Fajr Club – “What Is Secular Humanism”

In this session, Imam Marc directs a discussion of John Wesley Robb’s The Reverent Skeptic – A Critical Inquiry into the Religion of Secular Humanism. It’s in conjunction with Linda Raeder’s article, Mill’s Religion of Humanity – Consequences and Implications.

“All … forms of humanism have at least two things in common: (1) A concern for human good, both individually and collectively, and (2) A belief that man must resolve his problems alone and that there is no reality, above or below or outside of man, that can provide a resource or energizing power that will assist him in facing the exigencies of human life and society. Man and nature are all there is.”John Wesley Robb

“Another type of secularism that is most prevalent among intellectuals is what might be called a spiritual secularism, which places its emphasis upon the life of the creative mind. Some have called it the new religion of culture. It stresses the arts, in all of their forms, and places the creative expressions of men and women throughout history as prime examples of the transcendent power of the human mind and spirit to overcome the vicissitudes of daily life. It provides moments of self-transcendence for its adherents through the theatre, the visual arts, a wide variety of literary forms and through music. It glorifies the outreach of the human spirit toward higher and more expressive forms of creativity. It is a source for the nourishment of the human spirit and is often a replacement for the self-transcending experience that traditional forms of religion attempt to provide.”John Wesley Robb

Full audio followed by sections.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Also episode #116 from The Mad Mamluks’ podcast, Somewhere in Time, with Joseph Kaminski.


A Sinner Is Not the Same As a Hypocrite

In this episode, Imam Marc continues the discussion of “public morality” by asking why we have reduced our community from three-dimension (sinner, saint, and hypocrite) to two-dimensions (only hypocrites and saints).

Linda C. Raeder: Mill’s Religion of Humanity: Consequences and Implications.


Salah (Prayer) Is Islamic Spirituality

Do you desire a close(r) relationship with God?

  • What do you imagine that relationship will look like?
  • What do you bring to the relationship?
  • How much time are you willing to invest?

Given that God doesn’t “talk” to anyone directly, how will you have a relationship with Him?

  • The importance of the physical rituals in Islam.
  • Without them, the relationship will not have a routine.
  • While intellectually we may desire that we should read the Quran every day for a certain amount of time, in the physical reality of human life, this desire alone is not sufficient. There is a missing ingredient; we need something to subdue the body to make it come along for the ride, every day.

Salah (Prayer) – the perfect combination of body and spirit.

  • You cannot maintain a daily Qur’an reading, with consistency, without also integrating it with your prayer.

Tahajjud – the great Islamic mystical ritual

  • Tahajjud allows and enables us to always remain close to God. How? Because it’s on His terms, not ours.
  • It is a reliable means to renew our relationship with Him daily.
  • The nature of that relationship is going to primarily rotate around forgiveness of sins, reorienting ourselves away from the worldly life’s pull and stress, and encouraging us to live a far simpler life, living in the blessed realm of walking with God through life.


Where Are You Going After Ramadan?

فَأَينَ تَذهَبونَ

إِن هُوَ إِلّا ذِكرٌ لِلعالَمينَ

لِمَن شاءَ مِنكُم أَن يَستَقيمَ

وَما تَشاءونَ إِلّا أَن يَشاءَ اللَّهُ رَبُّ العالَمينَ

“Where are you going?”Qur’an, 81: 26-29

A person who only wants to lose weight because of a pending holiday or because it’s summer and they want to go to the beach is not truly caring about their health. You’re only concerned with something temporary and it is rooted in vanity.

Look to the Qur’an and ask yourself: what kind of terminology doesn’t use? It doesn’t speak of “nice people”. It speaks of specific deeds and of specific beliefs.

Nice and generous are not one and the same.

ثُمَّ الجَحيمَ صَلّوهُ

ثُمَّ في سِلسِلَةٍ ذَرعُها سَبعونَ ذِراعًا فَاسلُكوهُ

إِنَّهُ كانَ لا يُؤمِنُ بِاللَّهِ العَظيمِ

وَلا يَحُضُّ عَلىٰ طَعامِ المِسكينِ

فَلَيسَ لَهُ اليَومَ هاهُنا حَميمٌ

“Then roast him in the Blazing Fire. Then bind him in a chain which is seventy cubits long. He used not to believe in God the Magnificent, nor did he urge the feeding of the poor. Therefore here today he has no friend.”Qur’an, 69: 31-35


Why We Need Allah – Why We Need One Another

إِنَّ اللَّهَ لاَ يَظْلِمُ مِثْقَالَ ذَرَّةٍ وَإِنْ تَكُ حَسَنَةً يُضَاعِفْهَا وَيُؤْتِ مِنْ لَدُنْهُ أَجْرًا عَظِيمًا

‘Surely, Allah wrongs not even of the weight of an atom, but is there is any good, He doubles it, and gives from Him a great reward’.”Qur’an 4: 40

عَنْ أَبِي سَعِيدٍ الْخُدْرِيِّ، قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏

إِذَا خَلَّصَ اللَّهُ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ مِنَ النَّارِ وَأَمِنُوا

فَمَا مُجَادَلَةُ أَحَدِكُمْ لِصَاحِبِهِ فِي الْحَقِّ يَكُونُ لَهُ فِي الدُّنْيَا أَشَدَّ مُجَادَلَةً مِنَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ لِرَبِّهِمْ فِي إِخْوَانِهِمُ الَّذِينَ أُدْخِلُوا النَّارَ

قَالَ يَقُولُونَ رَبَّنَا إِخْوَانُنَا كَانُوا يُصَلُّونَ مَعَنَا وَيَصُومُونَ مَعَنَا وَيَحُجُّونَ مَعَنَا فَأَدْخَلْتَهُمُ النَّارَ

فَيَقُولُ اذْهَبُوا فَأَخْرِجُوا مَنْ عَرَفْتُمْ مِنْهُمْ

فَيَأْتُونَهُمْ فَيَعْرِفُونَهُمْ بِصُوَرِهِمْ لاَ تَأْكُلُ النَّارُ صُوَرَهُمْ فَمِنْهُمْ مَنْ أَخَذَتْهُ النَّارُ إِلَى أَنْصَافِ سَاقَيْهِ وَمِنْهُمْ مَنْ أَخَذَتْهُ إِلَى كَعْبَيْهِ

فَيُخْرِجُونَهُمْ فَيَقُولُونَ رَبَّنَا أَخْرَجْنَا مَنْ قَدْ أَمَرْتَنَا

ثُمَّ يَقُولُ أَخْرِجُوا مَنْ كَانَ فِي قَلْبِهِ وَزْنُ دِينَارٍ مِنَ الإِيمَانِ

ثُمَّ مَنْ كَانَ فِي قَلْبِهِ وَزْنُ نِصْفِ دِينَارٍ

ثُمَّ مَنْ كَانَ فِي قَلْبِهِ مِثْقَالُ حَبَّةٍ مِنْ خَرْدَلٍ

قَالَ أَبُو سَعِيدٍ فَمَنْ لَمْ يُصَدِّقْ هَذَا فَلْيَقْرَأْ

It was narrated that Abu Sa’īd al-Khudrī said, “The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said:

When Allah has saved the believers from Hell and they are safe, none of you will dispute with his companion more vehemently for some right of his in this world than the believers will dispute with their Lord on behalf of their brothers in faith who have entered Hell. They will say: “Our Lord! They are our brothers, they used to pray with us, fast with us and perform Hajj with us, and you have admitted them to Hell.” He will say: “Go and bring forth those whom you recognize among them.” So they will come to them, and they will recognize them by their faces. The Fire will not consume their faces, although there will be some whom the Fire will seize halfway up their shins, and others whom it will seize up to their ankles. They will bring them forth, and will say, “Our Lord, we have brought forth those whom You commanded us to bring forth.” Then He will say: “Bring forth those who have a dinar’s (a small coin) weight of faith in their hearts, then those who have half a dinar’s weight in their hearts than those who have a mustard-seed’s weight.”

Abu Sa’īd said, “He who does not believe this, let him recite,

إِنَّ اللَّهَ لاَ يَظْلِمُ مِثْقَالَ ذَرَّةٍ وَإِنْ تَكُ حَسَنَةً يُضَاعِفْهَا وَيُؤْتِ مِنْ لَدُنْهُ أَجْرًا عَظِيمًا

‘Surely, Allah wrongs not even of the weight of an atom, but is there is any good, He doubles it, and gives from Him a great reward’.” — Qur’an 4: 40

Taken from Sunan Ibn Majah Vol. 1, Book 1, Hadith 60


Ramadan – No Time To Sleep

شَهْرُ رَمَضَانَ الَّذِي أُنزِلَ فِيهِ الْقُرْآنُ هُدًى لِّلنَّاسِ وَبَيِّنَاتٍ مِّنَ الْهُدَىٰ وَالْفُرْقَانِ ۚ فَمَن شَهِدَ مِنكُمُ الشَّهْرَ فَلْيَصُمْهُ ۖ وَمَن كَانَ مَرِيضًا أَوْ عَلَىٰ سَفَرٍ فَعِدَّةٌ مِّنْ أَيَّامٍ أُخَرَ ۗ يُرِيدُ اللَّهُ بِكُمُ الْيُسْرَ وَلَا
يُرِيدُ بِكُمُ الْعُسْرَ وَلِتُكْمِلُوا الْعِدَّةَ وَلِتُكَبِّرُوا اللَّهَ عَلَىٰ مَا هَدَاكُمْ وَلَعَلَّكُمْ تَشْكُرُونَ

وَإِذَا سَأَلَكَ عِبَادِي عَنِّي فَإِنِّي قَرِيبٌ ۖ أُجِيبُ دَعْوَةَ الدَّاعِ إِذَا دَعَانِ ۖ فَلْيَسْتَجِيبُوا لِي وَلْيُؤْمِنُوا بِي لَعَلَّهُمْ يَرْشُدُونَ

“Ramadan is the month in which the Qur’an was revealed as a source of guidance for all people, as clear evidence of the truth and as the standard of (right and wrong). So when you see the new moon (signaling the start of Ramadan), fast the entire month, though the very ill and those traveling should fast (later when it’s more convenient to do so), for God wishes ease and not hardship. Complete the fast, and praise God for His guidance, so you can learn to be thankful.”

“When My servants ask you about Me, I am near, and I listen to every suppliant the moment he calls upon Me. So, let them also listen to My call and believe in Me so they can follow the right way.”Qur’an 2: 184-185

The instructive beauty of nature.

Atrophy of the senses.

What is the Qur’an? What are its qualities and attributes? Al-Hakīm: wisdom, judgment.

وَلِلَّهِ الْمَشْرِقُ وَالْمَغْرِبُ ۚ فَأَيْنَمَا تُوَلُّوا فَثَمَّ وَجْهُ اللَّهِ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ وَاسِعٌ عَلِيمٌ

“To God belongs the East and the West; wherever you turn is His presence. He’s all-pervading and full of knowledge.”Qur’an 2: 115


Understanding Islam – Attention Pt.1

Paying Attention: some reflections on Gay Watson’s book, “Attention”.

Have you ever heard the phrase, “pay attention” or more likely, had someone say to you, “pay attention!”

“Attending, that overlooked process, is at the very heart of who we are, and how we become that person we think we know.” — Gay Watson