IMAX movies, cable TV, 24-hours news channels, music, amusement parks, spectator sports, computer games, shopping sprees, vacation trips, dating, all night parties, and recreational drugs. The list of entertainment options these days are endless it seems. Our non-working, waking hours are consumed by such activities.
It seems that we are craving for an elusive inner pleasure which these activities provide only temporarily. The repeated cravings for them become deeper and deeper until they often results in additions, compulsive disorders, living beyond one's means and crime. No wonder the rich among us are busy amusing themselves to death while the poor are envious of their glittery lifestyles and resort to any means to follow them.
Living a life devoted to Allah (God) not only fulfills the obligation we have as believers, but doing so gives us the sweetness of faith, which satisfies the inner cravings of the soul. So that we may not have the need of endless entertainment and many such activities may even become repulsive to us. A person who experiences this satisfaction is a true ascetic (zahid). His life is blessed and he can feel true happiness without the need for cheap thrills.
Algazel (Al Ghazzali) gives the analogy of a riding animal when describing the body. He says that the soul is the rider, riding on the riding animal (his body) heading for a final destination (The Hereafter). According to him, a person should take care of the body, its needs and pleasures, just as much is needed for its purpose of taking the rider to the destination safely.
The Life of the Prophet (SWAS) is punctuated with moments when he (SWAS) and his Companions (RA) amused themselves. This sort of permissible fun is necessary for the physical senses so that we can relax and become capable of taking greater burdens of responsibility during the journey of life.
It is also beneficial in keeping cordial relations and attracting people to the Truth. The Prophet (SWAS), his companions and his family watched the performance of Abyssinian entertainers inside the mosque. The Prophet (SWAS) used to make jokes (not based on false statements). He used to have light moments with his family members, running races with his wife. He used to interact with children, inquiring about their games.
Yet despite all this, he did not have the urge to keep himself amused like we do nowadays. Regarding his personal pleasures, he is reported to have said: “Made beloved to me from your world are women and perfume, and the coolness of my eyes is in prayer.” (Ahmad and An-Nasa ‘i)
Thus, a person who understands the meaning of life and has the capability of unraveling spiritual mysteries, will have an inner eye to see dimensions of reality which are not apparently visible. Their soul will long for increasing this insight. They will find inner pleasure in pursuing a path of discovery.
They will enjoy the process of piecing together a large jigsaw puzzle of the most beautiful landscape. As they near completion their excitement and anticipation grows. Until they finally put the last piece. For a believer the last pieces will be put together in Paradise when they will have the Ultimate Pleasure from seeing the “Face” of Allah (God).
It is that pleasure which we can all try to strive for and only in its pursuance will we find burst of real joy in our mundane earthly lives. Don’t we enjoy the feeling when we give charity, read a good book, recite Quran, understand a difficult concept, see Allah (God)‘s wisdom in your life, travel, experience and contemplate on Creation, act justly, fulfill obligations, and fall in prostration?
All these actions in our worldly lives are acts of worship and obedience to Allah (God) that make us naturally happy and satisfied intrinsically. They are a foretaste of the Ultimate Pleasure awaiting us in the Hereafter. As we grow in obedience we develop insights about the reality we are part of, we create a perpetual cycle of obedience and satisfaction.
By doing such acts regularly and systematically as the Prophet (SWAS) did, we can hope to find the most optimum pattern for happiness which can be achieved. Doing so entails implementing the Prophetic best practice in our lives. A life patterned on such pleasures will have no desire for other forms of entertainment. It will free us from sins, wasting resources, destroying our souls, selfishness, adopting bad habits, setting bad examples for others, degrading oneself, living a life of borrowed living, addictions, and compulsive disorders. It will heal the wounds of material disparity in our societies.
Realize, my friends, that the human soul has been created for its destiny to experience the Ultimate Pleasures of Paradise. It is in our nature to try and fulfill this desire somehow. Most people try to fulfill it by ephemeral means which leave them thirsty with a never quenching thirst for more. These means are harmful for our bodies, souls and societies.
The real means of achieving happiness is to prepare for the ultimate happiness of the Hereafter. In living a life devoted to Allah (God) in the systematic way we learn from our Prophet (SWAS) we will find deep pleasures which come with understanding reality of our journeys.
This understanding and pleasure is elusive to those who fail to submit themselves. A person who is hooked on to these pleasures will be satisfied from the simple blessings of this life and has no perpetual need for any abominable amusements.
Whether we happen to be a Jew, Hindu, Christian, or Muslim a very common strong belief that is universal among us is “Love Thy Neighbour”. It signifies that there was one common primordial natural way of life for humanity and principles such as these are its remnants found in all major religions today.
In Judaism, the Torah commands, “Love your neighbor as yourself – I am God.” (Leviticus 19:18). The Hindu writings instruct, “This is the sum of duty; do naught onto others what you would not have them do unto you.” (Mahabharata 5,1517). Christian scripture speaks often about love of neighbor. “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12, 30-31)
Muslims learn from the Qur’an, “Serve Allah, and join not any partners with Him; and do good- to parents, kinsfolk, orphans, those in need, neighbors who are near, neighbors who are strangers, the companion by your side, the wayfarer (ye meet)…(Qur’an 4:36).
In today’s global village connected through the internet, perhaps every human is a “neighbour” to the other. Applying this maxim, our humanity compels us to love the person with a skin colour that may be different from ours; the person whose political beliefs may not agree with ours; the homeless person sleeping on the sidewalk; the newcomer who migrated having hope in the basic “goodness” in all humanity; the thousands around the world suffering from the effects of war and famine. By loving others, we desire what is best for them and allow them to flourish.
Typically, when we search for a place to call home, we look at the intrinsic qualities of the property and the amenities that come with it. So if we find a nice place with parking, swimming pool and gym one often considers this sufficient. To a believer, this is not so. There is an Arabic proverb - Al Jaar Qabl Ad Daar- which literally means “the neighbor before the home” — meaning that we should consider the character of the neighbor before the suitability of the actual home.
We can try to ensure that the financial transaction that we make to have access to our new residence is legally earned and wholesome. Before we start living in the newplace we can remove Satanic influences from it by reciting specific sections from the Scriptures. While it is also from the tradition to have a house warming feast.
In humanity, the rights of our neighbors are many upon us, regardless how different they appear from us. According to natural living:
1. We must help them if they ask for our help
2. Give him relief if they seek out relief
3. Lend him if they need a
4. Do not block their air by raising our building high without their permission
5. Do not harass them
6. Visit (and take care of) them when they are ill
7. We attend their funeral when they die
8. If they commit a sin, we prevent it from being known
9. We congratulate them if they are met with good fortune
10. We grieve in sympathy if a calamity befalls them
The actual place is important. It should have plenty of sunshine and satisfy various other criteria, but the choice of neighbors should be the foremost in our choice of residence.
Al Jaar Qabl Ad Daar!
For a long time, it was believed that personalities cannot change, especially after a certain age. There is certainly an element of truth in this. In early Islam, we see that even though the lives of the first generation changed completely after the concept of relying only on Allah (God) became grafted into their being, their essential characteristics stayed the same, which they used to bring about good after their transformation. Although a lot of youth converted early on, perhaps the first convert was an old man, Waraqa Ibn Naufal, the Christian uncle of the Prophet’s (SWAS) wife who was a scholar.
In fact, the transformations that took place in the personalities of the Companions (RA) of the Prophet (SWAS), have no precedence in history, for perhaps there can be since that time. That transformation of a whole generation was a turning point for human civilization (without any exaggeration). So what was so special about that period that transformed whole societies into the best version of themselves? What made them passionate about personal reform, that they became ready to work on themselves with full dedication, no matter what the consequences?
The simple answer to these questions is the effect of the statement which they pronounced to enter Islam, i.e. the kalimah, that they will not worship anything/anyone except Allah (God) and take Muhammad (SWAS) as their role model. The key to personality transformation is not to rely on people. Yes, we respect people, and actively listen to everyone, but we rely on only Allah (God) to choose what we implement in our lives or not. When a person becomes completely dependent on Allah (God) and independent of people, they will do everything to change their flaws, since their final status in this world is irrelevant to them anymore. Of course, those around them seldom tell them that. Rather, many may offer help in areas, even when the person might manage perfectly fine.
So one of the key characteristics of transforming personality is learning to be assertive about what we want based on the program of development we set for ourselves and when we communicate with others we can set boundaries in terms of what they do and they are bound to respect them. Even if the most knowledgeable person in the world advises us, we need to listen very carefully and think about it well, but ultimately, we decide what is right for our personal development after taking divine counsel. After Allah (God), we know ourselves and our situation the best, and though people do give good advice and we should pick up our faults from them but we should realize that everyone but Allah has their self-interest at the back of their mind.
So deeply knowing and relating to the names and attributes of Allah (God), makes us reliant on Him completely, rather than being impressed by a lesser version of those attributes in Allah’s creation. Only when we are able to do this can we learn to fly with our personal development. Without this, one “advisor” might advise us something and another might advise us the opposite, so without having Allah (God) as a bedrock to rely on and the touchstone to decide on, we can never develop. We should never let anyone “control” us as they might judge us based on what we wrote 10 years ago.
Although there are more than 100 names and attributes of Allah (God) mentioned in the Quran, some of which the scholars disagree about, we need to think deeply about how they relate to our situation and try to internalize them, so that our dependence on Allah (God) becomes complete in each of the aspects of His Being. When we let many people interfere in our privacy and we become stressed out because we chose to give people our peace of mind, we should realize that Allah (God) is AsSalaam (the Source of Peace). We should not try to seek peace with people instead no matter what they seem to promise us. When we start expecting things from people instead of Al Kareem (the Most Generous), then we risk not being enriched by Him. When we start obeying people blindly instead of Al Malik, then they end up controlling us. When we rely on people to raise our faith that Al Mu’min (the Protector of Faith), then we risk losing it altogether. When we expect praise and honor from our parents and society instead of Al Mu’izz (the Giver of Honor), then we are disgraced…
In the privacy of one’s home, sometimes we want to revise something in depth that is taught in grade 3. Perhaps, in our moment of weakness, we need to. I think we should be able to do that, without global repercussions by those diagnosing us based on the information they project from 10+ years ago.
It is not difficult to relate to all the names and attributes, especially if someone is undergoing transformation. All that is needed is to spend some time to see which of these we need most in terms of priority to brush up on. If we leave our reform in the hands of others, we can never develop. Yes, we learn much from our teachers, spouses, courses, etc. but unless we proactively set boundaries and control our personal development, we will only slide.
When our relationship with Allah (God) is strong, we are not dependent on his creation, so the best way to develop is not to depend on anybody. If we depend on people they would make us what they want us to be, not what we want to be.
RESPECTING HEALTHY BOUNDARY
I would like to use this opportunity to assert to everyone who is encroaching on my privacy, to stop doing so, as this is not an ethical boundary for interacting with anyone. Although I appreciate feedback and implement much, there is a possibility that my neutral action/inaction might be judged negatively just because people who chose to observe me illegally in my residence can never understand the full context, just like Khidr and Musa’s (Moses) (AS) story in Surah Al Kahf of the Quran. If we care too much about people’s perceptions of us, we cannot achieve anything as they diminish our strengths and exaggerate our weaknesses. It has a negative effect on my actions in terms of sincerity and I am not able to do what I want to.
So do remove the spyware from all my devices.
Even before the advent of Islam, one of the few things that the Arabs were known for was their eloquence. The isolation in the desert ensured that it stayed unadulterated from other linguistic influences which was not always possible in the towns and cities. It was considered part of a child's education that he grew up in the countryside with the beduins absorbing the inflections and nuances of the tongue at an early age.
It is the Sunnah (natural way of doing things) of God that He challenges a people in a an area of specialization which they consider themselves masters of. Hence, He showed the people of Moses (AS) miracles in magic as they were famous for magic. He showed the people of Jesus (AS) miracles in medicine as they excelled in medicine of their time. And He challenged the Arabs through eloquence, viz the eloquence of the Quran by asking them to produce even a few comparable verses. So many Companions of the Prophet (RA) accepted the new way of natural living just by listening to the richness of God's speech, testifying that it cannot be man-made.
It is interesting to note that God chose language as His everlasting miracle to invite mankind to the natural way of life, as words affect the heart like nothing else. From the ears, the message can reach the heart directly. In an experiment conducted on terminally ill patients, Quranic recitation was played regularly for a period of time on the sound system in a hospital ward resulting in observable improvements in the conditions of the patients' well being.
The science of Quranic recitation, enables students to recite the Quran the same way it was revealed through Archangel Gabriel (AS). It is important to clarify that originally the word "Quran" meant the actual recitation (speech) and not the holy book that many take it to be nowadays. By reciting the Quran with proper recitation i.e. falling back on the original pattern of recitation, a believer can experience special feelings of spiritual high that go hand in hand with the words they articulate. This feeling can penetrate the heart of the reciter and the listener (to a somewhat lesser extent), causing truth and wisdom to become part of their inner being. It is one of the ways of increasing one's faith (spiritual wellbeing).
By knowing a thousand or so words one can understand the majority of Quranic vocabulary as the same words are constantly repeated. It is easier for some non-Arabs whose native languages have historically been impacted by Arabic, e.g. Farsi, Turkish, Kurdish, Pushtu, Urdu, Bengali, Bahasa, Somali, Berber, Swahili, Hausa, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Maltese, etc. and thus share a lot of common words.
Arabic grammar is one of the most logical of language grammars. Learning it is like learning a computer programming language. Once we learn the patterns of the verbs in past, present and imperative form in both active and passive cases, we can recognize new verbs in context, together with their pronouns. All words in Arabic are based on root letters (often 3 letters per word). There are different patterns which use the same root letters to derive multiple words from. Once we know the root letters and the pattern we can conclude the meaning of the word.
Imagine reciting God's own speech in the way they were revealed while understanding what they mean. With a little effort this is an achievable goal for anyone. God has made sure that the language of the Quran is superlative in its eloquence, effect, and ease of learning, because He wants to guide all of us to achieve the highest purpose for which we were created.
Let's change ourselves, to change the world!
Islam is an Arabic word which literally means submission of one’s free will to the Will of God. It is known as Ad Deeenul Fitra (the natural way of life). Islam is to man what Maxwell’s equations are for electromagnetism, or what Kepler’s laws are for planetary motion. It is the natural law of mankind. By worshiping the One God, we are divinely inspired to make correct decisions through inspiration from Him, while acting according to divinely prescribed behavior taught by messengers and prophets sent by God, the last of whom was Prophet Muhammad (SWAS) who was sent to teach the final version of ideal behavior to all of humanity.
When we live a clean life inside and out and follow the natural way in the pure thought patterns in our intentions, and our actions and we are not impressed by anyone or anything other than the One God, rather we are awed by His Majesty and Power in controlling the entire universe and us, we have no recourse by to fall in prostration contemplating on His Might. Once we realize that there is no other person, thing, concept, or entity to rely on than Him, we start worshiping Him alone. He guides us without seeking anyone’s help through instinct, and epiphanies, by making all positive forces in the universe favor what we aspire to do because we are doing it in pure sincerity for His pleasure alone, to help bring humanity from darkness to light.
The only creature (except for genies) who have free will, will lovingly and willingly use that free will to either live unnaturally or naturally, make the choice of natural living, removing oppression from their own souls, their communities, their environment, and the planet. It does not matter if we develop the best technologies in the world to address our looming problems, including carbonization, unless we fix ourselves first, despite the amount of capital we throw at them, we will not be able to solve them satisfactorily.
Each of the world’s major religious traditions were from the same natural way of life that was taught through divine scriptures like the scrolls through Abraham, psalms through David, Torah through Moses, Gospel through Jesus, Quran through Muhammed, and other scriptures that might not be mentioned in our sources that may have been sent to the global population living outside the Middle East.
All religions help in spirituality, but there is the aspect of being inspired by One Source which is strictly not there anymore due to historical distortions that aggregated over the years. Today, perhaps only Judaism and Islam are truly monotheistic. Unfortunately, the fact that the Children of Israel were favored by God historically for guidance through the sending of so many prophets (some of whom were Jacob, Joseph, David, Solomon, Zakariah, John the Baptist, and Jesus) we find that Judaism today has become an exclusive religion. By its own definition, it is not for the rest of humanity.
In contrast, Islam is the same religion prescribed for Adam when he descended on the earth from Paradise, Noah when he preached to his nation, Jacob who taught it to his children, Joseph through which he could solve the greatest problem in Egypt, David through which he could establish it in Canaan, Solomon through which he could rule by God’s law over vast areas subjugating natural forces, Jesus through which he could heal the leper, restore sight to the blind, and bring back the dead to life by God’s permission, and Muhammad (SWAS) through which (without any exaggeration) he became the best of creation. (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_100:_A_Ranking_of_the_Most_Influential_Persons_in_History)
The Quran mentions about 25 messengers and prophets by name (mostly Biblical and ancient Arabian) but in some accounts of Prophet Muhammed (SWAS) there can be about a total of 124,000 who might have been sent to all pockets of civilization, e.g. African, Native American, Aboriginal, Chinese, European, Indian, and Oceanian. Thus the natural way of life was prescribed to each ancient civilization through their human role models who were to emulate (but not to take as their god), and perhaps a scripture so that everyone could willingly live in peace with themselves, their communities, their environments, and their planet. We still find remnants of natural living in the very tiny pockets of aboriginal people living integrated with nature, isolated from modernity.
Although the natural way of life has been the same throughout humanity, if humanity chose it for themselves, i.e. worship only the One God, while following behavior exemplified by the prophets and messengers, Nevertheless, the natural law has changed from time to time and community to community throughout history, until the final natural law was prescribed to all of humanity through Prophet Muhammed (SWAS).
Today, Islam is the only divine religion whose sources are still authentic and intact. In fact, it was the corruption in the sources of past religious traditions to justify new dogmas introduced by the custodians of those religious traditions that caused them to deviate from natural living. Islamic principles are based on mainly two divine sources. The first is the Quran which is the actual speech of God. The original was not in a written form but it was actual words, a recitation that was memorized and later compiled in book form. The second is what Prophet Muhammed (SWAS) taught in terms of his behavior and words. This information is extensively recorded, verified, and carefully graded so that it is very obvious what is authentic and what is not.
The third source of Islamic law is consensus (ijmaa) of Islamic scholars, in which issues that do not have clear solutions in the Quran and Prophetic practice and are resolved through the consensus of scholars. The fourth source of Islamic law is analogous reasoning (qiyaas) in which conclusions on an issue are derived by studying and applying the same methodology of resolving a similar issue in Islamic law.
Some of the guidelines used to make Islamic laws include what is good in terms of public interest in a matter, the opinion of the Qadhi (Islamic judge), the practices of early Muslim generations, as well as the local customs of where the law is being applied. A combination of all these together makes a law that is very dynamic and constantly growing to fulfill needs completely.
I, Ozair Khan of Lucid Eloquence, would publically want to apologize to my teacher, Shaykh Omar Sulayman, Al Maghrib, and DiscoverU. In so many ways, I continue to learn from them all, because I am very deficient and need to develop myself in many aspects due to a prolonged period of stagnation. Thus, my self development is the first objective of Lucid Eloquence.
Today, God gave me the favor to finally deduce that my family had put spyware on my iPhone and were broadcasting my activities globally, out of their love and concern for me, without my permission. So it was natural that Islamic organizations and others thought I am seeking their assistance. This was certainly not the case, as I seriously want to do something that would benefit humanity while developing myself and others based on Islamic (natural) principles, God willing. This was the way we were raised in the UAE in the 70s, never doubting the fact that we can excel, both, professionally and spiritually.
I believe that all Islamic organizations are doing great work in their own capacities and areas of expertise. Their work is essential and need to be supported by all means including sustained donations.
Over the years, I personally have and continue to benefit from what organizations like Yaqeen Institute, Al Maghrib, IISC, TISA, Al Kawthar, and many others offer, but unfortunately I do not find any Islamic organisation structured to satisfy my vision, for me to join them as I have a rather unique background.
I wish to stay independent while cooperating with everyone. Yes, I applied for a research writing internship in the past at Yaqeen Institute but never heard back because I like Islamic research and writing which I combine with my professional work to give mutual meaning. I have been working like this since about 2007 or maybe earlier. I do not want to do exclusively Islamic work under Yaqeen Institute or any other organization although the quality of Islamic research at Yaqeen is definitely outstanding.
Now, I understand why organizations like Yaqeen Institute tried to break me down during my work session and wanted me to join them to do Islamic research writing. My extended family may have invited the world in my personal workspace without my permission, but I certainly did not. So there was this mutual misunderstanding in terms of intentions due to my extended family’s continued unethical behaviour which they should now realise that it is about time they stop.
At this point I wish to make a general public declaration, which should be obvious but I feel that I need to make it. I do NOT give my extended family or anyone else the right to decide anything related to me on my behalf. So if someone wants my permission for anything, kindly approach me exclusively.
On my part, I would like to personally and profusely apologize to my teacher, Shaykh Omar Sulayman whose Yaqeen Institute, I had to publically name and shame in my past blog as well as others. This was because I did not know what my extended family was orchestrating without my permission, and in my confusion, the only way I knew to stop it so as to continue the work I am passionate about, was to write publicly about it. I am also very thankful to Shaykh Omar to point out my personal areas of development as working on them is my principal objective.
Lucid Eloquence is eager to work with all peoples of the world who stand for development based on natural principles, either Muslim or otherwise. One of our core values is to correct ourselves as soon as we realize that we are wrong as that is the basis of self development.
May God continue to reward Shaykh Omar and all my teachers who work sincerely for Him
Dr. Muhammad Hamidullah was a scholar of Islam and a prolific academic author.. As a polymath with competence in 22 languages, his dozens of books and hundreds of articles on Islamic science appeared in several languages. He was from born in Hyderabad Deccan, and hails from a family of scholars. He earned his BA, LLB and MA at Osmania University. He travelled to Germany and was awarded PhD in Philosophy, while in France he studied his second doctorate in Literature.
Dr. Hamidullah was the first Muslim to properly translate the Quran into French from the perspective of a believer (Le Saint Coran). Previous translations were from agnostic orientalists which presented a distorted and false perspective of the Quran. As a sincere spiritually practicing Muslim academic par excellance, he had two PhD degrees — one from Germany in philosophy and another in Literature from Sorbonne University in Paris. While studying in Paris, his homeland, Hyderabad, was annexed by the Republic of India, making him a refugee in France.
After his education he went to Pakistan but returned to Paris after he did not find the intellectual environment there that he was looking for. In Paris, he lived in a small one bedroom apartment engrossed in studies. He wrote more than 100 books on Islam in English, French, German, Arabic and Urdu. Dr. Hamidullah devoted his whole life to scholarship and did not marry.
He received the highest civilian medal of honour, the Sitara-e-Imtiaz by President Ziaul Haq of Pakistan. donating all the prize money as well as the royalties from his books to Islamic intellectual research activities. We do not know much about him perhaps because he did not lead a religious group as is usually the case. Rather, his focus was only on research, academic, and scholarly activities. In terms of presentation, he looked like a very common “Indian” in Paris, yet at age 84, he was learning Thai!
He passed away one morning after Fajr and was a great example of modern Islamic scholarship for the modern world.
Many well intentioned Muslims are put off from practising their religion, after observing the mentality and condition of many practising Muslims around them. They say, “if this is Islam, we do not want it”!
Today, those people with true knowledge are very few and they are leaving us very fast. It is only natural that such people preach with a certain specific style, emphasizing aspects of their specialization.
Their teachings are a product of their cumulative educational and practical experiences that they have acquired throughout their lifetimes. It is important to realize that their teachings represent only an aspect of the infinite Truth. They should not be taken as a touchstone of ultimate Truth -- a mistake often committed by their overzealous followers.
Just as going through a secular education system involves studying a diversity of subjects through different professors specialized in their specific sub-fields of knowledge, people should realize that seeking Islamic knowledge is a lifetime endeavor in which one learns different aspects of the religion from its specialists. One scholar might be among the best in one or two of a spectrum of Islamic subjects like Aqeeda (belief), Arabic, Uloom ul Quran (Quranic Sciences),Tafsir (Exegesis), Uloom ul Hadith (Sciences of the Sayings of the Prophet), Fiqh Jurisprudence), Usul ul Fiqh (Principles of Jurisprudence), Seerah (Life of the Prophet) Tasawwuf (Purification of the Soul), Comparative Religion, Escatology, etc. It is important for a true seeker to keep learning from different specialists and not to stop at one teacher, to bring about real change in themselves and the world.
Today this love of learning, for the most part, has been taken away from most of the Muslim world and we are left with ignorant Muslim masses, who are incapable of or disinterested in continually improving their condition. Hence they resort to blindly following a particular preacher. They dress and behave exactly like their teacher. They tend to listen to only his lectures and are willing to fight others who may not agree with their teacher's opinion on a subject which Islamic scholars have agreed to have a difference of opinion. When you sit with them, there is tremendous pressure from them to conform. To many of them it does not matter if you are continuously learning. As long as you are conforming to external appearances it is good enough.
For many followers, learning comes to a screeching halt when their teacher passes away, as was the case recently, inPakistani context, with Dr Israr Ahmed or Maulana Abu Ala Maududi in 1979. Their books, speeches and ideas remain the only static sources of education for their followers. Others from their group just keep adding explanations to the original ideas these thinkers presented in the past.
In most cases, the members of a particular group might join primarily to fulfill their individual social needs, and only God knows what is hidden in our hearts. Some may do it to get access to people of influence for personal favors like social protection, social advancement, good job, business contracts, admission to institutions like schools, universities, or clubs.
While there are those who do not have such needs but might do so as to practise their leadership and management skills. To most such people, learning is a chore, which is mostly relegated to whatever their leader/teacher has learned.
For most group members, it might be something which they need to pay lip service to and role play just to keep their membership. A group with most of it membership consisting of individuals with such hypocritical attitudes (and God knows the reality best) is really doing a disservice to Islam and actually puting off sincere seekers of Truth who may come their way.
Those considering practising their religion should try not to be put off by the pressure to join one group or the other, but rather learn from each that aspect of the religion which they have specialized in. It is important to keep learning and keep moving, otherwise we may end up becoming just poor copies of the teacher who we take as our ultimate living ideal in life.
يٰۤـاَيُّهَا الَّذِيۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا لَا تَدۡخُلُوۡا بُيُوۡتًا غَيۡرَ بُيُوۡتِكُمۡ حَتّٰى تَسۡتَاۡنِسُوۡا وَتُسَلِّمُوۡا عَلٰٓى اَهۡلِهَا ؕ ذٰ لِكُمۡخَيۡرٌ لَّـكُمۡ لَعَلَّكُمۡ تَذَكَّرُوۡنَ
Believers! Enter not houses other than your own houses until you have obtained the permission of the inmates of those houses and have greeted them with peace. This is better for you. It is expected that you will observe this.
فَاِنۡ لَّمۡ تَجِدُوۡا فِيۡهَاۤ اَحَدًا فَلَا تَدۡخُلُوۡهَا حَتّٰى يُؤۡذَنَ لَـكُمۡ ۚ وَاِنۡ قِيۡلَ لَـكُمُ ارۡجِعُوۡا فَارۡجِعُوۡا ۚ هُوَ اَزۡكٰىلَـكُمۡ ؕ وَاللّٰهُ بِمَا تَعۡمَلُوۡنَ عَلِيۡمٌ
Then if you find no one in them, do not enter until you have been given permission (to enter). And if you are told to go back, then do go back. This is a purer way for you. Allah knows all what you do.
Sa'd ibn 'Ubada (RA) said. "A man stood facing the door of the Prophet (RA) while asking permission to enter. The Prophet (SWAS) said, "Turn this way,"turning him away and ordering him to move further from the door, saying, "Asking permission is prescribed to prevent intrusion."
Abu Huraira (RA): "When one looks inside of the home of people without their permission, it becomes permissible for them to gouge out his eye." (Muslim)
"Were a man to look into your home/private property wiithout your permission, and were you to pelt him with pebbles and knock out his eye, there would be no sin upon you." (Bukhari & Muslim)
Imam Bukhari (RA) narrated that:
Ammar ibn Sa'id al-Tujibi reported that Umar Ibn al-Khattab said, "Whoever fills his eyes with the sight of the interior of a house before being permitted is a wrongdoer".
Bukhari, Muslim and others narrated that: Sahl ibn Sa'd (RA) said that a man peeked through a hole into the room of the Prophet (SWAS) while he was scratching his head with a small pitchfork. When the Prophet (SWAS) saw the intruder he told him, "Had I known you were looking I would have poked your eye! Asking permission was prescribed to prevent intrusion."
Anas Ibn Maalik (RA) reported that a man looked through a hole into one of the Prophet (RA) apartments, and so the Prophet (RA) stood up to go to him with an arrowhead(s). It was as if I saw the Messenger of Allah (SWAS) try to take him by surprise in order to stab him."
A Message to Our Respected Islamic Organizations
This blog post is specific for Muslim organizations and I although I do not usually name, I would particularly want to name Yaqeen Institute, Al Maghrib, DiscoverU, and others . By God’s favour upon on us we have excellent scholars among them who are doing great work and we benefit from their understanding of Islamic principles as we apply them in what we work on. So we are humble and keep working on our personal deficiencies and understanding of our work by addressing them using the divine knowledge while working on our goals. Nevertheless, purchasing and using course materials from such wonderful resources does not mean that we want them to manage or take over our work. Perhaps there has ben a misunderstanding, but never asked them for such help which they themselves saw fit.
I would like to state for the record, that since Lucid Eloquence’s mission was made public, I have a very strong feeling my devices have been hacked/controlled and whatever work I have done or the real-time audio/video of what I do in my house has been broadcast globally without my permission. There has been a very deliberate campaign to hinder, change, and ultimately stop me forcibly by controlling my devices remotely. I would like the authorities to take note and stop whoever is doing this and demand full privacy that is my right under the law. I might be wrong and if so I apologize making such a big accusation.
Yesterday, I could not continue my work, at a key juncture in my workflow, my devices were remotely blocked, after which Yaqeen Institute immediately sent an email out titled “Build the world we all want to live in” asking for public participation based on the ideas I was developing which they and others were observing and influencing without my permission as what I am doing is being broadcasted globally. I have privately stated to them in writing that I do not wish to work under them, nor Al Maghrib or anyone else. I have got no replies from them.
It is not anyone’s concern how quickly or slowly Lucid Eloquence works, when it chooses to take a break from what it does, if it chooses to refine or modify its approach, who it chooses to partner with, who I personally decide to marry or if I marry at all. Let us not consider the legal implications of this intrusion of privacy and attempt to "control" my work and me, just from an Islamic ethics point of view, even though Lucid Eloquence is working not for its own ego but the pleasure of God, no Islamic organization or individuals have the right to spy on, use and propagate its ideas as their own with Lucid Eloquence's explicit written permission. KINDLY KEEP OUT.
It does not matter if someone is not seen as being as presentable as you would like them to be. Dr. Zakir Naik and Shaykh Ahmed Deedat had heavy ancestral “Indian” accents. Shaykh Hussein Yi’s Chinese ancestry is obvious in the way he comes across. We do not need to modify those aspects of our personal presentation which come naturally, if we are comfortable with who we are and what we want to give to the world, especially when the world's interaction with us is through our written word. We do not have to fit the ideal appearance of modernity which someone else feels is right, in order to feel complete if we are sure what it is we want to give to the world.
To summarize, I would like the Islamic organizations to stop, reflect and adopt a wiser strategy with Lucid Eloquence. We do not want any interference/control/influence from Muslim nor any non-Muslim organization and individuals, but like Prophet Muhammad (SWAS), we will seek to cooperate with everyone who wants to improve the world irrespective of religious belief, based on common interests, on the terms we feel fit.
I apologize if anyone found these words to be harsh, but this message needed to be conveyed directly and publicly.
May Allah guide us all.
PS: Lucid Eloquence devices are still hacked and this should stop immediately.
And now the blog post....
Why Can’t We Muslims Think?
We are often criticized for not contributing intellectually to the modern world. Rather we are avid consumers of ideas (and even stealers of them, in some cases), products and services provided by others. We fail to contribute despite the sheer weight of our numbers. What are the factors that make it difficult for us to innovate holistically for the greater good of humanity while staying true to our own paradigm of reality?
To consider this issue, we need to understand the legacy of a series of Muslim capitulations since the failure of the Siege of Vienna, which eventually relegated us and thus our worldview as the non dominant global paradigm.
Colonialism and the New World Order consolidated this position. It was not the deficiency in the Islamic worldview which led to our defeat but rather its lack of understanding and hence the laxity in its implementation among Muslims, which weakened them. This fact is evident when we consider that subsequent Islamic revival movements, in different parts of the world, were successful when they adhered to this pristine worldview, even if they were short-lived. The truth is that Muslim groups practicing Islam properly from the sources continue to exist in one part of the world or another till today.
Thus, it is no wonder that today we seem so backwards in terms of education and its practice. Generally, our current education system is based on rote memorization. Our current education system does not teach us how to think rather it develops students to only pass exams. Studying is seldom equated with enlightenment and development of the thought process. Rather it is meant to provide jobs, socio-economic uplift and gender equality. The most prevalent concept we espouse is how to “look” better than others in order to “subjugate/control/manage” others for which we cite the Prophetic model to essentially to follow the global masses into the lizard's hole. I request you to consciously ask yourself now, as you read this, if this is the real reason of loving and adopting the Prophet (SWAS).
Does the Lamborghini we own makes us better than others, or our citizenship, or our clothes, or the neighborhood we live in, or our accents, or our appearances? The truth is that we are still living out our colonial legacy when we use the sayings such as that "the favors of God should be visible on us" to justify the material race which the global masses are unfortunately engaged in blindly without thought. Unfortunately, our approach to deal with others who are not in our "tribe" has not, for the most part, developed essentially any more than that of the marauding hordes of ancient Arabia, it may seem acceptable, If someone like my 17 year old behaves like this out of immaturity, but unfortunately this sickness is a prevalent thought pattern among a majority of very practicing Muslims. Are we not witnesses to mankind calling them to a better life? Then how are we using something as precious as the Prophetic example for something so crass like chasing the world by following them?
Since the Islamic worldview permeates all aspects of our life, the average Muslim is confused. On the one hand they attempt to stay faithful to Islamic values, but on the other hand they realize that the modern world is based on a secular worldview which is in many ways is diametrically opposed to Islamic (natural) way of thinking. Thus the average contemporary Muslim suffers from conflicting juxtaposed personal worldview which makes it impossible to develop any original thoughts as they do not have any sound personal system of intellectual reference to base it on.
Thus, Muslims, in general, relegate thinking to other civilizations and just focus on personal socio-economic improvement, while trying to “look better” in the eyes of others trying to "subjugate/control/manage" those outside their own "group". Wearing fancy clothes and driving expensive cars does not make us better or worse than anyone if we are sure of ourselves. While they continue this useless struggle "to control each other" thinking that they are following the Prophetic way, the global policies and decisions are made by a part of humanity who are hungry for natural solutions which can only come from the a natural paradigm of reality, i.e. ad deen al fitra.
Unfortunately, we have to admit that we have the hallmark of an enslaved mentality which can only instinctively do what it is habituated in doing and incapable of intellectual breakthroughs. Even when such people become professors or other intellectuals professionally, often they may only do it as a means to earn a paycheck, seeking to be engaged in the apparent process of innovation based on established theories in their fields - never actually making an intellectual breakthrough themselves, writing one useless research paper after another just fulfilling their job obligation.
Many of us just use our professional prestige, social status, and accumulated/grown wealth to want to "subjugate/control/manage" others and they believe that this is the essentially what it means to "follow Prophet Muhammad (SWAS)". Thus, the owner of many gas stations, for example, who might have "made it" in terms of being successful in the worldly sense feels they have the right to set policies for the development of the Muslim community because they are "seen" to be a leader following Muhammad (SWAS)'s legacy. Of course there are many exceptions to this generalization.
On one end of the spectrum of Muslim society are people who are only entrenched in the traditional worldview. Among them, there are some whose sources and methodologies are not Islamic but perhaps cultural. Also among them are many who do not understand how the modern world functions. This leaves a very few practicing Muslim intellectuals who have a pure and monolithic mental frame of thought to impact global thought. On the other end of the spectrum of Muslim society are the secularist who have all but completely discarded the Islamic worldview. They have freed themselves of the mental confusion and can make progress in intellectual endeavors completely immersed in secular values and not shackled by contradicting the Islamic paradigm. Thus, to innovate, such individuals from Muslims societies are forced to leave the realm of Islam.
In order for Muslims to really think and contribute to solve global issues using their own paradigm of thought, they need to simultaneously and continuously seek Islamic and worldly education with the right intentions. These include holistic learning, deep contemplation, self-reform, doing legacy building projects and teaching others. Those who are trying to do this sincerely should mutually support each other or at least try not to deliberately break / pull each other down unethically for what might appear as selfish reasons, because they think that this is part of Prophetic practice . It we are driven to do good, we can try to exert our knowledge and skills to solve global problems which we are best capable of without maligning/preying on the weaknesses of those who are trying to do this, just because they are not within our "group". To me, it seems that this can be a better way to follow the example of the Prophet Muhammad (SWAS).
And Allah knows better.