a cacophony of ramblings

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Disintegration of manners

The disintegration of adab, which is the effect of the corruption of knowledge, creates the situation whereby false leaders in all spheres of life emerge; for it not only implies the corruption of knowledge, but it also means the loss of the capacity and ability to recognize and acknowledge true leaders. Because of the intellectual anarchy that characterizes this situation, the common people become determiners of intellectual decisions and are raised to the level of authority in matters of knowledge. Authentic definitions become undone, and in their stead we are left with platitudes and vague slogans disguised as profound concepts. The inability to define; to identify and isolate problems, and hence to provide for right solutions; the creation of pseudo-problems; the reduction of problems to mere political, socio-economic and legal factors becomes evidence. It is not surprising if such a situation provides a fertile breeding ground for the emergence of deviationists and extremists of many kinds who make ignorance their capital.

— Syed Muhammad Naquib al-Attas, Prolegomena to the Metaphysics of Islām, via Musa Furber.


Beyond means

Is there a disconnect between fund raisers and ordinary folk? I accept that there are some very wealthy people in our community for whom a hefty donation is easy.

But to say to those living close to the edge, “you couldn’t buy a small car for that” or “that’s less than you’d pay for an extension to your house” is hardly a helpful analogy.

Many of these people do not even own a house, work multiple jobs or none at all and live from month to month with very little to spare in their bank account, or else are struggling to pay debts to get to a point where one day, God willing, they will be able to spend with ease.

I am a firm believer in giving of your wealth to the poor as charity; it does indeed come back to you, beyond measure. But I object to the wealthy telling the poor to dig deeper than they can afford to help those poorer still.

We all want to do more — our hearts haven’t turned to stone — but sometimes the demands are beyond our means. Ask for less and more will respond. Ask for more and more still, and many will run for the hills.

Embrace hope

Knee jerk reactions

This week a Saudi student named Nahid Almanea was brutally murdered in a park in Colchester, Essex. We do not yet know why she was stabbed or who attacked her, but already the belief amongst a significant number of Muslim commentators is that she was killed because she was recognisably Muslim; because she was wearing hijab.

That may be so, but why can we not await due process before jumping to conclusions which fan community tensions? Her murder could just as well be linked to that of James Attfield who was also brutally stabbed to death in the same area in March.

For those lamenting alleged media apathy, his murder also passed unremarked by much of the media at the time. It is not double standards; in truth, most murders — except political murders — generally receive very little attention at all. There were over 500 murders in 2013; who can tell us anything about any of the victims of these crimes?

When the suspect is apprehended, faces trial and has been found guilty — then will be the time for reflection. Then we can ponder on motives, on crimes of hate, opportunity or insanity. Until then, let’s not make political capital out of two families’ tragic loss.

The way of truth

To me, it is remarkable that the progeny of a community which invested so heavily in the sciences of verification and authenticity to preserve the teachings of our religion will nowadays forward and repost every piece of unverified nonsense, malicious junk and political propaganda that appears before us on a slab of glass, without a second’s thought.

In the age of the internet everything and nothing is true. Whatever serves a purpose will be true for the moment. A lie become insignificant; it is all part of the push for truth.

We have forgotten, or are ignorant of, a verse of guidance: “And do not mix the truth with falsehood or conceal the truth while you know it.” –Quran 2:42.

But as we have discovered, it has always been so. Political machinations will trump even the sacred if it serves the agendas of the greedy and untruthful. Cruel and corrupt men often set us upon a path of their own design, heedless of the demands of truth, goodness and light.

We must resist. We must return to the way of truth. That is the true rebellion of our age.

Pondering reality

Tales of the past are the perfect antidote to our petty sectarian squabbles. For 135 million years, between 231.4 million and 66 million years ago, dinosaurs walked the earth. Continental drift, numerous ice ages, the rise and fall of species, great forests spanning Africa and Arabia; all of this and so much more has preceded us. And yet we think ourselves so important and our arguments so significant. It is truly preposterous when you really think about it. “And of His signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth…”

Honey Pot

New laws will follow the widespread coverage of a dangerous social media campaign suddenly unleashed. The shepherds of Irton Moor will soon come knocking, because you were foolish enough to respond to media reports with a targeted keyword search. You will be criminalised for your curiosity. Hastag: it’s going to end in tears.


We disappear, pretending to head for the hills, secretly hoping that somebody will miss us, or wonder what happened to us, or ask after us, until it becomes patently clear that nobody gives a damn. So all of a sudden we reappear, prancing around like clowns, yelling, “Here I am. Here I am. I’m back, and I have so much more to say.” But still nobody gives a damn. “Go, leave us,” comes the collective retort. And at last, perhaps, the ego will finally mope away, humbled, without constantly wondering what everybody thinks. Without the perpetual refrain, “Me, me, me.” Disappear.

Tyrannical Anarchists

When it comes to answering a strange question on behalf of the citizens of Iraq — “Is it now okay to admit that Iraq was better off under tyranny than under unending anarchy?” — nothing really touches our leaders’ answer of Shock and Awe. Condemn them for their unceasing cynicism, not us; let them carry it with them to their graves.


We will not be successful until we truly respect human life. One of the most important goals of Islam is the preservation of life, yet life is not respected in many Muslim countries. Instead, lIfe is cheap. Therefore we cannot move forward.

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