Good Projects, Apostasy, Acting Together
Issue 730 » March 22, 2013 - Jumada Al-Awwal 10, 1434
Surah Al-Ankabut (The Spider) Chapter 29: Verse 69
It is important for the Muslim minority to establish institutions of public welfare such as hospitals, poor people's homes, children's homes, orphanages, centres for the disabled, traveler's lodges, coaching centre for students etc. These are essential not only for the survival of the Muslim minority but also for non-Muslims. Keeping their doors open for non-Muslims would have manifold advantages. This would ensure not only the welfare of the minority but also endear the non-Muslims and serve the cause of helping humanity.
We often complain of the lack of resources. Obviously resources are needed for setting up such institutions. However, arranging for funds for these is not so difficult. The Muslim community which has already been sponsoring hundreds of thousands of madrasas and masjids can easily set up these welfare institutions. What is really needed is the deep realization to take up such projects. The only thing missing is to realize community and national obligations and to establish institutions which are suited best in the given circumstances. There is a pressing need for taking up these projects with single-minded devotion. For this sincere intention Allah promises that He provides ways and means for all the good projects aimed at His cause.
"The Prophet Muhammad : A Role Model for Muslim Minorities" - Yasin Mazhar Siddiqi, p. 196
The Prophet, peace be upon him, never put anyone to death for apostasy alone. Indeed, there were cases when certain individuals apostatised after professing Islam yet the Prophet did not even penalise them, let alone condemn them to death. Affirmative evidence on this point is found in the following incident which appears in the Hadith compilations of al-Bukhari and Muslim:
A Bedouin came to the Prophet and pledged his allegiance to him, professing Islam. The next day he came back, ill with fever and said, 'Return my pledge to me.' but the Prophet refused - thrice. Then the Prophet said: Medina is like a bellows which rejects its dross and recognises its pure.
This was a clear case of apostasy, in which the Prophet made no reference to any punishment at all, and the Bedouin, despite his persistent renunciation of Islam was left to go unharmed.
The Prophet, peace be upon him, did not treat apostasy as a proscribed offence (hadd), but, on the contrary, pardoned many individuals who had embraced Islam, then renounced it, and then embraced it again. Included among these was Abdullah Ibn Abi Sarh, the foster brother of Uthman Ibn Affan, and one-time scribe of the Prophet.
"Freedom of Expression in Islam" - Mohammad Hashim Kamali, pp. 96-98
One of the best testimonies that a religious or spiritual tradition can give of itself lies in acts of solidarity between its adherents and others. To defend the dignity of the latter, to fight so that our societies do not produce indignity, to work together to support marginalized and neglected people, will certainly help us know one another better, but it will, above all, make known the essential message that shines at the heart of our traditions: never neglect your brother in humanity and learn to love him or at least serve him.
More broadly, we have to act together so that the body of values that forms the basis of our ethics is not relegated to such a private and secluded sphere that it becomes inoperative and socially dead. Our philosophies of life must continue to inspire our civil commitment, with all due respect to the supporters of a postmodernism whose aim seems to be to deny any legitimacy to all reference to a universal ethic. We need to find together a civil role, inspired by our convictions, in which we will work to demand that the rights of all be respected, that discriminations be outlawed, that dignity be protected, and that economic efficiency cease to be the measure of what is right. Differentiating between public and private space does not mean that women and men of faith, or women and men of conscience, have to shrink to the point of disappearance and fear to express themselves publicly in the name of what they believe. When a society has gone so far as to disqualify, in public debate, faith and what it inspires, the odds are that its system is founded only on materialism and ruled only by materialist logic - the self-centred accumulation of goods and profit.
We must dare to express our faith, its demands, and its ethics, to involve ourselves as citizens in order to make known our human concerns, our desire for justice and dignity, our moral standards, our fears as consumers and televiewers, our hopes as mothers and fathers - to commit ourselves to do the best possible, together, to reform what might be. All our religious traditions have a social message that invites us to work together on a practical level. We are still far from this. In spite of thousands of dialogue circles and meetings, we still seem to know one another very little and to be very lacking in trust. Perhaps we must reconsider our methods and formulate a mutual demand: to behave in such a way that our actions, as much as possible, mirror our words, and then to act together.
"Western Muslims and The Future of Islam" - Tariq Ramadan, pp. 212, 213