Children’s Column – July 2016

The Qur’an for Young Hearts – 75

Important Notes

1:The translation of the Qur’an being presented here is interpretative. It is meant for children. Those who can understand other translations should better consult them.

2. Parents are advised to hold sessions at home and teach the verses and explanation as given here, and, if they can, add more from Qur’anic commentaries.

3. Answers to exercise below may be attempted. Parents may evaluate them and reward the children suitably.

4. Schools could also include this in their Islamic curriculum.

Verses from Surah No. 2, Al-Baqarah

[265] And the likeness of those who spend their wealth seeking Allah’s approval and to strengthen their own souls is as the likeness of a garden on a raised piece of land, which, (when) struck with heavy rains, gives its fruit two‑fold. But, if it does not receive heavy rains, then, even a shower (would do). And Allah is Aware of what you do.

[266] Will any of you wish to have a garden of palms and grape-plants with streams flowing beneath it with all manners of fruits for him in it, and old age has struck him, and he has weak children, when a burning storm struck it and burnt it down? Thus Allah makes clear His signs in hope that you will think. 

[267] Believers! Spend of the good things you have earned and of that which We bring out for you of the earth; and do not aim at the worthless of it, of (which) you spend while you will not accept it yourself, unless you closed an eye on it. And know that Allah is All‑sufficient, Praiseworthy.

 

Understanding these verses:

The message is clear: Intention and spirit play the main role. A man gives but only to make a show off. He goes unrewarded. Another spends, and his aim is to please his Lord and to remove toxic material from his soul. His spending brings in two-fold rewards: He achieves purification of his self, strengthening of his Faith, as well as rewards unlimited in the Next World. This is when he spends a lot. But if he does not spend a lot, but little less that what he could, then too he earns rewards of both the worlds – just like a piece of land, on a hill, where, plantation results in good fruits, even if the rain was not heavy.

Coffee, tea, orange, pepper and other plantations are done on this kind of land. Given a little shower, it gives out good crop. If not, even a mild shower helps in getting a crop. Thus, spending out to gain Allah’s pleasure, never goes waste. Fruits are still there, even if spending is not of a high order.

Spending then, in the way of Allah, is, is not only necessary for rewards in this world, it is also necessary for the sake of the Hereafter. Spending in this world is actually savings in the Hereafter. Just as saving is necessary in this world, for the old-age, it is necessary for the Next world, where one will reap the crop. But beware: all spending should be for Allah’s sake alone, free of show-off, free of reminders to those on whom the spending is done. Otherwise, it is like a rich, beautiful garden, ripe with fruit, at one’s old-age, with many dependents, but, there comes a destructive storm loaded with poisonous winds, and the garden is in its path. In moments all is lost.

So also, when the intention is simply to make money, without the intention to spend on others, then when the man opens his eyes in the Hereafter, he finds that the rewards are burnt off – in the fire of Hell.

After Allah spoke in the previous verses (v. 265-266) on how to spend, He explains now (in verse 267) what to spend.The instruction is: spend the best part of what you earn, and out of what Allah grants you. That is, whether wealth comes to you as a result of your hard work, or Allah grants it through easy deals in business, or a good crop in agriculture, etc.; in either case, spend not the worst part of it.

Do not follow the people, who spend that which is spoiled: if bread is burnt they wait for the beggar to appear at the door; if a dish couldn’t be cooked well, they give it away to the poor; if some fruits become rotten, they give out to the needy; if clothes become old, they look for a naked person. No. Take out the best for spending in charity. Some of the earliest Muslims ordered their home folk to especially cook good quality sweetmeats. When ready, they would sit down with the poor around the dish, and watch them with satisfaction while they ate.

Some others converted ordinary things to something in high demand, to give it away in charity.

`Uthman b. `Affan was an excellent schemer of this kind. Once, during his caliphate in Madinah, the city was hit by famine. Then somebody imported grain from Syria, in some good quantity. Small-time traders were waiting for the caravan to arrive so that they could buy food grains for themselves and to re-sell. But when the caravan arrived, `Uthman b. `Affan also joined among the bidders, when auction of the food grains started. When someone said he would buy the lot for a certain big sum, `Uthman (ra) would say he would buy for a higher sum. Then when another trader would say he would offer higher than `Uthman, `Uthman would say he was offering higher than that trader.

The drama went on until nobody could beat `Uthman. He was offering a price much higher than what it would have been, if he had not been one of the bidders. In any case, he bought the whole lot of food grains on tens of camels, at a pretty high price. He paid the price and became the owner of the entire lot. That done, people started coming to him to buy small quantities. They were ready to pay any price `Uthman would ask, because, they would die without the food grain. Money did not matter. It was the grain. And, of course, they were not too happy with `Uthman’s way of doing business: getting out the best from the hungry.

But `Uthman – the trader – had schemed something else. He announced that the entire lot of grains was charity in the way of Allah. In this manner, he had converted ordinarily-priced grain into highly-priced grain and thus gave away in Allah’s path, not the worthless but the “good of it.”

This is not how the Companions read out the Qur’an, but, instead, lived out the Qur’an.

(To be continued)

Throw the Baby: Trust in Allah

 

When we are in a predicament or a hardship, we feel that nothing is going our way and we begin to have bad thoughts about Allah. We feel that our world is crashing down around us and we will never have relief from our pain and difficulties.

I am here to remind you that things are not always as they seem.

Humans are creatures of logic. When we think something is logically correct, we may not see the bigger picture because it doesn’t ‘make sense’ to us. When Allah’s Plan doesn’t make sense to us, we may begin to have doubts and feel distress because we don’t understand why something is happening to us.

We know that Allah (swt) wants good for us, but we must remember that He may put us through serious hardships so that we may get the best. Everything Allah Plans happens for a reason. You may not understand why the opposite of what you want is happening, but soon you will see that thing happened to help you grow.

Throughout the Qur’an, we see glimpses of the perfect wisdom of Allah in His Plan and Decree. One amazing example is the story of Prophet Musa’s `alayhisallatuwasallam (may Allah send His peace and blessings on him) mother. She was put through a great trial but she prevailed because she put her trust in Allah first.

Allah subhanahuwata`la tells us her story:

“When We inspired to your mother what We inspired, [Saying], ‘Cast him into the chest and cast it into the river, and the river will throw it onto the bank; there will take him an enemy to Me and an enemy to him.” (Qur’an, 20:38-39)

Umm Musa wanted to protect her infant son, but she was told to do something that seemed to be the complete opposite of protecting him. Allah (swt) not only told her to throw her baby in the river, but that the one person she was trying to hide him from would be the one to find him! Allah (swt) comforted her,

“…Do not fear and do not grieve. Indeed, We will return him to you and will make him [one] of the messengers.” (Qur’an, 28:7)

Putting baby Musa (asws) directly into the hands of Pharoah seems like a disaster, but Allah ‘azzawajal promises his mother that He will return Musa (asws) to her with a higher position; so she did what she was told.  She threw her baby into the river with trust in Allah’s plan.

Allah tells us how she felt afterward:

“And the heart of Moses’ mother became empty [of all else]. She was about to disclose [the matter concerning] him had We not bound fast her heart that she would be of the believers.” (Qur’an, 28:10)

We learn from this that it is natural to feel upset about your situation. Umm Musa was so overwhelmed that she nearly revealed the identity of Musa (asws), but Allah (swt) gave her strength during this time because He intended good for her.

Umm Musa then sent his sister to watch him. Allah tells us,

“And she said to his sister, ‘Follow him’; so she watched him from a distance while they perceived not. And We had prevented from him [all] wet nurses before, so she said, “Shall I direct you to a household that will be responsible for him for you while they are to him [for his upbringing] sincere?” (Qur’an, 28:11-12)

Finally, we see the plan of Allah come to fruition:

“So We restored him to his mother that she might be content and not grieve and that she would know that the promise of Allah is true. But most of the people do not know. “ (Qur’an, 28:13)

Allahu ‘Akbar, God is greater. Read again what Allah says at the end of this Ayah:

“…But most of the people – do not know.”

What don’t they know? They don’t know that Allah is more aware of their situation than they are. They don’t know that His Plan is the best plan. They don’t know that when He promises, His promise is true. And most of the people forget that Allah is always protecting them.

Allah (swt) not only returned Musa (asws) to his mother, but He provided her with the opportunity of feeding her own son! Allah protected Musa by means we would never think of: raising him up in the palace of Fir’awn, the Pharoah. She trusted completely in Allah, and He (swt) did not disappoint her.

What do we learn from the example of Musa’s (asws) mother? We learn that Allah will take care of you, but you must take the first step to Him. By doing the unthinkable – throwing her child in a river – Umm Musa was given more than she could have ever hoped for.

Taking the first step towards Allah is always the most difficult, but when you do take it, Allah will take care of the rest for you. She was overcome with emotions after she threw Musa into the river, so Allah gave her the strength to endure it because she trusted in Him. When you trust in Allah, He will give you the strength and perseverance to remain patient.

While we may never be put to trial the way Umm Musa was, we learn from her story that when we trust in Allah – even if you feel overwhelmed – Allah will bless you for it and He will guide you. Oftentimes we know what is the right thing to do, we know how to take that first step to Allah but we are scared. Umm Musa was also scared, but she threw her baby.

So don’t be afraid. Throw the baby.

[Courtesy: suhaibwebb.com]