Verse 51 of Surah al-Maidah:
Being a commentary to Maulana Imran Hosein’s interpretation of the verse.
By: Hasbullah Shafi’iy
Sayyiduna Umar radiyallahu anhu, in his six-line description of the Quran that we are unable to discuss here except one particular word that is relevant to our subject, most aptly said that the Quran is Barakah. Now, this is not a simple word at all. This word may be registered amongst the most frequently used vocabulary of any Muslim from any part of the world, but only that the meaning of this word is simply untranslatable into any other language, at least not into English. The meaning of this word can only be understood and explained by analogy or events.
Sayyiduna Abu Hurayrah radiyallahu anhu, gripped by the pangs of hunger, was waiting in Masjid an-Nabawi for someone to come, one who could understand his state and feed him. Embarrassed to ask directly for food, he had asked both Sayyiduna Abu Bakr and Sayyiduna Umar (r.a.), “Iqri’nee,” which request could either mean “recite to me (from the Quran)” or, “take me as a guest.” Not realising his state, both of them had sat him down in the Masjid and had recited the entire Surah al-Baqarah and Surah Aali ‘Imran respectively one after the other. The poor companion of the Prophet (s) had to listen to the long recitations bearing the pains of his shrinking stomach. Now he was desperately hoping for someone else who could come and perceive instantly the other meaning of the word “Iqri’nee.” (more…)
WHAT IS FAMILY?
The “Family” has been under a devastating, multi-pronged attack for many decades by the secularism-based prevailing culture. “Family” used to be understood as the social unit based on the union of a male and a female, married to each other, and the offspring they beget or adopt (even if death of one of the partners, or divorce, subsequently, takes place).
And now we see a shift, in contemporary society, from principles of right and wrong to choices, decisions and risks, and therefore to subjective personal decisions, with little regard for wider consequences. No longer is “man the measure of all things” – I am the measure of all things. We need to carefully examine this shift because it constitutes one of the main underlying causes of crime. One of the obvious solutions to crime would therefore be the concerted effort to reverse this shift.
SECULARISM AND ITS IMPLICATIONS
Underpinning the prevailing culture in the world today is the philosophy of secularism, aimed, among other things, at the “loosing of the world from religious and quasi-religious understandings of itself.”
Secularism is based on a tentative faith in the evolution of conscious, willing, rational man and of the other living creatures and of the rest of the universe out of Godless, causeless, completely non-rational, inert matter, on the basis of accident and chance. In this false faith, Man is thus only an ephemeral speck of mechanical activity in a chance-order in a universe that is a mere accident.
Let us examine the unmistakable implications of this false faith. (more…)
This is the second of four Ramadan Special essays published by Jama Masjid, San Fernando, and written by Islamic scholars Imran N. Hosein and Siddiq A. Nasir, that turn to the blessed Qur’an in an attempt to respond to rampant crime. Rallies, marches, calls to change Ministers of Government and Police Commissioners, etc., are never a substitute for knowledge. The first essay focused on ‘Crime and the Economy’, and the next two will focus on ‘Crime and the Secular Society’ and ‘Crime and the Family’.
Those who proclaim ‘God’s Supremacy’ in their Constitution (“Whereas the People of Trinidad and Tobago have affirmed that the Nation of Trinidad and Tobago is founded upon principles that acknowledge the supremacy of God . . .”), and then proceed to defy Him by rejecting His Law and by substituting in its place their own contrary law as ‘supreme law’, are a people who knowingly commit blasphemy. That is precisely what this Caribbean State has done in Art. 2 of its Constitution: “This Constitution is the supreme law of Trinidad and Tobago, and any other law (including God’s Law) that is inconsistent with this Constitution is void to the extent of the inconsistency.”
The Qur’an has declared blasphemy the only sin the Lord-God would never forgive, i.e., if one dies without prior repentance. A believer in the Lord-God who submits to the authority and law of the State as supreme over God’s law, departs from the one true religion and joins instead, the mainstream godless herd of human cattle in their heedless drift to a terrifying end. (more…)
This is the first of four Ramadan Special essays published by Jama Masjid, San Fernando, and written by Islamic scholars Imran N. Hosein and Siddiq A. Nasir, that turn to the blessed Qur’an in an attempt to respond to rampant crime. Rallies, marches, changing Ministers of Government and Police Commissioners, etc., can never be a substitute for knowledge. The next three essays would focus on: ‘Crime and the Philosophy of Punishment’, ‘Crime and the Secular Society’ and ‘Crime and the Family’.
Economic ghettos now spawn, to a very large extent, the present endless nightmare of gang and drug warfare, armed robbery, kidnapping, and wanton senseless murder. Those ghettos will dramatically increase when the US dollar collapses totally and the TT dollar faithfully follows its monetary Massa in that collapse. Inflation will increase dramatically, and so too will crime!
Is it possible to replace the old corrupt politics of tribal patronage, the corrupt monetary system, as well as the corrupt system of money-lending on interest that has enriched some tribes while impoverishing others and creating ghettos? Our view is that constitutional reform should be primarily directed to the search for a plural model of a state appropriate for a multi-tribal plural society. Only such a ‘power-sharing’ model of state can now prevent the emergence of tribal economic and political dictatorship, and restore a tribal fraternity based on economic and political justice, tribal equality and a free and fair market. Only thus can we hope to extricate the ghetto from economic oppression and the resultant ever-increasing crime. (more…)
“As matters stand in the Muslim world today, it is the decline of religious leadership from the Islamic standard in a serious measure that constitutes a major cause of its inability with regard to its emergence from the abyss into which it has been descending since some time. The remedy for the situation is obvious.” – Fazlur Rahman Ansari, ‘The Qur’anic Foundations and Structure of Muslim Society’.
The Quranic Foundations and Structure of Muslim Society (in two volumes) was written by the distinguished Islamic scholar and Sufi Shaikh, Maulana Dr. Muhammad Fadlur Rahman Ansari (1914-1974), and was first published in Pakistan in 1973 just a few months before his death in 1974. It is not only a masterpiece of modern Islamic scholarship, but it also courageously identifies serious deficiencies in contemporary Islamic scholarship as one of the major causes of the decline of the Muslim world. The author of the book, who holds a doctorate in philosophy, was a graduate of Aligarh Muslim University, India, where he studied philosophy and religion. He derived his Islamic philosophical and spiritual thought from the outstanding Islamic scholar, Dr. Muhammad Iqbal, as well as from his spiritual mentor, Maulana Abdul Aleem Siddiqui, and the great teacher who taught him Islam at the Aligarh Muslim University, Professor Syed Sulaiman Ashraf.
Dr. Iqbal had made a significant call, in a series of public lectures delivered in the 1930’s, for the “reconstruction of religious thought in Islam”. “The Qur’anic Foundations and Structure of Muslim Society” was, in part, Maulana Ansari’s PhD thesis, and it was perhaps the most outstanding contribution to Islamic scholarship by any of the students of Iqbal. It also represented a significant response to Iqbal’s call for that ‘reconstruction of religious thought’. Maulana disclosed that Iqbal was himself the spiritual guide who guided him to the methodology with which he was able to pursue a sustained study of the Qur’an. It was that study which resulted in the production of this great work. (more…)
The Catholic Prime Minister of the Caribbean island of St. T Vincent is reported (Trinidad Guardian, May 8th, 2004) to have entered into the Mt. St. Benedict (Catholic) Monastery in Trinidad for a spiritual retreat during which “ he would join the monks in praying five times a day”. There are many people in the Caribbean who have chosen to become Muslims by proclaiming that there is no God but Allah, and that Muhammad is His Servant and Messenger. When they do so they are taught, first of all, to pray ‘five times a day’. What is the origin of ‘five times’ daily prayers? We feel certain that there will be many, apart from the Prime Minister and the monks in the monastery, who will find this subject to be of compelling and abiding interesting.
Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, was forty years of age when Angel Gabriel appeared to inform him that he was a Prophet of the One God. Prior to that event he was, himself, unaware of this status of his, yet he never worshipped the idols of Arabia. There were others, known as Hunafa, who also refused to worship idols. They worshipped One God, made the annual pilgrimage (Hajj) to His Holy Temple in Makkah built by Abraham. And they sacrificed animals annually in commemoration of Abraham’s trial of sacrifice of his (then) only son, Ishmael, peace be upon him. (more…)
Selfish people cannot sacrifice, and hence cannot truly love. True love always requires sacrifice. The greater and more profound the love – the greater the sacrifice it commands. In this sense it is only the brave and courageous, only those who can ‘give’, and ‘take’ nothing in return, who can truly love, for only they can truly sacrifice. What do they know of love who only ‘take’, and ‘give’ nothing in return? In fact, loving a woman is like loving God, which makes the subject easy to understand. He who can sacrifice can also be faithful, whereas he who cannot sacrifice can surely betray! It is in this context that we can now understand the implications of those memorable words: “If you love me, then keep My commandments”. Sacrifice was thus instituted as an integral part of the religious way of life, for Abraham, the Prophet, truly loved his God, and when Allah Most High tested that love with the supreme sacrifice, it was love that strengthened him and gave him ‘wings with which to fly’ to fulfill the divine commands.
Eid al-Adha is the Eid of the sacrifice, and hence it is the Eid for those who love their Lord-God and are prepared to sacrifice for Him. It has its origin in that supreme test to which father Abraham (‘alaihi al-Salam) was subjected: “Oh my son”, he said to his only son, Ishmael (‘alaihi al-Salam), “I have seen in my sleep that I (must) sacrifice you. What is your response?” Abraham (‘alaihi al-Salam) interpreted the nocturnal vision as a divine command to be literally fulfilled, i.e., that he was supposed to take his beloved son’s life by cutting his throat. The son, also, understood the vision in the same literal way. “Oh my father”, he responded, “do as you have been ordered. You will find me patient, if God so wills.” And so he prepared himself to give up his life in submission to a divine command. When Abraham (‘alaihi al-Salam) placed his son in the position for sacrifice the Lord-God called out to him: “Oh Abraham. You have (already) fulfilled the vision (which involved the sacrifice of your son).” (more…)
The Qur’an has described the event when Moses (‘alaihi al-Salam) was ordered to flee by night from the eastern delta of Egypt where the Israelites had all assembled, towards the sea, and beyond that to the Holy Land “which Allah had given to them”. Pharaoh pursued and caught up with them as they approached the sea. They were now trapped, and he was certain that he would succeed, once and for all, in destroying those who resisted his imperial rule, and who bowed to a God other than himself. Allah Most High ordered Moses (‘alaihi al-Salam) to strike the water with his staff, and behold, the waters miraculously parted to make a way for the believers to cross the sea to safety. The same sea drowned Pharaoh – the mighty, arrogant godless oppressor, and his power drunk-army when they attempted to cross. Muslims around the world will fast for two days this week to commemorate that event of Ashurah.
That epic encounter is today being reenacted on the stage of the world. Falsehood is waging war on Truth. And believers in the Holy Land and elsewhere in the world, who are armed with nothing more than the equivalent of stones, adamantly refuse to bow to an arrogant power-drunk European oppressor and all his house slaves. The utter contempt with which the US army totally destroyed the Iraqi city of Fallujah that had so heroically resisted Yankee occupation and oppression, is but a taste of the replay of that epic encounter. The message of hope for the beleaguered Muslims of this age, which is implicit in this event, comes as a ray of sunshine and illumination in this world of darkness filled with injustice and oppression. Tomorrow holds the threat of even more monstrous lies, oppression and deception. One black mask on the white face of the oppressor has been replaced with another black mask, but mankind is not fooled. Oppression continually escalates. (more…)
In a Christmas and New Year’s message published in the ‘Trinidad Guardian’ (December 25th, 2005) the misguided head of the ASJA (an acronym for a Muslim Organization in Trinidad and Tobago) declared:
“Once more, as we approach the end of another year and the great event of Christmas, we join with the rest of society and particularly our brothers and sisters of the Christian faith in celebrating this joyous season. Certainly, the Muslim community recognizes the common beliefs and practices that we share and which are the embodiment of the respective faiths that are represented in this blessed country and emanate from the central doctrine of the fatherhood of God and the universal brotherhood of mankind.”
Although some time has passed since the publication of this strange statement, the leadership of ASJA appears to have made no effort to retract or modify it in any way. Nor has there been any response to it so far from the many scholars of Islam in this country, or from the leaders of the Muslim community. This could perhaps be so because many people, very sensibly, no longer read the daily newspapers. But it could also be the result of either unwillingness or incapacity on their part to recognize anything so profoundly wrong and dangerously misguided in that message as to warrant a response. (more…)