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The Radical Middle Way

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Isn’t it amazing how time can fly? Not that I’ve been having fun. It’s just been a really busy week. Every time I’ve sat down to write for the Blog, something else has cropped up. Fortunately, I’ve been busy on other things and so, thankfully, have been a face in the crowd as certain public “dramas” have played themselves out.

 

I must say that I have not enjoyed them, but I must hold my tongue. Discretion, as they say, is the better part of valour!

 

However, suffice it to say that on a personal level I thoroughly dissociate myself from anybody who demeans the religion of another person. When you violate someone else’s sacred space you trespass on their soul.

 

I also think that we have to be a lot more honest about the pressing issues, and understand that 80% of the Deen exists in the realms of ikhtilaf (differences of opinion). That’s why we have four schools of legal thought, or madh-haib.

 

Absolutism (which I think is just another symptom of extremism) doesn’t belong to Islam, and nor should it be our public face. The Prophet (s) explicitly told his noble Companions to avoid (ghuluww) extremism. I mean, why would the Qur’an tell us we’re an “ummatan wasatan”, a community of the “the middle path”?

 

I’m sure I’m not alone when I suggest that those who claim to speak in the name of Islam should express more caution in their utterances.

 

I think we need to appreciate the fact that Islam has never been about absolutes. Faith is seated in the heart, and not in the appearance and not necessarily in the ritual. And no, I’m not saying that people shouldn’t pray, fast or go on Hajj.

 

But only in the case of what the Fiqh experts call the “mujma ‘alay” is there unanimity in Islam. This unanimity is on things such as the need to perform, for example, the Salah – and even then, you’ll find great minds such as Abu Hanifah and Imam Shafi’i gently differing on questions of wajibah (obligatory) and Sunnah (not obligatory but recommended).

 

And surely, this is the joy of Islam – its diversity. Why can’t we celebrate that? Or do these obscurantists who curse the arts, and seek fame in finding the haraam, think that we should all become mindless ants?

 

 

 

 


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9 comments

  1. It is people like you that are the true ambassadors of Islam, that keeps the flag of common sense proudly waving the message of peace on top of the mountain that is Islamic Understanding with its message of universal peace, respect, love and God consciousness. We admire your courage and your dedication to spread the true message of Islam especially in the face of ignorance, arrogance, dogma, intolerance, racial and religious prejudice and all the other characteristics of those who misunderstand Islam, thinking it is a religion of rituals, blind following instead of spirituality.
    We and many others who are looking towards Islam to promote a world of peace and harmony support your vision and the message of Islam in the way it should be promoted, unlike some of our leaders. Even then we do not blame our leaders but we accept the fact that they were perhaps not given the opportunity of questioning their forefathers nor were many of them privileged to acquire a high degree of education within the category of the Quranic Ayah, “from here to China”. This is not their fault as we were raised in an Apartheid Era that was designed to keep our people uneducated. I am not condoning their actions and uninformed utterances but only trying to shed light on some of our inadequacies. Perhaps it is time for some of them to step aside and let human evolvement take its course in a dignified manner and bring back the Golden Age of Learning.

  2. It is people like you that are the true ambassadors of Islam, that keeps the flag of common sense proudly waving the message of peace on top of the mountain that is Islamic Understanding with its message of universal peace, respect, love and God consciousness. We admire your courage and your dedication to spread the true message of Islam especially in the face of ignorance, arrogance, dogma, intolerance, racial and religious prejudice and all the other characteristics of those who misunderstand Islam, thinking it is a religion of rituals, blind following instead of spirituality.
    We and many others who are looking towards Islam to promote a world of peace and harmony support your vision and the message of Islam in the way it should be promoted, unlike some of our leaders. Even then we do not blame our leaders but we accept the fact that they were perhaps not given the opportunity of questioning their forefathers nor were many of them privileged to acquire a high degree of education within the category of the Quranic Ayah, “from here to China”. This is not their fault as we were raised in an Apartheid Era that was designed to keep our people uneducated. I am not condoning their actions and uninformed utterances but only trying to shed light on some of our inadequacies. Perhaps it is time for some of them to step aside and let human evolvement take its course in a dignified manner and bring back the Golden Age of Learning.

  3. Salamun Alaykum

    I switch on my tv, a documenatry is being flighted. A documentary on Iran. Two Dutch journalists are guided through Iran under the guidance of the Iranian government.

    We are shown an all-female high school. The morning starts with songs such as: ‘Death to America’. Later on they interview students, but the journalists are not allowed as they do not have permission to talk with people.

    The journalists heard there is a martyrs-organisation in Iran. The Iranian government makes an appointment with a lady who runs it, she is also a professor at the Teheran University. On many streets we see posters that promote the martyr-organisation. They meet with the woman on a martyr-graveyard.

    One large marble stone stands there, with the inscription in English: “Kill them wherever you find them, expel them from their homes like they expelled you from your homes.”

    We see graves with pictures on them, men and women with scarves around their temples, with Arabic or Persian lines. I do not need to know what they say, I can guess already….

    They talk with the head of the martyr-organisation. The organisation is building up a large registration of all people who would sign up for being a martyr. It is sponsored by the Iranian government. The journalists do not need to find out anything, no background research needed on any secret rules of the martyr organisation, no, this lady tells them everything, they just have to listen to this woman with astonishment.

    We see posters everywhere with people holding Kalashnikofs and granades. She shows the forms people need to fill in. They must give their personal data, but also have to choose from the 3 targets given on the form.
    A suicide-mission in Iraq, A suicide-mission in Jerusalem, or A suicide-mission to kill Salman Rushdie.

    A smile strikes me with the last one. The poor man only repeated what their own history is selling to people….

    The woman proudly says most people, 90%, sign up for all three missions. We see a video where people are signing up. I see young men and women, signing up as if they were signing up for a contest of tennis. They are smiling, two females joking which each other about the form, while signing up.

    Then the head of the organisation shows to the camera two videos. She proudly points to one and says; ‘This woman was 22 years old, and had 2 young kids.’ We see a young beautiful female, holding a grenade launcher in one hand, and her young son, about 3 years old I guess, in the other. A Palestinian flag in the background, the famous green scarf with yellow Arabic around her temple. She shouts something. The head of the organisation points proudly to the young boy; ‘That is her young boy, but she didn’t care. She killed 4 zionists before she was killed.’ She says with a proud smile.

    I look at the woman on the videoscreen. What a fool and a bad mother, my mind says. But can I judge so quickly? Hardship does strange things to people, throw some mythological thinking in it and you get a frustrated stew with no fear of death. But no insight into the real consequences of her deeds also……

    We see a young man, perhaps 20 odd years old and Palestinian. He reads from a paper. In this paper he reads how Allah will let him join the Prophet (saw) in heaven. How God the most Merciful…my mind stops at seeing him read that. You hold a gun, and dare to say God most Merciful? These two do not connect in the way he reads them. But again, who am I?

    He walks with his mom outside, massive machinegun in his hands. The head of the organisation explains that no civilians may be hurt, only army targets. And suicide is only as a last resort.

    The video switches to a gathering of people. Men and women all covered, not to be recognized. The scarf around their temples. I see them shout, women screaming ‘La illeh ilAllah’ the men shouting ‘Muhammed rasollAllah’, again and again.

    The tone and the continious repitition…. The way the women say it, it seems they are in a trance. With every word I hear frustration behind it. Anger and hate. In their eyes I see the same, but also something else, something that also can be traced in the tone of their shouts. No touch with Reality. None at all. My mind cannot grasp it, the Quran clearly says not to kill yourself. God is abused by people to hold on to their non-reality…

    I shut my tv off. Enough is enough. I walk to my computer, and I write what you now read.

    I remember the same trance I was in, the out of touch with Reality. I had studied engineering. Yet I still believed in people living in their graves. I believed the nabie Mohammed (saw) curing people. Miracles after miracles… Moses chasing a stone that got away with his clothes…..

    I remember my state of mind in that period. I didn’t care about Reality back then, I just wanted to be different, to be accepted by my new found faith. I lived in a sort of self-made movie. I made the rules, and the story line were partialy made by what the imams were teaching me in my new found faith. I was looking for jinns everywhere, stepped into my toilet while saying a prayer. Got to be carefull, they are especially active in the toilet. Back then, my mind never thought that in the Prophet’s time, there were no toilets…

    My mind couldn’t go beyond the mythological thinking. Why not? Because reality scared me I think. And I could vent all my frustration on all non-Muslims. It became a holy duty to vent!

    I was so rational before I found my bew faith. What happened, I’m still finding out. Ah man, the continious going out of bed to renew my Wudhu. The self-imposed duties. My mind was to busy with fulfilling the mythological duties, it had no time for reality, no time for objective research.

    Then I came across the Return to the Quran movement. In one week, I lost all my mythological thinking. Boom, like a bomb it cleaned my mind. I could research again, be objective, scientific in my thinking. I was me again.

    I sit in a mosque, talking to a young man.. We are discussing the Moses and the Israelies. He tells me of the stone running away with Moses’ clothes. I try to reason with him. I try to make him see the physical laws of nature that is unchangeable. I refer him to the Quran which verifies that the laws of nature can never change. That Allah’s laws are eternal and unchangeable. He doesn’t believe me, he doesn’t even hear me, why? Because his favorite scholar said it was so. The young man had studied Higher Physics at University. I was talking to a Master in Physics. How can it be that he could be so gullible about running rocks and other matters? He tells me he will research the matter.

    I see it in his eyes, he doesn’t care about reality. Why? Because in reality you are responsible for your real crimes and wrongdoings. In his world, you do wrong by stepping into the toilet with the right foot…. By taking a slice of bread in your left hand…by inadvertantly not wetting a small part of the heal during ablutions…by not believing in a story that reduced 50 namaaz to 5 namaaz. Yes this is the crimes in his world.

    I look back at these things, these different people. I think about the extremist Christians in America and the rest of the world.

    All of these people. I look at them from the back of my mind. I try not to judge, because that doesn’t help to judge the situation correctly. What do they all have in common? What is it, that makes them loose Reality on certain subjects and hold on to it with the other? How can you be a Physics professor and at the same time believe in an rocks that can run? How can you walk around in country, where all wellfare, all progress, is because of the rational mind creating and using the fixed laws of nature. And at the same time believing in the absurd?

    My friends tell me, that I should not try to rationalise Islam. Do not mix these two up. And indeed, this seems to be true. But why do I hold on to reality with all my might? Maybe it is because my return to the Quran was also a return to Reality…But I catch myself sometimes too. Sometimes I do like to be in the non-reality. When I read a fantasy book or play a videogame. When I believe certain frivolous matters are more important then my studies. When I do something not according to the Quranic Laws, and I try to fool myself that these things have no consequences.

    I see people everyday, on the taxis, at work, on the streets. I see them do their everyday things, and I wonder. Do you know you are alive? That you really exist? This is not a movie. How miraclous it is you are here. How weird it is. Some people hide in non-reality by shouting Death to America, by killing themselves, by believing in moving stones that steal your clothes. Others by living their life everyday without facing themselves with the weirdness they exist, that their choices are real, have real consequences, good or bad.

    Life, life is a long journey towards Reality. Everyday we learn to handle it more and more, if we choose to. I can see the need for the Quran in my above observations, in my own experiences. The Quran tries to guide into Reality. To have the best relationship with Reality, to use it in the best way. This is why It constantly refers to that we must investigate Nature, the reality around us. That we must observe Allah’s Law of requital in life.

    See how the order of the Universe denotes a Single God, see see see…That is all Allah says throughout the Quran.

    3:191 (Such men and women of understanding keep reflecting upon how God’s Laws operate in the Universe) Standing, sitting, and reclining, they observe, and reflect upon God’s creation of the heavens and the earth and wonder, “Our Lord! You have not created all this without Purpose. High Above You are from creating anything in vain! Save us, then, from being negligent in attaining knowledge and thus, getting condemned to Fire.”

    You either observe and accept Reality, otherwise you are in your own selfmade Fire.

    The Quran begins even with the confirmation of Reality.
    In verse 1:2, it says AlHamd to the Rabb of the Universes. Hamd means praisement after amazement.
    In 1:4 it says Maliki-YauwmeDeen, the One who controls the Constant Law of Requital.
    These are all confirmations of Reality, acknowledgements that Allah’s Reality is amazing…the fact that we are here is amazing…, that He has created Laws of Cause and Effect that judge our doings.

    Because of this realisation, Allah says:

    2:2 This is the Book whereof there is absolutely no doubt concerning its Authority and Authenticity.

    A direct Guide from the Ultimate Reality itself, a Guide into Reality from the Reality itself!! But who will accept such a Message? A person who chooses non-Reality? Of course not. Only a person who is convinced that Reality is not scary, a person who believes that Reality is good for him, will choose to try out this challenge. Who wish this…

    2:3 Those who (wish to journey through life in honor and security,) believe in the Unseen.

    Eventually, Allah’s System, His Deen will rule the Earth, because people voluntarely choose to follow it as they see it is the best way. But this will only happen when the majority will look and see…Looking is a choice, a choice to not accept non-reality anymore, accepting that hiding in non-reality will not help them, will not escape YauwmeDeen.

    We can shoot people into space, but not reality into people….

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