Monday, June 15, 2009

Who’s afraid of learning Arabic?

EVER wonder how many of us offer our prayers perfunctorily, or even incorrectly, barely understanding what we say? Ever notice how many of us aren’t interested in picking up and reading the Qur’an in our moments of solitude and despair to gain solace and comfort from it, simply because “we don’t understand it.” Ever wonder why things are this way?

This lack of spiritual connection with the Salah and Qur’an in a large chunk of our Ummah is one of the penalties we are paying for neglecting Arabic, the language which holds the key to understanding, and consequently, implementing the Qur’an.

The enormity of this omission is especially glaring in non-Arabic speaking Muslim communities – more so, since they have enthusiastically embraced the teaching and learning of English, with great success.

Having made the connection between acquiring English language skills and worldly progress, most of us are willing to jump through a lot of linguistic hoops to acquire the perfect pronunciation, the trendiest turn of phrase, the most effective presentation.

What prevents us from putting in the same efforts towards learning Arabic, in pursuit of success in the Deen? For the answer please go here.

Making use of leftovers

MY mother never throws away leftover or old bread. The idea of food landing in the bin is heartbreaking to us all. We would rather that it be consumed by any living creature than go to waste.

Every day my mother collects the stale bread, tears them into small pieces or crushes the hard ones into crumbs, places them in flat open containers and carries them out in the back yard along with a water can. She pours water in the tray containing bread pieces to let them soak and soften. The dry crumbs are left as they are. Along side these two, she places a bowl of water.

This is food for the birds. And this has been regular practice for years. As a result, everyday literally hundreds of birds visit us in two-shifts to partake in the feast. The Laughing Doves relish the big moist pieces while the flocks of House Sparrows peck on the crumbs. The Red and Blue Vented Bulbuls stake claim to both ‘dishes.’

Occasionally, the Hoopoe, Parakeet, Common Myna and Tree Pipits also drop by to grace the banquet with their presence, if only for the water.Our mornings and afternoons are infused with the chirps and twitter of ‘mum’s birds’, as we call them. By evening, the trays are empty. For my mother, this is her way of earning ajr (reward) from Allah. Any deed, however small, that serves or benefits the creatures of God is reward-worthy. For more read here.

Joining ties of kinship

RELATIVES are those who are related to you through blood and close ties; such as the brother, the uncle, the aunt, or their children. Everyone who has a tie of relation with you has certain rights upon you in accordance with how closely they are related to you. Allah said regarding this: “And give to the relative his right.” (Qur’an, 17:26). Allah also said: “And worship Allah alone, and do not setup any partner to Him in worship, and be kind and good to the parents, and to the relatives.” (Qur’an, 4:36)

So it is obligatory upon everyone to treat his relatives in the best possible manner, and to support them in accordance with their needs, and what they seek of help and support. And this is what is enjoined by the Shariah, the ‘Aql (sound reasoning) and the Fitrah (natural disposition).

There are several textual evidences encouraging and urging Silat-ur-Rahim (joining the ties of kinship). The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Whosoever believes in Allah and the Last Day let him keep the ties of kinship.” (Al-Bukhari, no. 6138). For more read here.