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.

Masters and dignitaries

And they will say, “Our Lord, indeed we obeyed our masters and our dignitaries, and they led us astray from the way. Our Lord, give them double the punishment and curse them with a great curse.” — Qur’an 33:67-8

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

Islam is the Quran

“Islam is not represented by the lifestyle and behavior of Muslims, nor is it represented by any one period of history of Islam, nor by any book written on Islam. Islam is the Quran.” — Ismail al-Faruqi

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.