Category Archives: Islam for beginners and Islamic Education

The Politics of Using the Quran

imamaliIt is now some thirteen centuries that the politics of “holding the Qur’an upon a spear” has been more or less prevalent among the Muslims. It becomes especially rife among those who wish to profit from it whenever sanctimoniousness and exotericism increases and it becomes fashionable to display one’s piety and asceticism. There are two lessons to be learnt from this.

Firstly, whenever the ignorant, the unknowing and the uninformed put on a show of sanctity and piety, and people take them to be the symbol of the practicing Muslim, an excellent tool is available for unscrupulous schemers. Such schemers always turn these people into an instrument for their own ends, and make their presence a strong hindrance to the ideas of real reformers. It is quite common to see anti-Islamic elements making quite open use of this means, that is to say, setting the power of Islam itself to work against Islam. Western colonialism has had much experience in the use of this means, and has in its turn profited from deceitful arousal of the sentiments of the Muslims, especially in the field of the creation of schisms between them. What a disgrace it is when, for example, afflicted Muslims plan to drive out foreign influence, and then see the very people they wanted to save turn into a barrier in their path in the name, and under the banner, of religion. Indeed, if the masses of the people are ignorant and uninformed, hypocrites will use the fortress of Islam itself. In Iran, where the people have the honour to love and follow the Household of the Prophet (Ahlu’l-bayt), hypocrites are creating a fortress against the Qur’an, Islam and the Household of the Prophet to help the usurping Jews, out of the holy fortress of love of the House- hold of the Prophet, and in their sacred name, and this is the most abominable part of the injustice against Islam, the Qur’an, the Prophet and his Household. The Prophet said:

I am not anxious about the incursion of poverty among my community; that about which I am afraid for them is crooked thinking. That which poverty of thought will bring my community is much worse than that which economic poverty will bring them.

Secondly, we must try to make our methodology of derivation from the Qur’an a true one. The Qur’an is a leader and a guide when it is subjected to true reflection, when it is interpreted wisely, when guidance is taken from the people who really know the Qur’an, who are firmly rooted in the sciences of the Qur’an. As long as our methodology is wrong, and as long as we do not learn how to benefit from the Qur’an, we shall not drive any profit from it. Profiteers or ignorant people sometimes read the Qur’an, and then follow up an incorrect possibility. Just as you have probably heard in the words of Nahjul Balaghah ” they say the word “truth”, and then set their minds of falsehood ! ” This is not practicing the Qur’an or bringing it to life, this is putting it to death. The Qur’an is put into practice when it is understood with a true understanding.

The Qur’an always presents its project in a general and fundamental form, but the deduction and harmonization of the particular to the universal depends on our correct understanding and conceptualization. For example, we do not find written in the Qur’an that in a war that took place on a certain day between ‘Ali and Mu’awiyah, ‘Ali was in the right; all we find in the Qur’an is that;

If two parties of believers fight, put things right between them; then, if one of them is insolent against the other, fight the insolent one till it reverts to Allah’s commandment. (al-Hujarat, 49 – 9)

This is the Qur’an and its way of explanation; but it does not say in such-and-such a war so-and-so was in the right and the other was in the wrong.

The Qur’an does not spell out names; it does not say: after forty years, more or less, a man called Mu’awiyah will appear who will fight with ‘Ali, and you should fight in that war for ‘Ali. And neither should it enter into particulars. The Qur’an’s task is not to make a list of subjects and point out which is right and which is wrong; such a thing would be impossible. The Qur’an came to stay for ever, so it has to make fundamental and universal things clear, so that falsehood can take its place face to face with truth in every age and people can act according to the criterion of these universalities. It is therefore a duty for people to open their eyes to the basic advice: “of two parties of believers fight. . .”, and distinguish between the party doing the terrorizing and the one that is being terrorized; and to accept if the unruly party ceases to be unruly. But if they stop, and try to be cunning so as to save themselves from defeat, and prepare themselves for a new attack, and become unruly again, and, in the words of the Qur’an, “if one of them is insolent against the other”, be firm, and do not give way to their cunning.

It is up to the people themselves to discriminate in all these matters. The Qur’an seeks that the Muslims should be intellectually and socially mature, and a necessary consequence of such intellectual maturity is the ability to differentiate between the just man and the unjust man. The Qur’an did not come to be always for people like a guardian over a juvenile, to carry out the particular details of their lives like a personal protector, and to specify each special case by a material sign and indicator.

Actually, knowing people, the degree of their competence, the limits to their fitness for, and relationship to, Islam and Islamic realities is itself a duty, and frequently we neglect this duty.

‘Ali, may peace be upon him, said:

You will never know truth and follow the right way unless you know the person who has abandoned it.

Knowing the principles and the generalities is alone not enough unless their correspondence and reference to particulars has been found, for it is possible that, through an error of judgement concerning persons and individuals or through ignorance of the situation, one will act in the name of truth and Islam and under the banner of Islam against Islam and truth and for falsehood.

Injustice and the unjust, justice and the just are mentioned in the Qur’an, but their applications must be sought out. We must not mistake injustice and justice for injustice, and then cut off the head of justice and truth in the name of what we imagine to be a universal principle and the judgement of the Qur’an.

 

Refreence: Polarization around the Character of Ali ibn Abi Talib, by Murtaza Mutahhari. W.O.F.I.S World Organization For Islamic Services, Tehran – Iran.

 

 

Khutbah on Muslim Youth

Khutbah on Muslim Youth
delivered by Shaykh Muhammad Taher

To every father and mother, who is loving, merciful, and compassionate, who is concerned that their own flesh blood do not become fuel and firewood for a fire whose fuel is men and stones, as Allah the Almighty says:

“Oh you who believe! Save yourselves and your Families from a Fire whose fuel is men and stones, over which are appointed angels stern and severe, Who flinch not from executing the commands they receive from Allah, but do precisely what they are commanded.”
[Surah Tahrim 66:6]

To every teacher and caller to that which is good:

Know that the wealth of nations is not stored away in the depths of the earth, nor is it merely spread out on the surface. The wealth of nations is not in treasure troves. It is not just in gold and silver. The wealth of nations is more than what many people imagine it to be. The real wealth of nations is the human being…

Man, with his faith, his honour, his ability, his values…is the greatest wealth that nations have, and the youth are the most important component of this human wealth.

For this reason it is said: If you would like to know the future of a nation, then know, what is the situation of the youth from that nation? What are the youth occupied with? What are they concerned with? What are their ideals? What are their goals in life? What are they doing? What do they think about? What do they dream of? What do they talk about in their gathering and conversations?

Oh Muslims!

How great is our need? We, as Muslims today, living in the lands of Islam and outside the lands of Islam, but especially those who live outside the lands of Islam; how great is our need of a reminder and an exhortation. Because everything that our youth face, our sons and daughters, everything that they see and witness, everything that they hear each day, contradicts and opposes their belief, their religion, and the manners and morals of Islam. There is only the small, occasional exception. This is a natural consequence for anybody, whether by choice or compulsion, who lives outside his own environment and society.

The question is: How do we confront all of this? How do we protect our youth? How do we make our children aware and acquainted with their religion and belief, observing and adhering to its principles? How do we make our children grow into adults that will practise this religion and live according to its rulings, and that they will be distinguished by their belief and their view of life, as they will be distinguished by their Islamic manners and conduct?

The secret is found in one word: Education. Our education of these youth; by following the most beneficial ways and methods of modern education, by implanting love of this religion, love of Allah the Almighty, by implanting love of the Messenger (salAllahu alayhi wasalam). By implanting the principles of this true religion in our youth they will understand this religion and learn it in a clear and sound way, that is free from being confused with customs and traditions. Know that any tradition or custom of a people that opposes or contradicts the Shariah, in its objectives or rulings, must be rejected. Teach them Islam in a way that is built on the foundations and bases of modern education. As for methods of dictation without understanding, compulsion without belief, they will not be of any use to them in the presence of what they will learn in their schools, colleges and universities. Allah says: “Know that there is no god but Allah.” (47:19). On the foundations of knowledge of this religion, the understanding of its reality, the comprehension of its objectives, the meaningful grasp of its message, there is learning and education, which leads to sound practice and application.

So make your sons and daughters individuals that believe in this religion and practice it with knowledge, understanding, and complete satisfaction. Make your children advocates and callers to this religion, proud of what they believe in. Don’t make your son or daughter someone who, when they’re with you, do what you want to see them do, but when they’re out of your sight they do what they want to do or what their friends want them to do. They live with a split personality, wandering astray, confused. Then, maybe a day will come when they will declare their apostasy from the religion, renouncing everything they see from it as restrictive, not having any faith at all.

Teach your children that the believing group that carried this religion in the beginning were youths like them, so why should they not be the same? Teach them that those who gathered around the Prophet, peace be upon him, in the beginning of his call in Dar al-Arqam, and who carried the call, the da’wa, on their backs to the rest of mankind, were youths. Ali was an adolescent. So was ‘Abd Allah ibn Mas’ud, ‘Abd Arahman bin ‘Awf, Al-Arqam bin Abi Arqam, Sa’id bin Zaid, Musa’b bin Amir, ‘Amar bin Yasir, and so on, hundreds of youths. It was they who strived day and night, sacrificed and persevered, fought jihad so that they could spread and implement this religion, its dignity and glory. Overnight the Muslims acquired an empire. Authority and leadership was established for them.

Teach your children that these youth from the Companions, and their children, and those who followed them, did not reach a great and majestic peak except with two things:

1st: They adhered to the religion, in belief and thought, saying and action, implementing and applying.

2nd: They carried the message of Islam to the world with great effort and sacrifice, and the strength of their patience, such that Allah says: “Among the believers are men who have been true to their covenant with Allah. Some of them have died, and some still wait, but their determination never changed in the least.” [33:23]

And Allah says: “By men whom neither trade nor sale can divert them from the Remembrance of Allah, nor from regular prayer, nor from paying Zakat. Their only fear is for the day when hearts and eyes will be turned about.” [24:37]

So what prevents our youth today from being men in form, and in reality mountains?

Oh Youth of Islam!

You see the world today groping about in the darkness of materialism, and the gratification of worldly passions, in anarchism and deviation. And with this and that you see oppression, despotism and the seizure of the capabilities of peoples and nations. Your nation is in the midst of this. It is experiencing the greatest share. Your Islam, your religion, is being targeted.

And see and hear the plans and schemes that are being devised to scrutinize and beguile what the people still have from this religion, to suffocate the values and examples and legacy of the Prophets.

So where are you in regard to all this, oh Muslim youth! Do you realize the danger? Do you grasp what is happening?

If not then let every mother, father, and teacher implant in their children these realities. Make them understand these concepts, always, until they become fully aware of their responsibilities to this religion.

And know, oh youth of Islam, that the period of youth has a special reckoning with Allah. All of life in taken into account, but youth is special. In the Hadith: “The feet of the Children of Adam, on the Day of Judgement, will not move from their Lord until being asked 5 things: His life and how it occupied him, his youth and what he did while it lasted, his wealth, how he acquired it and how he spent it, his knowledge and what he did with it.

Oh youth, know that if you are not preoccupied with Truth then you are preoccupied with falsehood. This is a maxim in the science of education. If you do not fill your time with seeking knowledge or effort or work, for the sake of a livelihood, then you allow your time to be filled with that which has no benefit, and you will pull yourself and lead yourself with passions and whims, following Shaitan in disobedience to Allah.

We ask Allah to help us understand our religion, and make our youth from the best of youths, and make them like those who came before them, in faith and action, and that they become like those who Allah describes: “In truth, they were youths who believed in their Lord and we increased them in guidance. We gave strength to their hearts. Behold, they stood up and said: ‘Our Lord is the Lord of the heavens and of the earth: never shall we call upon any god other than Him, if we did, we should indeed have uttered an enormity.” [18: 13-14] Wasteful saying is far from the Truth.

All Praise is for Allah, Lord of all the worlds, and may His peace and blessings be on the final Messenger.and his Ahlul Bait.

The Mutah Marriage Contract Procedure

The Mutah Marriage Contract Procedure

Introduction:

One of the glorious laws of Islam, from the point of view of the Ja’fari (Shi’ite) law, is that there are two kinds of marriage, a permanent and a fixed-time marriage. Some of the effects, which flow from these two kinds of marriage, are the same and some others are different. There are two distinctive features between them. One is that in a fixed -time marriage, a man and a woman enter into a contract to marry each other for a fixed period, on the expiry of which, if they wish, they can extend it, otherwise they separate.

The other distinguishing feature is that there is a greater freedom of choice in fixed-time marriage. The contracting parties may stipulate any conditions they like. For example, in a permanent marriage the husband is bound to maintain his wife and meet her daily expenses. Besides, he has to provide for her clothing, housing and other necessities of life like medicines and medical treatment etc. But in a fixed-time marriage everything depends on the terms of the contract. It is possible that the husband may not be able or may not be willing to bear the expenses of his wife, or the wife may not like to utilise her husband’s money.

In the permanent marriage the wife has to accept her husband as the head of the family and obey him within the limits of family interest, but in a fixed-time marriage this also depends on the terms of the contract. In the case of a permanent marriage wife and husband inherit from each other, but this is not so in a fixed-time marriage.

However, in the fixed-time marriage after the formula has been pronounced the couple is recognised as lawful wife and husband and they can then have intimacy but before that they are strangers and it is prohibited for them to have any kind of sexual relation.


Do Your Research

Firstly we would advise you to get acquainted with the background of Mutah and its Islamic legitimacy. There’s no substitute for getting your head down and reading about it! So if you haven’t yet read up on Mutah please visit mutah.com! Once you are convinced in your heart that Mutah is indeed a legitimate option in Islam and acceptable before the eyes of God, then move to the next level. . .

Know The Law

It is extremely important for you to now know the laws concerning Mutah. E.g. Are you and your potential spouse eligible to enter into a Mutah marriage contract? Are you aware of your mutual rights and responsibilities? Are you aware of your responsibilities in the event of pregnancy? Have you acquainted yourself with the possibilities of contraception? etc… To look into these matters further please go to the sections on Introduction To Mutah Marriage In Islam, and Mutah & Nikah Law.

Discuss Details With Your Partner

Now that you are well aware of what Mutah entails, it is time to discuss this matter with whom you intend to enter the Mutah contract with. They too need to be comfortable with entering into the Mutah marriage with you. It might help you if you refer them to this site (www.mutah.com) so like you they can also explore the topic.

Mutual Agreement

Once you have mutually agreed that entering a Mutah contract is what you both want you need to discuss

  1. The time period for which your Mutah marriage will last,
  2. The Mahr (dowry)
  3. Any other conditions you may want to add.
  4. You need to mutually agree in clear terms how long the initial Mutah contract will last. This needs to be clear and should not be obscure – because as soon as the time runs out you are no longer halal for each other unless you renew the Mutah and repeat this procedure again.
  5. You need to mutually agree on a Mahr. Mahr is the gift that the man gives to his wife as part of the contract. It can be anything, and it is better if it is not extravagant in its value. Some hadith report that some of the Companions of the Prophet would enter into Mutah with a handful of dates or wheat as the Mahr.
  6. You can agree to other conditions if you two so wish. It is not obligatory to do this, however, once you do agree to any conditions at this point it becomes obligatory for you to abide by them once you are in the Mutah marriage.

Recite The Seegha (Arabic Formula of Words) To Commence The Mutah

You are now ready to recite the Arabic formula of words, which, once completed, means that you two are now halal for each other in the eyes of God and the Law of Islam. Please note that this procedure can be done by the two persons wanting to enter the Mutah marriage themselves. There is no need for a Wakeel (someone who recites the seegha on your behalf) nor the need for witnesses. However you can opt for a Wakeel and you can also opt for witnesses if you so wish. If you like, you could even put this procedure into writing with both your signatures. These are options if you feel you would prefer it that way – however not necessary for your Mutah to be valid.

The seegha is quite short but must be recited in Arabic. Below you will find the Arabic formula written in English transliteration, along with its meaning. There is also a link to an audio file with the vows for the Mutah marriage recited in Arabic. It has been recited slowly with gaps, so you can repeat after it (if you want to). Otherwise you can just use the text below.

First the lady says:

Zawajtuka nafsi fil muddatil ma’loomati ‘alal mahril ma’loom.

Translation: “I married myself to you for the known period and the agreed upon dowry.”

Then man replies:

Qabiltu.

Translation: “I accepted.”*

Congratulations! That’s it! You are now halal for each other for the time period that you agreed!



FACTS:

Among the Muslims are some who believe that the temporary marriage is unlawful and others who believe that it is lawful and even very important. Those who believe it is unlawful believe that the Prophet of Islam (saw), through God’s command, allowed it for a very short period and then disallowed it. Those who believe it is lawful believe that the Prophet of Islam (saw) never disallowed it but rather it was a Caliph, after the death of the Prophet (saw) at which time Islam can not be changed, who made it illegal.

Further, those who find it lawful turn to a verse in the Qur’an in which they believe it (temporary marriage) is mentioned. They say that something which is lawful in Qur’an and not made unlawful somewhere else in the Qur’an must be permissible. The matter of dispute is in 4:24, here presented as in the Puya/Ali translation and tafsir of the Holy Qur’an

“As to those whom you married for a fixed time (Mutah), give them their agreed dowries; and there is no sin for you in what you mutually agree together after what has been settled.”

The corresponding tafsir follows:

“Famastamta-tum bihi [the Arabic in the text which refers to the marriage] provides for a temporary marriage, knows as Mutah. It has been specifically made lawful by the Qur’an and the Holy Prophet, therefore this provision subsists as unrescinded.

One day, for no reason at all, and having no authority to amend a law given and practiced by the Holy Prophet, the second caliph declared from the pulpit:

‘Two Mutahs (temporary marriage and combining hajj with umra) were in force during the time of the Holy Prophet, but now I decree both of them as unlawful; and I will punish those who practice them.’ (Tafsir Kabir, Durr al Manthur, Kashshaf, Mustadrak and others).

According to Tirmidhi even his [the second caliph’s] son, Ibna Umar, refused to agree with his father’s action because it was made lawful by Allah and His Prophet, whose pronouncements could never be revoked by any one after him.

Therefore the Shia school of thought holds both Mutahs lawful. Ali ibn abi Talib reversed the uncalled-for innovation of the second caliph, and thereafter it was never again prohibited.”

According to Ayatullah Seestani

Mut’ah (temporary marriage)

Imam e Zamin…

Imam Ali ibne Musa Ar-Reza (A.S.), also known as Imam-e-Zamin (A.S.) which means “Surety”, is the eighth infallible descendant of holy Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (S.W.).

One day when Imam Reza (A.S.) was on his historical journey from Madina to Marw (Khurasan), while in a jungle the Holy Imam (A.S.) came across a hunter who was about to kill a deer. The deer was trying to get away and when she saw Holy Imam (A.S.), she said something to him. Holy Imam (A.S.) asked the hunter to free the deer so that she could go and feed her little baby-deer who were very hungry. Imam Reza (A.S.) also guaranteed the hunter that once the deer had fed her babies she would come back. The hunter allowed the deer to go because Holy Imam (A.S.) had told him to, but he did not think the deer will come back. But Imam Reza (A.S.) waited with the hunter until the deer returned with her young ones. The hunter was amazed on witnessing this miraculous event and he set the deer free as a mark of respect for Imam Reza (A.S.). After this historical event Imam Reza (A.S.) became famous as Imam Zamin (A.S.).

It is written in ‘Dhillul Mateen’ that Meer Mu’inuddin Ashraf who was one of the virtuous attendants of the shrine of Imam Ali-Ar-Reza (A.S.) says that, “Once I dreamed that I was in the shrine of Imam Reza (A.S.) and was coming out to perform ablution (Wuzu). When I came near the mound of Ameer Ali Sher, I saw a group of people entering the shrine. An eminent personality was leading them, and they all carried spades in their hands. As soon as they entered the shrine, the eminent personality pointed towards a particular grave and said, “Dig out the wretched fellow from his grave”. Hearing his command they started digging the grave. I asked one of those men as to who that man was. He replied that He was the Commander of the faithful Imam Ali (A.S.). Suddenly I saw that Imam Ali-Ar-Reza (A.S.) came out of His shrine and greeted Imam Ali (A.S.). Hazrat Ali (A.S.) answered His greeting. Imam Reza (A.S.) said, “O my Respected Grandfather! I request you, and have faith, that you will forgive this person on my behalf who lies buried here under the shelter of my shrine”. Amirul Mo’mineen (A.S.) answered, “O my dear son! Do you know that he was a mischief-creator, an adulterer, and a drunkard”? Imam (A.S.) replied, “I do know, but when his last moment neared he willed to be buried under the shelter of my shrine, so I request you to forgive him on my behalf.” Hazrat Ali (A.S.) forgave him and left. I awoke from my sleep in awe and woke up the other attendants and related to them my dream. We all went to the place which I had seen in my dream, and found a newly constructed grave, whose mud was scattered. After inquiry we learnt that a Turkish man who had died was buried there the day before”.

Haji Ali Baghdadi had the honor of meeting Imam Mahdi (A.S.) and ask him some questions. One of the questions put forward by him was that “Is it true that a person who goes for the pilgrimage (Ziyarah) to the shrine of Imam Hussain (A.S.) on Friday night receives salvation”? Imam (A.S.) replied, “Yes, by Allah”. Haji Ali Baghdadi says that I saw tears in the eyes of Imam (A.S.). Then I asked him another question, “In the year 1269 A.H. when we went for the pilgrimage (Ziyarah) to the shrine of Imam Reza (A.S.), we met a nomadic Arab who was a native of Najaf. We invited him for a meal and asked him his views regarding the reward of the love of Imam Reza (A.S.). He replied, “Paradise”, and said, “Since the past fifteen days I have been the ZAIR(pilgrim) of Imam Reza (A.S.), do Munkir & Nakeer’ have the nerve to come near me. The food which I consumed from the table of Imam Reza (A.S.) has turned into flesh and blood”. I asked Imam Mahdi (A.S.) whether his claim was true. Imam (A.S.) replied, “Yes it is true. Imam Reza (A.S.) himself will come and save him for the questioning in the grave. For verily by Allah! My Grandfather is a Zamin (Surety) Imam”. (Manazile Akherah by Shaykh Abbas bin Muhammad Reza Al-Qummi, pp. 62-64.)

Another perspective on the coin occurred when there was a ban on visiting
the grave of Imam Hussein, issued by Harun al-Rashid. However, this was
brought to an end by Imam Ali al-Ridha. Ma’moun implemented a condition
that for anyone wishing to go to Karbala to pay respects to Imam Hussein,
they would need to obtain Imam Ridha’s personal guarantee. The Imam
gave this guarantee to everyone, establishing his name as Imam Zamin,
the Imam of guaranteeing. Then, Ma’moun ordered the state mint to engrave
the name of Imam Ridha on the state coins. Now the name of the 8th Imam
had come in the coin so during journeys such coins were kept with the
person’s body as a powerful symbol against any sort of calamities.
So the Imam became a symbol of guaranteeing safe journey.

Thus, during the time period of Imam al-Ridha’s life marked the start
of the practice of “Imam Zamin”. It become customary for people
at this time to take the coin that had Imam al -Ridha’s name on it and
wrap it around their arms when traveling. It was believed that when a
person traveled with the Imam’s name, he would also be protected by the
Imam’s blessings on his journey. When a person arrived safely to their
destination they would take the coin and give it away as sadaqa, charity,
in the name of the Imam al-Ridha. The practice of Imam Zamin has this
name (zamin means safety) because it relates to Imam al-Ridha
who is a protector and guarantee of a safe journey.

The act of Imam Zamin is in essence a type of nithr. A nithr is a promise
to Allah that a person will perform some type of religious act if certain
hajaat, or needs they have, are met. In the case of Imam Zamin, Muslims
make a promise to Allah that if they arrive to their destination safely
with the blessing of the holy Imam, they would then give away the coin
they carried on their journey and give as charity. Nithr, however can
be performed in a multiple of ways. For example, some Muslims will make
a promise to Allah to fast a certain amount of days if they are healed
from a bad illness.

In an interview, a woman of Iranian decent in her mid thirties was asked
about nithr and how she performed them. She explained that. “If a
person is ill, or a person desires something, like a material possession,
this person asks God to grant their request. If God assents to the request
(in Farsi the request is called hajaat), this person will offer a nithr.”
This is a form of sadaqah, which means voluntary charity, not be confused
with zakaat, which is mandatory similar to tithe in Christianity. The
nithr can take many forms within Iranian culture; it can be monetary,
it can be in the form of food, or a service rendered. However the nithr
must be given to those in need, sick, or dispossessed and downtrodden.

Sunnis and Shias alike also view Imam Zamin as a form of voluntary charity
(sadaqah) where fortune is expected in return.


One day, he came to learn about the benefits of being good to one’s parents

There was a young man, before he was a Muslim; he lived with his mother until he was about 18 years old. Then he moved out of his home and lived in a different place on his own. During those days, he met some Muslims and became very close friend to them. Eventually he himself became a Muslim after learning about the beautiful religion of Islam from them. He made an effort every day to learn more and more about Islam.

One day, he came to learn about the benefits of being good to one’s parents. After knowing this, he decided to visit his mother whom he did not visit for many years. He bought some flowers and fruits for her on his way. His mother was very pleased to see him after so long. He started spending lots of time with his mother on a regular basis. During his visits, he would stare at his mother and tears would roll down from his eyes. The mother noticed this happening many times and asked him one day the reason, why he visits her so much all of a sudden and why he cries. He told her about how he became a Muslim and that the position of a mother in Islam is very high.

He also told her about the reward he gets for looking at her.

But while looking at her, he cries because the mother is not a Muslim and would not be able to save herself if she dies in this state. The mother immediately recognized the beauty of Islam and became a Muslim.

There is a great deal of love and respect for mothers in Islam. Over 1400 years ago, one of the companions of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) asked him who the most deserving person of his kindness and his companionship was.

The Prophet (p) said, “Your mother.”
The man asked, “Then whom?”
He said, “Your mother.”
The man asked for the third time, “Then whom?”
The Prophet (p) said, “Your mother.”
The man asked for the fourth time, “Then whom?”
The Prophet (p) said “Your father.”

Addiction treatments and Islam

Alcohol And Drug  addiction treatment and Islam

Believers, wine, gambling, the stone altars and arrows (that the pagans associate with certain divine characters) are all abominable acts associated with satanic activities. Avoid them so that you may have everlasting happiness (5:90). Satan wants to induce hostility and hatred among you through wine and gambling and to prevent you from remembering God and prayer. Will you then avoid such things? (5:91) al-ma’idah

Obey God and the Messenger and be cautious (of the harmful things).

Dr Charles Richet, Paris – Nobel Prize Winner of Physiology said:  Alcohol paralyses the senses, makes one lurch and vomit, and it soon overcomes the strongest man, and turns him into a raging beast who with empurpled face and bloodshot eyes, bellows forth oaths and threats against his surroundings and insults imaginary enemies. Never in any animal species, not among pigs, nor jackals, nor donkeys, is such ignominy to be found.

The use of alcohol and other drugs is considered a “major sin. “ in Islam  Muslims are required to stay away from khamr as it is considered the mother of all evils.  Islam prohibits the use of intoxicants and makes it unlawful to sell grapes to someone who will make wine from them, if there is any doubt, the transaction is forbidden. Also forbidden of intoxicants are selling, transporting, buying, giving or making of intoxicants.

(Muhammad), they ask you about wine and gambling. Tell them that there is great sin in them. Although they have benefits for men, the sin therein is far greater than the benefit. Al Baqarah 2:219

lslam stops the wrong at the inception and not at the end and provides clear direction for every aspect of live and for every aspect of the treatment of addiction.

Drug and alcohol problems can affect every one of us regardless of age, sex, and race, and marital status, place of residence, income level, or lifestyle. You can get help for yourself or for a friend or loved one from a Muslim counselor, Imam, friend or family member. For additional help, you can check out national, State, and local organizations, addiction treatment centers, referral centers, and hotlines throughout the country.

Treatment of addictions is considered medical treatment. There are various kinds of treatment services and rehab centers. For example, some may involve outpatient counseling, while others may be three- to five-week-long inpatient programs.
While you may be hesitant to seek help, know that treatment programs offer organized and structured services with individual, group, and family therapy for people with alcohol and drug abuse problems.

The treatment specialist/therapist does not necessarily have to be Muslim to provide this treatment, but an understanding of the philosophical underpinnings of treatment is invaluable. Islam does not discourage the use of outside resources, such as counseling or rehabilitation. Always remember Impacts of addiction can also be Stroke, Cardiovascular disease, Cancer, HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis C, Lung disease, Obesity, Mental disorders, Long term Brain Damage, distorted vision, impaired judgment, vitamin deficiencies, sexual impotence,

Islam does not “shame” its believers when they come for treatment. It is our understanding that Allah forgives and that we, as humans, have the responsibility to support and assist in recovery whenever possible. It is also the belief of Islam that full adherence to the religious principals of Islam with the support of the Muslim community will provide not only a drug free lifestyle but also recovery.

we should pay more attention to the needs of the victim by the education of the masses, social workers, law enforcements agencies and the physicians at the same time developing treatment and Drug rehab centers and Alcohol Rehab Center in large scale as human sufferings continues to grow and son, daughters, husbands and fathers are being lost daily. All these require motivation and commitment from all of us. It is beyond the dignity of a human being to become dependent on alcohol and drugs and not be able to serve himself, his family and his creator in the best possible manner

lslam stops the wrong at the inception and not at the end and makes equal laws for both children and parents by prohibiting completely.

“Say: My servants, who have transgressed against their soul, despair not of the mercy of God; for God forgives all sins; for He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.”(53/39)

wassalam

How to Utilize Our Free Time

How to Utilize Our Free Time



 

 

How to Utilize Our Free Time

From the time man is born on this earth, his age begins to decrease gradually. This means that each day that falls away from his age, is detached from the calendar of his life like the pages that fall down one by one until the time which the tree of his growth will be stripped out of its last leaves.

Indeed, our age decreases, not increases, as, in our estimation, it apparently seems to do. The burning hours of age are like a candle dropping its melted tears. What burns of it, warns of the approach of its end till it reaches the moment at which it emits its last breath.

What is Age?

Age looks like a temporal vessel, containing the days of our life. Its quality and the way it is filled is in our hands, not in the hands of others. People differ; some fill it up with honey, others fill it with poison, still others mix these together while yet others, leave it empty.

Is it Possible to Leave the Vessel of Life Empty?

We doubt in this. Even our free days spent in amusement and vanity fill the age vessel with sighs, sorrows, and regrets in a Day called by Allah, the Almighty, “The Day of Sorrow and Regret.”  It is a day in which all people are gathered in the presence of the Lord of the Worlds – from Adam up to the last creature – in order to be judged on how they spent “their lives” which is entrusted as a deposit with them.

Did they spend it with seriousness, striving, and performing righteous and good deeds? Or did they spend it by doing vicious and bad actions that caused long and permanent sorrows and regrets? Or did they mix a good deed with an evil deed and in their actions, were they among the losers, like a businessman who spends all his life in trading and at the end, finds himself bankrupt?!

The Importance of Time

If we look for the best one who evaluates time for us, do we see other than the maker of time, Himself, and is it not Allah, Exalted and Glory be He?!

Indeed, this delicate division of moments, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, and years, is just like a cultivated field and the farmer is me or you. According to the endeavor of each farmer, the harvest will be yielded. And it is during the time of harvest that an active and diligent farmer will be pleased, and a lazy and inactive farmer will be driven away. How beautifully Imam Ali (a.s.) describes it: “This world is the plantation for the Hereafter.”Whoever grows an apple, he will surely harvest an apple. And whoever grows an onion, he will surely harvest an onion. And whoever grows a flower, he will surely harvest a flower. And whoever grows a thorn, he will surely harvest a thorn. And whoever grows laziness, he will surely harvest regret.

Verily, Allah, the Almighty is the One Who divides the dawn, afternoon, day and night in order to draw our attention to the thing divided, is of great importance. These numerous expressions regarding the measurement of time are nothing but small vessels within the great vessel of age. Perhaps, the moment you are presently in, will say farewell to you, and enter in the list of your account a reserved action and maybe it leaves you a loan from that account. And who knows that one day will come, for any of us, in which the chief of the bank will reject us and we will leave, disappointed, because there is nothing in our account book!

On that day, it is impossible to start again from the beginning because it is too late and we missed the opportunity. Shall we be pleased to return bankrupt and blame ourselves? Or shall we see working in order to add another fund and act according to the slogan which says: “Save your white piaster for your black (difficult) day”, which means: Keep your righteous deeds for a Day in which wealth will not avail, nor sons, save him who comes to Allah with a sound heart.

Surely we will not find in the Qur’an an expression more eloquent than the following saying of Allah:

“So, he who does an atom-weight of good shall see it. And he who does an atom-weight of evil shall see it.”                                              Holy Qur’an (99: 7-8)

Men will be shown their deeds in the Resurrection by being made to taste of their fruits, but they can also see the good or evil of their actions in this life. Good and evil, when practiced on a large scale, bring their reward or requital in this life, as well. Note that the words here are “he who does”, and thus, include both the Muslim and the non-Muslim. Even a non-Muslim who does an atom’s weight of good will have his reward, and a Muslim who does an atom’s weight of evil will be requited for it.

Then, some one may ask us: How much is an atom’s weight on the scale of time? Is it a moment or less than that? However it is considered, it is a unit of measure in its utmost smallness, and this means that even the littlest deed of good to which one does not pay attention to, will be fruitful during the time in which a flood will overcome the people, and the smallest deed of evil, will be destructive but the good doers are saved from it.

Surely, time is Allah’s grace blessed on all people. It is the white papers on which they record our deeds, be it good or evil, and people are responsible for it on the Resurrection Day. In this regard, Allah’s Apostle, Muhammad (s.a.w.) says: “Not a foot of a servant (of Allah) on the Resurrection Day, will move before he is asked about five things: ‘His age and how he spent it, his youth and how he wore it out, his wealth and how he earned it and on what he spent it and about his love towards us, Ahlul-Bait (the Prophet’s household).’”

He (s.a.w.), also, says:“Seize the opportunity of five things before you lose these five: Your youth before your old age; your health before your illness; your leisure before your occupation; your life before your death and your riches before your poverty.”  It is worthy of observation that the question of age is repeated twice regarding age, in general, and about youth, in particular, due to the importance of the stage of youth, as well as it being the stage of striving, sacrificing and offering.

For instance, when a student surely knows that a question will come on the next examination, he will prepare himself for answering it, otherwise, he will lose a precious opportunity which cannot be substituted, with anything else.

The question is about Resurrection Day – clear and obvious – and the examination will certainly come: What is your age andhow did you spend it, and what was your youth and how did you wear it out? The question remains to be answered by each of us.

Wasted Time and Useful Time

If we look at the amount of time we spend uselessly and try to make a simple calculation as to how many long hours go in vain either in nonsense chatter or in loitering along the streets, or wandering in front of commercial shops or participating in parties which have no limit and without knowing that we are committing “the crimes of futility” against ourselves with the most precious of what Allah has blessed us with, what will be the total?.

Just think of these images, in which we live, and, which occur perhaps daily:

– A young man may take his car or his father’s car, sometimes, accompanied by his friends, to drive around the streets, squares, and roads without any aim and destination.

– A girl or girls may wander for long hours – perhaps other than shopping – in front of shop windows in hopes of desire.

– Young men may play football for hours on end and even though eventually they quit, they repeat playing once, twice and perhaps three times.

– Young men sit in coffee houses smoking, chattering, backbiting and laughing loud. 

– Others may stand in long lines waiting to buy their needs or waiting for buses while casting their naive looks here and there.

– Others who stay up at night may play cards, or chess, or sit before computers for unlimited periods or use the Internet to the extent of addiction without caring for the time which they waste in this regard.

Is Play Forbidden? Who says this?

The subject, here, does not concern the forbidding of a thing or its lawfulness. It may be a thing lawful, but because it exceeds its proper bounds it is disliked and dispraised. As Allah, Glory and Exalted be He, created all things of great significance, it is essential that every thing in our life have a specific time, otherwise, excessiveness, instead, can be invested in the affairs which are important and useful. Therefore, it is said: “What a difference there is between two kinds of actions.  An act whose pleasure passes away, but its distressful   consequence remains, and the act whose hardship passes away, but its reward stays.”

Then, try for one day only to count your wasted time and, surely, you will be surprised at the results.

While we read the bewildering results, let us consider, for example, that there are prisoners who wish to return to their free life to fill up every moment of their life with science and action, and it is nothing but the feeling that their free time passed away in vain.

And let us, also, consider that there are some people who wish that their days were more than 24 hours and, if they could, would borrow time from those who do not care for time.

Such people – the owners of useful time -have times in which they rest, and, at the same time, they renew their activity in order to continue their work, again, with a high spirit and prosperity.

We can make use of this opinion and consider that time takes its longevity or brevity from what we fill it up with of deeds.  A quick glance at the life of great men and their success, reveals an important secret of their prosperity. That is the investment of their time in the best way. Rarely will we find among them those who waste their time in vain. The well-known inventor of electricity, ‘Edison’, is said to have never endured time, but, he used to swallow it up. He used to work, constantly, as if he wanted to achieve in an hour what others achieved in 10 hours. He disliked being absent in solving one such practical question but, it caused him to waste one week in the problem and was eventually futile.

It is known about various great scholars that they used not to sleep at night, except a few hours, for the purpose of making use of additional hours of their days. These people are they who always remember the saying of the poet:

“The beating of man’s heart tells him that life is but minutes and moments, therefore, keep these memories for yourself after your death. Surely, memories, for man, are but the lifetime of a moment.”

Organizing Time

Zaid used to complain about the shortness of his time, and became surprised at his friends who did many things like studying, practicing their hobbies and meeting their friends even though their time was the same.

One day, he presented this question to some of his friends. They told him:  “The matter is clear. Organize your time, so that it will seem to be more.”

For this reason, some hadiths (Islamic traditions) have divided time into hours and an hour, here, means time units and not sixty minutes. This means that there should be time for every action. Imam Ali (a.s.) is quoted to have said:

“The believer’s time has three units: The period when he is in communion with Allah; the period when he manages his livelihood; and the period when he is free to enjoy what is lawful and pleasant…” Other hadiths add another unit and, that is, for visiting trustworthy friends who know our shortcomings. Commenting on the period of enjoying what is lawful and pleasant it can be said: In this period (of enjoyment), you will be able to perform other deeds.

Though this division gives man specific periods for his essential needs, it is not an inactive prescription. It may happen that man’s needs become more numerous and varied, but the aim at the division of time is to organize it in such a way that an action does not extend over another action, or to use up all time while other actions remain un performed or left half performed.

Therefore, striving towards gaining one’s livelihood is required to meet his material needs; approaching to Allah, through worshipping and glorification is required as a spiritual need; visiting one’s friends is required as a social need; enjoying what is lawful is required as psychological need; and besides these hours, there should be another important period for seeking science and knowledge in order to meet one’s theological and ideological needs.

What is important to mention here is that there should be a balance between these units of time in a way in which worldly actions should not cause us to forget the deeds relating to the Hereafter.  And the wise among us are the ones who make all our deeds an obedience to Allah, the Almighty; even worldly actions. However, who sits before a computer without previously deciding how much time he should spend in that sitting, will surely find himself still sitting before its magic, small screen, after many hours passed.

And he who lets the doors of the meeting with his friend be wide open, will surely see that some conversations lead yet to others, and the meeting which was supposed to be finished in half an hour, lasts for two hours or more.

Indeed, organizing time, as we learn from the schedules of prayer, the appointed times of fasting, iftar (breaking of the fast) and the appointed days of pilgrimage (hajj), introduce us to the following benefits:

1. The abundance of time and blessings which were unknown before the organization of time.

2. It drives away from us both disorganization and the confusion in which we live as a result of the penetration of time and its negligence.

3. It gives us a respected personality by our friends, companions and those surrounding us.

4. It makes us live in the state of psychological contentment and spontaneous happiness in what we have achieved.

5. It makes us control time and not be controlled by time, itself.

A Work Schedule

Each of us is able to prepare a sheet of paper for himself and in which he records the timetable for his daily work. It is necessary to acknowledge the seriousness of observing the articles of the schedule; otherwise, it will become mere ink on paper. This method teaches us the following:

1. Time should be organized in a such way as not to be scattered in digressions and forsaken conclusions, and where one can be wholly engaged in a particular work which, as a result, has an affect on the rest of the work. 

2. The above mentioned paper acts as a calendar which reminds us of the deeds which a wait us to be performed without delay, because tomorrow will impose on us a list of other new deeds, and a moment of our daily schedule will surely be affected on the timetable of tomorrow.

3. It is possible to schedule even preparatory time for each action. This may seem difficult because it is impossible to estimate the time of some actions properly and exactly, but, with the passing of days, it will become a beautiful habit with which one gets used to.

4. There is no harm in putting aside time we call “free” just for unexpected emergencies.

As Muslims, our responsibility is not limited only to worldly deeds, and, therefore, our Islamic schedule cannot be separated from our ordinary schedule except in some obligations. Our time can be organized in the following way mentioned by one of the supplications (du’as):

“…(Oh Allah) make us prosperous today, tonight, and in all days to use good and reject evil, give thanks for Your blessings, follow the Prophetic traditions, avoid innovations, enjoin good and forbid evil, protect Islam, debase and humiliate falsehood, assist and strengthen truth, guide those who go astray, help the oppressed, and comprehend the regretful.”

Indeed, this schedule, though it is full of righteous deeds and the rejecting of evil, is not necessary to be a schedule for one day, rather, it is a typical Islamic day which needs determination, practice, and prosperity and guidance from Allah, the Exalted and the Almighty.

This schedule can be divided into its positive and negative subjects:

First: Positive Subjects:

1.  (Using of good): It should not be only a sentimental trend inclining towards labour, rather, it should be changed into an action which benefits others.

2. (Giving Thanks For Blessings): This means to reciprocate benevolence with benevolence, kindness with kindness and good with good. He who does not thank the creation (i.e. man), never thanks the Creator (Allah), and the best practical thanks is “Give thanks, O people of David!’  Holy Qur’an (34: 13)

3. (Following Prophetic Traditions): Because this is the right path brought by the Holy Apostle, Muhammad (s.a.w.), who says: “Say: If you love Allah, follow me: Allah will love you.”  Holy Qur’an (3: 31)

4.  (Enjoining Good): This because it is the way to increase the arena of doing good and the spreading of reform and benevolence in a society, which may positively reflect on the happiness of the society and its strength and welfare.

5. (Protecting Islam): We should defend Islam and protect its principles due to its being the symbol of our dignity and the righteousness of our religion which represents our existence and identity.

6. (Assisting and Strengthening Truth): To strengthen truth if it prevails so as to spread it throughout the world even more, and to support it if it is threatened by falsehood and oppression.

7. (Guiding the Strayers): To guide through different methods of guidance the one who goes astray from the right path and to inform him his secure place if he deviated his destination.

8. (Helping the Oppressed): This should be done by what Allah, the Most High, has granted us of capabilities such as: Wealth or responsibility or sciences because among the necessities of having belief in religion is to give assistance to the needy. “So woe to the praying ones, who are unmindful of their prayer! Who do (good) to be seen, and refrain from acts of kindness!”                 Holy Qur’an (107: 4-7)

9. (Comprehending the Regretful): A poor man looks like a blind man who sees nothing but that of meeting his own needs, and his regret will come by the fulfillment of those needs.

         

Secondly: Negative Subjects:

1. (Rejecting Evil): To give up evil means opening the way for goodness to be spread and evil to be straitened and decreased.

2. (Avoiding Innovations): Because innovation (bid’ah) means to insert something which is not related to religion in the name of religion. It is a misrepresentation of Divine instructions and Prophetic Traditions (sunnah) and invents that which has not been said by Allah and His Apostle relating to religion, whereas, religion, itself, is innocent of it.

3. (Forbidding What is Evil):  This is done by any means be it by hand or by tongue or by heart, so that the followers of evil should not feel compelled to continue, where they might spread their abominations among the people.

One who observes this schedule, both positive and negative, will find that there is a balance in the movement of Muslim youth, demolishing evils and performing good deeds. In this regard, a Hadith, describing a true believer, says:

“Goodness is expected from him (a believer) and he is safe from evil.”

Free Time

First we ask this question: Is there anything called free time?

We can surely say: No, because man when he finishes a work, will be engaged in another. It may be less or more important than before. Even sports, itself, is an unproductive work though it is productive in its psychological output for a player.

Islam – as we mentioned previously – gives man the time for which he refreshes and amuses himself and his family and enjoys its pleasures and delights. It even gives this time more value and importance, because it is a supporter of the periods of work and worship.

But, our discussion about free time is not that which gives man renewed energy, rather it is that a wasted time in which the youth not only scorn their vital and great responsibilities, but also, live in the state of useless, negative, and wanton time.

Mostly, free time falls into disorder when we waste our time and neglect its value, whereas, it can be an opportunity for seeking science, or for learning some new skills, or for correcting wrong conceptions, or for helping Allah’s creatures, or for meeting the needs of a believer, or to be acquainted with the issues of the Muslim world, or for developing what we have obtained of previous knowledge, or to become acquainted with a new friend seeking Allah’s pleasure, or to strengthen an old relationship  with a friend, and so on. Even if an unexploited time is considered out of the scope of age, because the real age is the age of that farm which was previously mentioned in a Hadith, is it wise for a man who owns a wide land arable for agriculture, to leave it unplanted?!

In this regard, one scientist says: I read more and if I become tired of reading, I take a rest by reading. He explains this by saying: I incline to reading scientific books, but when I feel exhausted of reading, I turn to read literary or history books in order to ease the tiredness of scientific reading.

Look at those who are around you. Do not you respect the one who stands before a shop waiting for his turn, or at a station waiting for a bus, or in a clinic holding a book in his hand and reading it?!

Do not you respect a man going on his way remembering a poem which he memorized before, or a verse of the Qur’an he does not want to forget, or repeats some glorifications which increase and strengthen his relation with Allah, the Most High?!

Do not you show respect for a person who holds in his pocket a small notebook in which he records a proverb or a saying he read in a newspaper, or an information he got by chance, or an important number he found here and there which helps him in quoting what he says, or he records an idea which comes suddenly to his mind and is afraid to miss or forget it?

Surely, telephones now exist which can record messages, and wall secretaries are placed in front of houses to be used by visitors to record their notes in case of not seeing the owner of the house. These are clear evidences for the attention of the owner of the house as to what has happened during his absence.

A person who daily reads newspapers; follows newscasts and visits sites on the Internet or is acquainted with what happens around himself in this ever-changing world, is a man who is careful not to cast his time aside like a disregarded paper into a wastebasket. He feels that he is cut off from the world if he does not keep up on the movement of the world, and if his steady vigile is stopped, surely he feels loneliness as if he has lost something precious.

The people of an American town discovered that an illiterate woman learned how to read and write late and without a teacher. When she was asked about this, she answered: Indeed, I felt the loss of precious time that I had missed, therefore, I tried to compensate for it and, thus, I used to eavesdrop and steal a look at my small daughter while she was studying and, with her, I used to savour all her lessons.

Thus, we should eliminate the following expressions from the dictionary of our life:

– I missed the train!

– What is the use of working now. Indeed, I have lost various opportunities, and chance always opposes me.  

– Many people preceded me in that endeavor and I have no place, now.

– I tried and I failed. There is no reason to repeat the same experiment…etc.

We should replace the above mentioned expressions with the following: There is always time to work before death.

But, regarding “compensation of wasted time”; this term is not correct. Because wasted time cannot be compensated, nor can it be delayed. Wishing the period of youth to come back after passing away is a false desire which is captured only by poets and there is no possibility to achieve it in reality. Nevertheless, it is possible for youth to avoid additional negligence, and excessive loss by regretting and utilizing what remains of their lives, and not to cause their lives to be a plunder of play, levity and idle relaxation.

Through experiments, it is proved that laziness, unemployment and leisure factors cause deviations and corruption.  In this respect, a poet says:

“Surely, youth, spare time and luxury are causes of corruption for man and what corruption they are.”

We should, also, differentiate between spare time, in which there is no use, and a dedication to review, self-criticize, and be alone with one’s self, or to take permission in order to renew one’s activity. This is a part of work, not free time. It is something desirable due to its being the time which distributes more abundance to other times.

Utilizing Free Time

Leisure is defined by those concerned as free time and in which one is not connected by the necessity of achieving a specified goal. It is the time in which man frees himself from any commitments and necessities of life, and spends it in any way he wishes. Regarding students and youth, it includes the period of their summer and winter holidays, week ends, time and permission out of their working hours, in addition to free time secured by the era of modern technology.

The following are some suggestions which include some means of utilizing free time, and we hope that our young men and women will find in them an assistance to their empty hours:

 

1- Reading: It has been said that the importance of books has deteriorated during the past two decades competition with other media such as: Radio, TV, newspapers, computer, and the net work of information, but books still keep their value because of the following reasons:

1. All other competitions depend on them, and the most successful programs and investigational articles take their knowledge from books them-selves.

2. The ability of controlling the book, such as: Selecting it, or borrowing and copying it. It is up to the reader’s taste, his desire and needs to control the kind of requested book in any time and any place.            

3. Using a book as a source for writing, and as long as there are researches and studies, sources and references will not someday be null and void. Even, we observe that various CD’s disks, in reality, are archived books.   

As long as a book has all these values and its importance has decreased among students and youth to the extent that they turn away from it, it was still the right of a poet to say:

I am the one who exchanged books with friends, but, I found no friend but books.”

And we should not forget that the profit we gain from the pleasure of reading and its advantage cannot be truly appreciated except by those readers who are fond of books and have established, them, a long companionship. If we miss this, it is because of being overwhelmed by thesis and competitions, which we have mentioned before. Among the best ways to fill leisure time is by diverse and useful reading. In addition, there are some observations which help in deepening the understanding of the usefulness of reading. They are:

1- To read what fulfills our ideological, spiritual and psychological needs. We should not force ourselves on to be against reading like a man who forces himself away from food and we should not desert books on the plea that we lack the dedication to reading, because once separation occurs, it is difficult to unite it again.       

2- Always keep your pen with you while reading in order to take some notes on some concepts or opinions which may help you later. You can, also, underline some important concepts or mark them with a phosphorous pen so that you can review them easily without the need to read the whole book.

3- Reading may open for you, unexpected ideas in a book, so, do not miss them and write them down immediately, because they may benefit you one day in your ideological, cultural, and literary projects in the future.

4- It is better to depend on cards of research in writing down your information including the name of the source from which you cited it, the author’s name, the date of its edition and the number of the page.

Nevertheless, reading does not only to apply books, but also, includes newspapers, magazines and journals and what is daily offered by newsstands. They present news and information items about the different affairs and the fields of life of which no young man or woman who wants to live fully their age can avoid. In this regard, a Prophetic hadith says: “The one who is well acquainted with the affairs of his time, is secure against afflictions, conspiracies, and confusions.”

 One of the fruits of reading is that of writing. During leisure time, young men and women can practice their hobbies, such as writing, be it an article or story, or poetry and so on, and present them to people of experience. By this way, they can improve their writing ability.  

 

2-Attending Lectures and Seminars:

One of the useful ways to fill our free time is to become acquainted with cultural and scientific weekly programs and literary gatherings. What is presented of lectures and seminars can help us enrich our knowledge and develop our ability in dialogue, criticism and diverse opinions.

And, if we participate in putting forward a question to a lecturer or the participants in a seminar, surely we will make use of it and benefit others as well. In this respect, a hadith says: “Three are rewarded: The questioner, the questioned and the listener of them,” and thus, our social and cultural personality develops and thrives.

Our observation of the way of asking a question, the way of dialogue, interposing and directing a question, teach us the manner of dialogue and how to pay attention to points which stir further discussions of subjects or problems.

It is better to take our diary with us to write down the most prominent opinions introduced in a lecture or a seminar so that we may keep it as a cultural subject which may benefit us one day in time of need.

In these meetings and sessions, we may, also, become acquainted with a great number of educated people, writers, authors, and personalities who participate in such cultural, ideological and literary activities.

 

3- Listening and Watching:

The four mass media  (radio, T.V., cinema and theater) are not only means of play and amusement, but also, they are instruments of education. An education through them may be performed intentionally or unintentionally, i.e., it comes directly or indirectly which obligates us to distinguish and diagnose it from audible and visible items. 

What is shown and broadcasted through these media, such as, local subjects and other imported programs, are not all useful for listening and watching; some are useful and some are harmful; while yet others are poisonous.

Before these double edged weapons, we should have a strong and intelligent sense in order to separate the correct from wrong, and the well from the unwell, otherwise, we will be victims of such informational schemes which are directed by specialized authorities, biased and purposeful agencies and net works. And do not be surprised if we know that there are educational, informational and social scientists, and psychologists who present, for us, their audible and visible goods covered by beautiful papers, but, in reality, they are harmful in Muslim markets.  They often aim at invading our houses because the barriers  – by the development of these means and their advancement – are indeed dissolved and cause the information media to enter every house without asking permission.

 These equipments, developed very quickly and greatly in the form of astronautics, video tapes, cassettes, and disks which are cheap and simply transported, but they are heavy in presentation and burdens, and cannot be dominated by remote control. But, we, as Muslims, must control them with our desires, education, cultural, social and religious backgrounds which do not permit the watching of dissolute, profligate and trite films because they do not address anything except sexual and material desires and, sometimes, they intentionally aim at corrupting morals, distorting concepts, and turning values upside down.

And because these equipments are double-edged weapons i.e. they carry both evil and good inside their propagations, it is necessary to use their good things and avoid their evils.

An example of the process of filling temporary leisure time would like the process of filling up intestinal emptiness; is it wise to enter everything into our stomach for allaying our hunger even if it is dirty, poisonous, dangerous and threatens our health, and safety?!

As a result of this, it is incumbent on us – onlookers and listeners – to safeguard, as much as possible, our characteristics, identity and our cultural and religious obligations. Therefore, we should judge and evaluate what we hear and what we see according to our ideology, culture, education and experience, otherwise, we will be turned into prisoners of these media which will lead us to dangerous crossroads.

Submissive sitting, for long hours before a T.V. motivates numbness and wasting of time and which causes disorder in the routine of other daily programs and perhaps causes ideological paralysis. Thus, it is recommended for each of us to distribute the hours of his/her watching in a purposed and selective manner.

The psychologists confirm that television – in itself- does not create the problems of aggression and deviation, but, it is created by miseducation by one’s own family, relatives and friends. So, aggressive children and youth choose aggressive programs to support their former directions and television becomes a supporter towards deviation, and violence.

And though these media have numerous advantages which mostly meet each other, some researchers have studied both advantages and disadvantages of television. The following are some disadvantages that they diagnosed:

1.Killing time, wasting age, and engaging both individuals and a nation  (ummah) against performing their significant responsibilities. 

2.Transfering irregular and deviated environments to our society, and imposing evil and degraded moral patterns on people.

3. Building a corrupted culture in the minds of the youth and showing the dissolute at the forefront of a society as if it is the norm.

4. Misrepresenting the contemporary affairs of the Muslims and demolishing of the obstacles that exist between us (Muslims) and the enemies of our ummah, represented by the Jewish Zionists.

  But, still, we do not deprive ourselves of useful radio and T.V. programs which include scientific, cultural, political, literary, social, economical and health programs, particularly those programs which present the problems and afflictions from which our society suffers and which are discussed by experts, specialists, and professionals.

 

 

4- The Computer and Information Network:

When computers came into existence, they not only filled up the free time of the youth, but also, occupied their time completely to the extent that they have no associate nor rival. Indeed, they exceeded all the means of entertainment and play before it. A computer, in this respect, is like other media. It can be used for the benefit of people or can be changed into a tool of corruption and destruction.

It is unjust for this active and brilliant invention, which has numerous capabilities, to be used only as a tool of entertainment and play. In it, there are programs prepared for teaching accounting, business administration, and the principles of driving a car, or learning grammar of a certain language. In addition to this, there are various other services which are too numerous to mention them, like the fields of typing, handwriting, designing, layout, drawing, painting and others. And the programs on the internet are wider in their content regarding science, information, politics, and culture, as well as, in different fields of life.

From the blue screen of the computer man become educated by its high degree of flexibility, speed of processing data and the capability of diverse coverage: Geographical, theological, social, development of positive thinking, deepening of the concept of participation, non-acceptance of intuitions (self-evident truth), negative convincing and not surrendering to simplicity, all are blessings but at the same time foster indignation. It is upon us to make use of such blessings in the best way, otherwise, we will be afflicted with its indignation, particularly regarding the imported games which bear, in their undisclosed contents information and morals which differ from our Islamic morals and customs.

 Therefore, it is obligatory for us to have spontaneous and supervisory over setting certain conditions which should be observed in such games. Among them are: They should bear human characteristics and have scientific value. They should be diversified and not be only for entertainment. They should not create enmity among the players, nor contradict the instructions of our religion, morals and customs.  

However, setting long hours in front of this equipment, which has severe temptation exceeds television in its open and extended hours of sitting and which has made some countries, like Sweden, to specify the age of permission for using such games. They become concerned with the necessity of not introducing the young to the temptations of these games for fear of their education and the specified time in which they are allowed to use the computer for the sake of entertainment.

Indeed, the harm of being addicted to the computer as a tool of entertainment is not less than wasting time watching a well-known game of football or being engaged in watching videos and television. Among the dangers of this invention, which has become a member of our family, is the decreasing of our circle of friends or social relations. The youth think that this invention has already achieved their wish and they are in no need of friends, but, this becomes far from the reality of a society and people. 

Even the dialogue sites of the network of the Internet cannot achieve the same advantages and medical benefits which we gain from direct friendly meetings in face to face visits.

We should, also, know that even those feelings, and emotions and excitements which we get through the computer screen cannot be a complete substitute for direct meetings which contain warm feelings and continuity, activity and close acquaintance with others.

Magnetized disks – with the exception of their importance – will not replace books which are considered our companion in everywhere; at home, in school, in the car, in the airplane, on a ship, etc. The same thing concerning personal exchanges on the network sites will not be a perfect substitute for direct friendly visits whatever the attractive service or qualifications they add to it by its producers and propagandists. 

          

 

5- Learning Skills:

Among the affairs which become available and within the reach of most young men and women are instructional, technical and handicraft institutions which offer practical lessons in different skills, such as: Driving, programming, trade, smithery, electricity, and handicrafts such as: Tailoring, domestic works, first aid, learning foreign languages and others. These skills enable the youth to have a better life and form a safe employment at their free time, particularly during summer holidays. Learning one or more of these skills, not only fills one’s time, but also, pours its practical advantage on the personality of young men or women who will obtain fundamental knowledge in professions or handicrafts which concern them at the present and in the future. These skills are regarded among the distinctions and bases of superiority and are for the benefit of the one who requests a work or a certain professions specially when there is a competition. In this respect, a Prophetic saying (hadith) says: “Every man’s worth is in his attainments (what he does proficiently)”

And having experience in these fields benefits a young man or woman even outside the area of specialization. For example, learning a foreign language is useful in having dialogue with foreigners, reading books written in that language or having correspondence in it, and, also, reading intern reports of drugs or doctor’s prescriptions or brochures which are used to learn how to run equipments.

On the other hand, among the best and the noblest skills to be learned by a Muslim young man and woman is reading the Holy Qur’an, its recitation and memorizing a part or parts of it or the whole Holy Qur’an if possible. And if there is no a special course for learning and memorizing the Qur’an, it is better to use cassettes or laser disks which enable one to learn the initial principles of reading the Holy Qur’an and its recitation. Indeed, there are eminent reciters of the Qur’an among the Muslim generations who depend on this way of memorizing it perfectly.

Finally, it is better to know that any obtained skill needs practice and continuity in order to be developed and perfected. In this regard, a proverb says: “Practice leads towards perfection.”

 

6- The Means of Relaxations and Enter-tainment:

Since a long time ago, Imam Ali (a.s.) said: “The hearts get disgusted as bodies get disgusted; so look for beautiful, wise sayings for them.” ‘Tarif’ in Arabic means ‘newly acquired’ because every new thing has its special pleasure, flavor and is a motive for the continuity of an action with great activity, unlike a tedious manner which brings for man tiredness, weariness and alienation.

Have not you tried that personally? When you change the direction in which you walk every day towards your institution or your work center or when you change the decoration of your room in which you live, even through simple technical touches like changing the position of some furniture, or when you change your clothes though they are cheap, do not you feel psychologically different for it. Simplicity in itself may be an art which is taste.

Imam Ali (a.s.) is, also, quoted to have said: “Hearts are imbued with passion and the power of advancing and retreating. Therefore, approach them for action at a time when they are passionate and when they are in a mood for advancing, because if hearts are forced (to do a thing) they will be blinded.” In this presentation, he (a.s.) offers us a new way of amusement which began to be depended on not only in schools and institutions, but also, in factories, industries and offices. Experiments proved that a worker who amuses himself during work in one way or another will surely attend to his work with an open and high spirit (mentally; psychologically; spiritually) and as a result, it will be reflected, not only on the quantity and quality of his production, but also, on his relationship with his colleagues in his work environment.

Islam equalizes between man’s needs and does not eliminate this human need. So, it is better to give a part of our time to amusement whose procedures become diverse and numerous. The following are some of them:

a- Sports Amusement: Its branches and colors are various and continuously increasing. The most famous one is football which is useful to health; psychologically, socially and bodily, and swimming and other kinds of amusement.

b-  Artistic Amusement: Like practicing the hobbies of painting, drawing, handwriting, sculpture, punching, and handicrafts, such as: Sewing, embroidery, making flowers, decorating houses, and the collecting of stamps.

c- Social Amusement: This includes exchanging visits which is among its well-known procedures and of which Islam greatly encourages, correspondence, calling each other by telephone, celebrating beautiful occasions, participating in cooperative activities for the purpose of strengthening bounds of relationship among the faithful, in addition to taking long and short trips which remove most of the states of bodily, psychological and intellectual tiredness, and exhaustion.     

d- Tourist Amusement: This includes paying visits to sacred places, and beautiful archeological, historical and tourist areas which give both psychological and cultural advantages.  

 It is worthy of our observation that amusement – in all its forms – does not mean to escape from the pressures of life, as some may think, but, it is a readiness and preparedness to face it once more and not as described by others as the discharging of additional energy which has no aim, rather, it is a useful and safe investment of those powers at both levels; individuals and groups.

The following are some conditions of amusement encouraged by Islam:

1. It should be free from any corruption, harm, falsehood, wrong and forbiddance

2.  It should be free from any extravagance and pre-occupation which may waste time, all of it. It is recommended that out of any amusement and investment of free time should arise a particular or general advantage, because it is dislikable for a young man or woman to be empty and unoccupied in either the action of this world or the action of the next world.

On a very hot summer day and in the city of Madinah, one of those who used to plot against Islam and its leaders wanted to degrade Muhammad al-Baqir (a.s.), the grandson of Imam Hussein bin Ali bin Abi Talib (a.s.), whom he saw working on his farm at the height of midday and said: ‘You are an old man from the elders of the tribe of Quraish and at this hour and under such circumstances, you are seeking worldly gains. What if death comes upon you while you are in this condition?” The Imam (a.s.) answered him: “O Allah! Should death come to me in this state, it will come to me while I am doing something pleasing to Allah, to spare myself begging from you and other people. I would only fear death if it came to me while I was sinning against Allah?”!! Indeed, the Imam’s answer is a precious lesson which has to be taken into consideration by the Muslim youth.

Sleeping and Staying up at Night

No doubt, sleep is a natural need of man. Allah, the Glorified, granted us this glorious blessing in having relaxation, and sleep during night hours in order to renew and revive our activity and energy after being exhausted by the difficulties and the deeds of the day. Without sleep, surely, we would have been destroyed by the continuity of work in the day and night. Therefore, it is considered as means of amusement for one’s self, and body, especially for those who work hard and are greatly exhausted in their day.

But, it is noted that some young people, male or female, may misuse – sometimes uninten-tionally – these blessings. They stay up late at night and sleep late into the day on the plea of having nothing to do or they say, to pass the night awake is beautiful, so they kill their time with empty and talkative discourses. In this regard, a Prophetic hadith says: “Allah dislikes a young man / woman who sleeps much,” i.e., the one who increases sleeping for long hours exceeds the natural need of man. 

On one side, some covetous people make use of their time and reduce their time of sleep, depending on the proverb which says “Whoever seeks superiority, should spend his nights (in doing some activities)”, and are satisfied with the least amount of hours of sleep. On the other side, some young men or women yield themselves to long hours of sleep without paying attention to their age and how it passes in this slumber to the extent that their amount of sleep exceeds their working hours and production.

And passing the night awake, if it does not benefit man and those around him; nor there is worship in it, nor seeking knowledge, nor having a productive action in it, will surely have, not only, bad consequences on the youth, but also, its disadvantages will become more than its advantages.

The principles of balance – which was mentioned earlier – is useful for application and implementation of any affair in life, because Islam is the religion of both non-extravagance and non-negligence, i.e., it does not confirm either prodigality or negligence in any thing. In this regard, the Almighty, Allah says: “And thus We made you a nation justly balanced.” (Holy Qur’an (2: 143)

A Final Word

This is the glass of our age before us – Allah’s deposit upon our neck – so, how will we get it back?

Is it full of good or is it full of evil? Is it empty and unoccupied? Or is it smashed, broken into pieces and spent on the pavements of play, entertainment, fun, relaxation, chatter and the meetings of unemployment?

Shall we use what has been said by some scholars who make use of their time more than others when they say: “We want to leave our impressions on time, and never let it leave its impressions on us.”

One scholar expressed this in his saying: “The regret of great men reminds us to elevate our life and when we leave this world, we will leave behind the results of our mistakes on the sands of time.”    

The following are a collection of proverbs that help us to achieve the above statements: 

– “If you sleep on flowers in your youth, surely you will sleep on thorns in your old age.”

 – “If one is lazy in his youthfulness, surely, he will be a beggar in his oldness.”

– “All the flowers of the future are a result of the seeds which you plant today.”

– “Day and night have an effect upon you, therefore, do have an effect on them.” 

– “Do not fear a slow advancement, but, beware of standing immobile.”

– “The present world is the plantation for the Hereafter.”

– “Time is like a sword, if you do not cut it, it will cut you.”

– “Unemployment is the mother of all vices.”

– “The opportunity of a lazy man, languishes with him.”

– “To miss an opportunity brings about grief.”

– “This world is a passage, while the next world is the place of dwelling; so, take your passage (as a way by performing good deeds) to your abode.”