Random Thoughts and Notes No. 701-725

701.    Why does the Qur’an mention Jihad in Maal before Jihad with the Nafs? Because in giving up the money, we are conditioning ourselves to let go of the Dunya, little by little. If we cannot even do this, then letting go of the Dunya all at once with our selves will be very difficult – even if we give up our lives, it may not be with the correct intention, and this would be the greatest loss of all.

702.    (As was mentioned): The Hadith of Ukhuwaa and Iman is placing emphasis on Adamic brotherhood, not only on Islamic brotherhood, as mentioned by Imam an-Nawawi (RA) and others. So this is an indication to universal compassion not only Islamic compassion (that is, in the course of accepting that no one truly believes until he wishes for his brother as he wishes for himself).

703.    Rijaal has a connotation in spirituality of ‘Masters’ as opposed to ‘Men’ (which is the linguistic meaning).

704.    An example to understand differences of opinion and the Madhaahib: Bi (بِ) is used in the Qur’an for wiping on the head. Seventeen different possibilities exist linguistically, and the acceptable ones became codified in the Madhaahib. For example the ‘Bi’ mentioned could be either all of the head or ¼ of the head or 1 hair; but if we are ignorant and narrow-minded we will call for exclusion based on personal readings or conclusions, perhaps even call for Takfir of opponents, while this assumption which led to the calls of anathematization would be flatly untrue.

705.    Spiritual growth is akin to a growing tree: it takes a long time, effort, and continuity, but if it is pursued properly, it will eventually flourish.

706.    We Muslims should not reduce everything to colonialism (American, Spaniard, British, even Muslim or other forms of colonialism/imperialism); rather, people throughout history generally see that a certain infrastructure has been imposed in order to believe something and the masses conduct their lives in a certain way in accordance with that; the Muslim should be aware enough to know what grounds him, regardless of the good or bad surroundings he may be facing at any given time.

707.    To some of the opponents of Tasawwuf, it can be said: consider that Ibn Taymiyyah also wrote (qs) –May Allah sanctify his Secret- for his Qaadiri Shaykh.

708.    (As was mentioned, and in accordance with a well-established Fiqhi ruling) Note that Eid al-Adha was legislated on 2 AH and Hajj on 6 AH. Thus there was Eid but no Hajj (no standing on Arafah for Muslims under a Muslim polity/rule). Thus, do not overstrain yourself living where you are, trying to coordinate with the Saudi Awqaaf about the start date of Dhul Hijja, since the Eid is celebrated based on local sightings.

709.    There are scholars from the Ahl us Sunnah who say that ‘يدّ’ (‘Yadd’) is to be attributed to Allah as it appears in Arabic, and it is an attribute like Knowledge, Power, Life, and so forth, from the point of view of establishing as true what Allah has mentioned in the Qur’an. But of course, like all other Attributes of Allah, it is not to be thought that it has any modality, or is related to limbs or organs, but rather we say that its meaning is whatever Allah knows it to mean.

An additional point of importance: This last issue is Tafwid of Ma’na not of Kayfiyya (i.e., consigning knowledge of the meaning to Allah not merely knowledge of the modality). The reason why this is so, is because in the latter case one is saying there exists a modality yet they are not sure of its exact parameters – like saying one knows there is a hand which is a limb, but they are not sure how many centimeters long and wide it is, or what texture or skin tone it has. We Sunnis say all of these are inapplicable with respect to Allah, we reject modality from its very roots, and say ‘Yadd’ means whatever Allah knows it to mean in each instance it occurs in the primary Islamic texts.

710.    (It was mentioned) According to a well-known Hadeeth, faith is not at all empty and fanciful wishes, but rather that which has struck its roots in the heart and is productive of actions.

711.    (Answering an objection which might occur to some people) Consider that one of the greatest trusts in Islamic history was the giving of the Mushaf to a woman, Hafsa, the Mother of the Believers (RAA); we also have the concept of Dhabt al-Kitab where the scholar narrating from a book needs to be sure that the book was in one’s possession, so as to annul chances of corruptions creeping into the text one has. Thus, giving this great trust to a woman was not at all seen as a contradiction of this principle, since the Mushaf was kept in the most secure, trustworthy and meticulous of hands.

712.    (As it was mentioned) Tabaaraka actually refers to endurance of Allah’s Name in the cases where it occurs (in the primary Islamic texts), not blessing per se.

713.    (As mentioned) There is a distinction between Ijma as-Sukuti and Ijma as-Sareeh – only the last type is what is considered in Iman versus Kufr issues.

714.    We Muslims all do have an emotional attachment to the Prophet ﷺ and this is of course good and proper; and we also know that he is the Messenger of Allah the Exalted in truth. But this still does not mean that the tools of Fiqh – understanding, or let us say graded understanding- are not to be applied to his ﷺ sayings at all.

And in here, we can make a connection of one issue [for purposes of illustration only] with how nuanced interpretations affect even what we ourselves say and do in many cases. For example, if we are wise people, we will not say everything that we know to every person, but will choose the appropriate place and time to say what we think is necessary to say to our wives, children, friends, colleagues, bosses, etc. There may be many hidden matters behind why we said the same thing to different people in different ways, why we hid something from someone but disclosed it to another person, and so on. It is obvious that the one who only takes our Hadeeth (speech) for what it is without knowing anything about our context or with a decision to ignore it will have a wrong result about who we are and what we are doing in many cases.

Thus, we have to consider that utilizing the tools of Fiqh is not a way of degrading the status of the Prophet ﷺ whatsoever, but is rather part of the reality of how this world works and how the different revelations and inspirations given to the Prophet ﷺ were played out in the real world.

715.    (As mentioned) Why did the Prophet (ﷺ) explicitly choose a life of (apparent) material poverty and a life of humility? One answer is so that the afflicted and downtrodden amongst the Muslims can have in the Prophet (ﷺ) an example, since he (ﷺ) went through so many (apparent) material tribulations in his blessed life.

716.    (As was mentioned) Before making people religious, etc., Allah made them ennobled. (comment: that is, it is from the necessities of knowing truth that one has been ennobled by Allah to have the capacity to find out and know truth from falsehood, and to be able to know distinctions and to assess their true weight with the help of Divine Guidance.)

717.    We can say that Tasawwuf is at its root the science of purifying one’s intentions while doing the outer deeds. Just like it is necessary to have a science for classification and explanation of ‘Aqeedah, and of the outer Fiqh, likewise there is a need for the inner Fiqh (Fiqh al-Batin) to be taken care of.

Importantly, proficiency of this inner Fiqh is normally not something which can be attained by personal struggle only, without any guidance from those who have reached the path already (just like the outer Fiqh requires those who know to practically teach us the proper way, or correct Qur’an recitation cannot be achieved by merely looking at a Mushaf but requires a teacher, no matter how well-intentioned the prospective practitioner or reader might be).

And also, mistakes and errors in this field do happen, but it is not a reason to throw out the science of Tasawwuf altogether – just like there were and are Hadith scholars or Fuqahaa who make mistakes, in addition to some charlatans who make mockery of the field, yet the science exists all the same, and there is no reason to abandon the study and teaching of these fields.

718.    A matter to consider: In our day, value is placed in rebelling against old established orders, this is the new order; with this in mind, it cannot be said that taking up very novel reinterpretations of established norms (or trying to “bring down the system”) is a big deal, since the superstructure is set to foment these “intellectual rebellions” (so in a sense, tradition and established norms become the true outsiders, the true ‘revolution’ against the order).

719.    Power as construed today – in the liberal secularist world-view – is the epitome of materialistic thinking.

(Comment: One obvious reason being that the goals are totally of this world, without consideration of consequences for the Afterlife – either implicitly -in not realizing that Allah will judge one- or explicitly – totally denying the reality of the Afterlife or of Allah Himself.)

720.    (Something that was mentioned, to roughly visualize the matter) We should consider that in the modernist world-view, there are idealized human rights vis-a-vis actual constitutions of countries and how these are applied, analogous to how there are Sharia laws compared to the reality of Muslim-majority lands. The Islamic laws were and are many a times formulated/extracted by scholars under the tutelage of Madaaris founded on endowments (comment: thus, there was and still is a big chance for disjunction between the work of deducing the Sharia laws and their application in Muslim lands – this goes both for the so-called “good, kind” laws and the so-called “harsh” laws).

721.    (Answering an objection of the Twelver Shias) Muhsin is mentioned in some texts of the Sunni tradition, but as an infant child who died and was buried. Contrast this with the Shia view and the drama plus hatred of the Sahabah (RAA) created around this.

722.    (As mentioned) Tilaawah is indigenous to the Qur’an, and there is an aspect of reverberation in this – analogous to the revelation coming as a ringing bell, as mentioned in a Prophetic Hadith.

723.    Just to give an idea for people to better visualize this matter, the issue of Tasawwuf being a practical science is analogous [in the modern societies] to those institutions set up to organize and regulate society – there might be and there are problems in a nation’s police force, their labor laws, yet the existence of such laws, institutions, and procedures is absolutely necessary, without them the whole of society would collapse (for example, something like police brutality cannot justify the total elimination of that country’s police and army, the whole country would be ripe for chaos and invasion).

Likewise, the specific instances of some Shaykhs of Tasawwuf being accused of wrongdoing is one thing, but this is never to serve as a basis for eliminating the science. Likewise, there were so many weak narrators and even so many outright liars in the transmission of Ahadith; those who are biased against the Hadith corpus will use this as a basis to call for total dismissal of Ahadith, but this is obviously an incorrect attitude.

This attitude is incorrect even though only a percentage of the total Ahadith in circulation are considered to be authentic, yet the science is not to be thrashed, so one wonders why Tasawwuf would have to be eliminated in the minds of some due to accusations of wrongdoing, or the accusation that some practices are contrary to the Shariah. (Also note these are accusations, not all the things are as bad as the opponent makes them out to be, plus just like the Hadith-rejector, the Tasawwuf rejector is often biased to begin with, so no explanation or elucidation will suffice for him.)

724.    It is mentioned that Tafseer is the epitome of sciences learned by the Ulamaa’ since it requires knowledge of rhetoric, grammar, ‘Aqeedah, Fiqh, etc.

So compare this with what is seen today, of some people attempting to give exegesis of the Qur’an through invented filters like feminism, various so-called ‘equalities’ or ‘-centric’ prisms, etc.

725.            (It was mentioned) The best position is that the Verses talking about Allah undoubtedly sending people to Hellfire for Shirk (polytheism) is not only a warning or a threat, rather it is better described as Khabar, that is, Allah is informing us of what will take place. This is the better explanation in order to remove finer points of (potential) doubts raised from some quarters.