Muslims and the World
(Bringing Islam to the World One Concept at a Time) Quote-Unquote – Book V (401-500)
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Muslims are worried about Muslims. How to get them closer to God. And how to get them into Paradise.
And there are a million shaikhs and mowlanas and wannabes on their trail.
There is also money -- and a career path? -- in Muslims. But that is a different story.
You know “Halal” Meat and all that. As if the other meat is Haram!
But the question is: Who is worrying about non-Muslims? In any shape or form, as they say?
Except their God, of course, in the Qur’an.
Who among Muslims is concerned about taking the message of the Qur’an to the non-Muslims of the world: in America; in Japan; in China; in UK; in Europe -- and everywhere else?
Who among Muslims is worried about giving the non-Muslims a chance, no matter how small and no matter how fleeting, of knowing God, of learning about God, of being able to hear the words of God, directly and without adulteration?
Who among Muslims wants to stand on a mountaintop and cry out, as the Qur’an does:
O, those who have wronged themselves!
Despair not of the Grace of God!
God forgives all sins and transgressions.
For, that is who God is.
He is the Most Most Loving, the Most Forgiving!
Who will ever go to the non-Muslims of the world and put these words of God -- words of the Qur’an -- in their ears?
Sometimes, it may appear as if non-Islam – or call it Anti-Islam if you will, just like A and Not-A or Matter and Anti-Matter – has everything. And Islam and Muslims have nothing.
But we have – Islam has and Muslims must have – what much of non- or anti-Islam does not, and, in many cases, cannot have.
And that is our Integrity – unassailable and unimpeachable, and totally unavailable for sale or cooptation.
Our Commitment to Truth as it were – to seek it and to speak it as much as it is in our power as human beings to do. Frail and flawed as we are, and we shall always be, as human beings.
Once we lose our grip on our Integrity, and on our Commitment to Truth, we run the risk of losing everything else.
Go, read your Iqbal now.
And if you don’t know who or what Iqbal is or was, go find out. Here is a hint to help you out.
Iqbal, along with Ghalib, was one of a handful of the World’s Greatest Poets of All Times and in All Cultures and Languages.
And just like Ghalib, Iqbal too wrote his super-human work, not just in one language, but in two languages – all at the same time: Urdu and Persian or Farsi.
And, just as it was in the case of Ghalib, the work he produced was better and even more superior in one language than it was in the other language. Don’t ask me which was which.
If you don’t know this, that is, if you don’t know who Ghalib and Iqbal were, or how great they were, or the fact that they both produced their masterpiece poetry in two languages and not in one language, then, forgive me, but regardless of whether you are a Muslim or a non-Muslim, your education, culture, training and knowledge are that much the poorer and deficient for it.
I mean if you don’t know about Iqbal and Ghalib, or if you do not have the right and proper perspective on them, and on how great and remarkable and unique they truly were, then you owe it to yourself to go and remedy that deficiency.
Just like I wish there was a way for me, at this stage in my own life, to learn Latin, Sanskrit, Greek and all the other beautiful languages of the world.
In any case, the point I was trying to make is this: Anti-Islam, as opposed to Islam, uses Falsehood, and not Truth, as its main weapon of war against Islam and Muslims.
For, if Anti-Islam uses Truth, and does not use Falsehood, it will perish. Period.
It will self-destruct.
The equation is simple and straightforward:
If Islam and Muslims use anything but Truth, they will lose and disappear.
If Anti-Islam uses anything but Falsehood then it will cease to exist.
In other words, Truth to Anti-Islam is like Sunlight is supposed to be to the mythical monster Count Dracula and his disciples. Sunlight comes and they disappear.
That is because Islam is Haq. And Anti-Islam is Batil.
Anti-Islam is the child of darkness and deviancy, and of evil minds and depraved souls, and unlike Islam and Muslims, Falsehood is its natural home and habitat.
Qul Jaa-al Haqqu Wa Zahaqal Baatil!
How much more clear or beautiful can it get?
So, for Anti-Islam, it is Lie Through Your Teeth or Perish!
And for Islam, it is tell the truth or pay the price.
As to what specific forms of Falsehood does Anti-Islam resort to and utilize in its war on Islam and Muslims? Here is an incomplete but a very common laundry list of them:
- Every conceivable kind of propaganda;
- Demonization of Islam and Muslims and all its other enemies;
- Manipulation of facts and information and images;
- False framing of unsuspecting innocents;
- Planting of cooked evidence in show trials in Kangaroo Courts;
- Fabrication of entire stories and storylines;
- Brazen False Flag Operations in which Anti-Islam perpetrates the most terrible things and then turns around and blames Islam, Muslims and other innocents for them;
- Unscrupulous fudging of data, small and large.
Let me summarize my main point one more time:
If Islam resorts to lies, in preference to Truth, it must pack up and go home.
If, on the other hand, Anti-Islam turns to using Truth, and puts away for a day its arsenal of lies and fabrications, and Falsehood, it must inevitably self-destruct.
Now, you go and figure out who does what, and you will know Haq from Batil, Truth from Falsehood – no matter what media, and no matter what books, and no matter what scholars or politicians, tell you what.
Then you decide on whose side you think God would or should be.
One way to determine the truth-value of a Hadith is by testing it against facts. Both historical and contemporary facts -- in the real world.
In other words, with regard to any given Hadith Sharif, do a simple Hypothesis Test.
The specific argument I am making -- the hypothesis I am suggesting -- is this:
“If this particular Hadith -- any given Hadith -- is true, that means, if it is really from Allah, and if it really and truly came out of the blessed and unerring lips of Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, then it is bound to fit reality, the events and situations of the real world, as we find them at any time or in any given place.”
This is, if you will, an empirical test of a Hadith -- beyond the regular, established methods pursued by traditional Muslim Scholarship through the ages of Sanad and Matan (Matn).
Sanad Method means the critical examination of the Reporting Chain of the Hadith.
Matan (Matn) Method is the critical examination of the actual text or words of the Hadith.
While the Sanad Method is accepted by all, what I am calling the Matn Method is questioned by some.
That is because some people argue that a Hadith attributed to Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, must be accepted, or rejected, based entirely on the strength or weakness of its Chain of Narration.
And this should be regardless of any analysis or independent insight one may develop into the actual wording of the text itself.
It is an interesting debate in many ways.
But I do want to commend a Third Method to Islamic Scholarship at all levels: the Hypothesis Testing Method.
I want to submit it as an additional Third Method for the critical examination, verification and validation of a Hadith, beyond and in addition to, the other two established methods of historical Hadith Scholarship of Sanad and Matn analysis.
That means, just check to see how the content of a Hadith -- any given Hadith -- unfolded over time during the past 1400 years.
And, soon enough, you will know.
Wa La-Saufa Ta’alamoon!
In Islam, actions matter. So do the intentions that drive them.
There is a beautiful Hadith that puts this in perspective.
Hadith means the words of Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, that history has documented as faithfully, accurately and thoroughly as it is possible for history and humanity to do it.
And, if you ask me, all Hadith are beautiful, as they have to be, if they are the words of a chosen human being – Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam – inspired and guided by God Almighty.
In the meantime, don’t mind my using the expression Hadith as both singular and plural at the same time.
So, the Hadith I am referring to goes like this in the original Arabic:
“Innamal A’amaalu Binniyyaat!”
I have spent decades trying to find the right English translation for it. I continue to have difficulty, to this day.
Maybe someday, should God Almighty so will and decree it, the right set of words would come along and fall in place.
Right now, I am content with saying that the Hadith underscores the organic – natural and inseparable – interrelationship between our actions and our intentions.
Just think for a moment. How much of a better world our world would be, in every way, if all of us – each one of us – paid as close attention to our intentions as we, hopefully, pay to our actions.
And, of course, our actions, both private and public, should always be the best in every way that we can possibly make them.
For, that is Islam – in a nutshell, as they say.
Some of the “better” Muslims I know are playing golf. Allah bless them.
Yes, there is such a thing, I suspect, as “better” and, possibly, “worse” Muslims. I will be vastly surprised if there isn’t.
And that is good. I mean playing golf.
Some other “better” Muslims are taking painting lessons from some of the most prestigious universities in the world.
And that is good too. I mean taking painting classes from good and great universities in the world.
If you ask me, for Muslims -- or for anyone -- just to breathe the air on a good university campus is a good thing in and of itself.
And so is clocking a few hours, being out in the open and walking the lush lawns of a nicely manicured golf course.
Knowledge is from God in heaven. And universities are temples erected in the pursuit of knowledge on earth.
If you wish, call them Sawaami’u wa Biya-un Yudhkaru Feehasmullah, and you may not be too far off the mark.
Islam says seek knowledge, for, it is your duty to do so.
Universities say come to us, we will give you knowledge. We will teach you how to go looking for knowledge.
So universities are good. And looking into the courses they offer is good.
Obviously, these “better” Muslims are doing these things because Allah has given them “better” means than many, if not most, other ordinary and regular Muslims around the world.
So playing golf is good. And taking painting classes at universities is good.
But a question that continually tugs at my heart and wouldn’t let go is this:
What about that other little detail in our life -- that tiny little job that all of us have been given by God of taking the Qur’an to every home and heart that needs it -- and which one does not?
Who is minding that store when these “better” Muslims are playing golf and pursuing their God-given passion for painting, following the powerful Sunnat of the likes of Van Gogh and Paul Gauguin?
Who have they deputed or commissioned to watch that store while they are out golfing, or painting -- or fishing?
I know Muslims are worried about their Palaces in Paradise. As they should.
And I don’t blame them for doing that.
But my concern is -- and always was -- this earthly abode on which God placed me. And told me to go and take care of it. And to make it a better place for all.
My paradise is not my concern. Never was.
My paradise is in the hands of the one who made it and manages it.
And who dispenses it as he pleases. To whomsoever he pleases.
He gave me too much sense to worry about what he does -- what is basically his business.
I have my hands full worrying about what I am supposed to do -- right here on earth.
I have spent a lifetime learning, reading, analyzing, researching and thinking through Islam on the one hand and Democracy on the other hand.
And here is some of what I found.
In any society, where there is no democracy, there can be no true Islam, no matter how much people in that society practice some of the essentials of Islam such as pray and fast and do Hajj and affect what they may claim is “Islamic” garb.
Conversely, also, where there is no Islam, in such a society true Democracy will remain a dream, ever distant, and fading, and constantly in search of fulfillment – often reducing the boasts of the people of that society about some of the essentials of Democracy such as Human Rights and Freedom of the Press to ironic, tired and empty clichés.
No Democracy, no True Islam!
And No Islam, no True Democracy!
We live in an age of technology. The daily progress in that field is truly head-spinning. It is fair to think that very few people can truly keep up with what comes down the pipe on a daily basis. In the midst of all this, one thing for Muslims to keep in mind is to ensure ease of use at all levels. That means whenever Muslims use technology, they must make it easy for those with the most primitive means to be able to access and use it. If that goal is not met, it is all pomp and show -- and quite probably very little Islam.
First of all, the word is “converts,” not “reverts.”
Converts is simple English -- queen’s or every English speaker’s.
Reverts is mumbo-jumbo and part of new English-speaking Muslim contortionism.
American converts over the past four decades have done their bit, and I will leave it at that. Some of the damage some of them did is, well, irreversible.
But Allah does act in ways that to us mortals may appear mysterious and unfathomable. So, who knows how things will turn out.
For, I don’t see America being abandoned by God in a hurry. And that is despite some of the most egregious things America allows herself to do locally and internationally.
In some ways, the good clearly outweighs the bad. But who is to tell.
I am a Muslim and America to me is home. And that is where it stops. So, the options are: pray for America and hope.
And work ceaselessly and tirelessly to help wherever and however one can.
Hope that the good will rise up and shine and inflict crushing defeat after crushing defeat on the bad.
And the damage at least some new Muslim converts did in and to America, and to Islam and Muslims and the world, they did it with full complicity and patronage from the “native” or “heritage” type Muslims, most of them from Indo-Pak region or the Middle East, many of them with an ingrained colonial mindset and inferiority complex.
The UK converts seem to be a lot smarter. Mostly white, with some black faces bringing up relief. Many of them female.
For one, many of them seem to be after Islam, and not Muslims. And many of them seem to come from some kind of a university background.
And many of them seem to have a life outside Islam. A seemingly normal, functioning, productive life that does not seem dependent on sucking up energy, sustenance and resources from Muslims and in the name of Islam.
And many of them seem to have figured out how to navigate the troubled and turbulent waters of British “native” or “heritage” type Muslims.
There was a time I used to worry about them: what Muslims would do to them. Now it seems no one needs to worry. For, the British converts to Islam seem perfectly capable of taking care of themselves.
And also of making an impact on society around them.
Is this a breath of fresh air? It certainly appears to be so.
Does this augur well for Islam, Muslims and the world? Who can tell.
I don’t know if Muslims are in the business of keeping their fingers crossed. Or if they are allowed to do that. If you ask me, they certainly must try and err on the side of hope and optimism.
I for one am going to allow myself the luxury of saying:
Thank you brothers and sisters of the UK Muslim community who have made a conscious and rational decision to embrace Islam!
Welcome home and God bless you!
I am going to talk myself into waiting for good and great things to come from where you are.
Islam is from God. Therefore, it has to be perfect.
Muslims are people. Therefore, they have to be imperfect.
This world is a place where there is a marriage of the perfect with the imperfect -- of the Divine System of Islam with mortal and flawed human beings who answer to the name of Muslim.
You can imagine the rest of the story: a troubled roller-coaster relationship between the two.
That is why, as someone so wonderfully put it: While the Faith is perfect, many of the Faithful are not.
Yet, the fact remains, in any time or place, imperfect as they are, these Muslims are the people whom God has chosen to carry his flag -- and wear his uniform.
For, no one comes into Islam, either by birth or through conversion, except based on a direct invitation from him -- from God.
Who is responsible for Islam?
To properly and correctly represent it to ourselves and to others?
Will we do to our children -- or to anyone else -- what we do to Islam?
Misspell their names? Give out wrong IDs for them? Enter their names wrong in school and college records?
But this is what we do to Islam. People who have no credentials or qualifications become authorities on the subject. And give out a picture of Islam that is often not true.
A picture that has only the most precarious basis in fact and reality.
Often just because there is name, fame and money in Islam.
Ulama used to say about people like that: Fa-Dalloo wa A-dalloo.
Meaning: They went wrong themselves. And they took everybody else with them.
It is like the Blind Leading the Blind!
Makes you want to cry. Why can’t some of us leave Islam alone? And go find another way of making money or name or fame for ourselves?
As the Sahabah Kiram used to do? They did not ride Islam for personal and professional purposes of their own.
They gave Islam their all. Often, including their lives.
Why can’t some of us leave Islam -- and Muslims -- alone and go find a job. And maybe have a life, as they say in America.
Islam has created the finest and most glorious Scale of Life for human beings to rise to a higher level of living.
That means to rise from a lowly and “Supine Animal Level of Living,” where most people prefer to reside, to a more active and “Sublime Human Level of Living,” where all of us must aspire and strive to be.
And, according to Hadith Sharif, here is how that Scale of Life operates:
No matter who you are, or what you do, always ask yourself how you can do better. How you can rise to a higher and more active and human level of living.
Start out by looking around you.
See what things may not appear quite “right.” What things may appear to need changing or improving.
And what “wrongs” may clamor and cry out for “righting” or “stopping.”
And what good “causes,” “issues” and “efforts” may need your shoulder to the wheel to make them happen and to bear full fruit.
Right around where you live, where you find yourself. And extending, in never-ending concentric circles, to Infinity.
And then, try and stop all the wrong and bad things from happening.
And work to make all the good and right things happen.
But if you find yourself unable or unwilling to actively stop bad things from happening or make good and right things happen, then at least SPEAK UP!
Use your mouth, your body language, use your pen, your computer and your camera. Mobilize all your powers and skills of communication.
And throw your weight and your influence, and your resources and your energies, in the direction of stopping “bad and wrong” things from happening and making “good and right” things happen.
Speak and write in support of those who are actively engaged in the struggle to make “good and right” things happen in this world and stop “wrong and bad” things from happening.
Don’t sit on the fence and watch.
Don’t sit like the proverbial fly on the wall.
For, in the struggle between “good and bad,” and between “right and wrong,” there are no walls that Islam allows on which you can sit like a fly and watch from what you think is a “safe and comfortable distance.”
What a beautiful Scale of Life this is that Islam creates.
When people say they are believers, they are tested.
This is God’s immutable law: God subjects believers to all kinds of tests in this world.
Sometimes, God tests believers by giving. And sometimes he tests them by not giving or by taking away from them what he may have already given them.
God says he does that to separate the wheat from the chaff.
And to differentiate between those who are Real and True Believers and those who are sham; those who are faking belief; and those who are making false and convenient claims.
And those who want to have it both ways.
Those who may want to play it “safe.”
Some countries in the world grant what is called Dual Citizenship. They allow their citizens to hold the citizenship of another country, while retaining their American citizenship.
As a result, you will find, for example, many American citizens, many of them quite prominent ones, also holding simultaneously an Israeli Citizenship.
That is not considered a contradiction. And it is certainly not against the American Law.
Yet, here is an interesting fact about the process of acquiring American Citizenship -- Naturalization -- for Non-Citizens.
That is what it is called: Naturalization. It means all the steps that a Non-American-Citizen has to go through to become an American Citizen.
The final stage of this process is for a citizenship applicant, man or woman, who is currently holding a Non-US Citizenship to stand before a Federal Judge and solemnly swear to foreswear, renounce, reject and give up all foreign allegiances and citizenships.
Now, stop for a moment and think about it. Does it sound a bit like La Ilaha Illa Allah? First rejecting, renouncing and forswearing all other “gods,” one might have had, before finally affirming one’s allegiance to this one real God?
If it does, that is because that is exactly how it is. It is first saying “No!” to everyone else before saying “Yes!” to God Almighty.
Is the American Naturalization Process patterned after La Ilaha Illallah, I do not know. But does it sound and feel like it?
It sure does.
There are different states of being or living in this world. One is Islam and the other is what Islam calls Jaahiliyyah.
Earlier or pre-existing forms and levels of Jaahiliyyah is how the Qur’an puts it.
Islam is living life within and according to God’s laws and guidance. Jaahiliyyat is living life outside God’s laws and guidance.
Don’t worry, both spelling are correct. That is why I am mixing them up.
Total or partial commitment to things like Communism, Nationalism, Racism, Feminism and such is living with or in Jaahiliyyah in full or part.
That means living outside Islam.
Communism is communism. Marxism is one of its most complete and well-known formulations.
Islam is NOT Communism or Marxism.
Islam is Islam. Period.
Nationalism and Racism are putting your own nation and race above other nations and races. It is a form of Tribalism or Groupism. Generally speaking, it is driven by a sense of superiority using those markers of human difference.
Once, Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, told a Sahabi -- a Companion of his -- that he still had remnants of Jaahiliyyat in him.
That is because the Sahabi in question was displaying a certain amount of Racism in the way he spoke to another Sahabi.
Feminism at one level may be regarded as preoccupation with what we may consider to be “Women’s Issues,” to the exclusion or dilution of other things and issues.
It is a certain level of over-concern, on the part of some women in particular, with securing women what they think are their rights.
This is also a form of Jaahiliyyah.
Islam means a full and total internalization and acceptance of a simple fact:
No one cares more about women -- and men -- than Allah.
And no system in the world caters to women’s needs, rights and issues -- and to men’s needs, rights and issues -- more than does the system of Islam that Allah devised for this very purpose: To give everybody their rights and dues.
So, for a woman in the 21st Century to come to Islam because Hazrat Khadijah was a woman or because Hazrat Aishah was so great is to come into Islam on a Jaahiliy ticket.
And to stay in Islam for that reason is to continue to be in Islam using an old Jaahiliy comfort formula.
Whereas Islam requires a categorical and complete rejection of all these -- and all other -- forms of Jaahiliyyat before people come into Islam.
Now, read the Kalimah Tayyibah. It starts out with a “La.” And “La” means “No.”
And in saying “La,” what a Muslim is saying is this:
“I totally and completely reject and forswear ALL FORMS AND TYPES of false and demi- gods before I step into Islam and affirm the existence of, and my own belief in, God.”
That is why the Kalimah Tayyibah consists of two very distinct parts:
A. Part A: Rejection: La Ilaha -- No Ilahs of any kind.
B. Part B: Affirmation: Illa Allah -- Only Allah.
That means no one ever gets to the stage of Illallah before a complete clearing of tables at the stage of La Ilaha.
I hope this helps.
A Quote by Hashim Mohammed
Leadership, whether good or bad, determines, to a large extent, the condition of a people.
At the same time, Allah will not change the condition of a people until they make an effort themselves to change it.
In other words, till they decide to put the “Work,” not their “self“ first.
“Work” of course means that they should have as their top priority the responsibility of taking the Qur’an and the message of Allah’s Deen to every home and heart that needs it -- and which one does not? -- and not be totally preoccupied with their own personal lives, families and careers.
Today, many Muslims are numb to Islam and their environment both. They fully understand neither the Deen of Islam which came to them from Allah. Nor do they really understand the society, the environment and the world in which they live.
As a result, they often end up losing both: Deen as well as Dunya.
Good Muslim scholars -- Ulama Haqq -- always struggled mightily to serve the people and to speak the truth, even when doing so cost them their lives or their liberties, often at the hands of Muslim kings and tyrants.
Shaikh Quilliam, England; Lord Headley Al-Farouq (Ireland) in Islamic Review; Freedom Fighter and Gandhi colleague Mowlana Muhammad Ali Johar in Comrade in British India; scholar and Qur’an translator Allama Yusuf Ali, and others.
Allah bless them all.
Whatever else they all were, or were not, they certainly were not third-raters, as so many of us, Muslims of today, have or threaten to become.
And then some of the same third-raters among us have the gall to preach to the world that Islam is the best there is and that it is a first-rate product.
But the all-important question Muslims must answer is this: Why should a first-rate non-Muslim accept that argument about Islam from a third-rate Muslim?
As for guiding people to Islam, Allah, of course, guides whomever he wishes to his path, even if it is through a very flawed and less-than-stellar Muslim.
People, don’t run and hide in man-made “Islam” from real Islam.
For, that is what many Muslims do: take refuge in what they think is Islam from what really is Islam.
That tragic Muslim phenomenon practically explains almost all of what is wrong with the Muslims today.
And no tragedy could be greater than the fact that so many Muslims so often run after every false promise of the “religion” of Islam flaunted before them by self-serving Muslim propagandists and activists; and in doing this, they leave behind the Deen of Islam that came to them from Allah; while Allah’s Deen of Islam stands behind alone, abandoned and an utter stranger in their midst, and watches them with pity and sorrow.
A-laisa Minkum Rajulun Rasheed, it seems to say: Is there not one decent man among you?
Now, don’t hold me to any of this. But I have to say what I have to say. Someone has to, don’t you think?
Muslims compulsively, and in many cases without the least idea what they are doing, hate Karl Marx, the German ideologue, whose philosophy inspired the bloody Russian and Chinese revolutions and caused Communism to mushroom up everywhere around the world.
It is attributed to Marx that he said that “Religion is the opium of the people.” Of course, you are on your own in verifying and validating this quote.
But what I am trying to say is that no one condemns this thought by Marx more vociferously than Muslims. However, what many Muslims don’t take the time or the trouble to realize is that they – I mean Muslims – are among the most OD’d people in the world on that opiate, on “religion,” I mean.
When do they ever study the great thinkers and revolutionaries of the world -- no matter what their religion or affiliation or political leaning? And whether or not they agree with them?
That is how opaque, common and colossal is the state of Muslim ignorance around the world: whether it is about their own “religion,” or about the world in which they must live and practice their “religion.”
Most Muslims don’t even bother to ask if Islam is even a “religion” to begin with, as the world knows and understands that term “religion.”
That is what overdosing on a drug like opium would do to anyone: Numb them to themselves as well as to the reality around them.
And when it comes to reality, take it from me, no one has a more frayed or fragile sense of reality than Muslims.
Muslims always complain about what non-Muslims do to Muslims. Grievance and protest are thriving business among Muslims the world over.
But when did you ever see or hear Muslims complain or protest about what Muslims themselves do to Muslims?
Especially, Muslim leaders, both secular and so-called religious.
You don’t know what I am talking about? To get enlightenment, you need to look no further than that Arch-Traitor General Sisi of Egypt and those Mega-Culprits Dr. Tayyib of Al-Azhar and Former Mufti of Egypt, Dr. Gomah.
The three of them, together, wiped out the most legitimate and thriving Egyptian Democracy, the first in all of Egyptian history, and made mincemeat of innocent unarmed civilian protestors all over the land of Egypt, including women and children.
And yet, not one whine or whimper from Muslims anywhere!
As for what corrupt and profligate Muslim Shaikhdoms and Kingdoms rolling in ill-gotten Muslim wealth do to Muslims, you will never hear a squeak from any Muslim, leader or commoner.
And yet Muslims, all over the world, run around crying and complaining why Allah does not come to their aid and why he does not change their condition.
The answer is right there in the Qur’an, right before their eyes:
“Allah does not change the condition of a people till they
themselves take steps and set about changing their condition.”
Muslims just don’t get it, do they?
What is happening in Egypt these days -- and it has been happening there for a very long time -- is an attempt to wipe out Islam and turn the so-called Middle East into a slave plantation.
More than it already is.
They are trying to do in the beginning of the 21st century the same thing to Islam and Muslims using thugs like Sisi, Amr Musa, Baradei and others that they did to Islam and Muslims in the beginning of the 20th Century using Lawrence of Arabia, Faisal and other thugs.
Same actors, same Alliance of Evil, same game, same purpose, same results.
Everyone knows this. Only, those who call themselves Muslims haven’t a clue about what is going on. Or even what planet they are on.
Their answer to the problem: Make a couple of extra Hajj and things will be Hunky-Dory.
Or top that off with more “Halal” Meat and “Islamic” Finance!
What we want is not just for people coming to Pasha Hour International for “more” ideas.
Or for more listening pleasure.
It is for people to take the ideas -- every single idea -- from Pasha Hour International and working on it with all their might and with all their resources to take Islam forward: In their own life as well as in our world.
That is what Pasha Hour International went on air to achieve. And that is what Pasha Hour International continues to be on the air to achieve.
How nice it would be, and how convenient to one and all: to finally turn Islam into a “religion.”
Into just another “religion” and then deal with it at that level! As a “religion.”
Everyone then will have their own “priests” -- Muslim “priests” of course.
And everyone will have their own “holy” this and “holy” that. “Holy Book” will then will be the official title of Allah’s book, the Qur’an Karim.
And, don’t forget, people then can have their own “rituals.”
But don’t we already have those? “Rituals” I mean? Isn’t that what “Namaz” or “Salah” is? A “ritual“?
And Wudu too, right?
And then -- listen to this -- the rich and the powerful and the more blatantly corrupt among the Muslims can openly and “lawfully” own, control and direct this “religion” of Islam.
Even as they have tried, somewhat unsuccessfully, to own, control, corrupt and direct Allah’s Deen of Islam for the past 1400 years.
All the corrupt of the world can then have a comfortable night’s sleep. And Shaitan then can finally take a holiday. Take a day off from his busy schedule dealing with the challenges of the Deen of Islam -- and real Muslims.
What a Christmas that would be!
Theology is the one-stop answer for all things we cannot or do not want to do right. Once the Supernatural is introduced in the equation, all rational debate comes to an end. What an effective way to stifle dissent and deny justice to those who deserve it.
Words fail me when I see the silent mosques. It seems somehow wrong telling the owner of this world how to run his house. But shouldn’t there be at least one place on earth, where people -- Hindus, Muslims, Jews, others -- can flock to listen to Allah’s word articulated in a clear and powerful way?
How can we live when so many mosques have gone dead?
Muslims -- good, thinking Muslims -- complain about Muslims falling silent. But why wouldn’t Muslims go silent? Look at their mosques! Look for how long these houses of Allah have gone silent now?
Houses about which Allah says: Adhinallahu An Turfa’a … Houses that were meant to be raised.
Mimbars, from which the clarion call of justice and truth -- Haqq -- was supposed to rise and fill the world, have fallen silent.
What face will we show Allah, when we raise our voice for everything, except in the service of truth and justice?
And what fate awaits us right here in this world, when we do everything except to raise aloft the banner of truth and justice?
Who will do it, if not Muslims? And where will anyone do it if not in our mosques?
And yet how loud and deafening is the roar of Muslim silence when it comes to truth and justice!
And how profound and powerful is the silence of the mosques!
Water does not ask anyone if it should flow and in what direction. It just goes where there is an opening. And where there is no opening, water makes one.
It makes its own opening.
Water does not wait for anyone’s permission to do its work, which is flow, flow, flow.
That is its nature -- water’s nature. In humans it is called fire in the belly.
In the same way, those who say they work for Allah, and are serious about taking the Qur’an and the message of Islam to every home and heart that needs it -- and which one does not? -- do not wait around for their marching orders to come from others.
They do not wait for other people to tell them what to do.
They are dynamic, self-propelled, highly motivated individuals -- and groups -- who are always on the move and who are perpetually on the lookout for better and more ways to do their work.
If Muslims want to see a better world, they must stop making use of Islam and things Islamic with a profit motive -- meaning, to somehow make a buck, as they say, or to gain some kind of worldly benefit or advantage such as power, position, prestige, wealth, name, fame and all that.
Do that for five years and then see what happens to the world.
Those who understand the events of the past two years and more in Egypt -- what happened and who played what role in them -- will understand Islam and the real world.
Those who don’t, may always be wandering in the wilderness of their own making. So, Egypt is the real story of Islam, Muslims and the World over the last 100 years.
I was working and the work involved some serious physical labor. I wanted to ask someone for help. But then I decided otherwise and completed the work myself. The person in question might have seen himself as having received a “favor” of some kind from me at some time.
And this morning, again as I was in the middle of some serious physical work, I found myself suddenly bursting out laughing. I was not even aware I was doing that. I began to ask myself why was I laughing.
That is when it struck me: How naive -- if not outright foolish -- we human beings are!
We want people to return our favors to them. And we get upset when we don’t see any signs of recognition or gratefulness on their part. Whereas the fact is any “favor” done to anyone is really a favor to Allah.
Believe it or not, that is how it is, even though no one can ever do any kind of a favor to Allah.
Another thing is people may not be in a position to return favors even if they wished to do so. And even if they did, what and how much can and will they give in return for the favors you did to them?
But Allah? Here is a simple fact about Allah: Allah does not keep you waiting to return the “favors” you do to him. It happens; it happens fast; and it pours when it happens.
And I saw that as I was doing some serious hauling, hewing and fetching again today. All alone. And I started to laugh without even realizing what I was doing.
For those of you who may have an issue with my use of the expression “doing a favor to Allah,” go read the Aayah: “Man Dhalladhee Yuqridwullaha Qwardan Hasanan.”
Don’t be surprised by what I am about to say now.
When you look around, when you travel, when you try and contact people, when you make all kinds of efforts, and get in touch with those who you think are people in positions of leadership of some kind or level among Muslims, this is the sad and heartbreaking reality you are likely to encounter:
They don’t seem to care who you are or what you do. They seem to be so caught up in who they are and what they are doing, they seem to have no time to spare for you.
Nor do they seem to have a shred of attention they could bestow upon you.
Part of this is simple human deviance and limitation. Human egos grown too fat and native human intelligence and sensitivity gone dull, dumb and deaf.
Or merely myopic self-interest taken to an extreme.
But, at the same time, make a note of this, part of it also is by design. It is a part of deep deliberation and careful planning in quarters that seem to wish to control the world and shape human destiny.
That means, certain people have been trained and groomed to act a certain way and then they have been foisted in positions of leadership among Muslims.
The basic idea is to keep Muslims spinning in a series of never-ending circles and to keep the Muslim Ummah from regenerating itself and going forward.
While other parts of the world are not exempt, nowhere is this diseased phenomenon more manifest than what Muslims generally refer to as the West.
People do in life what they want to do. They achieve what they want and set out to achieve.
And all this is as fair as it could be.
Layisa Lil Insaani Illaa Maa Sa’aa, says Almighty Allah in the Qur’an.
Meaning, “You will only get what you work for.”
At the same time, what many people don’t realize is that Allah’s work is full-time job. And it is a compulsory duty on the part of all -- man and woman.
Children are exempt till they reach maturity, which in Islam is the age of puberty.
Allah’s work cannot be done in spurts. Nor can we fit it to suit our convenience and leisure. Even though God Almighty accepts from everyone whatever little or lot they offer.
God Almighty created us to work for him. And we are his slave. That is who all of us are: Allah’s slave.
When we are not working for Allah, we are still Allah’s slaves, but this time we are Allah’s Run-Away Slaves. Slaves on the run from Allah’s justice and unfailing grip. With all of Allah’s creation in hot pursuit of us.
Who will give us quarter, and where will we find refuge, from such a relentless and all-out manhunt?
Here is a puzzle I have not been able to decipher: All my studies over the years, including what little I know of the Qur’an, tell me that Islam is not for those who cannot think and who do not understand things. And Muslims, Allah bless them, cannot think. And they do nothing to understand things. So, how does this work?
Here is a simple point I submit to Muslims for their kind consideration: Please, please, carefully examine your motives with regard to everything you do.
That is, whenever you set out to do something -- anything, whether it is small or big -- ask yourself why you are doing what you are doing and why you chose to do it the way you do.
You will be amazed at the difference this makes.
While Iman could be a condition of your heart, Islam is all about discipline. Consequently, in a very real sense, there is no Islam without adherence to a Jama’at and commitment to a leadership.
That is why Islam demands that you, first of all, elect your leadership and, next, choose the best among you to be your leaders.
Thereafter, Islam demands that you hold your leaders, as well as each other, accountable, both in public and private.
As human beings, we are all flawed people. The best among us are those who are aware of their flaws and work to address them.
Islam is the most responsible and efficient use of resources at one’s disposal, whether at micro or macro levels, and whether we are talking about personal or public resources.
Allah has placed us on this earth for a purpose. When we work to fulfill that purpose, the world of Allah prospers and we live happily ever after.
But when we fail to live up to our responsibility in this regard, our lives become miserable and the world of Allah goes to pieces.
Man A’aradwa ‘An Dhikree, Fa-Inna Lahoo Ma’eeshatan Dwankaa.
Now, don’t hold me to any of this. But I have to say what I have to say. Someone has to, don’t you think?
Muslims compulsively, and in many cases without the least idea what they are doing, hate Karl Marx, the German ideologue, whose philosophy inspired the bloody Russian and Chinese revolutions and caused Communism to mushroom up everywhere.
It is attributed to Marx that he said that “Religion is the opium of the people.” Of course, you are on your own in verifying and validating this quote.
But what I am trying to say is that no one condemns this thought by Marx more vociferously than Muslims. However, what many Muslims don’t take the time or the trouble to realize is that they – I mean Muslims – are among the most OD’d people in the world on that opiate, on “religion,” I mean.
Poor Muslims! Many of them never bothered to ask if Islam is even a “religion” to begin with, as the world knows and understands that term “religion.”
That is what overdosing on a drug like opium would do to anyone. Numb them to the reality around them.
And when it comes to reality, take it from me, no one has a more frayed or fragile sense of reality than Muslims.
Am I in trouble now?
Muslims can obsess with one of two things: themselves or the “Work,” as some have been calling it.
By Work is meant the direct personal responsibility many truly enlightened Muslims have assumed of explaining Islam to the whole world.
That means, as it were, taking the Qur’an to every home and heart that needs it – and which one does not?
The difference, however, is this: When Muslims obsess with the Work – they are consumed by it I mean, as any decent human being will be by anything they really and truly care about – their “Self,” after a brief struggle, and a few nasty squeals, tucks its tail and follows in tow.
But when they begin to obsess with their “Self,” the self grows fatter by the minute, and the Work sits and suffers.
Elementary My Dear Abdul, Sherlock Holmes would have said.
Some people may not like what I am about to say, but say it I must. For, Islam is saying the right thing, no matter how the dice roll, as gamblers will say, a practice severely denounced by Islam.
Why don’t you check out the Aayat: Idh Yulqwoona Aqwlaamahum Ayyuhum Yakfulu Maryam.
Don’t ask me what the connection is or what it means. Figure all that out for yourself.
So, what I wish to say is this:
As Muslims – my eternal friends of course, as they and I go back a long way – embark upon the grueling task of recreating their decadent or losing cultures into winning ones, they must learn the new ways from one of two places: Islam or the best of Corporate Culture.
In some ways, in the end, they are both the same, incredible as this may sound.
But if Muslims will not learn from the one or the other, then they will happily, or most likely unhappily, continue their wallowing in the losing ways of decadence and degeneracy.
The big difference is, learning the winning ways of a new culture directly from Islam comes with all kinds of blessings attached to it.
Reading Qur’an – or praying or fasting or going to Hajj – is no substitute for working for Allah, which is basically inviting the whole world to Allah with love and respect.
Working for Allah means leaving no stone unturned in the service of humanity – Muslim and non-Muslim – and God’s wider creation, using the book of Allah as guide and the example of Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, as model.
Islam is growing in leadership – continuously – and assuming greater individual and personal responsibility by the minute till you make the whole world see Islam the way it really is or you depart from this world trying.
Islam is not work by bits and pieces, and in spurts, and at other people’s urging and pleading, which is often the model of the more corrupt ones among the likes of some of the Sheeks of Azhar and their agents and water carriers around the world.
Islam is living life to the fullest. It is engaging with life and its never-ending challenges hand to hand.
And it is doing life in the most efficient manner we can.
How nice it will be if Islam were all about shutting yourself in a mosque and chanting some formulas. But it is not, even though that is the definition of Islam some people would like you to embrace.
The coup d’état in Cairo on July 3 against Egypt’s democratically elected civilian government by the Egyptian military is a crime.
So are all military coup d’états against civilian governments anywhere around the world. They are all crimes and those perpetrating them are criminals.
So are all those who in any form or fashion aid and abet the perpetrators in the planning and execution of their crimes. As well as those who condone, justify or rationalize these crimes in any form or fashion.
They are all Partners in Crime. And history will hold them all accountable.
Here is what a concerned Muslim wrote to me today:
“With regard to Egypt, it is interesting how people try to justify the unjustifiable and how wrong is packaged as right. Things never change.
What is even more interesting is how the enemies are emerging out of the woodwork.
And from the comments being made, ‘cautious’ or otherwise, you realize that the Morsi-led Government had no friends or even well-wishers.
As for the Muslims, Allahu Akbar, this reminds me of Karbala. That is the pain I feel. It is a very sad day indeed.
As Dr. Pasha so often says, Islam is a stranger and my heart bleeds about this strangeness.”
Maybe doing the right thing is not easy for all of us. But we must all make every effort we can to say the right thing at least.
To equate Morsi, Ikhwan and their opponents, and paint them all with the same brush, is certainly not the right thing to do.
Or the right thing to say.
In fact, it is a brazen and bald-faced lie.
To say Morsi was not open and inclusive in his government is a further extension of that black lie.
What is happening in Egypt right now is a vicious and orchestrated attempt, by enemies from both inside and outside the country, to squelch the Egyptian Revolution and nip the Islamic Initiative in the bud.
Not to know that simple fact is a monument to our naiveté. To ignore or whitewash it is to align ourselves with the enemies of Freedom and Islam everywhere.
What is going on in Egypt right now is the Uhud of our time. Due to some tragic errors in judgment, Muslims may have allowed the enemies of Islam and Freedom to break the noose around their neck. But the pendulum will undoubtedly swing back to Islam.
And as it does, Muslims may get bloodied, but Islam will emerge victorious.
As for the military, it belongs in one place, when it is not actually on the battlefield: in the barracks, awaiting further orders from the Civilian President, Dr. Morsi.
The present leadership of the military has already violated its oath of office by speaking out of turn and issuing an ultimatum to the legitimate Civilian Government of the Day.
As soon as the dust thins, the top echelons of the military, starting with General Abdal Fattah Sissi, should be replaced with a cadre more deeply trained in the mores of modern civilization, which requires unconditional subservience of the military to Civilian Rule.
Therefore, I ask all of us this: If we cannot dare do the right thing, either because we are too scared to do it, or because we do not understand what the right thing to do is, at least let us try and say the right thing – at least to the extent we think it is safe for us to do.
To a lot of Muslims engaged in leadership activities in this world I wish to say this: Do keep in mind that there is Life after Death.
While this earthly life will pass, Life after Death will stay forever.
Therefore, even as you engage in pursuing your leadership dreams in this world, do not for one moment take your eye off that other life: Life after Death.
One simple way of making sure you do that is to keep your motives and intentions as pure as you possibly can.
Even though human actions are almost always creatures of mixed motivations, our test as true Muslims is the extent to which we struggle to make our motives pure.
The other test is to always try and speak the truth – to say the right thing, to the extent we can – even as we struggle, against all kinds of odds, to do the right thing.
When people try to hedge or muddle their speech to cover up or rationalize their confused or misguided actions, it is the beginning of a slippery slope that descends directly in damnation in Life after Death.
In pressing into service the Quote-Unquote method, I am trying to create a writing style of my own that I can use to make some serious comments, and provide some important explanations, concerning a set of critical topics related to Islam, Muslims and the World.
The idea is not to impress the world with my erudition or even with my writing ability. The idea is to make everyone – Muslim as well as non-Muslim – get a clear picture in their mind of some very important aspects of Islam, Muslims and the world in our time.
Many of them are topics and ideas that are often buried under layers of lumbering scholarship and style-obsessed mercenary journalism.
What this Quote-Unquote method is really like, or what it is really patterned after, I dare not say right now. Maybe I will be able to talk about it in the next several years. For, I have often waited for decades to verbalize certain key ideas about Islam, Muslims and the world.
That was because I did not find a suitable venue or because I thought the time was not right. But over time, Allah did give me the opportunity to voice many of those ideas.
And, as we all must know, everything in this world happens strictly according to Allah’s most meticulous Space-Time Calculus. Hear the Qur’an say it:
Wa Kullu Shayi-in ‘Indahu Bi-Miqdaar!
May Allah protect this method of Quote-Unquote – and all my writings – from corruption and trivialization as well as false intent!
And may he grant them acceptance from him and may he open the hearts and minds of his Khalq for them.
To those who say or think they are Working for Allah, here is a simple advice, especially in this blessed month of Ramadan: Make Islam – and the Qur’an and your Working for Allah – the most important priority in your life.
And build all other aspects of your life around this central concern.
If you do that, Allah’s mercy will envelop you from every side and Allah will grant you success in this world as well in the next world.
On the other hand, if you treat Islam – and the Qur’an and working for Allah – as a peripheral or secondary issue, Allah will also push you aside to the margins – of Time and Space and Life.
To the ends of Al-‘Aalameen, as the Qur’an calls it.
That way, you will end up being an “Also Ran” in the race for life and success. This will be the exact opposite of why you pushed Islam – and the Qur’an and Working for Allah – to a secondary role in your life.
Islam is about leadership. It is about leadership that is freely elected by the people and that is fully accountable to the people.
Islam is also about “abiding by” leadership in the sense of both following it and watching it and holding its feet to the fire. The word in the Hadith for this is An-Nasweehah.
That is the training that Swalaah or Namaz provides Muslims so many times a day.
The clock is nobody’s friend. It ticks the same for all. And no one has ever been able to stop its ticking.
That is why smart -- and blessed -- people try and get on the right side of time. That means they always try to make the best and most productive use of the time that Allah gives them.
And, maybe, that is why Allah swears by “Time.”
Wal ‘Asr! Innal Insaana Lafi Khusr!
Islam is all about communication. But you will never guess that by looking at the way Muslims talk: communicate I mean.
No one has a better message than the Muslims. And no one, perhaps, says it worse than the Muslims.
So, here is a hint – that may help:
Say the right thing. Say it as clearly and directly as you can. And say it as completely as you can.
And do it all the first time.
God sent the Qur’an to humanity to read. The word “Qur’an” means “To Read.”
Everyone everywhere must read the Qur’an: in whatever language they can and however much they can.
The Qur’an of course is in Arabic. So, the right and proper way to read the Qur’an is in Arabic.
But for those who cannot read the Qur’an in Arabic, they must read a translation of the Qur’an in whatever language they can.
Ramadan is the month of the Qur’an. So says the Qur’an. In this month, therefore, you must not only fast but also read the Qur’an.
Make this Ramadan truly a month of the Qur’an: for yourself; your family; and the entire world.
Take it as good news if you wish. A Muslim has no place to hide, especially from his maker and master, Rabbus Samaawaati wal Ardi, Rabbul ‘Aalameen.
So, the best option for a Muslim always is to throw himself body, soul and mind in the struggle to serve Allah and his Creation.
In doing so, a Muslim is able to recruit the services and blessings of the entire creation in his behalf.
And above all that, he earns the pleasure and protection of his master, God the Almighty.
Such a person is immune to fear and grief. His life is filled with Allah’s power and presence.
Islam, according to Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, is consistency.
Consistency in good things, that is.
That means when you start something good, keep it going.
At the same time, Islam also means backing out of a bad thing expeditiously – that is, as quickly as you can.
That means, first of all, try as much as you can to stay away from all bad things. But if at some point you find yourself trapped into something bad, get out of it with all possible speed.
They say Sunday, June 16, was Father’s Day.
And I don’t doubt or question that it was. Nor do I doubt or question that it was a most important day for all of us human beings.
For, what can be a better or more important day in the life a civilized human being than Father’s Day?
Unless, of course, it is Mother’s Day, which at least in Islam is three times more important than Father’s Day.
I am – we all are – grateful to American culture, commerce and industry for sensitizing us, no doubt proceeding from a desire to serve its own commercial purposes, to the importance of Father’s Day.
And to Mother’s Day a month or so earlier.
Allah serves and promotes his own purposes in all kinds of ways -- and using instrumentalities we cannot even imagine.
But here is my question:
“What use is a commercially designated Father’s Day to us – children of our parents, as all of us are – if every day is not Father’s Day in our life?
And Mother’s Day as well at the same time?
And more so?”
A man once came to Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, and asked: “Whom should I serve?”
Meaning my father or my mother, for, the man evidently had both his parents living.
Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, said: “Your mother.”
The man then asked the same question a second time: “Whom should I serve?”
To which Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, repeated the same answer as before: “Your mother.”
But the man insisted. He asked for a third time: “Whom should I serve?”
Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, again, for the third time, said: “Your mother.”
But the man was not giving up. Evidently, he was not satisfied.
Whether it was the pagan misogynist Arab culture or a sign of the times the world over, the man repeated the same question for the fourth time and said: “Whom should I serve?”
This time, that is the fourth time around, Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, said:
“Thereafter, serve your father!”
“Thumma Abaaka!” he said, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam!
Upon hearing this answer, the man left.
This, then, is Islam’s lesson to the whole world:
- For a civilized human being, every day is a father’s day and a mother’s day.
- And a mother’s status in a civilized society is three times as important as that of the father.
For America, and to the rest of the world that looks to American culture and commerce for leadership, this message from the Hadith of Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, is worth taking note of:
“Then, your father!”
On this Father’s Day – and every Father’s Day thereafter.
And every Mother’s Day as well.
Dunya impinges on us human beings in all kinds of ways.
Dunya is Arabic in the Qur’an for “The World” – meaning this earthly world in which we live today.
As distinct from another world, Aakhirah – the next everlasting world that we will enter after death.
So, while we human beings are in this world, the Dunya, all kinds of things happen to us. Some we call good and some we tend to see as bad.
But good or bad, the impact of all them on one’s life is often very real and tangible.
But then some of the more clear-headed among us look at the source where all of it comes from, where all things have their origin: God Almighty.
Then some of the more blessed ones among us hang our heads in shame and say: How can anything bad ever come from someone so good!
And that is in spite of all that the 19th Century French Deist and revolutionary thinker Voltaire had to say in that most biting satirical book of his called Candide, ou l’Optimisme.
In response a Believer, if he is truly blessed and guided by God, would tend to say:
Radwitu Billahi Rabban wa Bil-Islami Deenan wa Bi Muhammadin, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallama, Nabiyyan wa Rasoolaa!
Without Allah’s help nothing can be done. Without Allah’s protection no one is safe.
And without Allah giving it, no one gets anything.
And without Allah making it happen, nothing ever happens. Not one thing.
This should help put in context the various Adkhaar (Plural for Dhikr meaning chants and recitations) the Qur’an and Hadith teach.
Some are pure praises of Allah: Alhamdulillah!
Some are about seeking Allah’s protection: A’oodhu Billah!
Some are asking Allah for help: Allahumma A-’Innee!
Some are supplications, that is, begging Allah for things – all sorts of things: Du’a.
Some are simply calling out to Allah in the most personal and intimate terms: Rabbanaa or Rabbi!
And there is no better Du’a (supplication or way of asking Allah for things), says Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, than Alhamdulillah. Just say Alhamdulillah and you got it made.
Nor is there a better and more effective way of thanking Allah for his gifts, favors and bounties than to say Alhamdulillah.
Just say Alhamdulillah, and that way you will thank Allah for all the wonderful things Allah fills your life with.
And keep on saying it – Alhamdulillah! – forever and ever and ever. And you will pave your path to Paradise, in both worlds, and remove all obstacles and hindrances on the way.
For, Alhamdulillah is not only the best way of expressing your gratitude to Allah. It is also, as I said earlier, according to the Hadith of Sayyidina Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, the best prayer and supplication anyone can think of.
Alhamdulillah is. None better.
Ask yourself: How can there be? You praise him, he rewards you. You pocket what he gives you and thank him – and praise him more. And he gives you more. You take that and proceed to thank and praise him even more. And he gives you even more.
In the language of Mathematics, this is Infinite Regress of sorts. You can look upon it as the Infinite Regress of the uninterrupted downpour and inflow of Allah’s bounty, intertwined with the uninterrupted outflow of human devotion and gratitude.
It is the ultimate embodiment of what is sometimes called ‘Uboodiyyat – the quality and state of human beings acting as the true, utter and dutiful slaves of God that they are: Ibaad or ‘Abeed, plural for ‘Abd, meaning slave.
However, the way I am using this concept Infinite Regress here, it does not have the often negative or pejorative aspect that is sometimes associated with the use of the expression Infinite Regress in other fields. I use it here purely in the sense of the unbroken chain – dialectical chain, even circular chain, if you will – that characterizes the totally unfathomable and unending interaction between God and human beings.
You can say that the only way this chain ever breaks, if it does at all, is when the human being turns away from God – from thanking him forever and ever for his boundless mercies.
But even then the flood of God’s unending mercies on human beings does not really stop. It goes on and on and on.
Some of these chants and recitations – Adhkaar – that the Qur’an and Hadith teach us are for turning to Allah in repentance: Astaghfirullah!
Some are to express wonder and awe: Subhanallah!
Some portray grief, pain and shock: Innaa Lillah!
Some indicate your trust in Allah: Tawakkaltu ‘Alallah!
Some record and document how well-pleased you are with the wonderful happenings in and around you that you are able to behold and experience: Maa Shaa-Allah!
Some give due recognition to the obvious fact that there is no power, influence, force or recourse outside Allah: Laa Hawula wa Laa Quwwata Illaa Billah!
And so on and so forth.
And when you have absolutely, positively nothing else to do, you can always fill in all the blanks – every single waking, even sleeping, moment – in your life with the chants of Yaa Allahu! Yaa Allahu! Yaa Allahu!
Or Allah! Allah! Allah!
Or simply: Hoow! Hoow! Hoow!
Do it and then watch the fun as it breaks out in and all around you.
Here is a simple fact about life: No matter where we are on this earth, Allah’s world is pretty much the same. No matter how different things may look or feel.
And our work as Muslims in Allah’s world, and our role or responsibility, is also pretty much the same, no matter where we are and no matter what our station in life is.
Rich or poor, Black or White, male or female, adult or child, educated or not, our role in Allah’s world as human beings is also pretty much the same.
And that work – and that role or responsibility – is to do everything in our power to build Islam in our own lives, and in the society and culture in which we live, and where Allah has placed us as his people and as his representatives.
In the final analysis, as they say, when it is time for us to leave that place, and to say goodbye to the people in whose midst Allah may have situated us, whether by death or by travel, and regardless of whether those people are Muslim or non-Muslim, we should leave that place, and the people and objects that surround us, in a better shape and condition than we found them.
That is our role and our responsibility in life. And it is also our role and responsibility – as we get ready to embrace Allah’s invitation of death and departure from his world.
It is all as simple as that.
And it is, if you ask me, Islam 101.
Elementary, my dear Watson, Sherlock Holmes would have said – if he had existed at all outside the very rich and creative imagination of that great Scottish Medicine Man, Sir Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle.
The word Qur’an in Arabic means “Reading.” Or, maybe, even something to be read.
Qur’an is the name given to the book that claims that it is from God Almighty. It is the name that this book Qur’an gives to itself, which it has done starting out 1400 years ago on this earth.
Before that, the Qur’an was, and remains forever, the immortal and immutable word and speech of God from eternity to eternity.
And the Qur’an does so, calls itself Qur’an I mean, on at least 50 separate occasions – actually 67 times by my quick count – which to me is a most extraordinary thing.
If you wish to call this fact a miracle, live in your hands, you will be absolutely right in doing that.
You should not hesitate to call this aspect of the Qur’an a miracle, all by itself. For, I am not aware of any other book of this kind in existence that sets about giving itself a specific name of its own choosing.
I mean any name.
And now consider this specific name Al Qur’an – “The Reading.” What exactly does that mean?
And, beyond that, what possible relevance or relationship could there be between a barren desert like Arabia; at a time like the beginning of the Seventh Century; and a book that proceeds to anoint itself, in a very self-conscious and deliberate manner, and a very persistent one at that, “The Reading” or the Qur’an?
And, furthermore, that book happens to come out of the mouth of an illiterate man, born and raised among an illiterate people?
That means this confluence of events is as unlikely as anything that can ever happen in this world: an illiterate man; among an illiterate people; in an illiterate place; during generally illiterate times; and in the midst of an illiterate culture!
Mix all of these improbable happenings together and out comes a book that calls itself The Qur’an or “The Reading”?
What are the chances of that happening in a normal world? What are the odds?
What is the likelihood or probability, as anyone would say?
Anyone looking at this phenomenon dispassionately would shake their head and say: Anything but that.
That is, anything but “Qur’an”!
That means it simply does not make sense that a book of this kind should ever be called “Qur’an.”
And that it should be called that so many times, over and over, right in the body of text itself.
And that it should be the book itself – and not any of its admirers or scribes or publishers or followers or preachers – that should be giving that book this extraordinary name.
But, as I said before, the Qur’an does so over and over and over. It calls itself Qur’an no less than 67 times or so.
So, is this reason enough for a non-Muslim to pick up a copy of the Qur’an and read it?
In my view it is.
Unless, of course, that non-Muslim can vouch for the fact that, in his or her knowledge, this fact is a common phenomenon.
That is, that non-Muslim happens to know for a fact any number of similar books that actually refer to themselves with an improbable title of this kind. And then go on to reinforce that fact over and over dozens of times in the body and course of their own texts.
Then maybe that non-Muslim can claim this thing to be a common occurrence and dismiss the Qur’an as nothing but commonplace. But such is not likely to be the case.
As the Qur’an vouches in its own words: Fa-in lam taf’aloo, wa lan taf’aloo.
“And you shall never be able to do it.”
Islam, among other things, is about an elected and publicly accountable government and independent judiciary.
Qur’an laid down these principles quite clearly and precisely – among many others – for everyone to read, understand and implement in their lives and societies in every age and place.
The Hadith explains in detail what these ideas mean. Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, and his noble Companions demonstrated in actual practice how these ideas work in real life.
Thereafter, subsequent generations of Muslims showed how it is done, even in the most difficult circumstances, and even in the face of the most crushing challenges and odds.
At the death of Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, Omar actively campaigned and mobilized the Muslim voter to elect Abu Bakr.
May Allah be pleased with them!
From his deathbed, Omar put in place the political and institutional arrangements for the vetting, drafting and election of his successor.
Uthman elected to give his own life rather than cause a rift in the Muslim community and create political and social chaos and confusion.
Ali waited long years for the Muslim masses to come around to electing him.
Abu Bakr, Omar, Uthman and Ali, may Allah be pleased with them all, Radiyallahu ‘Anhum, all held themselves to the highest standards of public accountability before the electorate.
And they did so without caring for consequence, whether pertaining to their own personal safety or something else.
Nor did such profane and vile influences as greed, personal ambition or cheap expediency ever cast their nefarious shadow upon their decision making.
These most blessed and rightly-guided Companions of Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, did things because those were the right things to do: based on God’s Law as stipulated in the Qur’an; based on the sayings and examples of Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, in the Hadith; based on genuine Public Interest as they perceived it; and based on simple logic and common sense.
Thereafter, their own followers from next generations of Muslims rose to unimaginable heights of excellence, dedication and sacrifice in serving their society.
Abu Hanifah, Malik, Shafi’i and Ibn Hanbal, may God have mercy on them, are all great examples of the best in scholarship as well as in public service.
All the time, these great men were fighting to preserve their own personal and professional integrity and independence in the face of aggressive and even violent onslaught from Rulers-Of-The-Day who, contrary to Islamic teachings, had turned kings and were becoming increasingly despotic and desperate.
It was this glorious legacy of fearless jurisprudence and dedicated political activism that England and Enlightenment Europe later tried to emulate and that eventually percolated to America.
Islam and Muslims were, thus, among the leaders and harbingers into our world of what the world today refers to as Modernity.
The Modern World – what in Arabic sometimes is referred to these days as Al Asr Al Hadith – owes a great debt of gratitude to these Muslim pioneers of Modernity and progress.
Those who say they work for Allah, they must know that Allah has put them in a very special place.
They are Allah’s very, very special people.
And the whole Kawun, the entire Kaa-i-naat, that means all the occupants of all the worlds and universes in existence – what the Qur’an calls Man Fis-Samawaati wal Ard – are watching them; admiring them; cheering for them; blessing them; and, believe it or not, praying for them.
Angels in heaven are blessing them and making Istighfaar for them.
And, on top of all that, Almighty Allah himself blesses them – Yuswallee ‘Alaikum.
It seems to me it is a very special place to be, no matter how you look at it.
So, the incumbents in that very special and rarified perch – the perch of being able to say that they “Work for Allah” – must always be super-super-vigilant not to slip up and not to slide down.
For, there is no place in existence better than the one they have been made to occupy right now by their creator.
They must know that they did not get to where they are all by themselves. They were taken and placed there by their master – a most loving and caring master.
And now he expects them to perform – to deliver.
As a result, they must watch every thought they think. That is right. They must monitor every thought that enters their mind. No matter which Mufti or Mullah gives them what kind of Fatwa to the contrary.
And they must carefully scrutinize every word they utter, before they utter it.
And every act they commit.
For, these people are on God’s and his entire creation’s candid camera – all the time.
They cannot escape all these eyes watching them from every side – all the time.
Nor can they afford to let down such a blessed, magnificent and exalted Fan Club.
And what a glorious company it is to keep.
Wa Hasuna Oolaa-i-ka Rafeeqwaa!
When people do the kind of work we do – I should say the kind of work we are blessed and guided by Allah to do – there are bound to be those who steal from us.
By that I mean those who take our ideas or copy our programs, or actually use our audio or video or written material, without securing our permission and without giving us due credit and without offering acknowledgment of any kind.
This is bound to happen.
It is both sad and astounding how many Muslims are insensitive and uncaring in this matter – or worse.
The question is how do we deal with people like that?
My advice: Don’t waste your time and energy in challenging or fighting them.
I don’t think it is worth it.
Just get on with your life and concentrate on your work. And, if you can, try to do your work better than you ever did before.
Watch the most amazing things Allah makes happen in and around you.
No one asks this question, but we all should: Who sets the Muslim agenda?
That means who makes Muslims think, talk and act the way they do it? Who makes Muslims do the things they do?
In other words, who sets Muslim priorities for study, investigation, analysis, communication and action?
People tell Muslims to jump. It is a typical American expression for asking someone to do their bidding.
And Muslims dutifully oblige. They jump.
Meaning: Muslims happily do whatever whoever asks them to do. Not for them to ask: Who wants us to do it?
And, certainly, not for them, as the poet said, to reason why? Theirs, often, again as the same poet said about the Charge of the Light Brigade, but to do and die.
That is how the Muslims are and that is how they do things. They often simply do and die without ever reasoning why.
But with me it is different. It has always been.
To me, it is always important to know why I should do whatever I am told or expected to do.
So, when someone asks or pressures me to say or do something, I almost always ask two questions:
Question One: Why should I do it?
Question Two: Who wants me to do it?
So far as Muslims are concerned, I submit here is a list of the Usual Suspects of the Great Whodunnit of the Muslim agenda:
The media – mostly non-Muslim international newspapers; radio; television; the Internet; magazines; and anything and everything of that kind. They play a disproportionate role in setting the Muslims agenda.
By and large, if the media cover it – whatever it is – sooner than later it ends up becoming part of the Muslim agenda.
Anyone anywhere – people who desperately look around for topics for Muslim lectures, seminars and conferences, often without much serious rhyme or reason.
Non-Muslim Think Tank experts in the so-called advanced or developed countries of the world – and their Muslim stooges and hireling inductees.
Non-Muslim political activists and their Muslim surrogates.
Non-Muslim religious propagandists and their Muslim mouthpieces and apologists.
Corrupt Muslim governments – sadly, most Muslim governments are riddled by corruption – and their equally corrupt functionaries and sycophants on the one hand and their foreign masters, handlers and mentors on the other hand.
Non-Muslim experts in Psychological Warfare (Psyops) and False Flag Operations.
And this list is by no means complete.
As Muslims, when we speak – or write or engage in any other act or form of communication – we must do so not to impress or feel good, but to educate and to serve and to help.
And to discover and share the truth.
Allah’s book, the Qur’an, is a marvel and a miracle in every way. But Allah made it easy – and readily accessible. And he said so: Wa Laqwad Yassarnal Qur’ana Lidh Dhikr.
And he said this not once or twice but repeatedly: four times in one Surah alone – Surah Al-Qwamar, Surah 54.
That means the Qur’an is easy no matter how you look at it: easy to read; easy to learn; easy to remember; easy to memorize; easy to recite.
And also, the Qur’an is, at the same time, easy to understand and easy to practice and implement: in one’s personal life as well as in our societies and communities.
And in the entire world.
And those who complain that the Qur’an is anything other than “easy” may, sadly, be those who have been denied – or delayed – access to the Qur’an in one form or another, for one reason or another.
Accountability is a most important aspect of a Muslim’s life. And this accountability is not just before God Almighty, the Creator. It is also before each and every one of his creation.
Because God’s creation has a stake in what goes on. And it is deeply vigilant.
And it shall deliver its findings – and render evidence – before God Almighty as he requires and enables it to do.
So, as believers – as Muslims – we must be keenly aware and appreciative of the fact that we are surrounded by a billion eyes and a trillion ears, and an untold number of recording devices, each registering and documenting in meticulous and excruciating detail, and with the greatest accuracy and fidelity, everything we do.
So much so, our own skins, with their millions of pores and cells, shall speak for or against us on the Day of Judgment. We shall then express surprise and say “Why are you speaking against us?”
To this, our skins shall respond saying: “The same God who gave speech to everything also gave us the ability to speak!”
Meaning, why the surprise. Why indeed!
If you are a Muslim, you operate under certain constraints. Often you don’t have some of the luxuries and freedoms others may claim.
For example, others may do things to impress and to feel good. Muslims must do things proceeding from a sense of deep personal accountability before God – and his creation.
An overpowering sense of duty must drive all that Muslims do in their lives.
Thereafter, Muslims must do things, as much as possible, for utilitarian purposes. They must constantly examine and question their motives. And they must ask themselves what really lies behind what they are doing; how good it is; and what good will it do to anyone.
On the widest scale.
And that aspect of “Doing Good” is a direct quote from the Qur’an: Ammaa Maa Yanfa’un Naasa – “that which benefits the people; that which is of use to people.”
That means a rigorous and ongoing review and adjustment of their intentions; their goals and purposes; and their methods, approaches and techniques.
There are people in this world, I am not going to go into details about who they are, or what they do, but suffice it to say they focus on one or two of God’s teachings in the Qur’an, or about Islam, and try to make a big deal out of it.
Their approach seems to be: Oh, Islam is so nice and Qur’an is so great, …, but if only Islam did not have this one bad teaching, or if only the Qur’an did not contain this one problem “verse,” then how perfect Islam would be, and how great the Qur’an would be.
As it happens, I know these folks. I know who they are and I understand what moves and motivates them. That is why when these folks tell me to jump, unlike all good Muslims, I say: “Excuse me!?”
That gets their attention. And when they repeat their demand and say: “Jump!” I ask them, with a straight face of course: “And what will you give me in return?”
Their faces are worth seeing when I ask them that question. Their faces turn purple and every color of the rainbow.
They stop bothering me after that.
Here is an example of what I am talking about. I present it in the form of a conversation – between me and them.
They: “Qur’an is great, right?”
Me: “Of course, it is. Can’t you see?”
They: “Of course. Of course. The Qur’an is great. Perfect in every way. But…”
Me: “But what?”
They: “What do we do with this one ‘verse’ that seems to be a problem ‘verse’? It simply does not fit with the rest of the beauty and perfection of the Qur’an.”
They: “So? You have to tell us what to do with this verse? How to reconcile it with the rest of the Qur’an? And with the demands of modernity, rationality, ethics, women’s rights and stuff?”
Me: You don’t like that ‘verse,’ as you call it, correct?”
They: “The ‘verse’ does seem to present a problem, you must admit.”
They: “Simple? How?”
Me: “Yes, simple. Delete that ‘verse’ and proceed with the rest of the Qur’an.”
They: “Delete the ‘verse’? How? How can you do that?”
Me: “Oh, just think God made a mistake. For once. I am afraid the ‘verse’ did not come out the way God really meant it to.”
They: “What are you saying? How can a ‘verse’ be other than what God meant it to be? How can God make a mistake?”
Me: “You know. Everyone is entitled to one mistake. So, this one is God’s. Why don’t you forgive him this once? And then take the rest of what he says in the Qur’an seriously?”
Like I said, you should see their faces. A sight to behold, really.
Yesterday, you were Seniors. Today, you are Graduates. I was proud of you then. I am proud of you now.
I want you to remember some of what we did together over all these years you were my students. Take from it what is good and useful.
Make it work for you -- and for everyone else. For, that is the highest goal of education: to be able to make everyone’s life a little bit better.
The saddest thing about human life – and about this world – is how this world sees the world and misses the maker of the world.
How it seeks and pursues the world and ignores the maker and master of the world.
How it displeases the master, maker and owner of the world to please his sundry slaves in the world.
How it is attracted by the luster of the objects in the world – wine, women, wealth, power and such – and seems impervious to the beauty, power, majesty and glory of its maker and master.
How the world, then, falls in love with them all and fails to behold the effulgence of the master’s face that lights up heaven and earth, and dispels all shades and types of darkness – and never thinks about loving him.
Or about earning and meriting his love and pursuing it in one way or another.
Nothing is sadder or more tragic in this world than that.
And nothing – really – is more foolish or dysfunctional.
But this is true of only the human side of this world. The non-humans are different – very different.
They – the non-humans – are not a part of this mess that is entirely of human making.
They – the non-humans – know their place in the world and they know their business and how to go about it.
And, unlike humans, they have no identity issues or personality crises, as they have been programmed and harnessed by their maker to go about their duties in a most meticulous manner.
And they – the non-humans – notice and bear witness to this human folly – and failure. And they marvel at this persistent and near-universal human foolishness, failure and tragedy of missing the maker for the objects he makes and say:
Lord, how utterly and incomprehensibly foolish these human mortals could be!
People fall in love with all kinds of things. But the one love they miss out on is the love of Allah.
How many people realize that the best one to fall in love with is Allah himself, and not that or this part or aspect of his creation?
But when you fall in love with Allah, you also fall in love with everything and everyone associated with him, including all of Allah’s kingdom and creation.
When you fall in love with Allah, then all you see is Allah. And all you hear is Allah calling you.
Thereafter, every temptation becomes a triviality and every adversity fades to insignificance.
You then live in a world in which the only actor is Allah and in which you can readily and clearly see Allah’s hand behind everything that happens – to you as well as to everything around you.
And, if fact, you see nothing but Allah.
What a wonderful world such a world is!
And what a new life and what a glorious new meaning in such a world the following words assume: Fa’alam Annahu Laa Ilaaha Illallah!
How human beings pass from one stage of life to another is a matter that is both hidden and manifest.
And it is both simple and complex.
Call them, if you will, the Manaazil and Maqwaamaat of passage through life: Sulook.
Rights of Passage.
Or simply Pathways to Allah.
If, following 17th Century Christian Allegorist John Bunyan, you want to call it Pilgrim’s Progress, be my guest.
How is that for a spot of Interfaith Camaraderie and Bonhomie toward Christians on the part of this Muslim?
So, if you are a human being, you start out by looking at the world, investigating it, studying it and, somehow, falling in love with parts of it.
You then discover the Hadith.
Or, more appropriately, you are guided and led to it – to the Hadith of Sayyidina Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam.
You fall in love with Sayyidina Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam – the man, the messenger and his most glorious and all-conquering message.
And then along comes the Qur’an, at its own sweet, deliberate pace, and claims those who are tagged “blessed.”
You then navigate the Qur’an – as the Qur’an permits you to enter, tarry and proceed, all according to its most precise calculus.
And then, if you are of those who are called, you are smitten by the Qur’an. You end up falling in love with the Qur’an.
And then, if your name is on the list, you are invited to talk to the Qur’an. And the Qur’an then begins to talk to you, if it is your place, Maqwaam.
The Qur’an then lifts the veil. And you are allowed to behold the beauties and wonders that lie hidden behind every word and letter of the Qur’an.
The Qur’an now turns, right before your eyes, into the light, sheer radiance, that it is, and that was hidden from you all this time.
And if you can somehow survive this stage – consider the expression “Maqwaam” again or Manzil – and if you manage to navigate it successfully, then the unthinkable happens – provided of course your name comes up on the list.
You fall in love with God.
Thereafter, what happens to you, or, stated differently, what God does to you or with you, is a matter entirely between the two of you.
No third entity comes between you.
Na mee daanam chi manzil bood shab jaa-yee-ki man boodam;
Khuda khud meer-i mahfil bood andar laa makaan Khosroe.
Does any of this make any sense? I don’t know.
Maybe it does, maybe it does not.
Why worry about the crumbs from people’s tables? You can have Allah’s entire “bakery” at your disposal if you wish.
All you have to do is to fall in love with Allah.
It is as simple as that.
The way I see it, as people, we tend to build a strong and solid slab of worldly life for ourselves and our families on which we rest the foundations of our present and future life on earth.
1. The Bottom Slab.
This bottom or primary slab of earthly life generally consists of a good education, career, business, marriage, children and family life and social contacts.
We forget that the essentials and wherewithal of life on earth are guaranteed for all by Allah, before we are even born.
Allah said so most clearly and definitively in the Qur’an:
Wa lakum fil ardwi mustaqwarrun wa mataa-un ilaa heen.
But we go through our entire life on earth as if we never really heard Allah say that to us.
As if we never knew the Qur’an contained that passage. And as if we never read it in the Qur’an.
And as if we did not really believe or trust Allah’s word.
As a result, we spend all our time, talent, energy and resources building and consolidating that primary bottom slab of earthly life beneath us and our families and friends.
2. The Middle Slab.
Then the more blessed ones among us, or those whom Allah intends to test, are shown the path to the Qur’an.
And those, out of this selected group, those who are truly blessed, are then enabled to receive and handle and read the Qur’an and benefit from the Qur’an the way they should.
Says the Qur’an:
Yatloonahu haqqwa tilaawatihi.
These are the ones who have been given the book and they give the reading and recitation of that book its due.
They are Ahlul Qur’an – the People of the Qur’an.
Or, if you will, they are part of the rubric of the true People of the Book.
Now, these blessed people try and do everything in their power to rise to the demands of that privilege that has been conferred upon them by being led to the Qur’an.
The Qur’an becomes their sole occupation in life. The Qur’an becomes the most overpowering passion of their existence on earth.
In fact, these blessed and privileged people harness every bit of time, talent, energy and resources they have been blessed with by God in the service of the Qur’an.
They now devote their lives to meeting the demands of their lofty and crushing position in life of being the Ahlul Qur’an.
For, they now carry on their fragile human shoulders the same Qur’an that would have reduced a mountain to a mound of dust if God had chosen to place that mighty Qur’an upon it.
They now constantly live in the exhilaration as well as excruciation of having been taken to a place where they read and recite the Qur’an the way it should be read and recited – with all the implications and requirements of being able to do so on earth as mortal human beings.
3. The Summit Slab
And then above all else rests that solitary rock of the back-breaking responsibility of having to take the Qur’an to every one of God’s creatures everywhere.
And these blessed people – the people of the second slab, the people I referred to earlier as Ahlul Qur’an – then devote their entire lives, every scintilla of their time, energy, wealth and all other resources, to taking the Qur’an to every home and heart in every nook and cranny of the world that needs it.
And which one does not?
And in trying to build a life on earth for all of God’s creation based on the models and principles provided by God in the Qur’an.
That goal and that responsibility thereafter dominate and drive their lives on earth till they depart this world to meet their lord in Jannat.
There, they will be greeted by angels with the exhilarating message of Salaamun Alaikum Tibtum.
And the Qur’an will be waiting to receive them and escort them personally to the presence of God.
We are Muslims. And we care about the whole world.
People in the West Indies are celebrating “Indian Arrival Day.” We may or may not be “Indians,” but it matters to us, as Muslims, what happens to Indians, Africans, Whites -- and all the others.
That is because we are Muslims and Islam is all about caring about others.
Life is about ongoing conversation – and interaction – with God Almighty. And it does not matter whether you are Muslim or non-Muslim, believer or nonbeliever.
The most formal and mostly one-way communication from God to his creation is Wahy. This is what people generally call “revelation.” But in reality it is God directly talking to his creation – which he does in many ways, and choosing and pressing into service modalities and instrumentalities he likes.
Of the highest form of this Wahy is the communication – messages – God sent to the men he chose as his trusted prophets and messengers. May God bless them all!
I am saying “chose,” using past tense, because the office of “Prophet” or “Messenger” was ended with the advent of Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, in this world over 1400 years ago.
I also said “men” because God declares in the Qur’an that all prophets and messengers were men. End of story.
God’s communication to his creation – including human beings – takes several forms. One is direct interchange of “talk” between God and his creation.
When God Almighty spoke to Moses, it was direct communication between the two without any intermediaries of any kind.
Otherwise, people talk to God all the time. Using languages and methods and devices they know.
And God “talks” to them too. Note how I have put the word “talks” in quotes as it refers to God.
Because who can ever characterize God’s communication in any way other than what he himself has chosen to tell us – in the Qur’an and through his prophets and messengers, may God bless them, last of whom was Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam.
The greatest contribution Islam made to human civilization was to tell human beings that they – each and every one of them, male as well as female – must try and learn to communicate with God directly and personally – and without intermediaries of any kind.
This was total and most sweeping revolution in the way humans were used to doing business with God.
Muslims communicate with God directly and in person – and following a most formal set of routines – during what is called the five daily “prayers” or Swalaat.
Starting from that most glorious and formal pinnacle of divinely sanctioned and tutored human discourse with God, in the form of Islamic “prayers” or Swalaah, Muslims, and all other people of all faiths or no faith, “talk” to God the way they see fit and as needs and circumstances – and trouble and emergencies – come calling, which they do all the time in this world with regard to all people.
And God “talks” to them all how and when he sees fit.
And the Qur’an is a continuous and unceasing flow of conversation stream from God directed at human beings -- and all the worlds. Whoever gets upstream with this nonstop flow of light and love, reaches God, where he will find God ready and waiting for him with a great welcome.
Some merely cry out to him in heart-rending screams as pain strikes them in a plethora of forms and situations. His guarantee to them all is: “I respond to you when you call me.”
And as for the cries of those in pain and in distress, Allah says, he hears them too, when no one else can or will.
And when it comes to those suffering from any kind of oppression, injustice and egregious wrongdoing on the part of their fellow-human beings, especially those in positions of power, wealth, authority and influence over them, then his doors are open all the time – and their cries reach him without hindrance.
What a God! Who would want a God besides him?
Here is a general call to all varsity athletes and others in my classes.
Ladies & Gentlemen: Sport – any sport – is part skill, part heart.
And so is life, if you ask me.
Skills take you into the competition. But it is hearts that win matches and deliver games.
Some athletes are ALL skill and ALL heart – ALL at the same time. Michael Jordan of basketball was all heart and all skill, all at the same time.
Time after time, what his skill could not do – there was not much Jordan’s skills could not deal with – his heart delivered.
Andre Agassi of tennis fame was all heart and all skill and it was hard sometimes to figure out which part got the better of him as he oscillated perfectly from one to the other.
Tiger Woods of Golf is a master of stroke play and green strategy, but when Tiger hits a rough patch, it is the heart that drives him to victory.
Lance Armstrong of bicycling fame – and notoriety – is a sorry name to invoke in this context on account of how he pedaled his world bicycling championship career into a doping disgrace.
By any standard, Armstrong’s conduct was reprehensible and utterly inexcusable.
But dope or no dope, here is a sober truth that cannot be lightly dismissed: No one beats cancer and then turns around and beats the entire world, not once or twice, but seven times over, to win the impossible odds of Tour de France, without a thorough mastery of cycling skills and a will and determination that can bend steel by just looking at it.
Skills will help you to outperform the opposition. But it is your hearts that will enable you to outstare the “enemy” and seal victory.
So, go ahead and outperform and outstare everyone who is lined up against you today – and this entire season.
Class or no class, this is my lecture to you today. And, I am sure, you have heard it before.
And, by the way, do bear in mind that for my students Not-Winning is not an option.
It never was. And it never will be.
Ladies & Gentlemen:
I see no difference between a classroom and a baseball field, or tennis or basketball court or a swimming pool.
Do you? I don’t. To me, they are all the same: places for toiling mightily – and excelling and winning.
If life is a sport, excellence is the name of the game.
And to me excellence is not an abstract idea, it is a concrete plan. It is about winning games and delivering results. It is about beating the odds.
Odds are the “enemy.” Beating them is what life – any sport – is all about.
Beating odds is what you go to college to prepare and get the training and skills for.
Here is a bit of general advice to you all. Not that you have to take it; or read it in the first place; or pay any attention to it once you read it.
Yet, all those caveats notwithstanding, here is the advice:
“Don’t obsess. Don’t let it go to your head. But, with regard to anything, if it is not the best, don’t touch it. Even though there is some merit to saying take whatever is out there and use it as basis to work your way forward.”
Allah is Ar-Rahmaan Ar-Raheem: the most loving, compassionate and merciful.
That is God’s first introduction of himself in the Qur’an: 1:2. That is Surah 1, Aayat 2.
Have you heard of a One-Two Punch? This is it. Left followed by Right, like lightening follows thunder, except that in this case – coming from Allah and involving Allah – both are Right.
Kiltaa Yadaahu Yameenataani.
A divine one-two punch for love – and mercy and compassion – from the maker of the world to the world he made.
Sent down at the hands of a man, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, whom he calls love and mercy: Rahmat.
For, when the Muslims – I am sorry I have to say “True” and “Real” Muslims – are done building a Better World, it will be, God Willing, a world that is the best for everyone.
And by that I mean every Jew, Christian, Hindu, Muslim, believer, nonbeliever, man, woman, child, bird, beast, plant and everything else on this earth.
For, it will reflect the kindness and compassion of a Rabb that is Rahmaanur Raheem and a Rasul, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, that is Rahmat.
The time has come for the world to feast on that Manna of Rahmat from Heaven – once again.
And that time is now.
And we, Bi-Idhnillahi, are the people to do it.
Waffaqanallahu Lima Yyuhibbu Wa Yardwa.
May Allah guide and help us to do and say what is right and true and good – for all of God’s creation.
You do not, you cannot, see God in this world. But you see the Qur’an.
The Qur’an is all you have in your hands in this world. And the Qur’an is all you will ever see in this world.
In other words, let me put it to you straight: The Qur’an is the closest you will ever come to seeing God in this world.
And that opportunity and that common blessing and Rahmat – to see the Qur’an; to hold the Qur’an in your hands; and to read and understand the Qur’an – is given to all in this world. People are limited or excluded only by their own will, ability and inclination.
So also, the Hadith is all you have in your hands. It is all you can see.
The Hadith is the closest you will ever come to seeing Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, in this world. Except of course in dreams, a boon and a privilege that is not granted to everyone.
Only very, very special people get to see Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, in their dreams.
But the Hadith is for all: to see; to hold in their hands; and to study and understand.
So, for everyone everywhere, while you cannot see God in this world, you see his speech in Qur’an, and everyone has been given full and direct access to it.
Just as we can no longer see Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, in flesh and blood in this world, everyone everywhere, has been given full and direct access to his life and legacy – his actual words and the most direct and unadulterated record of his actions – in the form of Hadith in a way that simply cannot be matched or paralleled.
So, you do not see God, but you see the Qur’an. And you do not see Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, but you see the Hadith.
Do we even begin to understand any of this? And do you think this entire thing has any equal anywhere?
And do you think any of this is a mere accident or coincidence?
And does all this not make Islam most self-evident?
And does all this not make Qur’an and Hadith the most compelling arguments for God?
And for Islam?
Maybe this is how some Muslims earn their “Kafir” credentials. But what needs to be said must be said, regardless of how someone takes it.
The fact is that the Universe is lit up with Allah’s light. Creation is the mirror in which Allah reflects himself.
So, those who hanker to see Allah in this world must look intently at the Universe that Allah created, and which then he caused to radiate with his own light.
Allahu Noorus Samaawaati wal Ard.
No, Allah does not incarnate. That is the error in which Christians and Hindus and others allowed themselves to be trapped.
Nor is any part or aspect of the universe an incarnation of God Almighty in any shape or form.
Instead, what the Universe does is mirror the most glorious attributes of Allah, in every detail, each and every one of them.
Consequently, those who investigate and study any aspect or part of the Universe will inevitably find God’s face looking at them, no matter where they turn, provided they take into their search bodies, minds, hearts and souls that are pure, humble, honest, true and meticulously cleansed.
Is not God Almighty enough for us? Why do we chase the mirage of Ma Siwallah, things other than Allah, when all we need is him: God Almighty?
To those of us who aspire for all things sublime and wonderful, not just in this world, but also in the next world, I suggest we try God Almighty.
Maybe, once you have him, you will have all and you will need nothing besides. And you will need to chase shadows and phantoms no more.
And I submit two words to your consideration that will help you find God:
Once you have those two, Qur’an and Hadith, and you decide to take them seriously, as seriously as they should be taken, or as seriously as you can take them, you will find God.
Those two -- Qur’an and Hadith -- will take you to God, provided you take them the way they should be taken and you handle them the way they should be handled.
Here now are a couple of hints with regard to them that will help you handle them right:
(a) Don’t forget, this is the same Qur’an that if God had placed on a mountain, the mountain would have gone to smithereens.
Lawu Anzalnaa Haadhal Qur’ana ‘Ala Jabalin, La-Ra-Aytahu Khwaashi-an Mutaswaddi-an Min Khashyatillah.
(b) And don’t forget that Hadith has to do with Allah’s most beloved creation, Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, for whom the gates of heaven were thrown open, right here in this world.
(c) And don’t forget that Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, is also a man whom not only God’s angels, but also God Almighty himself blesses and exalts and glorifies.
Innallaha Wa Malaa-ikatahu Yuswalloona ‘Alan Nabiyyi!
What more can anyone want, especially those who say they want Allah and they are working for him?
What more can anyone expect to get?
Writers and scholars – both Muslim and non-Muslim – must use Qur’an as model for their writing. The Qur’an has not one error in it.
Laa Rayiba Feehi!
But Qur’an is perfect not because someone proofread it carefully, but because it is from God.
In sending his own perfect speech to earth in the form of the Qur’an, God Almighty, as in everything else, set a standard for all of us humans – Muslim and non-Muslim – to emulate.
God Almighty made the Qur’an the beacon of perfection toward which all of us humans must strive to move.
Allah’s beloved Prophet, Sayyidina Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, said:
Call me, Ma’adhallah, Kaafir if you will, but I am going to paraphrase it as:
“Be God-like in who you are and what you do! Cultivate in yourself the most beautiful attributes of God.”
And that in the present context means – in the writing context I mean:
“Write the way God writes and speaks in the Qur’an.”
And that means, Wallahu A’alam, two things, among all the infinite billions and trillions of things it means:
(a) Let your content be perfect in every way.
(b) Let your style be absolutely superb and impeccable.
How can anyone go wrong with “Guidance” (Hudan) like that illumining their path and directing their steps?
And don’t forget the river of Mercy that the Qur’an is laps at everyone’s door, both Muslim and non-Muslim!
Working for Allah is strange business. To say the least, it is a one-way traffic.
Those who say they work for Allah give everything and receive nothing in return. Except, of course, from their God – provided their intentions are pure and their actions are good and right.
Time and again, In Ajriya Illa ‘Alallah, is how the Qur’an puts it.
“My reward will come from God, and from no one else,” is how we can paraphrase that Aayat.
And again the Qur’an says, repeatedly, in Surah Ash-Shu’araa’:
Wa Maa As-alukum ‘Alaihi Min Ajr.
“I ask you not for any reward or recompense.”
In other words, working for Allah, and inviting people to come to Allah, is hard work. Only the most privileged ones are chosen for it.
And their numbers are always very small.
The Universe – entire creation of God in the form of all the countless worlds that exist and that are being continually created and recreated – is nothing if not an actualization of the Qur’an in real life. In interlocking space-time continua as it were.
Everything that is in the Universe is in the Qur’an first.
You can either explore the Universe in detail or you can read the Qur’an. They will both take you to the same place.
You will find them both – the Universe and the Qur’an – to be limitless manifestations of God Almighty’s infinite attributes, one in book form in our hands, the other in the form of endless layers of reality all around us.
No matter where you start, and no matter which one of the two you decide to read and decipher first, other things being equal, you will arrive at the same conclusion: They are both miracles – infinite number of them – that point to God in everyone of their minutest detail.
When Allah makes a decision pertaining to us human beings – when he does; as he does; which he does all the time – those blessed by Allah say “Alhamdulillah!” and move on, their sundry duties to perform.
On the other hand, those who have worked to take themselves out of the downpour of Allah’s mercy and blessings don’t know what to do or how to react.
So, instead of panicking and running to Allah, and throwing themselves on Allah’s mercy, they wail and gripe and try to run away from Allah and his mercy.
Thus, they only make their predicament worse.
Some of them even curse themselves and everything and everyone in sight. They scream in their foolish arrogance and rage and fear and panic: “Why? Why? Why Me?”
Compared to all this, Alhamdulillah is perfect language for all times – none better – and for all seasons, as some would say. It means – among all the wonderful things it means – things like “Thank You! We Accept!”
That in slave language translates to: “Yes, Master! Thank You Master!”
And it means: “Of Course, Master! Whatever You Say, Master!”
And it says: “We Submit! We Surrender!”
Of course many people don’t understand the fact that all time is Allah’s Decision Time. And Allah’s Decisions are ongoing, ever-present.
And the functioning of the Universe, to the extent we are able to see and grasp it, as per every micro-, nano- or picosecond, or in Planck Time, is nothing but a mirror of the unfolding of Allah’s Supreme Will.
The Qur’an attests to this, over and over, in its most glorious Aayaat:
Kulla Yawumin Huwa Fe Sha’n;
Fa’aalul Limaa Yureed;
Yaf’alu Maa Yureed;
Yaf’alullahu Maa Yashaa-u;
Khaaliqu Kulli Shai-I;
Those working for Allah must put their heads down and persist in their efforts. Results will come when Allah wants.
All time is Allah’s time and the right time for everything is precisely when Allah decides it is time.
One of the biggest ongoing challenges before those working for Allah -- you, me and anyone else who say they are -- is this: How long will we continue on this difficult and rather lonely path of Allah’s work?
Hazrat Nuh, Alaihis Salam, stayed forever.
Hazrat Ibrahim, Alaihis Salam, took every challenge and hardship life threw at him and stayed the course.
Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, never looked back, even under the severest of tests and tribulations.
Hazrat Husain, the Prophet’s beloved grandson, may Allah be pleased with him, gave his life fighting for justice and liberty, rather than submit to a life of bondage and injustice.
So, the question always is, who will stay the course; who will be steadfast; and who will blink or buckle?
(Inspired by a comment from Dr. Firdaus)
How tempted we all get to speak words like the following:
“The reason why Allah did this.”
And “The reason why God did that.”
Astaghfirullah! As if we know. As if anyone knows.
As if his will and his intent can ever be known or fathomed – by anyone, with regard to anything.
And that is assuming it is not blasphemy of the worst kind, which I have not a doubt in my mind it is, to pretend to be privy to the working of God’s mind.
But facts are facts. And we are humans, endowed with a brain and equipped with a sense of curiosity without bounds.
And we are commanded, explicitly, in the Qur’an, never to stop pondering the mysteries of the universe.
Also, let us not forget that Allah had taught our father Adam “All the Names” – Al-Asmaa-a Kullaha, as the Qur’an puts it.
So, given all that background, and notwithstanding all those caveats, who can stop us from wondering and making all manner of inferential leaps, even about the unfolding of God’s plan in his creation?
Thus, we know for a fact, because the Qur’an tells us that it is so, that when Allah wanted to create Adam he went to dingy, smelly clay, not stardust or a piece of the rainbow.
Min Hama-in Masnoon, the Qur’an calls it.
Now, proceeding from that same premise, when God Almighty wanted to educate the world, where do you think he will go? To a Harvard professor?
Or to a Greek philosopher?
Or to a German scientist?
Or to an Indian Rishi, Egyptian sorcerer or Chinese sage?
Qur’an tells us God went to a Nation of Illiterates in Makkah, Arabia, and from among them fashioned an Illiterate Messenger, untutored by any human agency, and charged him with the task of educating the world.
And commanded him: “Read!”
Anything less would not make sense, would it?
That is the kind of stuff miracles are made of, are they not?
Humans can rise to the most astonishing levels of (so-called) spiritual excellence, greatness and exaltation. Above the angels, if you wish, to the extent God Almighty required of the angels to pay homage and perform Sajdah or special prostration and salutation to them on the day of their creation.
So much so, some of them, humans I mean, are sometimes taken to possess super-human powers and capabilities.
They do not.
All they are doing is rising to the higher levels of their own human potential. And in the process fulfilling what is written in the Qur’an for them as members of the human species:
Laqwad Khalaqnal Insaana Fee Ahsani Taqweem!
We indeed created the human being in the finest mould and formation.
And when I say “humans,” I mean all human beings – male as well as female; Muslim as well as non-Muslim.
Except that Muslims are, by the very nature of things, a cut above.
That is why all the Muslim saints – Awuliyaa Allah – always place, and perform, above their counterpart saints of other faiths and persuasions.
Some of the categories of Muslim “saints” include the following: The Swahaabah Kiraam, Radiyallahu ‘Anhum, and Tabi’een.
And all the Siddeeqween, Shuhadaa’ and Swaaliheen.
And then all the prophets and messengers of Allah, all the Rasuls and Anbiyaa’, ‘alaihimus salam, rank above all the rest of the human beings, no matter how learned, saintly and exalted they may be.
And the Rasuls and Anbiyaa’, ‘alaihimus salam, possess over and above their highest human potential, the special and unique gift of having been chosen as God’s emissaries to other human beings.
They all receive Wahy or what people call in English Divine Revelation from God Almighty above.
So, all the Rasuls and Anbiyaa’, ‘alaihimus salam, are above all the rest of the human beings.
And above them all comes Sayyidina Rasulullah, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, greater than whom there is no one other than God Almighty himself.
As someone said:
Ba’ad az khoda buzorg tu-ee, qwissa mukhtaswar.
After God, you are the greatest, end of story.
Or as someone else said, in a different language:
Da’a madda’athun naswaaraa fee nabiyyihimi
Wahkum bimaa shi’ata madhan feehi wah-takimi.
Just leave what Christians say about their prophet. After that, heap on him whatever praise and exaltation you wish.
Meaning how Christians call Jesus, alaihis salaam, God and son of God, Ma’adhallah.
So, the poet is saying:
Avoid that one thing. Just don’t say that one thing – that Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, is God or son of God.
After that, say in his praise whatever else you wish.
And how true!
I am not sure, but I have this vague recollection that some time ago I ran into a report of some kind on Annual Muslim Giving – charitable gifts and donations, I mean, that Muslims give away each year.
And I suspect it was from the United Nations.
And that report said something to the effect that Muslims around the world give in charitable donations, of one kind or another, on a yearly basis, between US$200 million and US$1 trillion in Zakat – and other charities.
Zakat is Obligatory Annual Giving of at least 21/2 percent of one’s accumulated wealth and assets. Islam requires that of all its wealthy adherents. Just like Islam requires that everyone perform five-times-a-day obligatory “Prayers,” called Swalaat, and also observe a full month of daylong fasting – abstinence from food, drink and sex – during the month of Ramadan.
And just as Islam also makes it compulsory for all well-to-do followers of the faith to perform the Pilgrimage to Makkah at least once in a lifetime, provided they can afford it, financially and otherwise.
My very first reaction, I recall, on reading that report, from the UN or some other source, was: “Wow! Man!”
Then I am sitting here, even now, and saying to myself: Mashallah! Subhanallah! Alhamdulillah!
And a whole lot of La Ilaha Illallah!
And Allahu Akbar!
Which all in colloquial English more or less translates to: “Wow! Man!”
And then my brain does what it always does: Fill the space between my ears with all kinds of questions. Questions that I don’t always have the courage – or the tact and wisdom – to raise or share with others, especially my fellow-Muslims.
Here I will try and share – articulate – just one or two of the safer and more benign of those questions that assault my consciousness from all directions.
Question Number One
If, somehow, the outer figure of one trillion US dollars is true as the Zakat and charity amount that is given out by Muslims annually, then, how much money do Muslims have stashed away that they can take out one $trillion from it and give it out in charity every year?
I am saying “stashed away,” because Zakat is due only on money that has been put away for a year. If your stack of money has been sitting around for only 10 or 11 months, and not for a whole year, then no Zakat can be levied on that money.
So, how many … what is the word I am looking for? …“Trillions” of American dollars is that?
I don’t know if you understand this, but a $trillion is really a ton of money. It is, I am told, actually a thousand $billion.
That is right, thousand times billion, which in figures would mean 1000 X 1,000,000,000. That would be numeral 1 followed by nine 0s.
And then a $billion is simply a thousand times a $million, right? That is what I think. Just take out the last three zeros from the previous equation for a $trillion and make it look like: 1000 X 1,000,000. Number 1 followed by six 0s, and that should give you a $billion – I think.
Ask someone who knows better, someone who can really count. Don’t ask your Christian friends, though. For, they may tell you 1 = 3 and that will nicely mess up your math.
I don’t know, but I have a feeling you are looking at more or less US$40 billion. Oops, did I say “billion”? No, make it Trillion, as in US$40 Trillion, with a capital T.
That is how much money is rattling around in Muslim coffers. And that to me is a fair amount of change.
Mind you, this figure applies to only known Zakatable assets. It says nothing about all the other moneys hidden under or inside a mattress or a pillow, or inside some kind of a personal bank.
By the way, what do Muslims call their “Piggy Banks”?
So, this was the safe question I thought I would ask. Now let us take a peek at the other question, the one the thought of asking which frightens me.
The Question I Am Too Frightened to Ask
Here, then, is the question I am simply too frightened to ask. I have been for years. And that question is: What is the correct percentage of Zakat that should be calculated on what I would euphemistically call “Ill-Gotten Wealth”?
In other words, how much of one’s stolen money – money people in one way or another “stole” from others – should be given away in charity so that it would become clean and “Halaal”?
Should it be one percent, 10 percent or 100 percent? I don’t know the answer to that question. All I am doing is just asking the question.
If my question sounds too scary to you, even to contemplate it, and I told you how scared I myself feel asking it, then I would suggest you ask a rather more naïve question and let things rest at that: Just from where, and how, did these folks get this money?
Now, that is not such a bad question to ask, is it?
Islam and life: What a perfect confluence! What a perfect combination, I mean.
And, if you ask me, what a perfect choice!
Let me explain.
For those wanting to know what Islam is, let me ask them a very different question: What is it you want most out of life?
For, Islam is all that life is and more – much, much more.
I mean, tell me all that you seek, or need, from life. And I will show you how Islam offers you all that you seek or want or need from life – and more.
I will even tell you how Islam shows in practical terms – step by step – how you can get what you want.
That is one of the things that never ceases to amaze me about Islam. And, personally, pushes me harder and harder, and closer to closer, to the point of crying out: “No! There is no way this Islam could be from any source other than God.”
Therefore, for example, if it is wealth you seek, Islam offers you the worlds. Not one world but two: this world and the next world.
Islam throws open before you the treasures of both worlds. Treasures you never even would suspect exist.
If it is health you seek, Islam opens doors for you of not only physical but of also mental and spiritual health. To the point that you are inexorably driven to conclude: Islam is all about health and wellbeing – your own health, in every imaginable way, and everyone else’s health and wellbeing.
If, on the other hand, it is love you are looking for, Islam guarantees you love in all its purest and most sublime and perfect forms. And in its fullest, richest and most glorious abundance.
For, Islam offers you physical and psychological love and fulfillment through your lawful, pure, filial, spousal and conjugal bonds.
And it offers you the highest and most soaring and abiding forms of intellectual and spiritual love in the form of loving God and his vast, varied and endless creation that envelops you in never-ending and ever-widening concentric circles, both horizontal and vertical.
Islam teaches you to love everything beautiful in this world.
If it is the satisfaction of human achievement you wish, then Islam offers you the joy and comfort, and deep satisfaction, of turning to God formally, and “ritually,” as it is sometimes called, no less than five times a day – and reporting to him, directly and in person, all that you did or did not do, and then hear from him at the same time.
These five-times-a-day formal worship routines are called “Prayers” in English, which in some ways is a misnomer, and Swalaat in Arabic by the Qur’an – God Almighty’s book in human hands.
If it is power you seek, Islam offers to make you the master of the world, nothing less – the master of all you survey, as someone once said, and of much more that most other people can neither survey nor fathom.
Islam beckons you to tap directly into the power of God, speaking through his speech; seeing through his vision; hearing through his hearing; partaking of his infinite knowledge and wisdom; and grasping and holding through his hand.
And Islam offers you the power to fill this entire world with love and justice and compassion and goodness for all of God’s creation.
And it points the way to the power you can have to reach out and touch other human hearts – greater and richer and more indomitable than whom there is no domain on earth – and ignite in them the eternal spark of love of God and his creation and a passion for service for each and every one of them.
So, if your life is about any or all of these things, and more, and if you seek, hunger, pine and strive for any or all of these things, then Islam is the answer to your quest.
In all these cases, Islam is the place for you to turn to. For, Islam is the only earthly door that you can tap, and that will open for you all these wonderful vistas of earthly life.
And of all of life’s hopes, dreams and possibilities, that you may ever want, wish or search for.
That is why I say: Islam and Life! What a Perfect Confluence!
And what a perfect choice!
For you and me and everyone else!
(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?)
God Almighty is Ar-Rahmaan and Ar-Raheem – the fathomless and infinite and ever-flowing fountain of love and mercy and benevolence and beneficence.
And Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, is Rahmat: the personification and outreach of that fathomless and infinite divine love and mercy in creation – in this universe.
And Muslims say they have them both. So, what is their problem then?
What else can anyone want?
(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?)
Between Muslims and Non-Muslims, I have often wondered who is dumb and who is dumber.
And that is, partly, because of all the wonders and miracles – and all the cures for humanity’s myriad ailments – that are packed in the Qur’an.
But one side will not tell and share what it knows, and the other side will not wonder, inquire or ask about what it does not know.
So, I find myself asking, how does one sort out the dumb and the dumber in this most tragic and painful equation.
(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?)
Ever wondered who God is? Don’t. Not anymore.
Go to the source and get the answer from God himself.
Don’t ask others who God is. Not Muslims and, certainly, not Non-Muslims.
No disrespect, folks: My beloved non-Muslim friends and brothers and sisters. It is an informed and fairly confident statement.
And a very, very considered, and respectful, one too.
And no disrespect to my Muslim brothers and sisters, either.
I know only too well how intricately my worldly success and other-worldly salvation is welded to both of you ladies and gentlemen, of the Muslim as well as non-Muslim persuasion.
But what I am saying is this: Instead of asking these folks – Muslims and non-Muslims – go and ask God Almighty directly who or even, as Pharaoh did, “what” he is.
You see, Non-Muslims, really, don’t know – and, in most cases it seems, don’t care.
Muslims, on the other hand, know a little bit, no matter how sketchy and confused they may be, but they won’t share.
So, between the two of them – those who Don’t Care and those who Won’t Share – the goose of the world is nicely cooked to a perfect juicy pink.
That is why I am saying, don’t ask people, instead, go to God directly and ask him.
You can do that by picking up a copy of the Qur’an today – and reading it.
That is all you need to do and you will get all the answers you were looking for.
About God – or just about anything else.
So, pick up a copy of the Qur’an and read it.
You can get yourself either a translation of the Qur’an in any language you know. Or you can take yourself to the one and only, original, Qur’an, which is in Arabic.
For, there is only one Qur’an. And it is in Arabic.
Arabic is the original language in which the Qur’an was sent down: from God in Heaven Above to Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, on Earth Below.
So, when you visit with the Qur’an and talk to it, this is what the Qur’an will tell you – about God. For, the one talking to you in and through the Qur’an is
God Almighty himself.
And he will tell you, God I mean – right at the outset – in the very first passage of the very first chapter, who he is: that he is God, the maker, master and owner of the worlds.
“Worlds” plural – with an “s” at the end – don’t forget that. For, that pretty much is all you need to know.
That he is the one who made the world and the one who owns and controls the world. The one whose writ and mandate runs the world – from the rising of the sun in the East to the fading and setting of your own breath in the privacy of your own bed, when you slide into blissful slumber every night, after a hard day’s labor.
And it is, therefore, he whose will, commands and directives must prevail in the way human beings manage their affairs, small and big, in the world.
That is what God Almighty himself will tell you in the Qur’an about who he really is.
That he is the Master of the Worlds – Rabbul ‘Aalameen.
Learn that expression well. And carry it with you wherever you go. I mean in your physical, psychological, social, political, cultural, epochal traversing of time and space, throughout your life.
Hold on to God’s own words Rabbul ‘Aalameen, for, you will need those words to remind you, every step of your uncertain journey through life, who he is and who you really are.
He is the master. And you, with all your pretensions, are nothing but a slave: his slave.
His and no one else’s.
But he is the master of not this or that little domain, but of all the worlds – plural with an “s” – which means every conceivable world of every kind that may exist anywhere, at any time, in any form.
Now, what you have in your hands is a miracle – a genuine wonder without parallel.
And that is what a miracle really is: an event whose probability of occurrence is so small as to be almost non-existent.
Odds defy its existence.
I don’t mean the entire Qur’an, which of course is a Miracle Par Excellence from beginning to end. I mean just that one divine expression: Rabbul ‘Aalameen.
You get it, of course? Right? How can anyone possibly miss it?
To think and talk about the “World” – in singular – is challenge enough to our cramped, narrow, insular mind – even today, in spite of all our education and sophistication and scientific and cultural advancement.
But to talk about Worlds – plural with an “s” at the end – is nothing short of a miracle, wouldn’t you say?
For anyone, anywhere, at any time.
And then to think and talk about Worlds in plural, not today or yesterday, but all of 1400 years ago? As they say, Come on, give me a break!
And that too, not in famous centers of civilization, learning and culture like Greece, Rome, China, Mesopotamia, Egypt, Persia and India, but in the barren sands and rocks of Arabia?
How is something like that even conceivable?
But that is exactly what happened, right? For, it was precisely then – 14 centuries ago – and in that place – in Makkah, Arabia – that the Qur’an came down.
So, the expression you hold in your hands today – Rabbul ‘Aalameen – is from then. And it is from there.
But, wait, don’t go away yet. For, we have more where this thing came from.
Now, the man out of whose mouth this miraculous expression – Rabbul ‘Aalameen –emanated, his name was not Socrates, Aristotle, Plato, Copernicus, Einstein or Carl Sagan, but Muhammad – Sallallahu Alaihi wa Wasallam – a man whom the Qur’an itself refers to as “The Unlettered Prophet.”
So, you are telling me: “An Unlettered Man, in an unsophisticated place like Arabia, in the middle of the Seventh Century from Christ, uttered these earth-shaking expressions “The Worlds” and “Master of the Worlds”?
You must be joking!
How is it possible? What “Worlds” could he conceivably be thinking about?
Unless, of course, it was God that was speaking, and not this Unlettered Man, Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam.
For, it must be obvious to anyone that there is no earthly way that the words of the Qur’an could be the words of this Unlettered Man, Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam.
Absolutely, positively not! The odds are too overwhelmingly against such an outcome.
Such a profound and earth-shattering Revolution in human thought, speech and reality-consciousness, coming out of the mind and mouth of a simple human being like that?
Not possible! Simply speaking, it is off of all possible probability charts!
And, then, not only that: Do you know that the Qur’an uses that Most Revolutionary Expression, Al ‘Aalameen, the Worlds, not once or twice or 10 times, but a soul-stirring 73 times, no less?
Do you know that?
You don’t? You didn’t know that? Well, what can I say?
Non-Muslims don’t care, Muslims don’t share. So, the fate of world is in a pretty precarious place.
I can only quote God in the Qur’an:
Yaa Hasratan ‘Alal ‘Ibaad!
That is what God himself says in the Qur’an!
Yaa Hasratan ‘Alal ‘Ibaad!
“How pitiable are human beings! How utterly sad and sorry their life!”
And then there is even more!
God Almighty, in the Qur’an, calls himself Rabbul ‘Aalameen, not once or twice – or even 10 times – but no less than 42 times.
That doesn’t mean anything to you?
All I can say is: Yaa Hasratan ‘Alal ‘Ibaad!
Non-Muslims don’t care, Muslims don’t share. So, humanity hurtles down the path of loss and despair.
Wal ‘Asr! Innal Insaana La Fee Khusr!
“Judged by the testimony of Time, the Human Being is in a State of Loss.”
That is why I say: Don’t ask the Muslims. And don’t ask the Non-Muslims. But, instead, go directly to the Qur’an, and ask God Almighty himself who he really is!
And he will tell you who he is:
Maker, Master and Owner of All the Multiple Worlds!
That is who he really is!
Isn’t this alone reason enough for everyone everywhere to check out the Qur’an and see who really God is?
Here is a public call to all Muslims all over the world: Start a Revolution in Your Own Backyard!
Muslims can do that by revolutionizing the way the Jum’ah Khutbah is done in their “neighborhood” mosques.
Change it from what it has become, a static exercise and lifeless ritual full of empty platitudes, to what, by right, it should and ought to be: a most vibrant and powerful Divine instrument in human hands of social transformation and comprehensive universal education throughout the world.
And so far as Muslims are concerned, all mosques are “neighborhood” mosques, no matter how far or close they may be located from their homes.
In Islam, a revolution is not achieved by rabid killing of innocent people or wanton destruction of public or private property.
Islamic revolutions aim at transformation of human hearts, minds and souls. They seek to change People’s lives in ways that are beneficial to all man and beast, as they say, in all parts of the world.
And Islamic Revolutions are achieved through peace and love. And they are brought about, when and as Allah wills and guides them, through gentle and persistent persuasion, and through torrential forgiveness and unending acts of service, mercy and compassion.
But right now, at least to me this morning, the challenge seems to be:
How Do We Get People to Read – and to Listen?
Earlier, I was on www.IslamicSolutions.Com and I was reading the article “Jum’ah Khutbah.”
After reading it, I became quite sad. I kept asking myself: How do we get People to read it?
And when I say “People,” I mean everyone, everywhere, beginning with Muslims, but not stopping with them.
Not in search of name, fame or wealth, for myself, but purely to have an opportunity to reach the inner rationality and decency of People – both Muslim and non-Muslim – about the critical role Jum’ah Khutbah came down from heaven to play in their lives.
How often, and how long, have I cried tears of blood at the way Muslims around the world have used, disused and abused the Jum’ah Khutbah all these past years – and decades.
What is heartbreaking is that no one raises it as an issue. And no one ever makes it a subject of serious conversation, except maybe to attack this or that Khatib who may be, for one reason or another, out of favor with them.
No conferences, to my knowledge, are ever held to address that issue. Nor am I aware – in my very limited knowledge – of books and articles that may have been written dealing with the urgency of Jum’ah Khutbah in the lives of contemporary Muslims.
And, highlighting and underscoring the role of Jum’ah Khutbah as a key plank in humanity’s ongoing struggle to make this world a better place for all.
What is obvious is that Jum’ah Khutbah is dead – and dying – and Muslims are coddling the corpse without quite knowing how to handle it or what to do with it.
They cannot bury it, because it is protected by God in the Qur’an with an iron-clad divine guarantee.
And they cannot revive it, because they do not know how to do it.
And also because there are all kinds of powerful forces active and working, right in their midst as well as around and outside of them, not to let that happen.
So far as protecting the Jum’ah Khutbah is concerned, God Almighty says in the Qur’an:
Innaa Nahnu Nzzalnadh Dhikra wa Innaa Lhu La-Haafizwoon.
“Surely, we sent down the Dhikr and, surely, we shall be protecting it.”
The divine expression Dhikr refers to the Qur’an – and to all things directly or indirectly connected to the Qur’an.
And the Jum’ah Khutbah is right at the heart of that Dhikr, as the Qur’an itself makes it clear.
There is an entire chapter in the Qur’an called “Friday: Al-Jum’ah,” while no chapter of the Qur’an is called “Monday” or “Wednesday.” Just as there is also no chapter in the Qur’an called “Hijrat” or the month of “Safar” or “Sha’aban.”
But there is this chapter, no one can miss, that calls itself Surat Al-Jum’ah.
And that chapter makes it crystal clear to the Believers to drop everything and “run” to Allah’s Dhikr the moment they hear the Call for Swalaat on the Day of Jum’ah – Yaumil Jum’ah.
The Adhaan, that is.
The Qur’an calls out to the Believers and says:
“Yaa Ayyuhalladheena Aamanoo!”
And then the Qur’an commands them – yes, that is what the Qur’an does: It commands the Believers – to leave whatever business- and life-activities they may be engaged in at that time and rush to join Allah’s Dhikr.
“Run” – Fas’awu – is Qur’an’s choice of words, not mine.
That should give Muslims a little bit of a perspective on the role of Jum’ah Khutbah in their lives – and in the life of the whole world.
It should make abundantly clear to them that, in the eyes of their Maker and Master, God Almighty, Jum’ah Khutbah – which is clearly part of Jum’ah Swalaah or Prayers – is more important than everything else in their life.
So, what should Muslims do?
My respectful suggestion to them: Start a Revolution!
By that I mean, work immediately, and without ifs and buts, to revolutionize the way Jum’ah Khutbah is done in your neighborhood mosque.
And if the Movers and Shakers in your “neighborhood” mosque will not allow you to do that, as in many cases they are likely to, move on to the next mosque, and from there to the next mosque.
And so on – until you have covered the entire globe: every single mosque in every single part of the globe.
And remember, so far as you are concerned, and so far as your God is concerned, the Whole World is Your Neighborhood.
So, from the simple task of getting People – both Muslim and non-Muslim – to read our writings, especially the write-up on Jum’ah Khutbah, and listening to Pasha Hour International – Live from America! live or on tape, to the more serious and seemingly daunting challenge of getting Muslims in all parts of the world to revolutionize the Jum’ah Khutbah in their “neighborhood” mosques, that remains my own personal challenge.
And I suspect, it is also the unrecognized and unaddressed challenge of all caring and concerned Muslims everywhere.
So, to Muslims of the world I say: A bit of Revolution, anyone?
Once again, I don’t know why I am writing this. Nor am I absolutely certain about what I mean by at least some of what I am saying.
In any case, here is the thought. And I have expressed it before.
Democracy is counting people. And thank God for the gift of Democracy. For, absolutely, positively, Democracy is a gift from God Almighty.
Democracy is a gift from God to humanity.
But humanity had to fight for millennia before it could avail itself of the blessings of Democracy.
Today, much of the world seems to enjoy the fruits of it, of Democracy I mean, except, of course much of what passes for the Muslim World. Today, Muslims have many kings and kinglets, and sundry tyrants of all hues and description, but not one Democracy worth the name.
Iran tried to jump-start it with its revolution of 1979. Muslims killed it.
Egypt now is trying to get it going after its revolution of January 2011. Muslims have pulled out all stops in wanting Egypt to fail in its pursuit of Democracy.
Islam came into this world to teach humanity the ways of Democracy. And teach the world Democracy Islam did. There are no ifs or buts about it.
And in doing so, Islam took the blessings of Democracy to a zenith of purity and perfection the rest of the world dare not even dream about.
Islam did so by adding a whole new dimension to the blind headcount that Democracy demands and yields. It pointed People’s attention to quality -- the quality of the electorate -- in addition to, not in lieu of, quantity and numbers.
Islam seemed to say, as a poet once said: “Don’t just count people, also weigh them!”
In other words, what use an electorate whose members mostly know nothing; feel nothing; care about nothing; and, practically speaking, are nothing?
Don’t get me wrong: doing the headcount is still the way to go. For, that is what Democracy is all about: counting votes.
But there is an added responsibility on the shoulders of all to do everything humanly possible to inform, educate and enlighten the People -- the electorate.
The Hadith calls such mindless multitudes and worthless crowds “Ghuthaa’ Ka-Ghuthaa-is Sayil,” meaning so much foam and froth floating helplessly on the crest of a flood.
At the same time, the Qur’an points out that a single man of true worth and value can rival an entire nation – all by himself.
Inna Ibrahima Kaana Ummatan Qwaanitaa, says the Qur’an.
Paraphrase? Here it is: “Why, Abraham, may God bless him, was surely as good as a complete nation, entire of himself.”
So, when I see Muslims caught up in debates about whether or not a quorum is present, and how many people are really too few or too many for undertaking a specific task, I feel like saying:
“People: When you have the right individuals, even one is a quorum. And where the people are not the right people, then even a mammoth crowd is a waste of time.”
From an entirely different perspective, however, when a believer, who is truly in love with God, and his creation, is alone with his Master, God Almighty, in that context, even one is a crowd.
At that time, and in that place, even you don’t want to be where you are.
Frankly, I don’t know what I am talking about. But some of the technical expressions that apply in this context may be: Khalwat and Munaajaat.
And who can claim they know what those are!
Maybe the poet Khosroe does. Maybe that is why he said what he said, nearly 850 years ago:
Nami daanam chi manzil bood shab jaayi ki man boodam;
Ba-harsoo raqsay bismil bood shab jaayi ki man boodam.
Pari paikar nigaaray sarv qadday laala rukhsaray;
Saraapaa aafatay dil bood shab jaayi ki man boodam.
Khuda khud meeray majlis bood andar laamakan Khosroe;
Muhammad sham’ay mahfil bood shab jaayi ki man boodam.
“I know not what place it was where I was last night.
All around, everyone writhed and tossed like animals with throats slit.
One, pretty as a fairy, cedar-tall, tulip-cheek,
Tormented the hearts nonstop.
God himself presided over the Party in Un-Space, Khosroe.
Muhammad (Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam) was the Light of the Party,
In the place where I was last night.”
Being Muslim is no license to abuse the English language.
I am not an English teacher. Nor am I an expert on the English language. But I suppose I have enough sense of the English language to be able to tell – in most cases at least – what sounds and what does not sound right to the ear.
Nor do I believe in handing over the English language to Her Majesty the Queen and waiting around to do her bidding whenever I have to speak it. You know, speaking “Queen’s English”?
The fact is English is my language. I have been speaking it from the time I was little. I am hesitating to call it my Mother Tongue because my mother did not speak it, even though my father did -- may Allah bless them both.
It is also the language my children and my students speak. And I am always on their case, trying to correct them, not that anyone listens to me, if not the way they speak, at the least the way they write.
So, you want to call me, in some ways, a Minder of the English Tongue, be my guest and go right ahead and do it.
So, given all that background, and all those disclaimers and caveats, there are things about the way the English language gets used by some Muslims that I object to. Take, for example, the expression some Muslims use about non-Muslims “Reverting” to Islam.
“Accepting Islam,” sure!
“Embracing Islam,” why not?
“Converting?” Sounds just about right.
“But ‘Reverting’ to Islam”? That is where I see a problem.
“Revert” in the English language, I suspect, is returning to a “prior” state of some kind. So, what exactly are you saying when you say that a non-Muslim “reverted” to Islam?
Are you saying that this individual was somehow a “Muslim” before, in some kind of a “previous life,” then fate took him or her and dumped them in the lap of non-Islam, and now, due to God’s infinite mercy, of course, that person has gone back – “reverted” – to his or her original state of being, which, these people seem to say, was Islam.
In other words, that person “returned or ‘Reverted’” to the original state of Islam after a bit of a detour. Am I reading that right?
The fact is, this stuff about one’s “previous life” sounds more Hindu to me than Muslim or Islamic. You know, reincarnation and all that.
Islam or not, what this thing is not is English. This is not English, period.
This is a linguistic monstrosity born of who knows what kind of ego-trips on whose part – and for what mysterious reasons. Are people supposed to somehow feel better that they were “Muslim” in some previous state of their existence? And now they have gone back to the way they were once upon an existence?
Applies to Abu Lahab, Abu Jahal, everybody, right?
As for its being Islam, it is more Mumbo-Jumbo of the kind Islam tends to shun and steer people away from than it is Islam.
Bringing in all that stuff about “Every child is born on Fitrah” and God asking the souls “Am I not Your Rabb?” and they all saying, “Of course, you are!” raises more questions than it answers.
I mean in this particular context. I am not questioning the validity of the relevant A-Haadeeth – plural for Hadith.
Ma’adhallah: Heaven Forbid!
So, whatever Islam some of these special Muslims seem to practice or believe in, the English language they need to learn to use is the one that everyone else uses – the Queen and all the rest of us non-Ma’adhallah-royals.
And that common usage would suggest that when people change their “religion” or faith, they are just “converting,” not Mumbo-Jumbo “reverting.”
I have not the slightest doubt in my mind that God Almighty will bring people to our work – Insha-Allah.
That is, if that happens to be his wish and his will. And if that is what he wants to do.
Should God Almighty, then, want to do that, people – Muslim and non-Muslim, men as well as women and children – will flock to our work in droves.
By that I mean our products on www.IslamicSolutions.com and elsewhere. Both in print format and in the form of audio recordings such as, for example, Pasha Hour International –Live from America!
And all the books and publications and tapes our people have put out.
My most fervent prayer to him, then, on bended knees, is that, first and foremost, he should grant acceptance to what he has guided me to write and speak. Once that prayer is granted, there is nothing more to wish or ask for.
But then God Almighty himself tells us never to stop asking him and never to stop begging him for more.
He is Wahhaab, he says in the Qur’an, which means: The One Who Just Loves to Give.
What an indomitable soul that poor battered orphan, Oliver Twist, must have owned, in that Charles Dickens novel by that same name, that made him demand – or beg – of his abusers and tormentors: “Please Sir, May I Have Some More?“
So, my second prayer, equally fervent, and equally true, will be that God Almighty accept whatever we write, print, publish, tape, record – and post – from all those on our team of helpers and support network who toil so mightily and so selflessly, and so tirelessly, to make these things happen.
And then my third prayer will be for God Almighty to open the hearts and minds of People – Muslim and non-Muslim, men as well as women and children – and bring them to our work in staggering numbers, waves upon waves upon waves of them.
As he says in the Qur’an:
Wa Ra-Aitan-Naasa Yadkhuloona Fee Deenillahi Afwaaja!
And make our work a pathway and a conduit for People to find God, and to connect with his Guidance and Blessings, in the Qur’an, and in the life and teachings of his Most Blessed and Beloved Prophet, Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam.
And I have not the slightest doubt that he will do so – should that be his wish; and his will; and his plan to do so. And may he make it so!
And who would want anything else?