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Lessons from the Life of Joseph

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The story of Joseph contains many important lessons. Here are some of the main ones:

  1. God honors whom He wills – Being tried and tested in life does not mean that God dislikes you. In fact, as we see in this story, God tested the most beloved of people to him – His Messengers. Likewise, a lack of trials and hardships is not a sign of God’s pleasure. In this story, despite the challenges of abandonment, slavery, false accusation and prison, Joseph remains strong in his faith and adhering to God’s teachings, and in turn, God honors and protects him.
  2. Integrity and noble character – Joseph displays the highest of morals and character throughout his whole life and in all the circumstances he finds himself in. As a slave and a prisoner, he is the epitome of good conduct and integrity. Even when he is given the chance to leave prison, Joseph refuses, instead insisting that his innocence is first declared before leaving prison.
  3. Mindful of God at all times – In prison, before interpreting the dreams of his fellow inmates, Joseph teaches them about God and calls them to worship Him alone. When faced with the option of agreeing to the demands of the elite immodest women, Joseph turns to God and prefers prison over disobedience to God.
  4. Looking at the greater good – After years have passed, and his former inmate returns to him with the king’s dream, Joseph does not berate him but rather interprets the dream, due to the major need of people to prepare for the upcoming difficulties.
  5. Forgiveness – Despite the real harm Joseph’s brothers did to him, Joseph forgives and pardons them when they return. Joseph is now in a position of power and importance. He could have done as he pleased and would have had a right to do so. Yet instead, he chooses the harder but more rewarding option of forgiving and pardoning.
  6. Endurance and perseverance – The story of Joseph is one of endurance and perseverance. Throughout his life, Joseph displayed amazing levels of patience, from the moment he is thrown into the well, throughout his years of slavery and prison, and then when his brothers stand before him once again. Jacob also displayed high levels of endurance and perseverance, having no news of his son Joseph for decades, and then eventually losing his second son Benjamin.
  7. Trust in God – Throughout all of his challenges, Joseph continued to trust in God, knowing that He had a higher plan and purpose for him. This is stated by Joseph after being reunited with his family. He recognized the subtlety and beauty in God’s plans.

Phases of Quran Revelation

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The Quran is Divine communication to humans and the speech of God, the Word of God, delivered to His final Messenger Muhammad. The revelation of the Quran is not a single event, rather a process. Here is a simplified version of the process by which the final scripture of God, the Quran, came about.

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Story of Jonah

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The story of Jonah is mentioned a number of times in the Quran. Jonah was sent by God as a messenger to a nation in modern-day Iraq according to Muslim historians. It was a thriving nation and city. God describes it in the Quran, “We sent him, Jonah, to a hundred thousand people or more.” 37:147 Jonah called his people to worship God alone and reject false gods, however they rejected his call and message. Jonah warned his people of God’s impending punishment and then left the city.

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The Day of Sacrifice

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The Day of Sacrifice [1]

 

The tenth day of the Month of the Pilgrimage [2], is the second Islamic holiday of the year. Muslims around the world celebrate it just as they did a few months ago after the completion of Ramadan. This year the holiday will correspond with Saturday, the 9th of July.

 

The history of the Day of Sacrifice goes back to the time of Abraham.  The annual celebration commemorates the great event when God commanded Abraham in a dream to sacrifice his son as an act of obedience. 37:102

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Timeline of the Life of Moses

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●Moses is born at a time when Pharaoh has decreed that newborn males of the Children of Israel be killed.

● Moses’ mother places him in the river when she sees the soldiers of Pharaoh approaching. When the soldiers leave and she goes to retrieve Moses, she finds that he has been taken downriver and ends up at the Palace of Pharaoh.

● He is adopted by Pharaoh and his wife, yet refuses to be suckled by any woman other than his mother, and so is returned to his mother so that she may suckle him.

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Keep Going After Ramadan

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Ramadan is a month in which we try our best to excel and do more. Inevitably, after Ramadan finishes, we feel a dip in terms of our worship levels. This is natural and nothing to be overly concerned about. A sign that our good deeds are accepted is that we maintain doing good after the season is over.  We should try to keep an element of our Ramadan worship going:

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Objectives of Fasting

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Fasting has a number of noble goals and objectives. Ramadan is a time of discipline and training, and many of the lessons and benefits learned during Ramadan should be carried forward for the next eleven months.

  • Attainment of God Consciousness and Piety – Fasting builds piety. A person fasting refrains from food, drink and intimate relations to please God. They could hide and eat and drink, but don’t, as they are aware that God is watching. God says, “O you who have faith in Allah and follow His Prophet, Allah has ordered you to fast, as He ordered those before you, so that you may become mindful of Allah, protecting yourself from His punishment by doing good actions – fasting being one of the best of these.”[2:183]
  • Glorifying God – Ramadan is a month of worship. Muslims do not just fast, but the fasting should motivate them to worship God in other ways. In particular, we glorify God for having guided us to His worship. God says concerning fasting, “…He wants you to complete the right number of days and to glorify Him upon the completion of Ramadan, on the day of Eid, as He helped you and made it possible for you to fast.” [2:185]
  • Thanking God – fasting allows us to appreciate God’s many blessings upon us. We often take things like food and water for granted, while being fully aware that there are many in the world who do not always enjoy these blessings. We could easily have been in their situation. We also thank God for His blessings of faith and guidance, and knowing the Quran and the Messenger Muhammad. God says about fasting, “…, so that you thank Allah for guiding you to this religion which He has approved for you.” [2:185]
  • Spiritual Development – Ramadan allows us to improve our spiritual side and character. Just as we train our bodies and refrain from enjoying food and drink during the fasting hours, we must also train ourselves to abstain from sins and hurting others. With an increase in faith and piety, there should come an increase in good character and higher morals. Muslims should always refrain from losing their temper or harming others, especially while fasting.