Monthly Archives: April 2013

Shaykh Muhammad Sa‘id Ramadan al-Bouti (رحمه الله) on Islam and Western Civilization

There is a great number of Muslims now who have no clear concept about the Islamic system of the Islamic State which we are hoping for. There is a great number of Muslims who are fascinated by Democracy and its slogans. They, for instance, see how Islamists call for and insist upon the application of democratic rule, so they [Islamists] seize power under the name of Democracy. The supporters of Democracy have always wondered, whether the Islamists would rule democratically if they gained power or not…

 

Many Muslims nowadays are infatuated by the Western Civilization. They believe that we should apply the Western banking system (dealing with interest); and the Western mode of social relationships between men and women. They also believe that going back to the restriction of hijab is another kind of punishment which is almost impossible to apply…

 

The enemies of Islam are enlisting “an army of temptations,” which will be their first “arsenal” with which they can confront their Muslim enemies. How can these Muslims liberate themselves from these “lures and their fires” unless they are safeguarded by a sublime Islamic education; and shielded with a truthful submissiveness to Almighty Allah’s Will? A great many paradoxical ideologies and creeds are “cast” into the “arena” of Islamic thought so as to create divisions between various groups of people;  in consequence, it causes them to fight against each other. How can these warring factions, then, unite intimately on the one path of Jihad in the cause of Allah? Looking right and left, we find no one who might be concerned enough to solve any of these dilemmas, no matter how serious and grave these problems might sound; no matter how hard the colonialistic circles might try to retain, if not increase, these problems in the Islamic society.

[Shaykh Dr. Muhammad Sa‘id Ramadan al-Bouti (r), الجهاد في الإسلام: كيف نفهمه وكيف نمارسه English translation: Jihad in Islam: How to Understand and Practise it by Munzer Adel Absi, Dar al-Fikr, Damascus, 2006, pp. 146-148]

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Imām Ibn Ḥajar al-‘Asqalānī on Hope with Fear

Looking in hope should not cut one off from fear, and vice versa, lest the former lead one into a Divine ruse, and the latter into despair. ‘Hope’ [rajā] means that someone guilty of a shortcoming should have a good opinion of what Allah will do, and hope that He will erase his sin; likewise in the case of someone who has carried out an obedient act which he hopes will be accepted. A man who, without sorrowing or ceasing, plunges into disobedience hoping not to be taken to task, is deceived.

 

Admirable is the saying of Abū ‘Uthmān al-Ḥīrī: ‘It is a sign of felicity that you should obey God, and fear that your action will not be accepted; and it is a sign of damnation that you should rebel against Him and hope to be saved.’

 

It is said that fear is the preferable state for a person who is healthy, and that hope is preferable for someone who is sick. Some say that on one’s deathbed one should limit oneself to hope alone, since this entails absolute neediness of Allah, as in the hadith which runs: ‘Let none of you die without harbouring a good opinon of Allah.’ But others say that fear is never completely to be renounced, since no-one should be entirely convinced that he is safe. This is supported by the hadith which al-Tirmidhī narrates on the authority of Anas, that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) once came in upon a young man who was dying, and asked: ‘How are you’, to which the man replied: ‘My hope is in Allah, and my fear is for my sins.’ Allah’s Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said: ‘These two things never conjoin in the heart of a slave of Allah in this condition without Allah giving him what he hopes for, and saving him from what he fears.’

[Imām Ibn Ḥajar al-‘Asqalānī, فتح الباري شرح صحيح البخاري (Fat al-Bārī Sharḥ aḥīḥ al-Bukhārī), English Translation: Selections from the Fat al-Bārī (Commentary on aḥīḥ al-Bukhārī) by Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad, Muslim Academic Trust, Cambridge, 2000, p. 15]

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Imām Abū Ḥāmid al-Ghazālī on Takfīr

Know that a full explanation of the grounds on which a person may or may not be branded an Unbeliever would require a long and detailed discussion covering all of the various doctrines and schools of thought along with the proofs and pseudo-proofs adduced by each, as well as the manner in which they departed from the apparent meaning of scripture and the degree to which they rely on figurative interpretation. Several volumes would not be enough to cover all of this. Nor do I have time to explain it all. So, for the time being, content yourself with a piece of advice and a maxim.

 

As for the Advice, it is that you restrain your tongue, to the best of your ability, from indicting the people who face Mecca (on charges of Unbelief) as long as they say, ‘There is no god but God, Muhammad is the messenger of God,’ without categorically contradicting this. And for them to contradict this categorically is for them to affirm the possibility that the Prophet,* with or without excuse, delivered lies. Indeed, branding people Unbelievers is a serious matter. Remaining silent, on the other hand, entails no liability at all.

 

As for the Maxim, it is that speculative matters (al-naarīyāt) are of two types. One is connected with the fundamental principles of creed, the other with secondary issues. The fundamental principles are acknowledging the existence of God, the prophethood of His Prophet, and the reality of the Last Day. Everything else is secondary.

 

Know that there should be no branding any person an Unbeliever over any secondary issue whatsoever, as a matter of principle, with one exception: that such a person reject a religious tenet that was learned from the Prophet* and passed down via diffusely congruent channels (tawātur). Even here, however, regarding some matters he may simply be subject to being deemed wrong, as is done with legal issues. Or he may be subject to condemnation for unsanctioned innovation (bid‘a), such as with wrong ideas regarding the Caliphate and the status of the Companions.

*صلى الله عليه وسلم

[Imām Abū Ḥāmid al-Ghazālī, فيصل التفرقة بين الإسلام والزندقة (Fayal al-Tafriqa Bayn al-Islām wa al-Zandaqa). English translation: On the Boundaries of Theological Tolerance in Islam by Dr. Sherman Abdul-Hakim Jackson, Karachi: Oxford University Press, 2002, pp. 112-113]

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