Understanding Islam

Understanding Islam: Muslim Spirituality Session 1


[Direct download]

Taj al-’Arus al-Hawi li Tahdhib al-Nufus by Ibn ‘Ata Allah al-Sikandari (al-Iskandari)

The Bride-Groom’s Crown Containing Instructions on Refining the Self

“The master of nature is vainly believed to be an adequate substitute for self-mastery.” – Reinhold Niebuhr

In his work, Sufism For Non-Sufi’s, Dr. Sherman Jackson writes,

“…part of Islam’s essential struggle from the very beginning was to identify good, substantively sound spirituality and distinguish it from and elevate it over bad, misguided spirituality. In sum, not all spirituality was or is good.” – Sherman Jackson

What is the function or purpose of spirituality from a Muslim perspective?

  • Inspire us: to do good, to do self-help, in all things which inspiration is required.
  • Elevate our morals: the world pulls at us asking us to merely adapt, not to transform.
  • Imbue us with “devotional confidence and resolve” to connect with God, worship God and put God front and center of our lives.

Spirituality and antinomianism:

  • “one who holds that under the gospel dispensation of grace the moral law is of no use or obligation because faith alone is necessary to salvation”;
  • one who rejects a socially established morality;

Spirituality in the Muslim tradition should also perform two functions:

  1. Affirm the supernatural.
  2. Eschew the superstitious.

Hikam #1

من علامة الاعتماد على العمل نقصان الرجاء عند وجود الزلل

“Amongst the signs of leaning on one’s own handiwork of deeds is the loss of hope in the presence of mistakes.”

“Amongst the signs of relying on deeds is the loss of hope in the presence of mistakes.”

Understanding Islam

Life of the Prophet – Session 3: Theology Superstition and Modernity

The following is a short audio excerpt on the monthly class, Life of the Prophet, at Middle Ground. At the end, we discussed how the world was changing at the birth of the Prophet and the advent of Islam.


[Direct download]

Understanding Islam

Understanding Islam – Explorations on Faith Part II

We continued Understanding Islam this week with a continuation on the topic of faith (see/listen to Part I).


[Direct download (Part 1)]


[Direct download (Part 2)]


[Direct download (Part 3)]


[Direct download (Part 4)]

Understanding Islam

Understanding Islam – Explorations on Faith


[Direct download]

Also see Part II.

Faith
There are many reasons why we attain and affirm faith. Faith is often attain for the following reasons:

  • You have faith in those you trust.
  • You trust someone to be able to do what they say.
  • You trust someone based on previous actions and experiences.
  • You trust someone you feel safe with.

لِلَّهِ ما فِي السَّماواتِ وَما فِي الأَرضِ ۗ وَإِن تُبدوا ما في أَنفُسِكُم أَو تُخفوهُ يُحاسِبكُم بِهِ اللَّهُ ۖ فَيَغفِرُ لِمَن يَشاءُ وَيُعَذِّبُ مَن يَشاءُ ۗ وَاللَّهُ عَلىٰ كُلِّ شَيءٍ قَديرٌ

آمَنَ الرَّسولُ بِما أُنزِلَ إِلَيهِ مِن رَبِّهِ وَالمُؤمِنونَ ۚ كُلٌّ آمَنَ بِاللَّهِ وَمَلائِكَتِهِ وَكُتُبِهِ وَرُسُلِهِ لا نُفَرِّقُ بَينَ أَحَدٍ مِن رُسُلِهِ ۚ وَقالوا سَمِعنا وَأَطَعنا ۖ غُفرانَكَ رَبَّنا وَإِلَيكَ المَصيرُ

لا يُكَلِّفُ اللَّهُ نَفسًا إِلّا وُسعَها ۚ لَها ما كَسَبَت وَعَلَيها مَا اكتَسَبَت ۗ رَبَّنا لا تُؤاخِذنا إِن نَسينا أَو أَخطَأنا ۚ رَبَّنا وَلا تَحمِل عَلَينا إِصرًا كَما حَمَلتَهُ عَلَى الَّذينَ مِن قَبلِنا ۚ رَبَّنا وَلا تُحَمِّلنا ما لا طاقَةَ لَنا بِهِ ۖ وَاعفُ عَنّا وَاغفِر لَنا وَارحَمنا ۚ أَنتَ مَولانا فَانصُرنا عَلَى القَومِ الكافِرينَ

al-Baqarah, #284-286