Fezia Haq, Southfields
‘O ye who believe! intoxicants and games of chance… are only an abomination of Satan’s handiwork. So shun each one of them that you may prosper.’ [Chapter 5, Verse 91]
‘No alcohol safe to drink, global study confirms’ , read a BBC article in late 2018. Yet it is one of the intoxicants highly publicised in the media, with a study by Barker et al. (2018) finding that in the year 2015, over 50% of daytime UK television portrayed alcohol content . Its detrimental impacts can be seen in statistics : in the UK, there were over nine thousand alcohol-related deaths in 2016; in the same year, there were around 1.13 million hospital admissions due to alcohol consumption in England; finally, between 2014 and 2016, 67% of all violent incidents were related to alcohol use in England and Wales.
Regarding the ‘game of chance’, better known as gambling, we find that in the year 2018, the gambling or betting industries of the UK had a total of £14.4 billion in gross-gambling-yield. In the same year, 47% of online gamblers reported advertisements to have prompted them to bet . A Guardian article of 2017 highlighted that a government commission found more than 2 million people in the UK to be addicted to gambling or at risk of developing a problem. The case studies mentioned in the article suggest that there is a direct link of gambling with crime, health issues and problems with money – including fraud and loss . Certainly, there are better places such wealth can be spent on.
Even before such studies emerged, we were blessed to have the Holy Qur’an warn us of the use of all intoxicants, including alcohol and wine, as well as involvement in gambling. In the verse above, the Arabic word ‘Khamr’ is used to explain anything that causes drunkenness. The fourth Khalifa (Caliph) of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, His Holiness Mirza Tahir Ahmad (may Allah have mercy on him) eloquently explains this verse, stating that alcohol and gambling have ‘satanic elements’ to them. Gambling also impacts our consciousness, and is therefore a vice which must be avoided.
The verse that follows goes on to call out these two acts, and His Holiness’ commentary of it elucidates that these acts break society up, cause discontentment as well as grudges in life. They also hinder a person from following his or her religious duties and from carrying out good works. As we can see, God has placed much wisdom behind these prohibitions, since our involvement in them is not only dangerous to ourselves, but also to those around us, risking well-being, safety and wealth as well as our spiritual states.
Prohibitions may sound like limiting us in what we can do and achieve, but the wisdom of those in the Holy Qur’an are there for the benefit of communities. In the words of our beloved Khalifa His Holiness Mirza Masroor Ahmad (may Allah be his Helper): “Sins like gambling and alcohol consumption are known as ‘ismul kabeer’ (great sin). Ismul kabeer is a sin that repeatedly incites one to commit sin.”
When matters have been opened up so much, it only becomes incumbent upon us to stay away from these vices.
 Ives, L. (2018). No alcohol safe to drink, global study confirms. [online] BBC News. Available at: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-45283401.
 Barker, A. et al. (2018). A content analysis of alcohol content in UK television. [online] Oxford Academic Journal of Public Health. Available at:
 Alcohol Change UK. (n.d.). Alcohol statistics | Alcohol Change UK. [online] Available at: https://alcoholchange.org.uk/alcohol-facts/fact-sheets/alcohol-statistics.
 Gamblingcommission.gov.uk. (n.d.). Statistics and research. [online] Available at: https://www.gamblingcommission.gov.uk/news-action-and-statistics/Statistics-and-research/Statistics-and-research.aspx.
 Davies, R. (2017). Number of problem gamblers in the UK rises to more than 400,000. [online] The Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/aug/24/problem-gamblers-uk-gambling-commission-report.
 Tarjumatul Quran – Surah al-Maidah [The Banquet]: 84 – 96. (1995). London, UK: MTA International. Available at:
 Alislam.org. (2010). Friday Sermon: Jalsa Salana Spain. [online] Available at: https://www.alislam.org/friday-sermon/2010-04-02.html.
Khan, A. (2016). Why Alcohol is Prohibited in Islam. [online] Review of Religions. Available at: http://www.reviewofreligions.org/12519/why-alcohol-is-prohibited-in-islam/#.
Arfa Yassir, Swindon
History has seen many successful people, from leaders to conquerors of large territories to the ones making ground breaking discoveries and inventions to the ones who have reached out to masses through their intellectual abilities. If we carefully examine their lives we find one thing in common i.e. all of them were focused on their aim. All other aspects of their lives were secondary to their goal. As a person of faith I believe when the focus of a person is God and His Unity then such a person cannot be removed from the pages of history and is bound to impact hearts.
Whenever God’s Unity or Tauhid, as it is called in Arabic, is mentioned, Prophet Ibrahim (on whom be peace) is bound to be mentioned. Prophet Ibrahim or Abraham is accepted and held in high esteem in Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The firm belief of a single All-Powerful Creator was engraved on his heart which made him fearless and brave. Even the strongest opposition, tribulation or trial could not shake his resolve. This is the reason why Prophet Ibrahim (on whom be peace) has set such a high standard of sacrifice for God’s cause in the well-known account of his willingness to sacrifice his beloved son for God. The focus of his life was Allah the Exalted!
Though Prophet Ibrahim (on whom be peace) has been mentioned in other Scriptures, the Holy Qur’an being the final and glorious Word of Allah takes the lead by awarding this Prophet of God with a very meaningful attribute. The word ‘hanif’ (حنیف) has been used for Prophet Ibrahim (on whom be peace) in the Holy Qur’an. I found six verses in total wherein Allah mentions this word as an attribute of Prophet Ibrahim (on whom be peace).
Consider the following verses with English translation where the word hanif has been translated as one who is ‘ever inclined to God’:
And they say, ‘Be ye Jews or Christians that you may be rightly guided.’ Say: ‘Nay, follow ye the religion of Abraham who was ever inclined to God; he was not of those who set up gods with God.’ (2:136)
Abraham was neither a Jew nor a Christian, but he was ever inclined to God and obedient to Him, and he was not of those who associate gods with God. (3:68)
Say, ‘Allah has spoken the truth: follow, therefore, the religion of Abraham, who was ever inclined to God; and he was not of those who associate gods with God. (3:96)
As every word of the Holy Qur’an is significant and as His Holiness Mirza Bashir-ud-din Mahmood Ahmad, second Caliph of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) emphasized that we must ponder over words and their sequence also, that is why a specific word is used instead of another word. When I started exploring the word hanif I found out for myself that the life of Prophet Ibrahim (on whom be peace) was indeed a living example of this attribute referred to him. The way he was ready to be thrown into fire or leave his hometown and his father but not let go of his faith in the Oneness of God tells us why he actually was ever inclined to God.
The word hanif can also means upright, one with pure faith, the focused. A Quranic dictionary[i] gives the following meanings for the Arabic root word for hanif:
“One on the right path; one who adheres firmly to Islam; one who is of religion of Abraham; who believes in One God; one inclining to or having a right state or tendency; one who turns or inclines from error to guidance”
This word hanif is also included in the niyyah, a brief Quranic prayer which Muslims say before offering Salat (Holy Quran 6:80) and it is interesting to note that this verse is also a statement of Prophet Ibrahim (on whom be peace).
So the word hanif refers to one who gets rid of other distractions and sticks steadfastly to one well-chosen direction. That is what Allah demands from us when He asks us to be one of the followers of Prophet Ibrahim (on whom be peace). At this point we must question ourselves that when life presents us with fire, as it did Prophet Ibrahim (Holy Qur’an 21:69), wherein we have to throw our soul and let go of our desires; do we have a faith strong enough to make us fall into it fearlessly? What is our focus in life? Is our focus this world? Or are we striving for Divine love? Are we ready to prove ourselves in tough situations that all we need is God’s love? This is only possible when the fire of Allah’s love being kindled within the heart is stronger than fires of worldly ambitions! Let’s fall into the fire of God’s love like Prophet Ibrahim (on whom be peace) did and see how it turns into flowers!
[i] Dictionary of The Holy Qur’an By: Malik Ghulam Farid M.A. (2009) page 206
Nabila Khalid, Bolton
I have come across atheists that fall into 2 categories –
– Those that dismiss miracles as fictitious fairy tales because they believe they go against the laws of nature.
– Those that are aware that the miracles referred to in religious scriptures can be proved through science and mathematics and can therefore not be classed as miracles at all.
I remember at the end of one of my lectures whilst studying Biomedical Sciences, the professor raving on about Richard Dawkins and how amazing his work is. How he proves that in a world of science – God is not only unnecessary but a delusion of the believers.
Am I the only one who is totally amazed by people who come to the conclusion that, because science can explain everything, it proves that there is no God? I wonder if my professor was aware that Dawkins himself stated “One can’t prove that God doesn’t exist.”
Naturally one must look at the definition of miracles – there are so many variations and interpretations. The Oxford Living Dictionaries defines a miracle as:
1. An extraordinary and welcome event that is not explicable by natural or scientific laws and is therefore attributed to a divine agency.
1.1 A remarkable event or development that brings very welcome consequences.
Ahmadi Muslims do not believe in the 1st definition. As His Holiness Mirza Tahir Ahmad (may Allah have mercy on him), the fouth Khalifa/Caliph of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community explains:
“Miracles are not seen in Islam as unnatural occurrences, but as natural phenomena that are concealed from human knowledge at that period of time. Otherwise, there would be many questions raised against the wisdom of God. If God created the laws of nature Himself, He should have made some provisions whereby without breaking them, He could bring about desired solutions to a problem.”
We can all agree that the human knowledge of the laws of nature is incomplete, if it was complete we would not be making new scientific discoveries all the time. It is due to this lack of knowledge that miracles such as those that occurred in the lifetime of Prophet Moses (peace be on him) as believed by not only Muslims but also Jews and Christians were ruled out by many as fictitious stories (some even go to the extreme that they deny Israelites ever lived in Egypt.) But both scientific and archaeological evidence is continuously emerging that give testament to the reality of the stories found in the scriptures.
“Then We sent upon them the storm and the locusts, and the lice, and the frogs, and the blood — clear Signs; but they behaved proudly and were a sinful people.” [Holy Qur’an 7:134]
This verse refers to the 10 plagues mentioned in the Bible (Exod. Chaps. 7-11) All of these can be explained scientifically. If we look at the sign of the blood which is referring to the water turning red when Moses (peace be on him) struck the river Nile with his staff, this can be explained by a phenomenon known as “red tide” in oceans which is when it suddenly appears red in colour due to a sudden red algae bloom. Red algae can be found in freshwater ecosystems and can be harmful to wildlife.
“Then We revealed to Moses, saying, ‘Strike the sea with thy rod.’ Thereupon it parted, and every part looked like a huge mountain. And We let others approach that place.
And We saved Moses and those who were with him. Then We drowned the others.” [Holy Qur’an 26: 64-67]
The splitting of the sea is another example of a miracle that has scientific explanations to it. Russian researchers have calculated that if there were strong winds of 67miles per hour overnight, in the time of Moses when the Red Sea would have been much shallower, it could have exposed the seabed. A Russian mathematician admits that there was still some miraculous intervention occurring adding “I am convinced that God rules the Earth through the laws of physics.”
It is evident from both the Biblical account of the event as well as the Quranic account that when Moses and his followers reached the sea, it was time for the ebb-tide and the sea was receding, leaving a dry bed. Following the command of God, Moses and his people crossed it quickly. There is evidence that the part of the sea they crossed was only 2/3-mile-wide so the Israelites would have made it across during the low tide. When Pharaoh’s people reached they did not notice that it was almost time for high tide again. It appeared that Pharaoh’s people were heavily equipped with big chariots and heavy weapons, slowing them down so that they were still in the middle of the sea when high tide returned and drowned them all.
What is important to notice in these incidents is timing. Is it nothing short of a miracle that at the exact time when Pharaoh demanded a Divine sign from God, the river turned red? When the escaping Israelites were blocked by the sea and nearly over taken by Pharaoh and his men and facing death started to lose hope – God instructed Moses to strike the sea with his rod. Is it nothing short of a Miracle or Divine intervention that it was the exact time when the water started to recede?
“In this, verily, there is a Sign; but most of these would not believe. And surely thy Lord — He is the Mighty, the Merciful.” (Holy Qur’an 26:68-69)
Enc. Bib., col. 1437
Nooresahar Ahmad, Hartlepool
In a recent RE class we studied the authority of the Bible in Christianity. The Bible is undoubtedly a most interesting text; at 5 billion copies sold it is the bestselling book in the world1 and holds a lot of fascinating information and wisdom as well as songs, poetry and historical accounts. Yet, it did come as a shock to me that the Bible has in fact been mistranslated and edited over the years; to the point where there are errors and contradictions found within the book.
Perhaps this surprise was naïve of me. After all, I am used to the Holy Qur’an; a text which was revealed around 1400 years ago and remains as intact as if it had been revealed yesterday. A text which came to the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) through the angel Gabriel, from God Himself. A text which states, “Verily, We Ourselves have sent down this Exhortation, and most surely We will be its Guardian.” (Al-Hijr, 15:10).
The gradual corrosion of the Biblical text seems inevitable, when we think of how long ago it was first written, and the amount of translations required to provide copies in over 2000 languages. This prompted me to wonder- what were the means by which the Qur’an has remained so perfect, and completely avoided corruption?
Well, as it turns out, through a number of interesting methods: 2
And so, the authenticity, preciseness and preservation of the Holy Qur’an is something that has been greatly studied and accepted without a shadow of doubt. In a world of constant changes, shifts and development, there is something inherently comforting in always having an unchangeable constant to turn to for guidance; much like the One Whose Word it is.
Reem Shraiky, London
Islam, in its comprehensive teachings, makes provisions for the welfare of every individual, society and the world as a whole. Among these teachings is the injunction to spend in the way of Allah that is to say to help the poor and needy out of love of God.
Spending in the cause of Allah benefits not only those who receive alms, but those who give them: ‘If you give alms openly, it is well and good; but if you conceal them and give them to the poor, it is better for you; and He will remove from you many of your sins…’ 2:272)
Social welfare in fact leads to the prosperity of the nation which leads in turn to the prosperity of the individual, but this is not the first purpose of spending, rather the goal is purely seeking Allah’s pleasure.
The Qur’an permits Muslims to spend in Allah’s way either secretly or publicly as both have their benefits and drawbacks, and both merit reward: ‘Those who spend their wealth by night and day, secretly and openly, have their reward with their Lord; on them shall come no fear, nor shall they grieve.’(2:275)
Therefore, a Muslim must assess the circumstance and situation to see which way of spending will attract Allah’s pleasure, and achieve the maximum benefit. On the other hand, showing off and bragging is categorically forbidden: ‘…render not vain your alms by taunt and injury, like him who spends his wealth to be seen of men, and he believes not in Allah and the Last Day. His case is like the case of a smooth rock covered with earth, on which heavy rain falls, leaving it bare, smooth and hard…’(2:265)
So when a Muslim spends in front of others, it must be purely to encourage them to spend in the cause of Allah and to do good, but if the intention is to show off one’s wealth in front of others, it will be as if one’s good works never were.
However, speaking of favours Allah has bestowed upon oneself monetary or otherwise, is acceptable if the aim is solely to encourage others to seek these bounties: ‘And as for the bounty of your Lord do relate it to others.’(93:12). So, giving is the noblest of acts, so long as the giver has no atom of hypocrisy, nor is led by the desire to show off or demean others.
It is preferable to hide charity when it is given particularly to the poor and needy out of respect to their feelings and dignity, but it is better to do other good deeds openly in order to inspire others to follow suit, for example, when people are called upon to openly support a humanitarian cause, we see a very high turnout. ‘Say to My servants who have believed, that they should observe Prayer and spend out of what We have given them, secretly and openly…’(14:32)
While all religions call for doing good, Islam stands alone in calling for vying with one another in this, the word vying in Arabic ‘تسابق’ means to speed up to the maximum degree, as in a race where each person competes with others. In this context, the best and most charitable person will do more good and others will try to catch up to him or her, so the race of millions vying with millions in doing good will continue with all speed and full strength and energy.
One should not understand by this that Islam creates envy and greed in the hearts of its followers, rather it only shows that the believers’ duty is to help their brothers and sisters advance because the ultimate purpose is benefiting others “And let there be among you a body of men who should invite to goodness, and enjoin equity and forbid evil…’(3:105) Thus, when the believers attain good, they invite others to hurry and partake of the same blessings.
When the believers race in the act of good deeds, they take with them those who are behind and help others to catch up with them. This is in fact the greatest race of goodness and embodies the true spirit of humanity.
We have to remember the guiding principle which the Holy Qur’an taught us regarding drawing the most benefit out of giving, that is: “Never shall you attain to righteousness unless you spend out of that which you love…” (3:93). So, everything, which you love most, whether it is money, sleep, children, time, etc.., if you are ready to sacrifice it for the sake of Allah, that act would become righteousness. May Allah enable us to act upon these great teachings, Ameen.
By Navida Sayed, London
The Holy Qur’an is a unique living book like no other conveying a timeless and universal message relevant for all times. What makes the Qur’an unique and distinct is that it can be referred to as a life manual, a study guide and an amazing book of knowledge about the entire universe. There is not a single aspect the Qur’an does not cover relating to the development of humans and social behaviour, foresight about archaeological and scientific discoveries or inventions or prophecies of the past, present, or future. The beauty and wisdom of the Qur’an also provides a source of spiritual healing and is a guiding light for the entire mankind; in relation to this the Holy Qur’an says:
‘…There has come to you indeed from Allah a Light and a clear Book.
Thereby does Allah ￼guide those who seek His pleasure on the paths of peace, and leads them out of every kind of darkness into light by His will, and guides them to the right path.’ (Al Maidah 5:16-17)
Many critics challenge the authorship of the Qur’an and the knowledge of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) who was unlettered and dwelling in the Arabian Peninsula 1,400 years ago. Every critical mind boggles at how the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) could have produced a magnificent, deeply insightful book reflecting on every concept, problem and solution and knowledge about the universe?
The truth is that the Holy Qur’an in its entirety is the Word of God revealed to the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him). It is a miraculous inspirational book because of it eloquence and splendour. The text of the Qur’an has been preserved intact and every word of it has come down to us as free from interference and interpolation exactly in the same original Arabic as it was revealed to the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him). The Qur’an is the final law-bearing religious scripture revealed by God and what sets it apart from other holy scriptures is that since its revelation, no individual has ever been able to reproduce a single chapter like that of the Qur’an which is clearly foretold in this Quranic verse:
‘And if you are in doubt as to what We have sent down to Our servant, then produce a Chapter like it, and call upon your helpers beside Allah, if you are truthful.’ (Al Baqarah 2:24)
This challenge remains unanswered to this very day.
The Holy Qur’an outlines a golden principle for establishment of world peace. Regardless of theological differences the Qur’an instructs us to promote unity and cohesion by having respect for all religions, their founders and their scriptures. This beautiful teaching of social integration results in mutual respect and understanding between the followers of all faiths.
The intriguing and most fascinating fact about the Holy Qur’an is that it does not contradict modern science but rather supports it. The Qur’an encompasses and encapsulates every scientific phenomenon known to the world, which has been discovered only recently, through the modern advancement of technological equipment. The Holy Qur’an gives foresight into facts relating to the developmental stages of the human embryo. The Qur’an also mentions astronomical facts about stars, planets, moons and the creation of the world in different stages. Modern science has also discovered what the Qur’an told us about the existence of barriers that allow two seas to merge yet maintain their own temperature, density and salinity, for example as is the case of the Panama Canal
There are absolutely no contradictions in the Holy Qur’an whatsoever relating to science, astronomy, geology, archaeology or even history. The Qur’an highlights the true stories of previous Prophets, Adam, Noah, Abraham, Jesus and Moses and in relation to this the Holy Qur’an says:
‘Assuredly, in their narrative is a lesson for men of understanding. It is not a thing that has been forged, but a fulfilment of that which is before it and a detailed exposition of all things, and a guidance and a mercy to a people who believe.’ (12:112)
Emphasising on world peace the Holy Qur’an teaches us that this journey begins with an individual, extending to his family and then to the wider society. Once a nation achieves peace, this can contribute to international peace. Every step of this journey has been dealt with comprehensively in the Holy Qur’an in relation to human rights, women’s rights, matrimonial relationships, rights of children and parents, rights of the orphan, rights of neighbour’s and other individuals in society.
Most importantly, the Qur’an teaches that the purpose of life is to worship God alone, and live one’s life according to the way of life prescribed by Him this also includes to live honestly, humbly and modestly. The Holy Qur’an teaches us to be thankful, just, patient and charitable hence fulfilling our true purpose in life, and attaining success in both this world and the next.
Iffat Mirza, London
The development of the notion of freedom of speech in the West has run parallel to the construction of democracy in its states. Looking at British history, we see that the 18th and 19th centuries were ridden with laws that suppressed any organisation, literature, or activity that was seen as a threat to the ruling order. With laws such as the 1795 Treasonable Practices Act and Prevention of Seditious Meetings Act, the government was able to establish its dominance over the country and limit the consciences of those who dared question their rule. Ideals of freedom of speech were reactions to these laws. Freedom of speech was created in order to facilitate a true democracy, and we can see the direct correlation between the increase in freedom of speech and the progress of democracy.
Now we must ask the question why this has once again become a big issue now? Well, the idea of political correctness has taken hold, which many see as an attack on freedom of speech. We have seen recent examples of Boris Johnson’s controversial statements on the burka and Geert Wilders’ proposed Muhammad (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) ‘drawing contest’ (now thankfully cancelled), and once again the debate over freedom of speech has risen again. However, I would argue that both stunts were nothing more than political charades and had very little to do with protecting freedom of speech. It must be clarified to all that freedom of speech is not synonymous with right to hurt. Freedom of speech is a tool that helps us grow as individuals and societies. We must set ourselves boundaries to distinguish what is acceptable and constructive dialogue, and what is simply an excuse to tyrannise.
In any case of conflict or difference of opinions, dialogue is essential to advance as a society, therefore we must welcome an atmosphere of trust and respect where each and every member can share their opinion and worries over any topic, regardless of how sensitive it may be. Yes, freedom of speech is our right, and indeed, a right that must be exercised to ensure true democratic rule.
However, it is also a responsibility that must be taken seriously. We can vocalise our opinions without dehumanising and hurting people. Freedom of speech is not being threatened by those who take offence at hurtful words. It is being threatened by those who defend their bigotry under the shield of freedom of speech. A shield that is increasingly being worn thin. By stubbornly using the guise of freedom of speech to offend others, we are limiting constructive dialogue as we are focussing more on our right to speak rather than our need to speak.
The Holy Qur’an captures the essence of how freedom of speech should be approached by encouraging an attitude of moderation. In Chapter 2, Verse 144, which can be understood as ‘We have made you into a nation which adheres to the middle path…’, God has taught us to strike a balance in all that we do and this will most definitely ensure a peaceful and harmonious society. If this teaching were to be applied to freedom of speech we would learn that freedom of speech is necessary to challenge us and to help us grow. We would learn to see the world from other perspectives and in doing so learn more about our own perspective. But neither would we take it to such an extreme that we are not facilitating conversation, but are instead screaming over each other, resulting in a lot of words with very little meaning. So, it is in treading the middle path that we can do justice to freedom of speech.
Arfa Niswan Yassir, Swindon
It is stated in the Holy Qur’an:
صِبْغَةَ اللَّهِ ۖ وَمَنْ أَحْسَنُ مِنَ اللَّهِ صِبْغَةً ۖ وَنَحْنُ لَهُ عَابِدُونَ
Translation: “Say, ‘We will adopt the religion of Allah; and who is better than Allah in teaching religion, and Him alone do we worship.’ (2:139)
Quranic commentary tells us that this verse is about colouring ourselves in God’s colour because His colour is the best. This indeed gives a new meaning to the word ‘colour’ and this is a beautiful expression everyone can relate to. It showcases the beauty of expression of the Holy Qur’an. ‘Colour’ is used so often in our lives in various contexts like the term ‘black or white’, then there are colours of races, flags are represented by colours and patterns. So Allah unites all forms of colour under one best colour that is the colour of Allah!
According to commentary of the Holy Qur’an the Arabic word in the verse صبغہ means dye or colour, mode of a thing, religion, baptism and code of laws.
The commentary also tells us that adopting the colour of Allah is the true baptism, that is, an initiation through which one can try to acquire Divine attributes on a human level and try and be a living manifestation of the same.
Like every other instruction in Qur’an this verse also demands thought and action. By reflecting on it and then putting it in practice we can fulfil the purpose of our existence i.e. We colour our lives in His Colour. If we make this our goal, our objective and reason to be ultimately becomes our strength. Of course it’s difficult to maintain His colour in the presence of so many tempting colours of the world! However, we can pray and earnestly try for it! Though the colours of the world are tempting but their reality is nothing. So we need to strive to think, ponder and move from the superficial worldly colours to the enduring divine colours i.e. the attributes of Allah which we need to adopt on a human level and try and demonstrate in our lives.
Allah’s colour, His religion, His code of law is what constitutes the Holy Qur’an and it was also Allah’s colour that was demonstrated in the blessed life of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be on him).
The process of adopting Allah’s colour is a wonderful journey, journey worth spending all our efforts on! So now is the time to take steps towards Allah before it is too late! To attain His colour should be the greater focus of life towards which all other intentions should be directed. This also means knowing how to keep moving in the right direction during the toughest of times, trying one’s best to keep one’s direction towards Allah.
His Holiness Mirza Masroor Ahmad, the fifth spiritual head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community mentioned and explained the aforementioned Quranic verse in one of his Friday Sermons a few years ago. He said:
“By adopting Divine attributes a person gains nearness to God. When a believer imbues God’s colour he or she attain his or her purpose of creation. He or she tries to practice that which God likes and tries and resists what God dislikes. The commandment ‘to adopt the religion/colour of God’ signifies that God has put the capacity in humans to adopt His attributes within their own sphere and to also demonstrate them. For example, man can adopt the Divine qualities of Malikiyyat (quality of being the Master), Rahmaniyyat (quality of being Gracious), Raheemiyyat (quality of being Merciful) and Rububiyyat (quality of being the Sustainer/Nurturer) on human level. Man can adopt the quality of being Sattar (One Who covers the faults of others) and of Wahab (the Bestower), in fact these qualities are sometimes demonstrated in the life of an ordinary person. A true believer imbues the colours/qualities of God to attract His love. It is essential to demonstrate these qualities to attract the love of God, to save humanity from sin and to attain the purpose of one’s creation. Ultimately, this demonstration becomes a source of merit in God’s sight.”[i]
Although this journey of adopting colour of Allah is a most fulfilling spiritual experience, it is not an easy way. It demands sacrifice of worldly wishes and desires, it demands a complete state of fanaa, a state where one is completely absorbed and devoted to Allah.
May Allah deepen HIS colour in our souls! AMEEN
Arfa Niswan Yassir, Swindon
Since the past one month this verse (or should I say part of a Quranic verse) remains somewhere at the back of my mind somehow, and every mention of light or Nur makes me think about it. The verse is as given below:
Surah Al-Nur verse 36: “Allah is the light of the heavens and the earth…”
The word Nur is found in Arabic, Persian and Urdu. It can be translated as light, transfiguration, manifestation, beauty, gorgeousness etc.
‘The Light’ or Al Nur is also one of the names/attributes of Allah the Almighty.
Light as described by English dictionaries is an entity that stimulates sight, makes things visible. Physics suggests it as energy or particles called photons. But the light being mentioned in this verse requires ‘vision’ rather than ‘sight’. Light as a natural agent also requires us to have sight, similarly Allah’s light Nur also requires something from us i.e. vision!
In the spiritual world ‘light’ is precisely referred to as guidance and ‘darkness’ as absence of guidance or ” This light is not just illumination or brightness but energy as well; positive energy. So this light has a broader meaning than just illumination, it means that in order to make sense of anything in our world we need to absorb this Nur according to our capability and willingness. Just like in order to see anything around us we need the light of the physical world similarly through Allah’s Nur we can make sense of the things going on around us. Light travels in a straight line and for the spiritual path to seek Allah’s light we also need to tread the straight path, which in Quranic idiom is the ‘right path’ Siratal Mustaqeem.
Light in the broader sense can be understood in three contexts:
1. The light around us.
2. The light that is absorbed, i.e. we contain.
3. The light that is reflected (As by the Prophets and spiritually exalted people and through God’s holy books).
The Light Around Us
A true believer must strive to absorb & retain this light through thick and thin that is why the colour of the flag of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be on him) was black! Black absorbs all light, all shades of light. We require a lifetime to absorb and retain this light. Reminds me of a quote by the celebrated 13 century Persian mystic and poet Maulana Rumi:
‘The wound is where the light enters your soul’
Well, basically this depends upon the person, the wound can also be the place from where the entire light could exit as well! Tough and trying situations would have different impact on two different hearts. So a willing heart might find light from any source experience or happening while an unwilling heart might chose to dwell in darkness. But it’s always around!
The Light We Absorb
Shown in our thoughts and actions.
It is written in Mathnawi, series of six books of poetry by Maulana Rumi:
The light which shines in the eye
is really the light of the heart.
The light which fills the heart
is the light of God, which is pure
and separate from the light of intellect and sense.
Light That Is Reflected
Allah’s light is manifested as divine guidance through Holy books revealed by Him, His Prophets, spiritually exalted people who tread His path and reflect His light from which others can seek beneficence.
Further Quranic References of The Light:
In Surah Al-Baqarah verse 257 it is stated: ‘There should be no compulsion in religion…’ The verse goes on to say Allah has sent His religious law (Shariah) to distinguish between right and wrong and in the very next verse Allah states:
“Allah is the friend of those who believe: He brings them out of every kind of darkness into light. And those who disbelieve, their friends are the transgressors who bring them out of the light into every kind of darkness…’
So the believers are promised Allah’s help to move out of darkness into light Nur.
In Surah Al Taubah, verse 32 Allah states:
‘They desire to extinguish the light of Allah with their mouths; but Allah will permit nothing expect that He will perfect His light, though the unbelievers may dislike it.’
Hence this light is always there around us, willing hearts can absorb it and reflect it as well. Allah explicitly states that no human activity can put this light out, this is an affirming statement for us.
This light, this Nur is the bigger purpose of life, this light is happiness, this light is the real beauty that we need to develop in ourselves and find in others, this light is the objective of life, this light is the destination. This light can be absorbed & retained with total surrender. Only then we can actually ‘reflect’ the light to others. Just disliking darkness is not enough to travel towards light we need to tread the straight path, which is the ‘right path’.