Random Thoughts and Notes No. 601-625

601.    (A reply to an objection by Twelver Shias) There is the oft-quoted Hadeeth about the Sahabi (the Ummati, to be precise) being taken by the angels as the Prophet (ﷺ) is standing by the Hawdh (Pool) and calling people to come to it. But note that this is something occurring only once in a while- and not as often as Twelver Shias would want one to believe, if the Ummah or a majority of it has apostatized. And another issue is that this group of people will not be eternally in the Hellfire anyway, again going against the Twelver Shia portrayal of the matter.

602.    A big issue in many lands where Muslims are in a minority and/or being persecuted is incarceration and life after the prison. That is, even if they are eventually released, can they adjust to a new situation as good Muslims, especially since most prisoners are males and should be taking care of their families, yet their livelihood and character have been severely impacted and denigrated (and thus recidivism is common). These are just a few of the issues coming up with Muslims being a minority, incarceration, and life after jail.

603.    Knowledge or knowledge-creation is not a politically neutral endeavor, but rather seeks to entrench or promote a certain epistemological outlook and power structures. One salient example is the British portrayal of natives they colonized as ‘lazy natives’ [a specific term coined to further certain objectives]… otherwise why and how could their colonization be justified (in economic terms at least) for a somewhat liberal mindset in the home country?

Thus, the liberalist today may not accept racial-based colonization, but will accept the narrative of the need for “economic intervention for low-output and less privileged peoples to progress”, not only in economics itself but also in the socio-cultural, political and other fields required to bring this “progress” about. Again, a specific set of phrases and definitions have been invented in order to promote a certain outlook of how reality should be constituted, and no one, from conservative to liberal, will seriously object to this overhaul/enterprise directed at ‘natives’ if these terms and phrases are used.

604.    An issue to ponder upon, though a solution will be difficult to implement: We see that the reorientation or redefinition of many key Islamic terms takes place from academicians in a University setting, rather than from the ‘traditional Ulamaa’.

In many cases, this seems to be connected to attempts of polities to weaken traditional institutions by a thorough reconfiguration and reorganization of the modes through which Islamic knowledge is attained and transmitted. The question may come up that does this not reduce the quality of Islamic scholarship whether traditional or University-based? It seems the answer is yes.

605.    We need to think why most of the ‘reforms of Islam’ being promoted are often very rushed and made specifically to fit in with the political order and ethos (whatever that order happens to be in that place and time) rather than core issues about how Islam engages with questions about fundamental reality and how that affects people’s lives, etc. (in such cases, it is almost as if Islam is taken to be a sort of “condiment” rather than a serious religion).

606.    We see that the Islamic Deen, after the consolidation of the modern nation-state model in the Muslim lands, has been regarded in the best of times as merely a ‘natural resource’ to be used by the polities to further their own causes, just like manpower, oil, gold, trade and so forth. This is why claims that ‘Muslim countries do such-and-such’ are misplaced, since consideration of the overall framework and superstructure under which these actions take place is minimized.

607.    One of the main problems for the Muslim when interacting via social media is that this type of media is primarily performative in nature; thus, one’s very relevance is tied to constantly posting and updating one’s status. This can be fine up to a point, but beyond that the strength of posts diminishes a lot – after all, there are a number of points crucial to Islam and very important to discuss related to Islam’s truth-value, but beyond that any posts published might be redundant, of low value, of dubitable credibility, of an abusive nature, etc.

Exceptions are there where only high-quality tweets and posts are shared and published, but then again, this would generally mean a drop in overall popularity and relevance for the scholar/poster.

608.    (As was mentioned) The reality of Prophetic Infallibility is highlighted by the quickness with which the Companions (RAA) would emulate the Prophet (ﷺ). Thus, if Prophets (Alayhim as-Salaam) could sin, then the Companions would eventually start to back off from their enthusiasm to follow the Prophet (ﷺ) until they had received reinforced approval for any given Prophetic act – yet we see that this did not happen ever, thus Prophets (Alayhim as-Salaam) are totally infallible.

609.    We see that there is a tendency among secular persons in Muslim-majority nations to romanticize a golden era of past secularism, when supposedly no one cared about Halal food, women never wore the hijab, people did not pray, etc., all this before supposedly Arab Muslim fanatics with Petro-dollars came into the Muslim nation and turned them away from this so-called “tolerant and moderate interpretation of Islam”.

Of course, we do accept that extremism in its real sense has taken hold in a few minds, yet just because one has become more observant the accusation of extremism is often falsely thrown around, and there is obviously an ulterior motive behind such accusations. In truth though, people must be serious concerning the level of attachment they have to Islam through the following of proper scholars, and the following of proper schools of belief and jurisprudence.

Also, normative orthodox Islam has some aspects different than a given local culture has (i.e. the culture in its pre-Islamic form), and these are in fact included in the normative jurisprudence and belief texts native to authors of the land itself (without any consideration of Arab Petro-dollars), yet this is far from fanaticism or rushed, imported viewpoints.

610.    We need to consider whether the frequent calls for the formation of an American Islam (for example) do more to fracture the Islamic Ummah rather than to foster healthy debate (i.e. do the ones who use this ‘American Islam’ term wish to toe a particular political and/or nationalistic line, even if that line has little to do with normative orthodox Islam or may even be in reality anti-Islamic?)

611.    We see the situation is that Muslims in many nations are under a ‘civics- probation mode’ at each and every stage (i.e. they are always either doing everything to prove their belonging within a nation-state, and/or they are deemed unfit to be members of that nation). This matter is very important, since it has the potential to disfigure Islam in many lands beyond the point of recognition, as the “Islamic religion” is made to conform to nation-state norms, mores and legislation.

612.    Islam does not say that slaves must be kept in all situations – this is why the formal legal means to its full abolishment were there within ‘pre-modern’ times as well, and this is why the abolishment was legally effective within Islamic lands when it did eventually occur (otherwise it would have been a legally fictitious, ineffectual and inert action from the Islamic authorities).

613.    The Zakat money, from a spiritual perspective, means that at the end of the Hijri year, that 2.5 per cent is the poor person’s money, it is not our money anymore: If we keep it, we are basically dirtying our money.

Thus, the question arises that should we feel the weight of Zakat? Yes, we should feel a little pinch, since this is the whole issue, that we should feel solidarity with other Muslims in their poverty and its weight should affect us directly, even if a little.

614.    One of the reasons given by the Ulamaa’ for some abrogated rulings to have their associated verses still present in the Qur’an is so that we are reminded of the previous situation and thus know of Allah’s Favors upon us (this is the case when the latter ruling is easier than the former ruling).

615.    We see that a tactician like Khalid ibn al-Waleed (RAA) knew and could see that things were turning against the non-Muslim Quraysh and in favor of the Muslims, and that Divine Providence was on the side of the Muslims. This is one of the ways in which the truth of Islam is made apparent, to people of varying types of insight and of different backgrounds.

616.    (To answer an objection by Twelver Shias, concerning the Hafs recitation of the Verse) In the Verse in Surah al-Maidah (Verse 5:6) where the Wudhu’ is mentioned and the literal recitation seems to indicate wiping of feet instead of washing, one explanation -among others- is that this is talking about the ablution of one who has not broken his Wudhu and is simply doing it as a renewal – same issue with the narration where the Prophet (ﷺ) sprinkled water on his sandals.

617.    People ask about how can the Mercy of Allah and our actions be, so as to say, reconciled with one another? One answer is that it is the Mercy of Allah that allows us to have good intentions, to carry out good works, and so on.

618.    In the Hadith where it is mentioned that Allah is the Mu’ti (Giver) and the Prophet (ﷺ) is the Qasim (Divider), one teaching is that the heart is to be connected to Allah and the limbs should deal with the observable apparent causes – this is the way the created realm works.

619.    It was the Arabs’ belief that the named object or person had a portion of the characteristics of the name – in some way, naming of an object was like a Dua’ to Allah to give blessings upon the thing or person. (Additional comment: and also, if the name was given mindlessly, the impact would be there by means of a “supplication” to Allah.)

620.    The “disenfranchised” in a (Muslim) community are the secretive blessing in that location – in this respect, the Hadith of the disheveled man who is vindicated by Allah is an important example.

621.    The Sunnis do consider the children of Ja’far ibn Abi Talib (RAA) as part of the Ahl-ul-Bayt; and this is a significant point (in fact they are 2nd in rank of Sharaf [nobility] after the children of Hasan and Hussayn (RAA))

622.    In the story of Hateb (RA) and the letter sent out to Quraysh before the Fath of Makkah, we see that the Qaadhi is not to take any decision or action before hearing the plea of the accused.

623.    An important point of Anas (RAA) being a servant of the Prophet (ﷺ) from a young age and in the case of other young Companions (RAA), is that these children could look at the features of the Prophet (ﷺ) and later on describe these to the Ummah, while the adults might have had too much awe to be able to look directly at the face of the Prophet (ﷺ).

624.    (It is mentioned) In the case of Qays (Safeenah (RAA)), when he was able to carry camel loads of goods this is a Mu’jiza [miracle] of the Prophet (ﷺ) since the Prophet (ﷺ) was present. When he (RAA) was guided by a lion to the way out of the jungle this is a Karaamah of his (RAA), though ultimately this is also a Mu’jiza of the Prophet (ﷺ)- as every Karamah of a Wali is ultimately tied to the Prophet (Alayhi as-Salaam) he is a follower of.

625.    At Badr, the Prophet (ﷺ) was already guaranteed victory, so why would he make such fervent Duas? Because the core of Dua’ is to show one’s servitude to Allah first and foremost, the blessings of Allah upon one are a secondary reality so as to say.