Children’s Column – August 2016
The Qur’an for Young Hearts – 76
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
 Satan promises you poverty and orders you stinginess, while Allah promises you His forgiveness and favors. Allah is Boundless, All‑knowing.
 He grants wisdom toanyone He wills, and whoever is granted wisdom, has been granted a great favor. Yet none will receive admonition but men of understanding.
 And, whatever amount you spend or whatever vow you make, surely Allah knows about it;and the wrongdoers will have no helpers.
 If you make known (your) charity, it is alright. But if you conceal them and pass them on (secretly) to the needy, then that would be better for you. He will erase some of your sins. And Allah is aware of what you do.
Understanding these verses:
Verses before this told us ‘how to give’ in charity, and ‘what to give.’ Now verse 268 is telling us why we do not give: it is fear of poverty. But it comes from Satan who drives the fear in the hearts, and suggests stinginess. (Another meaning of the original word used here, Fahshaa’, is indecency, vulgarity, etc.).
But we might never forget that those who spend for Allah’s sake, He forgives their past sins. He also promises to give more. A stingy man is hated by all. He is hated even by his own children. On the other hand, have you seen a generous man in poverty? If ever someone points his finger at someone saying, “That is a generous man,” you will discover that he is well-to-do. Allah keeps His promise that He is bountiful.
Money is something not too worthy in this world. Yes, it is useful, but not so useful on many occasions. For instance, if somebody is in difficulty (let us say he is being ragged), then your advice will be the same whether you have one buck in your pocket, or fifty bucks. Money plays no part in your suggestions to him. So, what does? Well, it is wisdom. Wisdom is the greatest of Allah’s favor unto a man after his Eiman (belief). If you have wisdom, one buck becomes fifty – because you know how to spend it, where to spend it, whom to spend on, and how much to save, and for how long. On the other hand, a stupid man and his wealth do not stay together.
To those who measure Allah’s favor by counting how many bucks He gives them, the verse is as if saying that the best thing Allah could ever grant is wisdom. And that, wisdom is one of the things granted to those who spend on others to please their Lord. But, not everyone understands this. The stingy generally understand it the least. Those who tightly close their purses are those whose minds are tightly closed to wisdom.
Scholars have said that a Muslim should openly pay his Zakah, to encourage others do the same. He may conceal his Sadaqaat since, sometimes, it leads to show-off, which destroys the benefits, and, in fact, becomes a sin. But, if Sadaqah is for community welfare purpose, such as, raising funds for Jihad, or collectively feeding the poor, then it is advisable to let people know of the contribution.
Note that Sadaqah is voluntary charity, but Zakah on wealth is wajib.
Another kind of charity comes by way of vows. A man vows that if Allah granted such and such a thing, he would spend such and such a sum in charity. For example, a man promises to Allah, “If I get a job, I will spend my first salary in charity.” Then, when he gets employed, he must keep his promise to Allah. Now, nobody knows about his vow. But Allah knows. But if he did not spend a salary in charity, it would be like cheating his Lord. That is a major crime. Thus charity flows, and this is one of the ways in which Islam has chased away biting poverty. There is no Islamic country where you can see as many homeless today as in the USA. This is because they do not believe in Islam and think that they can solve their problems, in their own way.
The main thing in charity is the condition of your heart. What is your intention? If it is to please your Lord, then, whether you give it secretly or let people know, it is all the same, if your intention is good. But, supposing your wisdom says that if you let others know of your charity, perhaps other people will be encouraged to give, then, better make it openly. You will have the reward of all those who spent because you spent, without their own reward reduced. But, if you think your making known charity will hurt him who received your charity, then, better do it secretly. Once again you will have twice the reward: one reward for charity, and another reward for keeping a secret of the one you gave the charity.
Finally, it may be noted that Allah promised that if someone spent to obtain His approval, then, He will forget some of the sins. Why only ‘some’ sins? Why not all? This is because not all sins can be forgiven for spending a little money. After all, the money is also given by Allah, and belongs to Allah. When a man spent some money in charity, he actually gave back to Allah what was His. Further, one cannot live a life of sin and, in the end, offer a little charity, and walk into Paradise. Major sins, for example, require proper repentance. In case of sins against others of Allah’s creations, one has to return the rights of those he wronged. For example, if a man cheats another for some money, he must return that money before asking Allah to forgive him. He cannot spend a little in charity, and expect Allah to forgive his cheat.
(To be continued)
Did You Know?
- Acupuncture was first used as a medical treatment in 2700 BC by Chinese emperor Shen-Nung.
- Armored knights raised their visors to identify themselves when they rode past their king. This custom has become the modern military salute.
- At the height of its power, in 400 BC, the Greek city ofSparta had 25,000 citizens and 500,000 slaves.
- Bock’s Car was the name of the B-29 Bomber that dropped the Atom Bomb on
- Canada declared national beauty contests cancelled as of 1992, claiming they were degrading to women.
- Christmas became a national holiday in theUS in 1890.
- During the US Civil war, 200,000 blacks served in the Union Army; 38,000 gave their lives; 22 won the Medal of Honor.
The Uncollected Cheque of $10 Million
There is a time of night when the whole world transforms. During the day, chaos often takes over our lives. The responsibilities of work, school, and family dominate much of our attention. Other than the time we take for the five daily prayers, it is hard to also take time out to reflect or even relax. Many of us live our lives at such a fast pace, we may not even realize what we’re missing.
But there is a time of night when work ends, traffic sleeps, and silence is the only sound. At that time-while the world around us sleeps-there is One who remains awake and waits for us to call on Him. We are told in theHadith Qudsi: “Our Lord descends during the last third of each night to the lower heaven, and says: ‘Is there anyone who calls on Me that I may respond to him? Is there anyone who asks Me that I may give unto him? Is there anyone who requests My Forgiveness that I may forgive him?'” (Bukhari and Muslim)
One can only imagine what would happen if a king were to come to our door, offering to give us anything we want. One would think that any sane person would at least set their alarm for such a meeting. If we were told that at exactly one hour before dawn a check for $10,000,000 would be left at our doorstep, would we not wake up to take it?
Allah (swt) has told us that at this time of night, just before dawn, He will come to His servants. Imagine this. The Lord of the universe has offered us a sacred conversation with Him. That Lord waits for us to come speak with Him, and yet many of us leave Him waiting while we sleep in our beds. Allah (swt) comes to us and asks what we want from Him. The Creator of all things has told us that He will give us whatever we ask.
And yet we sleep.
There will come a day when this veil of deception will be lifted. The Qur’an says:
“[It will be said], You were certainly in unmindfulness of this,and We have removed from you your cover,so your sight, this Day, is sharp.” (50:22)
On that Day, we will see the true reality. On that Day, we will realize that two rak`at (units) of prayer were greater than everything in the heavens and the earth. We will realize the priceless check that was left on our doorstep every night as we slept. There will come a day when we would give up everything under the sky just to come back and pray those two rak`at.
There will come a day when we would give up everything we ever loved in this life, everything that preoccupied our hearts and minds, every mirage we ran after, just to have that conversation with Allah (swt). But on that Day, there will be some from whom Allah (swt) will turn away… and forget, as they had once forgotten Him.
The Qur’an says:
“He will say, ‘My Lord, why have you raised me blind while I was [once] seeing?'[Allah] will say, ‘Thus did Our signs come to you, and you forgot them;and thus will you this Day be forgotten.'” (20:125-126)
In Surat al-Mu’minoon, Allah (swt) says:
“Do not cry out today. Indeed, by Us you will not be helped.” (23:65)
Can you imagine for a moment what these ayat (verses) are saying? This is not about being forgotten by an old friend or classmate. This is about being forgotten by the Lord of the worlds. Not hellfire. Not boiling water. Not scalded skin. There is no punishment greater than this.
And as there is no punishment greater than this, there is no reward greater than what the Prophet describes in the following hadith:
“When those deserving of Paradise would enter Paradise, the Blessed and the Exalted would ask: Do you wish Me to give you anything more? They would say: Hast Thou not brightened our faces? Hast Thou not made us enter Paradise and saved us from Fire? He would lift the veil, and of things given to them nothing would be dearer to them than the sight of their Lord, the Mighty and the Glorious.” [Sahih Muslim]
But one does not need to wait until that Day to know the result of this nighttime meeting with Allah (swt). The truth is, there are no words to describe the overwhelming peace in this life from such a conversation. One can only experience it to know. Its effect on one’s life is immeasurable. When you experience Qiyam, the late night prayer the rest of your life transforms. Suddenly, the burdens that once crushed you become light. The problems that were irresolvable become solved. And that closeness to your Creator, which was once unreachable, becomes your only lifeline.