Surah Yusuf: Joseph

Being Ever Hopeful

“O my sons go and search for Yusuf and his brother and never give up hope of God’s soothing mercy, it is only the unbelievers who despair of God’s soothing mercy” (Yusuf: 87)

 

Commentary

This is the advice that Yaqub gives his sons after they told him that Benjamin has been arrested on charges of theft in Egypt. What a shocking and devastating piece of news this must have been for him – since the loss of his most beloved son Yusuf many many years ago this was yet another blow. But being a man of God, a true believer and someone who had deep spiritual insight he didn’t throw up a tantrum. Yaqub doesn’t become angry neither is he frustrated nor is he enraged. After a short reflection he pours out nuggets of wisdom and teaches his sons a great lesson in patience and hope. He tells them not to lose hope in the Almighty. This beautiful phrase never give up hope of God’s soothing mercy is most endearing and soothing to ears. Hope is a great spiritual virtue that people of faith have in their tool kit. Hope is to except that God will always be kind to us, he will be generous to us, and he will bless us. Hope is to expect that God will not that god will not dessert us when others turn away. Hope is to believe that the Divine promise will be fulfilled. Hope becomes a prayer when we use words to express deep anxieties or ask for something form God. The Qur’an teaches, “O people who have wronged yourselves! Never despair God’s mercy; God will indeed forgive all your sins for he is forgiving and merciful”. (Zamar: 53)

The extent and the degree of God’s mercy is something we human beings cannot imagine. In a Hadith the Prophet (saw) said, “ After Allah had created the creation it was written on the top of the Divine throne my mercy has taken over my anger”. In another Hadith, the messenger (saw) upon seeing a distressed mother frantically searching for her last baby, when she found him she hugged him and lovingly suckled him. He asked his disciples tell me will this mother ever throw her baby into a fire? They said no. He said, “God is more merciful to his people than his mother is to her child” (Muslim)

The lesson being we can never lose hope in God, no matter how evil, wretched and sinful we are when we turn to him He is there to receive us. Let us have a great vision of hope and goodness in the future. Ameen

 

Q2

The messenger (saw) said, “Whoever imitates a group he is from them”. Muslims cannot imitate, follow the example of there people, particularly their religious practices and spiritual exercises. Every religion has certain practices and spiritual exercises. Every religion has certain peculiar and unique symbols; practices and rituals- Muslims are forbidden from following them or imitating them.

Therefore, yoga or meditation (both Hindu and Buddhist practices) cannot be used for strengthening ones Iman. The Islamic rituals, devotions and the Sunnah of the beloved Messenger are so rich and effective in nurturing our spiritual development that we don’t need to borrow from others. It is important to maintain our uniqueness, distinctiveness and separate identity. We must not compromise or delete our distinctiveness. God says, “Whoever seeks other than Islam that will not be accepted from him”.

This in no way means we are narrow-minded and against others. This is to reject syncretism, which is reconciling and uniting all religions – this is not acceptable. Islam is complete in its message, creed, practices and methods it does not need any help from any other religion. God says “Today I have completed for you your religion and perfected on you my favours and happy for you have Islam as the religion (Maida: 6)

I must hastily add that Muslims must respect people of other religions; they must work with them as fellow citizens for the common good. (Please read my article “my motivation for interfaith work” on www.karimia.com).

 

Q3

You are in fortunate position, however, you have to choose the right husband for yourself. The messenger (saw) “when someone comes to you (seeking your daughters hand) whose deen and character pleases you, mercy him, if you do not do so then mischief and evil will spread in Earth”. The companions asked, “even if he is not well off and poor?” He repeated “ when someone whose religion and moral character pleases you then marry him”. And he repeated this three times (Tirmizi)

You need to compare the two and whichever of the 2 meets these criteria choose him as your husband. Of course in addition to these two criteria (strong faith and good character) you will also look for other qualities, which make you compatible like education, physical features and family background. You will make the final decision but do consult and take advice form your parents, relatives and friends as well. Once you have decided then according to the Qur’an “put your trust in Allah since Allah loves those who trust him”.

 

Q4

The scholars have allowed Muslims living in non-Muslim societies to take mortgage for the purchase of their home. It is not permissible to use any other kind of interest – based product and therefore it is not permissible to work in a bank where one is dealing with interest-based products.

 

Q5

It is not possible to give advice with the information you have provided. I will respond to the question whether the matter can refuse the father from seeing the child. If she fears risk “ what are the risks and how realistic are they? Are they just a smoke screen, which the mother is using to keep the father away?

My humble advice is that peace and reconciliation are the best policy so is forgiveness. God knows best.

 

Q6

It is permissible to use any leather except for pig’s hide it doesn’t matter how the animal is slaughtered. So it is permissible to sew and use leather from these animals, however if it comes from pig’s skin then it will not be permissible to sew and use.