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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

A Mouthful...of Problems!

I laugh as I remember that as teenagers in America, we wondered about proving that ‘cussing/cursing/swearing’ is impermissible (I have found that proof). I have noticed that non-native English speakers learn cuss-words when they are reading dictionaries and watching entertainment in English to improve their fluency, without realizing that they are not socially appropriate or acceptable. That is because it has become common place to speak like this in western cultures, whereas in eastern cultures, it is strictly undignified to allow these words to be spoken or written on television, in film, or in public. The same went for us in America, as our public school teachers would reprimand us, even for using Ebonics (the slang of African-Americans/blacks) and other slang in the classroom, calling it a display of ignorance; add some curse words to that, and we’d get a disciplinary referral.

It should be understood that these words are evil, and the Sunnah clarifies they do not belong on the tongue of a Muslim seeking the pleasure of his or her Lord. Additionally, we cannot even use offensive speech towards others. The Messenger of ALLAH, peace be upon him said
 لَا يَنْبَغِي لِصِدِّيقٍ أَنْ يَكُونَ لَعَّانًا
“It is not befitting the truthful that they curse others.”(Sahih Muslim 2597, Sahih) Muslims at every level of society use harsh speech against each other and often say things like “may he be cursed”, or “may ALLAH break his back”. Are they unaware that gentleness was made an obligation on the Muslims by order of the prophet peace be upon him when he said,
عَلَيْكِ بِالرِّفْقِ وَإِيَّاكِ وَالْعُنْفَ وَالْفُحْشَ
“Your duty is to be gentle and beware of harshness and bad words.” (Sahih Bukhari 5683, Grade: Sahih) The description of bad words used in these statements of the prophet is “fahsha”, which means lewd, or foul, and is often used to describe sexual indecency, fornication, adultery, and filth. As English speakers we should understand this (fahish speech) to be those words which we are taught since childhood not to say in polite company, or around ladies, etc. The F-WORD, S-WORD, B-WORD, P-WORD, D-WORD(S), etc. One of the companions said
لَمْ يَكُنْ النَّبِيُّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ سَبَّابًا وَلَا فَحَّاشًا وَلَا لَعَّانًا كَانَ يَقُولُ لِأَحَدِنَا عِنْدَ الْمَعْتِبَةِ مَا لَهُ تَرِبَ جَبِينُهُ
“The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, would not abuse others, he would not use obscene words, and he would not curse others. If he wanted to admonish anyone of us, he used to say: What is wrong with him? His forehead be dusted!”(Sahih Bukhari 5684, Grade: Sahih).
لَيْسَ الْمُؤْمِنُ بِالطَّعَّانِ وَلَا اللَّعَّانِ وَلَا الْفَاحِشِ وَلَا الْبَذِيءِ
The believer does not taunt others, he does not curse others, he does not use profanity, and he does not abuse others. (Sunan At-Tirmidhi 1977, Grade: Hasan)
It can be understood that taking small steps, such as cleaning up our language, can orient us towards seeking the rectification all of our problems, by the mercy of ALLAH. Good things exist on good foundations. A building with a strong foundation stands against harsh odds, by the grace of ALLAH. Algebra is a basic which becomes the language for Trigonometry, and they both are the languages for Calculus, and Physics, and Chemistry; you cannot be a proficient practical scientist without grooming basics first. This is something universal. The things which make Muslim societies succeed are hindered by not refining human character. Having bad character and manners plants the seeds of pride, arrogance, and will not leave room for Ikhlaas (the sole intention of pleasing ALLAH alone) in the hearts of Muslims. Without basic good character and Iklaas, we will never be able to
  •          Promote education and minimize ignorance
  •          Advise each other to truth
  •          Unite on the authentic Sunnah and leave innovation in worship and theology
  •          Adhere to ALLAH’s shari’ah     Remove corruption from our governments (by virtue of      characteristic and adherence to shari’ah)
  •          Minimize theft
  •          Minimize racism
  •          Minimize poverty
  •          Minimize domestic abuse
  •          Maintain the honor of ladies
  •          Restore the world’s recognition of Palestine
  •          Contain and bring extremist and renegade militias to justice

These are problems that are gargantuan in magnitude. Is it logical to expect or even fathom that a people, who can’t stop cussing and notoriously verbally abuse others (even within their own kin) can possibly pioneer a resolution for anything listed above? For the Muslim ummah to be respectable in the world we need to be generally good human people, who are kind, and not unpleasant to be around in terms of manners and social interaction; this is part of what will make us good Muslims. To be GOOD Muslims we have to be GOOD PEOPLE, and the proof for this is stated in the Sunnah.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

The Modern Day Khawarij explained by Abu Usamah Adhabi

I share this in an effort to clarify to the world the position of orthodox Muslims who believe in and act by the Qur'an and the authentic sunnah as it relates to some of the groups that are, to say the least, troublemakers in society. The Khawaarij were a group mentioned to us by the Messenger of ALLAH, peace be upon him, and he mentioned them by this name, "Khawarij". They are understood to be renegades, and act according to radical and unfounded, or insufficiently founded notions. They undervalue human life, and do not understand the goals and objectives of al-Islam. For more information see this letter addressing Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Don't re-invent the Wheel! Just Maintain it!

I have been a part of some (possibly) insightful discourse recently. I gave an advice to adhere to a particular command from ALLAH, and it was disputed first by a non-Muslim- which is totally understandable, and then by a Muslim; the latter is also understood, but not acceptable. In the discourse, the other party believed that advising the public about this, imposes a (my) rigid understanding of al-Islam, and it is offensive to a demographic to which I do not belong.
In the dialogue, I was asked if I believe that my interpretation of the Qur’an and Sunnah is the only correct understanding. I clarified that the particular issue we were discussing is a basic one, and does not require additional interpretation. I then had my own questions, but I kept them to myself, to address here:
  • Why does everyone have to have their own interpretation? Is the truth what it is, or what we want it to be?
  • If there is so much about the Qur’an and Sunnah on a face value that is so distasteful, why are we Muslims?
  • To people who do not like following Islam according to authenticated tradition really believe in Islam as it is read in the Qur’aan and Sunnah?
  •  Why do the above mentioned people not create a new religion of their own that is loosely based on Islamic virtues but permits those things which they but which Islam forbids, and not call it Islam? Why do they want to be called Muslims if there is so much they hate about it?

It may appear that this inquisition could encourage apostasy, when in fact, it is encouraging internal reflection, repentance, and admittance of wrong doing.
In that discussion I had, I did not mention that I once belonged to a different demographic, and one which might have been offended by my message. They way I once thought of being a Muslim before and also during my adolescence was different, but during those times, I went through some developmental changes because I had an intention to do what ALLAH loves, whatever that was, provided proper evidence was presented. Umar Ibn al-Khattab, may ALLA H be pleased with him, reported that the Messenger of ALLAH, peace be upon him, said “Actions are but by intention and every man shall have but that which he intended. Thus he whose migration was for Allah and His messenger, his migration was for Allah and His messenger, and he whose migration was to achieve some worldly benefit or to take some woman in marriage, his migration was for that for which he migrated."(Bukhari and Muslim; Hadith 1/40, an-Nawawi) Good intention is the first half, not the whole. If the intention to please ALLAH were all we needed the prophet would not have said what was narrated on the authority of his wife ‘Asisha, the mother of the believers-may ALLAH be pleased with her, “Whoever innovates something in this matter of ours that is not a part of it will have it rejected.”(Reported by al-Bukhaari, Fath al-Baari, no. 2697) From this and others proof it is understood that ALLAH only accepts those deeds which are intended to please him and what is already according to the established Shari’ah, the Qur’an and Sunnah. I cannot recall if I knew both of these ahadeeth when I was part of my former demographic, but I understood that as being commonly sensible if I wanted to practice a religion that I did not create. I understood Islam to be the correct path, for various reasons, and I knew that this path was established by ALLAH and his Messenger, and the companions knew him and what he taught best. In spite of this, there were circumstances present which can hinder adherence to or corrupt this understanding, because after all humans are influenced by their environment. The demography of my former environment was comprised of:
  • Growing up since birth in what is believed to be the best Western and vastly non-Muslim country in the world.
  • Not having many close Muslim friends in my circle of peers; more inclined to follow the more dominant group (non-Muslms)
  • Being in a non-Muslim school
  • Subscribing to non-Muslim mass media
  •  Not understanding basic Arabic
  • Being under elders who varied in their understanding of Islam
    • Some valued argumentative (philosophical) thought over sound proof
    •    Some valued proof, but did not have communication skills to convey to westernized youths
    •    Some dismissed the authenticity of hadeeth, believing them to be compromised, which dismissed the obligation to adhere to a ruling brought in them (a refutable notion; see my second blog post “Basics in Understanding the Religion of al-Islam”)
    • Some had very radical views, and valued emotional response with the intention to please ALLAH and defend the honor of Muslim people, over everything
    • Being a young person in post 9/11 America.

Parents can only do so much to influence their children when they have an entire country to compete with. It is only by the mercy of ALLAH that a child can understand on an intellectual level
  • why eating pork is bad, even though the majority of people around them on a daily basis eat it
  •  why they do not get Christmas and birthday presents
  • why they cannot date girls or boys, and have to wait until they are married to enjoy romance, and cannot be close friends with members of the opposite gender (due to danger of pre-marital romance)
  • why they have to pray and fast so much when their friends don’t even go to church anymore
  • why all the other girls can look pretty outside, and I have to cover so much
  • why so few people in the world are Muslims, and most of the world is something else and has such a free lifestyle
There is of course an answer and a reason for all of this, and that is the reality of ALLAH’s existence, and what he has said to mankind. There are numerous ways to prove this, but ALLAH did not say that everyone will be a Muslim. Not everyone will be in paradise nor all in hellfire. I mention this because, I do not expect all to believe as I do, and I understand what keeps them from that. I want to reach people who have the sincerity to please ALLAH, and help them understand that ALLAH and his messenger already explained what pleases ALLAH. No man or woman can tell you that, but it if person brings you something correct from the Qur’an and Sunnah, you should not reject it if they prove it.

There are extremes to be wary of. There are sincere Muslims who:
  • accept anything that someone they trust presents to them and says that it pleases ALLAH, without proof, and without knowledge
  • who do not take anyone’s word, and try to learn everything by themselves without guidance of experienced traditional scholars, and who are affected by invented controversy about traditional Islamic scholarship and it not being suitable for the present and future, and are overly skeptical about issues which are in contrast to certain aspects of secular and western life
    • a subset of this extreme are those who believe the Qur’an and Sunnah are not permanent and can be changed to allow those things which it forbids, simply because it is common practice to do them today; these people imply that opposing this notion also opposes advanced and innovated technology, but this is a rejected and extreme notion because ALLAH and his messenger were specific enough when they forbade something, and some issues of daily human life had no such legislation applied to them
  • who put so much faith in scholars, they do not apply thought to the religion at all, and remain in perpetual ignorance, with later manifests into stubbornness
These extremes are prevalent in Muslim communities globally. The resulting problems can be accurately hypothesized. I leave it to you, my readers, tell me what the correct way should be considering all of this. I challenge you all to explain it without controversy and without trying to satisfy any people – only speak about pleasing ALLAH himself.