February 2007


In the Name of God, the Beneficent, the Merciful

A Secret History

Mohammad Akram Nadwi, a 43-year-old Sunni alim, or religious scholar, has rediscovered a long-lost tradition of Muslim women teaching the Koran, transmitting hadith (deeds and sayings of the Prophet Muhammad) and even making Islamic law as jurists. […]

Barring Muslim women from education and religious authority, Akram argues, is akin to the pre-Islamic custom of burying girls alive. “I tell people, ‘God has given girls qualities and potential,’ ” he says. “If they aren’t allowed to develop them, if they aren’t provided with opportunities to study and learn, it’s basically a live burial.”

Ma sha’ Allah, Shaikh Akram is amazing. You can also listen to his speech here.

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… as the Monty Python skit goes. Or controversial, perhaps: I don’t think everyone will agree with this.

In the Name of God, the Beneficent, the Merciful

“My dad and I were talking about [Little Mosque on the Prairie] yesterday and we were having the same conversation, whether we support it or not. Like you said, it shows divisions in the community, but these are just a portrayal of reality. I’ve had other Muslims come to me and say ‘You’re not a real Muslim because you don’t wear a hidjab and you don’t pray 5 times a day.’ I guess my point is that the divisions that are created within the Muslim community are created by ourselves. And then when we, as Muslims, don’t have unity and let little things get between us, it gives non-Muslims the wrong idea, it makes them think that there are ‘real’ Muslims and ‘fake’ Muslims. We’re all Muslims, we just have different personal beliefs and ways of practicing. Maybe this show will make us realize what we’re doing and it may better our community. On the other hand, depending on what happens next, it could cause more disagreement and conflict. Like the show portrays, there are extremists in both the Muslim faith and the Christian faith, so in that way I totally support the show. It shows the good and bad sides of both religions.
Thanks for hearing me out =D”

-Naushin Walji, gr. 10 (OSA)

And I agree, insofar as I can’t believe the community is being torn apart by a television show. I don’t support the show, per se; I don’t like television very much. I think, though, that it has potential to be positive for the Muslims, insha’ Allah.

Hudhaifa relates, “People were asking the Prophet salawat.gif about good, and I decided to ask about evil out of fear that it might affect me. So I said, ‘O Messenger of God, we were in ignorance and spiritual privation, and then God
brought us all of this good. Is there any evil after this good?’
The Prophet replied, ‘Yes!’
I then asked, ‘Is there good after that evil?’
He said, ‘Yes, but it will contain cloudiness!’
‘What is its cloudiness?’ I asked.
He replied, ‘A people who guide by other than my guidance; some things from them you recognise and others you reject …'”

– An authentic tradition collected by Imam al-Bukhari

And God knows best.

La ilaha illa Allah. These posts are getting too long. I blame the blogging service: it’s not useful to occupy only half the page with text.

“This day, forty-two years ago, a light in an age of darkness was doused by the supporters of evil. Imam Shaheed El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz (Malcolm X) — arguably the most influential figure in the history of Islam in the West — was assassinated in the Audubon Ballroom in Harlem, NY on February 21, 1965.

Our scholars often remind us that while Br. Malcolm did not have a thorough understanding of Islam (he was only Sunni for ~ 2 years prior to his assassination), he nevertheless had a dynamic understanding of this deen, one fused with the light of iman and taqwa. This is the key to his success and a reminder to us all.”

-Farooq Maseehuddin

 

In the Name of God, the Beneficent, the Merciful

mosque.JPG

I was originally supposed to talk about something else on Friday, but I decided to address this because so many people went for ballroom dancing.

 

The night before Touch of Class, everyone was anxious about what to wear the next day. Expensive dresses and suits, extravagant shoes and jewellery – all were part of the preparations. I was optimistic, hoping for a break from the norm of form-fitting t-shirts and jeans. People should have been dressing beautifully, traditionally – but they were not. Societies once believed clothing should adorn the body; modern society stresses clothing should reveal it. The tight t-shirts and jeans had been replaced by tighter and scantier dresses and skirts. Girls walked through the hallways barely dressed, exposing their bodies to anyone with a curious eye*. I realized that this spectacle was not attractive; it was demeaning. Attempting beauty, we had drowned our morals in a repulsive display of body. What, then, can be defined as beauty?

 

In the Islamic paradigm, beauty relates the temporal and spiritual. Because the outward reflects inward realities, the Divine Law (sharī`a) prescribes dignified dress. The Law legislates for the benefit of its adherents, and modesty is required to ennoble us as human beings, the descendants of the representative of God, Adam; and as Muslims, the community of the paragon of Creation, Muhammad salawat.gif. Our predecessors were mindful of the relationship between outward dignity and inward perfection. For example, the Imams Abu Hanifa and Malik would dress like kings and give money to their students to fulfill the same. The wisdom behind such embellishment was that the people of knowledge would be respected, drawing the link between one’s appearance and others’ perceptions of character. As inheritors of sacred knowledge, they recognized external and internal excellence is requisite to carrying this responsibility. Likewise, Martin Lings relates that students would inquire from his shaikh, who was sensitive to beauty, about details such as the carpets and curtains in their homes. Many overlook the insight for such questioning, but Lings explains, “The nearest thing to the soul is the body, then the clothes in which it is dressed, then the rooms it lives in.” Muslims should realize that all facets of life, from the sacred to the profane, must be conducive to spiritual perfection and growth. The dignity Islam imbues in its adherents anticipates emotion that transcends the temporal and approaches the Divine. When we express ourselves through this lens, we will experience a beauty that carnality can never replace.

* This statement is not a condemnation. Women are forced into a degrading position, ‘liberation’, by an “industry… largely controlled by men who seek to persuade women to denude or adorn themselves to add to a public spectacle created largely for men” (TJ Winter, Boys Will Be Boys). The blame rests on those who feed the oppression.