Here is a speech I have delivered this past Friday. I think it is useful for us to listen to especially at this time
I wrote an article about it here are well
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:
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.
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.
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.
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):
Next: The Appointment of Abo Bakr, Isn’t that the same way the Saudi King was appointed?
I woke up this morning on a message from one of my old friends who lives in Saudi Arabia, “Wael, Mohamed Soltan is going to die. I am in my office now. I am helpless. I can’t do anything to him. I am just here crying.”
I paused for a moment, gathered my thoughts, then I responded, “Hey! It has been a long time since I heard from you. Sigh! Yeah, I know! He is among thousands of people: everyone of them has a tragic story!”
“No Wael!” He responded. “He is an American! Where is the American Government? What are the American people doing about it?”
I was a little surprised that my friend–who is not an American–speaks this language. I decided to call him.
“Want me to call?” I replied.
“Sure!” He answered.
Mohamed Soltan is a 27-years old, Egyptian American, who was arrested by the Egyptian Police in a street protest and was detained for over a year awaiting for trial. He has entered a hunger strike for close to year now. His health has deteriorated recently and people are worried about losing him.
“I thought calling you may be better.” I said to my friend.
“Yes it is! Thanks for calling and I am sorry to trouble you but I am here very helpless and I see my friend dying while I am unable to do anything about it!” He replied. “But I do not understand why you guys aren’t doing anything for him. Where is his government? Where are his friends? Where are the human right organizations? Where are people of conscience? Isn’t he an American citizen that you guys have to worry about? How do you just leave him die like this in prison?”
“Sigh! You know my friend. His case is not big enough to make the government push for it. There is no political motivation behind it for any politician to consider it seriously. It just did not get enough interest to be pushed forward” I, disappointedly, said.
“That is so passive Wael! YOU push for it! You make it motivating! You attract people’s attention. I know you are busy. I know you have tons of other things that you do. But this is a life of a human being that is under threat!” He angrily responded. “Don’t tell me he is not alone. I know he is not alone! But his case is unique and it should not be difficult to free him.”
“OK my friend! OK! I will try. I just do not know what to do. But I will try … Anyway, it has been a long time. How are you and how is your family …” I said
We hung up the phone. It was one of the toughest calls I had in a long time. I really do not know how to move and where to start. Well, First step, publishing this post
A very brief post about this very important subject. In my favorite format (bullets), I say: