Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim!
In the Name of Allah, The Most Merciful, The Most Merciful!
DR. PASHA’S ISLAMIC SOLUTIONS
21 Dhul Hijjah 1426/22 January 2006
From the United States of America
I hope you are having a good day.
This I suppose is our E-Letter # 10. And I hope there is in it a thing or two that you may find useful, should that be the will of Allah, the Almighty.
We will keep these E-Letters coming your way as long and as frequently as Allah enables us to do it.
And in them we will, Inshallah, continue to raise issues that we believe need to be raised.
All kinds of issues.
Some, in the form of quiet insights with regard to something in the Qur’an or the Hadith. Some, unabashed whoops of joy and wonder about any of the sky full of miracles about Islam, Muslims, the Qur’an, the Hadith and the wonderful creation of Allah — Subhaanahu wa Ta’aalaa.
Some, arguments — arguments that appear to us to be fairly reasonable and persuasive — about why one thing or another about Islam makes better sense than some other things out there in what some people call the marketplace of ideas.
Some, practical suggestions and proposals for a wish list of projects that, in our view, the Muslims and the world of Allah need.
And some, little more than wistful comments and reflections on who knows what.
I hope you will be along for the ride. Allah bless you if you are. And Allah bless you if you are not.
The Wondrous Deeds of the Unlettered Man, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam!
In the last letter, I think, we made reference to the wondrous deeds of the Unlettered Man — the Ummiy — Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam.
From the unlettered culture of Makkah and Arabia.
The Unlettered Man, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, who was born and raised among an unlettered people — Ummiyyeen.
It was such a man — it was a man with these qualifications and background, it was indeed him — that Almighty Allah handpicked to be a teacher and educator.
Not for just one or two individuals — like Socrates taught Plato and Plato taught Aristotle and Aristotle in turn taught Alexander, if I got all that stuff right.
Not for just this people or that, or for just this particular time period or that — like a fair amount of what Moses and Jesus, Allah bless them, taught their respective peoples, in their own respective times, in their own respective societies, communities and territories.
And like so many scientific theories, findings and beliefs throughout history — time-sensitive things that needed to be changed and modified as times changed and new facts, data, information, models and explanations became available.
Even though many of the divine truths and teachings that Moses and Jesus, Allah bless them, brought with them from God were part of God Almighty’s eternal and timeless plan for humanity. Such as, for example, the proclamation in the Bible — both the Old and the New Testaments: The Lord, your God, is one. And you shall take no God besides him!
The same eternal truth that God Almighty puts in the Qur’an this way:
Laa Ilaaha Illallaah!
There is no God but Allah!
But the wonder of wonders was not that Allah made all these wonderful things happen, even though they are all most amazing wonders in their own right.
But the greatest wonder of all is the fact that he chose this Unlettered Man, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, as a teacher, educator, guide, mentor, exemplar and role-model for everyone, everywhere and for all times to come.
The history of the world ever since his appearance on earth has been a story of the world playing catch-up to his teachings.
Allah’s Amazing Ways
It is amazing the way Allah does things: bringing the dead out of the living and the living out of the dead!
And then he picks an Unlettered Man, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, to be humanity’s teacher and exemplar.
Allah then gives this Unlettered Man, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, a “book” — “The” Book: Al-Kitaab.
Or “Writing” or “Letter.”
The Arabic expression Kitaab could stand for any or all of these things.
In fact That Book, he calls it — Dhaalikal Kitaab — whatever that means.
He then gives that book a most amazing and improbable name. He calls it “The Reading” — Al-Qur’an — or something to be read.
Maybe it means something — a book — that everyone must and shall read — the most read and recited thing in the world. And that indeed has been the story of the Qur’an for the past 1400 years: being the most read and recited book on earth.
The Pen — Al-Qalam: Allah’s Great Weapon Against Human Bondage and Tyranny And Allah’s Key to Human Salvation for All Times to Come!
And in that book Allah says that he created human beings and taught them the power of speech and expression: Khalaqal Insaan. ‘Allamahul Bayaan.
Also in that book Allah says that he made The Pen — Al-Qalam — the instrument of teaching and education. Using the pen to teach human beings all that they did not know: Alladhee ‘Allama Bil-Qalam. ‘Allamal Insaana Maa Lam Ya’lam.
Knowledge as Uncertainty Reduction
By the way, did you know that this is probably as good a definition of knowledge as it may get?
Those of you who know these things more than me — and that means practically everyone out there — check this out: Is there such a thing in your great big books and references — in your “literature” as you would call that body of knowledge — as Uncertainty Reduction?
Minimizing entropy and enhancing redundancy in one way or another, along one scale or another with regard to one object or area of investigation or another?
Chipping away at the boundaries of the Unknown as it were? Is that what knowing is all about?
If it is, then it comes pretty close to the Qur’anic formula of Allamal Insaana Maa Lam Ya’lam: Allah taught human beings what they did not know.
And to do all this — to be a beacon of education and light to the whole world — Allah chooses an Unlettered Man, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, from a culture and among a people who were themselves unlettered.
Setting Humanity Free — Using Al-Qalam, The Pen, as the Weapon of Choice And Using an Unlettered Man from an Unlettered Culture and People to Do the Job
And Allah did all this in times when reading material was scarce, when those who could read were few and far between, and when reading and writing were themselves the prerogative of the privileged few — generally the rich, the nobles, the clerics and the royals.
The common people everywhere were not only denied access to the privilege and means of education, they were in many places forbidden by law from reading and writing — at times on pain of death.
It was against such a background that God Almighty sent the Unlettered Man, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, from the unlettered culture to be a teacher and educator to humanity.
And he sent him with The Book.
And he sent him with The Pen!
And with one fell swoop of his mighty weapon Al-Qalam, The Pen, this Unlettered Man, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, cut open the chains of ignorance that held humanity in bondage and set human beings free from all forms of tyranny for all times to come.
Free to Read! Free to Think!
This Unlettered Man, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam — he set humanity free.
Free to read; free to write; free to think; free to reason and question and argue; free to believe or not to believe; free to speak and express themselves; free altogether to be anything and everything that they chose to be, including the best human beings that Almighty Allah created them with the ability to be.
As Allah put it in the Qur’an: We created human beings in the finest mold — La-Qad Kalaqnal Insaana Fee Ahsani Taqweem.
From that day forward the echo of that simple message — “Read! Iqra’!” — in that lonely cave — Hiraa — became the rallying cry of humanity for freedom and dignity.
From now on, the opportunity, the freedom and the means and wherewithal to read, write and express were to become the birthright of every human being everywhere.
A crumb of mercy and blessing from the table of this Unlettered Man, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, from this unlettered culture.
I Cannot Read!
Thus did Allah choose a man who himself could not read or write, from a culture and a people who were themselves largely uneducated, to be the messenger of freedom, dignity and education to all of humanity for all time to come.
That Unlettered Man, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, himself tells the story of how he pleaded before Jibra’eel, Alaihis Salaam, the Archangel and God Almighty’s special messenger to such mighty prophets as Moses and Jesus, Allah bless them.
“I said,” he says, “I cannot read!”
The angel had come to him in the cave and told him: “Read! — Iqra’!”
But inability to read and write was not a good enough reason for Allah to change his plan to set humanity free from its age-old shackles of ignorance, superstition and tyranny of body, soul, mind and spirit. The angel went on.
“Iqra’!” Said the angel a second time.
“But I cannot read!” Said the Unlettered Man, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam!
And the rest, as they say, is history! But I would rather call it reality.
I will talk about the distinction — between history and reality — sometime in future, if Allah enables me to do so. If I don’t, be kind enough to remind me and maybe I will, Inshallah.
Not an Ordinary Event
To me, this is not an ordinary event — this encounter between the angel and this Unlettered Man, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam.
To me, it is nothing short of a miracle, no matter how you look at it.
And thereafter everything that came into this world as a result of that encounter is a miracle — a living, ongoing miracle that is fresh and relevant in every time and place.
Much of it in the form of the Qur’an that we hold in our hand — every single Aayat and teaching of the Qur’an.
An Aayat Is a Miracle
That is why I insist on calling passages of the Qur’an Aayats — the way Allah calls them — and not “verses,” as Muslims and others call them. The word Aayat in this context means a miracle. That means — Allah knows best what it means — every passage of the Qur’an is a miracle in its own right.
And to me it is — as plain as daylight.
And the miracle of miracles of Allah in sending an Unlettered Man, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, with all this paraphernalia and wherewithal and instruments of education — Kitaab, Qalam, Qur’an, Iqra’, ‘Allamal Insaan and the rest — to educate and train the entire world: Do you know or can you think of a miracle bigger or more overpowering than that?
Of course, it is a miracle for those with eyes to see. But most people are used to looking to the past for miracles.
Or to the sky.
Or to this saint or that.
To many of us, a miracle is when the sea splits or the moon sunders or the dead come alive — no doubt miracles, all of them. They are all miracles because Allah made them happen and declared them to be miracles.
But the fact that Allah sent an Unlettered Man, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, to educate all of humanity is not a miracle?
And the story of the Qalam and the Kitaab and the Qur’an and Iqra’ is not a miracle?
Well, to me each is a bigger miracle than anything else that we call a miracle.
In fact, it is a continuation of the great miracle of Allah’s mercy and love — Rahmat — to his creation.
For, this miracle of the Unlettered Man, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, is the practical and visible manifestation of the everlasting and invisible bond that binds the creation to its creator, Almighty Allah.
That bond is Rahmat — Allah’s unbounded mercy and love and grace.
Allah is Rabbur Rahmah: God of boundless Mercy and Love!
Elsewhere I called him a doting God.
He is Rabbul ‘Aalameen — Master of the Worlds!
And he is Ar-Rahmaan Ar-Raheem — the Most Merciful and Loving, the Most Merciful and Loving!
He is Rabbur Rahmah in heaven and earth and everywhere.
And his Man on Earth is his Unlettered Messenger of Mercy and Love to the Worlds, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam.
He is Rahmatul-Lil-‘Aalameen.
He is Nabiyyur Rahmah!
Carefully watch the equation now!
Allah is Rahmaan: his Rasul is Rahmat — Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam!
Allah is Rabbul ‘Aalameen: his Rasul is Rahmatal Lil Aalameen — Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam!
Allah is Rabbur Rahmah: his Rasul is Nabiyyur Rahmah, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam!
Did you figure it all out? I thought so!
Beyond Ordinary Human Comprehension?
How do you comprehend this or relate to any of this?
It is not, necessarily, Tafsir I am after. That would probably be easier. But what is the meaning of any of this?
You want to call it “true meaning,” do it. Meaning is what interests me — and holds me in thrall.
But right here and now, all I want to do is to set the record straight — so far as the Muslims are concerned.
And so far as the world is concerned.
Poor, Poor Muslims! Preferring to Be Sheep, Rather Than Shepherds
Poor, innocent, naive, gullible Muslims! How sad their story is!
And how self-inflicted many of their wounds are! All too many of them.
So easily and readily led by the nose by whoever comes along and makes a claim on their attention, love and loyalty!
Poor, poor Muslims!
So ready and willing to be sheep like followers and so reluctant to think and be the masterful shepherds that “their” Rasul, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, told them they were — and ought to be.
How long has it been since the Muslims abandoned the path of independent inquiry, original thought and fearless reason? And how long will they continue to do so?
Abandoning the Turf of Love to Christians and Others
Poor Muslims! May Allah have mercy on them!
How long have they abandoned the turf of mercy and love to others?
To Christians, for example?
How long have they stopped realizing that their God is a God of mercy and love, Rabbur Rahmah — even though that is the dominant divine quality that comes through in the Qur’an?
And how long have they stopped realizing that “their” Rasul, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, is Nabiyyur Rahmah, messenger of mercy and love — not only based on the title of Rahmatul Lil-‘Aalameen that Allah bestows upon him, but by every thing that he did and said throughout his life?
Sallallahu ‘Alaihi, wa ‘Alaa Aalihi wa Sahbihi wa Sallam!
I Am Glad You Are with Us
I am glad you are with us — reading this E-Letter. Allah bless you for doing that.
But you can do more than that. You can actively help us to expand the arc for the distribution of our E-Letters.
One way you can do that is by providing us with the E-Mail addresses of those whom you would like to see receive our E-Letters — and asking others to subscribe.
These E-Letters come to you free. So, no one needs to pay a fee to subscribe.
So think about active ways for widening the circulation and availability of these E-Letters.
Feel Free to Share the Good News
Other than that, feel free to circulate this E-Letter to your own Mailing List if you have one. And ask your friends and contacts to do the same. Provide us their E-Mail addresses.
Also feel free to print, publish or use it for educational and non-commercial purposes — but make sure you do so with proper acknowledgement and credit to the author and to his Website www.IslamicSolutions.Com.
Beyond reading our E-Letters, feel free to discuss them with others — and with us. But keep the discussions positive and useful. Don’t get into nitpicking and hair splitting.
Make hard copies and distribute them to people you know and keep them in your mosques and Islamic centres.
Also, please take the trouble of writing back to us. That allows you to get more involved with what we are saying.
Also, it will give us an indication that you care. Isn’t that the least we can do for one another: show we care?
For writing back, please Use the E-Mail: DrSyedPasha [at] AOL [dot] com
Nothing but Drafts
Do bear in mind, however, that our manuscripts — whatever we write, put on the Web or send in the form of letters and E-mails, etc. — are mostly drafts in need of further research and revision, which we are often unable to undertake or complete due to serious time and resource constraints.
Part of that time and resource constraint is our inability to be more exact in our Transliteration. If there are inconsistencies, please overlook them.
As you read, please do not forget me, my parents, teachers and ancestors in your Du’as.
And do please find within you the generosity and compassion to forgive me if I have in any way offended you; or said something I should not have said; or said it in a way that you thought was not appropriate.
Ask Allah to forgive me for any errors that there may be in my E-Letters and to protect me from them in future.
May Allah be with you!
Where and in the way you want him to be!
Allahummaghfir Li-Ummati Muhammadin, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam!
Wassalaamu Alaikum wa Rahmatullah!
© 2006 Syed Husain Pasha
Dr. Pasha is an educator and scholar of exceptional
talent, training and experience. He can be reached at DrSyedPasha [at]
AOL [dot] com or www.IslamicSolutions.com.