Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Open “Mosque” – why can’t Muslims see wood for the trees?

Recently a man of questionable beliefs and even more questionable motives began an institute in Cape Town, South Africa, which he called the “Open Mosque,” meaning that it is open to all and sundry, irrespective of belief, gender etc. The purpose of this article is not to discuss the “Mosque” in itself – which wouldn’t serve much purpose anyway seeing that South Africa represents a small proportion of my readership, there are more readers in Ukraine than South Africa. Rather I’m simply using this incident to highlight an attitude problem amongst Muslims.

Belief supersedes deeds


This is a basic principle of our faith which many Muslims fail to understand and about which I had written previously. It applies both ways:
·         We can appreciate the good deeds of a disbeliever, but his deeds are null in the Hereafter. If we are truly his well-wishers we should pave his way to belief. Ultimately correct belief outweighs a good deed of a disbeliever.
·         The evil of a Muslim must be abhorred, but as long as he believes, the door of forgiveness remains open. Ultimately an evil deed of a Muslim is less than incorrect belief.

What irritates me, is not just how the masses fail to understand this, but worse, even those who are supposed to be learned and pious fail to distinguish between primary issues (belief) and secondary issues (deeds). This was again demonstrated in their reaction to the Open “Mosque” issue.However, I should mention that I was told that a statement of the Muslim Judicial Council, which I have not read, does indeed correctly target the issue of belief before other issues.

Objectionable Beliefs

Mr Tāj Hargey of the Open “Mosque” was raised a Qādiānī, a group whose denial of the Finality of Prophethood places them outside the fold of Islām. Although his current project makes no mention of that heresy, the onus remains on him to clarify his beliefs, under these circumstances.

The great Muḥāddith and Jurist, al-Imām an-Nawawī had stated that if we hear someone recite the call to Prayer, it would suffice to regard him as a Muslim. However, if that person is a Jew, we may demand clarification. The reason being that some Jews had no problem in declaring, “I testify that there is no god but Allāh. I testify that Muḥammad is the Messenger of Allāh.” However, they intended that Muammad صلى الله عليه وسلم  is indeed Allāh’s Messenger, but only for the Arabs, not the Jews.   

Typical of a denier of the Finality of Porphethood, Hargey claims that his Islām is solely from the Qurān, he does not accept Ḥadīth. These are primary issues of belief and these are the issues which need to be tackled.

The Gay Temple


Because of primary belief being wrong, a host of secondary issues (do we even dignify them by calling them juristic issues?) then arise. Mr Hargey is adamant that there is no distinction between the sexes, hence females may lead the prayers of males in his institute. All are welcome and there is no problem in being openly homosexual. Thus Muslim social media denounces his place as the “Gay Temple.” This is not the man’s primary objective. It is one of many issues that arise because he rejects the teachings of Allāh’s Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم . Even if that were his focus, it would remain secondary to rejecting Allāh’s Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم .  

This is but an example, and I am not interested in giving this man more publicity, which he appears to crave. The issue is the inability of Muslims to prioritise belief over deeds. Muslims also often act immaturely and thus lose debates before they even commence. Sensationalising one secondary issue out of a host of issues and ignoring the primary issue does not help our cause. Rather by making us seem irrational, it strengthens the opposition.

 Another point is why specifically was the term “Gay Temple” coined? Why were other issues not focussed on? None of the messages I read could even verify that a single open homosexual was following the man, although it may be. My opinion is those who propagate this term suffer from another malady afflicting the Muslims, that of selective morality. Homosexuality is a minority phenomenon and every Muslim knows that it is condemned in the Qurān. Yet why should we fall victim to selective morality, forget the sins which the majority is involved in, and feel justified in focusing on the minority phenomenon? We feel so comfortable in condemning sins we are not involved in and refuse to put our own house in order.  

Occurrences like the Open “Mosque” do not only reveal heretics and lunatics posing as Muslims, but also our immaturity, love of sensationalism and selective morality.

سليمان الكندي
Twitter: @sulayman_Kindi

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Scotland Referendum – Reflections for Muslims

Having no blood affiliation with the Scots whatsoever, and having never set foot in Scotland, I’m not exactly sure why I was so intensely fascinated with the Scottish referendum and the possibility of an independent Scotland. For the past 2-3 years I have read every article on Scottish independence on BBC News and more elsewhere. It might be that in a world where one has to toe the line of the powers that be or shut up, that a cause re-emerging after 3 centuries would hold an appeal to this rebel at heart.

 I believe that an independent Scotland would have been much friendlier to Islām, than the blood-thirsty British Empire. Yet we also believe that not a leaf may blow in the wind, except with the permission of its Creator. The King of kings did not will an independent Scotland, and this must be accepted, whatever good we might have seen in it. Nevertheless, the referendum brought some issues to light which we as Muslims might reflect on.

Facts must precede emotion

Whether true or not, the impression was created that the Independence Movement had no answers and based their cause solely on emotional appeal. The Imperialists supposedly had solid facts to back their assertions. I was extremely disappointed with a Scottish Muslim journalist, who mostly touted emotional slogans, and hardly ever touched on concrete reasons why independence should be supported or challenged the Imperialist camp’s arguments. Thus the journalist contributed to the impression of an emotional movement devoid of reason.    
What we should reflect on is how often we as Muslims react with raw emotion instead of looking at the facts. I have touched upon this issue previously when discussing our reaction to the video, Innocence of Muslims.

At times attention must be paid to what impression is created

When ‘Umar (may Allāh be pleased with him) wished to slay the hypocrites, Allāh’s Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم   advised that the impression would be created that Muḥammad kills his own followers. Although not true, the wise leader صلى الله عليه وسلم   had to pay attention to the impression created, not just the reality. With the media against them, the Scots got portrayed as brainless romantic fanatics and this was a factor against them.

Egos vs Issues

I am most impressed with the dignity and dedication of Mr Alexander Salmond, the leader of the Independence movement. Throughout the campaign, the supposedly rational Imperialists ceaselessly attacked the character and intentions of the supposedly emotional Mr Salmond. The dignity of Mr Salmond in not stooping to their level and remaining focussed on his cause and its issues, is an example our Muslim leaders could do well to emulate. I believe that promoting what you believe to be right is closer to the Sunnah than hammering at each other’s character flaws, real or imagined. It is regrettable that a man of such intelligence has not seen the light of Islām as yet. May Allāh bless him with the gift of Islām.
Listening to a speech here and there from George Galloway on Palestine never made me realise what a titanic ego the man possesses. This only became apparent to me during the referendum campaign. As the man is not a Muslim, it might be wrong of me to impose Islāmic ethics on him, but as a matter of reflection, Muslims should always be careful as to whether they are promoting Islām or themselves. Riyā’ or ostentation is a most dangerous spiritual malady which can destroy one’s good deeds.     

Promises of the enemy

The Imperialists promised the Scots greater autonomy if they voted against independence. They fell for the ruse and got a rude awakening the very next day when the falsehood of the promises was exposed. It would have been comforting if we were in a position to warn them not to be so naïve, but the reality is that Muslims will gladly slit their own throats if the enemy promises them that there is benefit in that. For how many more decades will certain Palestinians continue to believe that Zionists are genuine peace partners when the facts on the ground show that the Zionists must be laughing themselves sick at such naïveté?  They ignore the foretelling of the Ḥadīth and thus continue to humiliate themselves.

The promise of poverty

The threat of poverty which the Imperialists intimidated the Scots with, is the same which Satan promises the believers, as mentioned in the Qurān. Some Scots brushed the threat aside as scaremongering and some were willing to accept an economic price in exchange for their freedom and beliefs. The majority however caved in.
As a Muslim I should ask myself if I cave in to Satan’s threat of poverty in my daily life. Do I tell the truth in my business dealings even if it may lead to a lower profit? Do I falsify documents? Do I give false testimony? Do I hide defects in my product? Do I oppress my tenants? Do I consume interest? Am I willing to accept a lower paying job in which my religion is safe rather than a higher paying or more glamorous job in which I have to compromise my faith every day? Is Satan’s promise or Allāh’s promise greater to me?

Steadfastness during hardship

It appears that many Scots are already galvanising for round 2. A resounding defeat is not sufficient reason for a dedicated person to surrender his or her cause. As Muslims we are living through one of the most difficult periods of our history. If the Anti-Christ does emerge during this generation, which is possible, it will be THE MOST DIFFICULT period of history. If the Scots can remain steadfast to their ideal, why can we not be steadfast to the greatest ideal and the ultimate truth?

سليمان الكندي
Twitter: @sulayman_Kindi


Sunday, 14 September 2014

Misconceptions regarding Islāmic Penal Code & distancing myself from ISIS

Having taken a neutral stance pending further information on ISIS, I would like to place on record that I now do not regard this group as worthy of the Muslims’ allegiance, especially when such allegiance implies sacrifice of wealth, abode and life. I do however maintain what I had previously stated:

1.      Khilāfah is an important institution of Islām.
2.      Muslims have neglected this institution.
3.      That discussion on Khilāfah has been renewed is a good development in itself.
4.      Whether ISIS is good and sincere or not, Allāh often uses evil people to achieve a good end, which is not clear to His slaves during the course of bad seeming events.

Why am I negative towards them?

1.      Takfīr – ISIS declaring people of Sunnī belief to be unbelievers is not just unsettling in itself, but their justifications are so broad (e.g. anyone who supports the forces of disbelief is a disbeliever himself) that if applied, I cannot imagine that there are more than 100,000 Muslims left in the world. In fact I would venture to say that in time, a diseased mind of Takfīr turns against itself, and eventually there will be members of ISIS accused of apostasy.    
2.      To date the victims of ISIS appear to be more Sunnī than Rawāfiḍ.
3.      Syria has been the home of extremely learned and pious personalities for centuries and remains so to this day. ISIS has had media channels to communicate its views, but neither through ISIS channels nor through other means, have the broader Muslim community learnt the name of a single reliable and learned person who has sworn allegiance to them.
4.      The glamorous Hollywood style videos and amazing Arabic calligraphy at their disposal, whilst not evidence in itself, lends credence to Snowdon’s accusations of the leadership being a MOSSAD plant.   
5.      The vicious means of execution, even if the sentence were justified, is at odds with a religion which teaches humane slaughter of animals and prohibits the mutilation of dead enemy combatants.
6.      How is it that an organisation which claims sufficient scholastic capacity to proclaim the Khilāfah does not have any understanding of the sublime war conventions of Islām?
7.      Again, even if the sentences were justified, why is it, and why with such frequency do these atrocities have to be so broadcasted to make Islām appear as barbaric and hostile as possible?
8.      In addition to lack of scholars, it is reliably reported that the populace are not at ease with ISIS rule.

1.      ISIS expects global Muslim support, but consulted with nobody in proclaiming Khilāfah. So typical of autocratic regimes in Muslim countries and autocratic organisations in non-Muslim countries though!

All the above has or can be detailed by others. Instead, I now wish to discuss the application of Ḥudūd – the Islāmic Penal code, which even sincere Muslims misunderstand.

How “trigger-happy” are we supposed to be with penalties?

Amongst the “blessings” which we have enjoyed for the past century from the Saudi regime is the understanding that the primary function of the Islāmic state is to chop off hands and heads. This is the first image conjured in the minds of not just westerners, but Muslims as well. So for example when Pakistān at times discussed introducing Islāmic Law, the first topic of discussion, based on the Saudi example, was the penal code. Forget Islamic social services, education, health, finance, banking, foreign affairs, etc. Let’s initiate the Islāmic state with chopping off some hands.

I do not deny such penalties. To deny a single verse of the Qurān is apostasy.  I deny the wrong implementation and the ignoring of the spirit of the Sunnah of Allāh’s Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم .

(On a lighter note, I often say that the Qurān decreed crucifixion for highway robbers but today we instead stop at their little offices and pay them tolls)

The penalties are there in the background of a society whose moral education has been attended to. They are only implemented as a last resort and are not the first and frequent recourse of the state. Al-Imām at-Tirmiẓi records the following Ḥadīth, discarded in practice by both the Saudis and ISIS:  

عن عروة عن عائشة قالت قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم ادرءوا الحدود عن المسلمين ما استطعتم فإن كان له مخرج فخلوا سبيله فإن الإمام أن يخطئ في العفو خير من أن يخطئ في العقوبة


Allāh’s Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم   said, “Avert the penalties from the Muslims as far as you are able to. If there is a way out for him then let him go. It is better for the leader to err on the side of pardon than to err in punishment.”

I would hope that this clarifies the issue to those who had not understood the Sunnah in this matter. If an example is needed, then look at the example of our Master, Allāh’s Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم  , not ISIS and the CIA regime which rules Makkah. I shall not comment after the Ḥadīth because it should be obvious how the above instruction was implemented to avert the penalty as far as possible. Many other issues such as the self-righteous attitudes of many Muslims can also be addressed from the following Ḥadīth, but that is not the topic for today.

حدثنا عبد الله بن بريدة عن أبيه أن ماعز بن مالك الأسلمي أتى رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم فقال يا رسول الله إني قد ظلمت نفسي وزنيت وإني أريد أن تطهرني فرده فلما كان من الغد أتاه فقال يا رسول الله إني قد زنيت فرده الثانية فأرسل رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم إلى قومه فقال أتعلمون بعقله بأسا تنكرون منه شيئا فقالوا ما نعلمه إلا وفي العقل من صالحينا فيما نرى فأتاه الثالثة فأرسل إليهم أيضا فسأل عنه فأخبروه أنه لا بأس به ولا بعقله فلما كان الرابعة حفر له حفرة ثم أمر به فرجم قال فجاءت الغامدية فقالت يا رسول الله إني قد زنيت فطهرني وإنه ردها فلما كان الغد قالت يا رسول الله لم تردني لعلك أن تردني كما رددت ماعزا فوالله إني لحبلى قال إما لا فاذهبي حتى تلدي فلما ولدت أتته بالصبي في خرقة قالت هذا قد ولدته قال اذهبي فأرضعيه حتى تفطميه فلما فطمته أتته بالصبي في يده كسرة خبز فقالت هذا يا نبي الله قد فطمته وقد أكل الطعام فدفع الصبي إلى رجل من المسلمين ثم أمر بها فحفر لها إلى صدرها وأمر الناس فرجموها فيقبل خالد بن الوليد بحجر فرمى رأسها فتنضح الدم على وجه خالد فسبها فسمع نبي الله صلى الله عليه وسلم سبه إياها فقال مهلا يا خالد فوالذي نفسي بيده لقد تابت توبة لو تابها صاحب مكس لغفر له ثم أمر بها فصلى عليها ودفنت

Al-Imām Muslim records that Buraydah (may Allāh be pleased with him) narrated:
Mā‘iz bin Mālik al-Aslamī came to Allāh’s Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم   and said, “O Messenger of Allāh! I have indeed wronged myself. I have committed adultery and wish for you to purify me.”
He made him leave but he returned the next day and said, “O Messenger of Allāh! I definitely committed adultery.” Allāh’s Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم   chased him away a second time. He summoned his tribe and asked, “Do you know of any problem with his mind? Is there something you find reprehensible in him?”
They replied, “We do not know of any evil in him, and as far as his mind goes he is amongst our sound ones as far as we can see.”
He then came a third time. So he summoned the tribe and questioned them again about him. They again informed him that there was no issue with him or his sanity.
It was only when he came the fourth time that a hole was dug and he gave the command and he was stoned to death. 

(The Ḥadīth continues that a woman then came and a similar incident ensued where Allāh’s Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم   refused to stone her despite her insistence. Other narrations mention how he tried to dissuade Mā‘iz, “Perhaps you only touched her.” May Allāh be pleased with both these repentant Companions). 

سليمان الكندي
Twitter: @sulayman_Kindi