The light of faith

Consider this: I may have been inspired and guided to the light of faith by the way you carried yourself: by a smile, the appearance of modesty, the appearance of humility, a kindness imagined.

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An open letter to everyone I wronged

There is a line in one of my favourite songs, Sol, by Blanco White:

If I need no forgiveness
I’m all but forgotten
Lost in the changing of the tides

How very true this is.

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Neither east nor west

Righteousness is not that you turn your faces toward the east or the west, but righteousness is to believe in God, the Last Day, the angels, the Book, and the prophets and to give wealth, in spite of love for it, to relatives, orphans, the needy, the traveler, those who ask for help, and for freeing slaves; to establish prayer and give zakah; to fulfill promises; to be patient in poverty and hardship and during battle. Such are those who have been true, and it is those who are the righteous.

QURAN 2:177

Regret

For the majority of my life, I have been driven and dominated by my lower self.

If others knew all that I have done and what I hide inside, they would disown me. I disown myself.

All I have to hold onto now is hope in the mercy of my Lord. “And who despairs of the mercy of God except one who has gone astray…”

Now my only prayer: that He forgives me, guides me and reforms my soul. This my daily prayer. Hope in His mercy, but perpetually in a state of regret, fearful that my remorse can never be enough.

Nightly I recall all I have done. Nightly I call out for His clemency. O Allah, have mercy on this wayward soul who has wronged himself and others.

O Allah, shower me in mercy, rectify for me all of my affairs and set me on a straight way.

Without the One who created me, time, the universe and every atom, all I am left with is regret.

Contentment

Be content with what you have. You never know what blessing will come your way, nor when they come, nor where they come from. God will provide, whether through unexpected gifts or self-seeded plants in the garden. Daily, Allah will surprise you. One day you may think to yourself, “I should get myself a something or other.” When, the following day, one is gifted to you, though you mentioned it to no one, how else could you respond than to utter praises of the exalted Lord? Alhamdulilah, alhamdulilah. Be content with what you have, and God will take care of all of your affairs.

My account

Make up your own mind. Think for yourself. Don’t be bullied by scholars, acolytes, cultists, proselytisers, politicians, critics, bloggers. Weigh up all the evidence you have gathered and have courage to make your own judgements. Defer to experts in their own fields, yes, but do not subserviently abdicate intellectual autonomy to others in pursuit of piety. You will stand alone on that awesome day, to be held to account for your own deeds. Your leaders, for sure, will denounce you and deny having any influence over you at all.

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Dust

True scholars and sheikhs are not those calling themselves scholars and sheikhs, assigning themselves grand titles. When you encounter the true scholar or sheikh — man or woman — you will know it. By their fruit you shall know them.

Those bickering men on YouTube and social media, belittling one another: they are not your guides. The true scholar and sheikh is not found manicuring vast followings, preaching how great they are. The true scholar or sheikh teaches that only God is truly great, and that they are but dust.

The true scholar and sheikh is humble, walking lightly on the earth, who responds to the ignorant with these words: “Peace!”

The true scholar and sheikh may seem a little and insignificant man or woman to many. They may mend their own clothes. They may polish the shoes of others. They may carve wooden spoons. They may live in a tiny basement flat, or an end of terrace house. They may work in a factory, or as a doctor, in academia or tech support.

When you meet the man or woman who sees themselves as dust, as a grain of sand, as a gnat, or a molecule or electron or quark: then you will find those who are special, who truly understood the message of their Lord.

Compassion

They rail against compassionate imams. I think to myself: “What’s wrong with being compassionate?”

Every verse of the Book, but one, begins, “In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful.”

Compassion is a trait to aspire to it. We need more of it, not less.

Refutation

Here is the refutation of the refutation of the refutation, on and on ad nauseam, droning on in full public view online and in private forums, chat groups, YouTube videos and heated arguments amongst friends and enemies. It never ends.

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Prohibitions

Say, ‘My Lord only forbids immoralities — whether they be open or hidden — and sin and wrongful oppression, and that you, without His sanction, associate things with Him, and that you say things about Him without knowledge.’ — Quran 7:33

There are no easy answers

The questions you pose apply whether or not you bring a creator into the equation.

The human mind cannot fathom infinity. If the universe or matter always existed and will always exist, however would we ever reach today?

Hence we believe in beginnings. Be that Fred Hoyle’s “Big Bang”, Georges Lemaître’s “primeval atom” or the Quran’s “mass all sewn up”.

The questions you pose are the same questions cosmological physicists ask about the self-directed universe. Hence the models they construct to attempt to explain what might have happened billons of years ago and onwards.

How is it that the first amino acids came into existence and survived long enough and in a large enough quantity to evolve into simple lifeforms in the first place?

None of this is simple. That is why we undertake research and dedicate our lives and even multiple generations to it. Theologians may over-simplify with generic explanations. Physicists take the long road, in an attempt to answer the same questions. Theologian physicists (they exist) may do both.

What is a quark? What is a quantum? Some people might give you a very simple answer, others may take a lifetime to explain it to you, and it still might make no sense to you. Neither approach necessarily means that a quark does or does not exist.

On any journey of discovery, you have to be prepared to take the long road. There are no easy answers because these are not easy questions. Nobody said it was simple.

Is your eye simple? Are the cells in your body simple? Is mitochondria simple? Is cognitive ability simple? Is the ability to laugh and dream and ponder simple? Is a gnat simple? Is anything really simple?

Restoration

Muslims, it seems, are intent on making our religion difficult to believe in. Many converts — who you would think would be foremost in smoothing the way for people — are now found trying to convince everyone they know that the earth is flat, and that an international cabal of Freemasons who control all things have taken it upon themselves to convince all people everywhere that the world is spherical, for unknown reasons.

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Yusuf

For all those who liken themselves to Yusuf when the wife of al-‘Azeez tried to seduce him, it is worth pondering his retort:

Joseph said, ‘My Lord! I would prefer prison to what these women are calling me to do. If You do not protect me from their treachery, I shall yield to them and do wrong.’  — Qur’an 12:33

When pursued by one who would try to seduce him, he instead sought the protection of God and fled, remaining chaste and obedient to his Lord.

Sunnamail

If you’re going to email me to tell me something I’m doing is not from the Sunnah, you should at least use a communication method from the Sunnah, such as despatching personal messengers on horseback to deliver the message on a piece of parchment inscribed in non-vowelled Arabic to emphasise the point.

Laws of the universe

There are many laws of the universe I don’t like very much, but my liking or disliking them has no impact on them. We can choose where we stand, but our choice does not change the law.

I don’t very much like the incredible violence and energy that led to the creation of our sun and solar system billions of years ago, or the brutal tectonic forces which nevertheless maintain the integrity of our planet, or weather systems capable of both nurturing life and smashing it to pieces. If you smoke, there is a high probability that you will develop lung cancer; naturally we dislike such laws, but they are a reality.

Ultimately, my opinion of the laws of the universe have no bearing on their continuing existence. Perhaps that is why I have difficulty answering the questions of one who comes to me demanding to know what I think: because what I think is immaterial to its reality.