Struggle…

July 26, 2008

Subhan’Allah… the test of this dunya is all ephemeral yet sometimes it feels like anything but. When the struggle of the modern world doubles up with culture as well as the personal jihadal-nafs, it really starts to seem endless! When the face-forwardly haraam is accepted as the norm in your society, this is when you begin to feel the uphill climb, or should I say mountainous? Subhan’Allah these people have so much, soooo much, blessed with health, wealth, family, family and more family, yet it seems as if the blessings just pass over everyones heads, with little gratitude and little hamd. Allah azawajaal is only the true Judge, one cannot pass judgement so easily. Yet, having had to just sit out an intermixed wedding with dancing and music until 1 in the a.m, I really feel that we are using all this barakah and blessing in exactly the wrong way. We can enjoy ourselves just as grandly by having a bit simpler occasions, events, parties, with just as many people, perhaps with a pardah between the genders, and an absence of music, yet we loudly choose not to. What is so wrong…? The ties binding them to their culture are as steadfast and strong as ever, with little picture of it rolling loose. Perhaps these ‘events’ may not have any near-future end, but maybe we can start with a variety of more ‘Islamicified’ (my own word) occasions, and step by step, inshaa’Allah a variety can turn into a diversity, a diversity into a majority, a majority favoring the true face of Islam. Inshaa’Allah. Make duaa that we be guided amongst our societies, and that we who seem so strange to the masses do not succumb to them but rather guide them in humility and forebearance. Ameen. 

For the hearts are only in Allah’s hands…

Lastly, as Rasulullah (s) said, you are of the deen of your friend, so let us choose those closest to our hearts those we perceive as closest to Allah azawajaal. Insha’Allah.

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Contentions :)

July 23, 2008

Subhan’Allah, I think many of you know what these are about! I posted my favorite ones, which made up Contentions 2. Taken from Masud.co.uk. Enjoy :)!

 Abdal-Hakim Murad


1.   Beware the darkness in the grey areas.

 

2.   To blame others for our misfortunes is always a victory for the nafs .

3.   We should not do as we like; but we should like what we should do.

4.   There is no true engagement without detachment.

5.   It is only when you truly don’t care what people think that you truly don’t need to care what people think.

6.   What the heart needs is the periodicity of the crescent, not the uniqueness of the cross. (Chagall, White Crucifixion.)

7.   The companion before the road, and the road before the destination. But without the destination there is no road, and without the road there is no companion.

8.   Religion that seeks to be no more than a time capsule is likely to be claustrophobic.

9.   Ghuluww is not an excess of piety, it is a lack of it.

10.   Isaac: the monad. Ishmael: the nomad.

11.   True religion invites us to become better people. False religion tells us that this has already occurred.

12.   Our faces are a prediction.

13.   The ultimate was not he that endured his own suffering; it was he that endured the death of his family. (‘I am with the broken-hearted‘.)

14.   A Sufi is anyone who knows that fiqh means understanding.

15.   Extremism is tolerable because it is always transient.

16.   Trying to be loved is not the best way of becoming lovable.

17.   The most useful person for the Umma is the true mujtahid; the false mujtahid is its worst enemy.

18.   The miracle of mundanity . (Rembrandt, The Holy Family .)

19.   Failure is God’s punishment for exoterism .

20.   We need less self-righteousness and more self-knowledge.

21.   The fact that the Sunna does not demand imperfection does not mean that it demands perfection.

22.   al- Hajju hujja .

23.   The gender gap is a minor third.

24.   Suluk is a sostenuto , not a tenor clef.

25.   Without fiqh there is only opinion.

26.   Sufism is the way of God wherever Islam is the way of God.

27.   Islam is the way of God wherever Sufism is the way of God.

28.   The hijra was the only exodus into extroversion.

29.   Extremism should preoccupy us only when it becomes the cause as well as the consequence of failure.

30.   Pious repudiations of polyphony usually yield monotony rather than plainchant.

31.   Beware the zeal of the uncertain. No-one is zealous for the Pythagoras theorem.

32.   The Apollonian and the Dionysiac : where else are the two conjoined?

33.   The believer sings louder than he speaks.

34.   Without acculturation faith is naked.

35.   The best way to make fiqh complicated is to teach that it is simple.

36.   Beware the Shari ‘a of the Cheshire Cat : able to bite but not to nourish.

37.   Idolatry is worse than atheism.

38.   Muslim solidarity can never force us to lower our standards.

39.   The existence of the fair sex does not justify the existence of an unfair sex.

40.   Everyone is a cradle Muslim. The mysterium iniquitatis is a post-natal complication, not a genetic fault.

41.   Josephus is less dangerous than Bar Kochba .

42.   To the extent that God is corporeal He is demonstrably absent.

43.   The new creed: there is no islam but Islam, and Muhammad is the messenger of Islam.

44.   Where the roots are weak, the branches are stiff. Where the roots are firm, the branches are supple.

45.   Maidens! The alternative to Lerchenau is not always a Rosenkavalier.

46. There was a young man who blamed Fate

For the fact that he prayed Fajr late

            “How frightfully odd

            Of Almighty God

            To wake me at “quarter past eight !”

47.   The semitic semiotic: not making an idol of tawhid .

48.   An error of the age: the claim that God has blinded His falcons.

49.   Your career should be like prayer in congregation: if a space opens before you, step into it.

50.   To believe that every virtue in a disbeliever is a manifestation of the Divine ruse is a manifestation of the Divine ruse.

51.   Censorship of the press is less subversive than censorship by the press.

52.   Television is hellish vision because it robs us of the sense of truth.

53.   No pure purism pushes people into impurity.

54.   No revival is an alternative to culture.

55.   It is no surprise that modernity arose in a religious civilisation whose central tenet was the absolutising of the relative.

56.   Those who wish Islam to be feared and not loved cannot claim the prophetic kerygma in mission.

57.   To be reminded of the greed of others and the poverty of the self is to be reminded of the poverty of others and the greed of the self.

58.   Make Hayy while the sun shines. (‘Sleep is the brother of death’.)

59.   Female modesty is no excuse for sloth.

60.   It is better that the injustices of others should stand than that our own injustices should stand.

61.   Our covenant does not supplant; it prunes and fertilises.

62.   Ishmael was the only survivor of the Pequod .

63.   The dove and the spider: nature only spares those who spare it.

64.   It is better to keep the enemy hull-down on the horizon than to fight him at close quarters.

65.   The doctrine of ‘ ada demands the existence of a defensible secular explanation of nature. Such an explanation thus becomes a mercy. Without it, there is only anomie and alienation.

66.   The illusion of causality is a divine mercy, which veils rigour, which in turn veils Mercy.

67.   Only a few can see that God’s rigour is compassion.

68.   Dogma: less is more.

69.   The justification of alcohol: those without self-control must pay for the pleasures of those with self-control.

70.   The Madina verses prove those of Mecca .

71.   Judaism: the deferral of decisiveness. (George Steiner)

72.   The élites want everybody to be nobody.

73.   There is no gratitude without a sense of beauty, and no humility without a sense of gratitude.

74.   Seek, and you will be found.

75.   God’s only sameness is in His signs.

76.   Homosexualism insults women by equating sterility with fertility.

77.   It is better to appreciate what you do not have than to have what you do not appreciate.

78.   Beauty is the most literal of metaphors.

79.   Where there is love there is immanence.

80.   Laxity is not the only form of decadence.

81.   The slightest reduction of God makes Him vanish.

82.   Khalwa is quarantine.

83.   Demonising the Other is from the harshnesses of the self.

84.   Only the very bad or the very good are polygamists.

85.   A canon of self-scrutiny: false religion feels more like a wound than a bandage.

86.   The greatest achievement of the ego is to make virtue unattractive.

87.   If religion is too big for us, we should be careful which parts we choose.

88.   The permanent conversion table: the addition must equal the square of what is subtracted.

89.   The front line has grown too long.

90.   Power can be servitude. (‘I am your most high Lord’ .)

91.   Our failings are the only cause of our unhappiness.

92.   Foucault: the West’s frustration is that its discourse on sex does not lead to a conclusion.

93.   The weaker the homework, the stronger the ideology. The stronger the homework, the stronger thedin .

94.   Hermeneutics are no longer about his women.

95.   Everyone nowadays is Qadi al-Qudat, Judge of Judges.

96.   Before we reform the forms, we must be conformed to the Forms.

97.   Only when the mind is free of limitation will we seek no station of annihilation.

98.   Exoterism is mediocrity.

99.   Marriage: pay and display? Or the primacy of privacy?

100.   Feuerbach : theological epistemology is anthropology. The Sunna : anthropology is theological epistemology.

Uprightness

July 22, 2008

The righteous traits of character cannot take firm root in the soul until it has grown accustomed to every good habit, renounced every evil one, and persevered in this in the wise of one who feels a love for and takes pleasure in beautiful deeds, and loathes and is hurt by ugly ones. As long as worship and renunciation of forbidden things are felt to be unpleasant and burdensome their performance will be defective, and cannot bring one to full felicity.

For the sole purpose of the acts of worship is to influence the heart, and this influence will only grow strong when they are persistently repeated. The purpose of such traits of character is to cut the love of this world away from the soul and to set firmly therein the love of God (Exalted is He!), so that one would love nothing so much as the meeting with Him.

Such a man will then employ his wealth only in ways which will bring him to Him; likewise with his anger and desire, since these will be under his command, and weighed up in the scales of the intellect and the Law so that he is contented and happy with them. It is wrong to deem it unlikely that one’s delight might be in prayer and that one’s worship might become delectable, for everyday life draws even more wondrous things from the soul: we see kings and the voluptuous rich in constant misery.

Since the soul commonly takes pleasure even in vain things and inclines towards ugliness, how could it not take pleasure in the Truth were it to be restored to it for a while and made to persevere therein? The soul’s inclination to these disgusting things is unnatural , and resembles an inclination to the eating of mud; yet even this may gain control over some people and become a habit.

As for the inclination to wisdom and the love, knowledge and worship of God, this resembles the inclination towards food and drink. It is the expression of the heart’s nature, and is a divine command, while an inclination to the demands of one’s desires is in itself something strange, and is not part of its nature. The heart’s food is wisdom, knowledge and the love of God (Exalted is He!), and it only diverges from the demands of its nature when afflicted by some disease, just as the stomach may be afflicted by an illness which prevents it from desiring the food and drink which give it life.

Thus, every man’s heart which inclines to anything but the love of God (Exalted is He!) is afflicted by a disease in proportion to this inclination, unless he love a thing because it helps him to love God and to practice his religion– which not the symptom of illness.

We have come to know beyond all doubt that good traits of character may be acquired through self-discipline. Further, the relationship between the heart and the members, the soul and the body is a circular one: the effect of every attribute which appears in the heart must emanate onto the member, so that these move only in conformity to it; similarly, every act performed by the members has an effect which makes its way up to the heart, thereby constituting the circle.

How many sages there are who deem the wasting of a day and a night a paltry thing, and continue to do so, procrastinating day after day until at last their natures depart from the acquisition of understanding: likewise is it with the man who underestimates small sins, and procrastinates and delays his repentance day after day, until such time as death seizes him, or his heart falls dead from the weight of sins and their blackness.

You have therefore come to know that good character proceeds from one’s nature and innate disposition (Fitra), sometimes from accustoming oneself to beautiful deeds, and sometimes from seeing and keeping the company of people who perform them, who are the companions of charity and the brethren of righteousness. For one nature can purloin both good and evil from another. The man in whom all three aspects are manifest, so that he is virtuous by nature, by habituation, and by education is possessed of the supreme virtue.

~ Shaykh Abdul Hakim Murad on Imam Al-Ghazaali’s “Disciplining the Soul”.

Sheikh `Abd al-Qadir’s Allegory: The Fortress of Iman
Answered by Shaykh Musa Furber

Sheikh `Abd al-Qadir’s Allegory: The Fortress of Iman


Some Muslims are of the opinion that as long as they do the bare minimum (integrals, conditions, and the essential and obligatory actions) they have done enough. For them everything else is merely recommended or merely offensive, and so they see no problem in neglecting the sunna, give no second thought in performing offensive actions, and see precaution as a prison cell. This is the same as someone eating just enough to just sustain life expecting to win the Iron man competition.

Sheikh `Abd al-Qadir al-Jaylani clarifies the importance of going beyond the bare minimum in an allegory he mentions in Ghunya li Talibi Tariq al-Haqq. My own sheikh mentioned this allegory in one of our first lessons, and Hanbalis sometimes mention it in their books-but without attribution to Sheikh `Abd al-Qadir. One of these is al-Saffarini’s Ghudha al-Albab, a commentary on general refined behavior. The translation appears below, with the original Arabic following.

The allegory of belief [iman] is that of a land that has five walls. Al-Hajjawi said in its commentary: It is said that the allegory of belief is that of a land that has five walls. The first wall [the innermost wall] made from gold, the second from silver, the third from iron, the forth from cooked clay [aajurr], and the fifth [the outermost wall] from brick. As long as the people of the brick wall are diligent in protecting the brick, the enemy does not aspire [destroying] the second; but if they neglect this [brick wall], they will aspire for the second and then the third, until they demolish all of the walls. And like belief [iman] has five walls: certainty, then sincerity, then performing what is obligatory, then the
recommended [sunan], and then refined behavior [aadab]. As long as one holds to and is diligent with having refined behavior, Satan does not scheme [to destroy] him. But if one forsakes refined behavior, Satan aspires to [destroying] the recommended works, then the obligatory, then sincerity, and then certainty.

[Source: Al-Saffarini, _Ghudha al-Albab_. 1:27]

Subhan’Allah, this brief explication of the backbone and crux’ of Imaan is truly inspiring. Walhamdulillahi Rabbil Alameen.

Black or White? White or Black? What’s the difference you ask? Well polls will tell you, and in 5 months, we will have our definite answers as to where racism in America has evolved to. As Presidential candidate Barack Obama has established himself on the long run to the Oval Office, the American vote is weighing on more than just the qualifications of both candidates, but could have slightly more to do with their God-given colors. 

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/16/us/politics/16poll.html?_r=3&hp&oref=slogin&oref=slogin&oref=slogin

Keffiyeh :)

July 10, 2008

So this past weekend was the ICNA convention in Conneticut, Alhamdulillah it passed very nicely. I enjoyed it very, very much. Masha’Allah may the strength and the unity experienced over this one weekend keep increasing and enlightening with much glory, insha’Allah 🙂

However, unlike the lectures, the shopping wasn’t very much. I got manifold out of the conference, but I only got 1 thing out of the bazaar. And that was, a….Keffiyeh. Yes, completely spontaneous on the spot, {what I am} and whatever else you can call it, I happily bought myself a black & white Keff. And that wasn’t even the good part, the better part came when I modelled it for fellow sista’s, and they liked it wary much. Happy to say, it looked good 🙂 The part I liked the best out of all of it was that once I had it around my neck, I felt more than an extra scarf tied around my hijab, but quite a sense of representatin, as they say. I didn’t think I would, but yet I did. Representin, not rebellin (as most people don it to) but definitely a symbol of more so fellow Muslims of our day and age. It isn’t only the struggle of the Muslim countries, but every Muslims struggle for peace, tranquility and understanding between all the people of the world. It’s what we need to stand for, and what Islam teaches us in all its honour and highness.

Hm, yeah thats about it, other than the fact that I saw so many brothers & sisters I haven’t seen in so long!!!

Alhamdulillah.

I loved the convention, I truly did. What an inspiration, subhan’Allah.

!!!!!! –(if you were there as well, share your thoughts as you please :))

OH yes, and how could I forget Baba. Baba Ali…az khanda kusht. It was good to finally see the brother in person, he’s quite different in person, yet kind of the same 🙂 He’s going to make a movie, so support him all the way guys !!!

Reason

July 1, 2008

“Bring forward all the arguments you wish and say whatever you please and speak your mind freely. Now that you are safe and free to say whatever you please appoint some arbitrator who will impartially judge between us and lean only towards the truth and be free from the empary of passion, and that arbitrator shall be Reason, whereby God makes us responsible for our own rewards and punishments. Herein I have dealt justly with you and have given you full security and am ready to accept whatever decision Reason may give for me or against me. For “There is no compulsion in religion” (Qur’an 2:256) and I have only invited you to accept our faith willingly and of your own accord and have pointed out the hideousness of your present belief. Peace be with you and the blessings of God!”

-Al-Hashimi on the emphasis of freedom of speech and the absolute reign of reason in a letter to an opponent of Islam in the early stages of the Classical Islamic Age.

Subhan’Allah, I thought it beautifully, compendiously, and most effectively written, even in translation.