riyada in arabic means "training" or "discipline". It was used by the arabs in relation to horse taming. Sufis refer to their discipline as "riyadat an-nafs": disciplining the soul / training the ego. Today, the word riyada has come to mean "sports". There is an Arabic proverb that says: "The purpose of sports (riyada) is not to win cups, but to discipline the soul". This blog is here to help me discipline my soul and train my body.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Be Like the Qur'an

There are many dimensions to understanding the hadith of al-sayyida Aisha (r.a.), that the Prophet's ethos was the Qur'an.

For example, when we think of that hadith we might think of how the Prophet's life is a representation of how to live according to the Qur'an, and that it teaches us the spirit of the Message.

But here is another aspect: the proportion and arrangment of themes. For example, out of more than 6,000 verses, there are only 80 purely legal injunctions. The vast majority, on the other hand, are matters relating to the Afterlife, God's Unity, sincerity, and how to be good in society, etc. This tells us that focusing on these matters is most important, and these are the things we need to be oriented towards the most.

There is also a very large portion dedicated to the stories of God's messengers and prophets. This is also something that has a (potentially) very large effect on our personality and manners, and on shaping our ethos. As Shams Tabrizi explains,

"Without doubt, whenever you sit with someone and are with him, you will take on his disposition. On whom have you been gazing that tightness should have come into you? If you look at green herbs and flowers, freshness will come. The sitting companion pulls you into his own world. That is why reciting the Koran purifies the heart, for you remember the prophets and their states. The form of the prophets comes together in your spirit and becomes its sitting companion."

Well, here is yet another way to understand the hadith: Think about the arrangement of the verses. Muslims have always realized the importance in the Qur'an of the placement of words within a verse. Thus when things are mentioned together, the arrangement usually has a significance and the things that come first are more important. Well here is something else that is important: the arrangement of the verses and their themes.

Let us look for example at Sura 2. The ayaat from 220 to 237 are roughly about marriage and things related to that. But before finishing the matters of marriage, the Qur'an jumps to speaking about Prayer and the remembrance of Allah at all times, even in times of fear and danger. And then, after that, it goes back to finishing the matter at hand related to marriage and different possible scenarios. For most people, this is a very odd placement of verses: There is a verse about prayer in the middle of a section about women and marriage. What is it doing there? Is it out of place? Well, think in terms of, "And his ethos was the Qur'an".

As shaykh Ahmad ibn Idris explains,

The intervening sentence among these verses, and it is His saying Most High: "Guard strictly (the observance of) your prayers, especially the Middle Prayer; and stand before Allah in a devout (frame of mind)" approaching God Most High with your entire being and with your hearts, not standing as spectres while your hearts are occupied with other than Him, "But if you go in fear (of danger), then (say your prayers) on foot or on horseback", meaning do not be unmindful of Allah Most High and do not occupy yourselves with other than Him even when you are in a state of fear: "and when you are secure again, then remember Allah, as He has taught you what you did not know" and it is what He taught you with His Book and the Sunna of His Messenger, naught else. Then He went back to the ruling on the wives that will become widows in His saying: "In the case of those of you who are about to die and leave behind them wives,". This was done for the sake of the wisdom in placing the sentence of prayer in the middle: meaning, do not be occupied with that which is other than Us and do not spend all your time on the injunctions relating to worldly affairs, but give them their necessary due then come back to Us, so that your character (sifa) will be like the character of the Qur'an's arrangement, for We did not finish the injunction regarding the widow until We first called you unto Us, and then went back to finish it. So look at the wisdom in the arrangement. Laa ilaaha illa Allah, how eloquent is His speech, and how Wise is He, Most High and Sublime!

So try to pay more attention to the arrangement of the Qur'an, and see what it is trying to tell you about your priorities in life, and that whatever you are doing, do not let it distract you from Allah. "Ta-Ha. We have not sent down the Qur'an to you to cause you distress. But only as a reminder to him who fears". Be like the Qur'an, and return to the remembrance of Allah at all times.


Blogger Silencer said...



Please forgive me for deleting all the posts of your great jihad. I'm sure your efforts will be rewarded by Allah, for all that time you spent not doing something useful.

The fact that this tragic debate was still going on in this old abandoned blog post was brought to my attention recently and I decided to put an end to it.

There will be no more comments on this blog from now on.

Maybe it's time you start actually FOLLOWING all the shaykhs you defend, by:

1) Not trying to divide the Ummah of Tawheed, and

2) Not attacking your fellow Muslims and the scholars of the past.

3) Maybe spending your time acquiring ilm or something useful.

But if your lazy nafs will not let you do that, I'm sure you can find yourself another battlefield to carry on your great jihad.



October 30, 2008 at 12:50 PM


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