551. Courage is to expose one’s self to danger but at the proper time, when one must do something in order to avert harm to Islam, to his family, to his Muslim brethren, etc. It is not simply a wild entering into the fray for the purpose of saying one is brave.
552. One courageous deed is to say that we have to work on our Nafs (inner, lower self), that we have to carry out the internal Jihad. Many will say there is need for the external, physical Jihad against the enemy, but will never say they need to work on their inner selves.
553. There are works discussing the issue of White immigrant minorities such as Germans, English, and Irish banding together to make the “White Race” in America. Had such a process not occurred, even today these races would have been counted as disparate minorities in the American landscape. And one can see the huge ideological repercussions such a formulation has had on America and the world, and how identities can be invented in order to achieve certain goals.
554. Previously in the modern era, the ethos was that one can do whatever one wants as long as others are not hurt. However, this is slowly being changed to doing whatever one wants as long as it feels good, or as long as one does not get caught. A very narcissistic and self-centered approach to life.
It also seems to have expanded into the areas of petty violence, of robbing and killing people for shoes, for example. That is, the poorer sections of society engage in small-scale crime while the richer sections engage in professional, white-collar or industrial-level crimes, but all are narcissistic self-centered crimes nonetheless.
555. As mentioned by Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali (RA), the good of human beings is manifested most obviously on Laylat al-Qadr.
Why is this so? Because it is on this night that hundreds of millions of people stay away from evil by definition while they are praying to Allah; even if they were not previously very religious, they will try to pray on this night at least and give up their bad habits for the duration of this one night.
556. It seems that the same difference which exists in the popular portrayal of science versus the technical scientific literature also exists with regards to portrayals of religions, most importantly Islam. Today, it is very easy to sensationalize almost any Islamic ruling and portray it as out of touch with reality; but here there would be a need to look into the circumstances of the ruling, and also to define what the objector means by ‘reality’ – often this is not a technical definition at all, but one based on popular whims and trends.
557. Some of our opponents contend that well, if Allah creates good and evil, shouldn’t we consider Allah bad when He sends people to Hellfire for that which He himself created?
One answer is that the act of creating is not tied to moral good and evil, since these are concepts applicable only to the created beings.
558. The devout person, the one who truly believes in belief “X”, does want belief “Not-X” to be removed from existence; he believes not in tolerance to the opponent, rather it is his conception of truth which is overarching and supreme.
Thus, the freedom of speech clauses assume people only believe in things mildly, yet this is not how people actually operate for the most part in many lands, since they have red lines and many are willing to pass formal legislation to eliminate the public dissemination of certain ideas (whatever their reasons might be).
559. The mindless violence we see in many places is perhaps a presage to what is mentioned in Prophetic Ahadeeth about the End Times and how violence will become so widespread that even the murdered will not know why he is being killed, nor will the murderer know why he is committing murder. May Allah save us from an evil end.
560. This may sound dogmatic to some, but the Islamic viewpoint is that even what appears right now to be an ‘absolute explanation’ in science will be eventually disproved, if it directly contradicts with the indisputable aspects of Islam [the argument about this latter issue and what is ‘indisputable’ is definitely a long and intricate matter, no doubt].
Besides, scientific theories are said to be formulated provisionally and useful within a certain scope, so how can provisional explanations definitively disprove anything else? Consider that we are not talking about indubitable observations, rather explanations and interpretations.
561. If we look into the Qur’an and into Islam in general, we see that Allah promulgates an optimistic view of mankind, unlike the pessimism we see among people of modern War-based and Economy-based philosophies. If one asks why this is so, a big reason is that modernity often sees no fundamental reason or basis for existence, while Islam emphasizes that all creatures exist due to Allah, who is the Real.
562. The ability of one to perform actions for Allah is generally commensurate to that person’s relationship with Allah the Exalted.
563. Concerning the devoutness of many people towards their non-negotiable beliefs, this can be seen in many instances. As an example, many racists today say they want a peaceful ethnic cleansing in order to make their land racially pure. For them, the operative word is “ethnic cleansing”, not “peaceful”. This means that if forced to make a decision, they will be willing to use all means available to pursue their ethnic cleansing project, not that they will give up since they must remain peaceful and nonaggressive if some laws or an election cycle doesn’t turn out in their favor.
This is an extreme example no doubt, yet similar is the case for most people, if the position they fervently believe in is put under great strain, or if they have to make a stark choice between peace/meekness, or seeing their cherished beliefs, goals, and world-views disappear altogether.
564. Wealth and power are two things people are tested with as well as poverty, weakness or oppression. The question is at times whether we can properly handle the money and prestige we have been given, and at times whether the poverty or seeming humiliation we are subjected to will make us despair of Allah’s Decree and Orders or whether we can perverse and be patient.
565. Many of the religious teachings related to good character have relevance only in a social context. For example, one cannot show forbearance unless there is a situation or people who can potentially make one lose patience, and so on with honesty, integrity, etc. Thus, to say that the teachings of religion are to be kept ‘private’ is incorrect, and the person saying such a thing either has ulterior motives or is naïve about the role of religious teachings in life.
566. There is a difference between the way a believer experiences death and the way a hedonistic disbeliever experiences it– because one has been preparing for his death and the other has only lived for this life. Thus, it is like the difference between water flowing out of a vessel, and a hot rod or thorns passing through wool.
567. The human being is the creature with the greatest disparity between actuality and potentiality; this is why, among other things, he is capable of the greatest injustices as compared to other creatures.
568. (As was mentioned) Going to the graveyard is allowed as long as there is no intermixing of the genders and the proper Adaab (propriety) for addressing those who have departed is followed.
569. The believer sweats at the time of death, since he is shy to meet Allah due to the sins he has committed during his life. Also, for others their eyes tear up and this is also due to shyness. This is true for all Awliyaa and their like; that is, all righteous people are shy before Allah.
570. One should use reminders about death like medicine: Occasional reminders are proper, yet we should not become like morticians, who are desensitized to death precisely because they deal with it all the time.
571. Unfortunately, there is a lack of consciousness concerning the spirit of Islam in the minds of many Muslims today. This is why they might be extremely punctual in their congregational prayers, then proceed to cheat people in their dealings, or sell drugs and other similar evil deeds, since this basic level of Islam-consciousness has been ignored by many.
572. If an author comes along and “merely” organizes well what has been previously said and parses the very strong points from those that have lesser weight, he cannot be totally ignored in the field; this is because he carried out a job that was in some way or the other lacking in the topic. In the field of Islam this is also applicable, especially given the disparate information we sometimes find and the need for renewed research and reorganization.
573. (As was mentioned) Two devils sit on top of the person at the time of death to ruin everything by saying, while in the shape of his parents, that another religion was good and proper. Also, the company the dying person used to keep in this world will be recreated at the time of his passing. This is why we sometimes find (even among Muslims) a dying person counting money or singing songs while those around him are encouraging the utterance of the Shahadah before death (because this is how his nature has come out at this critical time, due to a very long process of inner spiritual acclimatization).
574. Practical advice: For those who are converts while the rest of their family is non-Muslim, it is very important to write a will; not only for distribution of wealth, but also for burial procedure, since generally the non-Muslim family will have full authority according to the law of the land if nothing is specified beforehand by the deceased person.
575. Everything grand has many names to describe it. This is said with respect to the Qiyaamah, but it is true of mundane things as well. One example is that of a sword (Sayf) and how it has over 500 names in the Arabic language, basically due to its importance and relevance in the lives of the Arabs.
Likewise, there are many names in the primary Islamic texts for the Judgment Day such as al- Yawm, Yawm al-Qiyaamah, As-Saa’ah, an-Nushuur, Al-Khuruuj, Al-Ba’th, and al-Jidaal.