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September 10, 2017

The Road to Salvation - Najat Ki Raah - Surah Asr - Dr. Israr Ahmed

The Quran chapter 103:

Bears witness the time fleeting by,
Most assuredly, man is in great loss. 
Except only those who believe and work corrections/reparations. And enjoin truth, and enjoin perseverance.

زمانے کی قسم 
انسان درحقیقت بڑے خسارے میں ہے 
سوائے اُن لوگوں کے جو ایمان لائے، اور نیک اعمال کرتے رہے، اور ایک دوسرے کو حق کی نصیحت اور صبر کی تلقین کرتے رہے


وَالعَصرِ 
إِنَّ الإِنسانَ لَفي خُسرٍ
إِلَّا الَّذينَ آمَنوا وَعَمِلُوا الصّالِحاتِ وَتَواصَوا بِالحَقِّ وَتَواصَوا بِالصَّبرِ

September 5, 2017

The Purpose Of Man's Creation - Javed Ahmad Ghamdi

August 19, 2017

On Allama Mashriqi | Javed Ahmed Ghamidi

Javed Ahmed Ghamidi on Allama Inayatullah Khan Mashriqi

Starting at 40:06 minutes.

Righteousness and God-consciousness - Dr Israr Ahmed



Al-Baqara 2:177
It is not righteousness, that you turn your faces to the East and to the West. True righteousness is this: to believe in God, and the Last Day, the angels, the Book, and the Prophets, to give of one's wealth, however cherished, to kinsmen, and orphans, the needy, the traveler, beggars, and to ransom the slave, to perform the prayer, to pay the alms. And they who fulfil their covenant when they have engaged in a covenant, and endure with fortitude misfortune, hardship and peril, these are they who are true in their faith, these are the truly God-conscious.  
نیکی یہ نہیں ہے کہ تم نے اپنے چہرے مشرق کی طرف کر لیے یا مغرب کی طرف، بلکہ نیکی یہ ہے کہ آدمی اللہ کو اور یوم آخر اور ملائکہ کو اور اللہ کی نازل کی ہوئی کتاب اور اس کے پیغمبروں کو دل سے مانے اور اللہ کی محبت میں اپنا دل پسند مال رشتے داروں اور یتیموں پر، مسکینوں او رمسافروں پر، مدد کے لیے ہاتھ پھیلانے والوں پر اور غلامو ں کی رہائی پر خرچ کرے، نماز قائم کرے اور زکوٰۃ دے اور نیک وہ لوگ ہیں کہ جب عہد کریں تو اُسے وفا کریں، اور تنگی و مصیبت کے وقت میں اور حق و باطل کی جنگ میں صبر کریں یہ ہیں راستباز لوگ اور یہی لوگ متقی ہیں
لَيسَ البِرَّ أَن تُوَلّوا وُجوهَكُم قِبَلَ المَشرِقِ وَالمَغرِبِ وَلٰكِنَّ البِرَّ مَن آمَنَ بِاللَّهِ وَاليَومِ الآخِرِ وَالمَلائِكَةِ وَالكِتابِ وَالنَّبِيّينَ وَآتَى المالَ عَلىٰ حُبِّهِ ذَوِي القُربىٰ وَاليَتامىٰ وَالمَساكينَ وَابنَ السَّبيلِ وَالسّائِلينَ وَفِي الرِّقابِ وَأَقامَ الصَّلاةَ وَآتَى الزَّكاةَ وَالموفونَ بِعَهدِهِم إِذا عاهَدوا ۖ وَالصّابِرينَ فِي البَأساءِ وَالضَّرّاءِ وَحينَ البَأسِ ۗ أُولٰئِكَ الَّذينَ صَدَقوا ۖ وَأُولٰئِكَ هُمُ المُتَّقونَ 

August 18, 2017

God-consciousness / Taqwa - Dr Israr Ahmed

Aal-e-Imraan 3:102
O you who believe, be conscious of God with the consciousness He deserves, and do not die except as submitters. 
يا أَيُّهَا الَّذينَ آمَنُوا اتَّقُوا اللَّهَ حَقَّ تُقاتِهِ وَلا تَموتُنَّ إِلّا وَأَنتُم مُسلِمونَ

Al-Hashr 59:18
O you who believe, be conscious of God; let every soul consider what it has forwarded for tomorrow. And be conscious of God; God is aware of the things you do. 
يا أَيُّهَا الَّذينَ آمَنُوا اتَّقُوا اللَّهَ وَلتَنظُر نَفسٌ ما قَدَّمَت لِغَدٍ ۖ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ خَبيرٌ بِما تَعمَلونَ

At-Taghaabun 64:16
Therefore be conscious of God as far as you are able, and hear and obey, and spend well for your souls. And whoever is guarded against the greediness of his soul, they are the ones who succeed. 
فَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ مَا استَطَعتُم وَاسمَعوا وَأَطيعوا وَأَنفِقوا خَيرًا لِأَنفُسِكُم ۗ وَمَن يوقَ شُحَّ نَفسِهِ فَأُولٰئِكَ هُمُ المُفلِحونَ

August 17, 2017

Occasion of Revelation

Hamiduddin Farahi

It is commonly held that the sha'n-i-nuzul (occasion of revelation) is in fact the narration of a particular incident or incidents, which spurred the revelation of a verse or set of verses. I am afraid this is not correct. The sha'n-i-nuzul of a revelation in fact refers to the circumstances encompassing the revelation's addressees at the time when it is revealed. The Holy Qur'an actually discusses certain matters, or a set of matters, as central themes within the surahs. Each revealed address revolves around that matter or a set of matters. Therefore, the best way to ascertain the sha'n-i-nuzul is to deliberate upon the contents of the surahs themselves, because surahs are always revealed while keeping contextual circumstances in view. Just as a pharmacist identifies a patient's ailment by simply analyzing the medicines mentioned in the prescription, it is possible to identify the sha'n-i-nuzul of the Qur'anic text by examining the central theme of any particular surah. In a meaningful discourse, the discourse's content and its theme must possess mutual affinity and be interrelated, just as a well-fitted dress is in accordance with the shape of a body. It goes without saying that the components of a meaningful discourse are closely tied. When a narrative instructs us that a certain verse was revealed with regard to a particular incident, it indicates the circumstances of the addressees at the time of that particular revelation. Thus we come to know of the immediate reasons for the revelation of a surah. Suyuti writes:

و قال الزركشي في البرهان: قد عرف من عادة الصحابة والتابعين أن أحدهم إذا قال: نزلت هذه الآية في كذا, فإنه يريد بذلك أنها تتضمن هذا الحكم, لا أن هذا كان السبب في نزولها, فهو من جنس الاستدلال على الحكم بالآية, لا من جنس النقل لما وقع. قلت : والذي يتحرر في سبب النزول أنه: ما نزلت اللآية أيام وقوعه

Zarkashiwrites in Burhan: When the Companions (rta) say that such and such a verse was revealed about such and such an incident, they mean that the verse embodies a ruling about that incident. It doesn't mean that the verse was primarily prompted by that incident. The narratives are not narrated just in order to report that incident. We in fact deduce a decree from the verse and argue that the verse is giving a directive similar to the one narrated in the respective sha'n-i-nuzul narratives. I believe that it is very important to appreciate that it is not necessary that a verse should have been revealed at the time when the incident took place.1

The above quoted saying of Zarkashi solves the problem Razifacedwhile interpreting '…وَ اِذَا جَاءَكَ الَّذيْنَ يُؤمِنُوْنَ بِاياتِنَا'(6:54) Imam Razi has written:

و لي ها هنا إشكال, و هو: أن الناس اتفقوا أَن هذه السورة نزلت دفعة واحدة, و إذا كان الأمر كذالك, فكيف يمكن أن يقال في كل واحدة من آيات السورة ان سبب نزولها هو الأمر الفلانى بعينه.

I am quite mystified here. The scholars are unanimous that the whole surah was revealed at one time. Then how could one say that such and such verse is prompted by such and such incident?2

Therefore, in my opinion, as is obvious from the above discussion, all the surahs were revealed to explain matters which needed an explanation, being careful that the surahs' text is coherent and unambiguous. This is similar to when an expert orator delivers a speech regarding the conditions and requirements around him in such a way that he mentions nothing specific yet his speech covers all the pertinent issues. Likewise, sometimes he mentions a particular person or incident, but his address is all embracing and universal in nature. The same holds true for the revelation of the Qur'an, as is obvious from the Holy Qur'an itself:

وَ إِنْ تَسْئَلُوْا عَنْهَا حِيْنَ يُنَزَّلُ الْقُرْآنُ تُبْدَ لَكُمْ

If you ask about them when the Qur'an is being revealed they will be made plain to you. (5:101)

This verse testifies to the fact that the Holy Qur'an during the time of its revelation would answer queries that arose in the minds of its addressees without disturbing the flow of its discourse. So when a surah would be completed to meet the objectives of the discourse, it would not be insufficient regarding the clarification of a matter, nor would it contain any excess material.

Sometimes the need for instruction on a particular matter was not fully met in one surah, which necessitated the revelation of another surah. The 'occasion of revelation' would be the same but the style would be different, hence avoiding monotony and dullness. That's why the surahs revealed in the beginning deal with subjects like resurrection, monotheism, belief in the Messenger of Allah and many other issues, which were similar in nature, but whose style of revelation often differed at different points. Sometimes it was felt that a particular element of a surah needed a further explanation so an explanatory verse would be revealed and placed there. This was in accordance with the promise Allah made in Surah Qiyamah:

ثُمه َإِنَّ عَلَيْنَا بَيَانَهُ

Then upon Us is its explanation. (75:19)

In such cases, the gathered discourse would follow the context of the surah rather than its period of revelation. Usually such clarifying verses would be followed by a revealed statement making it clear that that part was revealed in order to clarify a matter. Therefore, verses similar to the following would be placed at the end of the clarifying directive:

كَذَلِكَ يُبَيِّنُ اللَّهُ آيَاتِهِ لِلنَّاسِ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَتَّقُونَ

Allah explains his verses to make people understand so that they may be fearful. (2:187)

If we want to be utterly clear regarding the explanation of a certain part of the Qur'an, we should notlet go of the context of the verses lest we become like a desert traveler who gets to a cross-roadin the dark of night and doesn't know where to go. Thus the sha'n-i-nuzul of a surah should be determined from within the surah. Only those narratives should be considered worthwhile in this regard which are in harmony with the context of the surah rather than those which disrupt its coherence. Therefore, the best conclusion regarding the utility of a sha'n-i-nuzul is that which is derived from the Qur'anic context. One should hold tight to it. When a general decree is revealed on a certain occasion this (occasion and condition) alludes to the reason and wisdom behind that decree. For instance the Holy Qur'an mentions both monogamy and polygamy. If we consider the sha'n-i-nuzul by reflecting on the context, it becomes clear that the first decree is related to justice with orphans and the second with wives. The two directives themselves are based on the underlying principle of justice with the weak. Circumstances will tell which one is applicable in a particular situation.

(Translated by Tariq Hashmi)

August 14, 2017

Relationship between the Qur’an and the Previous Scriptures regarding Divine Injunctions

Hameed Uddin Farahi

A traveller does not need to turn to stars for direction in broad daylight. Similarly, after the revelation of the Holy Qur'an Muslims abandoned seeking guidance from the previous scriptures since they are an amalgam of truth and falsehood. However, the previous scriptures rival the Holy Qur'an in that the latter is one of God's revelations and the prophet who brought it is also a member of the community of the prophets and messengers of God. All Muslims, from Adam to us, in spite of the great number of the prophets sent in different times and regions, are one ummah following a single religion. This makes it imperative for us to know the teachings of the earlier books. A study of these books can afford us a great variety of benefits. It will help us appreciate the excellence of the Qur'an over the previous scriptures which in turn will lead us to thank God for blessing us with the unparalleled Book. It will also help us discern the points lost upon commentators of the later generations which in turn made it impossible for them to get to the true purport of certain Qur'anic passages. This will also avail us with sound proofs to establish arguments against the People of the Book. This last point alone is a great benefit.

With the earlier scriptures already present, the Holy Qur'an was revealed to serve two basic purposes.

First, parts of religion which were not yet revealed in those books were revealed.

Second, it clarified the matters which were forgotten by the earlier communities. Many matters were disputed among them and the Holy Qur'an decided these differences. Some of the matters did not remain clear to them and they lost the right course. The Qur'an revealed the true nature of such matters. Most importantly, they had manipulated and adulterated many parts of the divine revelation. The Holy Qur'an corrected such things. The Almighty says:

فَوَيْلٌ لِّلَّذِينَ يَكْتُبُونَ الْكِتَابَ بِأَيْدِيهِمْ ثُمَّ يَقُولُونَ هَـذَا مِنْ عِندِ اللّهِ لِيَشْتَرُواْ بِهِ ثَمَناً قَلِيلاً

Then woe be to those who write the book with their own hands and then claim that it is from God in order to earn some trivial benefit!(2:79)

These are the basic reasons which called for a fresh divine revelation. Besides fulfilling these purposes, the Holy Qur'an helps us remember God, propagate His teachings and disseminate His message which are characteristics common to all the divine revelations.

Since the Holy Qur'an was revealed to fulfil a specific purpose, it does not but discuss teachings of the highest value. It has left out the details of narratives, dispensable explanations of divine commandments and events of micro-history. The general addressees of the Qur'an were fully aware of these things. Repeating such things would have been futile and wearisome for such an audience. Therefore, the historical narratives the Holy Qur'an discusses have been put very cogently either in order to provide precedence or a historical allusion (talmih) or to unveil any hideous cheating by the People of the Book. Similarly, it has also not dealt with the well-known religious practices the humans were obligated to carry out except for explicating those aspects which still needed completion and perfection.

The believers in the call of the Holy Prophet (sws) had either been the People of the Book or those who had intermingled with them. The latter category too was, owing to their acquaintance with the former, aware of the teachings of the earlier books. They did not find it difficult to understand the Qur'anic passages which only alluded to the things mentioned in the earlier books leaving out certain details. They noticed the gulf of difference between the Qur'anic style of expression and the earlier books in spite of the unity of purport and this raised the status of the Holy Qur'an in their eyes. Regarding such audience of the Holy Qur'an, the Almighty says:

وَإِذَا سَمِعُواْ مَا أُنزِلَ إِلَى الرَّسُولِ تَرَى أَعْيُنَهُمْ تَفِيضُ مِنَ الدَّمْعِ مِمَّا عَرَفُواْ مِنَ الْحَقِّ يَقُولُونَ رَبَّنَا آمَنَّا فَاكْتُبْنَا مَعَ الشَّاهِدِينَ

And when they listen to what has been revealed to the Prophet, you see their eyes fill with tears as they recognize its truth. They spontaneously say: "Lord! We believe. Count us among the witnesses." (5:83)

The above discussion leads to the following conclusions:

a) Errors in the earlier scriptures should be determined in the light of the Holy Qur'an. Difficulties in deciphering the meaning of their complex passages should also be explained in the light of the last revelation. The only way for the People of the Book to get to the truth is to follow the last revelation of God.

b) Since the Holy Qur'an is a completely authentic and secure word of God, it will serve as the final word where the earlier books differ with it on certain historical facts.

c) Those having full exposure to the history of divine revelation, starting from the first prophet to the last, and thus having a clear understanding of the gradual divulgence of the shari'ah of God to mankind, will certainly be able to see clearly the excellence of the Muslim ummah.

d) The contradictory isra'iliyyat,which are an amalgam of truth and falsehood, will be explained away. Those of us who have been on error because of such narratives will see the light.

e) The People of the Book will be able to learn that the Holy Qur'an does not draw upon these books rather it removes errors found in them and guides them out of the labyrinths of assumptions and conjectures to the right path.

f) Many of the Qur'anic verses which refer to the Torah but the Muslim scholars take them to be referring to the Qur'an will be correctly understood. The following two verses are examples:

مَا نَنسَخْ مِنْ آيَةٍ أَوْ نُنسِهَا نَأْتِ بِخَيْرٍ مِّنْهَا أَوْ مِثْلِهَا

Any verse which We annul or consign to oblivion We replace with a better or a similar one. (2:106) 

وَمَا أَرْسَلْنَا مِن قَبْلِكَ مِن رَّسُولٍ وَلَا نَبِيٍّ إِلَّا إِذَا تَمَنَّى أَلْقَى الشَّيْطَانُ فِي أُمْنِيَّتِهِ فَيَنسَخُ اللَّهُ مَا يُلْقِي الشَّيْطَانُ ثُمَّ يُحْكِمُ اللَّهُ آيَاتِهِ 

And every prophet or messenger that we sent before you, whenever desired something, Satan interpolated with his desires. But God cancels the whispers of Satan and establishes his commands firm. (22:52)

Before concluding this discussion, I want to discuss a point which the Christians usually put before Muslims in order to deceive them, dubbing it as the most manifest argument against Muslims' stance. They maintain that the Holy Qur'an at one place clearly requires from the Muslims that they believe in the Gospels. Granted this, they say, the Qur'an contradicts itself when, on any other occasion, it negates any of the evangelical statement, something it often does. This, they assume, provides them with an opportunity to invite the Muslims to have faith in whatever falsehood they have inserted in their book. In this effort, they usually present proofs from the Qur'anic verses some of which are produced below…[1]

(Translated from Farahi's Majmu'ah Tafasirby Tariq Mahmood Hashmi)

August 8, 2017

Ghamidi - Sufi spiritual experiences and Prophethood claims

"This was the Qur'an only upon the revelation of which the heavens were guarded from shayateen e Jin. Qur'aan has explained this on multiple places. Qur'an says that it happened only when the Qur'an was being revealed that the Shayateen e Jins were stopped from taking information from heavens and then revealing it on their men. so much so that the Qur'an details a whole experience of Jins who were surprised about the above mentioned phenomena. The Jins said that they used to go to heavens at their places from where we would take things and reveal upon people. Ever since we have seen that now heavens have been guarded and whenever we try hard to get there a Shahab e Saqib hits and throws them out.

It is therefore evident that the guards were taken off once the revelation of Qur'an ended. since the guards are taken off they implication of it is in front of mankind. Things we perceive as spiritual experiences are yet another manifestation of the worldly trial. Most of the misplaced confidence of the people in their beliefs who are misguided from the straight path of Islam, as is mentioned in the Qur'an and Sunnah, are the ones who feel confident through their jinn-inspired experiences of a world that doesn't exist but is made to appear as if it actually does. Most of the misguided religious people mention their confidence about their espoused religious beliefs on the basis of their visions, which are by and large inspired by Satan. Many of the Sufis, Ahmadis, Born-Again Christians, Mormons, who all have definite experiences to narrate to prove that their religious views are correct. I am sure that many misguided religious people from other groups also make similar claims.

There is no certain religious source of knowledge under the sky except the book of Allah, the Qur'an, and the religious example of his prophet, the sunnah. Everything else is subservient to these sources and should only be accepted if it doesn't contradict the guidance contained in them."

Predestination, Fate, Karma and Islam (Taqdeer aur Kismat) | Javed Ahmad Ghamidi


August 3, 2017

Balance between Male and Female by Dr Israr Ahmed


Condition to attain deep understanding of the Quran - Dr. Israr Ahmed


Real Taqwa - Dr Israr Ahmed

At-Talaaq 65:2-3
... And whosoever is conscious of God, He will appoint for him a way out, 
And He will provide for him from where he never reckoned. And whosoever puts his trust in God, He shall suffice him. God attains his purpose. God has appointed a measure for everything. 

جو کوئی اللہ سے ڈرتے ہوئے کام کرے گا اللہ اُس کے لیے مشکلات سے نکلنے کا کوئی راستہ پیدا کر دے گا 
اور اسے ایسے راستے سے رزق دے گا جدھر اُس کا گمان بھی نہ جاتا ہو جو اللہ پر بھروسا کرے اس کے لیے وہ کافی ہے اللہ اپنا کام پورا کر کے رہتا ہے اللہ نے ہر چیز کے لیے ایک تقدیر مقرر کر رکھی ہے  

وَمَن يَتَّقِ اللَّهَ يَجعَل لَهُ مَخرَجًا 
وَيَرزُقهُ مِن حَيثُ لا يَحتَسِبُ ۚ وَمَن يَتَوَكَّل عَلَى اللَّهِ فَهُوَ حَسبُهُ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ بالِغُ أَمرِهِ ۚ قَد جَعَلَ اللَّهُ لِكُلِّ شَيءٍ قَدرًا


Monasticism / Rahbaaniya - Dr Israr Ahmed

Al-Hadeed 57:27

ثُمَّ قَفَّينا عَلىٰ آثارِهِم بِرُسُلِنا وَقَفَّينا بِعيسَى ابنِ مَريَمَ وَآتَيناهُ الإِنجيلَ وَجَعَلنا في قُلوبِ الَّذينَ اتَّبَعوهُ رَأفَةً وَرَحمَةً وَرَهبانِيَّةً ابتَدَعوها ما كَتَبناها عَلَيهِم إِلَّا ابتِغاءَ رِضوانِ اللَّهِ فَما رَعَوها حَقَّ رِعايَتِها ۖ فَآتَينَا الَّذينَ آمَنوا مِنهُم أَجرَهُم ۖ وَكَثيرٌ مِنهُم فاسِقونَ

Then We sent, following in their footsteps, Our Messengers; and We sent, following, Jesus son of Mary, and gave unto him the Gospel. And We set in the hearts of those who followed him tenderness and mercy. And monasticism they invented -- We did not prescribe it for them -- only seeking the good pleasure of God; but they observed it not as it should be observed. So We gave those of them who believed their wage; and many of them are ungodly.

اُن کے بعد ہم نے پے در پے اپنے رسول بھیجے، اور ان سب کے بعد عیسیٰؑ ابن مریم کو مبعوث کیا اور اُس کو انجیل عطا کی اور جن لوگوں نے اس کی پیروی اختیار کی اُن کے دلوں میں ہم نے ترس اور رحم ڈال دیا اور رہبانیت انہوں نے خود ایجاد کرلی، ہم نے اُسے اُن پر فرض نہیں کیا تھا، مگر اللہ کی خوشنودی کی طلب میں انہوں نے آپ ہی یہ بدعت نکالی اور پھر اس کی پابندی کرنے کا جو حق تھا اسے ادا نہ کیا اُن میں سے جو لوگ ایمان لائے ہوئے تھے اُن کا اجر ہم نے ان کو عطا کیا، مگر ان میں سے اکثر لوگ فاسق ہیں


Beware in Affairs of Family Life by Dr Israr Ahmed

At-Taghaabun 64: 14-16
O believers, among your wives and children there is an enemy to you; so beware of them. But if you pardon, and overlook, and if you forgive, surely God is All-forgiving, All-compassionate. 
Your wealth and your children are only a trial; and with God is a mighty wage.
So fear God as far as you are able, and give ear, and obey, and spend well for yourselves. And whosoever is guarded against the greediness of his own soul, those -- they are the successful. 
يا أَيُّهَا الَّذينَ آمَنوا إِنَّ مِن أَزواجِكُم وَأَولادِكُم عَدُوًّا لَكُم فَاحذَروهُم ۚ وَإِن تَعفوا وَتَصفَحوا وَتَغفِروا فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ غَفورٌ رَحيمٌ 
إِنَّما أَموالُكُم وَأَولادُكُم فِتنَةٌ ۚ وَاللَّهُ عِندَهُ أَجرٌ عَظيمٌ 
فَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ مَا استَطَعتُم وَاسمَعوا وَأَطيعوا وَأَنفِقوا خَيرًا لِأَنفُسِكُم ۗ وَمَن يوقَ شُحَّ نَفسِهِ فَأُولٰئِكَ هُمُ المُفلِحونَ

At-Tauba 9:24
Say: 'If your fathers, your sons, your brothers, your wives, your clan, your possessions that you have gained, commerce you fear may slacken, dwellings you love -- if these are dearer to you than God and His Messenger, and to struggle in His way, then wait till God brings His command; God guides not the people of the ungodly.' 
قُل إِن كانَ آباؤُكُم وَأَبناؤُكُم وَإِخوانُكُم وَأَزواجُكُم وَعَشيرَتُكُم وَأَموالٌ اقتَرَفتُموها وَتِجارَةٌ تَخشَونَ كَسادَها وَمَساكِنُ تَرضَونَها أَحَبَّ إِلَيكُم مِنَ اللَّهِ وَرَسولِهِ وَجِهادٍ في سَبيلِهِ فَتَرَبَّصوا حَتّىٰ يَأتِيَ اللَّهُ بِأَمرِهِ ۗ وَاللَّهُ لا يَهدِي القَومَ الفاسِقينَ


July 2, 2017

Why the row over the Anti-Hadith but silence over Quran illiteracy?

"Excerpts from "Open Letter To The Nation’s Leaders And Intellectuals" written by Dr. Kassim Ahmad from Malaysia."


  • The time may have come for us to do a final reckoning with ourselves, our people, and the international community. Never in the history of mankind have we faced such total collapse as we do today.... Where has morality gone? Where on the face of this earth is a group or groups of moral human beings?... There is a limit to human endurance of suffering without protest; that limit has been passed!
  • When a group of our people in Malaysia wants to bring back the Quran to the hearts of the populace today, this is the significance and the implication. For a thousand years, Muslims have strayed so far away from God’s teachings and lived in such ignorance that they are powerless to destroy the evil perpetrated before their eyes. Western civilization too has strayed far away from the teachings of the prophets, including Moses and Jesus.... Both East and West must return to God’s teachings, particularly the Quran, His final, complete, perfect, and detailed scripture.
  • Alas, when Jema'ah Al-Quran Malaysia (Quranic Society of Malaysia or JAM) was formed precisely for this mission, a number of our leaders and intellectuals leapt up and protested. "Anti-Hadith group! Anti-Hadith group!" they screamed in accusation. What? Bringing the Quran to the people so that they would understand, this is anti-hadith? So, letting the people remain Quran illiterate, as in the past five hundred years in Malaysia, is acceptable?
  • I write this open letter to the nation’s leaders and intellectuals in all communities in the hope that we can study this matter calmly and rationally, without hurling accusations and threats and creating an atmosphere of animosity and tension. It is with a sense of responsibility and humility that I ask this, for it is not a matter involving religious ritual, but one of life and death for our people.
  • In 1986, this writer published a book, Hadis - Satu Penilaian Semula (its English translation, Prophetic Traditions, A Re-evaluation will also be published, God willing) with the intention stated above. Many of the hadith compiled by Bukhari, Muslim and others that we use today, according to this writer’s study, are in conflict with the teachings of the Quran. I give instances in three areas:
  • One, adulation of or unquestioning acceptance of the teachings of a leader. Since this principle was instilled, Muslims have feared others besides God; they have been afraid to question leaders. Hence they became slaves of the leaders, whereas the Quran exhorts us to free ourselves of all forms of subservience, except to the One God....
  • Two, prohibiting the use of the rational mind. Generally, Muslims are taught not to use their minds in religious matters. This teaching is spread through some false hadith. Purportedly, the use of the mind in religious matters would lead us astray. If the mind may not be used in religious matters, why may it be used in other matters? Are religious and secular matters to be kept separate? Indeed, this is what has paralyzed the intellects of Muslims in comparison with others. The minds of Muslims have been dead for a thousand years, killed by these false hadith. On the contrary, the teaching of the Quran give the mind a noble place. God deems human beings who do not use their minds worse than animals! (7:179) God bars those who do not use their minds from the fold of the faithful. (10:100)
  • Three, suppression of creativity. It is evident that for a long time, Muslims have not been creative. Since the thirteenth century when Islamic civilization began to decline, modern scientific discoveries and technological inventions have been made by others, particularly those who hold that human beings may know and may create progress. In the early days, Muslims were highly creative because they adhered to the Quran’s dynamic teachings, which urge Muslims to work and strive for success in this world and the next. But since they turned to the teachings of the hadith, their creativity declined, for these false hadith teach resignation to taqdir (divine pre-destination) or fatalism. Purportedly, good and evil are from God. The Malay proverb, "If you are fated to gain a cupak (a small measure of rice) you will not gain a gantang (a big measure of rice)," reflects this world-view.
  • All three teachings from certain false hadith are clearly in conflict with teachings in the Quran. The Islamic education system from the village pondok (rural religious seminary) right up to the Azhar university, based on rote learning and unquestioning acceptance, teaches that hadith cannot possibly be in conflict with the Quran. This would be true of hadith that are really from the Prophet. But history tells us that the hadith compilations by Bukhari and others were made between 200 and 250 years after the Prophet’s death. These compilations are the responsibility of Bukhari and others, not of the Prophet. The Prophet’s responsibility as God’s messenger was to convey the Quran....
  • Some religious leaders label as apostates those who adhere to the Quran, accusing them of being anti-hadith. According to certain hadith, apostates are punished by being put to death. Are they not aware that leaders of Christian Church during the Middle Ages in Europe also put to death apostates from Christianity? Thus, this is not punishment under God’s law, but one from the age of ignorance which entered the hadith through the Torah (Old Testament), which had been tampered with. (Refer to Deut. 13:5-10) Do our people know that according to the teachings of the Quran, one is given full freedom to choose one's religion? Thus, killing someone for religion is totally forbidden by God and is a great sin.
  • The study of the hadith has been developed into a complex one in Islam from the 9th to the 15th century. The early hadith scholars established a method of sifting out the weak hadith and retaining only the genuine ones. However, we must realize that knowledge develops, and one of the conditions for development is freedom to criticize. No philosopher, scientist or scholar is free of weaknesses, and one of the ways of overcoming weaknesses is through scientific criticism. We have seen the weaknesses of the method used by the early hadith scholars in the existence of many hadith which are in conflict with the Quran in Sahih Bukhari (Bukhari’s compilation of hadith that are regarded as genuine) and others.
  • Now we need to review the definition of sahih or authentic hadith. Does it mean confirmed as genuine only on the basis of isnad (chain of narrators) or also on the basis of matan (meaning of text)? Between isnad and matan, which is the more important? As we are talking about the sayings and doings of the Prophet, the term sahih must be based on matan which is in line with the Quran, for the sayings and doings of the Prophet Muhammad could not possibly be in conflict with the teaching of the Quran.
  • It is clear why we need to do a re-evaluation. Every Muslim believes in the Quran and puts it above all other teachings. Our problem is the Quran-illiteracy of Muslims whose language is not Arabic, and of Arab Muslims whose language is Arabic. They do not know which of the hadith taught to them are in conflict with the teachings of the Quran and which are not. Many false teachings have been slipped into the hadith by foes of Islam in those days (the Jews, the Christians, the Persians) to undermine Islam from within. If Muslims wish to be great again, and surely they do wish it, re-evaluating the hadith on the basis of the Quran and understanding and practicing the teachings of the Quran are unavoidable conditions.
  • Certainly, when this re-evaluation is carried out, certain changes and adjustments will need to be made in our beliefs and practices. As these changes are made to correct and improve, we need not fear making them. In fact, we should welcome them. What we should fear is going on practicing wrong traditions after knowing them to be so.
  • But these few changes and adjustments involve major matters:
  • One, we must reject adulation of leaders. We must bow only to God. All human beings are equal--none higher or lower than the other. This will rekindle the spirit of jihad (struggling in God’s cause) among Muslims....
  • Two, we must reject taqlid (un-questioning acceptance of human authority). We must use our minds to gain knowledge. We read all books, but critically. We learn from all teachers, but without forgetting our critical faculty. In this way, we shall inherit only the good from our ancestors; the bad we shall cast aside. Thus will the Islamic intellect blossom again.
  • Three, we must reject fatalism. Our fates as individuals and as a nation is shaped by ourselves, not by taqdir (divine predestination). The law is: those who strive will attain; those who do not strive will not. Man cannot know his capacity until he tries. The Omniscient God knows everything from beginning to end, but man does not know what God knows. This change will revive the creativity of Muslims; and science, philosophy, art and technology will bloom again in the Islamic world.
  • These are the three major changes we must make as individuals and as a people when we re-evaluate the hadith on the basis of the Quran and when we return to the Quran. Is this impossible? I think not. The best ways of making these changes can be discussed and decided by our leaders and intellectuals.
  • As we have seen, the anti-hadith allegations hurled at us are the result of ignorance or misunderstanding on the part of the people and a handful of leaders who fear for their position and authority. These can be overcome through sincere and fair discussion. We all declare ourselves to be Muslims. What, then, prevents us from holding talks to find an amicable solution based on truth? If both sides are sincere, adhere to the spirit of brotherhood among the faithful, and base the talks on the Quran, as God commands, there is no reason why we cannot solve this problem.
  • We have no intention of toppling the ulama (religious scholars or leaders) or wresting away their positions. We only want the Muslims, including the leaders and the intellectuals, in our country to adhere truly to the Quran.
  • Some claim that this problem need not be re-opened as it was solved long ago. These people are like ostriches, burying their heads in the sand and saying there is nothing to worry about since they can see nothing! Islamic communities all over the world as well as in our country are bogged down with problems they cannot overcome. Why? Because we live in darkness. How could we see in the dark? We need to get out of the darkness by using a bright torch. That torch is the Quran.
  • As I stated in the beginning of this letter, the time has come for Muslims and mankind in general to return to God’s teachings. Our society, both national and international, is hit by crisis after crisis; the only way we can overcome these is by returning to the teachings of the Omniscient God, i.e., the Quran. Such is the importance of the Quran to us and to the world.

The Standard of Hadith Criticisms

Edited by Zahid Ghadialy from the Book, The life of Muhammad - Haykal 

Despite the great care and precision of the hadith scholars, much of what they regarded as true was later proved to be spurious.. In his commentary on the collection of Muslim, al Nawawi wrote: “A number of scholars discovered many hadiths in the collections of Muslim and Bukhari which do not fulfill the conditions of verification assumed by these men.” The collectors attach a greater weight to the trustworthiness of the narrators (a subjective criteria). Their criterion was certainly valuable, but it was not sufficient. In our opinion the criterion for hadith criticisms as well as standard for materials concerning the prophet life, is the one which prophet himself gave. He said: “After I am gone differences will arise among you. Compare whatever is reported to be mine with the book of God; that which agrees therewith you may accept as having come from me; that which disagrees you will reject as fabrication.” The great men of Islam right from the very beginning observe this valid standard. It continues to be the standard of thinkers today. Ibn Khaldun wrote: “I do not believe any hadith or report of a companion of the prophet to be true which differs from the common sense meaning of the Quran, no matter how trustworthy the narrators may have been. It is not impossible that a narrator appears to be trustworthy though he may be moved by ulterior motive. If hadiths were criticized for their textual contents as they were for the narrators who transmitted them, a great number would have been rejected. It is a recognized principle that a hadith could be declared spurious if it departs from the common sense meaning of the Quran from the recognized principles of Shariah, the rules of Logic, the evidence of sense, or any other self-evident truth.” This criterion given by prophet as well as ibn Khaldun, perfectly accords with modern scientific criticsm.

True, after Muhammad’s death the Muslims differed, and they fabricated thousands of hadiths and reports to support their various causes. From the day Abu Luluah, the servant of Mughirah, killed Umar ibn al Khattab and Uthman ibn Affan assumed caliphate, the old pre-Islamic enmity of Banu-Hashim and Banu-Ummayah reappeared. When, upon the murder of Uthman, civil war broke out between the Muslims, Aishah fought against Ali and Ali’s supporters consolidated themselves into a party, the fabrication of Hadiths spread to a point where “Ali ibn Abu Talib himself had to reject the practice and warn against it. He reportedly said: “We have no book and no writing to read except the Quran and this sheet which I have received from the Prophet of God in which he specified the duties prescribed by charity.” Apparently, this exhortation did not stop the hadith narrators from fabricating their stories either in support of a cause they advocated, or of a virtue or practice to which they exhorted the Muslims and which they thought would have more appeal if vested with prophetic authority. When Banu Ummayah firmly established themselves in power, their protagonists among their hadith narrators deprecated the prophetic traditions reported by the party of Ali ibn Abu talib and the later defended these traditions and propagated them with all the means at their disposal. Undoubtedly thy also deprecated the traditions reported by Aishah, “Mother of the Faithful.”

A humorous piece of reportage was given to us by ibn Asakir who wrote: “Abu Sa?d Ismail ibn al Muthanna al Istrabadhi was giving a sermon one day in Damascus when a man stood up and asked him what he thought about the hadith of the prophet: “I am the city of knowledge and Ali is its gate.” Abu Sas pondered the question for a while and then replied: “Indeed! No one knows of this hadith except those who lived in the first century of Islam. What the Prophet had said was rather, I am the city of knowledge; Abu Bakr its foundation; Umar its walls; Uthman its ceiling; and Ali its Gate.” The audience was quite pleased with his reply and asked him to furnish them with the chain of narrators. Abu Sad could not furnish them with the chain of narrators and was embarrassed.” Thus hadiths were fabricated for political and other purposes. This wanton multiplication alarmed the Muslims because many ran counter to the book of God. The attempts to stop this wave of fabrication under the Umawis did not succeed. When the Abbasids took over, and al Mamun assumed the caliphate almost two centuries after the death of the Prophet, the fabricated hadiths numbered in thousands and Hundred of thousands and contained an unimaginable account of contradiction and variety. It was then that the collectors applied themselves to the task of putting the hadiths together and biographers of the prophet wrote his Biography. Al Waqidi, ibn Hisham and Al madaini lived and wrote their books in the days of al Mamun. They could not afford to contradict the caliphate and hence could not apply with the precesion due to Prophet’s criterion that his traditions ought to be checked against the Quran and accepted only if they accorded therewith.

Had this criterion, which does not differ from the modern and scientific criticism, been applied with precision, the ancient masters would have altered much of their writing. Circumstances of history imposed upon them the application of it to some of their writings and not to others. The later generation inherited their method of treating the biography of the prophet without questioning it. Had they been true to history they would have applied this criterion in general as well as in detail. No reported events disagreeing with the Quran would have been spared, and none would have been confirmed but those that agreed with the book of the God as well as the laws of nature. Even so, these hadiths would have subject to strict analysis and established with valid proofs and incontestable evidence. This stand was taken by the great Muslim scholars of the Past as well as of the present. The grand shaykh of Al Azhar, Muhammad Mustafa al Maraghi, wrote in his foreword to the book, The life of Muhammad by Haykal: “Muhammad- may God’s peace and blessing be on him had only one irresistible miracle: the Quran. But it is not irrational. How eloquent is the verse of al Busayri: God did not try us with anything irrational. Thus, we fell under neither doubt nor illusion.?”

In his book, Al Islam wa al Nasraniyah, Muhammad Abduh, the great scholar and leader wrote: “Islam, therefore, and its demand for faith in God and his unity, depend only on the rational proof and common sense human thinking. Islam does not overwhelm the mind with the supernatural, confuse the understanding with the extraordinary, impose acquiescent silence by resorting to heavenly intervention, nor does it impede the movement of thought by any sudden cry of divinity. All the Muslims are agreed, except those hose opinions are insignificant, that faith in God is prior to faith in prophethood and that it is not possible to believe in the prophet except after one has come to believe in God. It is unreasonable to demand faith in God on the ground that the prophets or the revealed books has said so, for it is unreasonable to believe that any book has been revealed by God unless one already believed that God exists and that it is possible for him to reveal a Book and send a messenger.”

I am inclined to think that those who wrote Biographies of the Prophet agreed with this view. The earlier generation of them could not apply to it because of the historical circumstances in which they lived. The later generation of them suspended the principle deliberately on account of their belief that the more miraculous their portrayal of Prophet, the more faith this would engender among their audience. They assumed, quite naively, that the inclusion of these extraneous matters into his biography achieved a good purpose. Had they lived our day and seen how enemies of Islam had taken their arguments against Islam and its people, they would have followed the Quran more closely and agreed with al Ghazzali, Muhammad Abduh al Maraghi, and all other objective scholars. And had they livd our day and age, and witnessed how their stories have alienated many Muslim minds and hearts instead of confirming their faith, they would have satisfied with the indubitable profs and arguments of the Book of God.

Verse 4/34 and Domestic Violence

March 17, 2009 by Leyla Jagiella

Men are supporters of wives because God has given some of them an advantage over others and because they spend of their wealth. So the ones who are in accord with morality are the ones who are morally obligated, the ones who guard the unseen of what God has kept safe. But those whose rebellion (nushûz) you fear, admonish them and abandon them in their sleeping place then hit/punish (daraba) them; and when they are obedient, sure look not for any against them; truly God is Lofty, Great. (Quran 4/34)

A controversial verse. Too often it has been used to legitimize domestic violence against women in Islam, too often it has been used to claim that Islam as such legitimizes such violence.

Others, like Laleh Bakhtiar or Edip Yüksel, try to posit a new translation of this verse. One that does not translate the verb daraba as “to hit, to punish” but simply as “to separate, to go away etc.”.

I would be more than happy to agree with the translations that Bakhtiar, Yüksel and some others give.
But, honestly, I can´t.
The problem is that to me it seems pretty forced and looks like a try of, as others have termed it, “whitewashing” the Quran.

It is true that in some instances in the Quran daraba does not mean “to punish” but e.g. “to separate”.
Unfortunately, in all occasions in which it does the verb comes with very specific post- or prepositions which are definitely lacking in 4/34.
Without these post- or prepositions the apparent Quranic use of the verb always implies an act of force, though not necessarily in the direct physical sense!

Other translators and commentators have however made the useful observation that the verb daraba always implies a singular and unrepeated onetime act of force, physical or other.
In contrast to this, to imply subsequent physical beatings the form darraba would correctly be used.
And while we have unsettling interpretations of men like Al-Ghazali or At-Tabari who indeed understood the verb as legitimizing physical violence against women, their understanding of the word had always been open to dispute, even in the classical times.
Alternative understandings have always been available.

Aside from that I would like to point out that to me the decisive word for the right understanding of this verse is not daraba but nushûz.

The word is often translated as “rebellion” etc. and when 4/34 is taken out of context it may thus indeed give the impression that according to the Quran women are commanded to obey their husbands in any case and when they do not it is legitimate to use violence against them.

But within the context of chapter 4 of the Quran such an understanding is total nonsense!

Nushûz is indeed an act of rebellion. But not in the sense of not agreeing with someone but in the sense of unrightfully setting oneself above others and their rights.
That is actually the direct meaning of the word.

The main topic of the chapter 4 of the Quran is marital and social harmony and the ethical duties, rules and laws that should be obeyed to keep this harmony intact.
This topic is also the context in which verse 34 appears.

In that context 4/34 does tell a wife to not unrightfully set herself above her husband and disobey the rules of harmony, otherwise her husband has the right to take consequences from that.

However, only some very few verses later, in 4/128, we are told that nushûz, abusing his wife and ignoring her rights, is also forbidden to the husband!
Nushûz is not a specific female crime, like some kind of anti-patriarchal disobedience.
Men can be as guilty of it and consequently women also have the right to take action against it.

4/128 also tells us that instead of falling into nushûz and to counter it both husband and wife should try to restore the sulh (harmony, just peace, balance) in their relationship.

4/34 does specify the cconsequences that the husband may take from his wife´snushûz.
Admonition, denying cozy company and force are the three steps that he can take, one after the other.
The Quran does not directly limit the cause that the wife may take or may not take in the case of her husband´s nushûz.

General limitations on both husbands and wives are given due to the general ethical standards of the Quran (which always imply to respect the other human being and to not abuse him/her).

In 4/35 it is additionally stated that in the general case of discord both husband and wife should not try to take action on their own but only with the judgement of members of each ones party, always trying to seek peaceful restoration and good action.

Here we can clearly see that chapter 4 is not at all meant to legitimize marital abuse but it is meant to do the direct opposit.

Nushûz, setting yourself above your spouse and his/her rights, is forbidden to both the husband and the wife in a relationship!

Both are allowed to take consequences – only within the general ethical framework of the quranic teachings – should their spouse nevertheless abuse them and ignore their rights and both are commanded to do so while refering to the judgment of other members of each ones party and while explicitely seeking sulh (harmony, just peace, balance).

Chapter 4 also clearly tells us, in 4/75-77, that believers are commanded to fight for the rights of all opressed men AND women and children and to “restrain their own hands”.

And it is clear that chapter 4 can not be understood without the general Quranic vision of an ideal relationship between spouses, as described in 30/21.

And from His signs is that He created for you mates from yourselves that you may reside with them, and He placed between you affection and mercy. In that are signs for a people who reflect. (Quran 30/21)

-

Original post: https://leylajagiella.wordpress.com/2009/03/17/verse-434-and-domestic-violence/

June 29, 2017

No Death Penalty For Blasphemy in Islam

Quoting from "Why The Death Penalty is un-Islamic?" by Kashif Shahzada


[2.0] Blasphemy

Blasphemy is the use of offensive, and derogatory language and visual representations against personalities revered and held in high esteem in a religion.

The Qur’an narrates that Prophets and believers were mocked, derided and subjected to abuse and persecution, but in face of all this, they were commanded to show restraint and be patient. There is no command to inflict the death penalty on those who hurl abuses. Indeed their act is heinous and sinful, and for which Allah will punish them in this world as well as the hereafter, but the believers are not called to exact revenge from them. Believers are enjoined not to utter words of contempt for anyone, even for the objects of worship of other religions


[2.1] It is Allah and not the believers who will punish those who hurt the Prophet (p) in this world as well as the next.


“Those who hurt God and His Messenger — them God has cursed in the present world and the world to come, and has prepared for them a humbling chastisement.” 33:57

As those who hurt the Prophet (p) will be punished by Allah in their own lifetime unless they repent, therefore believers exacting revenge and vengeance from them or invoking the death penalty for their offence does not arise. The matter is in Allah’s hands.


[2.2] The Qur’an has cited many instances where the unbelievers mocked, scoffed and used hurtful and annoying words towards the Prophet (p) (p.b.u.h). But the Prophet (p) (saw) did not penalise such offenders but exercised restraint as Allah commanded him to do so:


“And have patience over what they say, and leave them with noble (dignity).” (73:10)

The Prophet (p) acted on Allah’s command “..have patience over what they say..” and practised restraint on the hurtful words of unbelievers. In his life, the Prophet (p) was subjected to verbal and physical humiliation. There were attempts made on his life (8:30), he was accused of forgery (21:5), he was stigmatised as a man ‘possessed’ (23:70) and a ‘madman’ (68:2). But his personal reaction was adherence to the Quranic teachings of patience and restraint. As the Prophet (p) did not invoke the capital punishment for such offenders but used patience and restraint against the invectives and persecution, therefore this is proof that blasphemy although a grave sin, and which qualifies one for a divine curse, and punishment from Allah, is not a capital offence.


[2.3] Muslims are ordered to react with restraint when their faith is being abused and ridiculed and not exact revenge from the culprits.


“You shall surely be tried in your possessions and your selves, and you shall hear from those who were given the Book before you, and from those who are idolaters, much hurt; but if you are patient and godfearing — surely that is true constancy.” (3:186)

We are told that Muslims “..shall hear … much hurt..” but in face of this, they are not to exact vengeance or retribution but are ordered to have sabr(patience) and taqwa (righteousness). Similarly, in 4:140 Muslims are told that when their beliefs are ridiculed how they are to react:

“When ye hear the signs of Allah held in defiance and ridicule, ye are not to sit with them unless they turn to a different theme.” (4:140)

As the Qur’an prescribes to Muslims restraint, and distancing from the blasphemous persons, and has not advocated exacting vengeance, punishment or revenge, therefore this shows that blasphemy, although a grave sin, is not a capital offence mandating the death penalty.


[2.4] Those who commit blasphemy and even plot sedition are given an opportunity by Allah to repent. If capital punishment were invoked and they were to face the death penalty then they would not be able to avail the opportunity for repentance that Allah mentions in 9:74.

“They swear by God that they said nothing (evil), but indeed they uttered blasphemy, and they did it after accepting Islam; and they meditated a plot which they were unable to carry out: this revenge of theirs was (their) only return for the bounty with which God and His Apostle had enriched them! If they repent, it will be best for them; but if they turn back (to their evil ways), God will punish them with a grievous penalty in this life and in the Hereafter: They shall have none on earth to protect or help them.” (9:74)



The expression in above verse: “..If they repent, it will be best for them…” is clear evidence in demonstrating that those guilty of blasphemy, apostasy and sedition are not to face the death penalty as Allah has given them a chance for repentance and amendment of their conduct.

October 10, 2014

Prophet Muhammad did not create a State or Violent Monopoly in Madina



Quoting from an article titled Why Muslim Fundamentalists Should Embrace Voluntaryist Anarchy by Davi Barker:

"I want to be clear from the outset what I mean by “fundamentalists.” I’m not talking about muslims engaged in suicide bombing, plane hijacking, church burning, cartoonist murdering or teddy bear rioting. Those people have departed from any semblance of what I can call islam. So, for the sake of distinction making let’s call them “extremists.” I’m talking about a rigorously literal and conservative interpretation of islam which includes movements to establish a new Caliphate and an emphasis on end times prophecies. These are the type of fundamentalists that join islamic political parties, or separatist movements. And despite what the fear mongers pretend, very few of these fundamentalists have any interest in imposing islamic law on America. They’re far more concerned with countries like Saudi Arabia, which they don’t view as legitimate in any sense. At most they’d like America to stop thwarting their efforts in their own lands.


Putting all that aside, to explain why muslim fundamentalists should embrace voluntaryist anarchy we’ve got to start with some basic review of these two areas of islamic scholarship, the Caliphate and end times prophecies. This argument is primarily written for the fundamentalists themselves, but I’ll try to explain it in terms accessible to a general audience.

Islam attributes sovereignty to God and God alone, and places mankind as vicegerents of God’s sovereignty on Earth. The secular State attributes sovereignty to itself, and makes all other law subservient to its law. Islamic fundamentalists compare this to the idolatry of Pharaoh in the time of Moses, and they argue that so long as they must acquiesce to the sovereignty of the State they cannot be free to worship God as the lone sovereign. In order to be a proper servant of God they must be free from all political slavery. And so, they argue, they must establish an Islamic State built on three basic foundations: The ruler is a vicegerent of God, a Khalifahin Arabic; the law of the land is divine law, Shariah in Arabic and; sovereignty belongs to God alone, and not to the State.

While I am in agreement with the position that the sovereignty of the State is a kind of idolatry and political slavery, I do not believe that draping islamic paraphernalia over the existing model of political slavery magically solves the problem of political slavery. Most Islamic movements aim to achieve this ideal Caliphate by forming political parties and working within the existing political systems in their countries. But this strategy requires acquiescing to the sovereignty of the existing State, which they regard as idolatry. They also presume that because prophet Muhammad and the Caliphs of the past occupied positions of leadership that they constituted an “Islamic State” while I would argue that the foundations on which Muhammad built the social order in Medina did not constitute a “State” by modern definitions, and misunderstanding this distinction is a huge contributing factor to the failure of these movements.

Western civilization saw the need for pluralism after suffering the predation of a medieval Church with a monopoly on law. So, taking the monopoly away from the Church and giving it to the State was fair seeming. Nationalism replaced faith as the unifying principle of secular society, but now we see Western civilization suffering the predation of secular States with regional monopolies on law.

The problem is monopoly. Anywhere you find a monopoly you find power used to oppress the powerless. You cannot protect pluralism by creating a State, because the very definition of a “State” is a regional monopoly on coercive violence.

In Medina under the leadership of the prophet Muhammad pluralism was accomplished differently. The social order accommodated a wide diversity of tribes, many of which were non muslims, that were afforded complete self determination. So, the muslims were under the leadership of prophet Muhammad, but the Jewish and pagan tribes of Medina were respected as independent units of society. They were free to choose their own leaders, to practice their own religion, to form their own judiciaries, and to live by their own law, not islamic law. In this way no institution claimed sovereignty over others, and no theological monopoly existed either.

During his life all Muhammad’s followers consented to his leadership voluntarily and individually, face to face. He never claimed the authority to legislate over people who did not consent. Most muslims will say that Muhammad’s authority as a leader came from God, which is a fine answer for a muslim, but not for the Jews and Pagans of Medina. In Medina’s social order authority was derived from an oath, Bayah in Arabic. This oath was an explicit voluntary arrangement, not a coercive one. It was an agreement between individuals outlining mutual rights and responsibilities, not arbitrary authority to enforce sociopolitical preferences through violence.

This is why I say no State existed in Medina. The independent tribes negotiated a covenant, Mithaq in Arabic, which was the first written constitution in history. Prophet Muhammad never claimed that the Quran was their constitution, as modern islamic States do. The Mithaq outlined a mutual protection pact to defend one another from outside attacks, a non aggression pact to prohibit attacks from within, and a system of arbitration, to impartially settle disputes between tribes. In this way every community was free to regard God as sovereign without any intermediary, and free to live according to their conception of Law without imposing it on others. But none of these provisions constituted a violent monopoly, and therefore the Mithaq did not constitute a State."

October 5, 2009

Arrogance of the Dwarfs


Quoting a post titled Arrogance of the Dwarfs by Muhammad Asadi of RationalReality.com:





When one studies even casually the cosmos, and there are many resources available today to study it given scientific research that is accessible by the layperson in numerous books available on the subject, it has a humbling effect.





Behind this humbling effect is the fact of the grandeur of the universe and the near microscopic nature of humanity within it regardless of the arrogance of the elite that claim to run this planet, strutting around claiming to be ’god’. All their military might and nuclear arsenal would easily be overshadowed by a tiny portion of a tiny portion of the sun, which is itself dwarfed by the millions of other more massive stars in the universe.




 

It also tells us how misguided the ignoramuses who worship this elite as "all powerful" are, and how talks of "super powers" and empires, wars and great countries are actually talks about dwarfs that have lost perspective of their position in the scheme of things, things much bigger than themselves out there, and brings to the forefront this indisputably true statement of the Quran (40:57):


لَخَلْقُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ أَكْبَرُ مِنْ خَلْقِ النَّاسِ وَلَٰكِنَّ أَكْثَرَ النَّاسِ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ


"Indeed, the creation of the heavens and the earth is greater than the creation of humankind, but most humankind do not know (this fact)."