Age of Jahiliyah

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

Archive for the category “Shaykh Zaid Shakir”

Alerting the Self Deceived – Wisdom: Sincerity in Religious Acts Part 1

From Sheikh Zaid Shakir’s New Islamic Directions

The sayings gathered here, entitled Wisdom, are extracted from, Alerting The Self Deceived, a book written by the great Islamic scholar and mystic, Abdul Wahhab ash-Sha’rani, d. 973 AH/ 1565 AD. In this book Ash-Sha’rani gathers the aphorisms of the early pious scholars of the Islamic tradition as part of an effort to demonstrate to his contemporaries the lofty religious and human character of their spiritual ancestors. In writing this book, Ash-Sha’rani hoped to encourage the sincere seekers of spiritual excellence to redouble their efforts by reflecting on the way of their righteous predecessors, just as he intended to expose as fraudulent those who claimed to be spiritual guides, but were themselves far removed from the path trod by the luminaries whose words he highlights in the book.

By making these sayings available to the English-speaking public, we intend to encourage the Muslim to reflect on the great spiritual legacy bequeathed to us by our righteous forebears, and to begin to live that legacy, while simultaneously encouraging the non-Muslim to look beyond the propagandistic rhetoric that presents Islam as an empty purveyor of irrational violence. These sayings should help all to understand that Islam is a great world religion that has left a deep and indelible, beautifying mark on human history.

Imam Zaid Shakir

Part One: Sincerity in Religious Acts.

1. Wahb b. Munabbih would say: “Whoever seeks worldly advancement through his religious acts, God will invert his heart and record him amongst the people destined for Hell.”
2. Al-Hasan al-Basri relates that Jesus, Peace upon Him, said: “Whoever endeavors to implements his religious knowledge is a true friend of God.”
3. Sufyan b. Tahwri used to say: “My mother advised me: ‘My son! Only seek religious knowledge if you intend to implement it. Otherwise, it will be a source of torment for you on the Day of Resurrection.’ ”
4. Dhun-Nun al-Misri was asked: “When does the servant know that he is sincere in religion?” He replied: “When he asserts himself to the fullest in worship while desiring to gain no esteem with the people because of that.”
5. Muhammad b. al-Munkadir used to say: “I love to see the brothers being at their very best during the night [in humble devotion] for surely that is nobler than being at ones very best during the day. The reason for this is that during the day one is seen by people while during the night one is seen by the Lord of the Worlds.” Read more…

A Common Word Between Us and You: Muslims Send Message of Peace to Christians

From The Official Website of A Common Word

To read the full version click here.

A Common Word between Us and You

(Summary and Abridgement)

Muslims and Christians together make up well over half of the world’s population. Without peace and justice between these two religious communities, there can be no meaningful peace in the world. The future of the world depends on peace between Muslims and Christians.

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Imam Zaid Shakir: Reflections on 9/11 and Ramadan

From New Islamic Directions

By Imam Zaid Shakir
September 11, 2007

This year, the birth of the invisible new moon, an event that will be followed in a day or two by the beginning of the month of Ramadan, upon the sighting of the waxing crescent in the evening sky, will occur on September 11th, the anniversary of the infamous attacks of September 11, 2001 (9/11). Although no one can accurately claim that Ramadan will begin on the night of September 11th, this coming Tuesday, the beginning of the month of fasting will never be so close to the anniversary of those fateful events during the lifetime of anyone reading this article. That being the case, the occasion provides us with a good opportunity to reflect on 9/11 and Ramadan.

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Sheikh Zaid Shakir – Islam: Religion or Ideology?

From New Islamic Directions

By Imam Zaid on 26 July 2006


“Leave this Europe where they are never done talking of Man, yet they murder men everywhere they find them, at the corner of every one of their streets, in all corners of the globe. For centuries they have stifled almost all of humanity in the name of a so-called spiritual experience. Look at them today swaying between atomic and spiritual disintegration.… That same Europe where they are never done talking of Man, and where they never stopped proclaiming that they were only anxious for the welfare of Man: today we know what sufferings humanity has paid for every one of their triumphs of the mind.”
Frantz Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth

The following essay, Islam: Religion or Ideology?, was written three weeks ago, before the government of Israel began its brutal, murderous assault on the civilian population of Lebanon, allegedly in response to the capture of two Israeli soldiers by fighters affiliated with the Lebanese Islamic organization, Hizbollah. This latest Israeli campaign only underscores the price the people of the Middle East have paid owing to the triumph of Zionism. That price has been high indeed, and as Lebanon is reduced to bloodstained rubble, the price only escalates.

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Sheikh Zaid Shakir Speaks at ISNA 2007

Uploaded by zaman27

Inspirational speech, and something Muslims don’t often hear: making sure to fulfill the rights of others before ourselves. Muslims are always shouting about getting their rights, but they never work to achieve the just right of others. This is the selfless behavior of our Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and may we emulate him.

Sheikh Zaid Shakir: Gaining Taqwa in Ramadan – Start Now!

Uploaded by rnjigga

Ramadan Preparation with Sheikh Zaid Shakir

From MeccaOne

Ramadan Preparation

Defender of the Flag: In Memory of Alia Ansari

By Imam Zaid Shakir

This past Tuesday, Muslims celebrated ‘Id al-Fitr, one of Islam’s two great festivals. For me, it was a beautiful day that began with a truly warm and vibrant ‘Id gathering at the Zaytuna Institute. God afforded me a wonderful opportunity to see friends who had been “missing in action,” to meet enthusiastic new converts to Islam, and to kiss so many babies I felt like a politician. During that time, I was also able to break away from the gathering to visit the graves of some distinguished Muslims buried in a nearby cemetery. Visiting the local Muslim cemetery on ‘Id day is a practice I have been able to maintain since my earliest years in Islam. They serve as a solemn reminder that all of us have an appointment with the Angel of Death.

I was blessed to stay at Zaytuna until the early afternoon when I departed to attend a meeting at a local school, a reminder that we are in America and sometimes, despite our best efforts to clear our schedules on the day of our festivals, the requisites of our everyday duties intervene. After that meeting, I was able to visit some of the Muslim families in the area. All of those visits filled my heart with awe at the simple dignity of ordinary Muslims, many of whom are struggling valiantly to survive in this sometimes cruel, always challenging and complicated society.

The last of those visits was to the family of Alia Ansari, the Afghani-American mother of six who was gunned down in central Fremont last Thursday as she walked to pick up her children from school. The Ansari family are everyday people—and, they are proud people. As I talked with Alia’s husband, brothers, and cousins who were gathered in the family’s humble apartment, it became clear to me that, most of all, they were proud to be Ansaris, descendants of the companion of the Prophet Muhammad, peace upon him, Abu Ayyub al-Ansari, and the great Muslim mystical sage, Khawaja Abdullah Ansari. In Afghan society, they are people who are identified with piety and they endeavor to live up to that identification, in their various ways.

Alia Ansari migrated from war-torn Afghanistan at the age of 17. When her father died shortly thereafter, she became a second parent to her younger siblings. A life of hardship could not suppress her inner beauty, expressed most readily in an irrepressible smile. Her husband, Ahmadullah Ansari, an auto mechanic struggling to make ends meet for a family that includes six young children, five of them girls, spoke glowingly of Alia’s martyrdom and the place God has reserved for her in Heaven. Her story impressed on me the truth embodied in the words of a poet who said, “Be yourself beautiful, and you will find the world full of beauty.”

Her husband, contrary to the caricature of the vindictive, hateful, enraged Muslim, mentioned how the family did not wish her martyrdom be treated as a hate crime, because he did not want her death to be a source of agitation in the area’s large Muslim community. He also mentioned that the family would not want the murderer executed, because that would not bring his wife back. His wife was a martyr, her place in Paradise secure—for him that was enough.

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A Muslim Response to The Pope: For They Know Exactly What They Do

By Imam Zaid Shakir

In The Name of God, The Merciful, The Mercy Giving

On September 12, 2006 in Regensburg, Germany, Pope Benedict XVI uttered the following sentence, referencing a 14th century Byzantine emperor, Manuel II Paleologus: “Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith that he preached.” [1] There have been many explanations of what the Pope meant by this comment, and varying theories proposed as to what his motivation was. It is my contention that the Pope’s comments signaled a tacit endorsement of the evolving anti-Muslim agenda of the radical right.
To begin with, the Pontiff uttered these words in the context of an increasingly polarized world where religious sentiments are being manipulated by demagogues of various stripes to advance their nefarious agendas. That polarization is epitomized by the Danish cartoon controversy, in which offensive caricatures allegedly portraying the Prophet Muhammad, peace upon him, touched off a firestorm of protest throughout the Muslim world. At the height of that controversy, Pope Benedict uttered the following conciliatory remarks:

In the international context we are living at present, the Catholic Church continues convinced that, to foster peace and understanding between peoples and men it is necessary and urgent that religions and their symbols be respected…

He added:

Believers should not be the object of provocations that wound their lives and religious sentiments…

And finally:

The only path that can lead to peace and fraternity is respect for the convictions and religious practices of others.

Being only six months removed from that crisis, it would be difficult to accept that the Pope did not realize the sensitivity of his quoting the emperor’s remarks. This is especially true in light of the above pronouncements. Either the Pope was not being sincere when he made his remarks about religious tolerance and understanding, or he subsequently abandoned the principles they articulate.
It is not coincidental that the Pope’s remarks occurred a day after America commemorated the fifth anniversary of the attacks of September 11, 2001. That anniversary is being seized upon by the radical right to galvanize popular support for the so-called “war on terror.” It is also not coincidental that the underlying tone of the Pope’s remarks dealt with an interpretation of Islam that implies it is a religion of irrational violence. Here the Pope went even further than Mr. Bush, who confined his indictments of violence-prone Muslims to the “Islamic fascists.” [3] In lockstep with the radical right in America and Europe, he implied that Islam itself is an irrational faith, inspired by an irrational god, and instituted by an irrational prophet, who urges the spread of the faith by violence, the epitome of irrationality, as, in the words of the “erudite” emperor, Manuel II:

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