It is especially
of eminent importance today that we learn Qur’an and hadith and practice the lessons in them. As you recall, Allah
(S.W.A) promised protection of the Al-Qur’an from any manipulations. This promise still holds and it will hold until
the end of time. Unfortunately for us, the message of Al-Qur’an is being made obsolete without changing a letter from
the book. Who would bother to change Al-Qur’an when all believers are watching
and guarding to prevent its corruption? So instead of trying to change the message of Qur’an itself, its antithesis
is being madly promoted in the society today. With us always busy in schools, where the mention of God is almost forbidden,
and less and less practice of the word of God is witnessed on the streets and in the communities, the message of the holy
book may remain locked in its pages. We may just find ourselves living and moving along with the crowd. Here are some examples
of behaviors and practices in the world today that contradict the holy book’s teachings.
1. Example 1 – Gift-giving
in the act of gift giving is being slowly directed away from giving to please Allah (S.W.A) to giving for other reasons. This
is the intention Allah (S.W.A) wants us to hold when sharing our wealth with others. Allah (S.W.A) speaks:
“They perform (their) vows, and they fear a day whose evil flies
far and wide (76:7)-
“And they feed, for the love of Allah , the indigent, the orphan, and the captive(76:8)”_
Saying), “we feed you for the sake of Allah alone: No reward do we desire from you, no thanks (76:9)”.
“We only fear a day of distressful wrath from the side of our Lord (76:10)”.
“Those who spend their wealth for increase
in self-purification (92:18)”
“And have in their minds no favor from anyone for which a reward is expected
in return (92:19)”
“But only the desire to seek for the countenance of their Lord Most High (92:20)”
soon will they attain complete satisfaction (92:21)”
Gifts to friends must also
be given in the spirit the verses above describe. We certainly must guard our hearts against the arrogance and pride that
can be triggered by feelings like, ‘I give you, but I do not expect anything from you.’ We must focus on the giving
to earn Allah (S.W.A)’s pleasure. The one we give owes us nothing, especially his/her dignity.
It is Unfortunate that the above verses are being pushed
in the background by the gift-exchange practice that some schools encourage students to participate in. This is how it goes:
Students are asked to bring gifts of their choice for a special day. The school puts the gifts together in a raffle. Each
student is then given, at random, a gift from the general pool. Now if the aim behind this practice were to encourage generosity,
that would have been very good. Unfortunately, generosity does not develop from this practice. Always children who participate
come home complaining about getting a gift inferior to what they contributed. If a person keeps on practicing this gift exchange
ceremony, do you think one would ever have the chance to learn to give anything without expecting anything in return? This
gift-exchange culture is spreading, unfortunately, to Muslim communities. Muslim
children should be encouraged to give to please the receiver, but never to expect anything in return for their generosity,
except from Allah (S.W.A). So the aim for us Muslims must always remain to give to receive a reward from Allah (S.W.A). If
the receiver happens to reciprocate our gift, we thank Allah (S.W.A) because it is a blessing from Him and not a payback for
what we did. Certainly, Allah (S.W.A) encourages believers to be very generous because it encourages good feelings among us.
Remember, though, we must always clean our intentions before we give out anything, and the intention must always remain to
please Allah (S.W.A) by pleasing the receiver of our generosity. Should we participate in the gift giving ritual in our schools?
Yes, but we must train ourselves to view what we receive as a gift from Allah (S.W.A) to us, and what we give as a gift to
Allah (S.W.A). This way we will give for Allah (S.W.A), and we will expect and receive from none but Allah (S.W.A).
In case we know our benefoctors, those through
whom Allah (S.W.A) sends blessings to us, we must remember to thank them. If we do not, we will certainly forget to thank
Allah (S.W.A).That would be ungratefulness and Allah (S.W.A) loves not the ungrateful ones.