Monday, December 31, 2012

Let There be a Party Amongst You

After perfecting our Religion for us Allah (SWT) was pleased to propose Islam as our way of life.

And then He (SWT) said that there should be a party amongst believers who were busy doing Allah (SWT)'s work.

This used to be one of several points that bothered yours truly in a nagging sort of way.

What about the rest of the people, those who were not engaged in Allah (SWT)'s work?
Of course, they are not supposed to be involved in Satan's work - that argument is a mere distraction.
The bothersome aspect is that is it alright to avoid Allah (SWT)'s work.

Answer is yes. Allah (SWT) has already perfected our Religion for us and then ceased Prophethood.
Now those of us who will work for Allah (SWT) will certainly get those benefits similar to those that were directed towards Prophets (AS). Those who do not turn to Allah (SWT)'s work will not be sinners but their rewards will be like the non-Prophets in Prophetic times.

Clearly to get rewards like Prophets is our for asking - it is voluntary to work for Allah (SWT). It will be silly not to make use of the opportunity.

And the race begins by making intentions to work for Allah (SWT). And it costs nothing to make the intention that we shall devote our complete life for Allah (SWT)'s work. We may decide its specific form later.

On Alcohol

The verdict of Allah (SWT) banning alcohol was accompanied by the explanation that it has more harms than benefits.

This statement used to make yours truly feel inconvenient.
Allah (SWT) is our Lord. He (SWT) is our Lord Most High.
Explanation do not befit Him.

And in today's spiritual session (Majlis) this got clarified.
All thanks are due to Allah (SWT) for that.

The explanation is that some people at that time were counting benefits of alcohol. Alcohol was slowly getting discouraged by the Revelation and it might have been the talk of the town at that time. And when benefits of alcohol are being counted then it becomes a argument with a weight. And it is this weight that is being neutralized in in the Verse of the Noble Qur'an that says that alcohol has more harms for you than benefits.

There is one more similar point that used to bother yours truly but let us leave that for the next post.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Moaning of a Thankless Person

No one likes thanklessness.
Yet, strangely, the world is filled with thankless people.
Most of the thankless people are those who do not thank Lord Most High.
These are the unbelievers.
We are using here two translations of an Arabic word.
One translation is thankless, those who do not thank, and another one is unbeliever.
There is yet another, third, translation of the same word and we shall not mention that.

So this post is about the moaning of a thankless person.
He is moaning the fact that earlier there used to be many cultural Muslims in India and Pakistan and now these are disappearing.
By cultural Muslims he meant those people who do belong to Muslim community by culture but they are atheists.
This moaner enjoyed and still enjoys company of such people.

But why should yours truly be concerned with his moaning?
Well yours truly, as it happened in life, had known a few of these cultural Muslims.
So there is this personal connection - you can not erase your past.
You can only seek Lord's Forgiveness and this sinner does seek Lord's Forgiveness.
May Allah (SWT) forgive past sins, all of them, of this sinner.

And then there is another angle that is more general and of universal interest.
Many of these cultural Muslims do take themselves to be real representatives of Muslims, if not Islam.
And then they try to solve the problems of Muslims, in their own way.
They do not realize that a Muslim is not a well defined entity without Islam.
Yet they insist on going on with solving the problems of Muslims.

Aligs dealt with this problem a few years ago when some of these cultural Muslims made a foray to explore the possibility of tackling problems of Muslims in collaboration with AMU intelligentsia. And the programme soon came to a cropper in spite of the fact that Aligarh is no bastion of Islamic orthodoxy.

Yours truly is not deriving any lessons from the situation - only taking stock of it.

Friday, December 21, 2012

How Many of Us Feel That?

The purpose of life is to spend your time and every other blessing in obedience of Allah (SWT). How many of us care about that? Let us not forget that He (SWT) bestows His blessings in this world with no concern about our future actions.

Dr S.K.Singh

Dr S.K.Singh has retired from Physics Department as a professor last year. Today he was there in the department and it was strange to meet him. One really feels that with passing times the things only decay. You do not see academicians like him around anymore. Even before retirement he had left to take up the job of Vice Chancellor of H.N.Bahuguna Garhwal University, Shrinagar, Uttarakhand. He continues to hold that post. Immediately after his joining that university was made a central university.

Dev Benegal on Farhan Mujib

Shyam Benegal's nephew and a film maker in his own right, Dev Benegal, has made a fifteen minutes voice over documentary, In My Words, on our own Alig artist and science educator par excellence, late Dr Farhan Mujib. Narrated in the voice of Farhan Akhtar, son of legendary Javed Akhtar and Honey Irani and who is named after him, compresses an eventful yet very calm life. And then it is sort of roller coaster ride for those who had any overlap of space and time with the protagonist - and there are many such people. Just a week ago the world completed one year without Farhan Sahab and viewing the film brings back all the sweet memories and the sour pain of his departure. The seamless merging of flamboyance and the understated, humour and irony, complete forthrightness with utmost sensitivity - phew! One had to see him to believe it all. He was a talented person and he lived with such people and even a short audio cameo with still images itself is a good cocktail for a thorough and thorough catharsis. There is life lived fully and he did precisely that. And then there is some vicarious  pleasure of seeing that from close quarters and this too his offered to many of us. We do miss you Farhan Sahab.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Subtle Enemy

Allah (SWT) has repeatedly warned us that Satan the cursed is our open enemy.

Why is that?

Because Allah (SWT), our Creator, knows that we are prone to fall prey to the tricks of  Satan the cursed.

He, the cursed Satan, only makes suggestions. And we lap it up.

And he is not the enemy that uses the same tricks.

There is a country, most powerful on the globe now, who beats our lands black and blue and declares that they have no enmity towards us of our faith.

Then there is this new but by now a hundred years old movement within Islam who are trying to tell us that we did not know the correct Islam all these years. They are trying to wean us away from Madhhab first.
And that is the only step that is requited.

Once you break a link then you have broken all.

This enemy too is subtle. Defeat it.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Do You Want To Cry?

All right, yours truly will help you.
Listen to this Naat and do the needful.
Actualy you do not have to try.
It will happen on its own.
It is a blessed Ummah.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Simplified Life

Have you ever been frustrated in life? Like not understanding it?

Actually it very easy. Principally. Practical problems are always there.

In principal all you have to do is to use blessings of Allah (SWT) in his obedience. And that is it.

Simple. Isn't it?

World Population

World population is increasing at a rate that is rather obvious to even demographically untrained eyes. Yours truly finds that mostly scary. Indeed if it was not for the active management on part of authorities world over to manage the resources the world will be a horrible place. It is because of such consideration that yours truly finds the news covered by BBC comfortable. The report says that by 2030 Asia will eclipse US and the Europe as economic powers and the latter will in fact be poor countries. No yours truly is not rejoicing at the prospects of west falling into penury. The report says that the US and the Europe will be poor places populated by aging population. No, again western demography turning geriatric is not what yours truly's point. It is the next stage. Since Asia has taken the western route to life the results can not be different - sooner Asia will face the same fate as west is going to face in two decades. Since things speed up with time it will be reasonable to assume that a decade later Asia will face the same situation - aging population with economic activity that is not furious but smooth and calm.

And that is a calming thought. Smooth and calm economic environment, not the aging population.
Aging population will have to be taken care of but such things are easy to do in smooth and calm environment. Not in hectic and furious environment.

Friday, December 7, 2012

The Main Problem

The main problem that AAA focuses on is to develop an Islamic view of the world around us.

And this is not a responsibility of yours truly only. Yours truly is completely incapable of bearing such a gigantic responsibility.

So every one has to get involved.
And not for airing your views. No, not for that.
The purpose should be to develop Islamic view about the things in our life.
We need that because the world keeps changing in unexpected direction while we are obliged to stay and remain on Shariah in every condition.

People with modern education either find Islam boring or they embellish their life with Islamic terminology in a way that Islam is merely another piece in the antiques in the drawing room. The spirit is completely missing.

The religious apparatus on the other hand has a completely different view. The feeling on that side is that modern developments are of no consequence. These modern developments do not count - according to them.

This leaves a huge gap between parts of Muslim Ummah.

Even while living in this divide we can not ignore the requirement that we have to live our life completely according to Islam - whether our Baser Self likes it or not, whether it is convenient or not.

Deen is simple, it is not necessarily convenient.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Over Sharing, FaceBook, Twitter

Over sharing is bad.

In all probability it will be Forbidden (Haraam) in Islam but that is a matter of Fatwah.
Yours truly does not have a FaceBook or a Twitter account.
It is difficult enough to curb over sharing on the rest of the net. Why take additional risk?
But the cyberspace and cyber community has to be engaged by Muslims.
If you leave any front post unoccupied then it is sure to be occupied by your enemy.

On Celebrations, On Death

Why is so that celebrations of some people are filled with darkness while there is a lot of Noor in it when some people talk about death? Yours truly was earlier reading details of some celebrations where a rogue Maulwi was boasting of his exploits. It was suffocating. Then yours truly read a piece where the writer was merely ruminating about mundane matters and ended the narrative on a very brief remembrance of death. It was illuminating. ( An Elder once said that there is Noor in it when people of Allah open their mouth - even if they are talking of worldly matters. And there is darkness in our, worldly people's, talk even if we talk about Islam.)

This is the effect of rubbing the dust of the feet of the people of Allah (SWT) on your forehead.

Naayaab Hai Ye Gardish-e-Sayyaargaan Ki Raakh
Kuchh Sar Pe Daal, Kuchh Kaf-o-Daaman Mein Le Ke Chal
Rare is this dust raised by the treadings of the treaders
Put some on your head, rest in your pocket and hands

(Mir Ahmed Navaid)

Monday, November 26, 2012

River of Fire and Hundred Years

Here is a comparison:
Did you know that woman writer Qurrat-ul-Ain Haider’s book ‘Aag ka Dariya’ (River of Fire) has been compared to One hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
This is a strange comparison.
Aag Ka Dariya was published in 1959.
One Hundred Tears of Solitude was published in 1967.

Which came first?

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Remembering Two Aligs

Dr Syed Muhammed Ahmed (Miyan) will be gone for two years on coming December 25.
Dr Farhan Mujib will be gone for one whole year coming December 15.

Time passes so fast. And life goes on.

Of course it is not Islamic to get attached with the past so yours truly will not dwell upon that. Thank you Dr Ahmed and DR Mujib for what you did to Aligarh Movement in your own ways.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Call Me a Senator

Do not call me Ma'am - call me Senator, I worked so hard to get that title.

This is Senator Barbara Boxer  talking to a General at LACPUR ...

It is such cute line that everybody would like to copy that.

Here is the spoof.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Zameer Froshaan Di Sair

Zameer Froshaan Di Sair
(Outing of Conscience Sellers)
Some of our wretched brothers have decided to side with falsehood by deciding to campaign for Narendra Modi's party in Gujrat.
AHMEDABAD: A group of Bihar-based former students of Aligadh Muslim University will campaign for the BJP in the run-up to the December elections. According to Rameshwar Churasia, a BJP MLA in Bihar who was in the city on Monday, the group would be visiting the poll bound state under Raees Azam, convener of AMU Old Boys Association, Bihar, in the next three weeks. Azam, Chaurasia said, has spoken to Chief Minister Narendra Modi. Chaurasia further said a group of 20 BJP workers from Bihar had already landed in Gujarat.
Shame on us.
Verily we are for our Lord and unto Him is our return.

Robert Bales : America's Shame

BBC report:
A preliminary hearing has begun for US soldier Sgt Robert Bales who is charged with killing 16 villagers, mostly women and children, in Afghanistan.
What was he thinking? Was he on a human hunting trip?

And what about those who facilitated his carnage?

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Sandy Exposes Hideous Inequality

Some are more equal than others.
Hurricane Sandy has exposed this reality in case of New York.

A hotel bellman said he was worried about his mother uptown. A maid said she had been calling her family in Queens. A garage attendant said he hadn't been able to contact his only relative - a sister in New Jersey - since the storm hit. Asked where he weathered the hurricane, his answer was simple.
"I slept in my car," he said.
Sandy humbled every one of the 19 million people in the New York City metropolitan area. But it humbled some more than others in an increasingly economically divided city.

Source : The Atlantic

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Suu Kyi Go Back

Aung San Suu Kyi wants to celebrate Diwali in India.
She is the Burmese leader courted by the west.
An epitome of some ideal - democracy to be more precise.
But yours truly has some other things on his mind.
Like the government abated genocide of Rohingyas in Burma.
She will be celebrating.
India will be celebration.
BBC is already celebrating.
But not those who feel for Rohingyas in Burma.
Yours truly is one of them.
So dear Aung San Suu Kyi please go and celebrate your Diwali elsewhere because you have not taken a clear stand on a genocide under way.

Friday, October 19, 2012

What the Bleep We Know - 1

Part 1

This is a 2004 documentary exploring the interface of religion science.
The word bleep is a substitute for slang word.
It has been reviewed at various other places but we shall take it up on our own and will take up the other reviews later on.
The first part begins by asking whether soul and science are coming together or they are still far away.
Then there are comments about Sumarian and Greek mythologies.
As with the title the attitude is irreverent. Serious enough lacuna from a Muslim perspective.
Many people in the west, some societies more than others, do not think that there is anything wrong with this.
Cynicism, skepticism, irreverence all are alright. For them there is nothing wrong with this.

Then there is the comment about rise western Church power to supreme levels.
Science moved forward.
Copernicus: Earth is not at the center of the universe.
Galileo: Earth moves.
Both under heavy hand of the Church.
Tragedy does not stop science progress.
De Carte proposed dualism. Church (Unseen) - Science (Seen). Materialism born.
Uneasy truce.
Scientists: We are merely machines.
Church : You are consigned to hell hole.
Darwin : We are just meaningless.
Science and Church hitting the wall : Is God the Holy Creator?
Scientists find huge energies deep in matter and hidden mysteries.
We are all connected. Physical is non physical. Time and space are just consequence of this non-materialness.
Conferences for meeting of scientists and religious people.
20th Century blew the mechanical world-view.
Will 21st blow the wall between the Church and the laboratory?
How deep you want to probe the world - how deep you want to go into the rabbit hole?
Physics is a new way to understand the world - experimental investigation is different from revelation or meditation.
It is unlikely that religious people will change their views because of the out comes of scientific results.
Mostly people do not take the Book of Genesis as a CNN report of creation of universe but some do like James Ussher or Ireland.
There should be a scientific explanation for spirituality.
Good one did not exist till recently.
Proto-morality exists Platonically, geometrically and influences us.
Science says that we are genetic mistakes.
We have genes that are using us to propagate themselves.
We are lonely mistake on a lonely planet in a lonely universe.
This paradigm or separateness is wrong - we are all one and together.
At the very basic level we are connected.
Now what are its implications?
We got to make sense of ourself - old monarchy way is dead, scientific way is dead.
Bury it.
Quantum physics can help us in a new direction.
Consciousness is real and has impact.
We have to create a new paradigm.
Observer matter interaction is changing the reality around you - creating it.
Intricacy of cells, billions of them working for us, tell us that there is more to reality than we perceive.
Every moment we are immersed in experience.
We know nothing about reality - it is filtered by our senses.
Comments to follow.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Nature Arabic Edition

This incredible and this is true.
Nature magazine has started its Arabic language edition!
This is a science magazine par excellence. Nay, it defines science magazine. It is a research journal but it carries its own science news. Production quality is the best available. American onslaught of science progress could not do anything to this British publication. Now the new edition clearly heralds coming of age of Arabic language in scientific matters. Scientific American has been publishing its Arabic edition for ages. Nature is a significant step forward.

Sorry for spoiling the party but where are our Urdu lovers and those who care and worry about Urdu?

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Thank You, Kulsum

This is an Islamic Republic- You Got That Right.

So what happened that irked the Islamophobes liberals in Pakistan, offsetting a spark of condemnation of poor Ronald- the "Islamist"? (Blacklisted shortly after Haqqanis).

I think I should maybe start off by reminding moderates that well, there's no such thing as 'Moderate Islam' (There, I dropped the bomb). The country is called an 'Islamic' Republic (there, there..easy), not the 'Moderate' Islamic Republic (FYI: Pak FO is working on visa relaxations with India). Oh and McDonald's reserves the right to decide how it seats its' customers.

Now that we've gotten the obvious tidbits out of the way let's go back in time and remember the Espresso incident. This lady got barred from praying.. At a high-end cafe.. Inside the Islamic republic of Pakistan.. And all the liberals swarmed like flies to support the Manager's decision because "Espresso has the right to decide where it draws the line between religion and coffee". And because of course, they have the "Freedom of expression/speech etc." So why are liberals backtracking? Why are they accusing McDonalds Pakistan of being "extremists"/"Islamists" (No, I am actually being very serious here)?

So let's look at how the fuss started..This married couple from abroad walks into a Pakistani McDonald's for the first time ever, decides to sit together, an arm around the other. Out of nowhere the nasty extremist mullah-cum-waiter politely asks the guy to move across the table, as it is "against McDonald's policies for couples to sit too closely as it disturbs the family environment". BAM! The guy decides he's been violated by the crazy McDonald Jihadis and takes it up with the Manager. Once the manager graciously entertains the couple's tragic incident, the guy figures it's not enough. He MUST blog about it. And ALL liberal fascists MUST come out and condemn the heinous act against all tolerant moderates. Condemnation isnt enough, the blogger realizes, all liberals MUST start a nationwide movement against McDonalds extremism!

And he's got proof against McDonald's too! The fast food joint, he writes, "let's parents slap their children" for being spoilt brats, without interfering! *Gasp* yes! How dare they allow children to be terrorized and clamp down on couples doting on each other? So what if it's a family restaurant? Ever heard of freedom of expression!

To anyone who's been to McDonald's one of the most annoying and cringe-worthy experience may be being seated near a couple, who oblivious to the surroundings are eye-locked.. hand-locked..foot-locked(?) Away from their families, they'll spend long hours just being downright chichoray simultaneously repulsing all families and couples with impressionable children. I mean, if we wanted Miami, we'd fly out there, right? or maybe tune into HBO (kiddin, try Bollywood)..know im sayin?

You know you've seen them. The cheesiness is revolting, and the shamelessness outright despicable. And yes, I've heard worse tales about these hormonal idiots in the past. Comes as no surprise Management's decided to set guidelines and save us all from public eye infections. So yes, I for one, among thousands of others, welcome McDonald's family policy. In fact, all restaurants should run the same policy, even the beaches! Anyhow, not like McDonald's can tell who's married and who isnt, and even if a couple's married, no reason to flaunt it in public places (PDA=NOT COOL). One policy for all makes sense to me. And heck, it's the Islamic republic of Pakistan, I repeat, it is NOT the Dominican Republic. Okay?
Source : Troll News

Monday, October 1, 2012

AMU Brand of Intellectual

Why don't we have AMU brand of intellectual?
The Indian intellectual scene is dominated by JNU brand intellectual.
Then the strident Sangh Parivar activity saw the mushrooming of the BJP brand of ideologues.
Latter are still around but they sort of have had their innings.
Indian Muslim population is large enough to have their own view about how the national issues should be worked out. Population of nearly all European countries is smaller than Indian Muslim population.
Living in a democracy it is incumbent upon them to have a view and a voice, united one, of their own.
In democracy your rights are not delivered to you. You have to work for them.
This observation does not come from the classic manuals of democracy - if there are any. It comes from our experience of last one century.
It is high time that Muslims of India wake up to this reality.

Of course the responsibility to be careful enough, so that the existing ideological establishments do not get a roller coaster ride over you, lies on you.

And when yours truly says AMU brand intellectual then one thing is excluded - the residual Marxist intellectual stream. That is JNU brand itself. Mass migration of Muslim intelligentsia to Marxism in the beginning and mainly in the middle of last century was a tragedy of gigantic proportions for Muslim Ummah. No smaller than the tragedy of partition - and for this we Muslims of present India are not responsible in any way at all.

So dear Aligs, stop pulling each other's leg and get down to some serious work. Yours was the first movement for modern education for Muslims and you should have been at the forefront of Muslim intellectual thought. The question is are you at the forefront? And if not then why? Collect your wits quickly, make your amends quickly and get down to work.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Aligarh Military University

When General Zamiriddun Shah too over the reins of the Aligarh Muslim University he got down to work - we mean brass tacks. In the first phase the top brass of the university is all military. And yours truly is enjoying it. Yours truly, by the grace of Allah (SWT) lives amongst academicians and does not fancy an academician Vice Chancellor any more. Yours truly is vociferously for the university as an academic institution but the fact can not be changed that it is a charged institution. Ours is not to complain but to submit to the Will of Allah (SWT). So once we accept that this is a charged institution in a way let us cope with it as such. Civil servant Vice Chancellor? Alright. Armed Forces Vice Chancellor? Alright. As long as it remains Academic Muslim University it has my full support to become Aligarh Military University. Administration - Army. Object - Academics.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Muslim Perspective on Psychology

Are there Muslims in our communities that are dealing with psychological, social, and family problems? Obviously that is a rhetorical question because of course there is. So is there a need for Muslim counselors who can try to help them with these issues? I say there is a need and as a Muslim psychologist you have an advantage which non-Muslim teachers and students don’t have which is a penetrating insight into the true nature of the human being as revealed by the texts of the Kitaab and Sunnah. Islaam identifies the diseases of the heart and provides the true cure for them. The psychologists from the behaviorist school see us as nothing more than animals responding to stimuli. So if that is the case they have a pill for every ill that cut off receptors in the brain. They are trying to turn off the valve as it were. But who knows what the long term effects of these pills are and what other problems they can make. Then there are psychoanalytic and Freudian theorists but as al-Suyuufi pointed out that is certainly not the end all be all to psychology. I was just looking at a book on juvenile delinquency theory and the author listed many problems with psychoanalytic theories in that field. So Freud and the neo-Freudians are not without harsh criticisms from other psychologists. But that doesn’t mean all that they say is necessarily wrong, I would say there is some truth to a lot of what is found in the books and have been used as effective tools against the masses such as with advertising and propaganda. But there are multiple brands of psychology for example the cognitive school which I find most fascinating despite my little knowledge of it.

So there is truth found within these schools and benefits that can be used but certainly much falsehood as well but what we want is Islamic psychology. In the book recently published Psychology from the Islamic Perspective by Dr. Aisha Utz, she writes, “An alternative definition of psychology from the Islamic perspective would include: the study of the soul: the ensuing behavioural, emotional, and mental processes; and both the seen and unseen aspects that influence these elements.

This description stems from the notion that the soul is the basic element of life. It drives the behaviour, emotions, and mental processes of the human. The human psyche is not purely psychological; its essence is spiritual and metaphysical. The fitrah (the natural inclinations instilled by Allah, which will be discussed in detail below) and the covenant of monotheism are inscribed on each soul, whether the person is Muslim or not.

Since its true nature is spiritual, the soul requires a spiritual connection to its source, the Creator, just as the body requires food and water to survive. Without this vital nourishment, the soul will suffer anxiety, depression, and despair. Many humans who currently experience mental health problems are suffering from ailments of the soul, not of the mind. The soul is calling out for its food, but instead of getting the real food that it requires – submission and closeness to Allah, it is fed junk food in the form of various psychotherapies and medications. For this reason, the soul continues to call out.

In the Islamic conceptualization of psychology, aspects of both the seen and unseen world may influence humans. In general, the focus of contemporary psychological theories is the seen world, which includes parents and other family members, peers, teachers, communities, media, and so forth. Islamic psychology incorporates additional aspects of the unseen world to explain human nature: Allah, with His power and omnipotence, as well as the angels and the jinn. This does not negate the concept of choice and free will but places it within a context.” (34-35)

Then as Umm DJ-N pointed out that knowledge of human psychology can possibly make a person a better Da’ee. You can learn to communicate with others effectively and how to deal with difficult people. In that regard it will probably make you a better businessmen as well ask any salesman about their tricks of the trade and you can see psychology. It is like the real estate agent who bakes cookies in the oven before an open house so when people walk in and smell the aroma it reminds them of grandma’s house LOL. Or the car salesman, “You are really going to look good in this car.” A good appeal to narcissism and you can get the fish to sign ya dig LOL. So there are many advantages to it but let the Qur’an and Sunnah be your foundation and let that be the scale in which you judge.

Some recommended readings in the English language:

Psychology from the Islamic Perspective by Dr. Aisha Utz
Contemplation; An Islamic Psychospiritual Study by Malik Badri
Disciplining the Soul by Ibn al-Jawzi
Purification of the Soul Concept, Process and Means by Jamaal al-Din M. Zarabozo
How to Achieve Happiness by Abdur-Rahman as-Sa’di
Don’t Be Sad by Aaidh al-Qarni
Preventative Measures Against Shaytan by Mustafa ibn al-‘Adawi
Jinn & Human Sickness by Dr. Abu’l-Mundhir Khaleel ibn Ibrahim Ameen
(Two other books I have seen but not read that you might want to check out are Healing Body & Soul by Amira Ayad and Therapy from the Qur’an and Ahadith by Dr. Feryad A. Hussain).

Muhammad bin Salih al-Munajjid gave some recommendations in the Arabic Language Islam Question and Answer - Psychology: Recommended Reading

May Allaah guide you to making the best decisions for yourself and direct you towards the good in this life to lead to good in the Hereafter.
Source : IA

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Colour of Love

Poet by Adeeb Raipuri (RA):

Monday, September 24, 2012

BBC on Jihad

The literal meaning of Jihad is struggle or effort, and it means much more than holy war.
Muslims use the word Jihad to describe three different kinds of struggle:
  • A believer's internal struggle to live out the Muslim faith as well as possible
  • The struggle to build a good Muslim society
  • Holy war: the struggle to defend Islam, with force if necessary
Many modern writers claim that the main meaning of Jihad is the internal spiritual struggle, and this is accepted by many Muslims.
However there are so many references to Jihad as a military struggle in Islamic writings that it is incorrect to claim that the interpretation of Jihad as holy war is wrong.

Jihad and the Prophet

The internal Jihad is the one that Prophet Muhammad is said to have called the greater Jihad.
But the quotation in which the Prophet says this is regarded as coming from an unreliable source by some scholars. They regard the use of Jihad to mean holy war as the more important.

 The internal Jihad

An open Qur'an Learning the Qur'an by heart is considered engaging in Greater Jihad © The phrase internal Jihad or greater Jihad refers to the efforts of a believer to live their Muslim faith as well as possible.
All religious people want to live their lives in the way that will please their God.
So Muslims make a great effort to live as Allah has instructed them; following the rules of the faith, being devoted to Allah, doing everything they can to help other people.
For most people, living God's way is quite a struggle. God sets high standards, and believers have to fight with their own selfish desires to live up to them, no matter how much they love God.

The five Pillars of Islam as Jihad

The five Pillars of Islam form an exercise of Jihad in this sense, since a Muslim gets closer to Allah by performing them.
Other ways in which a Muslim engages in the 'greater Jihad' could include:
  • Learning the Qur'an by heart, or engage in other religious study.
  • Overcoming things such as anger, greed, hatred, pride, or malice.
  • Giving up smoking.
  • Cleaning the floor of the mosque.
  • Taking part in Muslim community activities.
  • Working for social justice.
  • Forgiving someone who has hurt them.

The Greater Jihad controversy

The Prophet is said to have called the internal Jihad the "greater Jihad".
On his return from a battle, the Prophet said: "We are finished with the lesser jihad; now we are starting the greater jihad." He explained to his followers that fighting against an outer enemy is the lesser jihad and fighting against one's self is the greater jihad (holy war).
This quotation is regarded as unreliable by some scholars. They regard the use of jihad as meaning 'holy war' as the more important.
However the quotation has been very influential among some Muslims, particularly Sufis.

Holy war

When Muslims, or their faith or territory are under attack, Islam permits (some say directs) the believer to wage military war to protect them.
However Islamic (shariah) law sets very strict rules for the conduct of such a war.
In recent years the most common meaning of Jihad has been Holy War.
And there is a long tradition of Jihad being used to mean a military struggle to benefit Islam.

What can justify Jihad?

There are a number of reasons, but the Qur'an is clear that self-defence is always the underlying cause.
Permissable reasons for military Jihad:
  • Self-defence
  • Strengthening Islam
  • Protecting the freedom of Muslims to practise their faith
  • Protecting Muslims against oppression, which could include overthrowing a tyrannical ruler
  • Punishing an enemy who breaks an oath
  • Putting right a wrong

What a Jihad is not

A war is not a Jihad if the intention is to:
  • Force people to convert to Islam
  • Conquer other nations to colonise them
  • Take territory for economic gain
  • Settle disputes
  • Demonstrate a leader's power
Although the Prophet engaged in military action on a number of occasions, these were battles to survive, rather than conquest, and took place at a time when fighting between tribes was common.

The rules of Jihad

   In recent years the most common meaning of Jihad has been Holy War .
A military Jihad has to obey very strict rules in order to be legitimate.
  • The opponent must always have started the fighting.
  • It must not be fought to gain territory.
  • It must be launched by a religious leader.
  • It must be fought to bring about good - something that Allah will approve of.
  • Every other way of solving the problem must be tried before resorting to war.
  • Innocent people should not be killed.
  • Women, children, or old people should not be killed or hurt.
  • Women must not be raped.
  • Enemies must be treated with justice.
  • Wounded enemy soldiers must be treated in exactly the same way as one's own soldiers.
  • The war must stop as soon as the enemy asks for peace.
  • Property must not be damaged.
  • Poisoning wells is forbidden. The modern analogy would be chemical or biological warfare.

The Qur'an on Jihad

The Qur'an has many passages about fighting. Some of them advocate peace, while some are very warlike. The Bible, the Jewish and Christian scripture, shows a similar variety of attitudes to war.
Fight in the way of Allah against those who fight against you, but begin not hostilities. Lo! Allah loveth not aggressors.
Qur'an 2:190
To those against whom war is made, permission is given (to fight), because they are wronged;- and verily, Allah is most powerful for their aid.
Qur'an 22:39
Therefore if they withdraw from you but fight you not, and (instead) send you (Guarantees of) peace, then Allah Hath opened no way for you (to war against them).
Qur'an 4:90
But if the enemy incline towards peace, do thou (also) incline towards peace, and trust in Allah: for He is One that heareth and knoweth (all things).
Qur'an 8:61
Source : BBC

Our Frontiers

A senior alumni of yours truly's Alma Mater avers, in the context of current demonstrations against silly US film portraying beloved Prophet (PBUH), that we are not aware of our real frontiers. "Fontiers of our battles should be against illiteracy, backwardness & social evils", he asserts. And then others from the same community have gone into a good drive about the appropriateness of these words of wisdom.

These too are frontiers of our battles.
And then there are other frontiers too.
The frontier that learned senior wants to divert attention from is also a frontier.
We really do not realize that defending the honour of beloved Prophet (PBUH) is also a frontier.
There is a reason behind that.
The dominant ideas at any time are the ideas of dominant economic powers of the day.
That is west till the moment of writing.
And the prevalent ideas in the west at present have no counterpart of honour of a Messenger of God (AS).
For a few centuries they have been taking liberty with religion.
Atheism is rife in that society and its bad effects are there for all to see but they are incapable of analyzing it - they have lost guidance. Breakdown in family as well as social structure is no mean price to pay.

This is the society that is usually at the back of mind of our western educated class when they deliver admonitions to Muslims.

That society, let us admit for the time being, has overcome illiteracy.
They have made economic progress too - hope that is the opposite of backwardness.
But they are in economic down turn - let us accept that.
But whether we have more social evils than them is a very debatable question.
In fact the situation is more in favour of our own society.

And this really evens out the things between us and the model society that honourable senior has in mind.
This makes any preaching a risky proposition.

And indeed we should, with whole heart, fight against illiteracy, backwardness and social evils.
And we should keep asserting before the west that insulting our beloved Prophet (PBUH) is neither liked nor tolerated in these quarters. Yours truly has a vague feeling that they might start listening - or may be they are already listening.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Mufti Desai Sahab (DB) on Mufti Desai Sahab (DB)

Some asked Mufti Ebrahim Sahab Desai (DB) about the sometime harsh tone of reply employed by Mufti Abdul Sadiq Sahab Desai (DB). Former replied:

Concentrate on the actual issue pointed out rather than focus on the style and tone.
Source : SF

Saturday, September 22, 2012

US Decline and Fall

This time it is BBC talking.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Rahul Gandhi Puzzle

What are his thoughts?
What are his motivations?
What are his ambitions?
What are his capabilities?
The Economists thinks that:
The suspicion is growing that Mr Gandhi himself does not know.
But, then, the Economist is a nasty publication, as far as east is concerned.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Western Operations in Afghanistan

US/NATO forces had their big toy games in Afghanistan - at the cost of Afghans.
Of course Afghans had little bit help from rest of their brothers.
Now that west is going out one question remains - did they win or did they not?
They do not know the answer.
In fact no one is even asking the question.
If killing Osama Bin laden was the purpose then that that indeed was accomplished but that can not be tagged as a victory.
If killing an unspecified number of able bodied male Afghans is concerned then that too has been accomplished but no one will give a certificate of victory on that. In fact soon this specter will return to haunt the US and UK society.
We do have reports from US about the presence of this spook. Former US soldiers are killing themselves in increasing numbers. This is not a good sign of victory - if there has been one.
As far as the world opinion is concerned then that can be considered as a diplomatic victory if the world opinion was turning in favour of America. This we already knew that the world overwhelming wanted end to Afghanistan and Iraq conflicts and that is why election of Obama has a sort of global blessing.
But we know about Obama turning into a veritable Al Capone, as one commentator put it, personally supervising the kill list of the day. The Kosher reason for that action was to eliminate any spurious killing but the President forgot one very crucial ingredient - dilution of responsibility by distribution of action between executive, legislature and the armed forces.

In any case this only further complicates the answer to the original question.

Since we do not know who won in Afghanistan one can safely conclude that no one should be announcing the celebrations.

It is in this context that we again come to the conclusion that UK should not be making a push to rehabilitate Rushdie.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Sinking In of Reality

Perhaps the reality is sinking.
The context is of the West in Afghanistan.
A BBC headline asks : What lies behind Afghanistan's insider attacks?
Now that is a right question to ask.
Then is the report header:
 A string of deadly insider attacks has been one of the defining features of the latest phase of the conflict in Afghanistan.
Once again a very pertinent observation.
But why did it take them all this long to ask these question?
The least that can be said about western troops present in Afghanistan is that they were never wanted there.
Let us keep the western perspective out of the way - it obscures the view.
Afghans never wanted the NATO forces in Afghanistan.
And it si also no secret that the problem is not Afghan problem - it is Muslim problem.
And the moment one accepts that Afghans are the unwilling party to the western action in that country then there is no further analysis is required to understand what is happening there.

Of course one more conclusion can be drawn from the western experience in Afghanistan.
West thinks that Russia was not defeated in Afghanistan - it a deception.
West does think that US defeated Russia in the Cold war.
Two things can not be reconciled.
So if one asserts that Russia was defeated then it was defeated in Afghanistan.
And that brings us to US/NATO operations in Afghanistan.
If, because of 9/11 events, Osama Bin Laden was the target of operations then it does not make much sense because latter was always on the fringe as far as US/NATO operations were concerned.
In fact elimination of Osama was damp squib.
And that leaves us with what the western forces did in Afghanistan.
So what did they do there?
Even if we introduce the pet western terminology - war against terror then one is left with equal number of questions.
Have they killed all the able bodies Afghans?
And even if the answer is no it still leaves us with the genocide question.
Among the latest news coming out of Afghanistan is the news of western forces training Afghans so that they can take over their defense once the western forces leaves.
The heart breaking aspect of the training scenes is that the western operatives can find only (sundry?) middle age illiterate villagers to train.
And that says a lot about what west has done to that country.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Mufti Saeed Khan Sahab on History of Spain

I have translated a relevant portion of a lecture which addresses the OP's thread title. it is part of the History of West and what East has given to West series of Mufti Saeed Khan DB. A great Muhaqqiq of our times. The lecture is titled 15. Brief History of Spain (Download link ->

15. Brief History of Spain (total runtime 56:23) - From 38:40 onwards

A question may arise in your minds that how did this great civilization (of the Spanish Muslims) get destroyed. What and why has this happened to the Muslims (of Spain). There are numerous causes and reasons for this.

And this is not our topic (of discussion). We wanted to bring forth the contributions of the Muslims to the world at large. We were speaking on how to establish a welfare state? You have till now listened to everything (related to establishing a welfare state) as we have mentioned many viewpoints, discussions and about utopia. It would be inappropriate to discuss Europe’s much advancement, the quest for utopia, different states and Plato, (without discussing) the link between all of this were Muslims and their reference could not be left out. It would be inappropriate to only mention the rise of Science in Europe and brutality of the Church to suppress it; it is incumbent for us to know how Science arrived in the West before the brutal suppression of the Church.

A topic is due for discussion (continued in another lecture) on the Original philosophy of Christianity (the pure teachings of Isa alayhis salam). It is to be noted that the Spain of the Muslims was so accommodating that they did not convert any European forcibly to Islam. They maintained and exhibited great tolerance. Christians would come to the Muslim scholars of Europe to learn the text of the Bible. They were also Muslim scholar.

Today, in mosques it is announced that the learning of Bible is forbidden, Rasulullah when he saw Umar ibn Khattab (with the text of the Ahl al-Kitab) and his face showed signs of anger. This hadith which is mentioned (by many), we have done a detailed discussion on this Hadith (in an article or a book). When we don’t read or researches then (naturally) people are stopped from the same. They (Muslim Scholars of Spain) were also Muslims, they were also Scholars, and didn’t these narrations (of not learning the previous scriptures) pass through them.

Why did they teach the Bible to the Christians? There were many Christians (at that time) who did not let go of Christianity but they adopted the Muslim culture. The word ‘Mozarab’ can be looked up in the dictionary, Arabs refer to them as Musta’rab. (Again) Mozarabs were those people who were Christian (in belief) but they adopted the culture of the Muslims. This was absolutely unacceptable to the Church. The Church helplessly saw the Muslim efforts to spread Islam in Spain which eventually was weakening and reducing Christianity at a very fast pace.

To counter the Muslims, they made use of this extreme (will be mentioned in the next few passages) measure. We hereby, refer you to two books on this topic. An extremely critical and delicate topic. You can look up Encyclopedia Britannica and the History of the Arabs to find the references of what we are going make mention of now. You can find (all) the proofs and evidences therein. Please don’t become angry and emotional and please listen (attentively) to what (extreme) measures did they (the Church) take to remove the Muslims from Spain.

There is a phrase ‘Voluntary Martyrdom’. Please look up this phrase (in the two books mentioned above) and what does it mean. It means to present oneself voluntarily for martyrdom. When the Church observed that these Muslims are so tolerant that they do not coerce any one (Muslim or Non-Muslim), nor do they oppress any one (Muslim or Non-Muslim). In every nook and corner of Muslim Spain there is peace, contentment, learning centers of science and Arabic and other amenities (these facilities were provided to each every citizen of Muslim Spain, be Muslim or Non-Muslim, rich or poor etc. the Shaykh makes mention of it in the earlier part of this very lecture), the Christian masses were themselves drawn towards Islam and were embracing it willingly and whole heartedly.

The Church looked to find out the easiest way to inflame the Muslims with anger leading to a tense situation of violence in Muslim Spain. The leaders of the Church convened and deliberated on this issue and they identified that the raw nerve of the Muslims (dukhti rag) was to insult their Prophet Muhammad . The Muslims cannot stand anything against their Prophet and when you will insult him then the Muslims will definitely kill you.

We need to train such Christian youths who can do this (despicable) act of insulting the Prophet of the Muslims and when he meets his (ugly) fate, we shall proclaim that the youth has attained martyrdom voluntarily on behalf of the Christians ie. Voluntary Martyrdom. This will bring a bad name to the Muslims and they we will start to defame them in front of their fellow Christian countrymen. That look what these Muslims have done to our Youth, for such a small thing they have killed him. It is from the great favours of Allah that we do not speak without clear proofs.

This unique attack was proposed and started by the Bishop of Spain, Eulogius. In Qurtuba ( Cordoba) the Christians started to rise and insult the Prophet in the most vile, disgusting and despicable manner. The Maliki jurists unanimously passed the ruling to execute them. The result was that on 11th March, 859 violence erupted in the State and genocide took place. The Bishop himself ‘sacrificed’ his life for this. But he left his evil legacy behind him. Every few days, a youth would rise and insult the Prophet , the State would award him capital punishment. This was in the 9th Centruy CE and the Christians succeeded in their plans. When the Christian masses witnessed the killings of their youth, this erased the affection they had for Islam and the Muslims and hatred started to take root in their hearts and it strengthened day by day. The Enclycopedia Britannica mentions ‘This persecution provoked by the Christians themselves took a toll of 53 victims’. This was the unpleasant environment engineered by the enemies to take unfair advantage of the raw nerve of the Muslims.

When 53 Christian youths were killed, then the Chritians of Spain united against the Muslims and the Chruch declared that it is obligatory on each one of us (Christians) to attack the Muslims and expel them from Spain. Thus the forces were mobilised to get rid of Muslims from Spain

Source : SF (Courtesy brother At-Tayyab)

Reza Pankhurst on Freedom to Insult

Source : SF

The American Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s claim that she finds the anti-Muslim film which has led to protests erupting across the Middle East against American diplomatic missions “disgusting” is a worthless gesture as far as the culpability of the American government for this affair goes, as well as an expression of the fear the US administration has regarding the impact on US interests from the powerful response from the ‘Muslim street’. It is worthless because in the same statement she also made clear that the US does “not stop individual citizens from expressing their views no matter how distasteful they may be”. In other words, I don’t agree with the film’s content, but I don’t disagree with allowing it to be produced and promoted in the United States to the World.

This is the same point that was made by President Obama when he claimed that the death of four American staff in Libya were “a reminder that the freedoms we enjoy – sometimes even the freedoms we take for granted – they’re only sustained because there are people like those who were killed, who were willing to stand up for those freedoms, who were willing to fight for those freedoms, in some cases to lay down their lives for those freedoms”.

It is quite clear that this is an issue of principle for the American government – linked to the claim of “freedom of expression” that is enshrined in their own holy text, the US constitution, and the normal refrain of Western politicians and media when it comes to excusing anything that insults Islam and inflames Muslim sentiments.

Given that this is the case, it is disingenuous for the US government to simultaneously claim it is not responsible for the film while maintaining the legal environment that allows such materials to be freely produced and promoted. It is plainly hypocritical to celebrate the freedom of expression that permits the movie, while trying to wash their hands of any culpability for it.

It could be pointed out that the concept of freedom of expression is not upheld unconditionally in the West. For example, in the past a number of suspected communists were jailed in the United States in the heated environment created by Senator Joe McCarthy, while today it is illegal to deny the holocaust in some countries and at the same time across the West many Muslims have been imprisoned on charges of “glorifying terrorism”, purely related to expression.

So it is not illogical for Muslims to believe that “freedom of expression” is used against them when justifying the denigration of their beliefs, and left to one side when it comes to individuals from the Muslim community expressing themselves against Western foreign policy for example.

However, the issue is more fundamental than the hypocrisy displayed in the application of “freedom of expression” – which is that the idea of unrestricted speech is not in agreement with Islamic doctrine, and is considered a destructive concept which destroys harmony in the society.

The examples of this in Islamic law are many – one example would be the law mentioned in the Quran that someone who accuses another of fornication and then does not produce four eye witnesses to the act is to be publicly punished, thus protecting peoples’ honor and reputation. Another would be that it is forbidden to insult the Prophets of God, such as Moses, Jesus and the final Prophet of Islam Mohammad.

In others words, while the American government celebrates the “freedom” it guarantees in this case to allow people to provoke Muslims by insulting their Prophet in a cheap, hate-filled and slanderous manner, Islamic belief rejects such behavior as depraved and illegal.

The reality is that allowing the insulting of the Prophet Mohammad is a red-line that cannot be crossed for Muslims. Many of these protesters around the World can see that this film, innocuously entitled “The Innocence of Muslims”, has been produced and is being promoted under the protection and legal framework of the United States – whose government has expressly confirmed their right to do so – and hence quite fairly hold the American government ultimately responsible for it, irrespective of whether or not the Secretary of State personally agrees with its contents.

This leaves us with the question of why offended Muslims feel the need to protest at the site of the American embassy, which can end up in violence spiraling out of the control and, in the case of the storming of the American consulate in Benghazi, the unjustified killing of the staff there (the killing of ambassadors is expressly forbidden in Shari’a law), an unfortunate consequence of what began as a protest for the sake of Islamic values.

The reason for this is that across the Muslim world, there is no single government that represents Islam internationally and would take suitable actions such as open condemnation of the film and requesting the American government to remove it from circulation. Of course, the American government could refuse this on the grounds of “freedom of expression”, which could then be met with whatever sanction they were able if their request were not complied with such as the cutting of diplomatic and economic ties between the two. The point being – there would be a government which is representing the Islamic viewpoint regarding these issues, and people would look to it to take firm stances in their interests, and it can be dealt with at a state level. In the absence of such a government, people take to the streets to express their anger, a sight that is likely to become more visible in the new Middle East without the same Western backed dictators such as Hosni Mubarak around anymore to keep them in check.

If such a government – representing Islam and Muslims rather than a nominal nation state – did indeed exist, the issue of relationship with the American government would be a moot point in any case. With American troops on the ground in Afghanistan and elsewhere, and predator drones killing “terrorists” (which according to the US government is any Muslim adult male who happens to be in the path of one of their missiles) with impunity in Somalia, Yemen, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and yes – in Libya – it is unlikely there would be any room for friendly relations until American behavior radically changes. While Obama fools himself into thinking that the US is the World’s “indispensible nation”, many of its innocent victims would beg to differ.

Reza Pankhurst is a political scientist and historian, specialising in the Middle East and Islamic movements. He has a doctorate from the London School of Economics, where he previously completed his Masters degree in the History of International Relations. He was a political prisoner of the previous Mubarak regime in Egypt, spending almost 4 years in jail between 2002 and 2006. His forthcoming book is entitled “The Inevitable Caliphate?” (Hurst/ Columbia University Press 2012) and is available at Amazon and other retailers. He can be contacted at

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Demonstrations All Over

Man like well being excessively.
Man would not like to suffer monitory loss.
There is another commodity, invisible one, that man does not like to loose.
This commodity consists of ideas and points of view.
West decided long ago to give up religion.
So that stopped being upset with mockery of religion.
And that is what they expect from others - not to be upset when religion is being made fun of.
They stopped being upset long back and find it difficult to digest that some one might be upset when a religious figure is mocked at.
They have an idea :  it is alright to insult religion.
They find it difficult to give up that idea.
They want Muslims to be like west.
Muslims have been pliable for so long.
Now they are refusing to be pliable.
Another idea that is difficult to accept, for the western people.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Residual Communism Melting?

Ed Miliband is a Labour Party leader in the UK.
After collapse of the erstwhile USSR any communism can only be counted as residual.
The main show is over.

After that, if Ed Miliband says that capitalist is the best worst economic system then confusion is the best thing he can create. Is the residual communism melting. What else you can make out of a equivocal statement from a significant politician from a marginally significant country?
Communist ideology is less significant everywhere else.

And remaining confusion too can be cleared.
The query whether communism or capitalism is better is dubious just like the query whether you have stopped beating your wife.
Ed Miliband has made an attempt to answer question and the answer is worthless because query is phony.

Betrayel by Godfather

John Wright has put the finger on the pulse:
When Obama was elected in 2008 hopes for a new approach by Washington to the Arab and Muslim world were great.
But the things went wrong, very wrong:
Yet four years on the first black president has proved less a reincarnation of Martin Luther King as Al Capone, with his weekly kill lists and regular drone attacks on suspected militants in Pakistan slaughtering hundreds of innocent people - men, women, and children - while maiming and terrorizing many more. Judicial murder, the violation of sovereignty, and a blatant disregard for the lives and human rights of innocent people in Pakistan's tribal areas is the Obama administration's contribution to peace during its first term in office.
Portrait of a President as mafia don is very pungent and chilling because of the truth it contains.

Inter-universal Teichmuller Theory

That is what every one is talking about.
John Baez
Shinichi Mochizuki
Huff Post

A Cheap Film and Duplicity of European Union

According to a BBC report:
On Friday the EU urged leaders in Arab and Muslim countries to "call immediately for peace and restraint".
Now this does not square up. can't they just ask You Tube to pull down the film and trailer? Is that too difficult? Just a short while ago we saw Google cleaning up its act when the wife of a German high politician was insinuated against. All references were completely removed. Even at the moment publication of indecent photographs of Lady Kate were cleaned from internet. Why can't the west apply the same standard to Islam and Muslims? Whom are they fooling?

Friday, September 14, 2012

Tradition Regarding Pollination of Dates

Corresponding Tradition is one that yours truly is obsessed with. This brings the question of status of technical experts place in Islam into focus - and that is absolutely relevant in present times. Here is a post from this thread:
Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani wrote a detailed article on the confusion of some people in relation to this hadith in the al-Balagh journal. His student, Mawlana Nur al-Bashar, summarised it in his Arabic translation of Mawlana Ashraf 'Ali al-Thanawi's work against modernism, Al-Intibahat al-Mufidah fi Hall al-Ishtibahat al-Jadidah, available here. When Mawlana Ashraf ‘Ali Thanawi makes reference to the “hadith of cross-pollination” (hadith al-ta’bir), the translator, Mawlana Nur al-Bashar, writes in the footnotes:

The hadith of cross-pollination is what Muslim (Allah have mercy on him) narrated in his Sahih (4:1838), hadith no. 2364, in Kitab al-Fada’il, Bab Wujub Imtithal ma qalahu Shar‘an duna ma dhakarahu sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam min Ma‘ayish al-Dunya ‘ala Sabil al-Ra’y, from Anas and ‘A’ishah (Allah be pleased with them) that:

The Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) passed by a group that were cross-pollinating, so he said: “If you did not [do so], it would be better.” Then [the dates on the trees] appeared bad, so he passed by them and he said: “What is [the matter] with your date-tree?!” They said: “You said such-and-such and such-and-such.” He said: “You are more learned of the matter of your world.” (أنتم أعلم بأمر دنياكم)

The intent of this hadith has confused many people, so they believe that it is necessary to follow the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) in that which relates to mere rituals, and as far as [monetary] dealings are concerned, it is not obligatory to follow him – and protection is from Allah, Exalted is He! – although he (upon him blessing and peace) was sent as one to be obeyed and followed in all matters, whether religious or worldly, because Islam is a complete religion, which has guidance and instruction for all parts of life, of rituals and dealings, politics and economics; and as for the distinction between religion and state, it is not at all from Islam.

The matter is only confusing to these people due to his (upon him blessing and peace) saying: “You are more learned of the matter of your world.” But when we analyse this hadith from [all] its routes, its true intent because clear to us. Here I will transmit for you the hadith in its length:

From Musa ibn Talhah from his father, he said: I passed with the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace) by a group at the tops of date-trees, so he said: “What are these [people] doing?” They said: “They are cross-pollinating, making the male [part] in the female [part], so they are fecundated.” The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said: “I do not think that will have any benefit” (ما أظن يغني ذلك شيئا) They were informed of that, so they left it, and then the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace) was informed of this, so he said: “If that is of benefit to them, then let them do it, for indeed, I only thought a thought, so do not take me to task for a thought, but when I narrate to you anything from Allah, adopt it, for verily, I never lie upon Allah (great and glorious is He).” (al-Sahih, by Muslim, Kitab al-Fada’il, Bab Wujub Imtithal ma qalahu Shar‘an..., no. 2361)

We learn from this hadith that the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) did not issue them a sure command, rather, he only expressed an opinion, since he said: “I do not think that will have any benefit.”

This incident was narrated by Sayyiduna Rafi‘ ibn Khadij (Allah be pleased with him), and it appears in his narration according to Muslim: “Perhaps, if you were not to do [it], it would be better.” (no. 2362)

Ibn Majah (Allah have mercy on him) narrated in his Sunan (2:825, no. 2471) from Sayyidatuna ‘A’ishah (Allah be pleased with here), in which is: “If they were not to do [it], it would be better.”

Thus, we gather from these narrations that the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) did not prohibit them from cross-pollination, a definitive prohibition, but he only expressed his personal opinion on that, that cross-pollination will be of no benefit at all rather it is possible the trees bear fruit without treatment with this action. And when the Sahabah (Allah be pleased with them) acted upon his opinion, due to their assumption of the obligation of following his command, he said thereupon: “indeed, I only thought a thought, so do not take me to task for a thought, but when I narrate to you anything from Allah, adopt it” and Sayyiduna Anas (Allah be pleased with him) narrated this meaning with his statement: “You are more learned of the matter of your world” and ‘A’ishah (Allah be pleased with her) with her statement: “When it is something from the matter of your world, then your position is [effective] therein, and when it is something from the matter of your religion, it is [delegated] to me.” (Sunan Ibn Majah 2:825, no. 2471) And ‘Ikrimah narrated from Rafi‘ ibn Khadij (Allah be pleased with him) with his statement: “I am but a man. When I command you something from your religion, adopt it, and when I command you something from my opinion, I am only a man.” ‘Ikrimah said: “Or the like of this.”

Thus, it becomes clear by these routes and narrations that his (upon him peace) saying: “You are more learned of the matter of your world” is related only to purely experimental matters in which the Shari‘ah has not passed the judgement of lawful or unlawful, rather has made it optional (mubah), and his (upon him blessing and peace) intent from it is that when he says something from these matters using his opinion and assumption, in that he says: “Probably this action will be useful” or “will be harmful,” his decree is not the decree of legislation (tashri‘), such that it is necessary to follow him, as it is not a definitive command.

Imam al-Nawawi (Allah have mercy on him) said:

The ‘ulama said: His (Allah bless him and grant him peace) saying: “from my opinion,” i.e. from the matter of the world and its livelihoods, not on legislation. As for what he said using his (Allah bless him and grant him peace) personal judgement (ijtihad), and he regards it as the Shari‘ah, it is obligatory to act upon it. Cross-pollinating date-trees is not from this category, rather from the category mentioned before it. All the while, the word “opinion” was only offered by ‘Ikrimah based on the meaning, due to his saying at the end of the hadith: “‘Ikrimah said: ‘Or the like of this,’” so he did not narrate the exact words of the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace). The ‘ulama said: This statement was not a report, but was only a thought, as is explained in these narrations. They said: His (Allah bless him and grant him peace) opinion in the matters of livelihoods and his thought is like other than him, so it is not impossible for the like of this to occur. There is no deficiency in this. Its reason is their [i.e. the prophets] aspirations towards the Afterlife and its sciences. (Sharh al-Nawawi ‘ala Sahih Muslim 2:264)

The summary of this discussion is that his (upon him blessing and peace) saying: “You are more learned of the matter of your world” relates only to what has no connection with halal and haram, nor with the rights of the servants, rather relates to what is purely experimental, like choosing means to increase the yield in a land, and the process of farming, and cleaning the lands and taking care of them, and which animal is best for riding more frequently than other than it, and which medicine is more suitable for a certain illness, and what thing is more beneficial for the body, etc. Thus, these things are not connected to the deliverance of the message, so his (upon him blessing and peace) sayings in such matters are like a thought and an opinion, not legislation, although his opinion and thought are far superior to the opinion of other than him so long as what conclusively opposes his earlier opinion does not issue from him. And Allah knows best the truth.

This is summarised from what our shaykh, Shaykh al-Islam Muhammad Taqi al-‘Uthmani (Allah, Exalted is He, preserve him and maintain him), wrote in a detailed article of his in Urdu, published in the brilliant journal al-Balagh in its ninth instalment, in Ramadan of 1406 (1986 CE).

Al-Intibahat al-Mufidah fi Hall al-Ishtibahat al-Jadidah pp. 109-13

Distress of Duchess of Cambridge

Her name is Kate Middleton and she is the wife of Prince William, son of Prince Charles and late Lady Diana and he is second in line to the British throne.
A French magazine has published her photographs that includes indecent exposure.
Everybody is distressed except, perhaps,  for those who are buying the French magazine.
Including the Duchess of Cambridge. She is distressed.
That is understandable.
Now what about going a step further - do not allow publication of consenting people's obscene photographs.
Even that should be distressing.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Where is Allah (SWT)?

QUESTION : Some people say Allah is everywhere, some say He is above the heavens, some say He is on His throne; and everyone seems to present tons of evidences to prove their point. I am so confused about the whole issue. Where is Allah? Please explain!

In the name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful,
The short and simple answer to your question is that Allah Most High exists beyond time, space, location and ‘physical’ direction; He is where He has always been.

Before detailing the above answer, it is important to realize that the issue ‘where is Allah?’ was never debated or made a matter of great dispute by the Companions (sahaba) and early Muslims (salaf). We seldom find within classical teachings of mainstream Muslim scholars that people went around asking and debating where Allah Most High is! And aside from the hadith of Sahih Muslim in which the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) asked the slave-girl (jariya) “Where is Allah?”, there seems to be no other text of the Qur’an and Sunna in which this question is asked. As for the hadith of the slave-girl, it has its own specific context, which will be explained later on, insha ‘Allah.

The reason for this is simple: We have not been commanded to identify the exact ‘physical location’ of Allah; rather our responsibility is to recognize Allah (ma’rifa), build a strong relationship with Him, affirm His exaltedness (tanzih), affirm His Oneness (tawhid), learn about His attributes (sifat), worship Him, obey His commands and abstain from His prohibitions. Beyond that, there is no Islamic obligation to know where Allah Almighty exactly is; neither is it possible for the meager intellects of us created beings to fully grasp the reality and majesty of our Creator. We have not even fully understood the reality of our souls, bodies, the sun, the moon, the stars, the mountains, the sky, and so forth; then how are we expected to comprehend the essence (kunh) of the Almighty.

As such, it is important to note – at the outset – that we should avoid: 1) arguing about this topic, 2) considering it a fundamental part of belief (aqida), and 3) being hasty in declaring others as disbelievers or deviants if they happen to hold a different viewpoint. We should steer clear from trying to grasp the reality of Allah, and suffice by understanding that the human intellect is very limited in its reach. We must see our inability to fully understand Allah as being from our weakness and imperfection as humans. This will bring about a deeper sense of slave-hood and neediness towards the One who is in need of no one.

Sadly, however, we live in a time where some Muslims constantly debate this issue and behave as though it is a fundamental part of one’s faith. They waste theirs and others’ precious time arguing for long periods about an issue that will not be questioned about on the Day of Judgment. As a result, much more important aspects of deen are neglected. Islamic forums and discussions are filled with arguments, counter-arguments, refutations, attacks and never ending debates about this one topic. Many are left confused and bemused with the whole experience, and some have even left Islam altogether due to their inability to fully comprehend this issue.

As such, the first advice for my dear brothers and sisters – of whichever persuasion – is to take a step back, relax and not become over emotional about the issue at hand. Thereafter, with cool headedness, realize that this issue is not a foregone conclusion and that there is room for ‘valid’ disagreement and thus ‘agree to disagree’. By doing so, we would save ourselves and others from falling into major sins and even disbelief.

To proceed with the answer: The central point of belief (aqida) with respect to Allah Most High – alongside affirmation of His Oneness (tawhid) – is His transcendence (tanzih), which has a clear Qur’anic basis and is unanimously agreed upon. Tanzih refers to affirming, in absolute and emphatic terms, that there is no similitude between Allah and His creation. Allah does not resemble His creation in any way, and there is no creation that is similar to Him in any way. No imagination can conceive of Him and no understanding can comprehend Him, as He is different from all created beings.

Allah Most High says about Himself, “There is nothing whatsoever like unto Him.” (Qur’an 42:11)

And He Most High says in Surat al-Ikhlas, “And there is none like unto Him.” (Qur’an 112: 4)

This central belief has been outlined in almost all of the classical manuals on Islamic Creed. For example, Imam al-Nasafi (Allah have mercy on him) states, “He [Allah] is not a body (jism), nor an atom (jawhar), nor is He something formed (musawwar), nor a thing limited (mahdud), nor a thing numbered (ma’dud), nor a thing portioned or divided, nor a thing compounded (mutarakkab), and nor does He come to end in Himself. He is not described by quiddity (al-mahiyya), or by quality (al-kayfiyya), nor is He placed in a space (al-makan); and time (al-zaman) does not affect Him. Nothing resembles Him; that is to say, nothing is like unto Him.” (See: Sa’d al-Din al-Taftazani & Najm al-Din al-Nasafi, Sharh al-Aqa’id al-Nasafiyya, P: 92-97)

To believe that Allah Most High resembles His creation in any way, or attribute human forms and qualities to Him (anthropomorphism/tashbih) constitutes disbelief (kufr). Imam al-Tahawi (Allah have mercy in him) states in his famous reference work on Muslim beliefs, “Anyone who describes Allah as being in any way the same as a human being has become an unbeliever. All those who grasp this will take heed and refrain from saying things such as the unbelievers say, and they will know that He, in His attributes, is not like human beings.” (Al-Aqida al-Tahawiyya, article 34)

Imam Abu Hamid al-Ghazali (Allah have mercy on him) states, “Whosoever thinks that Allah has a body made of organs is an idol-worshipper… Whosoever worships a body is considered a disbeliever by the consensus of all the scholars – both the early scholars (salaf) as well as the late ones (muta’akhirun).” (Iljam al-Anam an ilm al-Kalam, P: 6-8)

Mulla Ali al-Qari states in his commentary of Al-Fiqh al-Akbar, “We are unable to comprehend Allah Most High. Whatever occurs in one’s mind [regarding Allah’s appearance], Allah is other than that, for Allah says: ‘But they shall not encompass Him with their knowledge.’” (Minah al-Rawd al-Azhar fi sharh al-Fiqh al-Akbar, P: 117)

Abu ’l-Fadl al-Tamimi al-Hanbali says, “Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal (Allah have mercy on him) condemned those who said that Allah is a body (jism)… since the term jism/body linguistically is used to indicate things that have length, width, depth, and a compound nature. (See the footnotes to Minah al-Rawd al-Azhar fi sharh al-Fiqh al-Akbar, P: 118)

As such, this basic and central aqida in Allah’s transcendence is the only requirement from a believer (along with general affirmation of all of Allah’s attributes), and would be sufficient for one’s salvation. Thereafter, there is no need for a simple believer to scrutinize the technical details of Allah’s attributes, and there is definitely no need for disputes and arguments. Most Muslims – if not all – deny that Allah resembles His creation, thus argumentation and haste in declaring others as disbelievers must be avoided. Yes, if one clearly believes that Allah is ‘physically’ in a location or that He has organs – such as hands, feet, face, etc – that are similar to His creation, or one gives Allah attributes of created things, then that would entail disbelief.

Beyond Time and Space

Part of this central point of aqida is recognizing that Allah Most High is not confined to time (zaman) and space (makan), since He is the creator of both and absolutely free from needing anything (ghaniyy) that He has created. “Surely Allah is independent of all the worlds.” (Qur’an 29:6) He is not to be described with having a form, body, limits, directions and a material existence that occupies a particular space or location. Limiting Allah to time and space implies likening Him to His creation, because the one who exists in a physical place would, by nature, be a body; thus attributing a body to Allah.

Sayyiduna Ali (Allah be pleased with him) says, “Allah existed when there was no place, and He is now where He has always been [i.e. without place].” (Al-Farq bayna al-Firaq, P: 333)

Imam al-Tahawi (Allah have mercy on him) states, “He (Allah) is beyond having limits placed on Him, or being restricted, or having parts or limbs. Nor is He contained by the six directions like all the created things.” (Al-Aqida al-Tahawiyya, Point: 38)

It is stated in Al-Fiqh al-Akbar, attributed to Imam Abu Hanifa, “Allah is an entity unlike any other entity. The meaning of [Allah being a] entity [unlike any other] is that He is without body (jism), substance (jawhar), or accident (arad). He has no definition/limit, no opposite, no equal, and no peer...” (See: Minah al-Rawd al-Azhar fi sharh al-Fiqh al-Akbar, P: 117-120)

Imam Abu Hanifa (Allah be pleased with him) also states in his Al-Fiqh al-Absat, “If it is asked, ‘Where is Allah?’ It will be said to him that Allah Most High existed when there was no place, before creating the creation. And Allah Most High existed when there was no ‘where’, no creation, nothing; and He is the Creator of everything.” (Al-Fiqh al-Absat, P: 21)

Mulla Ali al-Qari states in his commentary of Al-Fiqh al-Akbar, “Allah Most High does not reside in a place from the places and neither in a time from the times, because place and time are from the created things whilst Allah Most High has existed eternally when nothing from the created things were in existence with Him.” (Minah al-Rawd al-Azhar fi sharh al-Fiqh al-Akbar, P: 117)

Qadi Abu Ya’la al-Hanbali says, “Indeed, Allah Most High is not to be described with [residing in a] place.” (Daf’ Shubah al-Tashbih, P: 43)

Based on this, it is erroneous to say that Allah Most High is ‘physically’ in the sky or above the heavens on His Throne. Likewise, it is wrong to say that He Most High is ‘physically’ everywhere and in everything. The reason, as explained above, is that these things are created and limited. The Throne and heavens are restricted entities, and space is an area restricted within six dimensions. Allah Most High cannot be confined to things He has created, such as the heavens and the Throne. He is the creator of time and space, and thus is exalted beyond both.

Furthermore; sitting, standing, rising over, ascending, descending, climbing, etc are all characteristics of created bodies, whilst Allah is pure from having any attributes of created things attributed to Him. Allah is not in need of a place in order to exist. Imam al-Tahawi sums this up by saying, “He [Allah] is independent of the Throne and that which is beneath it.” (Al-Aqida al-Tahawiyya, Point: 50)

Dealing with texts whose meanings are not decisively known (mutashabihat)

There are certain texts in the Qur’an and Sunna which indicate that Allah Most High is in the sky or above the heavens upon his Throne. For example:

a) “The All-Merciful istawa [literal meaning: positioned Himself] upon the Throne.” (Qur’an 20:5)

b) “Have you become fearless of Him who is in the sky if He makes you sink into the earth, and it starts trembling at once?” (Qur’an 67:17)

c) Mu’awiya ibn al-Hakam relates, as part of a long hadith, that he came to the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) and asked various questions about his practices before Islam. From among the questions he said that he had slapped his slave girl, and whether he should free her. The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) asked that she be brought before him, and then asked her, “Where is Allah?” She replied, “In the sky (fi ‘l-sama).” The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) asked, “Who am I?” She replied, “You are the Messenger of Allah.” The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said, “Free her, for she is a believer.” (Sahih Muslim 537 and others)

d) Sayyiduna Abu Hurayra (Allah be pleased with him) relates that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said, “Our Lord ‘yanzilu [literal meaning: descends]’ every night to the closest heavens…” (Sunan Tirmidhi 2414)

Conversely, there are other texts which indicate that Allah Most High is everywhere and All-Encompassing. For example:

a) “No secret consultation takes place between three, but He [Allah] is fourth of them; nor between five, but He is sixth of them; nor between fewer than that or more, but He is with them wherever they may be…” (Qur’an 58:7)

b) “Indeed, We have created man, and We know whatever thoughts his inner self develops, and We are closer to him than [his] jugular vein.” (Qur’an 50:16)

c) “When My servants ask you about Me, then [inform them that] I am near. I respond to the call of one when he prays to Me…” (Qur’an 2:186)

d) “Allah encompasses everything.” (Qur’an 4:126)

e) “He is with you wherever you are…” (Qur’an 57:4)

These types of texts are known as mutashabihat i.e. their meanings are not decisively known by us. Their outward apparent meanings indicate location for Allah Most High or a similitude between Allah and His creation, and thus they go against the fundamental ‘agreed-upon’ belief in Allah’s transcendence (tanzih), mentioned in unequivocal verses such as “There is nothing like unto Him.”

The question that arises, then, is how do you deal with such texts?

1) The most precautious and mainstream position in this regard is of the early Muslims (salaf), which includes the majority of the Companions, their followers (tabi’un), the majority of hadith scholars (muhaddithun), the four main Imams and the major scholars of their schools (Allah be pleased with them all). Their view is that the outward purport of such texts is not intended, and only Allah knows the real meanings of such texts; thus they consign their meanings completely to Allah Most High without attempting to interpret them – either literally or figuratively. This is known as the position of tafwid.

It means that we fully believe in the texts, but owing to the fact that their meanings have not been decisively established and that they apparently contradict the decisive texts, we consign the knowledge of their reality to Allah Most High, and avoid delving into them. We understand that they have meanings befitting Allah, but it is impossible that they would have physical meanings, since they do not befit Allah; such as places, shapes, limbs, movements, sitting, colors, directions, smiling, laughter, and other meanings which are not permissible to be attributed to Allah.

As such; we affirm the words indicating location and Throne for Allah, and also those which indicate Him being everywhere. However, we cannot comprehend the reality of Allah being on his Throne and neither can we comprehend the reality of Him being everywhere – although we fully negate that Allah is ‘physically’ in the heavens/on his Throne (tashbih), and also negate that He is ‘physically’ everywhere in everything (hulul). This is what the early scholars meant when they said regarding such texts, “Pass them by as they are, without asking how” (amirruha bi la kayf). (Some of the scholars from this group, however, interpret the second type of texts which indicate that Allah Most High is everywhere by saying, He is everywhere by His Knowledge, His Seeing, His Hearing and His Power).

This position of tafwid is based on the following verse of the Qur’an:

“He [Allah] is the One who has revealed to you the Book [the Qur’an]. Out of it there are verses that are muhkamat [of established meaning], which are the principal verses of the Book, and some others are mutashabihat [whose definite meanings are unknown]. Now those who have perversity in their hearts go after the mutashabih of it, seeking [to create] discord, and searching for its interpretation [that meets their desires], while no one knows its interpretation except Allah; and those well-grounded in knowledge say: We believe therein; all is from our Lord. Only the men of understanding observe the advice.” (Qur’an 3:7)

Mulla Ali al-Qari states in his commentary of Al-Fiqh al-Akbar, “Imam Abu Hanifa (Allah have mercy on him) said in his Kitab al-Wasiyya, ‘We agree that Allah performed istiwa [literal meaning: positioned Himself] upon the Throne without Him having any need for it or resting on it. He is the Guardian of the Throne and all besides the Throne. If He were in need [of the Throne], He would not have been capable of bringing the universe into existence and administrating over its affairs, like the created beings [for created things are in need, and the one in need of others cannot create the universe]. If He [Allah Most High] was in need of sitting or settling [on the Throne], then before the creation of the Throne, where was He Most High? In effect, He is transcendent of all of this.’ (Minah al-Rawd al-Azhar fi sharh al-Fiqh al-Akbar P: 126-127)

Mulla Ali al-Qari further states, “How fitting is the response of Imam Malik (Allah have mercy on him) when he was asked about istiwa. He said, ‘istiwa is known [i.e. we know and accept that it has been mentioned in the Qur’an, because in another narration Imam Malik said, ‘istiwa is not unknown’], the ‘how’ (kayf) is unknown [this has also been transmitted as ‘the how is not comprehensible’], asking about it is an innovation, and belief in it [i.e. accepting it to be part of revelation] is obligatory.’ This is the way of the early scholars (salaf) and the safest path, and Allah knows best.” (Minah al-Rawd al-Azhar fi sharh al-Fiqh al-Akbar P: 127)

Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal (Allah have mercy on him) said, when asked about Allah’s istiwa on the Throne, “He performs istiwa upon the Throne, however He wills and as He wills, without any limit or any description that can be made by any describer.” (Daf’ Shubah al-Tashbih, P: 28)

Imam Shafi’i (Allah have mercy on him) would simply say regarding the mutashabihat texts, “I believe in what has come from Allah as it was intended by Allah, and I believe in what has come from the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) as it was intended by the Messenger of Allah.” (Ibn Qudama, Dhamm al-Ta’wil)

Imam Sufyan ibn Uyayna (Allah have mercy on him) says, “All that Allah has described Himself with in His Book; its explanation is its reciting and keeping silent about it.” (Bayhaqi, Al-Asma’ wa ‘l-sifat 2/158)

2) The second position concerning such texts is of some later scholars; such as Imam Ibn Taymiya, Imam Ibn al-Qayyim and others (Allah have mercy on them). They also consign the knowledge of what is meant to Allah, but in a slightly different manner. They are of the opinion that we must affirm the apparent literal meaning that has been expressed in the text (tathbit), but then consign its details to Allah Most High. So for example, in relation to the verse of ‘istiwa’, we must believe in and affirm the apparent meaning which is ‘elevation’ and ‘rising over the Throne’. However, the modality (kayfiyya) of this ‘elevation’ or ‘rising’ is unknown, but it is certainly not like the rising of created things. (As for the second type of texts, they clearly interpret them by saying that Allah is everywhere by His Knowledge, His Seeing, His Hearing and His Power).

The key difference between this position and the previous one is that in the case of the former, one recites the mutashabih text, accepts it to have been revealed by Allah, believes in it and affirms ‘whatever’ is intended by Allah through it, and then remains silent about it without saying whether the literal or figurative meaning is meant (pass them by as they are without asking how). In the latter position, however, after recital and acknowledgement of the text, one affirms that the apparent literal meaning is what is meant, but the details of this apparent meaning is only known by Allah. There is a very subtle difference between the two viewpoints!

Even though this (latter) view – in of itself – can be considered acceptable, it can also potentially be highly dangerous, especially in our times. This is due to two reasons:

Firstly; the human intellect is very limited, and thus it is very difficult for it to comprehend Allah being above the heavens upon His Throne without some sort of bodily figure coming to mind. The early Muslims had strong faiths, and may have been equipped to negate any thought of a bodily figure occupying a throne. This cannot be said for every simple believer today. In life, we are accustomed to only experiencing created things; and thus it may be difficult to fully realize the transcendent nature and majesty of Allah Most High – if we were to say that He is upon His Throne.

Imam Abd al-Wahhab al-Sha’rani expresses this point in a very beautiful manner. He states that Allah’s attributes of ‘istiwa’, ‘elevation’ and ‘nuzul [descending] to the heavens’ are all eternal (qadim), for He is eternal with all His attributes; whereas there is a consensus that the Throne and everything surrounding it is created. As such, Allah Most High had the attribute of ‘istiwa’ and ‘nuzul’ even before He created the Throne and the heavens. So where was His ‘istiwa’ before creating the Throne, and upon what did He do ‘nuzul’ before creating the heavens and the sky? Therefore, the way you envisage Allah’s ‘istiwa’ upon the Throne and His ‘nuzul’ to the heavens before the creation of the Throne and the heavens, envisage it in the same manner after their creation. (Al-Yawaqit wa ‘l-Jawahir)

Secondly, the discourse of the early Muslims was mainly in the Arabic language. As such, both approaches in consigning the mutashabihat texts to the knowledge of Allah seemed similar. The advocates of the first approach would, for example, merely recite the word ‘istawa’ and say “I affirm this istiwa as intended by Allah” and leave it to that, whilst those who took the second approach would also recite ‘istawa’ and then say that the meaning of this is literal ‘istiwa’ but in a manner befitting Allah. The difficulty arises when the word ‘istawa’ is translated into another language. If the second approach is taken, then one would translate it in English by saying “the meaning of this is that Allah rose over the Throne” and the like. This is when the thought of a bodily figure and human-like attributes come to mind.

This also explains why the advocates of both approaches use the same evidences and statements of early Muslim scholars, such as the four Imams, in justifying their view. Using only the Arabic medium, it can be difficult to distinguish the clear difference between the two approaches.

For example, Imam Abu Hanifa states in his Al-Fiqh al-Absat, “He who says that I do not know if my Lord is in the sky or the earth has indeed committed disbelief… Similarly, he who says that He is on His Throne, but I do not know whether the Throne is in the sky or the earth [has also committed disbelief].” (Al-Fiqh al-Absat, p: 14)

This quote of Imam Abu Hanifa (Allah have mercy on him) is misunderstood by some, and incorrectly used to prove that the Imam believed in affirming a direction and location for Allah! The reality is that Imam Abu Hanifa was amongst the very early Muslims (salaf), and his position was in harmony with the mainstream popular opinion of that time – which is ultimate tafwid, as it is clear from his statements quoted earlier; such as, “If He [Allah Most High] was in need of sitting or settling [on the Throne], then before the creation of the Throne, where was He Most High?” However, the Imam was also against figurative interpretation of the mutashabihat texts, and firm on the position of consigning the meaning to the knowledge of Allah.

As such, followers of Imam Abu Hanifa and commentators of his works have explained what he meant by the above text. They state that the reason why Imam Abu Hanifa declared a person who says these two phrases a disbeliever is because they contain attributing a direction and location for Allah. (See: Isharat al-Maram min Ibarat al-Imam, p: 168) Imam Izz al-Din ibn al-Salam says that the reason why Imam Abu Hanifa declared such a person a disbeliever is that by using such words, one suggests a place for Allah; and whosoever believes that Allah has a place is an anthropomorphist. (Minah al-Rawd al-Azhar fi sharh al-Fiqh al-Akbar P: 115)

Thus, Imam Abu Hanifa’s intention is not to prove that the heavens and the Throne are places for Allah, and the clearest evidence for this is the aforementioned saying of the Imam himself, “If He [Allah Most High] was in need of sitting or settling [on the Throne], then before the creation of the Throne, where was He Most High? In effect, He is transcendent of all of this.” And Allah knows best.

3) The third position in regards to these mutashabihat texts is that their apparent literal meaning is impossible for Allah; thus the texts will be interpreted figuratively/metaphorically in a manner befitting Allah, yet without affirming it with certainty since other meanings could also be correct. This position was held mainly by scholars of later generations (khalaf), who were forced to take this stance in order to safeguard the iman of the masses, since people were not satisfied with merely consigning the knowledge of mutashabihat texts to Allah, and thus began to understand them literally and read into meanings that do not befit Allah Most High.

This position is known as the position of ta’wil. Ta’wil means to interpret, make sense of, assign a meaning to, and give an interpretation or explanation to a particular text or phrase. For example, interpreting the saying “the King defeated the enemy” that the defeat occurred at the hands of the King’s army and not the King himself.

This is also a valid and acceptable view according to the vast majority of scholars as long as it remains within the boundaries of the Arabic language and spirit of Shari’ah. Even some early Muslims (salaf), including some of the Sahaba such as Ibn Abbas (Allah be pleased with him), made ta’wil in some of the Qur’anic verses and hadiths, and the reality is that at times we have no choice but to assign figurative meanings, otherwise they will contradict the decisive and emphatically established texts (muhkamat), leading to many contradictions in the Qur’an and Sunna.

For example, Imam al-Bukhari (Allah have mercy on him) interprets the verse “There is no god but He. Everything is going to perish except His wajh [literal meaning: face]” (Qur’an 28:88) by saying that the word ‘wajh’ means ‘mulk’ or ‘dominion.’ He also quotes another interpretation, “that which was done solely for the sake of Allah [i.e. righteous actions].” Imam Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani, in his Fath al-Bari, quotes Abu Ubayda as saying that the word ‘wajh’ in the verse means the ‘majesty (jalal)’ of Allah. (See: Fath al-Bari with Sahih al-Bukhari 8/641-642)

Similarly, in regards to the hadith of Bukhari and Muslim wherein the attribute of Allah ‘dhik (literal meaning: laughing)’ has been mentioned, Imam Bukhari is quoted as saying that it means, “Allah’s mercy.” (Bayhaqi, Kitab al-Asma’ wa ‘l-Sifat, p: 433)

In Surat al-Qalam, Allah Most High says, “On the Day when the saq [literal meaning: shin] will be exposed…” (Qur’an 68:42) Likewise, in the hadith of Bukhari, it is stated, “Our Lord will expose his saq [literal meaning: shin].” Many scholars from the salaf and khalaf; such as Abdullah ibn Abbas, Mujahid and Qatada interpret the term ‘saq’ with various different explanations. (See: Imam al-Bayhaqi’s Al-Asma’ wa ‘l-Sifat, p: 323)

Imam Ibn Kathir (Allah have mercy on him) relates in his masterpiece Al-Bidaya wa ‘l-Nihaya quoting Imam al-Bayhaqi from his Manaqib through a sound chain that Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal (Allah have mercy on him) interpreted the verse, “And your Lord shall come” (Qur’an 89:22) to mean, “His recompense (thawab) shall come.’ (Al-Bidaya wa ‘l-Nihaya, 10/327)

There are countless other examples of this, but the above should suffice, insha‘Allah.

Accordingly, scholars of later generations interpreted the mutashabihat texts which indicate Allah’s physical elevation above the heavens, and Allah being positioned in the sky or upon His Throne with various explanations. For example:

a) Imam Ibn Jarir al-Tabari states in his well-known exegesis (tafsir) of the Qur’an, “Allah made himself exalted over the heavens with the exaltation of sovereignty and power, not that of dislodgment and movement.” (Tasir al-Tabari 1/430)

Others who interpret the verses of ‘istiwa’ figuratively include: Imam al-Bayhaqi, Imam al-Haramayn al-Juwayni, Imam Raghib al-Isfahani, Imam Abu Hamid al-Ghazali, Imam Abu ‘l-Faraj ibn al-Jazi al-Hanbali, Imam Fakhr al-Din al-Razi, Imam al-Baydawi, Imam al-Nasafi, Imam Taqi al-Din al-Subki, Imam Ibn al-Humam al-Hanafi, Imam al-Suyuti and others (Allah have mercy on them all). They state that ‘istiwa’ does not mean Allah’s physical elevation over the Throne; rather, it refers to elevation of rank, status and dominion, and Allah’s subjugation of the Throne that is without a beginning like all of the attributes of Allah.

b) In regards to the verse of Surat al-Mulk [“Have you become fearless of Him who is in the sky…”], the great Maliki exegete (mufassir) Imam al-Qurtubi (Allah have mercy on him) says in his twenty-volume commentary of the Qur’an, Al-Jami’ li ahkam al-Qur’an, “It is said that the meaning of the verse is, have you become fearless of Him whose power, authority, Throne and dominion is in the sky. The reason for specifying the sky – despite His authority being universal – is to assert that a God is One whose power is [also] manifest in the heavens, and not [only] one whom people venerate on the earth. Some others said that it refers to the angels, and some said that it refers to angel Jibra’il who is entrusted with punishing people. I [Qurtubi] say that the verse could mean, “Have you become fearless of the Creator of those in the sky...” (Al-Jami’ li Ahkam al-Qur’an, tafsir of 67/17, 18/141)

Imam al-Qurtubi further states in the commentary of the same verse, “The more exacting scholars hold that “in the heavens” is similar to Allah’s statement “Journey in the earth”, meaning over the heavens; but [not over it] by way of physical contact or spatialization, but by way of power (qahr) and control (tadbir). Another position is that it means, “Have you become fearless of Him who holds sway over (ala) the heavens” just as it is said, “So-and-so is over Iraq and the Hijaz”, meaning that he is the governor and commander of them. The hadiths on this subject are numerous, rigorously authenticated (sahih), and widely known, and indicate the exaltedness of Allah; only an atheist or a stubborn ignoramus would deny them. Their meaning is to dignify Allah and exalt Him above what is base and low, and to characterize Him by highness and grandeur, not by being in places, particular directions, or within limits, for these are the qualities of physical bodies. The hands are only raised towards the heavens when one supplicates because the sky is from where divine revelation descends and rain falls, the place of purity and the wellspring of the purified ones from the angels, and that the deeds of servants are raised to it; and over it is His Throne and His Paradise; just as Allah has made the Ka’ba the direction (qibla) of supplication and prayer. And also because He has created all places and has no need of them. He was in His beginning-less eternality before creating space and time, when there was no place or time, and is now as He was.” (Al-Jami’ li Ahkam al-Qur’an, tafsir of 67/17, 18/141)

Similarly, Imam Nawawi (Allah have mercy on him) states in his commentary on Sahih Muslim, “Al-Qadi Iyad said, ‘There is no disagreement among any of the Muslims – their jurists (fuqaha), their hadith scholars (muhaddithun), their theologians (mutakallimun), their polemicists (nuddhar) and their ordinary followers (muqallidun) – that the texts which outwardly indicate that Allah is in the sky – for example, the statement of Allah Most High, “Have you become fearless of Him who is in the sky if He makes you sink into the earth?” (Qur’an 67:17) – are not to be taken literally; rather, according to them all [that is, all the Muslims and experts of every field of Shari’ah as mentioned above], they are to be interpreted figuratively.’” (Al-Minhaj sharh Sahih Muslim)

c) In regards to the hadith of the slave-girl whom the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) asked, “Where is Allah?”, and she responded by saying, “In the sky”, Imam Nawawi states, “This is one of the hadiths which deal with the attributes [of Allah]. There are two positions with regards to them, both of which have been discussed repeatedly in the chapter of faith (iman). The first position is to believe in them without delving into its meaning (tafwid); while maintaining categorically that there is nothing like unto Allah Most High, and that He transcends the attributes of created things. The second position is to interpret them figuratively (ta’wil) in a manner that befits Him. Those who hold this [latter] position [of figurative interpretation] say that [in the present hadith] the Messenger of Allah’s (Allah bless him & give him peace) intention was to examine her to see whether or not she was one of those who worshiped idols that are before them, or one of those who believed in the Oneness of Allah and maintained that Allah alone is the creator, disposer, and one who effects [all things] – for He is the One that when a person supplicates to Him, he turns [his attention, or hands] towards the sky; just as when a person performs Salat, he faces the Ka’ba. [What is mentioned in the hadith] is not because Allah is restricted in the sky, just as He is not restricted in the direction of the Ka’ba. Rather, it is because the sky is the direction (qibla) for supplication (dua’), just as the Ka’ba is the direction (qibla) for the ritual prayer. So when she said that “He is in the sky”, it became known that she was one of those who believed in the Oneness of Allah, and not a worshipper of idols.” (Al-Minhaj sharh Sahih Muslim)

Mulla Ali al-Qari states in his commentary on Mishkat al-Masabih in relation to this hadith, “Al-Qadi Iyad al-Maliki said, ‘By asking this question, the Messenger of Allah’s (Allah bless him & give him peace) objective was not to ask about Allah’s location (makan), for verily He is above and beyond space, as He is above and beyond time. Rather the intent of his question to her was to find out whether she was a believer in His oneness (muwahhida) or someone who associated partners with Allah (mushrika), because the unbelievers of the Arabs used to worship idols, and each tribe used to have a specific idol in its midst which it worshipped and aggrandized; and it may be that the simple-minded and ignorant ones among them did not know any other object of worship than that idol. The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) meant to determine what she worshipped. When she said, ‘In the heavens’ – and another narration says that she made a sign towards the heavens – it was understood that she was a believer in tawhid. His objective by this line of questioning was the disowning of the gods of the earth, which are the idols; not the establishment of the heaven as a location for Allah. Allah is greatly exalted from the sayings of the wrong-doers.’” (Mirqat al-Mafatih)

Furthermore; Imam al-Ubbiy in his commentary of Sahih Muslim, Shaykh Muhammad al-Shanqiti, Imam Abu Bakr ibn al-Furak in his Mushkil al-Hadith, Qadi Abu Bakr ibn al-Arabi in his commentary of Sunan al-Tirmidhi, Imam Ibn al-Jawzi al-Hanbali in his Daf’ Shubah al-Tashbih, Imam Abu ‘l-Walid al-Baji, Imam al-Baydawi, Imam Taqi al-Din al-Subki and countless other classical scholars also state that the Messenger of Allah’s (Allah bless him & give him peace) objective by the question was not to ask regarding the physical location of Allah (makan), but about His rank and status (makana); and the slave-girl’s response was not intended to describe Allah physically being in the sky, rather to express His tremendousness (adhama), superiority, nobility and elevation of status and rank. There are so many quotes of the Imams in this regard such that it is difficult to reproduce them here.

As such, this group of scholars interpreted all such texts which indicate Allah’s physical elevation over the heavens and Throne by giving figurative meanings. Similarly, many of them interpreted the second type of texts which indicate that Allah Most High is everywhere by saying, He is everywhere with His knowledge, assistance and the like. Interpreting both types of texts is acceptable and valid as long as it remains within the known parameters of language and Shari’ah. Just as it is valid to interpret texts indicating Allah being everywhere or with His creation, it is likewise permitted to interpret the texts indicating Allah being above the heavens on His Throne. Sadly, some people consider the interpretation of ‘Allah above the heavens/upon His Throne’ texts to be deviation, yet they see no problem in interpreting the ‘Allah with His creation’ texts! This is an unjust approach. If interpreting the second type of texts is not deviation, then interpreting the first type of texts is also not deviation. Consistency demands that we hold the same stance with both types of texts.

Conclusion and final thoughts

In conclusion, the central point of aqida which every Muslim must firmly believe is of Allah’s transcendence (tanzih) – that is to say, Allah Most High is above and beyond having any resemblance with His creation. He Most High is not to be described with limits, organs and other such characteristics belonging to created things; and is not confined to time and space. “There is nothing whatsoever like unto Him.” (Qur’an 42:11) This much belief is sufficient for an average Muslim to attain salvation, insha Allah.

Thereafter; with regard to the texts describing Allah to be everywhere or with His creation, most classical and later scholars interpret them to mean that Allah is everywhere with His knowledge, seeing and hearing; and this is not the real point of contention. Accordingly, one may interpret these texts, or consign their meaning to the knowledge of Allah. However, one must not believe that Allah Most High is ‘physically’ everywhere, since space is created whereas Allah is pre-existent and eternal.

As for the texts describing Allah to be in the heavens/sky and above His Throne – which are the real point of contention, and apparently go against the above core belief in Allah’s transcendence – one may adopt any of the following positions; and all of them are valid positions and none of them can be considered outright deviation:

a) Consigning their meanings and details completely to the knowledge of Allah. This position, known as tafwid, was chosen by the majority of early scholars (salaf), and by far the best and safest approach.

b) Affirming their literal meanings (tathbit) – with emphatic rejection of a similitude between Allah and His creation – and then consigning the modality (kayfiyya) of such texts to the knowledge of Allah. This position, chosen by scholars such as Imam Ibn Taymiya, can be risky for an average believer.

c) Interpreting such texts figuratively in a manner that befits Allah. This is known as ta’wil, and was chosen by some later scholars.

None of the above three standpoints can be considered deviation or departure from the Ahl al-Sunna wa ’l-Jama’ah. One of my respected Shaykhs, Mufti Taqi Usmani (may Allah preserve him) states in his monumental commentary of Sahih Muslim, “All four positions [he mentioned one other position which can be incorporated in the three I have mentioned) are feasible. Large numbers of verifying scholars have taken every one of these positions, since the important thing in creed (aqida) is declaring Allah to be beyond having a similitude [with His creation], and not negating His attributes (ta’til); and every one of these four paths is firmly convinced of this. The difference between them is not a difference in creed, for indeed the creed is declaring Allah beyond tashbih and ta’til; it is only a difference of opinion in expressing that creed and basing them on the texts. So not one of these paths is entirely baseless or absolutely misguided, even if theoretical debates and arguments have not ceased to run between them for many centuries. Occasionally, exaggeration and excess occurred in them from the various sides, and occasionally one of them steered in the direction of trespassing the limits of moderation, but the truth is that the basis of the dispute is nothing but a judgmental (ijtihadi) dispute, akin to the differences of the jurists in juristic matters which are open to interpretation. For this reason, outstanding scholars of the Umma, adherent devotees to the Book and the Sunna, of whose being from the people of truth and from the Ahl al-Sunnah wa l-Jama’ah is not in doubt, took every opinion from these four opinions.

It is apparent that the path of the majority from the predecessors (salaf) was tafwid, and this is the safest, most prudent and most in accordance with His statement (Most High), “No one knows its interpretation except Allah. And those who are firmly grounded in knowledge say: we believe therein’” (3:7) (Takmila Fath al-Mulhim 5/379-80)

The famous late Jordanian scholar of immense knowledge and wisdom, Shaykh Nuh Ali Salman al-Qudat (Allah have mercy on him) expresses the same stance in his commentary of Jawharat al-Tawhid. He states that all the various positions of the scholars are close to one-another, since they all agree that Allah Most High does not possess human-like attributes. Thereafter, whether one consigns the meaning completely to the knowledge of Allah, or interprets the texts figuratively, or affirms the literal meaning but negates anthropomorphism (tashbih), it is all part of affirming Allah’s transcendence. As such, there is no need to fuel hostility and enmity between Muslims – especially at a time when Muslims have to combat the enemies of Islam. (See: Al-Mukhtasar al-Mufid fi sharh Jawharat al-Tawhid, p: 91)

As such, all classical scholars agree on ensuring that the basic doctrine of Allah’s transcendence is preserved; they merely differ in the manner in which this is realized. Some perceive Allah’s transcendence in absolute tafwid, whilst others see it in interpreting the texts figuratively, and some others see it in affirming the literal meaning but with ‘emphatic rejection’ of Allah being similar to His creation.

For example, Allah’s attribute of ‘yad’ has been mentioned in various texts of the Qur’an and Sunna. ‘Yad’ linguistically, as we understand it, refers to the hand of a created being. However, all the groups agree and emphatically deny that Allah has a hand like that of a human, thus they all preserve the central belief in Allah’s transcendence. Thereafter, whether we say “Allah knows best what ‘yad’ means” or “it refers to Allah’s assistance, etc” or “it means a hand but certainly unlike the human hand”, it does not undo the central aqida outlined in the verse, “There is nothing whatsoever like unto Him.” (Qur’an 42:11)

Therefore, debates and heated arguments about this issue must be avoided, and we should learn to ‘agree to disagree’. No group should enforce their viewpoint on the other group, and no group has the right of claiming to be on the ultimate truth. Sadly, we live in a time of religious extremism and fanaticism. Some of us very easily term others as anthropomorphist (mushabbiha), whilst others consider tafwid, ta’wil and everything else besides affirming the literal meaning (tathbit) to be outright deviation and even disbelief! This implies declaring countless Imams and giants of this Umma as deviated, since most of them either chose the path of tafwid or ta’wil. May Allah protect us, Ameen.

Indeed, the following positions are absolute deviation and may well even take one out of the fold of Islam:

a) Believing (may Allah protect us) that Allah is ‘physically’ in the heavens or ‘physically sitting’ on His Throne like created beings, known as anthropomorphism (tashbih). Sitting, standing, coming into contact, separation, moving from one place to another, etc, are all characteristics of created bodies from which Allah is pure.

b) Believing that Allah Most High is ‘physically’ everywhere and ‘physically’ with His creation and in every space. This is known as hulul.

c) Rejecting and denying the non-decisive (mutashabihat) texts concerning the attributes of Allah altogether. This is known as ta’til.

The above is what I have learnt from my teachers, especially Shaykh Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani (may Allah preserve him). It is what I consider and accept as the truth in the matter, and feel is the most balanced observation, Insha Allah. May Allah protect us all and bring about harmony and love between us, Ameen Ya Rabb.

And Allah knows best
[Mufti] Muhammad ibn Adam
Darul Iftaa
Leicester , UK

Source : Darul Ifta