Understanding Islam: The Story of the Three Blind Men

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

In the Name of Allah (SWT), the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful

Understanding Islam: The Story of the Three Blind Men


There were three blind men that wanted to know what an elephant looks like. Somebody took them to the zoo and directed them to the elephant cage. Since they cannot see, they used their sense of touch to get a description of the appearance of the elephant.

They went around the elephant touching it from different parts. One of the blind men grabbed the ear of the elephant, the second one grabbed the foot, and the third one grabbed the tail of the elephant.

When they went back people were asking them, “what do you know about the elephant?” The one who grabbed the ear said, “Well the elephant is very wide and flat”. The other two became upset and said, “No, that is not correct”. The one who grabbed the foot said, “He’s wrong. It’s just like the trunk of a tree”. The third one said “Both of you don’t know what you are talking about, the elephant is like a long rope”. They continued arguing and could not come to an agreement on the appearance of the elephant.

Why did they get this different understanding of what an elephant is? It was because of their physical impairment and being limited to their sense of touch. They were all telling the truth and described to the best of their knowledge. But they were accusing the others of lying. Why? Because they don’t know where the others are coming from.

As Muslims, we often do this. We have a certain understanding of Islam and keep a tunnel vision of what we think Islam is. What we know is Islam and everything else is not. And we don’t have appreciation for other points of view and accept the fact that we may be missing some important parts of the religion.

Because Islam is a comprehensive religion we need to know everything from its message. The more comprehensive our knowledge of it is, the better our understanding of it will be and of what goes on around us.

We often talk about the Sahaba (RA) and their Ibada. We talk about their worshiping at night, making thikr, reading quran, fasting, sala. But did you ever notice that in one certain period towards the end of the lives of the Sahaba (RA), almost every one of the Sahaba (RA) was a political leader or an army general? Every one of them fought Jihad for the sake of Allah. Every one of them had to make sacrifices in their lives and some even left all their wealth to make hijrah to Medina.

So this picture that you have in your mind that the Sahaba (RA) were people being like priests living in monasteries is not true. All of them towards the end of the lives were either a mayor of a town, governor of a state, or leader of an army at the frontlines. The Sahaba (RA) were very involved in establishing Islam in the world. Their mission was to establish Islam and live it.

Abdullah Ibn Masood (RA) said “The companions of the Prophet (SAW) were the least superficial of the people”. They were very simple in the lives that they led and they were comprehensive in their understanding of Islam and applied what they knew. And that’s why they are considered to be the best generation that ever lived. After the prophets, they were the best human beings that ever lived.

We ask Allah to make us follow their path. To give us a complete understanding of the message of Islam, and the strength the live by this knowledge, and to know what role we need to play to establish Islam in the world.

A Prison Called Dunya

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

In the Name of Allah (SWT), the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful


A Prison Called Dunya

Imagine that you are taken by force and placed in a prison. Once in the prison you realize that the living arrangements in this prison really aren’t that bad. There is a sun room, a TV to watch, computer to use, phone, different kinds of food, and even a section for exercise. After spending a couple weeks in the prison you get used to it and develop a routine. You still aren’t sure why you are in prison, or how long you will be there, but you are comfortable in your life. At this time one of the guards enters with a large folder that he hands you. You open the folder and read its instructions, stating that you will be spending the next couple years in this prison, and at the end of this term you will be given a test at a random time. It could be in 2 years or it could be in 4. The instructions state that passing this exam will result in you being released to the city of your choice and your living expenses will be paid as well as an allowance. Failing will lead to your transfer to another prison cell, one that has no windows or accessories except a hole in the ground for you to relieve yourself, and your meals will be the same oats and water day after day until you die.

A study guide for the test is included in the folder, and you are left alone. Put yourself in this position. What would you do?

I would imagine that any sane person would devote their time to mastering the information on the study guide and stay patient with their studies, only giving time for the other things around to keep themselves focused on passing the exam. They would do this because they know and have been told that they will be rewarded with pleasures that they have never seen.

Anyone who chooses to indulge in the activities around them and spend part or none of their time studying would surely live the rest of their life in remorse.

Allah (SWT) says in the quran (Surat Al-Hadid Verse 20):

اعْلَمُوا أَنَّمَا الْحَيَاةُ الدُّنْيَا لَعِبٌ وَلَهْوٌ وَزِينَةٌ وَتَفَاخُرٌ بَيْنَكُمْ وَتَكَاثُرٌ فِي الْأَمْوَالِ وَالْأَوْلَادِ ۖ كَمَثَلِ غَيْثٍ أَعْجَبَ الْكُفَّارَ نَبَاتُهُ ثُمَّ يَهِيجُ فَتَرَاهُ مُصْفَرًّا ثُمَّ يَكُونُ حُطَامًا ۖ وَفِي الْآخِرَةِ عَذَابٌ شَدِيدٌ وَمَغْفِرَةٌ مِّنَ اللَّهِ وَرِضْوَانٌ ۚ وَمَا الْحَيَاةُ الدُّنْيَا إِلَّا مَتَاعُ الْغُرُورِ

Know that the life of this world is but amusement and diversion and adornment and boasting to one another and competition in increase of wealth and children – like the example of a rain whose [resulting] plant growth pleases the tillers; then it dries and you see it turned yellow; then it becomes [scattered] debris. And in the Hereafter is severe punishment and forgiveness from Allah and approval. And what is the worldly life except the enjoyment of delusion.

Rasulullah (SAW) says in the following Sahih (Authentic) hadith:

عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم‏ الدُّنْيَا سِجْنُ الْمُؤْمِنِ وَجَنَّةُ الْكَافِرِ

2956 صحيح مسلم كِتَاب الزُّهْدِ وَالرَّقَائِقِ

Abu Huraira reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “The world is a prison for the believer and a paradise for the unbeliever.

Source: Sahih Muslim 2956

Subhnallah, this life we are living is nothing more than a test of our faith and patience. It was designed to separate the inhabitants of Paradise from the inhabitants of Hellfire, and to rank amongst them the best of the best and worst of the worst. Don’t let the society we live in deviate you from the task at hand. Take your study guide, the Quran and Sunnah, with strength and faith, and be firm as you live your short life in this prison called Dunya.  Allah (SWT) says live for this life and the hereafter according to their length. Rasulullah says the life on this world compared to the hereafter is like a drop compared to an ocean.

Brothers and sisters don’t be fooled by your desires, this life is short and bitter and the opportunity to submit to allah may pass you by. Take his word as your light and code and do not let other prisoners, whether they are so called “Scholars” or even your family members, divert you from the truth.  If you make the intention to follow allahs way 100 % and put your desires to the side, allah will guide you to what is right.

لثاني‏:‏ عن أنس رضي الله عنه عن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم فيما يرويه عن ربه عز وجل قال‏:‏

‏ “‏ إذا تقرب العبد إلي شبراً تقربت إليه ذراعاً، وإذا تقرب إلي ذراعاً تقربت منه باعاً، وإذا أتاني يمشي أتيته هرولة‏”‏ ‏(‏‏(‏رواه البخاري‏)‏‏)‏‏.‏

Anas (May Allah be pleased with him) reported:

The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “Allah says: ‘ When a slave of Mine draws near to Me a span, I draw near to him a cubit; and if he draws near to Me a cubit, I draw near to him a fathom. And if he comes to Me walking, I go to him running.”‘.


We ask Allah to be pleased with us, reward us with Janna, and we seek refuge from his anger and the punishment of the Fire.