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Thoughts on the Current Crisis, Part I

July 18, 2006

kr’s note: Once again, in the wake of current events, I’ve been ask to share my thoughts and commentary on the recent happenings in the Middle East. It’s perhaps ludicrous to think that my thoughts have any merit, but for whatever it’s worth, what follows are my thoughts to the on-going discussions. I’ve tried to refrain from cliches such as, “damn the yahood” and “the Arabs need be united”, etc., refrains that have been circulating throughout the Muslim Ummah for decades now, with little to no positive effects. Instead, my thoughts about this stem forth from re-reading some notes I happened to be flipping through from a tafseer session with Shaykh Amin, dated May 14, 2006.

Anyway, I’m a moron, so read at your own risk… Each paragraph has a point to it, which is fairly obvious, but will be tied together, Inshallah, at the end.

It is said that envy is one of the seven deadly sins, and perhaps the devil’s favorite for it was this, according to some scholars, that served as the root cause for his outward display of arrogance towards his nemesis, our forefather, Adam (`alayhi’l-salaam). It is a repugnant trait for one to have, especially since it is showing displeasure at the Divine Decree–the envier implicitly saying that God erred in His bestowing of a favor or removal of a hardship on someone, and as if the envier knew better than God. Envy, in addition to breeding arrogance, sires other feelings: a sense of entitlement, a feeling of exclusiveness, and perhaps most dangerous of all, an inferiority complex towards humanity. It is indiscriminate in who it afflicts, caring not for race, religion, economic level, or time-space.

What does any of that have to do with the present situation?

An examination of the Children of Israel, historically at least, sheds some light as to how this feeling was the root cause and explanation for their actions and decisions. While many places may serve as an appropriate start, their collective attitude towards the great Prophet Musa (upon whom be peace) is a case study towards understanding current developments. When Allah says in 2:57 that He conferred upon them food from heaven (manna and salwa), not only halal (lawful) but tayyib (goodly, pure) as well, He then says that “…and We did not wrong them but rather they wronged their own selves.” The direct object (maf`ul)–meaning “their own selves” is further brought before the verb, which in the standards of eloquence adds emphasis to their act. Now, the question is how/why did they wrong their own selves? It was because their state of mind could not perceive these blessings and what they had to do to show proper gratitude after having received them. Since they didn’t want to show thanks, they instead found fault with the Law, and especially found fault with Musa himself due to their envy. Their problem with Musa:
1. their children were killed while he lived
2. Musa was raised by the Pharoah in luxury while they lived as slaves
3. Musa was a fugitive, a criminal, a murderer who now returns as a chosen Prophet with the honor of delivering them
4. the same Musa who grew up in the lap of luxury received the Torah
5. the food, to them, was a “cover-up” for their being lost in the desert and thus they regarded it as cheap
6. now they were being told to do silly things such as going into the town and saying “Hittah” (lit. meaning “reduction” in Hebrew, but with the implications of “forgiveness”

In short, it was all about them, it was never about Allah and even when one of their own was honored and told them something that they didn’t want to hear, their envy created this sort of response. And thus they go into the town, finally after generations, and instead of going as they were commanded–prostrate and saying “hitta”–they entered by dragging their backsides on the ground and saying “hattah” (Hebrew for crawling on one’s bottom). Their envy created an inferiority complex, coupled with their ingenuity (for they were experts of tahrif [changing letters and sounds to give new meanings, often contrary, to words]), leading to them resorting to verbal trickery and perversion of truth, linguistically, as their only resort. Sound familiar?

Before we continue, this isn’t your typical anti-semitic diatribe that you might hear from Joe (I should prolly say Yusuf?) Arab-Muslim since I have nothing against the Jews–they are the followers of a Prophet who was the most like ours, and we respect them as Adamic brothers and religious cousins. In fact, this historical shpeel, as hopefully it will be made clear shortly, is to understand group envy and how it now is afflicting the Muslims at present–remember the line earlier about envy being indiscriminate as to whom it afflicts?  The story becomes even more interesting, given then the context of 2:60, wherein Musa (`alayhi’l-salam) asks for water for his people when they are in the desert. So Musa sought (istasqa’…this is a word that requires a separate discussion, since there are chapters in the books of fiqh dedicated to this knowledge), with the “fa” following it indicating a result, i.e., that he asked appropriately. Now, what’s interesting in light of that is on one hand, the fact that the water gushed forth from a rock is miraculous, especially a rock in the middle of a barren desert. Prophet Musa asked Allah for something that is not usually done, something out of the norm–getting water in the middle of the desert–so Allah in turn asked him to do something that is not normally done–seek water from the rock. It confounds logic–why would a rock be a place from where one should seek water? It doesn’t make any sense. Yet this is exactly one of the highest levels of relationship between the Divine and the servant, a back-and-forth relationship of `ishq (passionate love) and a willingness to put aside logic and reasoning when the Divine asks one to do something. I think you see where this is going with the power of du’a and worship, but more on this later…

On the other hand, Allah told Musa to use a staff, instead of an axe or a hammer, etc., with the lesson here being that God doesn’t need to use brute physical force to provide His Servants with things. Not only is He above using the means of the natural world to accomplish His Decrees, but He can use such means, altering them in different ways so as to shake our vaunted understanding of such means. In other words, common sense tells us that a staff shouldn’t be able to break a rock, but Allah uses that medium, as if to say that if one follows the Letter and Spirit of the Law, just as Musa did, streams of knowledge, power, and success, parallelling the streams of water, will burst forth. And the kicker: the staff wasn’t special, it was Musa, the one who spoke to God Himself, who made the staff special. When he submitted, he submitted through his understanding and sincerity towards the Lord of the Worlds, and thus Allah gave him more.

The “fa” used, in “fa’nfajarat”, implies immediacy, that as soon as Musa did this, the water came–bursting forth, literally exploding–twelve springs for twelve tribes, each one knowing their place of drinking. And while this may seem simple, but human beings need water. Even in that climate, the issue at hand was Musa’s people being able to find water, especially in that harsh climate. Thus, they received water, twelve springs that provided abundant water (and still continue to flow even to this day… I had the opportunity to view the mountain wherein these springs are located on the way back from Hajj, alhamdulillah). Yet, despite this, they continued to bicker and fight over the water, and thus they were made into people that would lack water and would constantly be in need to search for a steady supply of it. Why is this relevant? It’s worth noting that the main issue over the significance of the Gaza strip is that this land contains the only fresh water supply into the state of Israel. Thus, even now, as it was thousands of years ago, the fight is over water… history repeats itself.

I’m sleepy. Part II… whenever I get to it. Or if someone gives me a good reason to write up part II, I’ll try posting it sooner… maybe Thursday or Friday. Maybe.

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27 Comments
  1. May Allah (SWT) ease the pain and remove the oppression of Muslims all over the world, especially in Lebanon.

  2. ^ ameen to the du’as.
    i enjoyed reading this post because i’ve never heard of the crisis discussed in this light before. i’m REALLY looking forward to part 2 (is that enough motivation for ya?) =)

  3. Anonymous permalink

    may allah help the muslims in every nation
    what can we as muslims do to help the situation out?

  4. Anonymous permalink

    Ameen to the dua’as…
    all this makes me really sad…may Allah help us all…
    nigger-ul-haq

  5. Anonymous permalink

    WOW!Im speechless reading your entry.it’s good.

  6. As usual KR, a level-headed spiritual insight into current events… and as usual, a few days late 😛
    Im messing, this was great. How about your motivation to writing part II should be that so far, amongst everything that I’ve heard, this makes the most sense… and I think I can see where you’re going with the Qur’anic/historical information to relate it to what’s going on now.

  7. Can you stop using the word “Adamic”? Thanks.
    Your friend,
    qidas

  8. ^lol at qidas
    Oh yeah, this was a stellar post. Can’t wait for Part Two.

  9. i liked this post mostly because of its deep Quranic connection.
    you should more of these.
    supar dupar.
    ws

  10. Jabbi Mahi kr ka post paru mera dil divana bolay olay olay olay olay olay!

  11. I’m gonna wait to see where you go with this before I post a real comment.

  12. Good stuff kamkam…can’t wait for the later parts…

  13. LOL @ maulanaMUSCLES!

  14. Subhanallah. A timely reminder about the pitfalls of arrogance. Am eagerly waiting for Part 2…

  15. Asalamu Alaykum…. really insightful post. I am also eagerly waiting for Part II haha.Random Props from your much younger bro in Islam,Osman

  16. The 24-hr news networks seem to think that this crisis is the beginning of World War 3. I think that’s more than a little bit extreme. The rest of the world seems content to sit back and watch Israel and Hezbollah duke it out. Does anyone out there think this is World War 3?

  17. I have a question about envy. It’s wrong to desire something that someone else has, and beyond that feel as if you should have been the one bestowed with that blessing, right? But is it wrong to simply see something in someone else that you lack and then wish that you, too, could have that quality or possession?

  18. Uzma Ansari (Nazeer) used to tell us the same thing when she used to teach my world history class. It’s all about the water…

  19. ^envy becomes despicable when, as you said, one wants something “x” that another has and also feels that this other person doesnt deserve to have it.there is a permissible and virtuous envy (ghibtah) wherein if one sees someone with something good, one wishes to also have it, and praises Allah for giving that thing to the person, and prays that this person continues to have/increase that blessing. in other words, for example, if i see a baller uncle who gives out a lot of money to charitable causes, then it’s allowed for me to wish and pray that i too become a baller so i can give like that uncle, and that i recognize that Allah’s wisdom made for that man to be so wealthy, and that i should pray that this man continues to be wealthy and giving with no harm coming to him. the danger of envy is that it is accompanied by the evil eye (aka “nazr” in urdu) which has serious ramifications in the metaphysical realm. this is why the Prophet said “The evil eye is true”… interestingly enough, it is said in the Qur’an about the Children of Israel, “…(out of envy) from amongst their own selves”. envy leads to one having an evil eye towards others, which often brings harm to that person–physically, spiritually, etc. that’s the problem with hating, its that even if youre not aware of it, hating hurts the person, and makes you responsible for that. i hate to end this with a sad note, but the fact is that the current American Muslim community, unfortunately, is full of envious people who have the evil eye and ill-will towards their own brethren (especially ones that are wealthier, better educated, religious, better looking, etc.) and towards the world at large. that’s kind of what i was aiming towards addressing in part 2.in short:1. one should avoid having envy and the evil eye towards any human being, but especially towards the Muslims2. one should recite appropriate ayahs, du’as, and litanies daily to protect one’s self from the evil eye and ill-will of other people.

  20. I’ve never heard this type of correlation between the past and present situation of the world together. Alhmdullilah, I’m really glad I asked. Looking forward to reading part II…

  21. Anonymous permalink

    Your long awaited props are finally here. Btw you still owe me 50 bucks for last month’s eprops. Remember, we had an agreement.
    Oh and good post too. Interesting read.

  22. I think many people have the misconception that the Muslim World in the Middle East hate Jews. It is not the Jews we hate, its the Jewish State, more specifically its government and regime, that we oppose.

  23. “Anyway, I’m a moron, so read at your own risk..”
    lol

  24. Jazakallahu Khayrun

  25. lol, you are “currently unable to answer the phone right now?”

  26. Interesting stuff. I am curious for Part II. Some people have been asking me the history behind the Jewish-Muslim conflict in the light of today’s war, and why they tend not to ever get along. So this will be a good learning experience for me too Insha Allah.

  27. yo…homie…see you next week in Chicago…
    btw..nice post…

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