December 05, 2019 | RabiÊ» II 7, 1441
Surah al-Imran (The House of Imran) Chapter 3: Verse 186 (partial)
"And you shall certainly hear much that will insult you from those who received the Scripture before you and from the polytheists. But if you persevere patiently and guard against evil, this will be the best course with which to determine your affairs."
This passage was revealed in Medina, and it leaves little doubt that the Prophet, peace be upon him, and his Companions often encountered insulting and irritating incidents at that time. Given the nature of the Prophet's mission and campaign, opposition verging on insult and abuse from the disbelievers was by no means unexpected. It would be neither feasible nor wise, under such circumstances, to have been too preoccupied with prosecution and punishment. This is precisely what the Quran has recommended and also what the Prophet actually did. But the juristic doctrine that was later developed followed a different course, one which moves more along punitive lines, rather than those of patience and perseverance.
"Freedom of Expression in Islam" - Mohammad Hashim Kamali, pp. 244, 245
From Issue: 734 [Read original issue]
Courage and Generosity
God sometimes links prayer (salah) and the alms-due (zakah) together and sometimes links these two with patience. All three are essential: prayer, the welfare due and patience. The well-being of the believers depends upon all three, both for their own piety and for the improvement of others - and never more so than whenever discord and tribulation are intense, for the need then is all the greater. The need for tolerance and patience is common to all mankind, and these are vital to human welfare in both the religious and worldly spheres.
That is why people always praise courage and generosity in one another - indeed, it is these that the poets extol in their writings - just as they blame one another for stinginess and cowardice. There is universal agreement among the whole of humanity to praise truthfulness and justice and to condemn lying and tyranny. Some desert Arabs once begged so demandingly of the Prophet, on him be peace, that they forced him into a thorn bush which caught on his cloak. He turned to them and said: "By Him in Whose hand is my soul, if I had a flock as numerous as these thorns I would divide it among you; then you would not find me a miser, a coward or a liar."
"Public Duties in Islam" - Ibn Taymiyya, p. 103
From Issue: 679 [Read original issue]
Silence of Minds
When Muslims speak among themselves, they are inexhaustible in criticism of their co-religionists and, more broadly, of the catastrophic state in which the Ummah finds itself. Complaints and rejections are the rule. The least that can be noticed, from Morocco to Indonesia, is a feeling of bitterness, malaise and deep disenchantment that is shared by a large majority of the people. The affective inventory is negative.
We can certainly understand this, for there is nothing delightful in that which we can observe today. Yet, what is more vexing is the fact that the affect takes precedence over a real, precise, in-depth, critical and uncompromising analysis of the causes of these fractures. The Muslim World, for the one who can see, is still lacking intellectual exactness. Very limited in number are those voices that go to the limits of honest analysis, that refuse to say something and then keep quiet when they see its contrary being applied, that denounce events, governmental policies or silent conspiracies.
We are in a state of emergency. It would be too difficult to emerge from the actual upheaval without making a precise analysis of the causes and responsibilities: from the illiteracy of people to the betrayals of the powers in place whose hypocritical policies one must denounce at the cost of one's life perhaps – but this is the passage obligated by reform. Keeping silent is tantamount to being an accomplice, it is "betraying God, His Prophet and all the Believers," according to the exacting expression of the Prophet (peace be upon him). On the geo-strategic level and at the level of economic policies, some Muslim countries participate and collaborate in an immoral management of the world and are implicated in some of the most dubious dealings and trades. All this must be analysed, rigorously described, stated and then denounced. It should, of course, be denounced in a constructive manner, but also loudly, clearly and intelligibly.
"Islam, the West and the Challenges of Modernity" - Tariq Ramadan, pp. 288, 289
From Issue: 771 [Read original issue]