Envy

Envy is one of the most dangerous diseases. It can lead to actions people never imagine they would do. Here is a quick list of stories that came to mind when I was reading the Quran and reflecting on story number 2 below:

1- What made Iblis disobey the order of his Lord and refuse to prostrate to Adam is envy: “… see this one whom You have honored above me; if You give me respite to the Day of Judgement, I will seize and mislead his offspring, all but a few”

2- What made the son of Adam to kill his brother is envy: “… when each offer a sacrifice, it was accepted from one but not from the other; he said, I shall kill you …”

3- What led the Brothers of Yusuf (pbuh) to get rid of him was envy: “They said: Yusuf and his brother are dearer to our father than we, while we are a strong group … Kill Yusuf or cast him out to another land …”

4- What drove the Israelites to object to the assignment of Talut as a king, despite his knowledge and strength was envy: “They said, how can he be a king over us when we are fitter than him for the kingdom and he is not given enough wealth …”

5- What made the Israelites reject the message of Muhammad (pbuh) was envy: “Do they envy men for what Allah has given them of His blessings?”

6- After the people of the book were sure that the message the Prophet (pbuh) is the truth from Allah, the wishes of many of them were not to believe in it but to deviate those who had already believed, “Many of the people of the Scripture wished that they could turn you away as disbelievers after you have believed, out of envy from their own selves, even after the truth become manifest unto them …”

Search deeply in your heart, you will probably find that the source of most of your problems is envy. It is not that people envy you. That you have no way to search for. It is about YOU HAVING ENVY IN YOUR HEART TOWARDS OTHERS. 

One solution?, Well, keep in mind the following paragraph:

Others really do not have to lose what they have or what they achieved for you to get it. As a matter of fact, it is better for you to think of how to be as good or better than others by climbing up to their level as opposed to working deliberately to bring them down to yours.

“Feminism … sigh — feeling annoyed” I posted

What is so annoying about Feminism? :)

Please elaborate

Commenting so I get notice of your (much awaited) clarification.

These are a few comments I got when I posted on Facebook. I then elaborated more on why I feel annoyed by feminism. In a few points I said:

  • Advocating for women’s rights is an Islamic value. There is no question about that. As a matter of fact, the long surah in the Quran that talks–almost entirely–about “justice” is called “Women”, and in which you can see a lot of advocacy for women’s rights. I also acknowledge that women throughout history have been deprived from so many of their rights. That is actually one of the reasons Islam “appears” to be advocating for women’s rights more than men’s.
  • However, feminism as being practiced is a little different. Whether intentionally or not, it depicted a picture of two fighting parties: men and women. The former is trying to abuse the latter while the latter is fighting (the former) for their rights. Men subscribed to this battle as well. So instead of men and women working together to better themselves, their families, and the society; they partook in a life-long fight.
  • Instead of men and women being partners in this life, they became, kind of, enemies. This enmity penetrated the family. As a consequence, you find a husband and wife fighting on irrelevant issues JUST because of this created enmity.
  • It became a legacy to inherit. So, instead of moms and teachers educating the girl how to be good to their husbands, they teach them how to NOT TO LOSE THE BATTLE to their husbands.
  • Many virtues were lost in the process. While liberating women from the abuse they were going through, feminism liberated–or attempted to liberate–them from every quality they had, even if vitreous. So in the process of giving women their rights to learn and advance their career, building the family and taking care of children have been put down. In the process of giving women their full personality they took away their attachment to the husband, something very needed to the wellbeing of the family. In the process of instilling good qualities like confidence and dignity, other good qualities like humility and softness have been taken away.
  • In many cases, educated and smart women are told they are given opportunities JUST to fill diversity vacuum even though they deserve the position based on their mere qualifications.
  • Abusive men became more abusive. Feminism never stopped them. It only created another kind called abusive women. We may soon see another movement called “masculism”.
  • It has become very silly when you ask about your boss’ new assistant who has always been a female by saying “What is her name?” and you get a silly comment like “why are you saying ‘her’?” At the same time, we are OK with the bellman. Just silly …
  •  And as an outcome, women have been loaded with more responsibilities; as a price of being treated as a man, she must take care of her own affairs, make living, struggle to raise her kids. The concept of men taking care of their daughters, sisters, wives and moms has begun to disappear.

The intent of this post is to explain why I am annoyed, no more no less.

Fishing for an Ideology

We have to be extremely careful in dealing with a legacy as old and as comprehensive as that of Islamic knowledge, a legacy that dealt with many aspects of life, one that was employed by many communities to deal with all sorts of circumstances. I see different people, groups, and ideologies that are somewhat opposite yet they are all relying on the very same legacy to support their views. For example, one can scan this large body of knowledge, note all the aspects that talks about spirituality, and come up with an ideology that Islam is but a spiritual recipe. Another can follow the political involvement of such knowledge and focus more on its involvement of wars for example, and arrive at an ideology of violence. A third can follow the many mentions of encouraging peace, forgiveness, and patience, and form a pacifist ideology from the same body of knowledge.

Isn’t that weird? What wrong do we do for that to happen. Well, let me share a couple of important points that we should keep in mind to be able to understand this legacy the way it should be understood:

  1. Know that what is considered the guidance of Islam is 1) what is in the Book of Allah, the Qur’an, and 2) the AUTHENTIC tradition of His Messenger. Anything else–even though it is important to study especially that which is closer to the prophet’s time, is still people’s views and interpretations and should only be attributed to them not to Islam.
  2. Having a pre-conceived ideology, THEN scanning the legacy of knowledge to support it is definitely the wrong way to go. Rather, one should form his/her ideology based on Islam and not the other way around. (very tough I know)
  3. It is very harmful to focus on partial knowledge and, intentionally or unintentionally, ignore other parts that address the same subject at hand.
  4. Be very mindful that context plays a major role: what applies to certain times, societies, or cultures can be quite different from what applies to others. Simply taking a society’s understanding of Islam and borrowing it to another society is very problematic to say the least.
  5. Scholarly opinions under certain political and social circumstances may not be accepted when these circumstances change.

I wish I have time to swamp you with examples of each points. I also wish I have time to show how these examples can be very harmful to us as Muslims and to the image of Islam itself. But I don’t :)

However, I will conclude with my view of a very famous hadith in which the prophet (pbuh) said that Allah sends to this Ummah every century that who will renew its religion. This religion and its pure source of guidance (mentioned in 1 above) interact with societies, cultures, and peoples, and get understood within those societies, interacting with those cultures, and applied by those peoples. This cause the pure message of Islam to be covered by people’s interpretations and understanding, which is acceptable. Someone (or some people) will come every now and then (every century as the Hadith said) and remove those layers and dig deep to the pure source (that is preserved and protected from alteration) and bring it to life in the current context and circumstances.

A Bird’s View – #aWordAboutHadith

One of the most important advice I received regarding dealing with the Sunna (and the Qur’an for that matter) is to put my hands on different pieces of the Sunna that talks about a subject before deducing conclusions on this subject.
A little simple, yet very telling, example is praying while injustice is committed against you. I have heard someone telling another who was praying against an unjust tyrant, “You can’t pray against him. You should pray for him. The Prophet prayed for his people even though they oppressed him and his companions.”
Even though the prophet prayed for his people even though they oppressed him, but he also, according to authentic reports, prayed against them when they harmed him. In addition, there are many reports about the prayer of the person whom injustice is committed against and how definite it is that Allah accepts it.
Now that these pieces of Sunna are in front of you, it becomes clearer what would the right choice be–at least the decision is not as it is had you only focused on one piece.
‪#‎aWordAboutHadith‬

Who said Hadith is as authentic as the Quran? – #aWordAboutHadith

Not a single scholar ever said that the words of the Prophet are as authentic as the Quran except the very few that reached us in the same method of narration as that of the Quran.
The rest of his words (peace be upon him) has always been subject to a scientific process of acceptance or rejection. For that purpose, a lot of sciences was invented, terminology was established, and tremendous amount of work was published.

The scholars have always been using these sciences to research the authenticity of the words of the Prophet; had they not done so, the Prophet’s words would have been lost in the huge amount of fabricated and weak ones. Until this moment, this very critical process are being used for the same purpose.

I tried to learn about these sciences and spent some time reading about them. I was humbled by the oceans of knowledge and the tireless effort spent on this, humility that disallowed me to engage in it without the proper knowledge, tools, and skills.

‪#‎aWordAboutHadith‬

The New Saudi King – #aWordAboutPoliticsInIslam

I slept while my king was Abdullah and I woke up and my king was Salman. No troubles, no intermediate government, no protests in the streets; Thank you Allah for the Islamic Sharia

Someone posted the words above on twitter and it went viral: some are spreading it happily agreeably while other had so much fun mocking it. I will admit that I was one of those who had a little bit of fun commenting on one of the posts.
What made me write this post is not that I want to continue having fun commenting on this post; Not even to talk about Saudi Arabia or its king. I am not writing this post to avenge the few offensive comments I received when I made fun of the quote above. Rather, to make a comment about this statement “The Islamic way of selecting a leaders.” Someone made this comment during the discussion that made me want to write a few posts hash-tagged #aWordAboutPolitcsInIslam. “A few companions got together and chose Abo Bakr; Abo Bakr chose Omar; Omar chose 6 and asked them to choose the leader from amongst themselves; There are 3 legitimate ways of selecting a leader in Islam.” Same person claimed.

In these few posts, I will share my view regarding this and I ask Allah to make these posts beneficials, educational, and somewhat fun to read.

In my favorite format (bullets):

  • In these posts, Politics = “governing and taking care of public affairs, whether a small group, a large community, or a whole nation.”
  • Politics is one of the things that are very progressive; that is, it is required to develop and progress to cope with new situations, life advancements, population increase, different backgrounds and social and traditional practices, etc. Unlike beliefs, rituals, or character–which are constant despite the circumstances, politics of one period may cause a huge burden when applied to another.
  • Islamic Sharia when addressing issues that are subject to change would not give specific and detailed guidance. Instead, a general framework of principles and overall guidance is prescribed, leaving the details to be figured out within this framework. Politics, I believe, is at the extreme end of this category.
  • Several (and few) principles define the framework of politics in Islam. Among them are these two main pillars:
    • 1- The moral (value) system by which politics is practiced is Islam itself. What is right and what is wrong, what is just and what is unjust, what is acceptable and what is not; what is a crime and what is not, and what is moral and what is immoral are ALL defined by this value system which stems from Islam. The verses in the Quran stating that are numerous. In simple words, as the Muslim individuals are obligated to rule their personal life according to the guidance of Islam, the Muslim community/society/nation is obligated to rule their public life according to the guidance of Islam (aka Sharia)
    • 2- The public affairs, and decisions thereof, lies in the hands of the PUBLIC. Allah said describing the believers, ” … whose affair is [determined by] consultation among themselves …” That is the authority of making decisions in public affairs is in the hands of the public; of course according to the moral system in principle 1 above.
  • To me, any violation to one of these two main principles is a violation of the guidance of Islam in doing politics even if practiced by statesmen at a time Muslim nations ran very successful advanced, and powerful states.
  • But what is the “Islamic” way of selecting the leaders? What is the Islamic way of legislating detailed laws? What is exactly the Islamic way of consulting the public in their affairs? The answer is exactly what I mean above by “stating a framework of principles, leaving details to be figured out.”
  • Therefore, I would say that selecting the leader directly by everyone, selecting a number of representatives and delegating the choice to them, or proposing names and conducting a massive approval, can all be considered Islamic IF and only IF they achieve “their affairs are determined by them.”

Next: The Appointment of Abo Bakr, Isn’t that the same way the Saudi King was appointed?