Age of Jahiliyah

A blog of wide and varied interest, including Islam, Muslims, Poetry, Art and much more.

Archive for the month “April, 2011”

Consider Own Deeds Before Asking Muslims to Condemn Terrorism

From the Tennessean
Written by
Rubel Shelly

Christians of all stripes and varieties have expressed dismay over the failure of some Muslim clerics to decry and condemn terrorism.

From the World Trade Center to the bombings in Delhi to suicide bombings in multiple locations, there are extremists associated with Islam who cause some people to fear all Muslims. That is unfair to Muslims. But outsiders to Islam have wanted to hear its leaders speak clearly about the fanatics.

Muslims have a similar reasonable expectation of Christians. They have the right to listen expectantly for us to decry and condemn bigoted extremists who claim to represent Christianity. When the pastor of the World Dove Outreach Center in Gainesville, Fla., burned a Quran recently, he was both morally wrong and spiritually misguided. His action sparked days of deadly rioting in Afghanistan and gave credibility to the anti-Christian rhetoric of Muslim terrorists.

Have you noticed how many people dismiss Jesus, curse Christianity, and resent churches? Ever wonder why? The answer lies in the behavior of pedophile priests, huckster televangelists, Fred Phelps’ protests at the funerals of U.S. soldiers, and Terry Jones’ repulsive Quran-burning.

The issue here isn’t the compatibility of Christianity and Islam. They are quite distinctive in their views of Trinity, the deity of Jesus, human redemption, and what to regard as Sacred Literature. Although cousins because of Abraham, the two religions are notable for their differences. As a Christian, I affirm the unique and exclusive role of Jesus as Savior. But I also affirm the obligation of his followers to treat Muslims, Buddhists or atheists with respect.

Jesus made the right-wing religionists of his era unhappy because his heart was big enough to reach not only to Jews of other parties but to Samaritans and Gentiles. He was smarter than some of his followers. He knew he could not even talk with those he wanted to win over by insulting them and demeaning the things they held sacred.

Christian Scripture says: “The Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone” (2 Timothy 2:24). “Always be ready to make your defense to anyone who demands from you an account of the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and reverence” (1 Peter 3:15-16).

People who think they are honoring God by burning the Quran — thereby confirming the worst of prejudices toward Christians, closing the door to fruitful dialogue, and precipitating riots — only make Christianity look hateful, bigoted, and boorish. Don’t talk about motive here. Think instead of obvious outcomes.

Jesus’ would-be representatives are making him look bad again.

Rubel Shelly holds a doctorate in philosophy from Vanderbilt University and is a former minister at Woodmont Hills Church in Nashville. He is president of Rochester College in Rochester Hills, Mich.

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Shaykh Hajjaj Hindawi Recites Quran at Lakemba Mosque 25th of September

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SP Answers: Is it Wrong to Praise the Prophet too Much?

From SunniPath

Answered by Shaykh Hamza Karamali, SunniPath Academy Teacher

Question:

Some of our Muslim brethren are “hypersensitive” to excessive praise of the Prophet. They claim that excesses were
committed with regard to the prophet(s) and saints at a widespread
level a few hundred years ago in the islamic world, and
that we must adopt an exaggerated over cautious approach with matters
of the prophet(s) and our ulama. Is this claim correct?

Answer:

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

In the Name of Allah, Most Merciful and Compassionate

assalamu `alaykum wa rahmatullah

Thank you for your question. Scholars explain that every Muslim has explicitly affirmed that that there is no god but Allah and that our master Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace) is the messenger of Allah. In the first part of this testification, they have explicitly negated the existence of any god besides Allah.

Whenever Muslims praise the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace),  their praise must be understood in the context of the explicit negation of the existence of any god besides Allah. Praise is not the same as worship. To accuse someone who praises the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) of worshipping him based on “hypersensitivity” comprises harbouring a bad opinion of one’s Muslim brother or sister and accusing them of lying in their explicit negation of the existence of any god besides Allah. To harbour such suspicions is an act of sin: “O ye who believe! Shun most suspicion; for lo! some suspicion is a sin.” (49:12)

The approach that mainstream Sunni scholars take with Muslims is to give them the benefit of the doubt and to try their utmost to include them within the fold of Islam by interpreting their statements in an Islamically acceptable manner. The ease with which certain groups excommunicate other Muslims is the mark of a sectarian and intolerant mentality that is far from the way of mainstream Sunni Islam.

And Allah knows best.

Hamza.

Losses by Randall Jarrell

It was not dying: everybody died.
It was not dying: we had died before
In the routine crashes– and our fields
Called up the papers, wrote home to our folks,
And the rates rose, all because of us.
We died on the wrong page of the almanac,
Scattered on mountains fifty miles away;
Diving on haystacks, fighting with a friend,
We blazed up on the lines we never saw.
We died like aunts or pets or foreigners.
(When we left high school nothing else had died
For us to figure we had died like.)

In our new planes, with our new crews, we bombed
The ranges by the desert or the shore,
Fired at towed targets, waited for our scores–
And turned into replacements and woke up
One morning, over England, operational.

It wasn’t different: but if we died
It was not an accident but a mistake
(But an easy one for anyone to make.)
We read our mail and counted up our missions–
In bombers named for girls, we burned
The cities we had learned about in school–
Till our lives wore out; our bodies lay among
The people we had killed and never seen.
When we lasted long enough they gave us medals;
When we died they said, “Our casualties were low.”

The said, “Here are the maps”; we burned the cities.

It was not dying –no, not ever dying;
But the night I died I dreamed that I was dead,
And the cities said to me: “Why are you dying?
We are satisfied, if you are; but why did I die?”

Shaykh Hajjaj Hindawi Recites Quran at Lakemba Mosque 27th of September

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Shaykh Hajjaj Hindawi Recites Quran at Lakemba Mosque 11th of Sep

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SP Answers: Shirk in the Qasida Burdah?

From SunniPath

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Question:

Some learned scholars say that there is “blatant shirk” in many parts of the Qasida Burda-that it goes against Allah’s Oneness of Lordship, His Oneness in Names & Attributes, and also His Oneness in Divinity…

Answer:

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

In the Name of Allah, Most Merciful and Compassionate

May Allah’s peace and blessings be upon His Beloved Messenger Muhammad, his noble folk, righteous companions, and all followers

No, the Qasida Burda doesn’t contain “shirk” (associating partners with Allah) or other deviations from sound Islamic belief. Rather, it is a pure expression of deep and passionate love for the Beloved Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him), whose love is a condition of faith.

The Qasida Burda has been accepted by the mainstream of Islamic scholarship as one of the greatest statements of love for the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him). It is recited across the Muslim world, from East to West, as it has been for centuries. There are dozens of commentaries on it, by many of the greatest scholars of Islam, none of whom saw any “blatant shirk” in its beautiful praise of the Beloved Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him). However, given its eloquence and depth, certain verses-such as those criticized by our respected critic-need to be understood as the author meant them. It is unfair to interpret others’ words in ways they did not mean.

[1] The critic cites the opening of the verse as an example of “shirk” in the Oneness of Allah’s Lordship (tawhid al-rububiyya):

“From our generosity is the world and its partner [the Hereafter]…”

Our respected critic claims that this refers to the creation of the world and there hereafter-as if Busiri is claiming that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and his generosity created them! The Arabic text if this verse doesn’t mention “creation” in it.

As Imam Ibrahim al-Bajuri makes clear in his commentary on the Burda, what this means is that the best of this world and the next is from the gift the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) gave-by Allah’s granting-to humanity.

The best of this world is the guidance of the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him), by which alone this worldly has any meaning; and the best gift of any human to humanity in the Hereafter is the intercession the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) makes-as established in rigorously authentic hadiths, as we will see below.

There is a basic principle in knowledge that, “Ruling on a matter comes after sound understanding of it.” To criticize someone’s words, one must first soundly understand them as the author intended them-not as one’s own understanding determines.

[2] The critic then cites the following verses as example of shirk in Allah’s Names & Attributes,

“And from your knowledge is knowledge of the Pen and Tablet”

It is established that Allah commanded the Pen to write the details of all matters until the Last Day-namely, before the Resurrection and Hereafter-as related in authentic hadiths in Ahmad and Tirmidhi. These hadiths were considered mass-transmitted by al-Amir al-Kabir in his commentary on Laqani’s Jawharat al-Tawhid, as Kattani relates in Nadhm al-Mutanathir.

In this hadith, the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “The first of Allah’s creation was the pen.” Then he mentioned that Allah commanded it to, “Write everything that will occur, until the Last Hour.” [Ahmad 21649, from Ubada ibn Samit (Allah be pleased with him)]

It is authentically established that Allah granted His Beloved Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) knowledge of the events of this worldly life.

There is no “shirk” in this: (1) it is authentically established in the sunna; (2) it is by Allah’s granting, so there is no point of comparison between the Absolute, Infinite, and unacquired Knowledge of Allah and the acquired, and limited (though inimaginably vast) knowledge of the Best of Creation (Allah bless him and give him peace).

The knowledge of the Pen and Tablet-being this knowledge of worldly events until the Last Day-is “from” the knowledge of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) because he was also granted tremendous knowledge of matters of the hereafter, and of Allah and His Attributes-the greatest of all knowledge.

What we need to understand is that Allah granted His Beloved Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace) tremendous knowledge of the Unseen, including details of matters of this life and the next; and He granted His Beloved (Allah bless him and give him peace) greater knowledge of Himself than any of His creation.

Thus, there is no element of shirk in this verse. It simply affirms what the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) himself affirmed, not more and not less.

[3] Our respected critic then cites the following verse as an example of “shirk” in Allah’s Oneness in Divinity (tawhid al-uluhiyya):

” And who else there, besides you, who I can call out, at times of distress and problems?”

This is our critic’s suggested translation. A sounder translation is:

“O Most Honored of Creation! Whom can I turn to

But you when the Encompassing Event befalls?”

The “Encompassing Event” (wrongly translated us “times of distress and problems”) refers specifically to the distress that befalls all creation on the Day of Resurrection. As authentic hadiths in Bukhari [3092], Muslim [287], and elsewhere affirm, all of creation will go from one prophet to another, each of whom is busy with themselves-out of absolute awe of Allah-and tells them to go to another prophet. Finally, all of creation goes to our Beloved Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace), seeking respite from the tremendous tribulation and distress of that Day. The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) answers their call, affirming that this is from what Allah granted him, and turns to Allah seeking respite for creation, and this is granted to him by Allah.

There is no suggestion in this verse that a believer shouldn’t turn to Allah Himself when distress and problems occur. Rather, it is simply affirming something the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) affirmed: that Allah has granted His Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) general intercession for all creation from the intensity of the tribulations of the Day of Judgment, and that on that Day all creation will find none in creation to turn to for assistance but Allah’s Beloved (Allah bless him and give him peace).

This also shows that seeking the assistance of creation-whether in material or spiritual matters-does in no way negate one’s understanding that Allah alone is the ultimate granter. But our Giving Lord has shown us that there are both material and spiritual means one seeks, while fully aware that the Giver and Granter is none but Allah.

This is the aqida of the mainstream of Muslims: we affirm the taking of material and spiritual means, and affirm that the granter is only Allah Himself. This is the understanding of the great Companion of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), Rabi`ah ibn Ka`b al-Aslami (Allah be pleased with him), who said, “O Messenger of Allah! I ask you for your company in Paradise!” The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) replied, “Assist me concerning yourself with much prostration.” [Muslim (754)]

[ref: The commentaries on Busiri’s Burda by Bajuri, Hamzawi, Ibn Hajar, and Shaykh Zada]

And Allah alone gives success.

Effort at Speech Between Two People by Muriel Rukeyser

Speak to me. Take my hand. What are you now?
I will tell you all. I will conceal nothing.
When I was three, a little child read a story about a rabbit
who died, in the story, and I crawled under a chair :
a pink rabbit : it was my birthday, and a candle
burnt a sore spot on my finger, and I was told to be happy.

Oh, grow to know me. I am not happy. I will be open:
Now I am thinking of white sails against a sky like music,
like glad horns blowing, and birds tilting, and an arm about me.
There was one I loved, who wanted to live, sailing.

Speak to me. Take my hand. What are you now?
When I was nine, I was fruitily sentimental,
fluid : and my widowed aunt played Chopin,
and I bent my head to the painted woodwork, and wept.
I want now to be close to you. I would
link the minutes of my days close, somehow, to your days.

I am not happy. I will be open.
I have liked lamps in evening corners, and quiet poems.
There has been fear in my life. Sometimes I speculate
on what a tragedy his life was, really.

Take my hand. Fist my mind in your hand. What are you now?
When I was fourteen, I had dreams of suicide,
I stood at a steep window, at sunset, hoping toward death :
if the light had not melted clouds and plains to beauty,
if light had not transformed that day, I would have leapt.
I am unhappy. I am lonely. Speak to me.

I will be open. I think he never loved me:
he loved the bright beaches, the little lips of foam
that ride small waves, he loved the veer of gulls:
he said with a gay mouth : I love you. Grow to know me.

What are you now? If we could touch one another,
if these our separate entities could come to grips,
clenched like a Chinese puzzle . . . yesterday
I stood in a crowded street that was live with people,
and no one spoke a word, and the morning shone.
Everyone silent, moving . . . Take my hand. Speak to me.






For My Contemporaries by J. V. Cunningham

How time reverses

The proud in heart!

I now make verses

Who aimed at art.

But I sleep well.

Ambitious boys

Whose big lines swell

With spiritual noise,

Despise me not!

And be not queasy

To praise somewhat:

Verse is not easy.

But rage who will.

Time that procured me

Good sense and skill

Of madness cured me.

SP Answers: Reciting the Quran in a Melodious Manner

From SunniPath

Answered by Ustadha Zaynab Ansari, SunniPath Academy Teacher

Question:

I was reading the Zad At Talibin, Provision for the Seekers, and the beginning of Hadith number 25 speaks about reciting the Qur’an with modulation and the tones of the arab. ( the Hadith is narrated in Bayhaqi, and Shu’ab al-iman). In the commentary Shaykh Abdur Rahman says that one must recite the Quran without unnecessary stretching of certain letters and words. Many of today’s new Qurra’ recite the Qur’an in a melodious manner. Sounds like they are singing the Qur’an. Are we permitted to still listen to them? Even if we are, are we allowed to imitate them in our salah? Also, many of the Egyptian Qari’s , such as Abdul Baasit do the same type of stretching of letters and words. If you could please advise me on this issue.

Answer:

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful In the Name of Allah, the Gracious, the Merciful.

Dear Sister,

I pray this message finds you in good health and ever-increasing iman.

Shaykh Abd al-Basit Abd al-Samad is one of the most famous Qur’an reciters of our time. The recognized qurra’, like Shaykh Abd al-Basit, stay within the rules of tajwid. If you have any doubts about a particular reciter, I suggest you refer your questions to a scholar of tajwid. I am only a student; however, I can tell you that all of my tajwid teachers in Syria had nothing but praise for the recitation of Qari Abd al-Basit. Keep in mind, however, that the style of Egyptian reciters varies from that of Syrian reciters, or those in Pakistan, or Indonesia, for example. However, these variations are generally permitted as long as the reciter adheres to the basic guidelines of tajwid.

And Allah knows best.

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