In this episode of the Middle Ground Podcast, Imam Marc discusses “frameworks” in the Fajr Club class, “Islam In-depth”.
الشَّيطانُ يَعِدُكُمُ الفَقرَ وَيَأمُرُكُم بِالفَحشاءِ ۖ وَاللَّهُ يَعِدُكُم مَغفِرَةً مِنهُ وَفَضلًا ۗ وَاللَّهُ واسِعٌ عَليمٌ
“Shaytan promises you poverty and commands you to self-gratification. Allah promises you forgiveness from Him and abundance. Allah is All-Encompassing, All-Knowing.” — Qur’an, 2: 268
وَلَقَدْ ذَرَأْنَا لِجَهَنَّمَ كَثِيرًا مِّنَ الْجِنِّ وَالْإِنسِ ۖ لَهُمْ قُلُوبٌ لَّا يَفْقَهُونَ بِهَا وَلَهُمْ أَعْيُنٌ لَّا يُبْصِرُونَ بِهَا وَلَهُمْ آذَانٌ لَّا يَسْمَعُونَ بِهَا ۚ أُولَٰئِكَ كَالْأَنْعَامِ بَلْ هُمْ أَضَلُّ ۚ أُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الْغَافِلُونَ
وَلِلَّهِ الأَسماءُ الحُسنىٰ فَادعوهُ بِها ۖ وَذَرُوا الَّذينَ يُلحِدونَ في أَسمائِهِ ۚ سَيُجزَونَ ما كانوا يَعمَلونَ
وَمِمَّن خَلَقنا أُمَّةٌ يَهدونَ بِالحَقِّ وَبِهِ يَعدِلونَ
“We created many of the jinn and mankind for Hell. They have hearts they do not understand with. They have eyes they do not see with. They have ears they do not hear with. Such people are like cattle. No, they are even further astray! They are the unaware.
To Allah belong the Most Beautiful Names, so call on Him by them and abandon those who desecrate His Names. They will be repaid for what they did.
Among those We have created there is a community who guide by the Truth and act justly according to it.” — Qur’an 7: 179-181
إنْ قامَتِ السَّاعةُ وفي يدِ أحدِكُم فَسيلةً فإنِ استَطاعَ أن لا تَقومَ حتَّى يغرِسَها فلْيغرِسْها
“If the Final Hour comes while you have a palm-cutting in your hands and it is possible to plant it before the Hour comes, you should plant it.” — Reported by Anan bin Malik, al-Adab al-Mufrid, #371
The Holocaust was legal. Slavery was legal. Segregation was legal.
People who hid Jews in their homes were criminalized. People who freed slaves were criminalized. People who stood up for equality and justice were criminalized.
Legality is not a guide for morality!
— StanceGrounded (@_SJPeace_) August 22, 2018
If there is to be an argument for civic engagement it should be for the expression of Muslim values, not appeasement of the dominant system. The reason I say this is because there were a number of atrocities in our history, including modern history, which included:
- Slavery and Jim Crow;
- Prison industrial complex;
- Militarization of America;
- Vietnam War;
- Iraq War;
Laws are not made legal by their system (democracy, socialism, etc.) but by their practitioners.
يا عَمِّ ! و اللهِ لو وضَعُوا الشمسَ في يَمينِي ، و القَمَرَ في يَسارِي ، على أنْ أترُكَ هذا الأَمرَ حتى يُظهِرَهُ اللهُ أوْ أهلِكَ فيه ما تَركْتُهُ
“Uncle!, by God! if they (the Quraysh) had placed the sun in my right hand and the moon in the left so that I would give up the commandment (of spreading the message of Islam) – until I was successful or died trying!, I would not leave it.” — al-Silsalah al-Da’ifah, #3, 311
كُنتُم خَيرَ أُمَّةٍ أُخرِجَت لِلنّاسِ تَأمُرونَ بِالمَعروفِ وَتَنهَونَ عَنِ المُنكَرِ وَتُؤمِنونَ بِاللَّهِ ۗ وَلَو آمَنَ أَهلُ الكِتابِ لَكانَ خَيرًا لَهُم ۚ مِنهُمُ المُؤمِنونَ وَأَكثَرُهُمُ الفاسِقونَ
“You are the best nation ever to be produced before mankind. You enjoin the right, forbid the wrong and have iman in Allah. If the People of the Book were to have iman, it would be better for them. Some of them are believers but most of them are deviators.” — Qur’an 3: 110
Constructing An Islamic Moral Imperative For Civic Engagement
- You have to strive to live up to great expectations (كُنتُم خَيرَ أُمَّةٍ أُخرِجَت لِلنّاسِ): if you believe what others are saying who you are — and if what they say is garbage! — then you’ll sabotage yourself.
- Part of having a true morality is to express it publicly (تَأمُرونَ بِالمَعروفِ وَتَنهَونَ عَنِ المُنكَرِ): morality in Islam is not some archaic collection of personal maxims which you keep tucked away inside your closet. It’s an imperative to express the highest ideals and beliefs which comprise your character.
- All of this though can easily just turn to politics, compromising one’s soul unless it’s foundation is belief in God (وَتُؤمِنونَ بِاللَّهِ).
وَإِذا قيلَ لَهُم تَعالَوا إِلىٰ ما أَنزَلَ اللَّهُ وَإِلَى الرَّسولِ قالوا حَسبُنا ما وَجَدنا عَلَيهِ آباءَنا ۚ أَوَلَو كانَ آباؤُهُم لا يَعلَمونَ شَيئًا وَلا يَهتَدونَ
“When they are told, ‘Come to what Allah has sent down and to the Messenger,’ they say, ‘What we found our fathers doing is enough for us.’ What! Even if their fathers did not know anything and were not guided!” — Qur’an 5: 104
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.
Also episode #116 from The Mad Mamluks’ podcast, Somewhere in Time, with Joseph Kaminski.
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.
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.
In this episode, Imam Marc discusses some of the foundational principles and philosophies behind modern activism and why it possess a concern for the American Muslim community.
Linda C. Raeder: Mill’s Religion of Humanity: Consequences and Implications.
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
In this episode, Imam Marc discusses the suicides of Anthony Bourdain, Kate Spade, and Chris Cornell and in what ways, despite the best of intentions, we may actually be valorizing these actions.