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The reality of the life of this world – Looking at Surah Yunus, Part I

Posted by on Aug 15, 2017 in Commentary, Knowledge | 0 comments

The reality of the life of this world – Looking at Surah Yunus, Part I


This is the first part of a series of articles looking at Ayaat 22-25 of Surah Yunus, which describe the reality of the life of this world, employing very powerful language and imagery. Written by Shafiul Huq.


Verses 22-25 of Surah Yunus touch upon some important themes in a very powerful manner. Some of these themes include the sudden changes that can take place in life, shifting human attitudes with changing circumstances, Allah’s (swt) mercy despite our wrongdoings, the fleeting nature of the life of this world and the everlasting nature of the hereafter.

The language and imagery employed in the verses are absolutely mind blowing. Although a deep appreciation of the verses require knowledge of the Arabic language and cannot be achieved in a brief article, it is still worth highlighting some aspects of the language and aesthetics of the verses which, hopefully, will help us appreciate the verses a bit better.

“He is the One who enables you to travel on land and at sea, until when you are aboard the boats, and they sail with those on board, under a favourable wind, and they are pleased with it, there comes upon them a violent wind, and the wave comes upon them from every direction, and they think that they are surrounded from all sides, they pray to Allah, having faith in Him alone, (and say,) “If You deliver us form this, we shall be grateful indeed” [Yunus:22]

Verse 22 mentions one of the greatest bounties that Allah (swt) has bestowed upon us – the ability to move about on land and at sea. The verse starts off by describing a scene of great happiness – people on board a ship, enjoying a wind that is blowing favourably in the direction of their sail.

However, things change all of a sudden when a strong, unfavourable, merciless wind comes unexpectedly from the opposite direction causing waves to rise from every direction. Then the scene is that of chaos. The people’s happiness vanishes in a moment, and, again:

“they think that they are surrounded from all sides.” 

The imagery is similar to that of being surrounded by enemies on all sides with no hope of rescue.

Image result for japanese boat in storm

For some, the idea of hard times doesn’t cross the mind until such difficulty comes violently knocking at the door. What could we learn about life from reflecting on the many things we personally have not yet lost?

In such a dire situation, the people on board the ship turn to Allah in sincere du’a:

“They pray to Allah, having faith in Him alone, (and say,) “If You deliver us from this, we shall be grateful indeed.” [Yunus:22]

Note the multiple agents of emphasis employed in the du’a that is quoted in the verse:

  1. “La in anjaitanaa” (if you deliver us…): The laam at the front denotes an omitted qasam, or swearing an oath. Almost like: “We swear by You, oh Allah, that if You deliver us from this…”
  2. La nakoonanna” is in the most emphatic form possible in the Arabic language. Almost as in: “We definitely, definitely, definitely will be…”
  3. min al-shakireen” (…of the thankful): Note that the people did not say la nashkuranna i.e. “We will definitely thank you.” Rather they said, “We will definitely be from amongst the thankful.” There is a significant difference between the two. If they said, “We will definitely thank you”, that could mean they would thank Allah (swt) once, twice or a handful of times. Rather they said they would be from amongst the thankful, which means that thankfulness is going to be their state of being – they are continuously going to be in a state of thankfulness, instead of thanking Allah (swt) merely once or twice and remaining heedless the rest of the time!

For these desperate people, it was a strong and passionate du’a reflecting the utter desperation of the people on board the troubled ship:

“We swear by You oh Allah that if You deliver us from this, we shall definitely, definitely, definitely be from amongst the thankful!”

In the next article, we will look at Allah’s merciful response to the du’a and people’s ingratitude despite being shown such mercy.


Shafiul Huq is a Melbourne-based activist. He is also a student of Classical Arabic and Cultural Studies.

Mehdi Hasan in Australia – challenging or reinforcing the mainstream WoT narrative?

Posted by on Jul 19, 2017 in Commentary | 0 comments

Mehdi Hasan in Australia – challenging or reinforcing the mainstream WoT narrative?

 

Mehdi Hasan’s appearance on the ABC’s Q&A this week impressed some in the community. Armed with the relevant stats and data and able to quickly and articulately convey an argument, Mehdi had some good points to raise. However, as Uthman Badar notes, we should not allow impressive style to stand in the place of superficial or problematic substance.  (more…)

Time to Rethink: The Illusive Lure of Pragmatism

Posted by on Jun 9, 2017 in Commentary, Knowledge | 0 comments

Time to Rethink: The Illusive Lure of Pragmatism

 

Through the metaphor of a toxic waste dump, sister Sumya Rahman explored the imperative we have as members of this ummah to take a principled stance towards activism, and be adamant on being guided in our da’wah and activism by courage and commitment to Islam’s principles.


(more…)

George Brandis and his Band of Criminals in Suits

Posted by on Jun 8, 2017 in Commentary | 0 comments

George Brandis and his Band of Criminals in Suits

 

Federal Attorney General George Brandis expressed his frustration yesterday with his inability to silence criticism of his government’s foreign and domestic policies.


(more…)

Muslims and the Media Monster

Posted by on Apr 15, 2017 in Commentary | 0 comments

Muslims and the Media Monster

 

‘It’s OK for Muslim men to hit their wives’ is the sensational title that The Australian opted for when reporting on a video in which two Muslim women, members of Hizb ut-Tahrir, relayed the tafsir of a verse of the Qur’an. This predictably sent the media into overdrive and soon all major outlets were covering the story with a domestic violence angle, with politicians lining up to comment and take the moral high ground. Some within the Muslim community released a statement denouncing domestic violence and criticising the view expressed in the video.

Two days later and one of the signatories of that statement, Sheikh Shady Alsuleiman (President of the Australian National Imams Council) is the next media target.

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3 Messages from a Burning Heart: A comment on the latest Syria massacre

Posted by on Apr 5, 2017 in Commentary, Current Affairs | 0 comments

3 Messages from a Burning Heart: A comment on the latest Syria massacre

 

As the Ummah takes stock in the aftermath of the latest vicious (chemical) attack by the Syrian regime on the people of Idlib, Ustadh Abu Anas Alwahwah and br Wassim Doureihi provide comments on the situation, directing three messages: one to the capitals of terrorism today, the second to the rulers of the Muslim world, and third to Muslims more generally. The following is adapted from their comments on social media in Arabic and English respectively.  (more…)

Our response to famine: why it is imperative to go further than charity

Posted by on Apr 1, 2017 in Commentary | 0 comments

Our response to famine: why it is imperative to go further than charity

 

The most recent trigger for fundraising action in Muslim communities has been the current famine in East Africa (Somalia specifically) and also Yemen. While these efforts are imperative and highly commendable, we must also trace the origins of such crises to properly understand the broader issue. Br Abdullah Hamimi explores this issue, highlighting the need for a deeper analysis of the causes of such famines and poverty.  (more…)

Punchbowl Boys: Children Now Target of “Derad” Witch-hunt

Posted by on Mar 21, 2017 in Commentary | 0 comments

Punchbowl Boys: Children Now Target of “Derad” Witch-hunt

 

Fuelled mostly by the gutter “journalism” of rags like the Daily Telegraph and talk back radio shock jocks, the furore surrounding Punchbowl Boys High School shows no signs of abating. An impression of the school has been crafted – a hotbed of potential terrorism waiting to boil over into society, a harsh “Sharia” imposing institution and a modern ground zero in the heart of Sydney’s west for everything that is wrong with Islam and Muslims. This image has been manufactured with a narrative in which contradictions abound. (more…)

Muslims in the Media: Knowing when to speak

Posted by on Mar 7, 2017 in Commentary, Current Affairs | 0 comments

Muslims in the Media: Knowing when to speak

 

What is Islam’s position on apostates? What does sharia law say about gays? Does Islam allow men to beat their wives? Does the “Koran” tell you to kill non-Muslims “wherever you find them”? 

These are the kind of questions that many Muslims who appear in the media are often confronted with. Essentially, the questions revolve around aspects of Islamic law and Muslims are put on the spot to either deny or confirm them. (more…)

Our condition: Is the Ummah being punished for her sins?

Posted by on Dec 26, 2016 in Commentary, Knowledge | 0 comments

Our condition: Is the Ummah being punished for her sins?

 

This article looks at the notion that the Ummah is going through suffering, being denied of victory and authority, on account of her sins. We have heard it from the pulpits. We have heard it in this lecture or that conference. Too many times to enumerate. We heard it when Afghanistan was invaded, likewise Iraq, when calamities hit Burma, CAR, Pakistan, Egypt, Syria…now we hear it for Aleppo.

But how much water does this narrative carry? Not much, on examination.


(more…)

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