Material World, Leadership and Guidance, Footsteps of Abraham

Issue 911 » September 9, 2016 - Dhul Hijja 8, 1437

Living The Quran

Material World
An-Nahl (The Bee) - Chapter 16: Verse 69 (partial)

"Verily in this is a sign for those who give thought."

The Quran does not include, nor should it include, ready-made scientific truths. Instead, it implies an essential scientific position, a concern for the outside world which is unusual for a religion. The Quran points to so many facts in nature and calls on man to respond to them. Man observes, searches, and perceives not the self-made nature but a world which is God's masterpiece. This is why this observation is not objective, indifferent, or free of desire. It is the mixture of scientific curiosity and religious admiration. Many of the descriptions of nature in the Quran, sometimes very poetic, are the best illustrations of this tendency. In these verses, turned entirely toward nature, we find a complete acceptance of the world, a total lack of any sort of conflict with nature. In Islam, matter is lent to so many beautiful and noble things, as is the case with the body in salah and the estate in zakah. The material world is not Satan's kingdom; the body is not the seat of sin. Even the world to come, the object of man's greatest hopes, is portrayed in the Quran in the colors of this world. This only demonstrates that the material world is not inwardly alien to Islam.

It is impossible to carry out Islam in practice on a primitive level of consciousness. Salah can only be correctly performed if the orientation in time and space is correct. In salah, people turn toward Makkah, orienting themselves in terms of space. The prayer is made at a time defined by astronomical facts. The act has to be performed at an exactly determined set time of year - that is, at a certain position of the earth in its orbit around the sun. Zakah requires statistics, evidence, and accounting. Hajj, the pilgrimage, is connected to travel and the acquaintance with many facts that only a long journey calls for. Simply put, leaving everything else aside, the Muslim community, by practicing nothing but these four pillars of Islam, has to reach a minimal level of civilization. One cannot be a Muslim and yet remain in a state of barbarity.

Compiled From:
"Islam Between East and West" - Alija Ali Izetbegovic, pp. 213-221

Understanding The Prophet's Life

Leadership and Guidance

[continued from issue 910]

4. Leadership (imarah)

As for the capacity of supreme leadership of state, most of its instances cannot be confused with those pertaining to the capacity of legislation, except in such situations as would happen during wartime and which may admit particular applicability, such
as the prohibition of eating donkey meat in the battle of Khaybar. The Companions disagreed on this issue. Was the prohibition of God's Messenger (peace be upon him) to eat the flesh of donkeys, and his command to spill the pots in which it was cooked, a proscriptive legislation entailing an absolute prohibition of consuming donkey meat? Or did it ensue from his capacity as supreme leader in the interest of the army, since their mounts in that battle were donkeys?

5. Guidance (hady)

The capacity of guidance and instruction is more general than that of legislation. This is due to the fact that God's Messenger may command and prohibit while his intention is not decisiveness, but rather the indication of different ways to goodness and
righteousness. Thus, words arousing people's interest to follow the way of the Afterlife or describing the eternal bliss people will enjoy in Paradise as well as most recommended matters (mandubat) flow from this capacity of guidance and instruction. It is reported in an authentic tradition narrated by al-Marur ibn Suwayd who said:

"At al-Rabadhah I met Abu Dharr, who was wearing a cloak, and his slave, too, was wearing a similar one. I asked the reason for it. He replied, 'I scolded a slave by calling his mother bad names.' The Prophet said to me, 'O Abu Dharr! Did you abuse him by calling his mother bad names? You still have some characteristics of the age of pagan ignorance (Jahiliyyah). Your slaves are your brethren, upon whom God has given you authority. So, if one has one's brethren under one's control, one should feed them with the like of what one eats and clothe them with the like of what one wears. You should not ask them to do things beyond their capacity, and if you do so, help them [with their hard job].'" (Bukhari)

..... [to be continued]

Compiled From:
"Treatise on Maqasid Al-Shariah" - Ibn Ashur, pp. 37, 38


Footsteps of Abraham

You are in the pure, white dress of ihram in the sanctuary of God, in the role of Abraham. You stand in the Station of Abraham, step in the footprint of Abraham, stand facing God and recite your formal prayer for Him.

Step into the midst of the fire, the fire of tyranny, ignorance—in order to save humanity from the fire—the fire of tyranny, ignorance. The fire, which is part of the destiny of each responsible human being, responsible for illumination and salvation. But the God of monotheism turns the fire of Nimrodians into a red rose for the Abrahamians! You will not be burned. You will not turn into ashes. The purpose was that you move through jihad by going towards—the fire—so that the self is offered in moving to save the masses from the fire, until the most painful of martyrdoms.

Sacrifice your Ishmael with your own two hands. Place your knife at his throat in order to remove the knife from the throat of the masses, the masses who have continuously been slaughtered at the feet of palaces of power built from plundered treasures and at the threshold of deceiving, humiliating temples. Place the blade against the throat of your own Ishmael so that you gain the power to take the blade away from the executioner. But the God of Abraham Himself pays the ransom for all Ishmaels. You do not kill. You do not lose your Ishmael. The purpose is to move in the Way of Faith to the point where you have sacrificed your Ishmael with both hands, until the most painful of martyrdoms.

O you who appear in Abraham’s role, who stand in Abraham’s Station, who stand upon the footsteps of Abraham and who give the hand of allegiance to the Hand of Abraham's God: Live like Abraham and in your own age, be the architect of the Kabah of faith. Move your people out from the stagnant swamp of life, from the dead-like living, from the quiet sleep of the abasement of tyranny and from the darkness of ignorance. Give them direction. Call them to the hajj. Circumambulate. And you, O ally of God! O in step with Abraham! O you who have come from the circumambulation, from the annihilation of 'self' in the circumambulating masses! You who have emerged in the shape of Abraham, who are standing in the place of the architect of the Kabah, founder of the sacred city, the Masjid al-Haram, and face to face with your ally, God!: Make your land a sacred area. For you are in the sacred area. Make your age a sacred time. For you are in the sacred time. Make the earth into a sacred mosque. For you are in the Masjid al-Haram. For ‘the earth is God’s mosque’. And you see that: It is not.

Compiled From:
"Hajj: Reflection on its Rituals" - Ali Shariati