The Book of Faith – Session 1

From our new class at Middle Ground is The Book of Faith (Kitāb al-īman) from the ḥadīth collection, Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim. In this reading, Imam Marc Manley teaches from Imām al-Nawawī’s commentary (sharḥ).

In this session, session one, Imam Marc Manley discusses the foundational ḥadīth, Ḥadīth Jibril, ‎ﷺ.

The Importance of Establishing Your Own Faith

Skepticism: not sure that you can even know anything.

Cynicism: not really matters.

Nihilism: the rejection of all religious and moral principles, often in the belief that life is meaningless.

Many of us have substituted personal faith, personal convictions, personal principles for abstracts: justice, equality, etc.

But what happens if you are unable to attain (different than strive for) justice or equality?

Abstractions: progress. We are fed a myth of progress but what progress can there be without a personally held belief and conviction in God?

This is why so many have turned to activism as a substitute, not a supplement, to faith, religion, and deen.

Many of us are unaware of the tyranny we live under: the tyranny of ideas and abstractions that coerce us into expressing our Islam through it. And often when we are unwilling or unable to do so, we jettison Islam in favor of this new form of revelation.

Knowledge, experience, and meaning: this is our crisis but it’s also our way out.

Knowledge of la ilaha illa’Allah, as witnessed through the creation.

Experiencing Allah’s oneness, power, mercy, wisdom, judgment, etc.

Putting these two together to conclude: there is meaning to life.

Treating the problem: stop seeing Islam as some sort of abstract collection of beliefs, rules, and regulations. There are rules, but they are part of a grander goal, objective and meaning.

The downside of this approach with our Islam is we tend to look at all problems and challenges in life theoretically, whereby real situations are reduced to mere possibilities and the people around us are reduced to objects.

Real situations are reduced to mere possibilities: we must have an Islamic state/society or our Islam cannot be fully realized.

The people around us are reduced to objects: non-Muslims/the kafir is [wrongfully seen] as something to either overcome, subdue, or if unable to accomplish that goal, assimilate to and subjugate ourselves to their rubric of reality.

Surah al-‘Asr [Qur’an 103: 1-3] and the Fundamentals of Reality:

إِنَّ الإِنسانَ لَفي خُسرٍ
إِلَّا الَّذينَ آمَنوا وَعَمِلُوا الصّالِحاتِ وَتَواصَوا بِالحَقِّ وَتَواصَوا بِالصَّبرِ

  1. By the passage of time (and no matter the time), Man is lost [1-2].
  2. Except for the ones which [3]:
    • Personally believe and
    • Do good works.
  3. Faith/conviction of immutable morals/truths give one the strength to overcome, not others, but oneself.
  4. One’s ability to purify and dominate one’s self allows one to act selflessly (good works).
  5. From there one is ready work with a collective, striving for
    • the Truth and
    • persevere through all forms of adversity.

Understanding Islam – Explorations on Faith

[Direct download]

Also see Part II.

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