Tuesday, February 20, 2018

A Prophecy on the Syrian Quagmire

The Civil War in Syria

In less than a month, Syria’s horrific ‘civil’ war will enter into its eighth year. Having already lasted more than the Second World War, the internecine conflict in Syria has profoundly impacted the nation and its people in unimaginable ways. The conflict and its aftereffects has virtually reduced the country to rubble. Entire cities and villages remain abandoned, people having no choice but to flee the mindless violence and mayhem, altering the everyday life-world of the common people forever. Even as hundreds of thousands lost their lives, millions of others had to flee their homes and hearths, seeking refuge elsewhere in the country or beyond the borders, in nations near and far. Thanks to the many actors on the conflict scene and their varying  political interests and strategic calculations, the bloodletting in Syria continues unabated with no end in sight till this day. Indeed, the humanitarian catastrophe that has engulfed this already suffering, impoverished nation shakes the conscience of our common humanity.

How do we explain the extraordinarily mind-numbing shift in the fortunes of the Syrian people in recent times? What are the prospects for peace in the land, especially  in view of its complex regional environment? How does the present situation relate to Divine revelations vouchsafed to the Promised Massih (as)? Can we look at the Syrian quagmire as a Divine Sign of our times? These are some of the few questions and concerns explored in the following article.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

On Faith and Parental Bonds

THE STATUS OF THE FATHER

The Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is the perfect model for the universe. He came in a time when people were barbarians and had little respect for family relationships. For today, I chose to speak to you about the importance he brought to the status of the father.

Good character, good behaviour and good advice are qualities that please the Creator. According to a Hadith, the Holy Prophet (pbuh) said that he who pleases his father, pleases Allah. When the father (who follows the Shariah) is happy, it greatly pleases the Creator. On the other hand, if the father is not happy, it does not please the Almighty. This is the status granted to each father. If such a status has been granted to our father, (then imagine) what is (i.e. how grand is) the status granted to the father of the Holy Prophet (pbuh), Hazrat Abdullah (ra)?

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

The Future of Jerusalem

The city of Jerusalem holds profound significance to the spiritual imagination of billions of people around the world. For the city and its precincts are intimately connected to the sacred memory of a long chain of Divine servants and events mentioned in the Holy Scriptures of three great religions-Judaism, Christianity and Islam. 


For the Jewish people, Jerusalem is the heart of the Promised Land blessed and gifted to their pious ancestors by the Lord Almighty. For the Christians, the city is sacred for being the venue of all the major events in the life and preaching of Jesus Christ (as). For the Muslims, the city holds spiritual significance for a variety of reasons, including one of the most important events in the spiritual life of the Holy Prophet (sa), ie., the Isra’ Mi’raj- the Night Journey and Ascent to the Heavens: when Allah (swt) caused the Prophet (sa), in the space of a single night, to journey from Makkah to Jerusalem and from there to heaven and back again. The Qur’an states: “Glory to Him who made His servant travel by night from the sacred place of worship to the furthest place of worship, whose surroundings We have blessed, to show him some of Our signs: He alone is the All Hearing, the All Seeing”. (17:02)

It was during the Holy Prophet’s journey from the site of the ancient Jewish Temple in Jerusalem through the seven heavens that he encountered many Judeo-Christian prophets and finally came before the Exalted Presence: “until he was two bow-lengths away or even closer” (53:10). This mystical vision of the Holy Prophet (sa) clearly pointed to the deep connections of Islam to the Jewish and Christian prophetic heritage and Jerusalem came to be the first Quibla, direction of prayer for the Muslim community for many years- contributing to its sacred status in Islam. Through Divine revelation (2: 144-45), later of course, the Sacred Mosque in Makkah became the permanent direction of prayer for the Muslims.