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Shaykh Salman al-Oudah’s Ramadan Letter to Osama Bin Laden

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A slighly modified version of this was cross-posted on Dailykos.com

This letter has already made the rounds on a few Muslim blogs, but the importance of this message and its underlying beauty of style and content deserve its reading in every Muslim and non-Muslim household. oudah.jpgSo, I have appended below the entire letter of Shaykh Salman al-Oadah to Osama Bin Laden. As Muslims, we know that a letter like this can affect the militant and terrorist tendencies of some extreme elements among Muslims a million times more than what a military response or any other Western campaign to “win hearts and minds” could accomplish.

 

In essence, when Al-Oadah says something, people listen, especially the youth. osama.jpgI think it is easy to understand why something like this would have a greater affect on extremists than other avenues. Let’s consider the example of an ignorant Muslim who makes sajdah to the graves (i.e. engages in grave-worshipping). There would be a much better chance that he would stop doing so if some some scholar or “peer” that he follows tells him that this is polytheism, compared to a “wahhabi sheikh”. You get the point.

 

Another important benefit of this statement is that it counters the charge of clerics promoting extremism in the Muslim world. The muftis of Saudi, for instance, strongly condemned 9/11 (see here). Recently, we posted a response to the OBL video, including a response video from Dr. Ali Shehata (see here). In fact, when I was organizing Texas Dawah in Houston in 2003, we set up a live videolink with Shaykh Ibn Jibreen, the grand-scholar from Saudi. The conference was much maligned in the media and Ibn Jibreen was called out for his “support” of Osama. Obviously, this was untrue. Otherwise we would have never supported such an event. As it happened, with FOX Noise in the room, the Shaykh condemned 9/11, and spoke about harmony and peace, completely spoiling FOX’s storyline :) To be fair though, I must say that they did air a positive news story on the conference, amazingly!

A Ramadan Letter to Osama bin Laden from Salman al-Oadah

Sheikh Salman b. Fahd al-Oadah, the general supervisor of IslamToday.net, delivered the following address to Osama bin Laden live on NBC television on 14 September, 2007, which corresponds to the second day of Ramadan in Saudi Arabia:

Brother Osama:

How much blood has been spilled? How many innocent children, women, and old people have been killed, maimed, and expelled from their homes in the name of “al-Qaeda”?

Are you happy to meet Allah with this heavy burden on your shoulders? It is a weighty burden indeed – at least hundreds of thousands of innocent people, if not millions.

How could you wish for that? – after knowing that Allah’s Messenger said: “Whoever as much as kills a sparrow in vain will find it crying before Allah on the Day of Judgment: ‘My Lord! That person killed me in vain. He did not kill me for needful sustenance.”

This religion of ours comes to defense of the life of a sparrow. It can never accept the murder of innocent people, regardless of what supposed justification is given for it.

Didn’t you read where the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “One of the prophets once sat under a tree and was bitten by an ant. Because of this, he burnt the ant’s nest. Thereupon, Allah questioned him: ‘Why not only the one ant?’ ” [Sahîh Muslim]

Allah revealed to that prophet: “What? Just because one ant had bitten you, you have set fire to an entire nation that extols Allah’s glory!” [Sahîh Muslim (2241)]

If this is the case for a nest of ants, consider how much worse it must be to visit harm upon human beings.

Who is responsible for all of those young Muslim, who are still in the bloom of their youth, with all the zeal of their age, who have strayed down a path they have no idea where it is headed?

The image of Islam today is tarnished. People around the world are saying how Islam teaches that those who do not accept it must be killed. They are also saying that the adherents of Salafi teachings kill Muslims who do not share their views.

However, the reality of Islam is that our Prophet (peace be upon him) did not kill the treacherous hypocrites in his midst, even though Allah had revealed to him who they were and informed him that they were destined for the deepest depths of Hell. Why did he stay his hand? He gave the following reason: “I will not have people saying that Muhammad kills his companions.”

Brother Osama, what happened on September 11 – crimes that we have condemned vociferously since that very day – was the murder of a few thousand people, possible a little less than three thousand. This is the number that dies in the airplanes as well as in the towers. By contrast, Muslim preachers – who remain unknown and unsung – have succeeded in guiding hundreds of thousands of people to Islam, people who have ever since been guided by the light of faith and whose hearts are filled with the love of Allah. Isn’t the difference between one who kills and one who guides obvious?

Our Lord tells us: “Whosoever kills a human being for other than manslaughter or corruption in the Earth, it shall be as if he had killed all mankind, and whoso saves the life of one, it shall be as if he had saved the lives of all mankind.” [Sûrah al-Mâ’idah: 32]

Guiding one soul to knowledge and faith is a momentous achievement. It is what will earn us great blessings.

Brother Osama, what is to be gained from the destruction of entire nations – which is what we are witnessing in Afghanistan and Iraq – seeing them torn apart with plague and famine? What is to be gained from undermining their stability and every hope of a normal life? Three million refugees are packing into Syria and Jordan alone, not to mention those who are fleeing to the East and the West.

The nightmare of civil war which now reigns supreme in Afghanistan and Iraq brings no joy to the Muslims. When the Prophet (peace be upon him) heard about a man named Harb (meaning “war” in Arabic), he promptly changed his name to something else, because the Prophet hated war.

Allah says: “Fighting is prescribed for you, though you detest it.” [Sûrah al-Baqarah: 216]

War is something hateful that must only be resorted to under the most dire and compelling of circumstances when no other way is found.

Who stands to benefit from turning a country like Morocco, Algeria, Lebanon, or Saudi Arabia – or any other country for that matter – into a battlefield where no one feels safe? Is the goal to obstruct the government? Is that, then, the solution for anything?

Is this the plan – even if it is achieved by marching over the corpses of hundreds of thousands of people – police, soldiers, and civilians, even the common Muslims? Are their deaths to be shrugged off, saying: “They will be resurrected in the Hereafter based on the state of their hearts.”

Indeed, all of those who are slain will be resurrected based on the state of their hearts. The question we must ask ourselves, however, is in what state are we going to be resurrected? How are we going to find ourselves when we meet our Lord? How will it be for someone who has all those countless deaths weighing down upon him, whether he wants to own up to them or not?

The concern for conveying Islam’s message to humanity is one that can influence others and convince them. This is a far greater and far weightier concern than that of using brute force and violence to bend others to one’s will. “Allah sent His Messenger (peace be upon him) as a guide for humanity, not as a tax collector.” as `Umar b. `Abd al-`Azîz used to say.

Who is responsible – brother Osama – for promoting the culture of excommunication which has torn families asunder and has led to sons calling their fathers infidels? Who is responsible for fostering a culture of violence and murder that has led people to shed the blood of their relatives without remorse, rather than nurturing the spirit of love and tranquility that a Muslim family is supposed to have?

Who is responsible for the young men who leave their mothers crying; who abandon their wives; whose small children wake up every day asking when daddy is coming home? What answer can be given, when that father may very well be dead, or missing with no one knowing of his fate?

Who is responsible for Western governments attacking every charitable project in the world, so that the orphans, the poor, and the needy throughout the globe are deprived of food, education, and other essential needs? Who is responsible – brother Osama – for filling the prisons of the Muslim world with our youth, a situation which will only breed more extremism, violence, and murder in our societies?

Muhammad (peace be upon him) – my source of guidance as well as yours – is what he came with not enough for you? He was sent as a mercy for all humanity. Allah says: “And We sent you merely as a mercy for all humanity.” [Sûrah al-Anbiyâ’: 107]

The word “mercy” is not to be found in the lexicon of war. Where is the mercy in murdering people? Where is the mercy in bombing places? Where is the mercy in making people and places into targets? Where is the mercy in turning many Muslim countries into battlefields?

The Prophet (peace be upon him) brought all of Arabia under his sway without a single slaughter, despite all of the battles that were waged against him. The number of people who were killed during the twenty-three years of his mission were less than two hundred people. The Muslims who were killed during that time by their enemies were many times in excess of that number.

What do a hundred people in Algeria, or double that number in Lebanon, or likewise in Saudi Arabia hope to achieve by carrying out acts of violence – or as they say, suicide attacks? These acts are futile.

Let us say – purely hypothetically – that these people manage to take power somewhere in the world. What then? What can people who have no life experience hope to achieve in the sphere of good governance? People who have no knowledge of Islamic law to support them and no understanding of domestic and foreign relations?

Is Islam only about guns and ammunition? Have your means become the ends themselves?

That ideology that so many young people have embraced in many parts of the world, is it revelation from Allah that cannot be questioned or reconsidered? Or is it merely a product of human effort that is subject to error and to being corrected?

Many of your brethren in Egypt, Algeria and elsewhere have come to see the end of the road for that ideology. They realize how destructive and dangerous it is. They have also found the courage to proclaim in their writings and on the air that they were mistaken and that the path they had been on was the path of error. They admit that it cannot lead to anything good. They have sought Allah’s forgiveness for what has passed and have expressed their sincere regrets for what they had done.

Those with brave hearts need just as much to have courageous minds.

Do you not hear the voices of the pious scholars, those who worship Allah day and night and are truly heedful of Allah – don’t you hear them crying out with the very same words that the Prophet (peace be upon him) used when Khâlid b. al-Walîd, the commander-in-chief of his army, acted in error: “O Allah! I plead my innocence to You from what Khâlid has done.”

These same words still echo after 1400 years in the cries of the scholars of Islam: “O Allah! I plead my innocence to You from what Osama is doing, and from those who affiliate themselves to his name or work under his banner.”

I wish to remind you of what our Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said to Usâmah b. Zayd – whose name you carry – when he killed a man from Juhaynah in the heat of battle after that man had declared that there is no God but Allah.

After the Prophet (peace be upon him) rebuked him, Usâmah said: “O Messenger of Allah! He only said that because he was scared of the sword.”

The Prophet (peace be upon him) replied: “How will you fare with the declaration of faith when it comes on the Day of Judgment?”

Usâmah pleaded: “Seek forgiveness for me, O Messenger of Allah.”

He just repeated what he had said: “How will you fare with the declaration of faith when it comes on the Day of Judgment?”

O Osama! What will you do with the declaration of faith when it disputes with you on the Day of Judgment?

Life, Osama, should not be a single lesson. We must face numerous lessons throughout our lives, and these lessons are of a great variety.

My situation is no different than that of a lot of other people who are concerned with Muslim affairs. My heart pains me when I think of the number of young people who had so much potential – who would have made such great and original contributions to society, who had so much to offer that was constructive and positive – who have been turned into living bombs.

Here is the vital question that you need to ask yourself and that others have the right to demand and answer for: What have all these long years of suffering, tragedy, tears, and sacrifice actually achieved?

I ask Allah to bring everyone together upon the truth and right guidance. I pray that he guides us all to what pleases Him.

– Salman b. Fahd al-Oadah

http://www.islamtoday.com/showme2.cfm?cat_id=29&sub_cat_id=1521

Amad Shaikh is one of the founders of MuslimMatters, Inc. His identity is shaped by his religion (Islam), place of birth (Pakistan), and nationality (American). By education, he is a ChemE, topped off with an MBA from Wharton. He has been involved with Texas Dawah, Clear Lake Islamic Center and MSA. His interests include politics, cricket, and media interactions. Career-wise, Amad is in management in the oil & gas industry (but one who still appreciates the "green revolution").

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Emotional Intelligence: A Tool for Change  

Imam Mikaeel Smith

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Why do we consider emotional intelligence to be half of the Prophetic intellect? The answer lies in the word “messenger.” Messengers of Allah are tasked with the divine responsibility of conveying to humanity the keys to their salvation. They are not only tasked with passing on the message but also with being a living example of that message.

When ʿĀʾishah, the wife of the Prophet ﷺ, was asked to explain the character of the blessed Prophet ﷺ, her reply was, “His character was the Qurʾān.[1]” We are giving emotional intelligence a place of primacy in the construct of Prophetic intelligence because it seems implausible that Allah would send a messenger without providing that messenger with the means necessary to exemplify and transmit the message to others. If the Prophets of Allah did not have the necessary knowledge and skills needed to successfully pass on the message to the next generation, the argument would be incomplete. People could easily excuse themselves of all accountability because the message was never conveyed.

We also see clear examples in the Qur’ān that this knowledge was being perpetually perfected in the character of the Prophet ﷺ. Slight slips in his Emotional Intelligence were rare, but when they did occur, Allah gently addressed the mistake by means of revelation. Allah says in the Qurʾān, “If you (O Muḥammad) were harsh and hardhearted, then the people would flee from you.” This verse clearly placed the burden of keeping an audience upon the shoulders of the Prophet ﷺ. What this means is that the Prophet ﷺ had to be aware of what would push people away; he had to know what would create cognitive and emotional barriers to receptivity. When we study the shamāʾil (books about his character), we find that he was beyond exceptional in his ability to make people receptive. He took great care in studying the people around him and deeply understanding them. Only after the Prophet ﷺ had exhausted all the means of removing barriers to receptivity would the responsibility to affirm the message be shifted to those called to it.

Another example of this Prophetic responsibility can be found in the story of Prophet Mūsa when he was commissioned to call Pharaoh and the children of Israel to Allah. When Allah informed him of the task he was chosen for, he immediately attempted to excuse himself because he had a slight speech impediment. He knew that his speech impediment could potentially affect the receptivity of people to the message. He felt that this disqualified him from being a Prophet. He also felt that the act of manslaughter he committed might come between the people and guidance. All of these examples show that Allah’s Prophets understood that many factors can affect a person’s receptivity to learning something new, especially when the implications of that new information call into question almost every aspect of a person’s identity. History tells us that initially, people did not accept the message of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ; they completely rejected him and accused him of being a liar.

One particular incident shows very clearly that he ﷺ understood how necessary it was for him to remove any cognitive or emotional barriers that existed between him and his community. When the people of his hometown of Makkah had almost completely rejected him, he felt that it was time to turn his attention to a neighboring town. The city of Ṭā’if was a major city and the Prophet ﷺ was hopeful that perhaps they would be receptive to the message. Unfortunately, they completely rejected him and refused to even listen to what he had to say. They chased him out of town, throwing stones at him until his injuries left him completely covered in blood. Barely making it outside the city, the Prophet ﷺ collapsed. Too weak to move, he turned his attention to his Lord and made one of the most powerful supplications made by a Prophet of Allah.

اللهم إليك أشكو ضعف قوتي، وقلة حيلتي، وهواني على الناس، يا أرحم الراحمين، أنت أنت رب المستضعفين وأنت ربي، إلى من تكلني؟ إلى عدو يتجهمني؟ أو إلى قريب ملكته أمري؟ إن لم يكن بك علي غضب فلا أبالي، غير أن عافيتك أوسع لي، أعوذ بنور وجهك الذي أشرقت له الظلمات، وصلح عليه أمر الدنيا والآخرة، من أن ينزل بي غضبك، أو يحل علي سخطك، لك العتبى حتى ترضى، ولا حول ولا قوة إلا بك”

“Oh Allah, only to You do I complain about my lack of strength, my insufficient strategies, and lowliness in the sight of the people. You are my Lord. To whom do you turn me over? Someone distant from me who will forsake me? Or have you placed my affair in the hands of my enemy? [2]

The Prophet ﷺ felt that he was the reason why the people were not accepting the message. His concern that “my low status in the eyes of the people,” informs us that he understood that people naturally judge the seriousness of a message based on the stature of the message bearer. The people of Ṭā’if were extremely ignorant, so much that they adamantly refused to enter into any dialogue. In reality, this was not due to any shortcoming of the Prophet ﷺ; he demonstrated the best of character and displayed extreme patience in the face of such ignorance. But the beginning of the supplication teaches us what he was focused on: making sure that he was not the reason why someone did not accept the message.

Because his message was not geographically restricted like that of other Prophets, those who inherited the message would have the extra burden of transferring the message to a people with whom they were unfamiliar. The intelligence needed to pass the message of the Prophet Muḥammad ﷺ around the world included an understanding of the cultural differences that occur between people. Without this understanding effective communication and passing on of his message would be impossible.

A sharp Emotional Intelligence is built upon the development of both intra- and interpersonal intelligence. These intelligences are the backbone of EQ and they provide a person with emotional awareness and understanding of his or her own self, an empathic understanding of others, and the ability needed to communicate effectively and cause change. Emotional Intelligence by itself is not sufficient for individual reform or societal reform; instead, it is only one part of the puzzle. The ʿaql or intellect that is referenced repeatedly in the Qurʾān is a more comprehensive tool that not only recognizes how to understand the psychological and emotional aspects of people but recognizes morally upright and sound behavior. After that this intellect, if healthy and mature, forces a person to conform to that standard. Therefore, we understand the ʿaql to be a comprehensive collection of intelligences analogous to Howard Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences theory.

Taking into consideration the extreme diversity found within Western Muslim communities, we see how both Moral Intelligence and Emotional Intelligence are needed. Fostering and nurturing healthy communities requires that we understand how people receive our messages. This is the interpersonal intelligence aspect of EQ. Without grounding the moral component of our community, diversity can lead to what some contemporary moral theorists call moral plasticity, a phenomenon where concrete understandings of good and evil, right and wrong, are lost. Moral Education (Moral Education, which will be discussed throughout the book, is the process of building a Morally Intelligent heart) focuses on correcting the message that we are communicating to the world; in other words, Moral Intelligence helps us maintain our ideals and live by them, while Emotional Intelligence ensures that the message is effectively communicated to others.

My father would often tell me, “It’s not what you say, son; it’s what they hear.”

Interpersonal understanding is the core of emotional intelligence. My father would often tell me, “It’s not what you say, son; it’s what they hear.” From the perspective of Emotional Intelligence, this statement is very accurate. The way we interpret words, body language, verbal inflections, and facial expressions is based on many different factors. The subtle power of this book lies in the simple fact that your emotional intelligence is the primary agent of change and thus the most powerful force you have. You must understand how people perceive what you are communicating to them. What is missing from my father’s statement is the primacy of Moral Intelligence. Throughout this book, I attempt to show how the Prophet Muḥammad ﷺ demonstrated a level of perfection of both of these intelligences.

*With the Heart in Mind is available for pre-order at https://www.qalam.foundation/qalambooks/with-the-heart-in-mind

[1]Bayhaqī, Shuʿb al-ʾĪmān, vol. 3, p. 23.

[2] Ibn Kathir, al-Bidāyah wa al-Nihāyah, vol. 3, p. 136.

 

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Fitnah of Our Times: Never Ending Debates and Drama On Muslim Social Media

Mufti Muhammad Ibn Adam Al Kawthari

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It is extremely sad that the only excitement and enjoyment many Muslim youth get from the deen – and for some, their only involvement – is by getting embroiled in controversies, polemics, debates, seeing people argue, refutations, etc… I am referring to the general masses and not those that are directly involved in polemical dialogue.

Rather than spend time in worshiping Allah, perfect one’s prayer, fulfill the rights of Allah and the creation and engage in productive activities, so many of us today are hooked on the quarrels and disputes that take place between different groups/sects/religious leaders. We love the drama that takes place, we can’t wait for the next episode of the debate, we get excited when one person challenges another about some matter of religion. Get a few brothers or sisters together, and the only discussion that takes place these days is who won the debate and which scholar refuted which other scholar, and so on and so forth.

Stop being an Audience: Deen is Nasiha Not Entertainment

Anyone who talks or writes about polemics gets a big audience, whilst there is very less interest in listening to someone who avoids such things and teaches you your deen. It’s the same type of enjoyment – in a sense – that people get from football rivalries or boxing matches, but with a religious flavour to it. Social media is amass with such controversies.

One scholar posts something about his dispute with this person or that group on his Facebook page and his followers all comment and even argue amongst themselves in relation to his post. The followers of the refuted group/individual then start attacking the person who refuted and they also argue amongst themselves. This soap opera just continues and never seems to end. Many of us sadly thrive on this. We enjoy all the bickering and argumentation, such that being a Muslim would be boring without it.

When I was growing up, we didn’t have the internet and social media, and Al-hamdulillah it saved us from much fitna. These days, what someone thinks on one side of the world is debated and counter debated several times within a matter of hours. The harms of social media are increasingly outweighing its benefits.

The debates of today are not munadara- these were supposed to be cordial discussions.

My sincere advice to especially young Muslims is that please do not let your precious time be wasted in such matters. Let those that are arguing and debating fight it out amongst themselves; you do not need to get involved. Avoid giving them ammunition or pouring oil on fire. Instead, identify those who you trust and learn your deen from them and then get busy in beneficial things – and avoid the others. We seriously need to reconsider our priorities.

May Allah guide us, Ameen.

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Prophets and Social Activism

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Lightbulb glows will other lightbulbs dont

Bt Shaykh Tarik Ata

The undeniable primary role of prophets was to call society to Allah and establish a relationship with him. Along with their ideological engagement, the Quran references the social aspects prophets addressed. In long passages from chapters 7 and 11,[1] the Quran describes particular social problems that seemingly were widespread at the time. For example, the people of Noah suffered from a system of social hierarchy which stereotyped the commoner as being weak minded and invaluable “So the eminent among those who disbelieved from his people said, “We do not see you but as a man like ourselves, and we do not see you followed except by those who are the lowest of us [and] at first suggestion. And we do not see in you over us any merit; rather, we think you are liars.”[2] The people of Madyan suffered from widespread monetary conning and exploitation “And do not decrease from the measure and the scale.”[3] Prophet Lot called out his people’s practice of homosexuality as being something despised by God “Do you approach males among the worlds And leave what your Lord has created for you as mates? But you are a people transgressing.” They said, “If you do not desist, O Lot, you will surely be of those evicted.” He said, “Indeed, I am, toward your deed, of those who detest [it]. My Lord, save me and my family from [the consequence of] what they do.”[4]

What must be pointed out, however, is that the social change sought out by prophets was related to their theological duty. These social ails threatened, first and foremost, society’s relationship to Allah. Therefore, these verses constantly reference Allah and return the issue back to theology. After every attempted refutation of the prophet’s position, the prophet responds with theology as if to make it known that their duty as prophets is to call people to Allah and establish that relationship between the individual and their Creator. Thus, elements of social activism enacted by prophets were not to allow unrestricted lifestyles with the ability to choose what is right or wrong based solely on their customs or desires. Rather, their efforts aimed at redirecting society to Allah; to free them from the creation in order to become servants of the creator.

One may attempt to refute this analysis of these Quranic passages as being selective and not representative of the larger picture. Such a concern is invalid since these stories are presented in multiple chapters throughout the Quran consistently portraying the prophets as upholding the duty of changing theology and calling people to follow Allah’s commands.[5] It does not limit their social engagement to the political authority with the intention of freeing society from their shackles or to allow them the freedom to choose any lifestyle they please. Even the story of Moses, which involves a great tyrant, centralizes monotheism. Likewise, the final phase of his life dealt with rebuilding the children of Israel after enduring decades of oppression and injustices. Even then the central focus is their theological deviations while alluding to their social deviations as being rooted in weak theology.[6]

To put it concisely, prophets’ involvement in greater society revolved around preaching theology and expressed social criticism using theology. The primary goal of social engagement and criticisms of injustice and oppression was an effort to alleviate society from that which taints its theology or creates barriers between the individual and Allah. One example from the Quran is Surah Al-Ma’oun which reads “Have you seen the one who denies the Recompense [the Day of Judgement]? (1) For that is the one who drives away the orphan (2) And does not encourage the feeding of the poor. (3)” The verses ascribe abuse of orphans and the poor to disbelief in the day of judgement – a pillar of faith.

Labeling Prophets as Activists

Another recent phenomenon is the labeling of prophets as activists. Since prophets hold a high status in Islam and are considered a pillar of faith the topic of prophets and speaking on their behalf is sensitive. Furthermore, it indicates that improper belief in them threatens the person’s faith as a whole and for this reason the Quran forbids speaking ill of them or mocking them even lightheartedly “And if you ask them, they will surely say, “We were only conversing and playing.” Say, “Is it Allah and His verses and His Messenger that you were mocking? Make no excuse; you have disbelieved after your belief. If We pardon one faction of you – We will punish another faction because they were criminals.”[7] Following these verses is a description of hypocrites (those who outwardly accept Islam but their hearts reject it) eluding to the reader that disrespect of prophets is an attribute of hypocrites and a form of hypocrisy. Anything less than the utmost reverence and respect for prophets is unacceptable and therefore is best to refer to them in a manner that the Quran and hadith affirm.

Both the Quran and hadith tradition address the prophets with titles and attributes that highlight their piety and relationship with Allah. They are not labeled with secular titles void of religious connotation. Furthermore, these titles and attributes can only be understood in a positive manner. For example, al-ameen, which means the truthful and trustworthy, is consistently a praiseworthy attribute that is understood in a positive manner. Words that can be understood both positively and negatively, such as an activist, should not to be used as titles for prophets such as referring to them as activists. An activist can promote good and can promote evil depending on what they are actively promoting. And although prophets had elements of social activism, activism in contemporary times is packaged with politics and ideologies that are often inconsistent with Islamic principles and prophetic characteristics.

One may say that they referring to prophets as activists does not indicate any disrespect so what is the problem? Allah says in the Quran “Do not make [your] calling of the Messenger among yourselves as the call of one of you to another.”[8] Bedouins during the time of the Prophet would call upon him with loud voices using his name or kunya Abu Al-Qasim. Such was the nature of Bedouins who had rough personalities and this verse prohibited them from this characteristic. Calling prophets does not carry positive religious value nor does it offer an aspect of uniqueness. Anyone can be an activist, a Muslim and non-Muslim, a good person and a bad person, a pious person and an un-pious person, but only people chosen by Allah can be prophets and messengers. Therefore the most appropriate manner to address them is with the title “messenger” or “prophet.”

I encourage Muslims to reflect upon the following verse “O you who have believed, do not raise your voices above the voice of the Prophet or be loud to him in speech like the loudness of some of you to others, lest your deeds become worthless while you perceive not.” Disrespect of the Prophet can occur without one being aware and could have dire consequences such as the nullifying of the person’s deeds.

Allah knows best.

Shaykh Tarik Ata was born and raised in the Southwest Suburbs of Chicago. Shaykh Tarik pursued his higher education at Northern Illinois University where he attained a BA in psychology. After graduating from NIU, Shaykh Tarik studied at the World Islamic and Science Education University (also called the Islamic University) in Jordan. He received a BA in Islamic Jurisprudence and its foundations, as well as an MA in Islamic Jurisprudence with a specialty in Islamic commerce and finance. While working on his degrees, Sheikh Tarik also studied with scholars and achieved various certifications (ijazat) in Islamic Jurisprudence, the foundations of Jurisprudence, the science of Hadith, the Arabic language, Quranic recitation, and Islamic creed/theology. He is currently the imam at the Orange County Islamic Foundation.

[1] Quran 7:59-93, 11:25-95

[2] Quran 11:27

[3] Quran 11:84

[4] Quran 26:169

[5] See Quran 6:74-82, 7:59-94, 11:25-95, 26:1-191

[6] Quran 2:40-105, 7:138-163

[7] Quran 9:65-66

[8] Quran 24:63

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