Today's Reminder

August 16, 2022 | Muharram 18, 1444

Living The Quran

Al-Maidah (The Table Spread) - Chapter 5: Verse 54 (partial)

"If any from among you turns back from his Faith, soon will God produce a people whom He will love as they will love Him."

Love is the attachment of the heart, in exclusive fashion, between zeal and intimacy and in giving and withholding.

It is of three levels:

The first level is love that puts an end to suspicions, imbues the service with pleasure and provides comfort in misfortunes.

It is love that buds from observing the Grace, is consolidated by adhering to the Sunnah and grows as a response to poverty.

The second level is love that causes one to favour the True One above anyone else, to persevere in praising His Name and to attach to the heart His Contemplation.

It is love that emerges from observing the Attributes, looking into the Verses and adhering to the Discipline.

The third level is love that captivates and takes the breath away, focuses on the intimation and cannot be limited by descriptions.

This love is the pinnacle in this matter; outside it are loves that tongues proclaim, that mankind claims and that minds prescribe.

Compiled From:
"Stations of the Wayfarers" - Abdullah Al-Ansari, p. 162-164

From Issue: 899 [Read original issue]

Understanding The Prophet's Life

Spousal Obedience

At no point does the Quran use the word taah (obedience) in characterizing the marital relationship. Rather, marriage is characterized as a relationship of companionship and compassion (mawaddah wa rahmah), not a relationship between a superior and inferior.

The primary role in determinations of spousal obedience is played by traditions attributed to the Prophet (peace be upon him), the most notable of these being the one in which the Prophet reportedly says, "It is not lawful for anyone to prostrate to anyone. But if I would have ordered any person to prostrate to another, I would have commanded wives to prostrate to their husbands because of the enormity of the rights of husbands over their wives." This tradition is narrated in a variety of forms and through a variety of transmissions by Abu Dawud, al-Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah, Ahmad b. Hanbal, al-Nasai, and Ibn Hibban.

According to scholars of hadith, the authenticity of these traditions ranges from daif (weak) to hasan gharib (good). All of them are ahadi hadith (reports of singular transmissions) not reaching the level of tawatur (reports of several transmissions). While the physical act of prostration to the husband is not permitted, the moral substance of prostration does apply through such traditions. The clear implication of the reports is that a wife owes her husband, by virtue of him being a husband, a heavy debt.

There is no question that these traditions have grave theological, moral, and social consequences. They do not only support determinations mandating obedience to husbands, but they also contribute to the general denigration of the moral status of women. Regardless of the jargon generated by apologists about how Islam liberated and honoured women, these traditions subjugate a woman's honour to the will of men.

If a Muslim's conscience is disturbed, the least that would be theologically expected from thinking beings who carry the burden of free will, accountability and God's trust, is to take a reflective pause, and ask: Can I, consistently with my faith and understanding of God and God's message, believe that God's Prophet is primarily responsible for this tradition?

Perhaps the most notable thing about the prostration traditions is that they are structurally peculiar. In most reports, the Prophet is asked whether it is permissible to prostrate to him, the Prophet. To this he is supposed to have answered, "No! But actually, if a human could prostrate to a human it would be the wife to a husband." Such a fundamentally revolutionary view is expressed out of context and in a rather casual way. Prophet volunteers this injunction although that is not what is being asked. In most versions, the one doing the asking is a man and the response is given to a man or men. Although the traditions have a profound impact upon women, this advice is supposed to be enunciated before an audience of men. This is quite a casual way of delivering advice that will have profound social and theological implications upon women in particular.

Furthermore, the Quran is rather vigilant in asserting the unshared, undivided, and non-contingent supremacy of God. This assertion formed the basis for the Islamic dogma maintaining that submission to God necessarily means non-submission to anyone else. Consequently, any tradition that draws an association between the status of the Prophet, or the pleasure of God, and the status or pleasure of a human being is inherently suspect. Under all circumstances, it is reasonable to claim that if a tradition has serious theological, moral, and social implications, it should meet a heavy burden of proof before it can be relied upon. But even more, if a tradition is suspect because of a contextual or structural defect, among other reasons, then there should be a presumption against its authenticity, and the evidence supporting the authenticity of the tradition should be conclusive.

If one adopts the proportionality inquiry advocated here, the conscientious-pause would lead one, at a minimum, to refuse to rely on traditions such as the prostration and submission tradition in legal or theological matters. This does not necessarily mean that one is conclusively deciding that the tradition is not authentic. Rather, one is only deciding that the tradition cannot be conclusively said to originate primarily from the Prophet. Since one suspends, perhaps indefinitely, reliance on such traditions, one does not need to affirmatively decide whether they are authentic or not. All one needs to decide is that they are not good enough to rely on, and, therefore, we do not even reach a faith-based determination.

Compiled From:
"Speaking in God's Name: Islamic Law, Authority and Women" - Khaled Abou El Fadl

From Issue: 1003 [Read original issue]

Cool Tips!

A Quick Checklist Of Ramadan

  • Make a resolve to win the maximum favour of Allah: perform extra voluntary prayers (Nawaafil), make frequent Du'a and increase remembrance (Dhikr).
  • Try to recite some Quran after every Prayer. In fact if you read 3-4 pages after every Prayer you can easily finish the entire Quran in Ramadan! Study theQuranic Tafseer (commentary) every morning.
  • Invite a person you are not very close with to your home for Iftar, at least once a week. You will notice the blessings in your relationships!
  • Bring life to your family! Everyday, try to conclude the fast with your family and spend some quality time together to understand each other better.
  • Give gifts on 'Eid to at least 5 people: 2 to your family members, 2 to your good friends, and 1 to a person whom you love purely for the sake of Allah.
  • Commit to an Islamic study circles to enhance your Islamic knowledge and practice. Plan to complete reading a book on Prophet Muhammad’s (pbuh) life in these 30 days.
  • Donate generously to the masajid, Islamic organizations, and any where people are in need. "This is a month of sharing!"
  • Share Ramadan and its teachings of love & patience with your neighbours. Learn how at http://www.soundvision.com/info/ramadan/
  • Initiate a project to promote or revive a ‘forgotten’ social cause in the Muslim and non-Muslim community: fight against racism, AIDS, drugs, cancer, smoking…etc.
  • Did you know, our society, which constitutes only 20% of world’s population, actually consumes 80% of world’s resources! Volunteer at food bank or Anti-Poverty campaign, while fasting!
  • Seek the rare and oft-neglected rewards of 'the night better than a 1000 months', Laylatul-Qadr.
  • Weep in private for the forgiveness of your sins: It is the month of forgiveness and Allah's Mercy! It's never too late.
  • Learn to control your tongue and lower your gaze. Remember the Prophet's warning that lying, backbiting, and a lustful gaze all violate the fast! Abandon foul language forever.
  • Encourage others to enjoin and love goodness, and to abandon everything evil. Play the role of a Da'ee (one who invites to Allah) with passion and sympathy.
  • Experience the joy of Tahajjud prayers late at night and devote yourself purely and fully to Allah in the I'tikaf retreat during the last 10 days of Ramadan.

Compiled From:
"Ramadan: A Time for Revival or Survival?" - Young Muslims Publication [Download and distribute]

From Issue: 543 [Read original issue]