Approaching the Quran as a Community
Transcript coming soon . . .
Approaching the Quran as a Community
Transcript coming soon . . .
Have you ever come across someone who was content to be dumb? In fact, intelligence is one of the most universally sought after human qualities. There is a tremendous emphasis in our society on being smart, IQ scores, cleverness, etc. In this brief khutbah we examine what is true intelligence and foolishness, from the perspective of the greatest and smartest human being that ever live- the Prophet Muhammad peace be upon Him. [click to listen]
I am thankful to Allah for allowing me to spend two uplifting and blessed days with such dedicated and intelligent Muslims sisters and brothers in faith. I enjoyed teaching you and learning from you; your questions and thoughts are invaluable for me, and will continue to make me think more and strive better.
I had promised a few things during the lectures. From what I can remember, these were: the lecture presentations (attached) and a list of recommended books (provided below).
Please feel free to remind me if I am forgetting something. I’d love to hear thoughts, questions and suggestions from each one of you; feel free to use the email address I have provided uwaymir at yahoo dot com. Some of you had particular questions or requests; please feel free to contact me, I’d love to be of help if I can.
For anyone interested in spiritual writings of Ibn Taymiyya or Ibn al-Qayyim in translation, please contact me directly. For many reasons that you can guess, there is a lack of good books on or by Ibn Taymiyya in English on either his political thought or spirituality. Ibn Taymiyya is a very challenging writer because of his encyclopedic knowledge full of references that common Muslims are not familiar with. Ibn al-Qayyim, the most brilliant and devoted disciple of Ibn Taymiyya, is easier and more organized. I have been translating his Madarij al-Salikin for Aljumuah Magazine for the last five years; I could send you a subset of those writings if you are interested—although I suggest reading the whole magazine. Also, I have some more advanced articles on Ibn al-Qayyim and Ibn Taymiyya’s spiritual writings, which I can provide upon request.
A list of recommended books
On Ibn Taymiyya,
Ibn Taymiyya Expounds on Islam by Abdul Haqq Ansari (available for download at http://www.scribd.com/doc/16603238/Expounds-on-Islam-by-Ibn-Taymiyyah?autodown=pdf) This one is the best and most extensive anthology of his writings to my knowledge.
The Hanbali School of Law and Ibn Taymiyyah: Conflict or Conciliation (Culture and Civilization in the Middle East) by Abdul Hakim I. Al-Matroudi. This is a very decent academic but accessible study by a Saudi scholar of Ibn Taymiyya’s jurisprudence.
Public Duties in Islam: The Institution of the Hisba by Ibn Taymiyya
Ibn Taymiyya: Muslims under non-Muslim Rule by Yahya Michot (Interface Publictions, 2006). This is an example of how Ibn Taymiyya’s writings have been misused in the contemporary Muslim world. The author is Prof. at Hartford Seminary, a respected Muslim scholar and convert, whose own bias is evident in the book.
Sayyid Abul A`la Mawdudi, The Islamic Movement: Dynamics of Values, Power and Change, ed. By Khurram Murad (Islamic Foundation, 1998)
Yusuf al-Qaradawi, Islamic Awakening: Between Rejection and Extremism
Winning the Modern World for Islam, by Abdessalam Yassine (Justice and Spirituality Publishing, 2000)
On Muslim women in particular,
Al-Muḥaddithāt By Muḥammad Akram Nadwī. This is one of the best and most learned accounts I come across of early Islamic tradition on women in good English, very inspiring.
In Arabic, I had mentioned to some sisters Abd al-Haleem Abu Shaqqa’s Tahrir al-mar`a fi `ahd al-risala
Your brother in faith,
Ask yourself these questions. . . Is Islam an individual matter? Does it have anything to do with the public sphere, with matters of governance? Does Islam have any vision for governing societies?
Muslims would generally agree that governing according to Islam, aka Khilāfah, aka Islamic state, is something necessary or at least something commendable. But ask yourself this— when was the last time you heard a lecture about the Khilāfah, or about the fiqh of the Islamic state? In contrast, when was the last time you heard about the fiqh of prayer, or fasting, or about dhikr? Have we reduced Islam to personal fiqh? What has happened to the domain of Islamic political thought?
It is a matter of faith for us that Islamic teachings remain as relevant today as they ever were. Politics is in essence managing our resources for a greater, collective good, about working together as communities, and as an ummah. In Arabic the term is siyāsah, which is found in the following Prophetic ḥadīth:
كَانَتْ بَنُو إسْرَائِيلَ تَسُوسُهُمُ الأَنْبِيَاءُ، كُلَّمَا هَلَكَ نَبِيٌّ خَلَفَهُ نَبِيٌّ، وَإنَّهُ لاَ نَبِيَّ بَعْدِي. وَسَتَكُونُ خُلَفَاءُ فَتَكْثُرُ
The Israelites used to be governed/managed (politically) by the prophets. Whenever one of them died, another took his place. But there will be no prophet after me, but only khulafā’ (caliphs). [al-Bukhārī, Muslim and others]
The terms also finds itself from a report from ‘Umar:
خطبنا عمر بن الخطاب فقال قد علمت ورب الكعبة متى تهلك العرب، فقام إليه رجل من المسلمين فقال: متى يهلكون يا أمير المؤمنين؟ قال: حين يسوس أمرهم من لم يعالج أمر الجاهلية ولم يصحب الرسول صلى الله عليه وسلّم
Once ‘Umar addressed us and said, I indeed know, by the Lord of the Ka‘bah, when the Arabs will be destroyed. A man stood up and asked, When will they be destroyed O Commander of the Faithful? He replied, When they entrust their affairs (siyāsah) to those who have not eradicated the matters of jāhiliyyah and those who will not be from the Companions. [Muṣannaf Ibn Abī Shaybah, al-Bayhaqī]
So politics (siyāsah) is an essential part of human collective life and hence an integral part of the religion of truth.
But our collective lives are a mess. We have many great individuals among us who are quite diligent in their prayers and even cry when reading the Qurʼān, but when they sit in committees to run a masjid or a school or an event, chaos breaks loose. Tensions rise, accusations are leveled, backbiting occurs!
The Judgment of Akhirah is about individuals, but the Prophet of Islam established communities, social environments and, yes, states. They didn’t focus on knocking on doors and reaching every individual person but they had a broader mission. The majority and bulk of Arabia did not embrace Islam when each person was convinced of its truth, but when the writing on the horizon changed after the conquest of Makkah. The early Muslims conquered lands but did not force Islam on individuals. Why did the masses embrace Islam, then? The Muslims established order and institutions and a new way of organizing things, the writing on the horizons changes, and that brought the masses of people to them.
The Prophet and early Muslims had a profound sense of mission. We owe it to them to try to understand what that was and what happened to us. . . .
What does the phrase al-ḥamdu lillah really mean.
Therefore al-ḥamdu lillah really means praising Allah— out of love and gratitude— for His praiseworthy and perfect attributes, and for the bounties and blessings he bestows upon us, and for the calamities and adversities which purify us and raise us in ranks.
-adapted from Shaykh Walid Basyouni
[Sources: Shaykh Walid Basyouni, PhD,
Mohammad Hashim Kamali, A Textbook of Ḥadīth Studies. The Islamic Foundation, United Kingdom. 2005.]
The other day we were walking in the park. My four-year old, a little girl obsessed with castles and fairies and the Magic Kingdom, remarks: “Disney World is better than Jannah!” My six-year old, Zayd, corrects her, “No, Sarah, Jannah is better! In Jannah you can think about something and have it. You can even have all the candy you want, and you won’t get cavities! And if the candy is hard, it becomes soft so you can eat it!”
كلّ مولودٍ يُولد على الفطرة
We can learn a lot from children, created on the pure nature of the fitrah. At times their skills of logical deducton and advanced understanding is incomparable to ours, cluttered with our own complexes and colored views of the world.