In the Name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

Beyond our souls!

The Quran is a complete and fully-detailed road map to guide us to the path of God. God is so Merciful that He has guaranteed that upholding His laws in the Quran will get us into His kingdom. The believers strive to obey God's commandments and lead a righteous life. While pursuing that, they soon realize that the fulfillment of God's commandments also help them to lead a well-balanced life. Everything that God has encouraged and forbidden us to do is actually for our well being and integrity, physically, mentally, and emotionally.

All of God's commandments should be followed simply because He told us to. Believers simply hear and obey (2:285, 24:51). We might fail sometimes to recognize the divine wisdom behind some of God's commandments, but when we follow these commandments, we start to realize and appreciate their benefits, aside from growing our souls and attaining salvation.

- For example, 5:91 states in general the disastrous consequences of following Satan's recommendations in the verse before that, 5:90, which are animosity and straying from the straight path of God through the negligence of our religious duties:

Intoxicants and Gambling Prohibited [5:90] O you who believe, intoxicants, and gambling, and the altars of idols, and the games of chance are abominations of the devil; you shall avoid them, that you may succeed.
[5:91] The devil wants to provoke animosity and hatred among you through intoxicants and gambling, and to distract you from remembering GOD, and from observing the Contact Prayers (Salat). Will you then refrain?

However, those who have gone through these Satanic recommendations or watched others suffering from them can truly comprehend the wisdom in 5:91 and see the whole picture of such abominations. Intoxicants such as drugs and alcohol alter chemicals in our brains and cause irrational behavior, changes in our moods, and affect the ability to make correct decisions and judgment. They also negatively affect our health in many ways, ultimately causing self-destruction. Of course, we also cannot forget the thousands of traffic fatalities caused by driving under the influence each year. Gambling and games of chance can lead to an addiction that distracts us from leading a normal life and doing our jobs with reasonable capacity and performance. They also lead to wasting our resources, which in return will affect our family structure. So, in addition to keeping us on the righteous, straight path, following the commands in 5:90 keeps us more mentally and behaviorally stable, healthy, and happy individuals, families, and societies.

- Maintaining our chastity before marriage, avoiding adultery, and keeping up with our dress code are again some divine commands that we simply must abide by if we claim we are believers. It is clearly stated in the following verses how obeying these commands will enhance morality and help with our safety:

[5:5] Today, all good food is made lawful for you. The food of the people of the scripture is lawful for you, and your food is lawful for them*. Also, you may marry the chaste women among the believers, as well as the chaste women among the followers of previous scripture, provided you pay them their due dowries. You shall maintain chastity, not committing adultery, nor taking secret lovers. Anyone who rejects faith, all his work will be in vain, and in the Hereafter he will be with the losers.

Dress Code for Believers [24:30] Tell the believing men that they shall subdue their eyes (and not stare at the women), and to maintain their chastity. This is purer for them. GOD is fully Cognizant of everything they do.

Mutual Attraction And Dowry Required [4:24] Also prohibited are the women who are already married, unless they flee their disbelieving husbands who are at war with you.* These are GOD's commandments to you. All other categories are permitted for you in marriage, so long as you pay them their due dowries. You shall maintain your morality, by not committing adultery. Thus, whoever you like among them, you shall pay them the dowry decreed for them. You commit no error by mutually agreeing to any adjustments to the dowry. GOD is Omniscient, Most Wise.

[24:31] And tell the believing women to subdue their eyes, and maintain their chastity. They shall not reveal any parts of their bodies, except that which is necessary. They shall cover their chests, and shall not relax this code in the presence of other than their husbands, their fathers, the fathers of their husbands, their sons, the sons of their husbands, their brothers, the sons of their brothers, the sons of their sisters, other women, the male servants or employees whose sexual drive has been nullified, or the children who have not reached puberty. They shall not strike their feet when they walk in order to shake and reveal certain details of their bodies. All of you shall repent to GOD, O you believers, that you may succeed.*

Dress Code for Women [33:59] O prophet, tell your wives, your daughters, and the wives of the believers that they shall lengthen their garments. Thus, they will be recognized (as righteous women) and avoid being insulted. GOD is Forgiver, Most Merciful.

Based on the unfortunate reality around us, we learn that having intimate relationships with the opposite sex before marriage can lead to unwanted pregnancies, sexually-transmitted diseases, and emotional attachments/breakdowns. These can lead to additional stress, and in the worst cases, depression. Simply maintaining friendships, with no physical contact, will help to avoid these situations and make our lives much easier. Adultery has been one of the most destructive behaviors to the sacred family values instituted by God. Breaking up marriages with all the pain of the divorce process is another expected harm.

Along the same lines, we, women and men, are commanded to subdue our eyes. This helps us both to control certain urges and prevent us from being distracted by our desires, hence becoming more balanced, healthy, and productive. Women should follow a certain dress code. They should cover the necessary parts of their bodies, cover their chests, and lengthen their garments. They are also prohibited from walking and shaking their bodies in a certain way. Obeying these laws helps women gain respect and protects them from bad situations, such as rape.

- Also, there are four kinds of food that God prohibits us from eating in the Quran:

[2:173] He only prohibits for you the eating of animals that die of themselves (without human interference), blood, the meat of pigs, and animals dedicated to other than GOD. If one is forced (to eat these), without being malicious or deliberate, he incurs no sin. GOD is Forgiver, Most Merciful.

In addition to the soul benefits of these prohibitions, there are also health benefits. Blood can obviously carry all kinds of viruses and diseases. Animals that die of themselves might carry specific harmful germs. It is a health hazard not to know the actual causes of their death. Also, a parasite called Trichinella Spiralis and the tapeworm Taenia Solium are known to survive in the meat of pigs. Thus, we avoid these health risks when we avoid these foods. Eating from what is not dedicated to God alone sets a very bad example by compromising our monotheistic beliefs.

- Charity is another command that has its hidden values besides, of course, being one of the major obligatory rites. Helping the parents, relatives, the poor, and the needy makes us more aware and considerate of people's needs. Without even realizing it, we become less selfish and less stingy the more we practice this rite. Most believers also get a sense of satisfaction and self-fulfillment when they help others. So when we give to charity, we not only please God and hopefully the recipients, but we also please ourselves.

Zakat Must Be Given "On The Day Of Harvest" [6:141] He is the One who established gardens, trellised and untrellised, and palm trees, and crops with different tastes, and olives, and pomegranate - fruits that are similar, yet dissimilar. Eat from their fruits, and give the due alms on the day of harvest,* and do not waste anything. He does not love the wasters.

Recipients of Charity [2:215] They ask you about giving: say, "The charity you give shall go to the parents, the relatives, the orphans, the poor, and the traveling alien." Any good you do, GOD is fully aware thereof.

What to Give [2:267] O you who believe, you shall give to charity from the good things you earn, and from what we have produced for you from the earth. Do not pick out the bad therein to give away, when you yourselves do not accept it unless your eyes are closed. You should know that GOD is Rich, Praiseworthy.

- In addition to keeping us guided, and benefiting from its dynamic values, reciting Quran contributes to improved mental health and more positive attitudes. Reading the Quran and being reminded of why we are here, that God is in full control, and everything happens according to the will of God, help us to stay positive and to stress less. Imploration and meditation also help us to maintain a state of peace and clarity. When we remember God, we remember the purpose of our lives and all of His blessings. We remember that only God forgives us and only God can provide for us. And of course, the more we remember God, the more He remembers us.

The Noon Prayer [17:78] You shall observe the Contact Prayer (Salat) when the sun declines from its highest point at noon, as it moves towards sunset. You shall also observe (the recitation of) the Quran at dawn. (Reciting) the Quran at dawn is witnessed.

The Contact Prayers (Salat) [29:45] You shall recite what is revealed to you of the scripture, ....

[110:3] You shall glorify and praise your Lord, and implore Him for forgiveness. He is the Redeemer.

Meditation [17:79] During the night, you shall meditate for extra credit, that your Lord may raise you to an honorable rank.

- Observing the daily contact prayers is also a religious duty we are required to do to be redeemed. In addition to that, praying five times a day at certain time-intervals, as well as the ablution before each prayer, teach us to have a lot of discipline. From praying we also learn to have focus and concentration, which can be very hard to master. Besides being a feast for the soul, fasting during Ramadan also teaches us a sense of focus, control, and discipline. Fasting also helps us to learn that we can do anything we put our minds to, or change any routine we are used to with God's help.

You Shall Observe the Contact Prayers [2:238] You shall consistently observe the Contact Prayers, especially the middle prayer, and devote yourselves totally to GOD.

Ablution [5:6] O you who believe, when you observe the Contact Prayers (Salat), you shall: (1) wash your faces, (2) wash your arms to the elbows, (3) wipe your heads, and (4) wash your feet to the ankles. If you were unclean due to sexual orgasm, you shall bathe. If you are ill, or traveling, or had any digestive excretion (urinary, fecal, or gas), or had (sexual) contact with the women, and you cannot find water, you shall observe the dry ablution (Tayammum) by touching clean dry soil, then rubbing your faces and hands. GOD does not wish to make the religion difficult for you; He wishes to cleanse you and to perfect His blessing upon you, that you may be appreciative.

Fasting Emphasized and Modified [2:183] O you who believe, fasting is decreed for you, as it was decreed for those before you, that you may attain salvation.

[2:184] Specific days (are designated for fasting); if one is ill or traveling, an equal number of other days may be substituted. Those who can fast, but with great difficulty, may substitute feeding one poor person for each day of breaking the fast. If one volunteers (more righteous works), it is better. But fasting is the best for you, if you only knew.

- Another commandment from God is to treat the believers with kindness (48:29, 17:53). God tells us how to do this through other commandments, such as respecting and honoring our parents (17:23-24). Saying "Peace" when we greet others (6:54, 4:86), and making room when being asked to move are ways of being courteous towards others (58:11). We are told to walk the earth gently and be humble (17:47), and we are also prohibited from mocking people (49:11). All of these commandments help us to be kind, considerate, and compassionate. We earn credit by obeying God almighty and being kind to one another. With the same token of kindness, we become better individuals overall and we manage to improve our relationships with others, family-wise and community-wise.

- Finally, God commands us to be patient in the Quran. Being patient can relieve a lot of worry and stress in almost all situations. Patience also enhances and sometimes saves relations and makes us avoid a lot of unnecessary problems and disputes. Resorting to patience reflects our inner strength (42:43), but at the same time, gives us a golden opportunity to reflect deep inside us, develop rational methodologies, and make better decisions. Patience certainly assists in making us go through almost any struggle.

[40:55] Therefore, be patient, for GOD's promise is true, and ask forgiveness for your sin, and glorify and praise your Lord night and day.

[50:39] Therefore, be patient in the face of their utterances, and praise and glorify your Lord before sunrise, and before sunset.

Peaceful Friday, salaam and God bless.