The Lord of Grace Abounding – Commentary by Sally Jo Gilbert de Vargas

“Allah is the Lord of Grace abounding.” (Qur’an 2:105)
“The character of a friend of God is based on nothing more than graciousness and generosity.” (Sufi saying)
“Whoever performs a good deed, We shall increase its goodness for him.
Indeed Allah is all-Forgiving, all-Appreciative.” (Qur’an 42:23)
“The equation is always in our favor! Allah’s Grace is certainly unbounded. If we could but comprehend this, it would help us to become a true friend of God, and mirror His/Her graciousness and generosity. . .”

The Grasping, Greedy Ego – Commentary by Sally Jo Gilbert de Vargas

“Those who are saved from the covetousness of their own souls, they are the ones who achieve prosperity.” (Qur’an 64:16)
“If the son of Adam were to possess two valleys of riches, he would long for a third one.” ~The Prophet Muhammad
Humankind has created so much havoc with our grasping, greedy ego. We are trapped in our own avarice and greed and have become addicted to the pleasures that they provide, even though they never truly satisfy us. . .

Laughter and Tears – Commentary by Sally Jo Gilbert de Vargas

“That it is He who grants laughter and tears.” (Qur’an 53:43)
“God wants to see more love and playfulness in your eyes for that is your greatest witness to Him.” (Hafiz)
“Your tears are holy; they water the rose gardens in invisible realms.” (Sufi saying)
The Qur’an tells us that all feelings are sacred, and have been gifted to us by God. Psychologists tell us that when we try to stifle or deny our feelings, they simply go underground and sap us of our energy, becoming more and more powerful and difficult to control. . .

Open for me my heart! – Commentary by Sally Jo Gilbert de Vargas

“O my Sustainer! Open up my heart to your Light.” (Qur’an 20:25)
“Open the window of your heart; the Moon will kiss you through the window.” (Rumi)
Opening to heart to God’s Light and Love is a two-way proposition. We can do the work on our end of becoming conscious of God’s presence in our life, constantly striving to act with compassion and justice towards our fellow beings, including all of God’s creation.

Call on Me, I will answer You–Commentary by Sally Jo Gilbert de Vargas

“Call to your Sustainer humbly, and in the secrecy of your hearts.” (Qur’an 7:55)“When my devotees ask you about Me, I am indeed close to them. I answer the call of the supplicant when he calls to Me.” (Qur’an 2:186)
The Qur’an encourages humankind again and again to call on Allah in the deepest and innermost recesses of our hearts, and to surrender ourselves with humility to God’s grace, protection, and guidance. . .

Divine Feminine in Islam – Commentary by Sally Jo Gilbert de Vargas

“O Mary! Behold! God has elected thee and made thee pure, and raised thee above all the women of the world.” ~Qur’an 3:42
Woman is a ray of God. She is not that earthly beloved: she is creative, not created.” ~Rumi

There is a serious misconception in the West that women are not honored and respected in Islam. Men and women have equal spiritual status in Islam, and follow all the same requirements of the 5 pillars of faith. The feminine qualities such as loving-kindness, tenderness, fierce protection (especially of their children), mercy and compassion are all qualities reflected in the Names of Allah.

Patience in Adversity – Commentary by Sally Jo Gilbert de Vargas

“But if you are patient in adversity and conscious of Him- truly this is something upon which to set one’s heart.” (Qur’an 3:186)
“Seek help through steadfast patience and prayer…Indeed, Allah is with those who patiently persevere.” (Qur’an 2:153)

Our job is to transform the situation into something of personal value. Find the hidden lesson in it, find our way into the deeper meaning rather than simply waiting for an escape from it. . .

The Middle Way – Commentary by Sally Jo Gilbert de Vargas

“Do not deprive yourselves of the good things of life which God has made lawful to you; but do not transgress the bounds of what is right.”~ Qur’an 5:87
“One regret, dear world
that I am determined not to have
is that I did not kiss you enough.“ ~Hafiz
Islam is a path of balance, sometimes called the “Middle Way.” There is no asceticism in Islam, and no one is asked to lead a reclusive life or to retreat from the world. . .

Polishing the Heart – Commentary by Sally Jo Gilbert de Vargas

And [all this befell you] so that God might put to a test all that you harbor in your bosoms, and render your innermost hearts pure of all dross: for God is aware of all that is in hearts. ~ Qur’an 3:154
“If you get irritated by every rub, how will the mirror of your heart ever be polished?” ~ Rumi
The above passage from the Qur’an is referring to a specific situation that arose among Mohammad and his followers during the Battle of Uhud, when a group of the Prophet’s soldiers “was stirred to anxiety by their own feelings, moved by wrong suspicions of Allah – suspicions due to ignorance.” (3:154)

The Mystery of Death – Commentary by Sally Jo Gilbert de Vargas

“Every soul will taste death.” (Qur’an 3:185)
“I learned that every mortal will taste death. But only some will taste life.” (Rumi)
The Hindu sages say, “We all know that we will someday die. The problem is, none of us really believes it.” This is the honest and difficult truth. Although we know with our intellect that we, too, shall one day die, it is a rare soul who is really prepared for death when it comes near. . .