Strange defender

I find it fascinating that in 1977, the late Dr John Burton better defended the Prophet and the Qur’an, than all the Muslims through the ages.

At the very end of his thesis on the collection of the Qur’an, after a tour of the development of fiqh and naskh, and traditional accounts of the collection of the mushaf, he wrote:

“We have isolated and neutralised the only motive for excluding Muhammad from the editing and promulgating of the Qur’an texts. In those processes, Muhammad at last must now be once more re-instated. What we have today in our hands is the mushaf of Muhammad.”

I was once afraid to embrace objective scholarship such as this. Indeed, twenty years ago, my companions were found warning me off such works, petitioning me to embrace either puritanism or traditionalism instead. Ah, but the caravan moves on.

The misunderstood

For the past several weeks in our household, weekend evenings have been spent watching the touching Turkish drama, Yunus Emre, on Netflix. It has become something of a family affair, to be keenly anticipated throughout the week. Some nights we watched episodes back to back for hours on end, hooked on the quaint storytelling. In the past week we finished the final episode, and now we mourn its passing. Continue reading “The misunderstood”

Reminder

“Oh you who believe, do not cancel out your charitable deeds with reminders and hurtful words, like someone who spends his wealth only to be seen by people, not believing in God and the Last Day. Such a person is like a rock with earth on it: heavy rain falls and leaves it completely bare. Such people get no rewards for their works: for God does not guide the disbelievers.” — Qur’an 2:264

Lest you not be just

“O you who have believed, be persistently standing firm in justice, witnesses for God, even if it be against yourselves or parents and relatives. Whether one is rich or poor, God is more worthy of both. So follow not personal inclination, lest you not be just. And if you distort your testimony or refuse to give it, then indeed God is ever, with what you do, Acquainted.” — Qur’an 4:135

Perhaps they will give thought

And recite to them, [O Muhammad], the news of him to whom we gave [knowledge of] Our signs, but he detached himself from them; so Satan pursued him, and he became of the deviators. And if We had willed, we could have elevated him thereby, but he adhered [instead] to the earth and followed his own desire. So his example is like that of the dog: if you chase him, he pants, or if you leave him, he [still] pants. That is the example of the people who denied Our signs. So relate the stories that perhaps they will give thought. — Qur’an 7:176-7

Good deeds

You who believe, do not cancel out your charitable deeds with reminders and hurtful words, like someone who spends his wealth only to be seen by people, not believing in God and the Last Day. Such a person is like a rock with earth on it: heavy rain falls and leaves it completely bare. Such people get no rewards for their works: God does not guide the disbelievers. — Qur’an 2:264

Do good

“Serve God and associate nothing with Him; and do good: to parents, kinsfolk, orphans, those in need, neighbours who are near, neighbours who are strangers, the companion by your side, the traveler, and what your right hands possess: For God does not love not the arrogant, the boastful.”  — Qur’an 4:36

Be Merciful

“Those who are merciful will be shown mercy by the Merciful. Be merciful to those on the earth and the One above the heavens will have mercy upon you. The womb is derived from the Merciful, so whoever keeps relations with his family then God will keep relations with him, and whoever abandons his family then God will abandon him.”

— Tradition of the Prophet, peace be upon him.

True fasting

Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke?
Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe them,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness will go before you,
and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.
Then you will call, and the Lord will answer;
you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.

— Book of Isaiah 58:6-9

Ramadan Begins

“Verily, in the remembrance of God do hearts find rest.” (Qur’an 13:28)

“Spread the salaam, feed the poor and stand up at night while people sleep.”

“The real fasting is not the fasting of the tongue and the stomach, but the fasting of the heart.”

May manufactured controversies and schisms pass us by. May we grow in mercy and compassion, and may the Most Merciful have mercy on us. May we become better people, restraining ourselves from bad traits and start to exude goodness and light. May this Month of Mercy be a source of change, and purification for our hearts and souls. Ramadan kareem.

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 Isl?m, via Musa Furber.

 

Be gentle

Toward the latter days of indiscriminate violence, be like the first and better of the two sons of Adam who said, “If you raise your hand to kill me, I will not raise mine to kill you; surely I fear God, the Lord of the worlds.” (Qur’an 5:8)

From a sound tradition of the Prophet, peace be upon him, narrated by Imam Tirmidhi.

Eternal awkwardness

“I never wish to offend, but I am so foolishly shy, that I often seem negligent, when I am only kept back by my natural awkwardness … Shyness is only the effect of a sense of inferiority in some way or other. If I could persuade myself that my manners were perfectly easy and graceful, I should not be shy.”

From Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen.

Speach

“Speak Kindly.” (Qur’an 2:83)
“Speak the Truth.” (Qur’an 3:17)
“Speak Justice.” (Qur’an 6:152)
“Speak graciously.” (Qur’an 17:23)
“Speak fairly.” (Qur’an 17:28)
“Speak politely.” (Qur’an 17:53)
“Speak no lie” (Qur’an 22:30)
“Speak gently.” (Qur’an 20:44)
“Speak not in vain.” (Qur’an 23:3)
“Speak Straight.” (Qur’an 33:70)

Inner peace

It is He who from on high has bestowed inner peace upon the hearts of the believers, so that — seeing that God’s are all the forces of the heavens and the earth, and that God is all knowing, truly wise — they might grow yet more firm in their faith.

— Qur’an 48:4

Blessed

When he saw the crowds, he went up the mountain, and after he had sat down, his disciples came to him.

He began to teach them, saying:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted.

Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land.

Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied.

Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.

Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.

Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you because of me.

Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven. Thus they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

My Lord, forgive me

There shall come upon people years of deceit in which the liar will be believed, the truthful one disbelieved, the treacherous will be trusted, the trustworthy one considered treacherous; and the Ruwaybidah shall speak out.’ It was said: Who are the Ruwaybidah? The Prophet, peace be upon him, said: ‘The lowly, contemptible one who will speak out about public affairs.’

Beauty

It is said that Moses—peace be upon him—was walking with his disciples when they came across a donkey’s corpse.

One of them said it smells so bad. The other said it looks so ugly. Moses, however, looked and said: ‘Mashallah, its teeth are so white.’

  • The gratefulness of the ears is to hear goodness with them.
  • The gratefulness of the eyes is to see goodness with them.
  • The gratefulness of the tongue is to say goodness with it.

There is beauty around but it’s for the trained ear, eye and heart.

A role model

Aslam, the servant of Umar Ibn AlKhattab, narrated that one night he went out with Umar Ibn AlKhattab until they reached a place with harsh terrain, where they saw a fire. Umar told Aslam that these people had been forced by the night to set camp and decided to go to them. There they found a woman with children and a pot on the fire; the children were crying.

Umar said, “Assalamu alykum, O People of light” —for he did not want to say people of fire—and she replied, “Walykum assalam.”

He asked if they could come closer, to which she replied, “Come closer or leave.”

So Umar went closer and asked what they were up to. She said that the night and cold had brought them there. He asked what was the matter with the children, for they were crying, and she replied that it was their hunger. Umar asked, “What’s on the fire?”

She said it was water, to distract them with until they would fall sleep. Then she said, “Allah is between us and Umar.”

Hearing this, Umar cried and went back in a hurry to the state’s food store, took some wheat and meat, and said, “O Aslam put it on my back.”

Aslam said, “I’ll carry it for you, O prince of the believers.”

But Umar replied, “Will you carry my burden on the day of judgment?”

So Umar carried it on his back until they reached the woman. There he put some of the wheat and meat in the pot and kept blowing on the fire while smoke was penetrating his beard. Once the food was ready, he served the children and they ate until they were full, while the woman kept doing dua for him not knowing who he was. And he remained there until the children slept. He then left and ordered provisions for them.