Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim!
In the Name of Allah, The Most Merciful, The Most Merciful!
DR. PASHA’S ISLAMIC SOLUTIONS
18 Dhul Hijjah 1426/19 January 2006
From the United States of America
I hope you are well.
Here is your next E-Letter. I hope you have had time to read and absorb the others.
If you welcomed them and took the trouble of reading them and reflecting about them, may Allah bless and reward you for doing that. But if you found them an imposition or an encroachment and decided to ignore or delete them, may Allah still bless you and forgive us our trespass on your time and space.
Quite a few of them in rapid succession — these E-Letters I mean — as Allah keeps them flowing. When the draught comes, whenever and however it does, they will be gone.
However, in this letter, we will start out where we trailed off in some of the previous ones: visiting and revisiting the recurring and never-ending miracle of Assalamu Alaikum.
And continuing, each one of us according to our own respective capacities, gifts and inclinations, to relate to and internalize the infinite magic and mystery of this divine gift to the Muslims — those who make a conscious choice to embrace Islam — and through them to the rest of humanity and to the entire universe.
We want to continue to saturate the world — whatever miniscule sliver of it we have access to — with this message till the Muslims and the world realize what a wonderful divine gift they have in their possession.
Therefore, thank you, and Allah bless you, for taking this ride with us.
The Recurring, Ongoing and Ever-Present Miracle of Assalaamu Alaikum: Just Like I Explained in Earlier Letters
What I am saying is this: Islam, no matter how you look at it, is a dazzling, breathtaking kaleidoscope of the most amazing, unusual and improbable messages, teachings, principles, happenings and occurrences. I simply call them miracles.
Just like everything around us in the creation of Allah is a miracle — the sun, the moon and the stars in the sky; a blade of grass, a grain of sand and every leaf on every tree right here on earth; and every hair, every nail and every cell in our own body and in so many other living beings — if only we had eyes to see them.
And, just as I explained in earlier letters, like the everyday Muslim greeting of Assalamu Alaikum!
Most other miracles come and go. They are here now and, before you even realize they are there, they are gone — within the blink of an eye as it were.
The parting of the sea by Moses, Allah bless him.
The raising of the dead by Jesus, Allah bless him.
Or the splitting of the moon by Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam.
Undoubtedly, these were all miracles that happened in different times at different places at the hands of different prophets and messengers of God, may Allah bless them all. We believe in them because God Almighty confirmed them for us in the Qur’an.
And Qur’an is what stands guard over the veracity and authenticity of some of the key teachings and experiences of some earlier prophets, in earlier times. Allah made the Qur’an their Muhaimin.
The Miracle of Muhaimin
One meaning of the Arabic expression Muhaimin is guard, keeper or custodian. It is someone who keeps a watchful eye over things and is responsible for preserving and protecting them.
Al-Muhaimin is one of Allah’s most glorious names, which means Allah is ever watchful over his creation and protective of it.
And in the Qur’an, Allah defines one of the roles of the Qur’an in this world as Muhaimin, which could mean that the Qur’an stands guard over some of the most significant and important historical verities, messages, teachings, truths, facts and principles in this world, especially as they are embodied in earlier divine revelations. The role of the Qur’an is to provide verification and validation for their essential truth and accuracy.
Hear what Allah has to say in Surah Al-Maa-idah, Aayah 48:
Wa Anzalnaa Ilaikal Kitaaba Bilhaqqi Musaddiqal Limaa
Baina Yadaihi Minal Kitaabi wa Muhaiminan ‘Alaihi.
“And we sent down to you the Book, with Truth, confirming the Book that is before it,
and as a guardian and protector watching over it” (5:48).
Allahu Akbar! What kind of a statement is this?
A book that comes into this world last and confirms and validates the teachings of all the earlier books and revelations! What could be a more persuasive argument for Qur’an’s own truth and authenticity.
Going with the Qur’an: When the Qur’an Says Yes, We Say Yes, But When the Qur’an Remains Silent, We Withhold Judgment
As a result, we believe in the truth of earlier miracles at the hands of God’s many prophets and messengers, may Allah bless them, because and to the extent the Qur’an validates, verifies and confirms them. Beyond that, in cases where the Qur’an is silent, we suspend judgment and await the best proof and evidence that an honest and efficient investigation of the past may uncover.
That is why the report of Jesus, Allah bless him, raising the dead is a fact for us — because the Qur’an says so.
And that is why the story of Moses parting the sea is also true for us — because God Almighty said so in the Qur’an.
And that is why we do not commit ourselves with regard to the supernatural or miraculous doings of some others — because the Qur’an is silent on the subject.
However, historically, and for much of the world, these were events that probably occurred in the context of a particular time and place in front of a particular group of people. And then they were gone — leaving a lot of people all over the world to wonder if, and whether, and when, and where, and in whose presence and before whose eyes they happened.
Everyday Miracles of Islam
But not so the regular, everyday, commonplace and recurring miracles of Islam that I am talking about. They are eternal and everlasting, just as they are routine, abundant, ongoing, ever-present and overwhelming.
They are with us in every age and place.
Such as, for example, this ordinary little greeting of Assalamu Alaikum that every Muslim uses everywhere so routinely, mechanically and almost nonchalantly, but which on more careful thought turns out to be so totally timeless, global, unusual and extraordinary — in a word, a miracle.
Assalamu Alaikum is one of the most common, ongoing, ever-present, abiding, universal, accessible and widely seen miracles of all time. In this sense, it is a common man’s miracle.
It is seen by practically everyone everywhere — all the time. And Muslims own it.
Or Muslims are its devoted, though often ignorant and uninformed, servants.
Where Did it Come From?
But did you ever think how we Muslims came by that most amazing form of greeting? Who invented it? And how we came to own it?
Thereby hangs another one of those “little” miracles that Islam is so full of. One of those living, everyday miracles of Islam.
That means no matter how you look at it, Assalamu Alaikum is probably the most wonderful greeting there is in this world — most meaningful, most comprehensive and most in keeping with any place, time or mood that you may be in.
But where did it come from?
Well, to say the least, one more time, it came directly from Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam. It was he who gave it to us. It was he who used it and it was he who taught it to his companions, who practiced it all their lives and taught it to those who came after them, … , and so on, till it came down to us.
Until the End of Time
And we shall pass it on, Inshallah, to the next generation, who will then pass it on to the next generation, … , and so on, … , until the end of time.
In other words, this little custom, greeting, expression, social nicety, public prayer, general blessing or whatever else you want to call it, is at least 1400 years old on this earth, and it has been exactly the same all this time.
It is one of the most authentic ancient things on the face of this earth. One of those living, ongoing, plentiful, superabundant miracles of Islam.
I don’t know how this may strike others, but to me it is the most wonderful thing. It makes me feel special, happy, proud, humble and incredibly grateful to God for having given us a gift like that — all at the same time.
Every Muslim A Walking Miracle
And what does all this make a Muslim? And what does it make the Muslim Ummah as a whole?
In my view, as the custodian, practitioner and embodiment of a living and eternal miracle like this, it makes every Muslim — man and woman, as the Qur’an would say in a most miraculous display of gender parity — a walking, talking, breathing miracle under the sun.
Or is it over the sun? Need to ask someone who understands these things better.
Just as it makes the entire Muslim Ummat a most amazing collective miracle at any given time or place. If you want to call it a most unusual and remarkable sociological phenomenon instead, it is fine with me. Just so long as you keep those superlatives coming.
Back to Al-Asmaa’ Al-Husnaa
Let us now return, one more time, to our ongoing review of Allah’s most glorious and beautiful names: Al-Asmaa’ Al-Husnaa.
We said that the name Ar-Rahmaan alone should be enough to fill this world, for ever and ever, with all that this world needs or could ever need. But Allah so many times couples that name in the Qur’an with another powerful name Ar-Raheem, which, in its turn, should be enough to fill this world with all the most wonderful things all by itself.
And Allah does so, every time — whenever these two names occur together — without separating them by even so much as a little “Wau.”
But the blessings, mercy and love of Allah, Subhaanahu wa Ta’aala, for his world do not stop with these two most generous gifts. They go on to highlight and accentuate more specific aspects of his mercy and love in the form of a number of other names and attributes of Allah.
Let us take a look at some of them.
Let’s Get Ready for Another Miracle Along the Way!
It is important to know that several of the attributive names of Allah are all superlative formulations of the underlying attributes that they represent. In Arabic language, such a phenomenon is called Mubaalagha.
And this, all by itself, is yet another miracle of Islam — and the Qur’an.
Thus, Rahmaan is not just “Merciful,” but “Most Merciful.”
So also Raheem — the Most Merciful.
So also ‘Aleem — the All-Knowing, the Most Knowledgeable.
So Also Khabeer — the one who is aware of everything.
So also Qadeer — the one who has power over everything.
So also ‘Aliyy, and ‘Azeem, and Kabeer, and Naseer, and Waliyy, and Jaleel, and Wakeel — all of these names are scaled to Fa-‘eel, which is one of the superlative scales in the Arabic language. You can refer to your sources for their meaning.
Another one of those superlative Arabic scales being Fa’laan, which Rahmaan represents.
Yet another superlative formulation is the Fa’aal scale which frames such names of Allah as Qahhaar and Jabbaar and Sattaar and Ghaffaar.
Yet another superlative scale is Fa’ool on which are formulated names of Allah such as Saboor and Shakoor and Ghafoor and Ra’oof.
What can I say? It is one endless explosion of the most brilliant light, colour and fireworks from all sides — these glorious and beautiful names of Allah, Subhaanahu wa Ta’aalaa.
As the Qur’an puts it: Wa Lahul Asmaa’ul Husnaa — to him indeed belong all beautiful names and attributes. Who else can they possibly belong to if not him? Who else can possibly lay claim to any of them if not he?
Not Just Rahmaan and Raheem, But also Ghafoor and Ghaffaar!
So, the story does not end with Ar-Rahmaan and Ar-Raheem. It just keeps on moving and unfolding.
It moves to Al-Ghafoor: the most forgiving — mercy and love that take the form of forgiveness.
And to Al-Ghaffaar — even more of the most forgiving.
And to At-Tawwaab: the greatest accepter of repentance — mercy and love that manifest in eagerness to give sinners a chance.
And to As-Sattaar: the one who covers up the sins, failures, shortcomings and vulnerabilities of his slaves — mercy and love that will not let his slaves suffer public exposure and humiliation.
And to Al-Hannaan: the compassionate one — mercy and love showing as the tenderness of a mother for the baby.
And to Ar-Razzaaq.
And to Al-Mannaan.
And to Al- Wahhaab.
And to Al-Barr.
And to Al-Lateef.
And to Al-Muhsin.
And to Al-Muqeet.
And to Ar-Ra-oof.
And so on. Look up your references for their meaning.
Don’t ask me what they are. I gave up long time ago any pretence of keeping up with them.
Maybe some day, when Allah knows I am ready, and when his Rahmah envelops me totally and completely, he will bring me close to them and he will open my heart and mind to them. Till that time, I am going to leave them alone — and just continue using and reciting them as Allah gives me the ability and opportunity to do so.
Missing Out on Miracles
Can someone tell me how we missed out on all these miracles?
Can anyone explain to me how this flood of miracles could have sailed past so many of us Muslims without us being even aware of it?
But are we missing the point in all this?
What the world needs, Muslims and non-Muslims alike, is a straightforward reaffirmation of the simple truths of the Qur’an — and of Islam. Not merely technicalities and elaborate quotes from all kinds of learned sources and scholars.
What the world needs is Haqq that is directly from Allah: Al-Haqqu Mir-Rabbika.
And what the world needs is the simple Sunnat of Rasulullah, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam.
That is what the world is most in need of a simple and direct rearticulation of.
Simple Truths of Islam, Stated with Tantalizing Clarity
Simple things stated with amazing clarity and straightforwardness. Try La Ilaha Illallah, Muhammad Rasulullah for a model.
I am tempted to say, well, we invented the art and science of communication — and of equations and models. But who would believe me, given the sad and deplorable state of education among Muslims these days.
If you notice, I am saying “Muslims” and moving on quickly. I am trying hard not to say Muslim societies and Muslim cultures.
Therefore, it is our Rabb, that is who did it. It is Rabbul Aalameen who did it. It is he who invented these things and gave them to us. Things which we then threw away and forgot all about.
Al-Kallaaqul ‘Aleem did it.
Alladhee ‘Allama Bil-Qalam did it.
The inimitable Qur’an did it.
Allah’s beloved Rasul, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, did it.
That Unlettered man from that Unlettered culture did it.
The unlettered son of an unlettered people, whom God handpicked to become the teacher of humanity for all times to come. He did it.
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Also, it will give us an indication that you care. Isn’t that the least we can do for one another: show we care?
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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 I should not have.
May Allah be with you!
Where and in the way you want him to be!
Allahummarham Ummata 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.