Saturday, 28 April 2018

Allah Knows What is Good for You

A translation from this video

By Imam Muhammad Mutawali ash-Sha'rawi, may Allah have mercy on him.

This clip is taken from the first five minutes of the Imam's tafseer of Surat al-Baqarah 2:186.

At the 0:57 mark, the imam is comparing this verse, which is a response to the Companions asking the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, about Allah, with the verses that answer their questions about legal rulings. The latter verses always contain the word 'Say!', i.e. the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, is commanded to tell them the answer, which creates s.ome distance between Allah and them. (Examples would include al-Baqarah 2:189 and al-Anfaal 8:1) In al-Baqarah 2:186, this is not the case.

Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Prisons of the Mind

An interesting take on current cutural and social happenings, from Scott Adams

In both this blog and my podcast, the victim mentality and how it is a large part of Cultural Marxism/Postmodernism has been discussed at quite some length, but in this video, Scott Adams explains how a victim mentality, or at least a feeling of helplessness, can be broken, and it comes down to realising that a lot of physical problems are actually psychological problems. In other words, maybe you are not doing something because you think that you can't do it, or you think that it is not physically possible.

Adams explains this by way of two fallacies:

1. History repeats itself.

This isn't true because it is impossible for all the variables and factors from one historic event to be reproduced in another. (History definitely has cycles, as Imam Ibn Khaldun brilliantly pointed out in his Muqaddimah, but again, the exact variables and factors are never  reproduced.) Adams' point is that submitting to the notion that history repeats itself puts oneself in a mental prison, i.e. one believes that events will always and inevitably play out according to some pre-determined plot and therefore there is nothing you can do to better your situation. To be clear, I'm not talking about eschatology and what Allah has decreed to happen in His universe. Rather, this is about how we approach our own lives on a daily basis, which includes our worship, our families, our jobs and so on. 

Do you carry around certain assumptions regarding any of the above? For example, do you assume (and take for granted) that knowledge can only be obtained from certain people from a certain location? Do you assume that children can only be "educated" if they go to a government school, because that's what everyone else has done for several generations? Do you assume that getting a job can only be done via sending out CVs and application forms and hoping for an interview? Even better, do you assume that earning a living can only be done by working for someone else, or having a  9-5 job?

2. The problem has to be the solution.

Adams uses the example of slavery in the United States, but there are several examples that probably most people can relate to. What if you have an abusive parent  ( or other family member, colleague, employer etc.) and this individual has caused you a great deal of psychological trauma? Do they have to apologise to you and rectify themselves before you can better yourself? Absolutely not. You can treat and better yourself regardless of what they say or do. Don't waste your life away while blaming your childhood for your failures as an adult. I never forget the statement of Susan Forward in her book Toxic Parents: 'You are not responsible for what was done to you as a child. However, you are responsible for what you do about it as an adult.'

Another example is the assumption that the government can solve the problems it creates. Why should the government be expected to solve the failures of government schools? (Why not give the free market a try?) The same can be said of government attempts to alleviate poverty and make healthcare accessible and affordable.

In a hadith qudsi, related by al-Bukhari and Muslim, Allah says, 'I am as My slave thinks of Me.' We have to have a good opinion of Allah and expect good things to happen, even if they don't appear as such from our limited, human perspective. We should also believe that we can meet the challenges that Allah sends our way, because Allah does not burden a soul more than it can bear.

May Allah grant us all the tawfiq to be optimistic and positive and not to fall prey to feelings of helplessness and victimhood.


Related Post:
Islam is revelation, not a race or culture

Friday, 6 April 2018

On Women and the Masjid

By Imam ʿAbdul Ḥalīm Mamūd (born 1328AH/1910), may Allah have mercy on him, the Sheikh of al-Azhar from 1393AH/1973 until his death in 1397AH/1978. 

Sheikh Hisham al-Kamil teaching the book ar-Rahbiyyah in inheritance at Al-Azhar, Cairo

He says, may Allah’s blessings be upon him, in what has been related by Imam Aḥmad in his Musnad and Imam Muslim in his Ṣaḥīḥ, {“Do not hinder the handmaidens of Allah from the masjids of Allah.} Imam an-Nawawī says it is on the condition that they are not scented or beautified, or it is feared that they will cause temptation. Therefore, if women are conducting themselves modestly, there is nothing to prevent them from going to the masjid. Indeed, in this age it is desirable. We should encourage women to go. Maybe Allah will guide them by way of them hearing a word of exhortation or by way of them being exposed to Allah's blessings that are found in His masjids.

The doors of the cinema and the theatre have been flung wide open to women, and thus it would be wise to opens the doors of the masjids to them. As for what has been related by our Lady ʿĀʾishah, may Allah be pleased with her, that had the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, seen what women had invented by way of their embellishments he would have forbidden them from the masjids, what she meant is that women conduct themselves modestly when they go to the masjids. May Allah forbid that she, may Allah be pleased with her, intended to forbid something that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, had permitted. Whenever there is modesty and the means of temptation have been nullified, women going to the masjids brings about nothing but good; good for them and good for the society, good in this worldly life and good in the Hereafter.

[Translated from Fatāwā al-Imām ʿAbdul Ḥalīm Maḥmūd (Cairo: Dār al-Maʿārif, 1979, 5th edition), v.1, p.499]

Related Posts: 
Women in the Masjid: The Evidence from Sahih Muslim, with commentary by Sheikh al-Islam Yahya an-Nawawi
Women in the Masjid...Apartheid Revisited (Jurjis)

Also by Imam ʿAbdul Ḥalīm Mamūd:
Can a Muslim be a Communist?
The Rank and Knowledge of Scholars