Continuing the Story of
Miracles in Islam II
(Bringing Islam to the World One Concept at a Time!
Taking the Qur’an to Every Home and Heart that Needs It --
And which One Does Not?)
Everyday Miracles of Islam
Thus, no matter how you look at it, Islam, the Qur’an and the life of even the most ordinary Muslims are all full of things that can only be described as miraculous.
I call them the Everyday Miracles of Islam – and Muslims.
By that I mean all the wonderful and amazing phenomena that are part of Islam and Muslim life, and of course part of the most miraculous Qur’an, but which are either unknown, unnoticed, unrecognized, un-understood, unappreciated, ignored, minimized or dismissed as unimportant by most people in the world, including most Muslims.
But to me the story of Islam – and of the Qur’an and of Muslims – is the story of a ceaseless torrent of these Everyday Miracles – facts, events, happenings and realities whose probability of happening in real life is so low as to make their occurrence almost impossible.
The fact is that Islam, the Qur’an, the Hadith – and the life of the most ordinary of Muslims – is brimming with them.
That is right: even the life of the most ordinary of Muslims is full of these everyday Islamic miracles.
If only we had eyes to see; ears to hear; minds to ponder, analyze and understand; hearts to absorb, enjoy and appreciate – and, to a significant degree, if we had the integrity, honesty, humility and courage to acknowledge!
The Honest Choice:
Either Accept Them or Account for Them
That means when faced with these miracles, you either account for them, which means you come up with some natural, rational and plausible explanation for them. Or you accept them at face value – for what they claim to be – as being entirely a gift and a miraculous blessing from God Almighty.
Miracles. Nothing but miracles.
Or better still, you do both: you accept them as divine gifts and miracles and yet at the same time continue to investigate them rationally and scientifically as the Qur’an admonishes us to do at every turn.
The choice is that simple.
And you come out on top – as they say – no matter which alternative you pursue.
And these Everyday Miracles of Islam, as I call them, are living and vivid in every age and time, right before the eyes of every generation, either to accept or to reject. In every age, time and place, these Everyday Miracles of Islam exist in the form of hard, contemporary and compelling realities, and not as vague, mysterious, fragmented, reconstructed memories from debris of times gone by – memories that are either shrouded in the mist of time and legend or which are in constant flux, splintering, rediscovery and reconstitution.
“Good” Muslims Make the Difference, Whereas “Bad” Muslims Are Just That:
I now turn to one such miracle: the everyday miracle of “fun” in Islam, that I made a reference to a long time ago.
Let me begin by sharing with you a little exchange I had with some Muslims in England – “good” Muslims that is. It is always the “good” Muslims that interest me. The “bad” ones don’t really seem to matter that much in Allah’s scheme of things.
There is very little entropy or uncertainty associated with them – the so-called “bad” Muslims I mean. The course and outcome of their lives and conduct are quite known and predictable.
The “bad” Muslims, whoever they are and however you define them – and regardless of whether they have chosen to be bad morally, philosophically, politically, economically, socially or in Ibaadaat or in Mu’aamallaat – have more or less made a conscious decision to be bad and evil, or at least to continue to move along the path of being bad and evil.
God and his angels are well equipped to deal with them. And to protect the Muslims and the world from the evil they may unleash.
But there is a catch, and the “good” Muslims are that catch. It is the “good” Muslims – always the “good” Muslims – that are a bit of a thorn in the flesh of human life on earth. They are the ones who make the difference in this world.
They are the ones who sometimes get in the way of Allah, his Rasul, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, Islam, Muslims and the world, and make a mess of Allah’s world. The world then becomes essentially what they make. The so-called “good” Muslims I mean.
It is they whose lack of imagination and education, whose lack of knowledge and understanding, whose overactive egos and sensitivities, and whose lack of leadership and discipline create havoc for Muslims in this world – and for the world in general.
As a poet once said: Is ghar ko aag lag ga-ee ghar kay charaagh say!
Paraphrase: It was the lamp inside the house that burned down this house.
That is in part because Allah cares about these people, the “good” Muslims, and, as a result, he lets them commit all the foolishness they want to commit in this world – the next world and its joys and wonders being guaranteed for them.
Naturally, when they, the “good” Muslims, behave in all kinds of strange and questionable ways that they so often seem to do, Allah’s Sunnat of cause-and-effect takes hold in his world, and everyone pays the price. Muslims as well as non-Muslims – all of Allah’s creation on earth, in fact – pay the price.
Muslim history is full of any number of heartbreaking instances that illustrate this.
The Miracle of “Fun” in Islam
Some years ago a fairly important Muslim leader in England asked me a question at the end of a set of speeches I gave and at the conclusion of a rather sumptuous feast he had arranged, Allah bless him, for some of us.
“So, what are your future plans?” he asked over steaming kebab and pilaf. To which I replied in a rather meaning sort of a way: “To have fun! Endless fun! Inshallah!”
Then I added after pausing a second or two for effect, “Right here in this world and, hopefully, if Allah is merciful, in the next world, after my death.”
The silence that followed could have been carved with a butcher’s knife. It was broken only when people began to react with visible signs of surprise.
In response, I recited that most amazing Aayat of the Qur’an – that most incomparable gift of Du’a or prayer that Muslims have in their possession, in many cases unbeknownst to themselves. A prayer given to them by none other than God Almighty himself.
“Rabbanaa aatinaa fiddunyaa hasanatan wa fil aakhirati hasanah!”
How in the world do you render in English that most amazing Qur’anic expression Hasanah? The best I can do is “something good, something wonderful, something amazing, something indescribably joyous and felicitous.”
Having, mashallah, brought up, as they say in this part of the world, three children in America – may Allah bless them and give them the best of both worlds – boy, do I know a thing or two about what those two words, “Something Good,” mean!
For child after child, may Allah bless each one of them, that has meant the endless quest for something nice, wonderful, exciting, amazing, rewarding – and fun. Of course, all this within the bounds (hudood) of what is right, lawful, Halaal – and also affordable for the parents.
The results generally were endless hunt for parents and endless joy – not only for the children, but also, in some inexplicable way, for the parents as well.
And here is Almighty Allah teaching us to ask him for “Something Good” – right here in this world as well as in the next world. Does that mean Allah loves us like the most doting of parents in this world love their children?
To answer that question, let me tell you two things, one from the Qur’an and the other from the Hadith.
Does it also mean that it was We-the-Muslims who gave American culture and language that beautiful expression “fun”? But about that some other time, inshallah.
Allah, “The Most Loving”
In the Qur’an, Allah calls himself not just Rahmaan and Raheem (most merciful and most merciful), Ghaffaar and Ghafoor (most forgiving and most forgiving), and Jawaad (most generous) and Wahhaab (greatest giver of gifts and bounties) and Kareem (most generous and noble), but also Al-Waduud.
Very respectfully, let me give every reader a simple assignment: Please somehow check the meaning of that expression Al-Waduud in an Arabic-English dictionary. Or check it in an Arabic-Urdu dictionary, if you will. Or ask someone else to do it for you.
If it turns out to be something like “Most Loving” in English and “Bohut hi mohabbat karnay waalaa” in Urdu, then go ask the Muslims how come they never told you this, when they were busy thundering everything else at you from the Minbars and other public platforms.
That was the Qur’an. Now let me tell you about the Hadith.
In the Hadith, the Prophet, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, says that Allah sent down one percent of his love and mercy into this world – his Rahmah. And it is out of that one percent that every animal and human mother finds the love, which it showers upon her young.
How much clearer does it get that Allah is a “Most Loving God”, whether you look at it using the Hadith or using the Qur’an?
The Miracle of Ar-Rahmaan: A Simple Question No One Asks
This is not to attack, insult or put down anyone or anything. This is just a simple question that everyone must ask and yet no one seems to do.
It is actually two questions in one. And here is the first question: Who do you know, other than God Almighty, in the Qur’an, who calls himself Ar-Rahmaan – the most merciful, loving, caring, compassionate and doting one?
Does anyone know anyone by that name? Or as the Qur’an puts it: Hal ta’alamu lahoo samiyya?
That is the first part of that two-part question if you want to call it that. Who do you know, other than God Almighty in the Qur’an, who goes by that name or title – Ar-Rahmaan?
We are not talking about a certain exotic name lying buried in the obscure and rarely read pages of this or that book in this or that cave. We are talking instead of a well-known and famous name that is on the lips of almost everyone everywhere every day? At almost the same level as the common expressions God and Lord?
I don’t want it to come out sounding the way it is going to, and I certainly do not want to insult anyone’s religion or culture, but here is my question, and it is an honest and humble one: Who else is out there that has a God named Ar-Rahmaan – the most merciful, loving and compassionate one?
Is there anyone else there with a God with that name?
Hal ta’lamu lahoo samiyya?
This is the case the Muslims failed to make.
Allah bless the Muslims. They owe the world an apology for sitting on this treasure like a snake and not sharing it with the people of the world.
The Miracle of Abdur-Rahmaan:
An Example from the Life of Ordinary Muslims
And the second question, which you can consider a corollary of the first question, is this: Who else, other than Muslims, other than the followers of the Prophet, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, go about calling themselves the “People or Slaves of Ar-Rahmaan”?
Do you know anyone by that name? I don’t. I am not saying there is no one in the world with a name like that other than the Muslims. All I am saying is I don’t know anyone by that name. Do you?
‘Abdur-Rahmaan – slave of the most merciful, loving and compassionate one – is as popular a Muslim name as you are going to find in any part of the world. It is like John or Bob in America.
Does anyone know anyone else with that name?
What an amazing and breathtaking miracle is this simple fact of Islam! And what an ordinary and yet widely prevailing fact it is in the everyday life and existence of Muslims around the world!
And how sadly ignorant our world is about this ever-living miracle of Islam and ordinary Muslim life! Thanks mainly to the indifference of the Muslims to the duty of taking the word of God Almighty to every home and heart that needs it.
And how ignorant are the Muslims themselves!
God in his heaven and in his creation, and in his eternal book, immortalized his glorious name: Ar-Rahmaan, which means the most loving and merciful and compassionate one. And the Muslim followers of the Prophet, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, have kept that name alive and active all over the world, for all these 1400 years, by naming their sons Abdur-Rahmaan right here on earth.
Who cannot see this direct and most luminous connection that exists between heaven and earth? Between God in heaven and the Muslim followers of the Prophet, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, right here on earth?
If God Almighty in heaven above is Ar-Rahmaan – the eternal fount of love, mercy and compassion – his slaves the Muslims personify in their name of Abdur-Rahmaan the continuing outflow of that divine love and mercy right here on earth. They are the conduit of that divine mercy to the world.
Wake up the Muslims and tell them this. And also don’t forget to tell the world this.
How simple and beautiful this miracle of Islam and Qur’an and Muslim life is. And how sad and tragic is the fact that the world knows nothing about it.
And how wrong, baseless, mischievous, perverse, evil and wicked it is that some in this world should try to associate the beautiful and glorious name of Islam with violence – and with all that is evil, terrible, cruel and inhuman in this world!
Just Like the Miracle of Assalaam
The miracle of Ar-Rahmaan is no different from the miracle of As-Salaam. It is just another colossal find that came out of the same diamond mine of Islam and the Qur’an.
As-Salaam is all that is good. Remember, we said “Something Good” earlier? Now upgrade it to “All That Is Good.” That is As-Salaam. And that is God Almighty, the maker and master of this world and all that exists in that world. The one and only creator and lord.
Laa Ilaha Illah Hu! No one deserves to be served, loved, adored, worshipped or obeyed so totally, completely and wholeheartedly – and in every single aspect and walk of our life – as he.
And that includes any good, noble, decent, lawful and “fun” thing that any human being needs or can think of, such as health, wealth, happiness, security, liberty, dignity, honor, opportunity, and the rest.
All good and beautiful and felicitous names and attributes belong to him. They are all his domain. As the Qur’an itself phrases it: Wa lahul asmaa-ul husnaa.
I am not saying he is the source and fount of all those good things. I am saying, he is those things. And in saying it, all I am doing is echoing the words of the Qur’an: Al-Malikul Quddoosus Salaam…
And each one of those divine attributes and qualities then extends from infinity to infinity in overlapping and intertwining continua from ever to for ever.
What a miracle! And what a beautiful and blessed gift to the world from the maker and master of the world!
Now is it fair to ask if you know anyone who has a god with that name? I am not saying no one does. All I am saying is that I don’t know. And, mind you, I am not referring to some obscure name known only to an exclusive and elite set of specialists, but a name that is most common in society and that is practically on the lips of everyone.
Is that miracle enough for you? But wait, we are not done yet.
And the Miracle of ‘Abdus-Salaam
Just like Ar-Rahmaan and ‘Abdur-Rahmaan, Assalaaam is also the miraculous and bounteous name of God Almighty in heaven. And, just as in the case of ‘Abdur-Rahmaan, Muslims are God Almighty’s designated conduit of all that goodness to his creation on earth.
For, ‘Abdus-Salaam is also another most common and popular name among Muslims throughout the world.
What a miracle.
And how sadly unaware of their own true status and role in this world are the Muslims!
Who Else Is Doing That?
For example, how many big, fat books, with footnotes, do you need to read before realizing that – perhaps – there is no one else in this world running around wildly and uncontrollably blessing everyone and everything in sight?
I mean saying Assalamu Alaikum! to one and all.
To those you know. And to those you do not know. ‘Alaa Man ‘Arafta, wa ‘Alaa Man Lam Ta’arif – as Allah’s beloved Rasul, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, told you to do.
Do you know anyone else who does that?
Greatest Tragedy of All:
Muslim Failure to Tell Non-Muslims about Islam – And About Themselves
Practically everywhere, and in practically every age, Muslims failed to make a concerted effort to tell non-Muslims about Islam. And about themselves.
That to me is the greatest tragedy ever to hit our world.
Yes, every little thing that afflicts humanity is sad and tragic. And it is the duty of every caring, compassionate and civilized human being – more so of the Muslims than of anyone else – to work to remove and prevent it.
But no tragedy is perhaps greater than the darkness that besets the human soul due to its ignorance of matters vital to its wellbeing. That means no tragedy is greater than the world’s ignorance of the truth that God Almighty sent down in the form of divine revelation to all the prophets – may God bless them all.
A truth the final and most updated version of which God revealed in the form of Islam in the Qur’an for the guidance and deliverance of humanity for all time to come.
That means no tragedy in this world is sadder than the failure of the Muslims to take the light and truth of the Qur’an and of Islam to every home and heart that needs it in every part of the world. It is this failure, and this culpable and criminal negligence, on the part of the Muslims that has been at the root of a lot of other tragedies that have been the fate of the Muslims and rest of humanity for all these years, decades and centuries.
And not till the Muslims everywhere – as individuals, groups, organizations, communities, societies and as a global Ummah as a whole – rededicate themselves to this goal, using all their resources and talents, will the condition of the world, and the condition of the Muslims, change for the better.
Islam and Fun:
Can the Twain Ever Meet?
So, let us now resume, once again, our talk of the notion of “fun” in Islam.
Islam and “fun”: can the twain ever meet? Is that the question? Or is the question, more appropriately, can the twain ever part? Or is the question, even more appropriately and fundamentally than before, when did they ever part?
That means, if you say: “How can we have fun in Islam?” I will reply: “How can we have Islam and not have fun?”
Ask the Sahaabi, Radiyallahu ‘Anhu, (May God Almighty be pleased with him!) who was taken prisoner by the unbelievers in Makkah. They offered him a deal to spare his life.
“Your man Muhammad’s life for your life,” they said.
Without a moment’s hesitation the Sahabi replied: “No deal! Not even my life for the price of a pinprick for Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam!”
I am broadly paraphrasing his speech here of course.
Ask yourself: Would he have said what he said if he was not having fun? That occasion to him, when he said it, was probably one of the highest, finest, “funnest” and most exciting and thrilling moments of his entire life.
How grateful and overjoyed he must have been to be offered an opportunity – and an equation – like that! His life for the Prophet, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam’s, life! Do you doubt that?
So, the question to me is not if the notion of fun is compatible with Islam, but rather how can you say you have Islam and not have fun?
Reading Iqbal Can Be Fun
Let me give you some more examples of how it is possible to be a Muslim and have fun at the same time. Do you think Iqbal was not having fun when he wrote his world-famous, soul-stirring poetry – whether in Urdu or in Farsi?
And do you think those who have been reading Iqbal for the past one hundred years or more did not have fun then or do not continue to have fun now?
What world do you live in?
What about reading Ghalib – even though many of you may not look upon his poetry with favor? But if you knew Ghalib, you would know that the man had few equals – in any language.
Or what about reading Jami or Hafiz? Or Rumi? Or Amir Khusroe?
Of course, some of us would like to declare them all personae non grata – often without a proper understanding of who they really were and what their true message really was.
What about reading parts of Shakespeare for that matter? And so many other great poets and prose writers throughout history in so many languages from around the world? From England; from Europe; from America; and from Asia and Africa?
What magical effect do some of their great writings have on those who know these languages and allow themselves to be held in thrall by them?
What is all of that if not a practical manifestation of the divine gift of Wa ‘allamahul bayaan – (my paraphrase: and God taught the human being the art, craft and science of expression) – that the Qur’an talks about in Surah Ar-Rahmaan?
And what is all that if not fun? Good, clean, Halaal, pure fun? A soaring of the human spirit to greater and nobler heights? An opening of the human mind to newer and ever-expanding horizons?
The Indescribable Delights of the Divine Revelation
As for the delights of the words and meaning of the Qur’an, whether in company or alone, and whether listening to them being read by a gifted, God-fearing reader or reading them yourself, well, if you haven’t experienced any of it, then there is no point in talking about it, is there? For, the wonders of the magical effects of the Qur’an on the human body, mind and spirit are in a class by themselves.
Nothing compares to them. Nor can words adequately describe them. They have to be experienced to be believed or known.
And don’t forget the sheer joy and exuberance of reveling in the words of the Prophet, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, in the Hadith – another form or level or version of divine revelation.
In huwa illaa wahyun yoohaa, is how the Qur’an describes the speech of the Prophet, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam. My paraphrase: what is it if not divine revelation?
The fact is Islam provides its own “fun” to those who freely and fully succumb to its charm.
And who was it who said Inna minal bayaani la-sihraa? My paraphrase: Surely, some forms of expression can be like magic. And he – Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam – surely introduced humanity to the two highest forms of expression and fun: the Qur’an and the Hadith.
What power! What beauty! What charm! And what fun!
And what a wonderful and blessed miracle!
Nature of Fun in Islam
What most people do not understand is that fun is a product mostly of the mind and not really of the body — even though some rigid Pavlov-Watson-Skinner-type behaviorists may dispute that.
To them, it is all a simple neurochemical activation of the selected parts of the human cortex – in the brain. To me, it is a more complex and elevated state of the mind – or of the soul or of the spirit, if you will, depending on the type of fun you are having.
And to me the two are mutually reinforcing and not exclusive: the body and the mind.
What many people may not realize, however, is that the fun Islam offers is clean, good, healthy, noble, decent, constructive fun. It is fun that is altogether “spiritual,” even when it appears to be most physically and corporeally based.
It is an amazing lift; it is a burst of energy and excitement; it is a flare of radiance and power; it is a soaring, scintillating, soothing experience, all at the same time, that your mind and your soul get; and it is something you are hardly able to put in words when you are having the kind of fun Islam gives you.
A Perspective from the Bible
Listen to what the Bible has to say about that indescribable state of psychological elevation and spiritual high – about that ineffable experience of pure fun.
“They are drunken,” says the Bible. “But not with wine.”
“They stagger,” says the Bible. “But not with strong drink.”
This is the Bible talking! So, what giddiness was it that swept them, even though they had touched no wine and consumed no liquor?
It is a familiar feeling to those who have allowed themselves to be totally absorbed in the Qur’an – on those occasions when the Qur’an calls you and connects with you. You are laughing and crying all at the same time. You feel the most wonderful you ever felt even as tears are streaming down your cheeks.
What a state to be in! And what fun!
And what a miracle from God Almighty!
When Your Eyes First Locked on the Ka’abah
Remember the day you first went to Hajj or Umrah? Those of you whom Allah blessed with that experience?
Remember how you were walking toward the Haram Sharif from wherever you were, wrapped in your Ihraam and saying all the prayers and chants you could think of? Your eyes were all over the horizon and you had no idea what lay under your feet. And then suddenly there it was, right in front of you, filling the sky and filling your eyes – and filling your soul.
The Ka’abah! Big, black and beautiful beyond words.
Your eyes locked on it and wouldn’t let go. And all of a sudden all consciousness was drained out of you and you knew and felt nothing except this incredible black beauty looming before your eyes.
Can you put in words your feelings at that time? Would you want to exchange that feeling, and that experience, for something a bit more “fun”? For something a bit more exciting or soothing or rewarding in this world?
Well, that is the kind of fun Islam offers those whose hearts have been lit up by its eternal flame – those whom God Almighty has pulled out from all kinds of “darknesses” into his own divine light.
As Allah himself says in the Qur’an: Yukhrijuhum minaz zulumaati ilannoor. Paraphrase: God Almighty brings them out of layers upon layers of different kinds and levels of darkness into light.
And as he also says in the same, beautiful, noble and incomparable Qur’an: Allahu noorus samaawaati wal ard. Paraphrase: God Almighty indeed is the light of heavens and earth.
At the Grave of Sayyidina Muhammad,
Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam
And how about those who have stood facing the grave of Sayyidina Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, for the first time – or for the fifteenth time for that matter? Why don’t you ask them to describe their experience to you and then see what they have to say?
Ask them if they would like to relive that moment again. Ask them if they would like to exchange it for something else.
If you were ever there and if you ever lived that moment, you know what happened that day. And it is still vivid in your mind, as if it had happened only yesterday. There was no conscious thought; there was no visible speech. Instead, there was only a torrential downpour of silent tears. And there was, inside your heart, a churning ocean of emotions that can neither be named, nor described nor duplicated.
That one moment was worth a lifetime’s wait, was it not? Call it bliss, call it joy, or call it what you will, but it was probably the most “fun” you ever had or could have in this world all your life, wouldn’t you say?
Who Was It that Took All Fun Out of Life?
So who took out all fun from life – and deprived us of all the beautiful things with which Allah packed this world when he prepared it as a very special habitation for a very special person: the human being?
Here are the direct words of the Qur’an on the subject: Qul man harrama zeenatallahillatee akhraja li-ibaadih?
As for a paraphrase of what those words mean, I have already given it in the previous paragraph.
Islam: What “Fun”!
And What a Blessed Movement!
That, therefore, is the feeling you get – to summarize one more time some of what I mean by “fun” – when you are in deep reflection about Allah’s beloved Rasul, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, and the most marvelous miracle of his life on earth.
When you are lost in contemplation of how in an impossibly short span of 20 years, this man, working all by himself, and with the whole world against him, changed the world, making it better for all its inhabitants, including his worst enemies.
And how, wherever his influence reached, he banished injustice and oppression, and how he opened the doors to wealth, health, prosperity, peace, security, joy and truth for all.
And how using no more than four words – Laa ilaaha illaa Allah – he built a whole movement that guaranteed to all human beings on earth all-round success and felicity, not only in this world but also in the next world.
A movement based on good. A movement whose central premise was love – love for God and love for humanity. A movement whose motto was service to God in heaven and service to all of God’s creation right here on earth.
Just the thought of this most amazing divine movement the Prophet, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, built on earth for the benefit of all of humanity. A most comprehensive human movement created for all human beings in all places and times using a compassionate, merciful and loving God’s most timeless and trans-spatial teachings.
Islam! And the eternal movement that Islam is! And always was – from Adam to Moses and from David to Jesus, God bless them all!
An Entire Movement in No More Than Four Words
Life, let us not forget, is movement.
It is a movement: from a point of origin to a point of termination. It is clearly a linear movement of some kind. A curvilinear movement, if you want to call it that.
But it is a movement nonetheless.
That would mean any attempt to address issues pertaining to human life on earth will also have to express themselves in the form of a movement. It is simple logic: if you want to board a moving train, you need to propel and move your own body to keep pace with the velocity and acceleration of the train in motion.
So is God Almighty’s entire creation a movement.
Kullun yajree li-ajalim musammaa, is how the Qur’an describes the “life-cycle” of creation, if you will.
So, to keep pace with this secret of creation, human life included – movement – Islam also had to be a movement. For, Islam makes it clear that it came to address the challenges, needs and problems of human life on earth.
The entire universe had already been pre-programmed to function in its pre-determined way, using Islam as its operating and guiding system. Now human life had to make its choices using whatever power of autonomy God Almighty had made available to it.
And that is precisely what the Prophet, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, did. He produced a most perfect movement for the benefit of all of humanity using the four divine words of Laa Ilaaha Illa Allah: No God but Allah.
For those people who love God, and who at the same time also love God’s creation – how can you love one of those two without getting to love the other? – there is no greater “fun” than to study the Qur’an, which is the home of that movement, or to study the life of the Prophet, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, who was the earthly founder of that movement, or to devote their life to move that movement forward in our own age, time and world, with no other desire or purpose than to serve God in heaven and to serve his creation on earth.
A Glimpse into the Nature of Islam as a Movement
Fun, therefore, is what you get when you lose yourself trying to figure out the movement that the Prophet, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, put together to help humanity discover its true destiny in this world. And its true origin in God.
Innaa lillahi wa innaa ilaihi raaji’oon, is how the Qur’an describes the simple fact of human origin and destiny.
Paraphrase: From God we come; to him we belong; and to him shall we return.
Islam, what a beautiful movement: so neatly packaged in these few words in the Qur’an from the divine master – from beginning to end.
Islam was, and remains, a movement whose methodology was service – service to God Almighty in heaven and service to his creation right here on earth.
It was a movement whose ultimate object was liberty, dignity, safety, security, peace and tranquility for all human beings – in body, mind, soul and property.
It was a movement whose guiding light was truth and fear of God.
It was a movement that, for the first time in human history, ended “all forms of tyranny,” as Thomas Jefferson once put it, borrowing most probably from the Qur’an, “over the mind of man,” and set all of humanity free from subjugation, oppression and exploitation by kings, nobles and bishops – by both “sacred” and “secular” authorities of this world.
It was a movement that, for the first time in human history, liberated women from domination and intimidation by men and gave women rights just as it also gave men rights.
And yet, it was a movement that boldly refused to allow the question of women’s rights and liberties to be turned into a ruse for the exploitation and objectification of women by selfish, unscrupulous, conniving, greedy, wicked and lustful males and females. And for the disruption of family life. And for the corruption and poisoning of the well of human life and society in this world.
What a man – Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam – who made all this possible, in an impossibly and inconceivably short span of two quick decades, one of which was devoted to building the movement, while the other was dedicated to delivering on the promise of the movement.
And what a blessed movement it was that he built on the foundations of Islam!
A movement of love and peace and joy – and infinite “fun” – that had its origin in the concept and culture of As-Salaam that was not only from God but that was itself the very blessed and beautiful name of God Almighty.
And all of this packed in the four glorious words of Laa Ilaaha Illaa Allah!
If all of this is not a miracle, then what is it?
Plains of Arafaat and Jabalur Rahmah – Mount Mercy
Fun in Islam is that amazing mix of emotions that takes you in its grip when you are standing at the plain of ‘Arafaat.
Or when you have somehow managed to float or scramble up Jabalur Rahmah – Mount Mercy – under midday sun during Hajj, with your hands and face raised to heaven, completely oblivious of the tears gushing down your face, or the words shooting out of your lips, or the ocean of humanity, from every corner of the world, churning and milling about you, or the desert sun beating down on you with ruthless ferocity.
I am not sure there is another scene like that – or feeling, “fun,” joy, delight and bliss like that – anywhere in the world.
If anyone ever wanted to witness direct personal communication between heaven and earth, and between God and his special creation, the human being, then that is the place and time to see it. I don’t think you are likely to find it anywhere else or at any other time.
The Pope and his followers – our Catholic brothers and sisters – may celebrate their “Mass” the way they want, in the language they want, and at the time of day or night they want, but, frankly, I don’t think there is another example on earth, where you will find such a milling “mass” of men and women on earth below locked in such intense, excruciating, heartbreaking and personal communication with God Almighty in heaven above.
Now, that to me is fun. Pure and undiluted fun!
Even More Fun
Fun in Islam is when, on any ordinary day, you really managed to connect with one of your Salaats. Or maybe it is the other way around. I don’t know.
Fun is when one of your special days of fast slowly but surely inched up to breakfast time.
Fun is when someone placed in your outstretched arms, for the first time, your most beautiful first-born baby.
If you know – and have experienced any of these things – then you know what I am talking about. Then you would know the true meaning of fun – the kind of fun Islam is and offers. The kind of fun God Almighty has packed a Muslim’s life with.
If not, then there is no way anyone can truly describe those experiences – and that fun – to you. You will just have to wait till you decide to go after them. Or till they come to you.
And then you will know.
Science and Fun
And to tell you the truth, isn’t that the nature of all fun – the right kind of cortical stimulation and activation, whether it happens spontaneously or through external intervention or facilitation of some kind: chemical or electrical; or through the intermediacy of a wide range of social and environmental stimuli?
Isn’t it basically jump-starting the right part – correct part I mean – of your cortex – brain I guess? Not the cerebellum or the long one in the back of your brain but the big roundish – or is it oblong? – one sitting right on top of both of them.
That means these results can be obtained through all kinds of chemical intervention, just as they can also be obtained through any number of bodily and physical activities and stimulation.
We can also get similar results through electrically tickling the correct parts of our brain and through encountering certain physical stimuli in the environment. Just as we can also get them through certain spontaneous mental activities such as the reading of superior quality writings; the study and contemplation of nature or great work of art; listening to certain types of rhythmic sound or music; or no more than a sheer lively imagination.
What do I know about any of this stuff, right? True.
Ask any of the people who really know about these things – medical specialists; neurophysicists; neurochemists; neurophysiologists; neuroanatomists; neurobiologists; neuropsychologists; neuropathologists; those studying “mindfulness” and “consciousness” and the rest of the folks of that ilk; that is, those studying either the physical composition, nature and structure of the brain or the broad spectrum of its working, functions and effects – and they will tell you.
I am not even sure I got their names right, but they are all out there somewhere, under one name or another, studying precisely these sort of things: the miraculous makeup and workings of the human brain – fun stuff I suppose.
Find them and ask them. And they will tell you. And then ask yourself how you can really and truly have Islam and not have fun.
The Miracle of a Healthy Heart:
It is another miracle from God that Islam – and things Islamic – can be so much fun to those who embrace it with a good, clean, healthy heart. Those about whom the Qur’an says: Man atallaha bi-qalbin saleem.
Can you imagine that? In the beginning of the Seventh Century – well, you get the right date – the Qur’an talks about a wholesome, healthy heart! A disease-free heart.
And you want a bigger miracle than that?
And that too through the lips of an Unlettered Man – from among an Unlettered People steeped in an unlettered culture!
If that is not a miracle what is?
A good, nice, decent, sweet, loving, kind, contented, generous, strong and altogether well and healthy heart! In the Seventh Century – through an Unlettered Man!
What a miracle!
What a book from God Almighty, this noble Qur’an!
And what a Deen! This magnificent Deen of Islam!
Then where and why are we all running away – in part or in full – from God and his book and from this most glorious Deen of his?
Instead of running to God – Fa-firroo ilallah! – and his book and his Deen and his mercy and his love, we are all busy running away from them – either in full as unbelievers do. Or in part as most Muslims do.
But where will we go? And where are we running to?
Rejoice, Muslims! Whatever your faults – and you have many and you can count me among your vocal critics from time to time – you have been chosen by God Almighty to be the custodians of the mercy of his Deen in this world and to be its deliverers to the rest of humanity in your own time and place.
In every age and in every place on earth, God Almighty has chosen you to be the builders of the blessed and eternal movement of his Deen to his people: to the entire human race. A movement conceived in love and dedicated to the service of entire humanity – without the distinction of friend or foe.
Friend and foe alike, did I say? That is right. That is what the Qur’an says.
And the only reason it makes sense or sounds viable is because it comes directly from God Almighty – in the Qur’an. That is why there is, and there can be, no other movement like that.
And there is, and there can be, no other logic or philosophy like that anywhere in the world.
The Miracle of “The Unlettered Man” – in the Bible
I have often talked about the miraculous deeds of The Unlettered Man – about how his whole existence on earth, in fact, every single moment of his life, was and is a miracle.
Of course that is what the Qur’an calls him: Annabiyyul Ummiy – the Unlettered Prophet.
Guess who else talks about him – “Him That Is Not Learned”?
I wish I had the right reference from the Bible – the Book of Isaiah in the Old Testament is it? – to give you on this topic. I think it is Isaiah 29:12. Go check it out and see for yourself. May Allah forgive me if I am wrong.
How much clearer does it get?
Mashallah, Alhamdulillah, here is the actual quote, and yes, it is the Book of Isaiah in the Old Testament, Chapter 29, Verse 12:
“And the book is delivered to him that is not learned, saying Read this,
I pray thee: and he saith, I am not learned” (Isaiah: 29:12).
I added the Italics in this quote – they are not there in the original.
But then when you are talking about the Bible, you need to be careful about which version you are reading. Not infrequently words (and meaning) can change significantly from version to version – and from edition to edition.
Now go back and read in Surah Al-‘Alaq the word “Iqra’!”
What do you think that word means: “Iqra’”? It means precisely what the Bible says: “Read” (I pray thee!).
And then look up that Hadith in which Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, narrates his encounter with the angel, Hazrat Jibraeel, Alaihis Salaam, to his wife Hazrat Khadijah, Radiyallahu ‘Anha. It goes something like this:
“He said to me, ‘Read!’ To which I replied ‘I am not learned.’”
The actual words of Sayyidina Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, in the Hadith are: “Maa ana bi’qaari’.”
I am quoting from memory. May Allah forgive me if I am wrong.
Literal translation: “I am not a reader.” Stated differently – in the language of the translators of the Bible that is: “I am not learned.”
Allahu Akbar! How much more “proof” do we need or want?
Wake up, people, and smell the miracles of The Unlettered Man – before our nostrils are clogged and the sense of smell is taken away from us. And, frankly, before the worms of the grave claim us for a feast. For, that is what most us are: wormfeast.
That is why I said at one point that we need a minimum amount of intelligence to be able to see these Everyday Miracles of Islam and of The Unlettered Man. And see the miracles galore in the daily lives of even the most ordinary of Muslims even today – such as the Muslims are.
And then we need the minimum amount of integrity, courage and candor to be able to put aside our prejudices and fears and embrace the truth of what Allah makes manifest to our eyes and to our hearts.
The Miracle of “You the People”
Among its countless miracles, the Qur’an contains one miracle that should be visible to even the most naked of eyes: the miracle of “O, People!”
The Qur’an introduces the most miraculous concept of “The People” early (2: 8) and keeps repeating it often – well over 200 times. If the Qur’an had given humanity and the world no miracle other than this one simple concept of “The People,” it would have been enough.
But the Qur’an goes on to address “The People” directly saying “O, You People!” (2:21), in a miracle that found its echo at a distant time, in a distant land, among a people who thought they were distant from Islam and Muslims: the United States of America.
The Miracle of “We the People”
The Qur’an miraculously addressed humanity as a whole by calling them directly as “O, You People!” This was in the beginning of the 7th Century.
Then, toward the end of the 18th Century – nearly 1200 years later – that call of the Qur’an found an echo in the Constitution of the United States of America, which began with a direct response to that call by saying “We the People…
I will not here trace the tortuous path of that divine message from the sands of Arabia to the shores of America. But suffice it to point out the obvious and the most visible: Allah said in the Qur’an: “O, You, the People!”(2:21). And the American Qawm – the American people – responded, a thousand years later, through an acknowledgment, in the American Constitution, of that great divine call of the Qur’an of “O the People!” (2:21), with the amazing expression of “We the People!”
To most people in the world, including most of the Americans themselves, this was a mystery: where and how America stumbled upon this most breathtaking expression. But for those with a thorough grasp and understanding of history, it was far from being a mystery.
Nor was it a mystery to the believers blessed by Allah by what the Prophet, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, referred to as the Firaasat of a Mu’min: the ability of a believer to see through time and space.
Reducing Islam to Drudgery
Many of us are not able to have fun with Islam because so many of us have reduced Islam to such drudgery – and taken all the fun and all the true excitement out of it.
Muslims are allowed to have fun you know. In fact, that is where they are supposed to find real fun – A-laa bi-dhikrillahi tat-ma-innul quloob. It is just that their way of having fun is at times a bit different from that of some other folks.
If you ask me, there is nothing more fun in this world than Islam – and the Qur’an.
And of course the Hadith – if we ever get anywhere close to it.
Miracle of Ihram
Here is another Miracle of Islam and Muslims that I want to draw your attention to: the miracle of Ihram?
How powerful is that miracle? And how lightly and easily, and with what great nonchalance and indifference, does everyone, both Muslim and non-Muslim, pass that miracle by!
I am referring to that most amazing 2-piece suite of unsewn white cotton sheets that Islam requires all male pilgrims to wear when they are doing their Hajj or Umrah – their major or minor pilgrimage to Makkah.
Is there a greater marvel of human equality being put on display every year, every month, every day, as Muslim pilgrims go around the Kaabah in their divinely mandated uniform of universal human equality that consists of two simple unsewn sheets of white cotton, within reach of anyone and everyone?
Worth a Ph.D. from a Fairly Decent University:
Most Teachings of Islam
Do you know that most decent universities of the world may give you a doctorate degree for discovering, explicating and documenting just that one single fact about the world and about Islam – and, yes, naturally about the Muslim people and the Islamic way of life?
I mean, for example, this same most amazingly comprehensive and dynamic concept of Salaam that I have been talking about so much in my writings and speeches. And that the Muslims so nonchalantly have managed to squander over the years and decades – mostly following Western and Christian influences – by translating it as “peace,” even though the concept of Salaam does include the notion of “peace” as most people understand it.
Miracles of Wudu, Hajj, Salaat and Such
And the same is pretty much the case with most other teachings of Islam and practices of the Muslim people that are truly Islamic.
Like, for example, the concept and practice of Wudu – how Muslims must wash up for their “prayers.”
Or of Salaat – another one of those most dynamic, comprehensive and amazingly multidimensional concepts that Muslims minimize and mischaracterize as “prayer,” even though the concept of Salaah does include Du’a or “prayer” as most people understand and use that expression.
Or of Siyaam – fasting during the month of Ramadan or at other times.
Or of Hajj – the major annual pilgrimage to Makkah that every able-bodied Muslim of means is obligated to perform.
Or just about anything else that Islam teaches and Muslims practice.
Doing the Undoable – and Thinking the Unthinkable:
So Many Square Pegs in So Many Round Holes
Allahu Akbar! Allah bless the Muslims – and have mercy on them.
How do they expect to do the undoable? Think the unthinkable?
And just how do they expect to translate the untranslatable? Find equivalents in Western culture and English language for words, expressions, ideas and concepts from Islamic culture and Arabic language, when there is so little equivalency between these two cultures and languages on so many important issues?
But the Muslims try to do it anyway, hammering all kinds of square pegs in all kinds of round holes. That is what happened not only to Salaam and Salaah, but also to Zakaat.
As we saw earlier, Salaam became “peace” and Salaah became “prayer.”
As for Zakaat, don’t even ask me about it. It is a different story altogether. Muslims don’t seem to be able to figure out how to characterize it in English: charity, tax, “religious” tax, whatever catches the fancy of whoever happens to have the podium or the pen on that day – some sort of an expert de jour.
But anyone with any knowledge of Arabic will tell you that the original meaning of Zakaah has nothing to do with either wealth or charity. For, in Arabic wealth is Tharwah and charity is Sadaqah.
What is Zakaat then?
For one thing, Islam does refer to Zakaah as Sadaqah. So we are not that far off in calling it charity. But still that is not the full picture. It is not even the real story.
The Real Story of Zakaat
The root word of Zakaat in Arabic stands for purity – that is right, purity as in purifying something. Or cleansing maybe.
It also means growth, increase and development.
The closest equivalent I can think of in English for Zakaat, therefore, is “purifier” or “cleanser” – neither of them a very elegant expression. Sounds like a bad ad for a detergent.
Or “grower” maybe, but it sounds like someone in some exotic field of horticulture. Or maybe “multiplier” but that still does not sound entirely right, even when you realize that you are not talking about an abacus or a calculator here.
But here is a quick insight into the real story of Zakaat: It is a mechanism Allah devised for the all-round cleansing and purifying and development of the individual, the society and the entire culture under an Islamic setup – all at the same time. As such, it is a vital part of the overall mission of the Prophet, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, on earth.
And thereby does Allah make the individual, the community, the society and the entire world – and their wealth, prosperity, benefits, blessings and Barakats at all levels – grow and increase and multiply.
You probably need to write a whole paper to define the concept of Zakaat in Islam, if you want to do a semblance of justice to it. A whole book, maybe. Or a whole set of books.
Here is the Qur’an on that subject: Wa yuzakkeehim! – and he, the Prophet, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, cleans and purifies them and makes them grow, prosper, increase and multiply!
So, Zakaat is one of those divine instruments that Allah uses for his Prophet, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, to clean up his people and make them multiply; to clean up the society which they build and make it prosper; to clean up the wealth which they generate and make it grow; to clean up the institutions and infrastructure of that society and make them all full of blessings; to clean up the culture they create and make it strong, sound, happy and healthy; and to clean up the entire earth – or at least that part of it which they inhabit – and make it full of goodness and bounties.
Anyone has a better plan for our world and for all human beings in that world?
One little word, Zakaat, that is how much punch and meaning it packs. And this is the divine expression Muslims want to translate as “charity” and “tax” and “poor due” and all sorts of other things – and leave it at that.
My plea to the Muslims: Back off Muslims. Stop playing games with Allah’s language – of course all languages are Allah’s languages, some a bit more than some others – even if you cannot stop playing games with Allah’s Deen.
Deen as Religion?
Een Chay Bul’Ajabeest?
Muslims, you have already reduced to religion the very Deen that Allah sent to put an end to religious tyranny in the world. Talk about Shaitan’s strategy of co-opting what he cannot defeat or conquer.
Islam came so Allah can set people free from slavery to blind, unreasoned, unquestioning and fanatical religious faith, and free them from the control and authority of the people, institutions and power structures that represent, manage and enforce that slavery and bondage. Islam came so Allah can show human beings the way to highest forms of rationality, discovery and intellectual independence and self-reliance.
It came to make possible the soaring of the human spirit to its highest point – and teach human beings the ways of science and inquiry: God’s own way of teaching his people how to look for and crack open the mysteries of his creation in his universe.
And what do the Muslims do? They turn around; learn a little bit of English; swallow the entire bait of the Western-Christian-Biblical culture which is so deeply rooted in the English language; and start calling Islam “their religion.”
“Their” Islam? As if Islam came just to them, and not to the entire world? As if Allah sent his Rasul, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, for Muslims’ own personal benefit, and not as a message of love and mercy to all the worlds – Rahmatal lil-aalameen!
Islam, a “religion”? Well, everybody in the world had their own religion, so why shouldn’t the poor Muslims have a “religion” of their own? Right? Well, that was more or less the logic. As a result, Islam that came to provide a solution to religious tyranny, bigotry and oppression in the world, itself was very quickly turned by English-knowing Muslims into a part of the problem of “religion” in the world.
Don’t forget how some of the followers of Moses, Alaihis Salaam, once put in a request for a private more or less bovine God of their own. Ij’al lanaa ilaahan kamaa lahum aalihah, they said to hazrat Musa, Alaihis Salaam.
Paraphrase: Musa, why can’t we have a god, like they all have a god?
Is Islam a Religion? Since When?
Let us see if we can sort this out. At least let us have a shot at it. Let us try and see what happens. May Allah’s help and guidance attend our effort! I will just mention one or two points. That is all. But that should be enough to get us thinking on this subject, Inshallah.
First of all, that which we call religion is a highly specialized and technical thing. To begin with, it cannot be done without the shamans, the pundits, the priests, the Rabbis and other members of a “holy” hierarchy or clergy?
Most ordinary people neither understand much of it; nor are they qualified to perform it.
Since when did Islam start having a category of people called “the holy men,” without whose presence and participation you cannot, for example, perform your most important duty of the day – the Salaah? Can you answer me that?
Second, Religion cannot be done except in certain sacred places, some of which are more sacred than some others – the sanctum sanctorums of different kind. So, what exactly is the sacred place outside of which you cannot perform your daily Salaah?
Third, Religion says only a holy hierarchy of men can read the “scripture” or the sacred texts. Islam on the other hand makes it compulsory for every man and woman and child over ten years of age to read the Qur’an at least five times a day – in their daily Namaaz or Salaah.
Fourth, in fact, there was a time when religion forbade the reading of the sacred texts by ordinary human beings, sometimes on pain of death. Contrary to this, the very beginning of Islam was a clarion call to all and sundry – to every man, woman and child – to read.
“Read!” said the angel to the Prophet, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, in the cave even as he pleaded with the angel that he was not, as the Bible puts it, “learned.”
And there was a time when most ordinary Muslims considered the reading of the Qur’an one of the highest virtues.
Fifth, Religion is for a specific period of the day or week or month or year – let us say about two hours on a Sunday. Islam, on the other hand, is 24 hours a day, seven days a week, all year round, in every single aspect of your life, from the most private and individual to the most public and collective.
That means, ordinarily speaking, religion is a fraction of life, whereas Islam is all of life.
You still want to go around calling Islam a “religion”?
Divine Revelation vs. Human Creation
Over and above all this, there is something else that everyone seems to forget.
That which we call religion, practically everything about it, is man-made, as they say. That which we call religion is largely of the design and invention of several human beings over a long period of time, often extending over several hundred, if not several thousand, years.
Of course, you can say the same about Islam: that it all goes back to the Prophet, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam. But don’t you see that is precisely the point I am making? Islam – all of it – does go back to the Prophet, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam.
And to the Qur’an that he brought from Allah.
And that is where it stops. Qur’an and Sunnah! That is what Islam is all about.
Qur’an is God’s word. And Sunnah is the way Prophet, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, lived his life, both as an individual and as the head of the society that he constructed, managed and left behind. A society that after of the march of 1400 years still continues to thrive around the world and continue to impact and shape the world and its events, practices, institutions and outcomes.
The history of the world since the Prophet, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, has been largely the story of the world learning to deal with Islam and trying to catch up to and emulate and learn from the teachings of Islam.
But not so what the world calls religion! Not much about religion goes back directly either to a divine book or to a great prophet.
I have no quarrel about people attaching themselves to that which goes back to Abraham or Moses, God bless them. Or to Jesus, God bless him. Or to that which goes back directly to Buddha. Or to Krishna. Or to Rama. Or to someone else of that same kind or category or rank.
If anything does. And if we know for sure who they really are.
In fact, that is what the Qur’an tells everyone to do: Go find your own original and authentic and real revealed texts, if you can find them, and read them and practice them.
But that is where the trouble lies. A lot, if not all, of what people claim is from these historic figures does not stand the scrutiny of serious scientific investigation and scholarship.
Vatican Officially Declares Parts of the Bible Unbelievable
Only recently, a group of Vatican scholars and officials published a document outlining what was truly believable about the Bible and what needed to be taken in a more figurative and metaphoric sense. What do you want me to say about that?
So, that which people call “religion” undergoes changes and revisions all the time – right before our eyes. But not so Islam. In fact, one of the big quarrels many people have with Islam is that it has remained the same since the time of the Prophet, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam – and refuses to change with the times.
But what no one seems to understand is that none of what they claim is their “religion” goes back to the people they claim were the founders of theirs respective religions.
Islam and Qur’an Find Growing Validation with Time
Both friends and foes know – and agree – that practically everything about Islam goes back to the Prophet, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam or to the Qur’an or to both. Thereafter, it is up to people to make up their minds as to whether it was indeed from God or whether an entirely Unlettered Man – Him That Is Not Learned, as the Bible calls him – sitting in a cave made it all up, wrote it all down, edited it all and passed it all down to other people.
And that he put together – all by himself – a most detailed manual of how human beings should live on earth, both as individuals and as societies, for the next 10,000 years, such that practically every one of his ideas gets more validation and confirmation with the passage of time and with the mushrooming and evolving of human needs and requirements.
And that he not only invented these most amazing ideas – many of them more obviously in tune with the realities and challenges of the Twenty-First Century than those of the Seventh – but he also, within an incredibly short span of a decade, constructed a complete society in which to implement his ideas.
A society that then went on to change the culture of many other societies of the world within an equally incredible period of a few more decades.
If you believe that all this was nothing but merely the genius of a human being called Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, you have every right to do that.
But if you really believe that it was the Prophet, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, who did all these amazing things, then what are you doing running away from him, and at times hating, attacking and fighting him? Shouldn’t you be the first to line up behind a superhuman being like him?
You Have the Right of Rejection
That is right. You have the right of rejection, given to you by God Almighty himself. Islam came to give you that right. The right to say no. And of course the right to say yes, if you wanted to.
Before Islam that right belonged only to the kings, the nobles and the religious leaders. Ordinary people had no right to say yes or to say no. They were merely chattel or property, owned by other people. They had no rights or dignities of any kind to speak of.
They lived where and how they were told to live. They ate what they were given to eat. They believed what they were told to believe. They had no right to say yes or no to anything on their own.
Islam came to set them free and give them that right.
Therefore, it is entirely up to you how you want to take the clear-cut miracles of Islam. Whether you want to believe them to be coming from God or you want to believe them to be coming from Muhammad – Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam. But that is not even the real issue.
The real issue is – and that is all that matters in this context – everything about Islam is from the Prophet, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam. But everything about Christianity is not from Jesus, Alaihis Salaam. In fact, very little or nothing is. The case with regard to Judaism or Hinduism or Buddhism in not very different either.
So, based on all this, it is quite fair to say that Islam is entirely divine – God-given – whereas much, if not all, of what people call religion is mostly of human invention. Nothing is more self-evident.
Now do you see what some of the issues are in calling the Deen of Allah a religion?
What on Earth Is That?
When all is said and done, Islam is a rational system of inquiry, thought, belief and behavior.
That means Islam is not a hotchpotch of speculation, superstition, hearsay – or, frankly, religious mumbo-jumbo. That means in a very real sense Islam is about logic, evidence and straight thinking. And it is about data, facts, theory and the most plausible explanation of observed facts and phenomena that you can come up with.
In a word, and in a very strict sense, Islam is about science.
When science is error-free – Laa Raiba Feeh – and it is accompanied by Taqwa and fear of Allah, it is Islam. It is Haqq – reality or truth.
And when Islam is understood well and done right – it is science. It is Ilm. And the two merge together most beautifully and seamlessly in the Qur’an.
Innamaa yakhshallaha min ‘ibaadihil ‘ulamaa!
Paraphrase: Only they fear Allah who know.
Wa maa ya’qiluhaa illal-‘aalimoon!
Paraphrase: Only those with knowledge can understand it.
War-raasikhoona fil-llmi yaqooloona aamanna bihi!
Paraphrase: Those who really know say “We believe it.”
So, do you see in these Aayats the most amazing interplay of belief and knowledge in Islam – and in the language of the Qur’an? It is just that we Muslims have been so far away from it for so long that we have started to fear and suspect science.
Otherwise, science is our own homegrown baby. We nursed it and helped it to come of age. And we need to return to it and re-embrace it all over again, if we want to make progress in this world. For, Allah’s world is built, and it runs, on the foundations of scientific principles.
Like we used to do once upon a time. When the rest of the world pretty much slept – and snored. And woke up from time to time to burn at the stake people who gave any indication of going after independent knowledge, including the reading of such texts as the Bible.
That is why even Imaan bil-ghaib to me is nothing less than self-evident. It is a perfectly rational thing to have. And only some very, very foolish people will claim that they do not believe in anything beyond what their eyes can see or their instruments can reach or read.
For, human lives are shaped and run on a day-to-day basis by a million things that most people don’t or can’t see.
Iqbal calls the Deen of Islam Ikhtilaat-e-dhikr-o-fikr – a perfect combination of thought and reasoning on the one hand and of remembrance and recitation of Allah’s names and attributes on the other hand.
But who reads Iqbal nowadays?
An Aayat Is an Aayat Is an Aayat, Muslims!
It Is Not a Verse!
By the way Muslims, it is an Aayat – I mean a passage of the Qur’an – and not a “verse” like most of you call it in the English language.
An Aayat, as I have tried to explain I don’t know in how many places, is a sign, a miracle, a marker, a pointer to something else. It is a proclamation from Allah that the Qur’an – or any of its Aayats – could have come only from Allah and not from a human source.
Therefore, every Aayat cries out to the reader that it is – and the whole Qur’an is – a miracle from God Almighty.
And anyone with any level of intelligence can see that it is indeed the case. For, the miraculous nature of the Aayats of the Qur’an is self-evident. Of course, it is self-evident when Allah wants to make it plain to you and the Qur’an would talk to you. If not, all you see is a one great big blur of dark ink.
Wa huwa alaihim ‘amaa. Paraphrase: They are blinded by it.
As for the expression “verse,” it means poetry, no matter how you cut it. And Allah says more than once in the Qur’an that Qur’an is not poetry.
Wa maa allamnaahush shi’r wa maa yambaghee lah. Paraphrase: We did not teach him poetry, nor is it appropriate for him to be considered a poet.
Wa maa huwa bi-qawli shaa’ir. Paraphrase: It is not the musings of a poet.
So, Muslims, that is why to me the word “verse” as translation for Aayat is not only not acceptable but deeply objectionable. In fact, I consider it fairly close to some kind of a Tahreef (interpolation and changing) of the Qur’an – not in words, but in meaning.
It is one of those examples, like Salaat and Salaam, where Muslims became the victims of their own errant translation – but perhaps much more serious than either one of those other examples.
Latin, French or Arabic: Take Your Pick
Maybe someday, somewhere, Allah will give us an opportunity to address some of these things in greater depth. The question right now is how do you render this ocean of meaning and connotation – whether it is with regard to Salaat, Salaam or Zakaat – into a small cup such as a word or even a phrase?
It is a case of Darya Ko Koozay Main Band Karna, as they say in Urdu – pack the ocean in a jar. How can you do it?
My answer: You cannot!
What should we do then? My submission: use these untranslatable divine expressions representing a divine culture and a slice of Paradise-on-Earth, the way they are – the way they came originally from Allah, the way Allah uses them – and then work to get the English-speaking world, and the rest of the world, to accept and use them in their original form.
It can be done.
It is no different from the way the world learned to use Latin and French expressions while making use of the English language. Except that Latin and French do not exactly represent Paradise on earth, even though they are, like all other languages in the world, a part of the mercy of Allah on human beings, as it is he, as the Qur’an says, who taught human beings language and gave them the power of expression – Wa ‘allamahul bayaan.
But Arabic is a bit different in some ways. And Arabic is the language of the Qur’an. And it is the language of Paradise.
And as the language of the Qur’an, Arabic is easy, simple and powerful. Repeat: Arabic is easy, simple and powerful. It is a divine gift of the most spectacular kind in mortal human hands.
Arabic is not a “classic” language – fit for museums – as some Muslims rush to characterize it. Subhanallah! Allah is Hayy and Qayyoom. And Allah’s book came to put life in dead bodies. Limaa yuhyeekum!
Arabic is the language of life. And it is the language, not antiquity, but of Eternity – and it is the language of Paradise. And we want to kill it already – before this world is even ended?
And then Muslims wonder what went wrong with them? They run around asking everyone: Can you please tell us what is wrong with us Muslims.
Sure, I can tell the Muslims a thing or two about what is wrong with them. Let us sit down and talk.
What Is Wrong with the Muslims?
How About Shaitan?
At least that is what the Qur’an says.
What is wrong with Muslims is not what most Muslims think is wrong with them – even though it is all part of the same equation.
It is not America, even though the present American administration seems to have set itself on a needlessly foolish collision course with Islam and Muslims on the one hand and with universal canons of human decency and international law on the other hand.
It is not Israel, even though Israel in its guilt, paranoia and short-sightedness may see Islam and Muslims as its natural enemies and may dream of living in a world that is free of trouble-making Muslims, inspired by Islam, who question and combat its genocidal policies.
It is not the Hindus either, even though there are those among Hindus who may hate Islam and Muslims beyond all rhyme or reason.
But none of them is the real enemy of Islam and Muslims. They cannot be. For, they have not been given that kind of power by God Almighty over Islam and Muslims. The only enemy the Muslims need to really fear is Shaitan. And he of course has legions of helpers and supporters on earth in the form of both humans and jinns.
And if you look around you can see who many of them are. With some training, you can recognize many of them.
This is not mythology or philosophy. This is what the Qur’an says. For Muslims, Shaitan is as real as the air they breathe. In fact, Hadith warns us that Shaitan runs through people’s veins like blood.
What Else Is Wrong with Muslims?
How About Nafs and Hawaa?
And then the Muslims have another mortal enemy to worry about: themselves.
Among the worst enemies of Muslims are the following:
- their generalized and persistent state of ignorance and backwardness;
- their smugness and even arrogance in their ignorance;
- their mutual fights, bickering, disputes and quarrels;
- their contentment with their state of mediocrity;
- the squalor and filth in which millions of Muslims live around the world;
- their abandoning the path of education, inquiry, science and life-skills;
- their sometimes false, fraudulent, incompetent, self-serving friends and minions;
- their general lack of leadership, initiative, resourcefulness and proactivity;
- their sad lack of understanding of the present;
- their even sadder lack of proper perspective on the past;
- their dangerous shortness and narrowness of vision with regard to the future;
- all the tyrannies and dictatorships that plague Muslim life and culture at all levels and stifle the very breath out of Muslim life everywhere;
- all the leaders, rulers and people in power that keep selling Muslims out to the same old bidders, or to new ones, for the same old rock-bottom cheap price, or for an even lower one if they can, every day;
- And a good bit of their so-called “religious” scholarship and leadership, much of which you will not trust to fix your car or bicycle, or the leak in your roof, leave alone to run and manage the world of Allah for you and for the rest of humanity.
I can go on if you want me to, but that is who the real enemies of Islam and Muslims are: Muslims themselves – and their ways, their often un-Islamic ways. And it is their culture – their often decadent, backward and un-Islamic culture. A self-defeating and dysfunctional culture of pervasive un-Islam and post-Islam that seems to pervade all too many lives, homes, communities, institutions and societies in the Muslim world.
And it is often their Nafs. And their Hawaa. Those are often some of the critical variables in this equation of the great Muslim tragedy – and loss, as the Qur’an calls it: Khusr.
Urdu Ka Janaazah?
With Muslim Pallbearers?
These are Qur’anic expressions – Nafs and Hawaa.
One good way of rendering the meaning of Hawaa is in the Urdu language – a language that many people are already starting to treat as if it were dead. People are beginning to call it a classic language, including maybe even some Muslims themselves.
Man Maaee Karnaa! That Urdu expression may give us a bit of a flavor of what Hawaa means and what Nafs stands for. It is letting your own personal interests, needs, ego, inclinations, proclivities and agendas shape and influence your motives and drive your actions.
Do you see how nicely Urdu puts it: Man maanee karnaa? But some of us have started calling Urdu a classic language.
Did you ever ask yourself – or anyone else – what the definition of a “classic language” was? Or did you ever wonder what it takes to keep a language alive – and modern. And who makes these determinations – and how?
Were you ever, and did you ever want to be, a part of setting and defining the rules of the game Muslims, and not just limit yourself to playing the game?
How many million speakers does a language have to have in order to be considered a living, vital, vigorous language? To meet the critical mass, as it were, for qualifying as a modern, living language and not to be confined to the limbo of oblivion as a classic, dead language?
And how many hundreds of millions of people do you think speak the Urdu language around the world?
Do you have any recollection how many people spoke Hebrew before 1940? And how many speak that language now?
Have you any idea what the status of Shudh Sanskritized Hindi was in 1940 and what it is today?
Muslims, Muslims, Muslims!
While other peoples and nations and communities are busy digging up their dead languages from their 10-foot-deep graves, Muslims are busy – either by their own actions or by default – burying a living, vibrant and most beautiful language.
Allah bless the Muslims! What else can you say? It is “proof” that Allah is on the side of the Muslims, and that Allah loves them, that Muslims can do all this – and much more of that same kind – and still survive in Allah’s world, in which Allah’s law of cause-and-effect is supposed to operate so firmly and universally for everyone.
Wa lan tajida lisunnatillahi tahweela!
Wa lan tajida lisunnatillahi tabdeela!
Paraphrase: Allah’s law and his ways neither shift nor change.
Allah and Love
Oops! Did I utter the “L” word – in relation to Allah and in relation to Muslims? Should I apologize then?
But that word is in the Qur’an you know, ladies and gentlemen – in more ways than you think. It is the Qur’an that says that Allah loves Muslims and they in turn should love him.
In fact, they should love him more than anyone and anything else in this world. That is what Allah says the believers should do: “love” him more than anything and anyone else.
Don’t be afraid of the “L” word Muslims. Just say you love Allah. And say you indeed love him more than anyone or anything. That is what Allah wants you to do.
Walladheena aamanoo ashaddu hubbal-lillah, is how the Qur’an puts it. Paraphrase: Those who believe love Allah more than anyone or anything.
It is Muslims – especially a lot of the so-called “good” Muslims – who somehow seem to have banished the concept of love from their heart, language and culture, when it comes to defining the relationship of Muslims with Allah – and focus instead almost exclusively on obeying Allah and fearing him – even though those things are all part of the deal.
Same total deal.
Apney Pairon Par Kulaadhi:
Muslims and Their Self-Inflicted Injuries
Muslims sometimes damage their best interests with their own hands, by their own doings. That is what that Urdu expression means in its more complete form: To strike at your feet with your own axe.
Quite an impressive way of saying that sort of thing, if you ask me. In fact, that is what Urdu language is: highly expressive; full of nuances; gentle; rich; sweet; and perfectly evocative – all at the same time.
And to a significant degree the Urdu language is a Muslim invention – with assistance from some extremely talented and broadminded Hindus and others. And it is a tribute to Muslim genius for populism and social equality and advancement.
Urdu mostly developed as the language of the masses while Farsi remained the language of the royal courts and of the elite in India – both Hindu and Muslim.
Urdu is a language that is spoken by hundreds of millions of Muslims around the world today and yet it is the language whose funeral prayers are already being chanted by both Muslims and others these days. There are a lot of people who would like to see Urdu buried under ten feet of soil, while it is still living and breathing.
Of course, all this while the Muslims watch and do precious little to save this most glorious language Urdu that is mother tongue to tens of millions of people around the world even as we speak – or write.
Was All this about Conquest and Victory?
Sometime, whenever Allah enables me to do so, I would like to talk about how Muslims have historically treated the notions of “victory” and “conquest.” However, if you want a quick peek at what I might end up saying, here it is: There is no such thing as “conquest” in Islam – or “victory” for that matter.
Again, it is one of those western concepts that Muslim translators swallowed hook, line and sinker. And thus became not only the obsequious users of a language, but also the blind inheritors of an entire history, culture and tradition that were in some vital ways alien to their own.
Maybe that is why – not trusting the Muslims perhaps – Allah cleansed the entire Arabic language of the very notion and terminology of “victory” and “conquest.” We did not “conquer” Makkah, Allah threw open its doors for us.
We did not “conquer” Jerusalem. Its guardian people threw open its doors for us.
We did not “conquer” Spain. Its people invited us in to bring peace and enlightenment to their communities.
We are, as the Qur’an says, the people of Nasr and Fat’h: Idhaa jaa-a nasrullahi wal-fat’h. Not the people, as everyone says, of victory and conquest. Nasr and Fat’h are expressions from the Qur’an, which respectively mean help and opening. Not conquest and victory.
That means we are not people who conquer the world and enslave its inhabitants and force our values, habits and way of life upon them. Instead, we are the people whom Allah helps (Nasr) and for whom Allah throws open all doors (Fat’h), including the doors of human hearts as well as of cities and continents so that we can bring justice, dignity, peace, freedom and equality to all people all over the world.
As a rule, we did not create a culture of conquering lands and societies, colonizing them, plundering their wealth and taking it all home to our own lands and societies, thereby enriching ourselves beyond the dream of avarice and plunging the conquered peoples and colonies into an abyss of poverty and destitution they cannot climb out of even after the passage of centuries.
And the one place, Allah clearly declares “Fat’h” for us in the Qur’an (what everyone would rush to call “victory”) is when the Prophet, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, signed off on practically everything that his enemies demanded of him, much to the confusion, anguish, chagrin and dismay of his devoted companions.
Watch Allama Yusuf Ali, may Allah bless him and give him Jannat, a man I deeply love and respect, in action. He translates the name of Surah Al-Fat’h (48th chapter of the Qur’an) as “Victory.” He then translates the first Aayat that says we surely granted you a clear Fat’h as follows: “Verily, We have granted thee a manifest Victory” (48:1).
What can I say?
A Powerpack of Muslim Languages
Earlier I was talking about Muslim languages. Indeed, what a powerpack of language tools the Muslims have been given by God Almighty: Arabic, Farsi and then Urdu. And then so many other languages everywhere: Turkish, Swahili, Malay and everything else.
Each one of these language is richer and better than the other, except that Allah has chosen Arabic as the language of his book, the Qur’an, and as the language of Eternity – Paradise.
So, there is no competing there.
And how will you get over the fact that Arabic is the language which Allah’s beloved Rasul, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, spoke. And it is that glorious language that holds the vast storehouse of Hadith.
So, Muslims need to re-embrace their languages and rearticulate their cultures, in their depth as well as in their breadth, even though theirs – Islam’s – is not a culture of linguistic jingoism or chauvinism.
Having said that, what I have been trying to make clear to the native English-speaking generations of Muslims in the West is, when and how do they plan to make the English language their own, and to take it to greater heights of glory and achievement under their Islamic watch, beyond where Shakespeare, Shaw, Johnson, Whitman, Hemmingway, Byron and Keats left it.
A Quick Fact about Hadith and a Theory of History
I don’t know how you like to look at the Hadith. To me Hadith is the greatest treasury of the most authentic, valid, reliable and trustworthy historic information that there is in the world – about an individual, the Prophet, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam; about an entire people – the several generations of companions that the Prophet, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, trained and nurtured and educated, mentored, purified and shaped and molded into a people; about an entire culture that the Qur’an and the Prophet, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, spawned; and about the times when the Prophet, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, and Islam and the Qur’an made their appearance in the world.
In fact let me go one step further and say that Hadith is the only authentic history that there is in the world today – of any individual, time, culture, place, set of events or people. Everything else is conjecture, guesswork, approximation, reconstruction and speculation on the part of experts, much of it patchwork of hearsay from a wide variety of sources, many of them of dubious validity and flawed character.
And then Hadith is something which no historian can even imagine he or she can have: an imponderable mass of primary historic data of mostly eyewitness accounts from 1400 years ago – the only one of its kind anywhere, in any culture, with regard to any time, place, people or set of events or happenings.
That is right. You heard me – read me I mean – right.
Hadith is all primary material – bits and pieces of raw, unprocessed, primary historic data. Eyewitness accounts. Simple, elegant, neat and easy of access. The rest of history is other people’s interpretations and analysis of what they thought transpired.
Thus, history is mostly speculation, Hadith is mostly reality. History is Zann, as the Qur’an calls it, and Hadith is Haqq, as the Qur’an puts it.
Wa innaz-zanna laa yughnee minal haqqi shai-aa. Paraphrase: How can speculation then be a replacement for reality?
A Quick Word about the Qur’an
What an amazing book this Qur’an! In fact, “That Book” that Allah sent: Dhaalikal kitaab, as Allah puts it.
What clarity of concepts! What precision of diction! What profundity of meaning! What elegant models! What simple arguments! What easy explanations! What compelling logic!
And what powerful impact!
What discourse of any kind will anyone believe in if they will not believe in this Qur’an!
Fa-bi-ayyi hadeethin ba’dahoo yu’minoon?
ASM and the Stolen Miracle of Handwashing:
Just Where Was Your Hand Last Night?
Don’t forget how the American Society of Microbiology (ASM) got away with the so-called discovery of the importance and merits of the miracle of Handwashing – more than 1400 years after Islam had made a gift of it to humanity at large and made it the compulsory duty of all Muslims to do so.
Listen to the most graphic and effective manner in which the following Hadith describes it – my paraphrase except the part in Italics, which I have tried to render as literally as I can: When someone gets up in the morning, the first thing that person should do is wash his hands. For, he doesn’t know “where his hand spent the night.”
Aina baatat yaduhoo!
I am not asking you to give me a Ph.D. for making the concept of Salaam a central issue in defining the identity of the Muslim people in the 21st Century. All I am asking you to do is to recognize this wonderful fact about Islam and Muslims, and the Islamic way of life in general, have tons of fun with it and then get out and share this information with the rest of the world.
Sharing Islam with the American People
I am so tempted to say if the American Muslims had done that over the past five decades or so that they have been here – I mean gotten out and shared the truth of Islam with the non-Muslims of America in a concerted, focused and single-minded manner – maybe, Allah knows best, but just maybe, God Almighty would have spared them, America and the world the terrible tragedy of 9-11 and its even worse aftermath.
Maybe this most horrendous crime of New York would not have happened. And its disastrous consequences would not have swept America, Muslims and the world the way they did.
So, Muslims, don’t run around now stuttering “Islam is a peaceful religion,” whatever you mean by that, just because people want to hear you say things like that. Instead, proclaim from every rooftop in the world that Muslims are the ones – and quite probably the only ones in the world – who run around like chicken with their heads cut off wildly and vociferously telling everyone and everything in sight: “God Bless! God Bless! God Bless! God Bless!”
Salaam! Salaam! Salaam! Salaam!
Assalamu alaikum wa Rahmatullah!
No one else on this planet does that.
And if you won’t know this Muslims, no one else would care. And if you won’t tell the world this Muslims, no one would know.
Taking the Qur’an to Every Home and Heart that Needs it:
In India, in the Americas, in Europe and All over the World
I will be very brief.
What are the Muslims of India doing – as a people that is – to reach out to the great majority of the non-Muslims of India with the message of Islam and the Qur’an? To take the Qur’an – and Islam – to every home and heart that needs it – in India and all over the world?
If you ask me, which heart does not need the Qur’an or Islam? And which home does not?
Isn’t it time we Muslims totally and wholeheartedly committed ourselves to this noblest and most glorious of all projects: the project of taking the Qur’an – and Islam – to every home and heart that needs it?
In India, in the Americas, in Europe, in Asia, in Africa, in Australia and everywhere else?
Let us do it for five full years and then see what happens. Let us then await the wonders of Allah’s mercy unfold in our lives – and in the lives of others all over the world. Even more than ever before!
What a glorious future that would be!
The Miracle of Smart Salaam and Saturation Blessing:
Who Else Is Doing That?
Ask yourself, how many big, fat books, with footnotes, do you need to read before realizing that – perhaps – there is no one else in this world running around wildly and uncontrollably blessing everyone and everything in sight?
I mean saying “Assalamu Alaikum!” to one and all?
To those you know. And to those you do not know. ‘Alaa man ‘arafta, wa ‘alaa mal-lam ta’arif – as Allah’s beloved Rasul, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, told you to do.
Do you know anyone else who does that?
Tell me who else is doing that?
Oh, don’t tell me Muslims only say Salaam to other Muslims. What is wrong with that, even if that is entirely true? That still covers one-fourth or one-fifth of the entire human race, does it not? And most of Planet Earth I guess, because Muslims are spread all over the globe.
Who else, folks? Answer me! Who else is doing that? I mean covering one-fourth or one-fifth of humanity – around the clock and around the globe with saturation blessing?
Every micro-, milli- and nano-second – Twenty-Four Seven.
In fact, it is one seamless continuity of saturation bombing – oops, blessing is what I wanted to say, Saturation Blessing (what an expression: Saturation Bombing!) – of the universe, not with explosives that kill, maim and burn, and poison God’s good earth, but filling the world with God’s blessings that heal and build and give life.
That is what the Muslims do: They saturation bless the whole universe – non-stop, twenty-four seven.
And I don’t think you are counting all that spillover Salaam when you so generously invoke it on a specific target. Can you tell me what is the average radius of a smart Salaam? What target area does your average Salaam cover? How many square inches, feet, yards, acres, hectares, miles?
And what about all the collateral damage of the unintended “victims” of your Salaam and blessing blitz that fills the world day and night?
Saturation Blessing vs. Saturation Bombing
Yes, it is fair to say that that is what the Muslims do. They fill God’s earth with Saturation Blessing, while some others fill it with Saturation Bombing.
The collateral damage that comes from the Saturation Blessing that Muslims spread on earth is life, whereas the collateral damage that comes from the Saturation Bombing that some others do is death.
Of course the Muslims don’t often know that is what they are doing. How would they know if nobody told them that? And they themselves gave up the culture of education a long time ago?
And of course the non-Muslims don’t know that that is what the Muslims do, because the Muslims forgot to tell them what it is that they really do. Instead the Muslims have been trying to tell the non-Muslims for some time now that “Islam is a peaceful religion” – whatever that is supposed to mean. And whatever the consequences of uttering that euphemism.
Thinking, Smart Kind of Muslims:
Those Who Know Who They Are and What Their Role Is in This World
I wish Muslims were the thinking kind – the kind Qur’an talks about. Not the kind most of us have ended up becoming.
I wish Muslims were the smart kind. The kind the Qur’an talks about. Then they would be able to see who they really are. What their Deen really is. Who their Rabb really is. Who their Rasul, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, really was. And what that book – Dhaalikal kitaab – the Qur’an, really is.
And what their role in this world really is. In this place on earth where God Almighty sent them – with the rest of humanity – as his own personal representatives and managers:
- To promote good.
- To curb what is bad and evil.
- To treat everyone with respect, justice, equality and fairness.
- To protect the earth and all that it contains from all harm and waste.
- To serve creation in all forms and shapes.
- To spread the message of love, niceness and decency everywhere.
- To guarantee the most basic and fundamental rights to everyone, especially the weak, the oppressed, the powerless and the voiceless.
- To be compassionate and charitable toward all, regardless of color, caste, status, race, religion, gender, language, nationality or some other marker of difference.
- And to be, all the time, devoted to God Almighty more than to anyone or anything else in this world.
Profiling Muslims – And Others
This more or less is the Muslim profile that the Qur’an provides. According to the Qur’an, that is who the Muslims are supposed to be and that is what their real role in this world is supposed to be.
What a glorious portrait it is! And what a majestic profile!
And what an absolutely amazing miracle – unlike any this world has ever known.
If people today want to profile the Muslims, my message to them is: Hey, go right on ahead! We Muslims are the original profile-makers of this world. At least the Qur’an is. At least our God Almighty is.
Our original profile is the one designed by God himself: your God and our God.
Read the Qur’an and you will find in its pages all the profiles you will ever need: profiles of the good people; profiles of the bad people; and profiles of the mixed-up and confused people who don’t know who they are, and who, as a result, are everywhere but truly nowhere.
So, in reality, some of what I said earlier is some of what or who the Muslims were supposed to be. The kind the Qur’an talks about. That is their true profile – in the Qur’an.
Their true identity and their true mission in life.
That is why I wish Muslims of today were Muslims of the Qur’an. Not necessarily Muslims of yesterday, because that they can never be. For Islam is not about yesterday, but rather about today and tomorrow. But Muslims of the Qur’an, which they can always aspire and work to be.
And that is what will make them Muslims of tomorrow – contemporary in every age and comfortable in every place, because they will be the Muslims of the Qur’an.
As someone once said: Har mulk mulk-i-maast, ki mulk-i-khudaa-i-maast!
Paraphrase: We are at home everywhere, for all land is our land as it is our God’s land.
Muslims of the Qur’an
That is why I wish Muslims of today were the Muslims of the Qur’an. And they were the Muslims of the kind, Rasul, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, built, one by one, and left behind in this world.
And left the world of Allah in their care and custody.
So, the flood of divine mercy and blessing that you so ruthlessly unleash, Muslims – in fact you unleash it quite so nonchalantly, because I don’t think many of you even have a clue what you are doing – is stopped by what river, what mountain, what ocean and what national border or custom or military checkpoint?
Think Muslims, think. It will do you good – to think I mean. At least that is what Allah says – in his book. Islam is for thinking people, he says, and so is the Qur’an.
Islam is not, and the Qur’an is not – in fact nothing good and useful in this world really is – for the deliberately and willfully deaf and dumb and for the arrogantly mindless, heartless and clueless.
The Miracle of Collateral Blessings
And then, ladies and gentlemen, what about Collateral Blessings? Collateral Damage – what an expression! Just like Saturation Bombing! Did you ever think about that, Muslims?
Did you give any thought to all those innocent, naive bystanders who may be just standing around – or liming as some people would say in Trinidad in the West Indies – close to a target when you call in an aerial bombardment of your Smart Salaam?
What happens to them? Are they all going to be salaamed over by your blessing attack?
And is there such a thing as a primary target of Salaam – of Allah’s blessing – vs. a secondary or a tertiary target?
I don’t know, folks, I just don’t know. All I am doing is asking the questions. You go and find out the answers and then give them to me if you are kind enough to do so.
And of course there is no chance of your Salaam – coming directly from God, as it does – ever missing a target and landing on a neighbor’s house, is there? But what will you do if it does and fills their house with God’s mercy and blessing? How do you plan to stop that?
Again, I don’t know any of this stuff. I am just doing the asking. You go find the answers.
But trust me I am having a lot of “fun” asking these questions, Mashallah.
And when I turn around and look, all that meets my eye is miracle after miracle after miracle with which the Qur’an, Islam, the world of God Almighty and the lives of even the most ordinary of Muslims are filled.
© 2007 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.