From this day forth

I wish I had lived my life righteously. I wish I had resisted the calls of my soul, instead of succumbing to them. Day and night, my mistakes haunt me. If I could turn back time, I tell myself, I would do it all differently, though of course I know that is not true.

The only consolation is that I’m not dead yet. So from this day forth, I tell myself, I will try to live a better life. I will try to make amends, and try even harder to reform myself. A promise I have made so many times in the past, only to fail. So, yes, no doubt I will be weeping the same laments in another month, year and decade. But for now: from this day forth…

Pride (in the name of love)

Witness the growing chasm between the learned and the commoner. With puffed up pride the former addresses the latter thus: “I am, I am, I am.” Continue reading “Pride (in the name of love)”

Remove harm

By nature, the human being is ignorant, unjust and lazy. We have to really struggle and actively strive not to be unjust to people. If we are constantly on guard and are prepared to correct ourselves, we may be able to transcend our natural state, but it is hard. Part of this is checking the information we have. Always start with a question, for a good question is half of knowledge. Even angels ask, as the saying goes. Continue reading “Remove harm”

One God

Were it not for the question of monotheism, I might well have ended up a Quaker or a Methodist. Had I been seeking an identity, it’s likely I would have chosen a home closer to my character. I might find myself part of a different kind of community: unaggressive, softer, calmer, more progressive, socially constructive. I think about this quite a lot these days. Continue reading “One God”

Living faith

To live a life, holding no malice. These are the sentiments that occur to me, wandering back home from an old man’s janazah (funeral).

He was a good man, always smiling, always friendly. Rarely did he miss a prayer in the mosque. He would be there at fajr, watching the sun rise on his way home with friends. He would be there again at isha, as night fell. To all who knew him, he was a breath of fresh air. Even to the doctors that treated his cancer in his last days stood in awe of his serenity and optimism in the face of pain. He died content, prepared for death, confident that he had wronged no one.

As I wander home these thoughts occur to me: if only I could live a life like that. To live a life holding no malice towards anyone, friend or foe, and to return to my Lord in peace, having done no harm to anyone.

Public opinion

It is not due to envy that I caution today’s sheikhs and public intellectuals about their vast followings online. Some have tens of thousands, others have hundreds of thousands, still others have millions. And maybe that is a good thing: there may indeed be baraka in those followings and great benefit for the masses. Continue reading “Public opinion”

Inconsistency

Dear leader of men: just last week you wrote a very long post, reminding us that your brother’s honour is sacrosanct: that we are required to give them the benefit of the doubt, to protect their reputation and not rush to judgement on claims about their actions or conduct. Is it not then strange that today you have utilised your public platform to write a new post, casting aspersions about the character and actions of an imam you consider an opponent? Why is it that you exhort us to caution only when it conforms to your agenda? Why do you petition us to self-restraint, warning us against the sin of slander, when your own posts constantly attack fellow believers, highlighting their shortcomings, supposed heresies and character? The honour of your brother, I have noticed, is a moveable feast. Useful for silencing critics, but otherwise completely ignored.

Spreading virtue whilst immersed in vice

“There is no doubt of the existence of wars against Islam and conspiracies against it in more than one place on earth today. But the greatest war against Islam, and the most dangerous conspiracy against it, is to carry its banner by those who are spreading virtue whilst immersed in vice.” — Mohamed El-Moctar El-Shinqiti (translated)