Islamic Sources and References

وقد سئل الإمام الشافعي: أيهما أولى للمؤمن: أن يبتلى أو يُمكَّن؟ فقال: وهل يكون تمكين إلا بعد ابتلاء؟ إن الله ابتلى يوسف عليه السلام ثم مكن له.“ ـ

Imam al-Shafi`ee was asked: "What’s better for the believer, to be tested, or to be given power (to do good)?” He said: “And how can one be given power for good without first being tested? Allah tested Yusuf, peace be upon him, then He gave him power.”
إذا سألتم الله الجنة، فاسألوه الفردوس، فإنه أوسط الجنة، وأعلى الجنة، وفوقه عرش الرحمن.

If you ask God for Paradise, ask Him for al-Firadaws, for it is at the central heights of Paradise, and above it lies the Throne of the Most Gracious.
ذكر الله باللسان حسن، وأفضل منه أنه يذكر الله العبد عند المعصية فيسمك عنها.ـ

Remembrance of Allah with the tongue is a good thing, and what is better is the remembrance of Allah when one is about to commit a sin, and this preventing him from committing it.
أسرق الناس: الذي يسرق صلاته، لا يتم ركوعها ولا سجودها، وأبخل الناس: من بخل بالسلام.

The most thieving among people: Those who steal their salah, not finishing its ruku`s and sujoods properly, and the most miserly of people: those who do not reply to a salam.
إذا صلّى أحدكم للناس فليخفف، فإن فيهم السقيم، والضعيف والكبير، وإذا صلّى أحدكم لنفسه فليطوِّل ما شاء.

If one of you leads salah (formal prayer), then let him make it easy on them (by making it quick), for there are among them those who are ill, weak, or old. And if one of you prays alone, then let him make it as lengthy as he wishes.
ما عبد العابدون بشيء أفضل من ترك ما نهاهم الله عنه. ـ

Worshipers never performed an act of worship better than staying away from that which Allah forbade them.
وقد سئل عمر عن قوم يشتهون المعصية ولا يعملون بها، فقال: “أُولَئِكَ الَّذِينَ امْتَحَنَ اللَّهُ قُلُوبَهُمْ لِلتَّقْوَى لَهُمْ مَغْفِرَةٌ وَأَجْرٌ عَظِيمٌ” ـ

Umar [ibn al-Khattab] was asked about those who strongly desire to commit a sin but refrain from it. Umar said: “Those are the ones whose hearts Allah has tested for al-taqwaa (consciousness of Allah), for them is forgiveness and a tremendous reward.” [Quran 49:13]
الحياة في ظلال القرآن نعمة. نعمة لا يعرفها إلاّ من ذاقها. نعمة ترفع العمر وتباركه وتزكيه.

Life in the shade of the Quran is a blessing. A blessing that no one knows other than the one who has tasted it. A blessing that elevates one’s life, makes it whole, and purifies it.

This is the first line of Sayyid Qutb’s introduction to his commentary of the Quran, In the Shade of the Quran. It is one of the most famous lines written in the 20th century.
كان أحب الدين إليه ما داوم عليه صاحبه

The most beloved good deeds to him [to the Prophet ﷺ] were the ones that the person performed continuously [without giving them up].
حتى التعبديات المحضة في الشرع لها مقاصدها، ولهذا علل القرآن العبادات ذاتها، فالصلاة {تَنْهَى عَنِ الْفَحْشَاءِ وَالْمُنْكَرِ} والزكاة {تُطَهِّرُهُمْ وَتُزَكِّيهِمْ بِهَا} والصيام {لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ} والحج {لِيَشْهَدُوا مَنَافِعَ لَهُمْ وَيَذْكُرُوا اسْمَ اللَّهِ}

Even acts of pure worship in the shar` (Allah’s law) have [deep] purposes, and for this reason the Quran mentions the reasons behind these acts, for example the salah “restrains from shameful and unjust deeds” [Quran 29:45] and the zakah “to cleanse them and purify them thereby” [Quran 9:103] and siyam [fasting] “to acquire fear and mindfulness of God” [Quran 2:183] and the haj [pilgrimage to Makkah] “so that they might experience much that shall be of benefit to them, and that they might extol the name of God” [Quran 22:28]
If you see an unbeliever, say, “I don’t know, maybe he will become a Muslim, and his life will be sealed with the best of deeds, and for his Islam he will emerge free of sin, as a strand of hair is gently removed from dough. As for me, Allâh could cause me to go astray, so that I become of the unbelievers, and my life could be sealed with the worst of deeds. So tomorrow this person might be of the Ones Drawn Nigh [to Allâh], and I of the distant ones!“
Contemporary scientific discoveries (the neurosciences and neurobiology) confirm that there are biological differences between [men and women], and that it would be insane to deny their existence. Scientists do not deny that our relationship with the social and cultural environment has a determining influence (epi-genesis), but they have found some basic differences: the left hemisphere of the brain is more highly developed in women, who are actually less emotional than men but tend to be better at expressing their emotions because of their greater need to verbalize and communicate. Women have a more highly developed sense of hearing and touch, whereas men’s sight is more highly developed and means that they have a different relationship with visual spatial abilities. An analysis of hormonal functions shows that men and women relate differently to the environment and have different needs in terms of safety, no matter what culture they live in: women have a greater need for protection, and men a greater need for adventure. We are free to reject these scientific discoveries, or to regard them as irrelevant, but we have to admit that we must not confuse ‘equality’ with ‘identity’ in the sense of similarity.
Female excision, forced marriages, honour crimes, for instance, are not Islamic even though certain scholars may have attempted to provide religious justification for them. This critical work is a long way from being completed, and awareness must be raised among Muslims and their fellow citizens about those confusions that lead to the original message being betrayed.
والإيمان هو الذي يحرك الإنسان ويوجهه ويولّد فيه طاقات هائلة، لم تكن لتظهر بدونه، بل هو ينشئه خلقًا جديدًا ويولّد فيه طاقات هائلة، لم تكن لتظهر بدونه، بل هو ينشئه خلقًا جديدًا، بروح جديدة، وعقل جديد، وعزم جديد، وفلسفة جديدة. كما رأينا ذلك في سحرة فرعون حين آمنوا برب موسى وهارون، وتحدّوا جبروت فرعون، وقالوا له في شموخ واستعلاء: “فَاقْضِ مَا أَنْتَ قَاضٍ إِنَّمَا تَقْضِي هَذِهِ الْحَيَاةَ الدُّنْيَا”. ـ

al-Iman (faith) is that which puts man into motion; it directs him and creates in him tremendous powers that wouldn’t manifest without it. It rebuilds him into a new creation, with a new spirit, a new mind, a new resolve, and a new philosophy in life. We saw this in the story of the magicians of the Pharaoh when they believed in the Lord of Moses and Aaron, challenged the tyranny of the Pharaoh, and with all the confidence in the world they said to him: “Then decide (regarding us) whatever you want to decide, your decision can only affect this worldly life.” (Quran 20:72)

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ومما يُستأنس به لتقديم العلم على العمل: أن أول ما نزل من القرآن: {اقْرَأ}، والقراءة مفتاح العلم. ثم نزل العمل في مثل: {يَاأَيُّهَا الْمُدَّثِّرُ (1) قُمْ فَأَنْذِرْ (2) وَرَبَّكَ فَكَبِّرْ (3) وَثِيَابَكَ فَطَهِّرْ (4)}

One of the things that shows us the precedence of knowledge over action is that the first verse revealed of the Quran was “Read!” [Quran 96:1], and reading is they key to knowledge, and afterwards verses were sent down regarding actions: “O you [in your solitude] enfolded! Arise and warn! And your Lord’s greatness glorify! And your clothing purify!” [Quran 74:1-4]
العامل على غير علم كالسالك على غير طريق، والعامل على غير علم يُفسد أكثر مما يُصلح، فاطلبوا العلم طلباً لا يضر بالعبادة، واطلبوا العبادة طلباً لا يضر بالعلم، فإن قوماً طلبوا العبادة وتركوا العلم، حتى خرجوا بأسيافهم عى أُمة محمد صلى الله عليه وسلم، ولو طلبوا العلم لم يدلهم على ما فعلوا.

The one who acts without knowledge is like a wayfarer without a way, and such a person ruins more than he fixes. Therefore seek knowledge, in a way that doesn’t harm your worship, and seek worship, in a way that doesn’t harm your knowledge seeking, for there was a nation that sought worship and neglected knowledge, until they went out with their swords against the ummah (nation) of Muhammad peace be upon him. Had they sought knowledge, it wouldn’t have led them to what they did.

Narrated by Ibn al-Qayyim in Miftah dar as-Saada.
لا خير فيكم إذا لم تقولوها، ولا خيرا فينا إذا لم نسمعها (عمر ابن الخطاب عن النُصح للحاكم ونقده)

There is no good in you if you do not say it, and there is no good in us if we do not listen to it. (Umar ibn al-Khattab on advice and criticism directed at rulers and leaders)