might perhaps have grown in purity, or have been reminded [of the truth], and helped by this reminder. Now as for him who believes himself to be self-sufficient to him didst thou give thy whole attention, although thou art not accountable for his failure to attain to purity; but as for him who came unto thee full of eagerness and in awe [of God] him didst thou disregard! Quran 80:1-10

7.    And it was by God's grace that thou [O Prophet] didst deal gently with thy followers: for if thou hadst been harsh and hard of heart, they would indeed have broken away from thee. Pardon them, then, and pray that they be forgiven. And take counsel with them in all matters of public concern; then, when thou hast decided upon a course of action, place thy trust in God: for, verily, God loves those who place their trust in Him. Quran 3:159

8.    MOVE NOT thy tongue in haste, [repeating the words of the revelation:] for, behold, it is for Us to gather it [in thy heart,] and to cause it to be read [as it ought to be read]. Thus, when We recite it, follow thou its wording [with all thy mind]: and then, behold, it will be for Us to make its meaning clear. Quran 75:16-19

9.    And yet, some people worship, instead of God, things that can neither benefit them nor harm them: thus, he who denies the truth does indeed turn his back on his Sustainer! Yet [withal, O Prophet,] We have sent thee only as a herald of glad tidings and a warner. Say: “For this, no reward do I ask of you [- no reward] other than that he who so wills may unto his Sustainer find a way!” Hence, place thy trust in the Living One who dies not, and extol His limitless glory and praise: for none is as aware as His creatures’ sins as He – Quran 25:55-58

10. For, all who pay heed unto God and the Apostle shall be among those upon whom God has bestowed His blessings: the prophets, and those who never deviated from the truth, and those who [with their lives] bore witness to the truth, and the righteous ones: and how goodly a company are these! Quran 4:69

11. Say [O Muhammad]: "O mankind! Verily, I am an apostle of God to all of you, [sent by Him] unto whom the dominion over the heavens and the earth belongs! There is no deity save Him; He [alone] grants life and deals death!" Believe, then, in God and His Apostle-the unlettered Prophet who believes in God and His words-and follow him, so that you might find guidance! Quran 7:158

Peace, anas

Thursday, March 29, 2018

What does the Quran say about LOSERS?


Yesterday we chatted about those who are successful where I shared 24 entries from the Quran that deal with AFLAHA - to prosper, to be successful gain the upper hand and be happy. To attain a happy state as the purpose of life.

The Quran uses the same root word and shared about those who will not attain to a happy state.

Here are 9 entries on the subject.

All emphasis are mine to help readers focus on a particular message.

1.    And who could be more wicked than he who attributes his own lying inventions to God or gives the lie to His messages? Verily, such evildoers will never attain to a happy state: Quran 6:21

2.    Say: "O my [unbelieving] people! Do yet all that may be within your power, [while] I, behold, shall labour [in God's way]; and in time you will come to know to whom the future belongs. Verily, never will evildoers attain to a happy state!" Quran 6:135

3.    And who could be more wicked than they who attribute their own lying inventions to God or give the lie to His messages? Verily, those who are lost in sin will never attain to a happy state Quran 10:17

4.    Say: "Verily, they who attribute their own lying inventions to God will never attain to a happy state!" Quran 10:69

5.    Said Moses: "Do you speak thus of the truth after it has been brought to you? Can this be sorcery? But sorcerers can never come to a happy end!" Quran 10:77

6.    Hence, do not utter falsehoods by letting your tongues determine [at your own discretion], "This is lawful and that is forbidden", thus attributing your own lying inventions to God: for, behold, they who attribute their own lying inventions to God will never attain to a happy state! Quran 16:116

7.    Hence, he who invokes, side by side with God, any other deity [- a deity] for whose existence he has no evidence - shall but find his reckoning with his Sustainer: [and,] verily, such deniers of the truth will never attain to a happy state! Quran 23:117
8.    And Moses replied: “My Sustainer knows best as to who comes with guidance from Him, and to whom the future belongs! Verily, never will evil­doers attain to a happy state!” Quran 28:37

9.    And on the morrow, those who but yesterday had longed to be in his place exclaimed: “Alas [for our not having been aware] that it is indeed God [alone] who grants abundant sustenance, or gives it in scant measure, unto whichever He wills of His creatures! Had not God been gracious to us, He might have caused [the earth] to swallow us, too! Alas [for our having forgotten] that those who deny the truth can never attain to a happy state!” Quran 28:82

Peace, anas


Wednesday, March 28, 2018

What does the Quran say about THE PURPOSE OF LIFE?



To be SUCCESSFUL!

In yesterday’s posting we chatted about wealth and money. Today, let’s get even deeper. What is the purpose of life? What do we want to achieve in life? What is the end game? Why do we do what we do? Why should we follow the right way? Even if you are an atheist?
I find it interesting that the Quran in many places will provide a reason to do what we do which is – to prosper, to be successful, to gain the upper hand or be happy. The root word is AFLAHA.

While many translators translate AFLAHA and its derivatives as successful or prosper, I like Assad’s translation best. He uses ‘a happy state” instead. Why? Coz I am a happy guy and the Quran did say at 20:2 “We did not bestow the Qur'an on thee from on high to make thee unhappy”.  😊

And for the fun of it, let me post two dozen entries on this subject.

All emphasis are mine to help readers focus on a particular message.

1.    It is they who follow the guidance [which comes from their Sustainer; and it is they, they who' shall attain to a happy state! Quran 2:5

2.    THEY WILL ASK thee about the new moons. Say: "They indicate the periods for [various doings of] mankind, including the pilgrimage." However, piety does not consist in your entering houses from the rear, [as it were,] but truly pious is he who is conscious of God. Hence, enter houses through their doors, and remain conscious of God, so that you might attain to a happy state. Quran 2:189

3.    And that there might grow out of you a community [of people] who invite unto all that is good and enjoin the doing of what is right and forbid the doing of what is wrong: and it is they, they who shall attain to a happy state! Quran 3:104

4.    O YOU who have attained to faith! Do not gorge yourselves on usury, doubling and re-doubling it - but remain conscious of God, so that you might attain to a happy state; Quran 3:130

5.    O you who have attained to faith! Be patient in adversity, and vie in patience with one another, and be ever ready [to do what is right], and remain conscious of God, so that you might attain to a happy state! Quran 3:200

6.    O YOU who have attained to faith! Remain conscious of God, and seek to come closer unto Him, and strive hard in His cause, so that you might attain to a happy state. Quran 5:35

7.    O YOU who have attained to faith! Intoxicants, and games of chance, and idolatrous practices, and the divining of the future are but a loathsome evil of Satan's doing:' shun it, then, so that you might attain to a happy state! Quran 5:90

8.    Say: "There is no comparison between the bad things and the good things, even though very many of the bad things may please thee greatly. Be, then, conscious of God, O you who are endowed with insight, so that you might attain to a happy state!" Quran 5:100

9.    And true will be the weighing on that Day; and those whose weight [of good deeds] is heavy in the balance -it is they, they who shall attain to a happy state; Quran 7:8

10. TRULY, to a happy state shall attain the believers: Quran 23:1

11. Why, do you deem it strange that a tiding from your Sustainer should have come unto you through a man from among yourselves, so that he might warn you? Do but remember how He made you heirs to Noah's people, and endowed you abundantly with power: remember, then, God's blessings, so that you might attain to a happy state!" Quran 7:69

12. Those who shall follow the [last] Apostle, the unlettered Prophet whom they shall find described in the Torah that is with them, and [later on] in the Gospel: [the Prophet] who will enjoin upon them the doing of what is right and forbid them the doing of what is wrong, and make lawful to them the good things of life and forbid them the bad things, and lift from them their burdens and the shackles that were upon them [aforetime]. Those, therefore, who shall believe in him, and honour him, and succour him, and follow the light that has been bestowed from on high through him-it is they that shall attain to a happy state." Quran 7:157

13. [Hence,] O you who have attained to faith, when you meet a host in battle, be firm, and remember God often; so that you might attain to a happy state! Quran 8:45

14. The Apostle, however, and all who share his faith strive hard [in God's cause] with, their possessions and their lives: and it is they whom the most excellent things await [in the life to come], and it is they, they who shall attain to a happy state! Quran 9:88

15. And they whose weight [of righteousness] is heavy in the balance - it is they, they who will have attained to a happy state; Quran 23:102

16. And tell the believing women to lower their gaze and to be mindful of their chastity, and not to display their charms [in public] beyond what may [decently] be apparent thereof; hence, let them draw their head-coverings over their bosoms. And let them not display [more of] their charms to any but their husbands, or their fathers, or their husbands’ fathers, or their sons, or their husbands’ Sons, or their brothers, or their brothers’ sons, or their sisters’ sons, or their womenfolk, or those whom they rightfully possess, or such male attendants as are beyond all sexual desire, or children that are as yet unaware of women’s nakedness; and let them not swing their legs [in walking] so as to draw attention to their hidden charms And [always], O you believers - all of you - turn unto God in repentance, so that you might attain to a happy state! Quran 24:31

17. The only response of believers, whenever they are summoned unto God and His Apostle in order that [the divine writ] might judge between them, can be no other than, “We have heard, and we pay heed!”- and it is they, they who shall attain to a happy state: Quran 24:51

18. But as against this - anyone who repents and attains to faith and does righteous deeds may well [hope to] find himself among those who achieve a happy state [in the life to come]. Quran 28:67

19. Hence, give his due to the near of kin, as well as to the needy and the wayfarer; this is best for all who seek God’s countenance: for it is they, they that shall attain to a happy state! Quran 30:38

20. It is they who follow the guidance [that comes to them] from their Sustainer; and it is they, they who shall attain to a happy state! Quran 31:5

21. Thou canst not find people who [truly] believe in God and the Last Day and [at the same time] love anyone who contends against God and His Apostle - even though they be their fathers, or their sons, or their brothers, or [others of] their kindred. [As for the true believers,] it is they in whose hearts He has inscribed faith, and whom He has strength­ened with inspiration from Himself, and whom [in time] He will admit into gardens through which running waters flow, therein to abide. Well-pleased is God with them, and well-pleased are they with Him. They are God’s partisans: oh, verily, it is they, the partisans of God, who shall attain to a happy state! Quran 58:22

22. And [it shall be offered, too, unto the poor from among] those who, before them, had their abode in this realm and in faith - [those] who love all that come to them in search of refuge, and who harbour in their hearts no grudge for whatever the others may have been given, but rather give them preference over themselves, even though poverty be their own lot: for, such as from their own covetousness are saved - it is they, they that shall attain to a happy state! Quran 59:9

23. And when the prayer is ended, disperse freely on earth [11] and seek to obtain [something] of God's bounty; but remember God often, so that you might attain to a happy state! Quran 62:10

24. Remain, then, conscious of God as best you can, and listen [to Him], and pay heed. And spend in charity for the good of your own selves: for, such as from their own covetousness are saved – it is they, they that shall attain to a happy state! Quran 64:16

Tomorrow, we aill chat about those who will not prosper or shall we say the LOSERS.

Peace, anas

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

What does the Quran say about WEALTH AND MONEY?



From my reading and understanding, the Quran is positive about wealth but with some major caveats e.g. Quran 9:28, 2:268, 63:9, 28:78, 3:14, 25:67. Basically, you cannot leave behind anything to your heir if you do have something in the first place (Quran 4:33). So, making money and having wealth is not the issue.

But the Quran cautions us.

Wealth is a trial and temptation at Quran 64:15, cannot be kept only among the rich few at Quran 59:7 and the poor and the needy (animals, included) have their due share of community’s wealth at Quran 51:19, etc.

When we have money, the first thing we should do is to spend it on our family and next of kin, orphans, the needy, wayfarer, beggars and freeing of those in ‘bondage’ – like slaves, those trapped in the cycle of poverty, etc at Quran 2:177. That is part of Taqwa.

As a businessman I find the Quran as a sure moral source of doing things right. To not make money and wealth my God (Quran 34:37). To not cheat and to honor contracts (Quran 83:1-6, 2:188, 4:29).

As a businessman, I must remember that even though I am my own boss, ultimately, I report to God! (Quran 3:14).

As many of us are in a quest to ‘make more money’ for our family and livelihood, this topic is of real concern. Please to research further. I hope my sharing will help as a helpful trigger.

Here are a dozen entries on WEALTH AND MONEY.

All emphasis are mine to help readers focus on a particular message.

1.    Satan threatens you with the prospect of poverty and bids you to be niggardly, whereas God promises you His forgiveness and bounty; and God is infinite, all-knowing, Quran 2:268

2.    O YOU who have attained to faith! Those who ascribe divinity to aught beside God are nothing but impure: and so they shall not approach the Inviolable House of Worship from this year onwards And should you fear poverty, then [know that] in time God will enrich you out of His bounty, if He so wills: for, verily, God is all-knowing, wise! Quran 9:28

3.    True piety does not consist in turning your faces towards the east or the west - but truly pious is he who believes in God, and the Last Day; and the angels, and revelation, and the prophets; and spends his substance - however much he himself may cherish - it - upon his near of kin, and the orphans, and the needy, and the wayfarer,  and the beggars, and for the freeing of human beings from bondage; and is constant in prayer, and renders the purifying dues; and [truly pious are] they who keep their promises whenever they promise, and are patient in misfortune and hardship and in time of peril: it is they that have proved themselves true, and it is they, they who are conscious of God. Quran 2:177

4.    Whatever [spoils taken] from the people of those villages God has turned over to His Apostle - [all of it] belongs to God and the Apostle, and the near of kin [of deceased believers], and the orphans, and the needy, and the wayfarer, so that it may not be [a benefit] going round and round among such of you as may [already] be rich. Hence, accept [willing­ly] whatever the Apostle* gives you [thereof], and refrain from [demanding] anything that he withholds from you; and remain conscious of God: for, verily, God is severe in retribution. Quran 59:7

5.    For, it is neither your riches nor your children that can bring you nearer to Us: only he who attains to faith and does what is right and just [comes near unto Us]; and it is [such as] these whom multiple recompense awaits for all that they have done; and it is they who shall dwell secure in the mansions [of paradise] –Quran 34:37

6.    WOE UNTO THOSE who give short measure: those who, when they are to receive their due from [other] people, demand that it be given in full – but when they have to measure or weigh whatever they owe to others, give less than what is due! Do they not know that they are bound to be raised from the dead [and called to account] on an awesome Day – the Day when all men shall stand before the Sustainer of all the worlds? Quran 83:1-6

7.    AND DEVOUR NOT one another's possessions wrongfully, and neither employ legal artifices with a view to devouring sinfully, and knowingly, anything that by right belongs to others. Quran 2:188

8.    O YOU who have attained to faith! Do not devour one another's possessions wrongfully - not even by way of trade based on mutual agreement - and do not destroy one another: for, behold, God is indeed a dispenser of grace unto you! Quran 4:29

9.    ALLURING unto man is the enjoyment of worldly desires through women, and children, and heaped-up treasures of gold and silver, and horses of high mark, and cattle, and lands. All this may be enjoyed in the life of this world - but the most beauteous of all goals is with God. Quran 3:14

10. And unto everyone have We appointed heirs to what he may leave behind: parents, and near kinsfolk, and those to whom you have pledged your troth give them, therefore, their share. Behold, God is indeed a witness unto everything. – Quran 4:33

11. And know that your worldly goods and your children are but a trial and a temptation, and that with God there is a tremendous reward. Quran 8:28

12. Wealth and children are an adornment of this, world's life: but good deeds, the fruit whereof endures forever, are of far greater merit in thy Sustainer's sight, and a far better source of hope.  Quran 18:46

Be rich if you want to, but do not forget God.

Peace, anas