Allah (SWT), the Sufficient One; Al-Qur’an, the Complete Guide

By Akber Hameer  – (Dar es Salaam, Tanzania)

 Alif Laam-Meem Raa. These are the signs of the Scripture. And what has been sent down to you from your Lord is the truth; but most of the people do not believe…. Surah 13 verse 1.

Here is a small attempt at demonstrating how Allah (SWT) is the Sufficient One and how the Holy Qur’an is a complete guide to humankind, with the help of Qur’anic verses.

Allah (SWT) – the Sufficient One

“And there is not a (living) creature on the earth but on Allah is the sustenance of it, and He knows its dwelling place and its repository. All (things) are in a manifest book” (11:6)

“And if Allah afflicts you with harm, then there is none to remove it but He; and if He intends good for you there is none to repel His grace; He brings it to him who He pleases of His servants; and He is All-Forgiving, All-Merciful.” (10:107)

“Allah will soon bring about ease after difficulty” (65:7)

“What Allah wills (happens). There is no power save in Allah” (18:39)

“Allah is sufficient for us, and the most excellent Protector” (3:173)

“And I entrust my affair to Allah, Surely Allah sees the servants” (40:44)

“There is no god but You’ glory be to You; surely I am of the unjust” (21:87)

“My Lord, surely I’m in need of whatever good You may send down to me” (28:24)

“My Lord leave me not alone; and You are the best of inheritors” (21:89)

Al-Qur’an – The Complete Guide

“Shall I seek other than God as a judge, when He has revealed to you this book fully detailed? Those who received the scripture recognize that it has been revealed from your Lord, truthfully. You shall not harbor any doubt.” (Quran 6:114)

 “…We have revealed to you this book to provide explanations for everything, and guidance, and mercy, and good news for the Submitters.” (Quran 16:89)

 “The word of your lord is complete, in truth and justice. Nothing shall abrogate his words. He is the Hearer, the Omniscient.” (Quran 6:115)

 “In their history, there is a lesson for those who possess intelligence. This is not a fabricated saying; THIS (Quran) authenticates all previous scriptures, provides the details of everything, and is a beacon and mercy for those who believe.” (Quran 12:111)

“Say: If the ocean were used for the words of my Lord, the ocean would run out, before the words of my lord run out, even if we double its supply.” (Quran 18:109)

 Perhaps it is only prudent that I add here a couple of extracts from a letter written by Imam Ali A.S. to Harith Hamdani…….

 “Never forsake the orders, instructions and advice given by the Holy Qur’an.”

 “So far as presumptions of actions and things, lawful, legitimate and allowable or unlawful, forbidden and prohibited are concerned, accept the rulings of the Holy Book.”

Source: Nahjul Balagha, Vol. II, Letters # 69 & 68

Share Button

3G’s of Modern Urban Societies

By Mohamedarif M Suleman  – (Nairobi, Kenya)

After constantly reading about the 4P’s of this and the 3C’s of that, it is no doubt that the title of this article must have caught your eye.  So if it has, and the if the fascination to the title has subsided into realism, then comprehend that this is perhaps list of shame, as you may choose to call it.  The 4P’s of Marketing and the 3C’s of Knowledge are perhaps associated with the “How to..” manuals of living but when it comes to the 3G’s of modern urban societies, there is little to learn from it.

Glamour, Glitz and Gaiety.

In a recent letter published in a business monthly in East Africa, the writer – a Christian by name, criticizes the paradoxical role that big beverage companies play in the positive direct development of nations against a ghastly backdrop of devastation for the youth.  The youth.  A word Khoja Shia Ithnasheries are so fond of for the last three decades, or more that this statement alone is bound to nurture further flavour for the subject at hand.  David, the Writer, tragically states, “An increase in teenage alcohol consumption is putting youngsters at risk.  Teenagers are binge drinking at a younger age and nobody seems to be caring.  Substance abuse experts are also reporting people as young as 16 years with alcohol dependence and say easy access to alcoholic drinks is the main contributing factor.”

He further ensues, “An important current feature of young people’s drinking is the importance of the “buzz”.  Many young people now drink in order to get drunk.  Drunkenness is widely tolerated, indeed positively approved…It is this pattern that tends to receive celebrity endorsement in young people’s media and it is reflected in the common assumption that if young party-goers can remember what they were doing, then they cannot have had a very good time; quite unfortunate indeed.”

While David’s concerns are vociferous, categorical and focused, they are buried in a heap of troubles and tragedies that have befallen our new generation that is slowly taking them away from the promise of eternal bliss and into the vicinity of the grand inferno.  With that, each one of us, members of our respective societies stand equally punishable by divine law as we shun the true realities of modern day urban living and hide beneath the culture of “My child? Never.”, or “We like to mind our own business”.

The New World Order prescribes, propagates and preaches to our young, right under our noses that Glamour (G1), oops read nudity and attitude, Glitz (G2), symbolic of Shaitan’s promise to Allah (SWT) of a glittery world embezzling the “your followers”, and gaiety (G3), sexual permissiveness, whether within the same sex or with the opposite gender, but necessarily for enjoyment and devoid of responsibility and boundaries.  But are we alive and awake to this fundamental ritual that is intoxicating our youths at an alarming rate and with the speed of woodpecker, to borrow from a rarely-used cliché?

Gentlemen and ladies, to hide behind the cultural barrier in thinking that your child is receiving the same spiritual attention as you did when you were an adolescent, then this is fallacy of its utmost kind.  For the pressures, the demands and the prerequisites of membership into youth groupings not only tolerate, but make available all of these 3Gs in aplenty.  One should neither read this article in a personalized spirit, nor should the content be translated to mean that all of our youths are prey to these vices.  Nay, undoubtedly, there will be many exceptions to this rule, but to imagine without information, background or sufficient knowledge that Shaitan, who once cleverly tried to influence even a Prophet against his own parents (recall the incident of Nabi Ismail before the sacrifice), is truly reflective of our ignorance, naievity and helpless agony.

This call is to all parents.  Regardless of our manners of upbringing, we must borrow heavily from that incident of Shaitan’s woeful attempt, because we are worse off today then people were at that time.  Then, Shaitan was ensembling disguises to stray his prey, today he is everywhere – in the form of alcoholic and drug pushing football stars, who our sons revere; in the form of gorgeous young female pop and cinema stars barely covering their bodies, who our daughters adore and wish to model; in the form of indirect invitations through friends, television, movies, music, the internet towards more bold professions such as modeling, and the like, which our children collectively watch and swoon over; in the form of constant reminders by advertisers, movie makers, newspapers, lifestyle magazines that one must gratify audaciously their desires for sex, power and money.  In all their innocence, our children, not superior in creative design to the besieged Prophet, continue to be at a massive disadvantage against this embodiment of evil and deceit.

If all parents, bolt up their act, not aggressively but within the friendly and calm atmosphere that they have carved in the homes (hopefully), and monitor with effectiveness and astute leadership; if they indeed redirect and divert the interest in symbols and celebrities of bad to those of the good, then the prayer in the qunoot of this day of ‘Idd (Wa an-tudkhilani fi kulli khayrin Muhammad wa ‘aale Muhammad, wa an tukhrijani min kulli soo-in Muhammadan wa ‘aale Muhammad…) will be actualized in all of our lives.

It is strange to think that whereas children growing up in the 1930s had little access to pornographic material or the power to purchase vice, parents were rather strict and aware.  In the 2000s, we claim to be more aware, more enlightened and more educated, and despite acknowledging the superior power that our children yield, we sometimes behave as though they are far more responsible than even we are.  So, in the final analysis, who is a more efficient parent – the one in 1930, or we the modern day urban-thinking, cash-oriented ones? And how do you reflect on David’s sentiment anyway on the unrestrained power that commerce has over our children?

Share Button

Of Honourable Morals…

By Mohamedarif Suleman,

Nairobi, Kenya

If there is one very significant trait of a Muslim, it has got to be related to manners, etiquettes, or what has been referred to as honourable morals. When Allah (SWT) referred to His creation this: “And indeed you are of a great moral character” (Al Qalam:4), He was not only praising the seal of the Prophets (SAW), but was as well, setting a standard for his followers to emulate.

Khateeb Uthman Dhumayrihhah, in his sermon on Truthfulness and Honourable Manners, states, “High morals are the protecting fortresses which Muslims seek security in and the Holy Prophet (SAW) pointed to its importance when he said: “I was sent to perfect honourable morals.”…”

The trouble is, like everything else, morals and morality today have modified meanings and abridged comprehensions. Whereas Islam, through its Messenger (SAW) has always propagated the need for high moral standards in society as a way to creating harmony and respect for others, the new Global Culture, whose victims and subscribers are resident in the younger generation across the world today, has other messages to imprint in our minds through the potent vehicles of information and technology at their disposal.

In the scheme of things, a class calibrated society that adopts “equal opportunities” for all is a paradox of the highest nature. But it exists in our midst. The developers of this class society, which dictates the honour and repute of a person on the basis of his or her wealth and possessions, is concurrently spreading the use of information, communications and technology on the pretext of its ability to be “democratic” and universally progressive. So, what makes this so unusual? Naturally, from the time immemorial, the aristocratic class of any society, have even shed innocent blood in order to protect their privileged lifestyle, and have never been known to accommodate those lower in the wrung to enjoy similar, let alone equal benefits.

But we must be able minded to understand that the main agenda is not to create prosperity, that of course is a by product which then enables the further success of such actions. The main agenda is to spread a culture of irreligiousness or moderation, as it is nowadays known as. And yet, whereas we must not dare to exclude ourselves from this technological revolution lest we are left behind, we must also ever shun what we must call responsible practice and logical knowledge simulation.

The very anti-religious concepts such as “live-in” partnerships, homosexuality and lesbianism, coupled with the need and desire for the fulfillment of physical and material needs, that were not very long ago mocked at, have today found unchallenging acceptance in most societies. The result? Young people all over the world are questioning the motives of the leaders as to why they should not allow people to practice their sexual and material preferences. Today, no one is prepared to accept that the basic objection is based on each and every religion, and therefore accepting such sinful activities, are tantamount to atheism or nihilism. For once, man and woman are getting above their gods.

The rot is rapidly spreading into the Muslim youth at an incredible rate. The new world order mow says that you can wear open clothes in a strictly Hindu setting and at a family gathering in front of their godly idols (see Indian Channel TV dramas); that what once were harmless embraces between to (Muslim) brothers can today be interpreted as gay culture which is not in any way bad (see Western Films and Pop Culture), that respect for the elders on a matter if right and wrong is subordinate and insignificant, and where the determination of right and wrong is one’s own prerogative.

When the former US President Bill Clinton underwent the Lewinsky scandal, the writing was on the wall that Americans (Global culture) can forgive obscenity but not lies. And the punishment for such lies was “censure”.

As Muslims, isn’t it about time we thought hard on how to divert this negative influence on society and on our youths? Don’t we owe it to the Holy Prophet’s (SAW) mission to save our own generations from going completely astray?

Share Button

What is the Role of a Masjid?

By Mohamedarif Suleman

When we look at a typical day in the life of a practicing Muslim, we find that going to the mosque is probably one of the most frequent activities of all. If we confine our view to the Khoja World, those living in East Africa are blessed with the ease of transport, shorter distance and a comparatively accommodating lifestyle. Those of us settled in the West, have lesser such opportunity to visit our Centers on, say, a daily basis. And when we go to the Middle East, we see that Arabs (non Khojas) are very prompt in prayers so much that they would leave their places of work and head for the nearest mosque at the call of the Muezzin. Some of us have perhaps even experienced a cab driver asking us to wait while he attends to his Zohr prayers.

It, therefore, goes without saying that the mosque has a central role in our lives – one that by virtue of its high recommendation is a place where we meet and greet people of all types. Yet, if we were to carry out a survey of the five most basic reasons why going to the mosque is so significant, besides engaging in prayer, that is, we would have so many different answers to this question, that it would lead us to some other conclusions altogether. For instance, get togethers are a common reason given when one is asked about this. For others, it is simply conforming to the society that they live in. Yet, so many more Muslims keep away from the mosque because they feel it is the center of gossip and social slander. Because we are still not enlisting the real reasons why we go to the mosque, and by that extension the real role of Masjids, it would be interesting to listen to all these divergent views for most of them are happening in practice.

For Khojas, the picture is more complex. Because we are a closed community, we tend to become focal points of discussion in groupings that frequently meet at the mosque in both the negative and the positive sense. The mosque then assumes the role of an information center, but that of course would only be fine had the information been used for positive purposes and intentions of assisting others out of their plights. Does that happen in reality? Maybe. Maybe not.

Another very old reason for going to the mosque for some is because that is the place they would showcase their latest possessions – off road vehicles, mobile phones, clothes and so on. The praise resulting out of all of this, would make it worthwhile for someone to be there.

All the above, do not necessarily represent each and every one’s reasons for going to the mosque, but they do happen nevertheless. But in the eyes of Imam Hasan al Mujtaba (AS), going to the mosque has some very specific objectives. He is quoted to have said in Tuhfool Aqool, “The one who continues his visits (going and coming) to the mosque lays his hands upon one of the eight benefits: (1) Finding a beneficial brother; (2) Getting to know one of the decisive verses; (3) Fresh knowledge; (4) A Mercy waiting for him; (5) A word leading to the guidance; (6) An admonition averting from sin; (7) Not committing a sin out of shame; (8) Not committing sin for the fear of Allah (SWT).

We now have to ask ourselves why we go to the mosque, or why does the entire Muslim Umma for that matter, go to the mosque. The answers will have to be our own sincere admissions of whether we derive any of these eight benefits after all. Or if we do not, then what are our reasons for going to the mosque, and in correspondence, what are our gains in that respect.

Apart from what has been declared, going to the mosque, and at times rushing so apparently as to draw the attention of all, is nothing more than a ritual that shares with us the reward from praying on time and in the mosque, but an action that fails to profit from the hidden reasons that have been kept for us.

May Allah (SWT) guide us all to appreciate our actions, and to understand those actions that have been ordained upon us, Ameen.

Share Button

The Men We Love to Hate

By Fatima Ali Jaffer

There is no doubt that the main bone of contention between the Ahle Sunnah and the Shia is the issue of succession. The breach that was created after the Prophet (SAW) has grown wider and deeper over the passing centuries and because of the severity of the accusations involved, it is extremely important that we have a clear and, most importantly, united stand regarding this matter.

The acceptance of Imam Ali (AS) as the rightful Wasi of the Holy Prophet (SAW) is necessary part of belief. It is the yardstick by which the faithful have always been and will always be measured. Being so essential, it must be treated with the gravity it deserves.

In the past, our forefathers took one extreme by condemning those who did not accept Imam Ali (AS) without hesitation and our generation has, in rebellion, tended towards the other in trying to blend all differences to form an outward expression of Islam acceptable to all sects. In both cases, we forgot the basic rule of being a Muslim – maintain balance. In the present times especially, it is essential that we have one strong foot against the enemies of Islam, whilst also holding on firmly to the essence of our Shia faith.

The line between unity and distinction in Islam is extremely fine and it grows thinner by the generation. There is on one hand, a dire need to present a united front to the non-Muslimes who are using inter-sect hostility to attack Islam (and succeeding dangerously well) and on the other, an equally urgent need to define the differences between the Shia and other sects.

It is our failure in the latter that is my concern. For many of us, Idd-e-Zahra has been the symbol of the ‘Shia-vs-Sunni’ battle. Every year, we learn of the same incident about the same person, laugh at its ovel re-telling, rejoice in being on the side of Truth and then go home satisfied in the knowledge that we have done our duty. In doing this, we have actually weakened our defences. I do not criticize the celebration of this Idd. Far from it. In reality, the problem lies not in the fact that we observe Idd-e-Zahra, but that we do only this.

The plot to grab the seat of power was not hatched overnight. It was the result of a complex series of extremely intelligent and cunning moves and Saqifa was the fruit of many evil labours. By reducing the severity of these crimes and laughing at their perpetrators, we have only succeeded in creating clowns out of criminals. As a result it becomes difficult to see the men we mock for their ignorance of Islam as sly political geniuses capable of torture and murder. Even our disgust with them takes on a mildly amused form.

Restricting the debate between Shia and Sunni to Khilafat alone also raises problems because it refuces the case to a power struggle, which it has never been. Originally, the split may have revolved aroud the rejection of Imam Ali (AS) as Divine Imam but with time, these differences have spread to other areas so that today, the Shia and the Sunni are separated in matters of belief (Tawheed, Adalat nd predestination) as well as practice (Salaat, Saum and other rules of Fiqh).

Over the years we have judged the Ahle Sunnah for accepting the leadership of the Munafiqeen without hesitation. Yet, anyone who has read Peshawar Nights, Then I Was Guided and the many other Sunni-Shia dialogues now available, will immediately realize that a high percentage of our Sunni brothers and sisters are not aware of the true history of either Islam of the issue of Khilafat. How fair is it to hold that ignorance against them? Does it not make more sense to first invite them to learn more and then judge them on their affiliation after this?

It is true that Khilafat is the root of division in Islam and cursing those involved in its manipulation is compulsory upon every Shia, but without solid foundations this enmity serves no purpose except to lower the intellectual level of the debate.

Besides, in most cases, simply stating the historical truth about the doings of these people is much more effective in the insulting department. By the time you finish with the list of their offences, you may realize that name-calling is really too good for them!

Share Button