Manliness

Manly perfection, consisting in abstinence from things unlawful, or in chastity of manners, and having some art or trade, or in abstaining from doing secretly what one would be ashamed to do openly, or in the habit of doing what is approved, and shunning what is held base, or in preserving the soul from filthy actions, and what disgraces it in the estimation of men, or in good manners, and guarding the tongue, and shunning impudence, or in a quality of the mind by preserving which a man is made to preserve in good manners and habits, or manly virtue or moral goodness.

— Lane’s Lexicon 2/2702

Dropping off

I think I am reaching that stage in life of being apathetic towards religion. No, not becoming agnostic, or rejecting faith, or ceasing to practice it. But growing disinterested in the clamour of activists, in the competing visions of faith, in the demands of communitarianism. Yes, I think I am becoming an apathetic believer, like so many others. Repulsed by the odious characters that now claim to represent us, I think this is the only way to preserve our sanity. Yes, we are disengaging and dropping off. This is the age of apathy.

Husn al dhun

“Give your brother seventy excuses,” proclaim the leaders of opinion in our midst. And your sisters? No, it doesn’t apply to them, against whom we must make seventy accusations instead. Yes, our activists are out in force again, campaigning for their beloved, citing husn al dhun, explaining to everyone everywhere that the one they defend was Islamically married to the women he has called mythomaniacs for the past a year. He submitted a false alibi to prove he was elsewhere, they claim, because lying to escape the oppression of a tyrant is the lesser sin. His campaign named a plaintiff as a white supremacist — despite her being of mixed French and West African heritage — because lying to free your brother from the oppression of a tyrant is the lesser sin. Those who violate the honour of other Muslims, we are reminded vehemently, should fear the day we will be held accountable by Allah for our crimes. This prohibition, our activists remind us, applies only to our beloveds: it does not apply to the plaintiffs, who may be slandered at length and accused of lying over and over again. In their defence of their beloved, we are referred to Surat al-Hujarat and reminded to avoid the sin of assumption, although the same chapter’s prohibition on mocking and taunting others is cast aside, as is the command to fight oppression amongst the believers. In their attack on the plaintiffs, we are referred to Surat Yusuf: “Surely, it is a plot of you women! Certainly mighty is your plot!” For our beloveds the specific is made general, and the general made specific. Give your brother the full benefit of the doubt, insist our teachers. Yes, and your sisters: doubt them completely.

Call off the dogs

So has the time now come to call off the dogs? After a year denying any kind of relationship with the two plaintiffs — and mobilising 200,000 supporters to attack the women as liars — the accused now admits sexual relationships, apparently violent in nature, with both of them. Yes, this is his new defence: he had these relationships, but they were consensual and desired by both sides. Yes, despite calling the second plaintiff a mythomaniac just two weeks ago and denying that he was the author of text messages in which he apologised for his violence.

Continue reading “Call off the dogs”

Greatness

We must stop talking about men as if their greatness comes from themselves, as if they are unique in the annals of history. We worship men for articulating ideas commonly held, who delve into tradition and present the old as new. Where is mashallah and subhanallah as we fall about in awe, praising men for their eloquence and penetrating insight? Where is our balance and sense of perspective?

So many men we make messiahs and mahdis, projecting onto them all of our fears and hopes. We ourselves are mere sinners we mutter despondently, hopeless to ever reform and rise above what holds us back, but these men: these men are our vanguard, our armour, our buttress against the impious realm that would overwhelm and suffocate us. Hence our eulogies, praising these men far beyond their due.

Men become great by the will of their Lord. The same men He can make ascend, He can also bring low. The same men subsumed in sin can, by His mercy, repent and reform and rise to starry heights. The same men that stand before vast crowds, preaching to the multitudes, bamboozling them with poignant rhetoric, can, if the Lord of the Worlds wills, lead and be led astray.

None of us is independent, standing alone on our own two feet. None of us is great the way we think we are. Only the worship of men leads us to such conclusions. Alas, if we are not careful, one day we will stand before the One who is truly great and lament, “Our Lord, indeed we obeyed our masters and our dignitaries, and they led us astray from the right way.”

So return to the One who is greater than all things.

Activism as a cover

“We are in a moment where ‘social justice’ activism is a measure of religious devotion. The rewards for speaking activist language and associating with the disenfranchised are high, so you’ll have opportunists marketing their sacrifices, taking pictures with expressions of indignation, and typing online statuses of rage.  Capturing the popular sentiments of the moment and scoring points by regurgitating popular discourse – regardless how unislamic it is – is one of the fastest ways to gain a following.”

— Danish Qasim, Activism as a cover for abuse

Uncle Tom

Yes, I am Uncle Tom, subservient to the demands of the oppressor. This is the charge for all who do not embrace the narrative of the spokesmen of community, who define for us good Muslims and bad. Break with these modern dogmas and prepare to be cast out, castigated for holding opinions of your own. Continue reading “Uncle Tom”

Hope

Their messengers said, “Can there be doubt about God, Creator of the heavens and earth? He invites you that He may forgive you of your sins, and He delays your death for a specified term.” — from Qur’an 14:10

Fragile masculinity

Dear crusader against the times,

We hear you loud and clear: feminism is the great scourge of our times, apparently set to undermine our faith — along with modernism, scientism, liberalism and materialism. Thus must you argue at length in every post about the dangers they pose to orthodoxy, irregardless of your simplistic reductions. Continue reading “Fragile masculinity”