In this episode of the Middle Ground Podcast, I discuss our new class (Saturday mornings after Fajr!), The Sherman Jackson Reader.
Welcome to the first episode of the Middle Ground Podcast. In this maiden voyage episode, we’ll discuss Muslims as part of the political process and if/how we might be manipulated and used.
“There were virtually no Muslims in America before Teddy Kennedy’s 1965 immigration act.” — Ann Coulter. Read the article here.
Bismillah is the start of all good things.
How can we go with God, to get through the ups and the downs? The highs and the lows?
Bismillah – saying it can also be to say al-Hamdulillah, in sha’Allah, etc.
وَلا تَقولَنَّ لِشَيءٍ إِنّي فاعِلٌ ذٰلِكَ غَدًا
إِلّا أَن يَشاءَ اللَّهُ ۚ وَاذكُر رَبَّكَ إِذا نَسيتَ وَقُل عَسىٰ أَن يَهدِيَنِ رَبّي لِأَقرَبَ مِن هٰذا رَشَدًا
“Never say about anything, ‘I will do that tomorrow,’. without adding ‘If Allah wills.’ Remember your Lord when you forget, and say, ‘Hopefully my Lord will guide me to something closer to right guidance than this’.” Qur’an, 18: 23-24
Bismillah – Imagine one needs to travel through the desert. You will need to travel in the name of the Chief, so you may be under his protection and if you are assailed or attacked, you can be recompensed.
Bismillah – two men go on a journey. One invokes Allah’s name, the other not. The first travels in dignity, whether he is attacked or not. For he knows if there is any wrong that is brought down upon him, Allah will recompense him. And that it was merely a test. The second will experience the same calamities but it will crush his soul. He will cry out, “Why me?!”
Bismillah – it’s what allows us to be saved from the indecency of begging from the world and all those in it, and instead, beg from the Creator of the world and the Seven Heavens.
الْيَدُ الْعُلْيَا خَيْرٌ مِنَ الْيَدِ السُّفْلَى وَالْيَدُ الْعُلْيَا الْمُنْفِقَةُ وَالسُّفْلَى السَّائِلَةُ
Abdullah b. Umar reported that as Allah’s Messenger ﷺ was sitting on the pulpit and talking about Sadaqa and abstention from begging, he said, “The upper hand is better than the lower one, the upper being the one which bestows and the lower one which begs.” Sahih Muslim, #1033
Acting in the Name of Allah is empowering. It is in this way that small things, like seeds and grains bear huge trees on their miniscule heads.
Acting in the Name of Allah is how lowly grass, the roots of small things are able to pierce and breakthrough hard rocks and earth. In the same manner, by remembering, praising, thanking, and acting on the Name of Allah that you will achieve victory in your life: now and here-after.
When one lives one’s life in the Name of Allah, you can break through the most difficult barriers (like the tree) and those struggles will simultaneously bear fruit. For even the hardness of stones is under the command of Allah.
وَإِذِ استَسقىٰ موسىٰ لِقَومِهِ فَقُلنَا اضرِب بِعَصاكَ الحَجَرَ ۖ فَانفَجَرَت مِنهُ اثنَتا عَشرَةَ عَينًا
“And when Musa was looking for water for his people, We said, ‘Strike the rock with your staff.’ Then twelve fountains gushed out from it.” Qur’an, 2: 60
Abu Hurayrah reported Allah’s Messenger ﷺ as saying:
Miskin is not he who is dismissed with one or two dates, and with one morsel or two morsels. (In fact) miskin is he who abstains (from begging). Read if you so desire (the verse):” They beg not of men importunately)” (ii. 273). Sahih al-Bukhari 1476
لَيْسَ الْمِسْكِينُ بِالَّذِي تَرُدُّهُ التَّمْرَةُ وَالتَّمْرَتَانِ وَلاَ اللُّقْمَةُ وَاللُّقْمَتَانِ إِنَّمَا الْمِسْكِينُ الْمُتَعَفِّفُ اقْرَءُوا إِنْ شِئْتُمْ
Abu Huraira reported Allah’s Messenger ﷺ as saying, “Miskin is not he who is dismissed with one or two dates, and with one morsel or two morsels. But in fact miskin is he who abstains from begging. “They beg not of men importunately” (referring to the verse in Qur’an, 2: 273).
لَيسَ عَلَيكَ هُداهُم وَلٰكِنَّ اللَّهَ يَهدي مَن يَشاءُ ۗ وَما تُنفِقوا مِن خَيرٍ فَلِأَنفُسِكُم ۚ وَما تُنفِقونَ إِلَّا ابتِغاءَ وَجهِ اللَّهِ ۚ وَما تُنفِقوا مِن خَيرٍ يُوَفَّ إِلَيكُم وَأَنتُم لا تُظلَمونَ
لِلفُقَراءِ الَّذينَ أُحصِروا في سَبيلِ اللَّهِ لا يَستَطيعونَ ضَربًا فِي الأَرضِ يَحسَبُهُمُ الجاهِلُ أَغنِياءَ مِنَ التَّعَفُّفِ تَعرِفُهُم بِسيماهُم لا يَسأَلونَ النّاسَ إِلحافًا ۗ وَما تُنفِقوا مِن خَيرٍ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ بِهِ عَليمٌ
“You are not responsible for their guidance, but Allah guides whomever He wills. Whatever good you give away is to your own benefit, when you give desiring only the Face of Allah. Whatever good you give away will be repaid to you in full. You will not be wronged. It is for the poor who are held back in the Way of Allah, unable to travel in the land. The ignorant consider them rich because of their reticence. You will know them by their mark. They do not ask from people insistently. Whatever good you give away, Allah knows it.” Qur’an, 2: 272-273
The one who understands who Allah is and what Allah wants from them and what Allah has promised them, then the future holds no fear for them.
يقول الله تعالى: أنا عند ظن عبدي بي، وأنا معه إذا ذكرني، فإن ذكرني في نفسه، ذكرته في نفسي وإن ذكرني في ملإٍ ذكرته في ملإٍ خير منهم
Abu Hurairah reported that the Messenger of Allah said, “Allah the Exalted says: ‘I am as my slave expects me to be, and I am with him when he remembers Me. If he remembers Me inwardly, I will remember him inwardly, and if he remembers Me in an assembly, I will remember him in a better assembly.”
The one who understands who Allah is:
“I am as my slave thinks of Me…”
- First, Allah is (I am).
- Second, as my slave thinks, i.e., how. How do you think? How often do you think? In what situations and scenarios do you think of Allah?
What Allah wants:
We are so wrapped up in always wanting things ourselves we seldom pay attention to what our Creator wants from us.
وَاللَّهُ يُريدُ أَن يَتوبَ عَلَيكُم وَيُريدُ الَّذينَ يَتَّبِعونَ الشَّهَواتِ أَن تَميلوا مَيلًا عَظيمًا
“Allah desires to turn towards you, but those who pursue their lower appetites desire to make you deviate completely.” Qur’an, 4: 27
مَن كانَ يُريدُ حَرثَ الآخِرَةِ نَزِد لَهُ في حَرثِهِ ۖ وَمَن كانَ يُريدُ حَرثَ الدُّنيا نُؤتِهِ مِنها وَما لَهُ فِي الآخِرَةِ مِن نَصيبٍ
“If anyone desires to cultivate the Next World, We will increase him in his cultivation. If anyone desires to cultivate this world, We will give him some of it but he will have no share in the Next World.” Qur’an, 42: 20
What Allah Has Promised Us
It’s the ingrate, the kafir, who challenges Allah on keeping His promise.
Like a child in its parents’ house, surrounded by provision, protected from the environment, loved and cared for, in a room full of toys, crying and screaming about one more.
وَيَقولونَ مَتىٰ هٰذَا الوَعدُ إِن كُنتُم صادِقينَ
قُل لَكُم ميعادُ يَومٍ لا تَستَأخِرونَ عَنهُ ساعَةً وَلا تَستَقدِمونَ
“They say, ‘When will this promise come about if you are telling the truth?’ Say, ‘You have a promised appointment on a Day which you cannot delay or advance a single hour’.” Qur’an, 34: 29-30
Fear No Future
إِنَّ الَّذينَ قالوا رَبُّنَا اللَّهُ ثُمَّ استَقاموا فَلا خَوفٌ عَلَيهِم وَلا هُم يَحزَنونَ
“Those who say, ‘Our Lord is Allah,’ and then go straight will feel no fear and will know no sorrow.” Qur’an, 46: 13
وَما نُرسِلُ المُرسَلينَ إِلّا مُبَشِّرينَ وَمُنذِرينَ ۖ فَمَن آمَنَ وَأَصلَحَ فَلا خَوفٌ عَلَيهِم وَلا هُم يَحزَنونَ
“We do not send the Messengers except to bring good news and to give warning. As for those who have iman and put things right, they will feel no fear and will know no sorrow.” Qur’an, 6: 48
وَقالوا لَن يَدخُلَ الجَنَّةَ إِلّا مَن كانَ هودًا أَو نَصارىٰ ۗ تِلكَ أَمانِيُّهُم ۗ قُل هاتوا بُرهانَكُم إِن كُنتُم صادِقينَ
بَلىٰ مَن أَسلَمَ وَجهَهُ لِلَّهِ وَهُوَ مُحسِنٌ فَلَهُ أَجرُهُ عِندَ رَبِّهِ وَلا خَوفٌ عَلَيهِم وَلا هُم يَحزَنونَ
“They say, ‘No one will enter the Garden except for Jews and Christians.’ Such is their vain hope. Say, ‘Produce your evidence if you are telling the truth.’ Not so! All who submit themselves completely to Allah and are good-doers will find their reward with their Lord. They will feel no fear and will know no sorrow.” Qur’an, 2: 111-112
1. The Tongue
الْمُسْلِمُ مَنْ سَلِمَ الْمُسْلِمُونَ مِنْ لِسَانِهِ وَيَدِهِ
“A Muslim is he from whose hand and tongue the Muslims are safe.” Sahih Muslim, #41
وَإِنَّ مِنهُم لَفَريقًا يَلوونَ أَلسِنَتَهُم بِالكِتابِ لِتَحسَبوهُ مِنَ الكِتابِ وَما هُوَ مِنَ الكِتابِ وَيَقولونَ هُوَ مِن عِندِ اللَّهِ وَما هُوَ مِن عِندِ اللَّهِ وَيَقولونَ عَلَى اللَّهِ الكَذِبَ وَهُم يَعلَمونَ
“Among them is a group who distort the Book with their tongues so that you think it is from the Book when it is not from the Book. They say, ‘It is from Allah,’ but it is not from Allah. They tell a lie against Allah and they know it.” Qur’an, 3: 78
عَنْ مُعَاذِ بْنِ جَبَلٍ رَضِيَ اللهُ عَنْهُ قَالَ: قُلْت يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ! أَخْبِرْنِي بِعَمَلٍ يُدْخِلُنِي الْجَنَّةَ وَيُبَاعِدْنِي مِنْ النَّارِ، قَالَ: “لَقَدْ سَأَلْت عَنْ عَظِيمٍ، وَإِنَّهُ لَيَسِيرٌ عَلَى مَنْ يَسَّرَهُ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ: تَعْبُدُ اللَّهَ لَا تُشْرِكْ بِهِ شَيْئًا، وَتُقِيمُ الصَّلَاةَ، وَتُؤْتِي الزَّكَاةَ، وَتَصُومُ رَمَضَانَ، وَتَحُجُّ الْبَيْتَ، ثُمَّ قَالَ: أَلَا أَدُلُّك عَلَى أَبْوَابِ الْخَيْرِ؟ الصَّوْمُ جُنَّةٌ، وَالصَّدَقَةُ تُطْفِئُ الْخَطِيئَةَ كَمَا يُطْفِئُ الْمَاءُ النَّارَ، وَصَلَاةُ الرَّجُلِ فِي جَوْفِ اللَّيْلِ، ثُمَّ تَلَا: ” تَتَجَافَى جُنُوبُهُمْ عَنِ الْمَضَاجِعِ ” حَتَّى بَلَغَ “يَعْمَلُونَ”،[ 32 سورة السجدة / الأيتان : 16 و 17 ] ثُمَّ قَالَ: أَلَا أُخْبِرُك بِرَأْسِ الْأَمْرِ وَعَمُودِهِ وَذُرْوَةِ سَنَامِهِ؟ قُلْت: بَلَى يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ. قَالَ: رَأْسُ الْأَمْرِ الْإِسْلَامُ، وَعَمُودُهُ الصَّلَاةُ، وَذُرْوَةُ سَنَامِهِ الْجِهَادُ، ثُمَّ قَالَ: أَلَا أُخْبِرُك بِمَلَاكِ ذَلِكَ كُلِّهِ؟ فقُلْت: بَلَى يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ ! فَأَخَذَ بِلِسَانِهِ وَقَالَ: كُفَّ عَلَيْك هَذَا. قُلْت: يَا نَبِيَّ اللَّهِ وَإِنَّا لَمُؤَاخَذُونَ بِمَا نَتَكَلَّمُ بِهِ؟ فَقَالَ: ثَكِلَتْك أُمُّك وَهَلْ يَكُبُّ النَّاسَ عَلَى وُجُوهِهِمْ -أَوْ قَالَ عَلَى مَنَاخِرِهِمْ- إلَّا حَصَائِدُ أَلْسِنَتِهِمْ
On the authority of Muadh bin Jabal (may Allah be pleased with him) who said:
I said, “O Messenger of Allah, tell me of an act which will take me into Paradise and will keep me away from the Hellfire.” He (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, “You have asked me about a great matter, yet it is easy for him for whom Allah makes it easy: worship Allah, without associating any partners with Him; establish the prayer; pay the zakat; fast in Ramadhan; and make the pilgrimage to the House.” Then he (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, “Shall I not guide you towards the means of goodness? Fasting is a shield; charity wipes away sin as water extinguishes fire; and the praying of a man in the depths of the night.” Then he (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) recited: “[Those] who forsake their beds, to invoke their Lord in fear and hope, and they spend (charity in Allah’s cause) out of what We have bestowed on them. No person knows what is kept hidden for them of joy as a reward for what they used to do.” [as-Sajdah, 16-17] Then he (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, “Shall I not inform you of the head of the matter, its pillar and its peak?” I said, “Yes, O Messenger of Allah.” He (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, “The head of the matter is Islam, its pillar is the prayer and its peak is jihad.” Then he (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, “Shall I not tell you of the foundation of all of that?” I said, “Yes, O Messenger of Allah.” So he took hold of his tongue and said, “Restrain this.” I said, “O Prophet of Allah, will we be taken to account for what we say with it?” He (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, “May your mother be bereaved of you, O Muadh! Is there anything that throws people into the Hellfire upon their faces — or: on their noses — except the harvests of their tongues?”
2. The Heart
مَن خَشِيَ الرَّحمٰنَ بِالغَيبِ وَجاءَ بِقَلبٍ مُنيبٍ
“Those who fear the All-Merciful in the Unseen and come with a contrite heart.” Qur’an, 50: 33
3. The Intellect
You are what you think. You are how you think.
Be mindful of what you put into your mind just as much as you put into your body.
قَد خَسِرَ الَّذينَ كَذَّبوا بِلِقاءِ اللَّهِ ۖ حَتّىٰ إِذا جاءَتهُمُ السّاعَةُ بَغتَةً قالوا يا حَسرَتَنا عَلىٰ ما فَرَّطنا فيها وَهُم يَحمِلونَ أَوزارَهُم عَلىٰ ظُهورِهِم ۚ أَلا ساءَ ما يَزِرونَ
“Those who deny the meeting with Allah have lost, so that, when the Hour comes upon them suddenly, they will say, ‘Alas for how we neglected it!’ They will bear their burdens on their backs. How evil is what they bear!” Qur’an, 6: 31
وَمَا الحَياةُ الدُّنيا إِلّا لَعِبٌ وَلَهوٌ ۖ وَلَلدّارُ الآخِرَةُ خَيرٌ لِلَّذينَ يَتَّقونَ ۗ أَفَلا تَعقِلونَ
“The life of this world is nothing but a game and a diversion. The Next World is better for those who have taqwa. So will you not use your intellect?” Qur’an, 6: 32
4. The Limbs
إِنَّما يُؤمِنُ بِآياتِنَا الَّذينَ إِذا ذُكِّروا بِها خَرّوا سُجَّدًا وَسَبَّحوا بِحَمدِ رَبِّهِم وَهُم لا يَستَكبِرونَ ۩
“The people who truly do have iman in Our Signs are those who fall to the ground prostrating when they are reminded of them, and glorify their Lord with praise, and are not arrogant.” Qur’an, 32: 15
تَتَجافىٰ جُنوبُهُم عَنِ المَضاجِعِ يَدعونَ رَبَّهُم خَوفًا وَطَمَعًا وَمِمّا رَزَقناهُم يُنفِقونَ
“Their sides eschew their beds as they call on their Lord in fear and ardent hope. And they give of what We have provided for them.” Qur’an, 32: 16
إنَّ اللهَ قال : من عادَى لي وليًّا فقد آذنتُه بالحربِ ، وما تقرَّب إليَّ عبدي بشيءٍ أحبَّ إليَّ ممَّا افترضتُ عليه ، وما يزالُ عبدي يتقرَّبُ إليَّ بالنَّوافلِ حتَّى أُحبَّه ، فإذا أحببتُه : كنتُ سمعَه الَّذي يسمَعُ به ، وبصرَه الَّذي يُبصِرُ به ، ويدَه الَّتي يبطِشُ بها ، ورِجلَه الَّتي يمشي بها ، وإن سألني لأُعطينَّه ، ولئن استعاذني لأُعيذنَّه
Abu Hurayrah reported:
Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “Allah, the Exalted, has said: ‘I will declare war against him who treats with hostility a pious worshipper of Mine. And the most beloved thing with which My slave comes nearer to Me, is what I have enjoined upon him; and My slave keeps on coming closer to Me through performing voluntary prayers or doing extra deeds besides what is obligatory (nawafil) until I love him, so much so that I become his hearing with which he hears, and his sight with which he sees, and his hand with which he strikes, and his leg with which he walks; and if he asks Me something, I will surely give him, and if he seeks My Protection, I will surely protect him.” Sahih al-Bukhari, #386
Now put it all together.