Imam Marc continues his Saturday course discussing knowledge and its important place in Muslim life. This is part four.
From September 14th, 2019, Imam Marc continues his class, “Islam In-Depth”, discussing knowledge and Imam al-Ghazali’s Ihya.
We continue reading M. A. Draz’s “The Moral World of the Qur’an”.
“The Qur’an tells us that it is the sceptics or those in whose hearts is a disease who obey the law only inasmuch as they profit by it; while those who have faith submit to it unconditionally. The Qur’an not only extols generosity which is shown both in times of comfort and of adversity, and courage which braves hunger, thirst and tiredness, but it also severely condemns those who allow such inconveniences to prevent them from carrying out their duty.” — Draz, 28.
“When the divine law speaks, as it tells us in its own terms, it is not for any man or woman of the believers to have any choice about it. Can any stronger expression be found to establish the necessity with which duty is imposed?” — Draz, 28-29.
Scepticism, Transactional Theology, and Hypocrisy
لَقَد أَنزَلنا آياتٍ مُبَيِّناتٍ ۚ وَاللَّهُ يَهدي مَن يَشاءُ إِلىٰ صِراطٍ مُستَقيمٍ
وَيَقولونَ آمَنّا بِاللَّهِ وَبِالرَّسولِ وَأَطَعنا ثُمَّ يَتَوَلّىٰ فَريقٌ مِنهُم مِن بَعدِ ذٰلِكَ ۚ وَما أُولٰئِكَ بِالمُؤمِنينَ
وَإِذا دُعوا إِلَى اللَّهِ وَرَسولِهِ لِيَحكُمَ بَينَهُم إِذا فَريقٌ مِنهُم مُعرِضونَ
وَإِن يَكُن لَهُمُ الحَقُّ يَأتوا إِلَيهِ مُذعِنينَ
أَفي قُلوبِهِم مَرَضٌ أَمِ ارتابوا أَم يَخافونَ أَن يَحيفَ اللَّهُ عَلَيهِم وَرَسولُهُ ۚ بَل أُولٰئِكَ هُمُ الظّالِمونَ
“We have sent down Signs making things clear. Allah guides whomever He wills to a straight path. They say, ‘We believe in Allah and in the Messenger and we obey.’ Then after that a group of them turn away. Such people are not believers. When they are summoned to Allah and His Messenger, so that he can judge between them, a group of them immediately turn away. But if right is on their side, they come to him most submissively! Is there a sickness in their hearts or do they have misgivings or do they fear that Allah and His Messenger will be unjust to them? No, it is simply that they are wrongdoers.” — Qur’an 24: 46-50
Necessity and Moral Obligation
“…moral necessity is different from both physical necessity and logical necessity. Physical law exercises over our bodies a constraint to which we submit, involuntarily and inevitably; moral law, on the other hand, supposes freedom of choice; it is an obligation, but does not constrain us physically. From the beginning it leaves us the choice (at the risk of a later reaction) of whether to observe it or violate it. It is the primordial rule that the Qur’an ceaselessly proclaims, as much for the duty of faith as for practical virtue.” — Draz, 29.
لا إِكراهَ فِي الدّينِ ۖ قَد تَبَيَّنَ الرُّشدُ مِنَ الغَيِّ ۚ فَمَن يَكفُر بِالطّاغوتِ وَيُؤمِن بِاللَّهِ فَقَدِ استَمسَكَ بِالعُروَةِ الوُثقىٰ لَا انفِصامَ لَها ۗ وَاللَّهُ سَميعٌ عَليمٌ
“There is no compulsion in religion. Right guidance has become clearly distinct from error. Anyone who rejects false gods and has belief in Allah has grasped the Firmest Handhold, which will never give way. Allah is All-Hearing, All-Knowing.” — Qur’an 2: 256
مَن يُطِعِ الرَّسولَ فَقَد أَطاعَ اللَّهَ ۖ وَمَن تَوَلّىٰ فَما أَرسَلناكَ عَلَيهِم حَفيظًا
“Whoever obeys the Messenger has obeyed Allah. If anyone turns away, We did not send you to them as their keeper.” — Qur’an 4: 80
وَلَو شاءَ رَبُّكَ لَآمَنَ مَن فِي الأَرضِ كُلُّهُم جَميعًا ۚ أَفَأَنتَ تُكرِهُ النّاسَ حَتّىٰ يَكونوا مُؤمِنينَ
“If your Lord had willed, all the people on the earth would have believed. Do you think you can pressure people until they become believers?” — Qur’an 10: 99
فَذَكِّر إِنَّما أَنتَ مُذَكِّرٌ
لَستَ عَلَيهِم بِمُصَيطِرٍ
“So remind them! You are only a reminder. You are not in control of them.” — Qur’an 88: 21-22
Obedience and Moral Obligation Are In Themselves Guidance
قُل أَطيعُوا اللَّهَ وَأَطيعُوا الرَّسولَ ۖ فَإِن تَوَلَّوا فَإِنَّما عَلَيهِ ما حُمِّلَ وَعَلَيكُم ما حُمِّلتُم ۖ وَإِن تُطيعوهُ تَهتَدوا ۚ وَما عَلَى الرَّسولِ إِلَّا البَلاغُ المُبينُ
“Say: ‘Obey Allah and obey the Messenger. Then if they turn away he is only responsible for what he is charged with and you are responsible for what you are charged with. If you obey him, you will be guided.’ The Messenger is only responsible for clear transmission.” — Qur’an 24: 54
De Facto/De Jure
De facto: a state of affairs that is true in fact, but that is not officially sanctioned. “The general who sits at the head of the military is the de facto ruler of the nation.”
De jure: a state of affairs that is in accordance with law (i.e. that is officially sanctioned). “I know that, de jure, this is supposed to be a parking lot, but now that the flood has left four feet of water here, it’s a de facto swimming pool.”
“Thus, faced with duty, one has the choice de facto, but one does not have it de jure. Moral necessity is therefore not existential, but ideal.” — Draz, 29.
We continue our reading of M. A. Draz’s “The Moral World Of The Qur’an”, this week discussing whether or not Islam is a “universal religion”, meaning is the morality of the Qur’an universally binding: if so, how, and if not, then why should non-Muslims take its message seriously?
We continue our reading of M. A. Draz’s “The Moral World Of The Qur’an”, analyzing the authority of the Prophet, peace be upon him.
يا أَيُّهَا الَّذينَ آمَنُوا استَجيبوا لِلَّهِ وَلِلرَّسولِ إِذا دَعاكُم لِما يُحييكُم ۖ وَاعلَموا أَنَّ اللَّهَ يَحولُ بَينَ المَرءِ وَقَلبِهِ وَأَنَّهُ إِلَيهِ تُحشَرونَ
“O you who believe! Respond to Allah and to the Messenger when He calls you to what will bring you to life! Know that Allah intervenes between a man and his heart and that you will be gathered to Him.” — Qur’an 8: 24
عَنْ عَامِرِ بْنِ سَعْدٍ عَنْ أَبِيهِ قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم إِنَّ أَعْظَمَ الْمُسْلِمِينَ فِي الْمُسْلِمِينَ جُرْمًا مَنْ سَأَلَ عَنْ شَىْءٍ لَمْ يُحَرَّمْ عَلَى الْمُسْلِمِينَ فَحُرِّمَ عَلَيْهِمْ مِنْ أَجْلِ مَسْأَلَتِهِ
Amir b. Sa’d reported on the authority of his father that Allah’s Messenger ﷺ said: “The greatest sinner amongst the Muslims is one who asked about a thing from Allah’s Apostle which had not been forbidden for the Muslims and it was forbidden for them because of his persistently asking about it.” — Sahih Muslim #2358
عَنْ مُوسَى بْنِ طَلْحَةَ عَنْ أَبِيهِ قَالَ مَرَرْتُ مَعَ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم بِقَوْمٍ عَلَى رُءُوسِ النَّخْلِ فَقَالَ مَا يَصْنَعُ هَؤُلاَءِ فَقَالُوا يُلَقِّحُونَهُ يَجْعَلُونَ الذَّكَرَ فِي الأُنْثَى فَيَلْقَحُ فَقَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم مَا أَظُنُّ يُغْنِي ذَلِكَ شَيْئًا قَالَ فَأُخْبِرُوا بِذَلِكَ فَتَرَكُوهُ فَأُخْبِرَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم بِذَلِكَ فَقَالَ إِنْ كَانَ يَنْفَعُهُمْ ذَلِكَ فَلْيَصْنَعُوهُ فَإِنِّي إِنَّمَا ظَنَنْتُ ظَنًّا فَلاَ تُؤَاخِذُونِي بِالظَّنِّ وَلَكِنْ إِذَا حَدَّثْتُكُمْ عَنِ اللَّهِ شَيْئًا فَخُذُوا بِهِ فَإِنِّي لَنْ أَكْذِبَ عَلَى اللَّهِ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ
“Musa b. Talha reported, ‘I and Allah’s Messenger ﷺ happened to pass by people near the date-palm trees. He said, “What are these people doing?” They said, “They are grafting, to combine the male with the female trees to yield more fruit.” Thereupon Allah’s Messenger ﷺ said, “I do not find it to be of any use.” The people were informed about it and they abandoned this practice. Allah’s Messenger ﷺ was later informed that the yield had dwindled, whereupon he said, “If there is any use of it, then they should do it, for it was just a personal opinion of mine, and do not go after my personal opinion. But when I say to you anything on behalf of Allah, then do accept it, for I do not attribute lie to Allah’.” — Sahih Muslim #2361
باب وُجُوبِ امْتِثَالِ مَا قَالَهُ شَرْعًا دُونَ مَا ذَكَرَهُ صلى الله عليه وسلم مِنْ مَعَايِشِ الدُّنْيَا
Literally titled, “The Chapter On The Obligation To Obey What He Says With Regard To Matters Of Religion, But Not What He Says With Regard To Worldly Matters”.
وَإِن كادوا لَيَفتِنونَكَ عَنِ الَّذي أَوحَينا إِلَيكَ لِتَفتَرِيَ عَلَينا غَيرَهُ ۖ وَإِذًا لَاتَّخَذوكَ خَليلًا
وَلَولا أَن ثَبَّتناكَ لَقَد كِدتَ تَركَنُ إِلَيهِم شَيئًا قَليلًا
“They were very near to enticing you away from some of what We have revealed to you, hoping that you would invent something against Us. Then they would have taken you as their intimate. If We had not made you firm, you would have leaned towards them a little.” – Qur’an 17: 73-74