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June 24, 2005

Musings From the CAIR Article, Part I

I had originally said to PK that I wasn’t going to post for a while… but something came up.

I came across this CAIR news alert yesterday about several copies of the Qur’an that were covered in feces and left outside a predominantly-Muslim apartment building complex in Nashville, Tennessee. My immediate reaction was of anger; I was furious that Allah would allow people to disgrace His Book and I prayed that He punish the criminals behind this heinous act. After I calmed down and thought through this situation, I came to a few realizations which I’ll share below. I’m quite sure that there are some people who will certainly disagree with my conclusions–which is perfectly fine, since there’s nothing wrong with disagreeing with another person. The sign of spiritual and intellectual maturity, however, is not to let one’s disagreements distort the basic courtesy that every Muslim inherently deserves.

To proceed:

The first realization had to do with my immediate reaction of being upset and quite discombobulated over this incident. Clearly, what was done was a heinous and blasphemous act–I thought to myself, Why didn’t God strike these people down as they were in the middle of committing their actions? Why did He allow His Book to be disrespected like that? Thinking this original thought, I thought that it would be the perfect way for Allah to not only protect the Qur’an, but also to make an example of those who would seek to dishonor it. Allah declares this protection for the Qur’an in the verse, “Indeed, We have sent down this Reminder, and indeed We are its Guardian.” As my initial limbic system response faded, I was then reminded of numerous other occurrences in history that make this specific incident seem insignificant: the Ka`bah being destroyed multiple times, the destruction and desecration of numerous mosques, the murder of Prophets (such as some of those who were sent to the Children of Israel), the obliteration of graves of the Companions–all of these happened and they didn’t happen except by the Decree of God. Perhaps even more telling is that the most beloved creation to Allah, the Emissary of God (salallahu `alayhi wa sallam) himself was transgressed upon, physically wounded (as in the battle of Uhud), and made to suffer much psychological distress in this world. The fact is that these incidents did happen in history, and God allowed them to happen: “Thus is the Tradition of God, and you shall find no change in the Tradition of God“. In other words, these events happen not because “God fell asleep”; Dr. T.J. Winter once said that we often think that God has the universe in His hands like a ball and sometimes this ball slips out of his hands and thus out of his control. These incidents don’t declare that God is no longer in control; rather, they’re yet another manifestation of His Dominion over all things, because not only did He allow them to happen, but the long-term consequence of each of these aforementioned incidents is that the objects/people that were meant to be brought down were only elevated in the grand scheme of things. Similarly in this incident, a copy of the Qur’an may have been physically transgressed upon, but the fact remains that the majesty and nobility of the Qur’an itself is not found within mere pages of paper. In the `Aqidah Tahawiyyah (which is essentially the Creed of Ahl Sunnah wa’l-Jama`ah), the 33rd point states that the Qur’an is the uncreated Word of God–meaning that while the sanctity of the mushaf (copy) of the Qur’an definitely must be maintained, the Qur’an itself is not just the words on paper… it is far, far greater than that. “Nay, but it is a Glorious Qur’an. (inscribed) In a preserved tablet”.

This desecration of the pages upon which Qur’anic verses were written on is in reality, not a degradation of the Qur’an or of Allah. The Qur’an is not only in the Preserved Tablet: it is constantly recited by the angels; it has been recited by the Prophet and his Companions; it has been passed down from generation to generation in both written and oral forms; and its verses are contained in the hearts of millions of Muslims who have committed it to memory. Even when one recites it aloud, it is, as Shaykh Hamza explained it once, coming from silence, recited, and returning to silence. Imam al-Busiri further expounds on this in the Burdah:
Verses of truth from the Most Merciful newly heard
(as well as being ) eternal which is a quality (of God) of He who is described with eternity
The point is that the majesty, the noblity, the superiority, the glory, the magnificence, and the splendor that is the Qur’an is unimaginably grand such that no human attempts to degrade it would come close to even diminishing its true worth in the grand scheme of things by even an atom’s worth. Add God’s promise of protection to that, and it’s enough to boggle one’s mind.

The second realization is that the vast majority of these crimes are done out of sheer ignorance, thus necessitating that our response not be out of anger and instead take this ignorance into consideration. Not only are they done out of ignorance, but “their actions are made fair-seeming to them“, and thus they see it as goodness. This is nothing new: historically, it’s always been the same theme, the characters and minor plot details change with each generation. During the Makkah period, the enemies of the Prophet could be divided into two groups (this is more of a personal classification, understandably very Aristotleian in nature with much limitedness, but with enough usefulness): those who simply rejected for various reasons and those who not only rejected but mocked and ridiculed the Prophet and the Muslims (referenced to in the Qur’an as the mustahzi’een).

The first group, which included the likes of Abu Sufyan and Khalid b. Walid, rejected the Prophet and even went to war against him. Yet, they never mocked or scorned the Prophet; in fact, they spoke highly of him–when Abu Sufyan stood before the Byzantine Emperor, he truthfully praised the Prophet (salallahu `alayhi wa sallam). These people did their share of crimes, but nothing so heinous so as to warrant their damnation, as many of them (including Abu Sufyan and Khalid) end up converting and becoming amazing people in their own right. The second group, however, were a much more sinister lot (such as Abu Jahl and friends), about whom Allah says, “Verily, we shall suffice for you against the scoffers (mustahzi’een). Those who set up another god besides God; but soon they will come to know.” These fellows not only rejected, but they added to their disbelief with mockery and other such crimes–yet Allah tells the Prophet that He will deal with such people in due time. One salient example of their mockery and the Prophetic response was how they thought they were being clever by calling the Prophet “Mudhammam” (with a dhal), which means “reprobate or cursed” whereas Muhammad (salallahu `alayhi wa sallam) means “praised”. When he heard this insult of his name, he responded: “Isn’t it surprising that the injuries the Quraysh try to inflict are deflected away from me? They curse and satirize Mudhammam whereas I am Muhammad.”

Relate this to today: they insult the “Core-an” and “Moe-ham-med”/”Muh-haam-mad” and such… whereas one only refers to them by saying them properly in Arabic, saying each of the letters (especially the qaf in Qur’an and the hard ha in Muhammad) correctly. In other words, when they insult the “Core-an” or “Moe-ham-med”… God is deflecting their insults by not allowing them to say the correct terms properly. (This also enunciates the importance for Muslims themselves to learn the correct makhaarij [pronuncation] of Arabic words…) One might say this is just word play but this isn’t just a matter of semantics either, as the Prophet himself demonstrated this as God’s deflection of insults in the incident mentioned in the above paragraph. The point here is that there’s no reason for getting enraged; Allah is protecting this deen and all associated symbols (the Qur’an, the Prophet, etc) in ways that we cannot even fathom. There’s far too much at stake here for this Ummah to allow itself to be disquieted and thrown into disarray due to its anger over such matters. There’s too many things that need to be done that leave no room for anger to enter into the picture.

Besides, shaykh Yoda said it the best: “Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.” Wow, is there any aspect of life that Star Wars isnt applicable to?

I’ll post the second part later, but the other two realizations:

3. Our own relationship to the Qur’an

4. Don’t think they’ll escape His Punishment

 

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14 Comments
  1. Anonymous permalink

    im the HNIC….head nigga in cair….
    all i gotta say is that Allah is Just…
    nigger-ul-haq

  2. Anonymous permalink

    Thanks for that part on pronunciation; it truly gave me a new perspective. I’ve begun to disregard the fact that most people here can’t even say my name, despite that it’s four letters long.

  3. Masha’Allah, great post Kamran. What is your advice about learning Tajweed? What are some of the best ways that you would recommend (i.e. books, audio, video, software, joining a class, combinations of these?)
    Thanks,-Mohd

  4. Good post little squirrel.  Especially the part about deflecting. 

  5. i cant wait for the second part..
    good stuff man

  6. mashallah, a well written and informative entry

  7. to mohd: my advice, for whatever it’s worth, is to learn from a teacher. the person doesn’t have to be a scholar since learning the basic rules of tajweed (especially the pronunciation of the letters) really isn’t that difficult and there’s a lot of people who know them well. books aren’t that good because while they have all the rules exhaustively, they don’t have the actual sounds of the letters such that one can make sure that he/she is reciting the letter(s) properly. tapes/videos are somewhat better since you can check your recitation against the tape… but again, nothing beats learning it from someone such that he/she can help you along…. now mohd, just because i said he/she… don’t go “searching” for a female tajweed teacher… hehe.

  8. Anonymous permalink

    yo kr…isnt this the same thing that you said today for jummah?
    haha the ENTIRE time i was like “man i read his khutbah on his xanga right before i came here…”
    keep on pimpin
    nigger-ul-haq

  9. lol, you know me too well :)I will try to take advantage of any Tajweed learning courses I hear about Insha’Allah. May Allah reward you for your sincerity in helping me and May Allah also reward you immensely for all the good deeds done by those that you have helped. (Ameen).Thanks,Mohd

  10. Anonymous permalink

    good analysis, A-

  11. Anonymous permalink

    MashaAllah, its b/c of Khutbahs like these that you get invitations for conferences & khutbahs (& payaams) from all over the country. 

  12. Fi’lul hakeeme la yahkhlu aninl hikmah translated as…the actions of a wise person are never devoid of wisdom….then what about the decisions of Allah Al-Hakeem….The All-Wise? 

  13. 🙂 nice post masha’allah. 

  14. amen to tubelite

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