Islamic Voice A Monthly English Magazine

Jamadi Thani 1424 H
August 2003
Volume 16-08 No : 200
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Thoughts on Life


Honouring Commitments
Just For the Young

Values

Honouring Commitments

Following the Prophet's (Pbuh), example, as Muslims we have to keep up our word when we promise people!

When people achieve some reconciliation after a period of conflict, they should try to show goodwill so that the other party will reciprocate and make an effort to remove the possibility of conflict erupting again. This applies to individuals, communities and states alike. Islam teaches us that being faithful to our pledges takes priority.

The Prophet (Pbuh) who always lived up to his commitments, faced a truly hard test shortly after he made an agreement with the Quraysh, his idolatrous tribe which opposed him and waged war after war against him for nearly 20 years. He had travelled with 1400 of his companions from Madinah aiming to visit Makkah to honour the Kaabah and pray there. As a clear sign of his peaceful mission, none of his companions had any armament other than swords. However the Quraysh, who lived in Makkah, prevented their entry and made it clear that they would fight. The Prophet (Pbuh) declared that he had no interest in fighting any war and he would rather work for a peaceful agreement. It took the Quraysh more than two weeks to accept the idea.

Acting on divine instructions, the Prophet (Pbuh) accepted all the conditions the Quraysh imposed. Some of these appeared totally one-sided, working in Quraysh’s favour. The conditions required the Prophet (Pbuh) and his companions to return home, without visiting Makkah, in return for an agreed visit the following year, lasting only three days. The Muslims were also required to return to the Quraysh anyone from their ranks who comes to join the Muslims in Madinah, but the Quraysh had no similar commitment of returning any Muslim who wishes to join it and renounce Islam.

In modern political terms, they would be easily described as a “sell-out.” Many of the Prophet’s companions were displeased and some were outspoken, feeling that the Prophet need not have acceded to Quraysh’s demands. In marked contrast to the Prophet’s conciliatory stance, the Quraysh negotiator, Sahl Ibn Amr, adopted a very hard attitude, fighting every inch of the way to impose his side’s conditions. When the agreement was signed and sealed, the Muslims who were terribly agitated, faced a real test of their commitment. Sahl’s own son, Abu Jandal, arrived at the spot, declaring that he was a Muslim and seeking refuge with the Prophet (Pbuh). It was clear that he was a Muslim for some time and he was imprisoned by his father who tried to get him to renounce Islam. Now the test was hard for the Prophet (Pbuh) and the Muslims. Sahr ibn Amr insisted that the agreement was valid and his son had to be returned. The Prophet pleaded with him to let his son be free to choose the religion he wished. The man was adamant and would not budge. The Prophet (Pbuh) told Abu Jandal that he had no way, but to honour his commitment.

Had some Muslims at that moment been too eager to defend their brother, they would hardly be blamed, but the Prophet’s companions were a disciplined community. Although they did not like the agreement and its conditions, they would not disobey him. Hence they watched wringing their hands and struggling to control themselves as they watched Abu Jandal being beaten by his father who dragged him away.

Abu Jandal later managed to escape, and the condition the Quraysh were keen to impose finally worked against them and they appealed to the Prophet (Pbuh) to drop it and take Abu Jandal and others like him to Madinah. But what we see in this incident is an exemplary attitude of honouring commitments.

(Courtesy: Haj and Umra Magazine)

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Just For the Young

Many young people, during college years take a vacation from religion
because they see religion regulating their lifestyles.

Just for Young

By Shahid Athar

What happens to the faith of our young Muslims when they leave home to enter a college campus? Do they take faith along with other belongings and necessities of life, or they leave faith behind at home? This is partly related to the degree and type of faith practised at home.

Indeed parents who practise their faith at home along with their children prepare them in a better way to deal with secularism at the campus. Though in the early years of life, the children’s faith is more like a blind faith, following the faith and tradition of their parents and older siblings, during the teenage years, they develop their own personalized faith which may be similar or somewhat different than the faith of people around them. Nevertheless, efforts at home directed towards strengthening the faith of that child makes that child strong in character.

When one throws a diamond in the mud, it still remains a diamond. Thus the blind faith dies when young people leave home. However, some of them have a re-birth of their faith during campus life. Many young people and their young faculty during college years take a vacation from religion because they see religion regulating their lifestyles. The new freedom includes freedom from God because without God “everything becomes possible in their desires and behaviour.”

Religion is given a tertiary place in life, the primary being science and the secondary being social pleasures. The downsizing of religion is due to the elimination of God from their daily life. At campus, they have new friends and they gain new experiences and adventures. They learn from older students and they have a challenge to be accepted and to belong to a particular social club. Their lives are busy and they have deadlines to meet and appointments to keep. They are under peer pressure and “beer pressure”. So they have no time for God at least in the first year of campus life. This is mostly true for those who did not come through a strong religious background or affiliation at home.

How do they return to religion in the latter part of their campus life? By observation and experience, they realize that religion has some influence on morality and thus it has a role in shaping their future. Is it not their religious morality which keeps them out of trouble as otherwise they might be a victim of violence, theft, drug abuse, alcohol, rape etc, prevalent on campus life. Sometimes even a minor encounter with the law in the state of innocent fun can ruin their record and career. Sometimes, even good kids get involved in this because they do not have an alternative club of decency that they can join.

This is why I propose a Religious Social Club. This Religious Social Club, whether it is Muslim, Christian or Jewish should be more flexible in terms of gender equality, social mixing and it should place more emphasis on morality than rituals of the religion and indoctrinization. They must be supervised by sincere adult faculty to give them guidance and direction with whatever means they have, because there will be good kids who will try to have the best moral behaviour and so it is in the best interest of the administration and faculty to see more of these kids.

I also suggest that religious campus associations, instead of opposing each other should have a network among themselves of an inter-faith nature so that they can meet together on occasions and share their faith with someone else and learn from others too. In this way, the religious forces even coming from different backgrounds will be on the same side of the fence as compared to the secular and dominant forces on the campus. However as these Religious Social Clubs and Interfaith Networks will progress, they are more likely to have a greater influence on faith life on campus.

(Islam-usa.com)

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