THE FAMİLY OF IMRAN (SURAH OF AL-IMRAN, THE HOLY QURAN)
45 - "Behold! the angels said: "O Mary! Allah giveth thee glad tidings of a Word from Him: his name will be Christ Jesus, the son of Mary, held in honor in this world and the Hereafter and of (the company of) those nearest to Allah."
46 - "He shall speak to the people in childhood and in maturity. And he shall be (of the company) of the righteous."
47 - She said: "O my Lord! How shall I have a son when no man hath touched me?" He said: "Even so; Allah createth what He willeth: When He hath decreed a plan, He but saith to it, 'Be,' and it is!"
48 - "And Allah will teach him the Book and Wisdom, the Torah and the Gospel,"
49 - "And (appoint him) as a messenger to the Children of Israel, (with this message): "'I have come to you, with a Sign from your Lord, in that I make for you out of clay, as it were, the figure of a bird, and breathe into it, and it becomes a bird by Allah's leave: And I heal those born blind, and the lepers, and I bring the dead into life, by Allah's leave; and I declare to you what ye eat, and what ye store in your houses. Surely therein is a Sign for you if ye did believe;
50 - " '(I have come to you), to attest the Torah which was before me. And to make lawful to you part of what was (Before) forbidden to you; I have come to you with a Sign from your Lord. So fear Allah, and obey me."
51 - " 'It is Allah Who is my Lord and your Lord; then worship Him. This is a Way that is straight.'"
“Rest your soul with words of wisdom, for souls get tired and weaken, as bodies do.”
“There is no goodness in praying without standing in awe of Allah, in fasting without refraining from idle talk, in reading the Qur’an without contemplation, in learning without acting accordingly, in wealth without charity, in fellowship without offering help in need, in blessings without gratitude, and in invocation without sincerity.”
“People are opposed to what they do not know.”
“Paradise is for the generous, while Hell is for the ignorant.”
“The ignorant will not be questioned about why they did not learn until after the learned are questioned about why they did not teach.”
“Whoever yearns for Paradise, pursues good works. Whoever fears the Fire, refrains from passions. Whoever takes death seriously, dispenses with the desires of his ego. Whoever is aware of how the world works knows what the obstacles are.”
“Chastity is the charity due for beauty.”
“Decency and generosity in religion are fruits of common sense.”
“More intellect means less speech.”
“Whoever grasps that he will be questioned for his words as for his acts will speak less, and not at all about things that do not concern him.”
“Not speaking until being asked is better than speaking until silenced.”
“Do not bother responding to a base accusation, because the one who made the accusation is likely to answer back with worse.”
“Do not make jokes with fools, for they may break your heart with their poisonous tongues.”
“Speak to people in a language they can understand.”
“A curved object will have a curved shadow.”
“Think well of the servants of Allah. If you do so, you will rid yourself of many burdens.”
“Whoever does not follow the way of Allah, His Prophet, and the friends of Allah is destined to have no capital. The way of Allah is to keep the secret. The way of the Prophet is to manage relationships with good behaviour. The way of the friends of Allah is to put up with problems that come from people.”
“If you want to become good friends with someone, first spend some time with him. If he still sympathises with you when you have spent time together, then establish a relationship with him.”
“A person whose heart is occupied with hatred cannot do good works, because no heart is spacious enough to contain two opposite concerns.”
“A Muslim should smile even if his heart is sad.”
“Eternal blessing is only possible when one dies surrendered.”
“How can the son of Adam grow arrogant? His beginning is a drop of fluid, and his end is a corpse. He can neither create his own conditions nor escape extinction.”
“Life is made up of only two days. One day is for you; the other day is against you. Do not spoil yourself when the day is for you, and do not wail when it is against you.”
“Today is the day to do good works. Tomorrow is the day to account for your works. There will be no chance of further action then.”
“Every breath is a step towards death.”
“Both the world and religion will be preserved as long as the following four things are preserved: as long as rich people are not miserly with their wealth; as long as learned people act according to what they know to be true; as long as ignorant people do not pride themselves on what they do not know; and as long as poor people do not prefer the life of this world to the life of the next.”
“How lovely when the rich humble themselves to the poor, hoping for the reward of Allah! But the poor do an even better job by resigning themselves to Allah, which makes them independent of the rich.”
“Being deprived of something is better than being indebted to somebody.”
“Virtue is the adornment of poverty; gratitude is the adornment of wealth.”
“Meanness gathers up in itself all kinds of bad characteristics.”
“When you grow poor, make a business deal with Allah by giving alms. When you grow rich, thank Him. Try to retain Allah’s blessings by thanking Him all the time.”
“The gift of Islam is better than any worldly wealth. Commitment to religion is better than any worldly concern. Advice from death is better than any worldly advice.”
“Knowledge is the best of inheritance. Decency is the best of arts. Prayer is the best of investments. Good works are the best of mentors. Good character is the best of friends. Gentleness is the best of assistants. Frugality is the best of possessions. Contemplation of death is the best of protectors.”
“There is no better trade than doing good deeds; no better benefit than Divine guidance; no better dignity than humility: no better honour than knowledge; no better chastity than abstaining from what is sinful; no better character than coming closer to Allah; no better prayer than performing obligatory religious acts; no better intellect than foresight; no better virtue than solidarity.”
“Here are the most difficult deeds, done at the most difficult times: to forgive while angry; to be generous while in need; to exercise self-control while no one watches; to speak truth to people one fears or needs.”
“If someone exaggerates small nuisances, Allah will expose him to bigger ones.”
“Possessions are the raw material for passions. Passions unlock troubles. Jealousy rides people to pointless exhaustion.”
“Worldly cravings and expectations blind even foresighted people.”
“Your worth is equal to what you desire.”
“One who becomes a slave of his ego’s endless desires is bound to do bad deeds.”
“The foreordained goes to those who do not expect it.”
“There is no better place for your soul than Paradise. So trade your soul only for Paradise.”
“The friends of Allah are those who can see the inwardness of life while looking at its outwardness.”
“A servant’s faith cannot ripen unless he trusts in Allah more than he trusts whatever he has.”
Rushing, adversely affects many a task; you must undertake what you wish to do slowly, but steadily. Do not forget that Allah enables a person to mature slowly, over a time span of forty years.
There are many affairs that are contingent upon time and Divine decree, which take shape not according to our haste, but in line with their own natural course. Failing to see this reality and impulsively rushing into something serves only to ruin it. For instance, it takes nine months for a child to be born into this world. Rushing for the birth to take place intolerably early and intervening to this end serves no other purpose than to harm and even destroy that child. The extent to which the fruit and vegetables grown non-seasonally with chemicals, pesticides and hormones threaten our health is also self-evident.
In short, the best course of action is always that realised with diligence. It is for this reason that the Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings, has stated: "Calmness and patient deliberation is from Allah whereas haste is from Satan."
Greed, or the ambition to acquire worldly blessings, forces a person to extend a hand to that they have no right to.
Greed and avarice towards the blessings of the world is the result of the peaking of the human ego. Those entering this path gain nothing save causing harm to both themselves and others.
Taste stems from hunger, not from tastefully prepared food. In hunger, even barley bread is sweeter than sugar.
The intensity of all desires is proportional to the appetite that forms the basis for their procurement. For instance, even the most valuable knowledge will become futile and even an encumbrance for a person who does not have the desire and enthusiasm to learn. That is, the value of a bounty and something of benefit becomes apparent with the need for that bounty or thing reaching a peak.
JUSTICE AND OPPRESSION
If a judge intends upon accepting a bribe, they cannot distinguish an oppressor from the oppressed.
Actions are judged according to intentions. Righteous deeds cannot manifest themselves when intention is corrupt. A straight line cannot emerge from a crooked ruler. The shadow of the crooked is also crooked.
LOVE AND SUFFERING
Just as justice cannot be realised without a witness, love cannot surface without pain and suffering.
Divine love requires sacrifice and is attained with the abandonment of fleeting, transient loves for its sake.
Human beings pay the greatest price and make the greatest sacrifice for their love, as everyone endures sacrifice for the one whom they love to the degree of their love. When love reaches perfection, sacrifice and its resultant suffering also reaches a pinnacle. Suffering and pain then become ease and pleasure.
A mountain bearing a few silver coins is that which is mined
In the same way that a tree that is to bear fruit must be prepared for the stones that will rain upon it, a person who aims to possess favourable qualities must be ready to endure the bitter and sweet things that these qualities will cause them to undergo. This is because some will travel about these qualities with good intention, in order to receive benefit from these, some bearing feelings of jealousy with a mind to destroy these and others still, to steal from them. It must not be forgotten that Satan too strives more against those with good deeds. Where has a thief robbing a thrift shop ever been seen! What excites his interest is the jewellery store.
The power of Allah is endless. Similarly, speaking of and praising Him is also without end or limit.
The quality and description of every being in existence is to the extent of their limitation. From this perspective, all beings are limited. Human beings included... However, due to His being eternal with every one of His attributes, praise and mention of Allah Almighty is also eternal. Notwithstanding how much he is praised and spoken of, He cannot be praised completely and as He deserves. That is to say, it is not possible to understand and explain the limitless with the limited. The key criterion at this point is Allah's name al-Subhan; that is, His being above and beyond all deficiencies, limitations and imperfections, His being the Owner of all the perfect and eternal Attributes, and His being absolutely beyond any human conception. In short, He is also free from and beyond being within the confines of our human description, representation or explanation.
REASON AND REFLECTION
O brother and sister! You must find life with tafakkur (reflection). Your body, with respect to its bone and blood, is the same as that of animals. If your reflection is a rose, you are in a garden of roses. If however, you think like a thorn, (if you are overcome by your carnal desires) you are fuel for the fire.
With respect to their body and carnal self, human beings are no different from other beings. That which distinguishes humans from other beings is their subtle contemplation, profundity of emotion and richness of feeling. When these qualities are used correctly and appropriately, they enable a person to develop spiritually and elevate them to a level higher than that of the angels. However, when a person loses these qualities through their being defeated by their carnal soul, they stumble to a rank lower than that of animals.
Reason is not for feeling subsequent regret and remorse, but to ponder and take precaution.
If reason is used in the way of carnality, the result is only regret and lamentation. However, reason has been bestowed to us not to cause a person to lament and cry in such a way, but to collect the pearls of truth on the straight path and take precaution against the intrigues of Satan. Consequently, its actual value is commensurate with its averting mistakes through calculating the end of every undertaking. In other words, reason is acceptable and valuable only to the extent of its being good sense and sound judgement.
Even a dog does not eat a bone or bread thrown its way without smelling it first.
Every task and behaviour must first be weighed with sound judgement. The failure of humankind to show the care that even a dog shows in this regard is the means for their losing their honour and integrity. It is for this reason that when someone was praised in his presence Allah's Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, he used to ask, "How is their soundness of judgement?"
Reason is essential, but a person must possess enough reason to know that reason is limited.
A reason that does not know its limitations resembles a ship with a broken rudder, in the middle of the ocean. The direction in which it is to be dragged and the whirlpool in which it will vanish is unknown. In this respect, reason is more valid and useful to the extent that it is able to determine its boundaries. More precisely, reason only gains perfection and rank within the boundaries of revelation.
The rupture caused by foolishness and ignorance cannot be mended. O people of counsel, do not sow your seeds of wisdom rigidly therein!
Perception of wisdom is realised only by means of the harmony between a sound judgement and sound heart. It is therefore impossible for the senseless to discern wisdom. Attempting to teach them wisdom is a struggle in vain, like the raindrops falling in the desert or on hard rock and thus going to waste.
Be as silent as a book in the presence of an ignorant person
An ignorant person is deprived of awareness and perception. They are deaf and blind to the lofty truths explained to them. Even assuming an offending attitude, they can bring both themselves and others to the verge of destruction. Due to this, sometimes the best course of action is silence. 'Ali, may Allah be well pleased with him, therefore states:
"Do not insist on responding to a word spoken indecently, as one who utters it possesses many other such words with which they will again retort."
“Whatever you do, do not joke with an ignorant person. As their tongue is poisonous, they will injure your heart."
Showing us the sound path in the face of the ignorant, Allah Almighty states:
"The (true) servants of the All-Merciful are they who move on the earth gently and humbly, and when the ignorant, foolish ones address them (with insolence or vulgarity as befits their ignorance and foolishness), they response with (words of) peace, (without engaging in hostility with them)." (Furqan, 25:63.)
AFFLICTION, CURE AND PATIENCE
Affliction forever brings a person to maturity
Every kind of affliction causes its owner to gravitate to servanthood by enabling them to perceive their weakness and helplessness. It is owing to this that while bounties more often than not inflame carnal desires, trials and tribulations become a means to the reform of the carnal self through making it taste of weakness.
A rose's enduring its thorns made it beautiful in fragrance
In the same way that food cooks above fire and gains flavour thus, human beings acquire maturity and beauty of heart through patient endurance to the flames of trial and affliction. This is exactly like the rose's becoming the master of flowers through enduring its thorns. As the rose suffered its thorns, it sat upon the throne of sovereignty above them. The true accomplishment is to read and experience such currents and manifestations of Divine power in the universe.
Remedy seeks nothing in the world other than affliction
A righteous believer also resembles a remedy. Their most salient characteristic is their sharing the troubles and grief of all ill, destitute, lonely hearts wailing in sorrow, whether material or spiritual.
Most afflictions befall the Prophets, as reforming the immature and unrefined is an affliction in and of itself
Afflictions are of various kinds. The heaviest of these are the endless sufferings endured to guide the unrefined. As such a great burden is the obligatory mission of the Prophets first and foremost, the tribulations they faced outnumbered that experienced by other people. Following the Prophets, in patient endurance to these trials, are the righteous servants, scholars and then others.