Random Thoughts and Notes No. 676-700

676.    (As was mentioned): In surah az-Zumar (Chapter 39, Verses 71-75) there is a differentiation in the state of the dwellers of Paradise and those of the Hellfire. In the first case, it is an honor granted to them, in the latter it is debasement. This is also pointed out by the construction of the Verses themselves, where the gates of Hellfire are opened quickly for the disbelievers as a torment and humiliation, but the gates of Paradise are opened with glory as an honor for the believers.

677.    One of the answers about eternal reward for temporal actions is that the intention of the believer or disbeliever is taken into account. Thus, it would be the intention upon which they died and hoped to believe in and carry out “eternally”, thus the punishment is meted out accordingly.

678.    It is said, and as mentioned in a narration, that the first knowledge to go is that of Faraidh (Islamic Inheritance Law).

679.    (As pointed out) The mirage mentioned in Surah an-Nur (Verse 39) is a reference to delusions people run after which have no reality behind them, such as wealth, power, etc.

680.    (As mentioned) Jahannam has many names and the 7 levels of Jahannam are in accordance with names mentioned in the Quran, such as Jahannam, Ladha, Hawiyah, Sa’eer, Saqar.

681.    According to Sunnism (or in many schools thereof), in both theology and spirituality, the name and the named are taken to be one – this highlights that the process of naming even in our daily lives is a very crucial endeavor.

682.    There is the outward form of things which is delusion, and the inward form which gives counsel towards knowing Allah, as He is the Real.

683.    (As it was mentioned, while it is known that this interpretation would be opposed by some, but it will be presented) Regarding the verses of ‘Abasa and the “rebuke” of the Prophet (ﷺ), this is a rebuke of the form, not of the reality. Anyway, we say that teaching the Muslims is of a lower status than inviting non-Muslims to Islam – so this is choosing the better over the good anyway. But the rebuke is of the appearance, while in the internal realities the Prophet (ﷺ) was correct in the decision he took.

The issue with Adam (Alayhi as-Salaam) is somewhat similar, in that the form seems wrong, but internally he was ordered to commit these acts. It is like the case of Khidr (Alayhi Salaam) as mentioned in Surah al-Kahf. Also the words ‘Asa and Ghawaa are used in the Lughawi sense in the Verses, not in their technical Shar’i sense.

684.    We have to know our situation while traversing the spiritual path: in the beginning stages of our path to Allah, it might be necessary to maintain distance from people, but as we move forward and gain experience, the rulings will change as well and more interaction could be part of the path itself.

685.    The place of Adab (propriety) in Islamic knowledge is like a plate and food, one should clean the plate before placing the food on it, otherwise problems will arise and this would not at all be the proper way to eat.

686.    There is Adab in all cultures whether that is the United States, the United Kingdom, India, etc., even if some of these peoples seem bereft of culture to an outside visitor. We as Muslims should not look down on the proper propriety of such cultures and we should follow such decorum as much as feasible.

687.    People are faced with different Fitan (trials) with respect to their minds: For example, some are too lazy to find out the truth, while others are too smart/academic and think the idea of Divine Guidance is preposterous; or in their mindset, they consider it intelligent to know every position but to adopt none; or they feel a need to find ‘nuances’ to every established position/creed to the point of rendering said creed irrelevant. Thus, we should find out what might be our problem/trial before it compromises our path to Allah.

688.    Adornment is in everything in the world, for it points to Allah, His Paradise, and His Fire; here Zeenah (adornment) is used positively, and we have to understand what Zeenah actually means (i.e. in terms of declaring Allah, His Attributes, and His Actions).

689.    Some of our opponents talk of the “Peaceful Jesus” versus the “Warmongering Muhammad”. There may be considerations regarding each Prophets’ (Alayhim as-Salaam) Shariah with regards to warfare, yet one of the important things is that at the End of times the Biblical Jesus comes with fire and brimstone, while Muhammad (ﷺ) as shown in Islam makes long supplications to Allah for relief of all Muslims and even non-Muslims on the Day of Judgment, in various times and for various reasons. (This might be seen as a simple argument, but it is effective against some of our opponents).

690.    (As was mentioned) The narration of fastening the camel and trusting in Allah (reliance on Him) is a summary in 2 phrases of all Islamic Metaphysics and Cosmology.

691.    An important matter: We Muslims do want ‘strong Imaan’ but this is to be a strong Imaan about the correct Islamic beliefs, not just random strong Imaan in any set of beliefs – like we see today in terms like liberation or justice or freedom vaguely put forward, even if many people (even nominal Muslims) have very strong emotions about these issues. (Yet, as far as Islam is concerned, these terms and concepts are to be circumscribed by the Divine Revelation.)

692.    Often one is attributed to their place, and it could have important religious implications. An example is the Ashab al-Kahf (Companions of the Cave) who left behind everything for their righteous faith, and were attributed to the place they fled to.

693.    Fearing the Hellfire is a valid motivation for good actions, yet loving Paradise is a higher motive; and even higher than both is love for Allah, even though this last motivation (considered in itself) is difficult for most to act upon. Now, we should not be fooled by those who claim to act based on their love for Allah, yet indulge in breaking the Shariah – this is not love for Allah, this is love of the lower ego, since the true lover of Allah rushes to do exactly what Allah has commanded him to do.

694.    We as Muslims do affirm with certainty the Ahkam ar-Rububiyya (that is, the rulings related to Divinity such as what it necessary, possible, and impossible to attribute to Allah) while at the same time saying that knowledge of Allah’s Haqiqah (i.e. His True Nature) is definitely beyond us.

695.    Important point mentioned: One may be arrogant towards the troubles of rich and famous people, looking down on them or making fun of their problems. Yet, we must think, what would be our situation if we were laden with that much money, power, or fame, is it not likely we might have failed that test? This is very much a possibility, as we see of people who suddenly become rich, yet their lives spiral out of control.

Thus, we have to be careful of this self-righteousness of the materially less well-off towards the rich and famous, as it has its own dangers and is religiously forbidden, just as looking down on the oppressed or materially less well-off is forbidden.

696.    The general rule is: No one can succeed in reaching the end of the path towards Allah except through the company of one who has already succeeded. This is why generally a human teacher is required (and not only in spirituality, but in all Deeni endeavors).

697.    (As was mentioned) One should see his friends and brothers as better than himself, based on Yaqeen (i.e. “my knowledge is that you are certainly better than me”). Only then will he benefit from his friend or brother throughout his spiritual journey.

698.    The person should beat his inner desires (Nafs/Hawa) into submission. One problem for many of us is that we take a conciliatory approach towards our base desires and thus put ourselves on the path to endless personal, social, and Deeni problems. Had we been more serious, we would have seen the Nafs as only an enemy to be defeated, not a colleague to be compromised with.

699.    Never underestimate the importance of the community; logical arguments will only show the person what true knowledge is, but they may not be enough to push the person towards following this proper course of action, if the peer group is not aligned with the conclusions he has reached individually. The peer group, often in a casual manner, may even be able to make the individual abandon following through on his rational and correct conclusions.

700.    A thing to consider: Why is it that children from a small age are made to learn civic history and patriotism, even though they definitely do not understand the underpinnings of the nation they are a citizen of, plus they don’t even have basic comprehension skills to grasp what they are memorizing of the “achievements” of their nation-state’s founding predecessors?

The reason such a path is followed is that at the end, the society needs order and compliance, this is why. And this is also why those who complain about Muslim parents teaching their children to be Muslims miss a very important point about passing essential principles and beliefs from generation to generation. If the principles are essential and important enough, every effort will be made to inculcate such beliefs and values from an early age, not wait until the person is 25 or 30 and then wait to see what happens.

(As an aside, in this context a “child” is not only the 7 or 8 year old, but even when he is 14, 15, sometimes even up to 40 and 50 years of age or until death, he remains a “child” in this regard, unable to critically analyze the underpinnings of his citizenship/nation-state).

 

2 thoughts on “Random Thoughts and Notes No. 676-700

  1. As salam alaykum, I don’t know how to contact you brother so I am going to leave this comment. I am learning about Aqeedah. A Christian was saying that the Ashari Maturidi definition of Allah’s attributes leads to multiplicity. Please do a post refuting what the says in this video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sWZ9Mpjr9mc

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    • Alaykum Salam,

      ***I will make changes to the comments here, as required. I doubt there will be need for a separate post ******

      In fact I am trying to shut down most of the comments, since the matters often become repetitive and not suitable for response- and this video is one proof of such a thing. I will have to rewatch the video perhaps and consult with some other people afterwards, but below are some of my initial thoughts:

      First, the images he is using are weird (if he is discussing specifically Asharis, why bring up “Salafist terrorists” in his images?; plus many of the Christian “victims” are probably heretics in his view to begin with – like many of the old Christian communities in the Arab and African world are NOT in communion with the Orthodox religion, rather they broke off at some point, after some Council declared them heretics, and they are technically suspect in their theology – not even mentioning the huge Orthodox vs. Catholic theological schisms about the ‘Holy Spirit’ and the consequences of one word they disagree upon, for example). So I doubt his seriousness.

      Second, even though I am not at all an apologist for Shiaism and we Asharis definitely have problems with them, his clip bringing the Shia eulogist mentioning “Ali, Ali” is dishonest, since that is perhaps said in a state of Wajd (extreme ecstasy) – yes it definitely is problematic, but it is difficult to make theological derivations based on ecstatic poetry. Also, even though there is some theological or ideological overlap in many points between the Mutazila and the Shia, the Shias will never accept they are synonymous with the Mutazila. The Shia will forward that it is the Shia “Imams” who are the origin of true Islamic theology and that Mutazilis took this and disfigured it, but this one-to-one correspondence will never be accepted by them.

      Third, it is interesting he brings out the chart of the 99 names of Allah, even though this is not related to any of his arguments at all, nor does anyone use it as a basis to attack Asharis.

      Fourth, one of the first things he says is inaccurate, which is that the Attributes as per the Ashari view are ontological, real distinct entities. Yes, this is the accusation from Mutazilis, Shias, and himself, but there are so many responses from our side, when it comes to the issue of Sifaat al-Ma’ani.

      One very succinct response is that we are not advocating a Ziyaadah in Tarkeeb of Hissiyaat (an additional composition of separate quantifiable existents, as the Christian might understand a ‘person of the Trinity’), which would be troublesome- rather we counter that it is a Ziyaadah in the Mafhum (an addition in what is understood about Allah the Exalted). We can also say it is a Ziyaadah in the Ithbaat of Ma’ani in addition to Wujud (confirmation of meanings in addition to the existence of Allah – confirming the Meaning of His being the specifier for created existents, or confirming the Meaning of His being the knower of all existents and non-existents, and so on with the remaining Sifaat al-Ma’ani). And here also are the ‘connections’ which the Shaykh Rashid and Mufti Abdul Rahman were alluding to.

      Thus, we do not at all say that the ‘Word’ or ‘Speech’ became something, like what Christians believe about Jesus (Alayhi as-Salaam) being the ‘Word’ made flesh. It seems he was really trying to push Shay’ to be the same as Ma’na, even though this is flat-out rejected by Asharis and in fact by all classical schools claiming Islam.

      And even this person alludes to some of our responses, perhaps unknowingly; since there is the exposition of saying Sifah An-Nafsiyya, Sifaat as-Salbiyyah and Sifaat al-Ma’ani, even though he tried to say that Sifah and Ma’na are the same thing— yes, perhaps some translators and writers used these terms interchangeably in translating Syriac or Greek into Arabic, but Sunni theological definitions have very, very specific significations, it is not fast and loose searching of where some words may have been used interchangeably. I am sure even the “Neo-Platonic Triads” he brought up have only limited theological reality in his Orthodox religion, since many allusions have been invented throughout the centuries, and many of them are only that, allusions. I fail to see how theological derivations and laws would be based on such things.

      Very interestingly as well, some of the statements he makes are obviously off-hand or off-the-cuff without him realizing this is the very important thing under discussion – like when he says the Dhaat and Sifaat overlap but not really, but both are under the Uqnuum- hypostasis. The whole video is supposed to be about the Sifaat Thubutiyyah, and he cannot make the important abstract distinction between the various types of Sifaat in his statement.

      He further mentions that according to him, the 3 persons of the Trinity have been made into 20 persons in Ashari Sunnism – even though he seems to be unaware the first 6 Attributes, the Sifah an-Nafsiyyah and the Sifaat as-Salbiyyah are a different category, whose affirmation is only of Allah’s Existence, without an added meaning (though he points out the Mu’tazila were criticizing Sunnis based on the Real Attributes [he means the 7 Sifaat al-Maani, but maybe he fails to realize what he himself is saying or quoting; besides Mutazilis did accept 7 Sifaat Ma’nawiyah, meaning they did accept Allah is Knowing, but they said this was without the Attribute of Knowledge, and this is a whole other argument between us Sunnis and others; but our Orthodox man here seems shy to say that “Mutazilis believe in 13 persons while Sunnis believe in 20 persons”, since he probably knows inside himself his entire premise is wrong, whether about “13 persons” or about “20 persons”]

      Also, it is possible to contact some people who can explain this further. For example on social media:

      https://mobile.twitter.com/HarunSSaleh
      https://mobile.twitter.com/IbnAwesome

      and: https://mobile.twitter.com/MuftiARM

      who was quoted in the video, you may ask him for further clarifications.

      and also the facebook page of Sh. Asrar Rashid: https://www.facebook.com/ShAsrarRashid

      you may ask him or some of his fb followers might answer.

      I know I am trying to be very brief in here, since I can see many of the objections are repetitive and/or dishonest, so my response might seem a little rambling; I will add to this response if and when I ask more people for some more clarifications of some things said in the video.

      Wa Salam.

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