Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Innocence of Muslims - how would Rasūlullāh react?

That any true Muslim feels hurt at this latest assault on the honour of the Beloved Nabī صلى الله عليه و سلم needs no elucidation. The same would hold true for any honest person that the West has double standards when it comes to freedom of speech. Attack Islām, that’s fine, but question “the holocaust,” Darwinism or the claim that human civilisation is only 6000 years old, you could face a range of punishments from imprisonment, academic character assassination or loss of a job.

Now let us stop imitating the Jews as we do with so many other things. Stop moaning, “Oh! The world is against us and we are so helpless and innocent!” Let us ask what does the faith we profess to follow ask us to do in these trying situations.

1       Respond to slander with facts, not emotion

When we are attacked, we always respond emotionally and forget the actual argument. This is contrary to the principles of the Qurān. For example, when the Quraysh accused Rasūlullāh صلى الله عليه و سلم of acquiring the Qurān from a monk, not Allāh, the response was not, “How dare you accuse me, when you know I am truthful!” Instead, the reply was a clear logical statement that the monk was a foreigner who could not possibly compose the fluent Arabic of the Qurān.

Indeed We know that they say, “A man teaches it to him!” The tongue of him to whom they wickedly refer is foreign, whilst this is a clear Arabic tongue. [an-Naḥl: 103]

2.       Adversity is an opportunity to increase  good deeds

Indeed We know that your chest is constricted because of what they say. But you should instead recite the purity and praise of your Lord and be amongst those who prostrate. [al-Ḥijr: 97-98]

Thus if adversity and grief led Rasūlullāh صلى الله عليه و سلم to increase in good deeds, how are we exempt? Let us do some soul searching and ask if running around screaming, “Death to America,” benefits the image of Rasūlullāh صلى الله عليه و سلم in any way. Is it not embarrassing that the West can smugly say, “See! We accuse their Prophet of violence and they respond with violence!”

If I truly love Rasūlullāh صلى الله عليه و سلم should I not act in the light of the above verse and increase my recitation of salutations [Arabic: Ṣalawāt; Persian: Darūd] upon Rasūlullāh صلى الله عليه و سلم ? The Hadith teaches us that angels convey our greetings to him. Would that prove more profitable to our relationship to him when we meet on the Day of Qiyāmah or would “Death to America"?

Practically, how does my life and appearance conform to the man I claim to be honouring with my protests? Does my lifestyle resemble his, or that of the filmmakers? Condemning others is always easier than trying to reform oneself.

3.       No soul bears the burden of another [az-Zumar: 7]

Did the US ambassador make the film, or even know about its production? Please pray tell how we justify such killings in the name of the religion of peace. Perpetuating disbelief is worse than the shedding of blood. May Allāh save us from such acts which serve no purpose other than to tarnish the image of Islām and repulse people who might otherwise have been inclined to it. 

4.       There are etiquettes to dialogue

Uncouth behaviour from others does not excuse us from obeying the Qurān, especially when we are directing our response at parties innocent of the movie, “Do not debate the People of the Book except in a better way, except for those amongst them who do wrong.” [al-‘Ankabūt:46].

When the Jews, thinking themselves to be smart, greeted  Rasūlullāh صلى الله عليه و سلم with a blurring between, "as-salaamu alaykum," (peace be upon you) and "as-saamu alaykum" (death unto you) our Mother, Aishah رضى الله عنها became furious. Rasūlullāh صلى الله عليه و سلم however remained calm and replied, "And on you." Whatever they intended was replied to without resorting to their manners. 

Rasūlullāh صلى الله عليه و سلم courteously addressed foreign dignitaries including the Byzantine Emperor, Heraclius Caesar, whom he addressed as, “Heraclius, great of Rome.” Make no mistake - Heraclius was a far greater enemy of Allāh than George Bush could ever dream of.  Rasūlullāh  صلى الله عليه و سلم clearly declared that by rejecting Islām, Heraclius was to condemn his Empire to disbelief. The burden of the rest of Europe, the Americas, Australia etc is the eventual result of him rejecting the truth despite knowing it. Yet he was not deprived of due courtesy.

Not only have we shamed Islām in the murder of a foreign dignitary, we have helped erase the accomplishments of our forefathers. There are academics in the West who are honest enough to admit that the entire concept of International Law and certain of its specifics were born from Islāmic jurisprudence. Would those jurists have justified the slaying of an innocent diplomat? The fruits of their labours have been erased.

5.       Rasūlullāh صلى الله عليه و سلم was practical and looked at the bigger picture

When they were about to sign the Treaty of Ḥudaybiyah, the Quraysh objected to the phrase, “Muḥammad, the Messenger of Allāh.” They would only consent to, “Muḥammad, son of ‘Abdullāh.” The Muslims were most upset, and refused. Rasūlullāh صلى الله عليه و سلم   however personally erased the phrase. He knew that there were bigger issues at hand.

Muslim historians record that as a result of his foresight, obstacles to preaching Islām were removed and more people entered Islām in the following two years than in the previous 19 years of Islām. That would not have been achieved had Rasūlullāh صلى الله عليه و سلم been stubborn over the wording of the Treaty. He had vision and looked at the bigger picture.

The bigger picture for us is that even this filth could have had one positive aspect of creating curiosity amongst disbelievers. We could have seized the opportunity to explain the beautiful character and teachings of Rasūlullāh صلى الله عليه و سلم to our friends, colleagues, neighbours and the media. Instead we reveal our ignorance about the greatest personality who has the most detailed biography ever in human history. How many Muslims can describe this personality to their neighbours for even 5 minutes?

The words,  “Muḥammad, Messenger of Allāh,” holds a special place in the heart of every Muslim, but let emotion not cloud our judgement and make us lose our opportunity of Ḥudaybiyah and the deeper message of Muḥammad صلى الله عليه و سلم

To negate Jihaad is disbelief, but remember that there are various forms of Jihaad. Feel hurt, but follow his example.

سليمان الكندي

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Surah Saad - Sad state of the separated Ummah

 عن أبي سعيد الخدري رضي الله عنه قال :

  غزونا مع رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم لست عشرة مضت من رمضان ، فمنا من صام ومنا من أفطر ،فلم يعب الصائم على المفطر ، ولا المفطر على الصائم

Abu Saeed al-Khudri (radiyallahu anhu) narrates:

 “We waged battle at the side of Rasulullah صلى الله عليه وسلم when 16 days of Ramdaan had passed. Some of us fasted and some did not. Neither did those who fasted find fault with those who did not fast; nor did those who did not fast find fault with those who fasted.” [Muslim]

Another Ramadaan has passed, and inshallah we have all achieved our aims. Major themes of the month are of course Taqwa, empathy for one's fellow human being, patience etc

The above incident of respect for difference of opinions at the Battle of Badr might not be  a primary objective of the month,  yet the fact is that  occurred during Ramadaan as well, in the sacred presence of Rasulullah صلى الله عليه وسلم. No aspect of his sacred life is insignificant. As such, Ramadaan should also be a time when the Ummah  renews their commitment to respecting each others' opinions, as long as the view expressed is not clearly opposed to the principles of Shari'ah.

Sadly, we all know that this is not the case. Every Muslim country, school of thought, organisation, tribe, family and individual is  an authority unto themselves, in effect ignoring the ultimate sovereignty of Allah. If I declare myself to be correct and perfect in all matters, "my way or the highway" have I not claimed partnership with Allah al-Haqq as-Subbuh? 

An incident this Ramadaan demonstrated to me how incurably petty the Ummah still is. As a practitioner of Shafi'i Fiqh, I do not prostrate at the recitation of Surah Saad. Herewith link to the juristic discussion with a brief translation.

I have practised according the school I observe and never imposed this issue on others. This Ramadaan a Hanafi Imaam of a Masjid discussed the issue with me, mentioning a ruling he had received. He declared that he would announce this ruling in order to educate the Shafi'i members of the community.  

I reflected that if a Hanafi is willing to educate others, my silence in the face of theological chauvinism was not justified.  I mentioned the matter to the Hanafi Imaam at the Masjid I was observing Taraaweeh and asked would he felt about him making a similar announcement. He said that I should make the announcement and I did so.

He later informed me that some Hanafi "Ulama" had approached him. They were upset and insisted that they had never heard of something like this before.

Whether one prostrates or not during Saad is a juristic discussion, which might or might not hold significance to some. What should however concern all of us are the facts this incident brought to light:

  •  This Ummah has some  scholars who have such fossilised mentalities that they can paraphrase the idolatrous Egyptian response to Musa 'alayhis salaam as a proof, "We have never heard of this from our forebears of old!" [al-Qasas: 36]
  • They regard such an attitude as a virtue!
  • They are not content with stifling opinion in their own school, but consider it the greatest act of worship to impose their will and views on other schools as well.
  • Scholars are apparently exempt from seeking proof for rulings and can substitute query with gossip. 
  • Tolerance was for the Sahaabah radiyallahu anhum. Our opinions are apparently so elevated that all must toe the line.
  • Ramdaan is all about the individual. Nobody has the foresight to ponder how detrimental the effects of our intolerance are upon the already fragmented Ummah.

There are chauvinists and tolerant folk amongst all groups. If the article creates the impression that I am targeting a specific group, then I seek Allah's forgiveness. The aim is to draw attention to a disease which must be remedied. If we cannot train ourselves to behave as Ummatis of Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم, even during Ramadaan, what does this pose for our future?

سليمان الكندي