E-Group Letter #4

Published Categorised as Articles, E-Group Letters


Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim!
In the Name of Allah, The Most Merciful, The Most Merciful!





Rabiul Thani 13, 1426/May 21, 2005
United States of America



I am glad - grateful to Allah really - that we could get back together so soon after our E-Letter # 3, which came nearly three months after E-Letter # 2.



That is how Allah made it happen. How wonderful and beautiful it is!

Who would want it any other way?

What else can we say? Knowing as we do - or as we ought to do - that he is the real actor; that things happen the way he wants them; and when, where and how he wants them.

And, once again, what better way to begin than to say: Assalasmu Alaikum - extending to you that most amazing of all greetings.

Unlike any in the world and the one and only!

Anywhere, at any time, in any culture or creed!

I guess, absolutely, positively, the nicest, the most wonderful thing anyone can say to anyone.

Wishing you and yours the best of everything good and wonderful you may want - and what may not even occur to you.

Right here in this world as well as in the next world. For, what good is this world if it comes at the price of the next world?

That is what Assalaam means: All that wonderful stuff, here as well as there!

What else can anyone say that would mean as much - or more?

Yes, here as well as there - in this world as well as in the next world. Let us do a quick reality check.

A Quick Reality Check

There is no Islam if the next world (literally: Aakhirah) is not as real to us as this immediate world (literally: Dunya) in which we presently live.

That is, we cannot be Muslim if we do not believe in the next world as strongly and firmly as we believe in our present world.

One is the visible and the seen and the other is the invisible and the unseen - Al-Ghaib.

The animal world mostly operates by the seen - that which is discernible through the senses of sight, sound, touch, taste and smell. Animals run their world based on the Seen.

Allah expects human beings to operate by a higher standard. He expects them to rise above the world of the senses - Haadhihil Hayaatid-Dunyaa - and run their life based on the Unseen.

Al-Ladheena Yu'minoona Bilghaib, is how the Qur'an puts it right at the outset - in the very beginning of Surah Al-Baqarah. The Qur'an, Allah says, is of use and relevance only to those who believe in the Unseen.

And yet that is where many of our troubles may be coming from - from the shakiness of our belief in the next world. That is, our professions to the contrary, our belief in the present world may be somehow stronger and more real than our belief in the next world.

Allahu Akbar! What have I started!

Well, I am going to leave it at that for the time being.

Let us return to the business at hand - this never-ending business of Salaam.

Repeating the Same Thing?

You will say - and it has been said before - I am repeating the same thing over and over again.


But isn't that what we all do: repeat the same thing over and over again? Ask yourself: How many breaths do you take every day, every hour?

Is it the same breath all the time - repeated I mean - or do you take a new breath every time? The air and oxygen and the rest may be different, but the sheer repetitivity of the act of breathing itself - over and over and over.

And just think of the pandemonium that breaks lose when our poor heart fails to repeat its monotonous beating just once!

And think of all the times in a day we repeat to each other the greetings Assalaamu Alaikum?

So, repetition is part of life - often the very foundation of life, I am tempted to say.

Changing a Culture and Creating a New Mindset

All I am doing is asking us to become aware of what we are doing when we say Assalaamu Alaikum.

That is all!

Yes, I am doing that over and over and over. But there is a reason for it.

Ask yourself: How long - how many years, decades or longer - have the Muslims been out of it, as they say?

I mean how long have the Muslims been out of touch with the real meaning and spirit of that piece of Paradise in our hands: Salaam.

So, how do you drill it back into their consciousness?

How do you change that culture of mindless mouthing of this most amazing divine gift and make the Muslims wake up to the reality of it?

How do you move the daily, hourly, exchange of Assalaamu Alaikum among Muslims from being merely a mechanical and automatic function of the reflex arc - as the psychologists would call it - to a staple of their daily dose of conscious, thoughtful and rational reality?

In other words, how do you change a culture?

How do we create a new mindset; a new attitude; a new way of looking at things?

The Pride, the Joy, the Exuberance

Let us ask ourselves: For how long have we been rushing around in the English-speaking West blurting out "Peace Be to you!"? As if "peace" and Salaam are exactly the same thing - word for word.

All I am doing, therefore, is asking us to try to understand and appreciate some of the meaning, richness, depth and scope of what we are saying and doing.

I am not sure we understand the fuller meaning and implications of Salaam at all.

I am not sure we are fully convinced that we have the best greeting product in the marketplace of human social interaction and culture.

If we did, where is the pride? Where is the joy and where is the exuberance?

And where is the passion and commitment to make it a household word?

A Crumb from a Table of Mercy

That is why I want to keep driving home - and keep repeating - my explanation of the meaning of Assalaamu Alaikum till everyone everywhere - Muslim and non-Muslim - gets it.

Till we all become fully aware and convinced that human creativity cannot contrive a better mode or mechanism of greeting one another than this.

Till we see with the naked eye that this is one of the most powerful and living miracles of God Almighty in our hands.

This little crumb that fell in the hands of humanity out of the table of that Mercy-to-the-Worlds human being, himself the miracle of all miracles - Sayyidinaa Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam!

And of which God Almighty made us the custodian in this world - with the explicit command and responsibility to share it with the rest of the world.

A job, I am afraid, we have not done very well. As a result of which the world repeatedly turns against us.

There Is More Where This Came From

So, once this is accomplished - it is up to you how soon you get this job done, because it is the shared responsibility of all of us, you as well as me - we can move on to something else.

Something equally tantalizing, trust me.

Such as, maybe, Inshallah!

Or Mashallah!

Or Bismillah!

Or Alhamdulillah!

Or Allahu Akbar!

Or Subhanallah!

Or Laa Ilaaha Illallah!

Or Innaa Lillahi wa Innaa Ilaihi Raaji'oon!

Or Laa Howla wa Laa Quwwata Illa Billah!

For, there is more where Salaam came from.

Much, much, much more!

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