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Reflections on the Icelandic Volcano

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Guest submission by Ola

(Summary of an Arabic article by Shaykh Muhammad Salih Al-Munnajid)

All Praise is due Allah, Lord of the worlds, and may the peace and blessings be upon the Messenger of Allah.

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From a small, remote island nation located in the North Atlantic Ocean, a small, sub-glacial volcano erupted, sending plumes of ash thousands of feet into the air. It drove the entire European continent into panic and caused the disruption of international flights around the world.

Airplanes discontinued flying, airports shut down, and air traffic was suspended. One-hundred thirteen European airports closed their airspaces in the face of international navigation. More than 63,000 flights were cancelled. The airline industry faced losses of up to $250 million per day. Over seven million travelers were stranded.  Airport lounges turned into dormitories, and passengers were provided with blankets and other necessities. In addition, importers and exporters were confronted with deficits.

Europe was nearly isolated from the world when it met the biggest disruption of air transportation in its history.

1.       So take warning, O people of vision (59:2):

One cloud of volcanic ash sent an entire continent into panic and fear and paralyzes air travel.  What would happen if several volcanoes erupted? Indeed, it is an event that calls upon us to think, reflect, and contemplate. It is not fit for such great happenings to surpass a Muslim without a deep, thoughtful pause that comes about from his/her faith in Allah, with full certainty, that whatever good happens in this universe is from the grace and mercy of Allah and whatever evil happens in it is with His knowledge.

ذَٰلِكَ تَقْدِيرُ الْعَزِيزِ الْعَلِيمِ

That is the determination of the Exalted in Might, the Knowing.” (Ya-Seen 36:38)

Allah has wisdom behind everything He wills and decrees.

لَا يُسْأَلُ عَمَّا يَفْعَلُ وَهُمْ يُسْأَلُونَ

He is not questioned about what He does, but they will be questioned.” (Al-Anbiyaa 21:23)

2.       And We send not the signs except as a warning (17:59):

Volcanoes and the like are soldiers of Allah; He sends them upon whom He wishes of His servants, in the time He wishes, in the manner He wishes.  They are a warning, a trial, and a punishment.

وَمَا يَعْلَمُ جُنُودَ رَبِّكَ إِلَّا هُوَ ۚ وَمَا هِيَ إِلَّا ذِكْرَىٰ لِلْبَشَر

And none knows the soldiers of your Lord except Him. And mention of the Fire is not but a reminder to humanity.” (Al-Muddaththir 74:31)

Among the soldiers of Allah is the volcanic ash, composed of small particles of glass and pulverized rock. The ash poses great danger to aircraft engines and instruments and thus hinders planes’ movement. Moreover, it may pose serious health hazards if inhaled.

To simply say that such incidents are “natural” occurrences due only to standard universal laws illustrates one’s heedlessness of the Creator and the Controller of this universe. For who runs and manages this universe in such an orderly fashion and gives it power to strike its inhabitants?

هُوَ الَّذِي يُرِيكُمُ الْبَرْقَ خَوْفًا وَطَمَعًا وَيُنشِئُ السَّحَابَ الثِّقَال * َوَيُسَبِّحُ الرَّعْدُ بِحَمْدِهِ وَالْمَلَائِكَةُ مِنْ خِيفَتِهِ وَيُرْسِلُ الصَّوَاعِقَ فَيُصِيبُ بِهَا مَن يَشَاءُ وَهُمْ يُجَادِلُونَ فِي اللَّهِ وَهُوَ شَدِيدُ الْمِحَالِ

It is He who shows you lightening, [causing] fear and aspiration, and generates the heavy clouds. And the thunder exalts [Allah] with praise of Him – and the angels [as well] from fear of Him – and He sends thunderbolts and strikes therewith whom He wills while they dispute about Allah; and He is severe in assault.” (Ar-Ra’d 13:12-13)

3.       And this is nothing else than a reminder to mankind (74:31).

The volcanic ash cloud is a sign among the signs of Allah. It was sent to His slaves as an admonition and reminder to the Believers, and a way to warn and frighten those who turned away from Him. The believing heart will take heed and turn to its Lord in repentance, while the oblivious heart that has forgotten its Lord will only worry about economic losses and the latest updates.

لَهُمْ قُلُوبٌ لَّا يَفْقَهُونَ بِهَا وَلَهُمْ أَعْيُنٌ لَّا يُبْصِرُونَ بِهَا وَلَهُمْ آذَانٌ لَّا يَسْمَعُونَ بِهَا ۚ أُولَٰئِكَ كَالْأَنْعَامِ بَلْ هُمْ أَضَلُّ ۚ أُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الْغَافِلُونَ

They have hearts with which they do not understand, they have eyes with which they do not see, and they have ears with which they do not hear. Those are like livestock; rather, they are more astray. It is they who are the heedless.” (Al-‘Araf 7:179)

It is from the hardness of the heart that one hears of such adversities and yet fails to detach themselves from sin and transgression and continues to follow their desires.

Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) describes the state of the Messenger of Allah (salallahu alayhe wa sallam) when he saw a cloud, “If the Prophet saw a cloud in the sky, he would walk to and fro in agitation, go out and come in, and the color of his face would change, and if it rained, he would feel relaxed.”  When she inquired about his reaction, he replied, “I don’t know (am afraid), it may be similar to what happened to some people referred to in the Holy Quran in the following Verse:

فَلَمَّا رَأَوْهُ عَارِضًا مُّسْتَقْبِلَ أَوْدِيَتِهِمْ قَالُوا هَٰذَا عَارِضٌ مُّمْطِرُنَا ۚ بَلْ هُوَ مَا اسْتَعْجَلْتُم بِهِ ۖ رِيحٌ فِيهَا عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ

And when they saw it as a cloud approaching their valleys, they said, ‘This is a cloud bringing us rain!'” Rather, it is that for which you were impatient: a wind, within it a painful punishment.” (Al-Ahqaaf 46:24)

Similarly, during the solar eclipse he experienced (salallahu alayhe wa sallam), he came out in a restless state thinking the Hour had begun. This is indicative of the degree to which he feared the Hour and kept it in his mind.

What should our state be when we witness an ash cloud shooting up 10km into the air?

4.       They have not appraised Allah with true appraisal. Indeed, Allah is Powerful and Exalted in Might. (22:74)

What hit Europe and affected the entire world is a great indicator of the power and strength of Allah, glorified be His Majesty. His decree outstrips all other commands and His might leaves all other helpless.

Whatever Allah wills happens and whatever He does not will does not happen, and He is over all things competent.

اللَّهُ الَّذِي خَلَقَ سَبْعَ سَمَاوَاتٍ وَمِنَ الْأَرْضِ مِثْلَهُنَّ يَتَنَزَّلُ الْأَمْرُ بَيْنَهُنَّ لِتَعْلَمُوا أَنَّ اللَّهَ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ وَأَنَّ اللَّهَ قَدْ أَحَاطَ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عِلْمًا

It is Allah who has created seven heavens and of the earth, the like of them. [His] command descends among them so you may know that Allah is over all things competent and that Allah has encompassed all things in knowledge.” (At-Talaaq 65:12)

5.       Man is weak.

When man becomes arrogant, transgresses, claims perfection and self-sufficiency, Allah sends signs that remind man of his weakness and need of his Creator (the Exalted).

يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ أَنتُمُ الْفُقَرَاءُ إِلَى اللَّهِ ۖ وَاللَّهُ هُوَ الْغَنِيُّ الْحَمِيدُ

O mankind, you are those in need of Allah, while Allah is the Free of need, the Praiseworthy.” (Fatir 35:15)

It was a matter of minutes before security turned into fear and profit into deficit. Did the power, technology, money, research, and innovations of these “First World” countries benefit them in the face of one of the soldiers of Allah? They helplessly watched and gazed as the order of Allah moved before their very eyes.

أَمَّنْ هَٰذَا الَّذِي هُوَ جُندٌ لَّكُمْ يَنصُرُكُم مِّن دُونِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ ۚ إِنِ الْكَافِرُونَ إِلَّا فِي غُرُورٍ

Or who is it that could be an army for you to aid you other than the Most Merciful? The disbelievers are not but in delusion.” (Al-Mulk 67:20)

6.       There is no refuge from Allah except in Him (9:118).

No matter how influential or intelligent man is, there is no way out of such catastrophes except by turning to his Lord in sincere du’aa and worship. For this reason, we are commanded to rush to salah during solar and lunar eclipses. “They are two signs amongst the signs of Allah. When you see them stand up and pray.” (Bukhari)

7.       A fire that reminds of a greater Fire.

The lava discharged from the volcano reached a temperature of 1,000°C (1,800°F) and melted about 10% of its icecap. This is the fire of this world which serves a as a reminder of the Fire of the Hereafter. The Prophet (salallahu alayhe wa sallam) said, “This fire of yours which is lit by the sons of Adam is one seventieth part of the fire of Hell.” (Muslim)

8.       And no soul perceives what it will earn tomorrow (31:34).

Conferences organized, meetings arranged, appointments set, reservations confirmed, hotels booked, and holidays planned; but no person knows what he will earn tomorrow. It was one eruption and many cancellations. Travelers were fighting over seats to get back home.

وَلَوْ كُنتُ أَعْلَمُ الْغَيْبَ لَاسْتَكْثَرْتُ مِنَ الْخَيْرِ وَمَا مَسَّنِيَ السُّوءُ

And if I knew the unseen, I could have acquired much wealth, and no harm would have touched me.” (Al-Araf 7:188)

9.       And whatever strikes you of disaster – it is for what your hands have earned; but He pardons much (42:30).

This is the way of Allah; He decrees calamities to scare His slaves. When sins, oppression, killings, and indecency multiply, so do volcanoes, hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, droughts, diseases, wars, and losses of life and wealth.

ظَهَرَ الْفَسَادُ فِي الْبَرِّ وَالْبَحْرِ بِمَا كَسَبَتْ أَيْدِي النَّاسِ لِيُذِيقَهُم بَعْضَ الَّذِي عَمِلُوا لَعَلَّهُمْ يَرْجِعُونَ

Corruption has appeared throughout the land and sea by [reason of] what the hands of people have earned so He may let them taste part of [the consequence of] what they have done that perhaps they will return [to righteousness].” (Ar-Rum 30:41)

And such misfortunes will not be the last for those who violate the laws of Allah, as He (the Exalted) says:

وَلَا يَزَالُ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا تُصِيبُهُم بِمَا صَنَعُوا قَارِعَةٌ أَوْ تَحُلُّ قَرِيبًا مِّن دَارِهِمْ حَتَّىٰ يَأْتِيَ وَعْدُ اللَّهِ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يُخْلِفُ الْمِيعَادَ

And those who disbelieve do not cease to be struck, for what they have done, by calamity – or it will descend near their home – until there comes the promise of Allah. Indeed, Allah does not fail in [His] promise.” (Ar-Ra’d 13:31)

10.   An adversity for some and prosperity for others:

While airline businesses faced shortfall, transportation services by train, bus, and ferry were thriving as passengers looked for alternatives.  In addition, there was a high demand for hotel rooms.

All praise is due to the One who allocates provision to whom He wills! Some people suffer bitter losses and other people celebrate unexpected gains!

11.   Remembering the countless blessings of Allah upon us:

Observing exhausted travelers sleeping on uncomfortable chairs, impatiently waiting days and nights, should lead us to acknowledge the great and innumerable blessings Allah has bestowed on us. The blessings of security, peaceful nights, and tranquil days ought to fill our hearts with the praise of Allah and our tongues with thankfulness to Allah.

Moreover, this particular incident reveals to us our reliance on airplanes and the blessing of arriving at far distances in a short span of time.

12.   Remembering the Last Day:

The likes of such a phenomenon should remind us of a much terrible one yet to occur: the earthquake of the Hour. Sunlight was blocked by the ash cloud, and something similar will happen on the Last Day:

إِذَا الشَّمْسُ كُوِّرَتْ

When the sun is wrapped up [in darkness]” (At-Takwir 81:1)

Just as airplanes were deserted and neglected, on the Last Day:

وَإِذَا الْعِشَارُ عُطِّلَت

And when full-term she-camels are neglected” (At-Takwir 81:4)

Allah mentions she-camels in the Quran because they were prized wealth to the Arabs just as airplanes are valued to us today.

The ash cloud that travelled thousands of feet into the air serves as a reminder to a cloud of smoke Allah will send prior to the Last Day:

فَارْتَقِبْ يَوْمَ تَأْتِي السَّمَاءُ بِدُخَانٍ مُّبِينٍ يَغْشَى النَّاسَ ۖ هَٰذَا عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ

Then watch for the Day when the sky will bring a visible smoke. Covering the people, this is a painful torment.” (Ad-Dukhan 44:10-11)

We ask Allah subhana wa ta’ala to have mercy on us, forgive us our sins, and through these signs, guide those who have gone astray to the Straight Path. Indeed, Allah is Subtle and Acquainted.

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36 Comments

36 Comments

  1. abu Rumay-s.a.

    May 10, 2010 at 3:34 AM

    Allahu Akbar…these events are indeed very scary…

    While I was waiting in line, I ran into a non-Muslim fellow who was from that region and he told me that he believes that this is something from God and he was also in awe of the situation… so how about us?

    May Allah have mercy on us and forgive us…ameen…

  2. Slave of the Most Loving One

    May 10, 2010 at 4:02 AM

    In the Name of Allah, the Most Compassionate, the Most Merciful

    Praise and thanks to Allah SWT, Lord of the everything that exists!
    Peace and blessings be on our beloved Prophet, his family , his companions and all the righteous believers.

    SubhanAllah! just yesterday me and my friend was discussing about how we have made to become desensitized to the warnings of Allah SWT (May Allah protect, guide and forgive us) because of different “scientific theories and explanations” ….as if it does not have a greater meaning i.e, Allah’s warning…

    tsunami, eclipses, earthquakes etc… everything just happened bcz of global warming or some other factor is what most of the people believe…but Allahu Akbar…these are indeed the soldiers of Allah!

    may Allah SWT protect our hearts from hardening and place us under His Mercy in this world and akhira.ameen!

    • sabirah

      May 10, 2010 at 4:09 AM

      salam, what do you mean with the eclipse? how’s that a desaster?

      • Siraj

        May 10, 2010 at 6:05 AM

        Not disaster, eclipse is a sign of Allah, is what he meant.

  3. sabirah

    May 10, 2010 at 4:06 AM

    salam!

    …a volcanoe on iceland erupted about 240 years ago resulting in a poisonous ash cloud crossed Europe that caused more fatalities than Tschernobyl, it went into tens of thousands and caused severe famines.
    The weather changed so dramatically that the Missisipi froze in New Orleans

    Forgotten by now… http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laki

  4. Slave of the Most Loving One

    May 10, 2010 at 5:31 AM

    Wasalam wrt wbrt Sabirah

    JazakAllah Khair for pointing out that…i dint mean eclipse as a disaster, rather a sign but again people say it’s due to some scientific factor and hence taking away THE message …people usually end up with scientific explanation for these phenomenon forgetting and/ trying to run away from reality… every now and then He will show signs…some will receive it and repent and mend their ways while others will continue to be heedless (may Allah SWT protect us)..

  5. Rashid Jaffrey

    May 10, 2010 at 6:19 AM

    These are indeed signs of Allah and its time we heed to the warnings.
    May Allah give us the wisdom and the strenghth to be righteuos . May Lllah prevent us from committing sins knowingly or unknowingly and guide us to the path of eternal success. Inshaallah

    Ameen

  6. Abdullah

    May 10, 2010 at 7:19 AM

    Asselamu Aleykum.

    JEZAKUMMULAH KHIER!

    I’d like to point out which I think are mis-spellings to correct:

    Below point 2: وَهُمْ يُجَادِلُونَ فِي اللَّهِ وَهُوَ شَدِيدُ الْمِحَالِلله (it is ٱلۡمِحَالِ) not الْمِحَالِلله

    Below point 9: (Ar-Rum 30:41) at the end of Aya it’s يَرۡجِعُونَ not يَرْجِعُونَله

    All knows best!

    May Allah reward you immensely.

    Wasalamu Aleykum

    • Mariam E.

      May 10, 2010 at 8:21 AM

      wa Alikum asallam warahmatu Allah

      It’s fixed now. Jazakum Allah khayr.

  7. Amatullah

    May 10, 2010 at 10:38 AM

    SubhanAllah, amazing lessons and reflections from shaykh Munajjid. Jazaaki Allahu khayran sister Ola for translating and summarizing his article.

  8. Olivia

    May 10, 2010 at 12:03 PM

    Jazakallahu khair, I really enjoyed all your points. Very thoughtful. Always good to come out of the small world we immediately live in and take a look at the bigger picture.

  9. Salaam

    May 10, 2010 at 12:32 PM

    Nice reminder but I wonder if “reminders” is an excuse for mediocrity within our Muslim community. There was nothing particularly insightful or engaging or even personable about this article. The only part I liked was number 12 even though that was full of doomsday reminders–the reference to the “she-camels” and airplanes is interesting and thoughtful.
    If your intent is to engage the wider community and sincerely remind them then you might want to start by engaging in your piece with a little but of narrative so people can relate and want to hear what you have to say. Scholars seem to be in this high ivy tower where they just throw out verses at the rest of us and seem to forget how to relate to others through narratives, compassion and the common human folly we all share.
    Can’t we instead relate on the footing of humility we have in the facing Allah and humanity and love we have within us all?

    And may Allah forgive me if I said anything wrong.

  10. Hassan

    May 10, 2010 at 1:11 PM

    Someone was pointing out that Europe banned veil for muslim women, and Allah covered entire Europe with ash cloud veil…

    • ivoryTower

      May 10, 2010 at 9:07 PM

      Mashallah! Allah Akbar!

      So the ash cloud cover will remain until the law is changed?

      • sabirah

        May 11, 2010 at 4:26 AM

        salam.. that was just 2 European countries, not Europe. I doubt that personally, as Allah has been very selective in past punishments, spared the true believers and restricted the punishments sometimes even on particular cities only and spared the surrounding ones.

        If people need to draw conclusions, i think it makes more sense that it would have been punishment for intruducing the nude body scanners on airports… as this hurts the aircraft industry most.
        Sorry, I think those occasions are reminders, but drawing conclusions like that is a bit like assuming what we know not of Allah swt. And a waste of time and scare mongering. Better remember that every soul will taste death, including you and me, because that is what we know for sure and make our duas in the morning and evening
        la hawla wa la quwwatta illah billah

        • Hassan

          May 11, 2010 at 4:53 PM

          Its somebody’s pondering thought, not a factual statement.

          • amad

            May 12, 2010 at 4:21 AM

            it does remind me of the coca-cola– la makkah, la mohammed fiasco…
            very creative, but probably out there :)

  11. ummbudi

    May 10, 2010 at 1:46 PM

    Salam I find your comment so strange. If words of Allah don’t move you, honestly we have to look within ourselves.

  12. Abdullah

    May 10, 2010 at 2:15 PM

    Bismillah & Aselamu Aleykum,

    Jezakillah Khier sister Mariam.

    Re: Salam “Scholars seem to be in this high ivy tower where they just throw out verses at the rest of us and seem to forget how to relate to others through narratives, compassion and the common human folly we all share.”:
    May Allah forgive you and us all. FEAR Allah! Ask Him to give you understanding of Islam and Quran. Mu`awiyah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (Selallahu Aleyhim Weselem) said, “When Allah wishes good for someone, He bestows upon him the understanding of Deen.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
    You have already mentioned that you liked (may be understood not liked?) at least one point i.e if we understand one point, ponder and work on it, THAT IS IT! It’s a mercy from Allah, we may get back to the next point/points and keep gaining more understanding.

    Please don’t think our Shuyuk and Ulema’e (scholars) seem to be talking pointless. By Allah, they are the greatest individuals Allah bestowed on the Ummah until the time He wishes, as in one hadith mentions:

    Abdullah bin `Amr bin Al-`As (May Allah be pleased with them) reported: I heard the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) saying: “Verily, Allah does not take away knowledge by snatching it from the people, but He takes it away by taking away (the lives of) the religious scholars till none of the scholars stays alive. Then the people will take ignorant ones as their leaders, who, when asked to deliver religious verdicts, will issue them without knowledge, the result being that they will go astray and will lead others astray.”
    [Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

    Lastly, I kindly ask you my brother/sister to think first before you post or blame scholars. If you see there is any area that Scholars are not covering, you may remind, give comment or/even cover it yourself. InshiAllah!

    “O’ Allah bestow on us the understanding of Your Deen, forgive us and return us to your Deen in best return”.

    Allah knows best!

    Fi-Amanillah!

  13. elham

    May 10, 2010 at 6:56 PM

    SA,

    ظَهَرَ الْفَسَادُ فِي الْبَرِّ وَالْبَحْرِ بِمَا كَسَبَتْ أَيْدِي النَّاسِ لِيُذِيقَهُم بَعْضَ الَّذِي عَمِلُوا لَعَلَّهُمْ يَرْجِعُونَ
    “Corruption has appeared throughout the land and sea by [reason of] what the hands of people have earned so He may let them taste part of [the consequence of] what they have done that perhaps they will return [to righteousness].” (Ar-Rum 30:41)

    This Ayah is so profound in meaning.It speaks of what we see around us and shows the Mercy of Allah in that He gives us a taste of only SOME of what our hands have earned.

    Imagine if Allah gave us what we deserved, we wouldnt even exist!. Instead He tells us by these trials to return to Him, for true success only lies with Him.

    And then this verse froze me:

    فَارْتَقِبْ يَوْمَ تَأْتِي السَّمَاءُ بِدُخَانٍ مُّبِينٍ يَغْشَى النَّاسَ ۖ هَٰذَا عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ
    “Then watch for the Day when the sky will bring a visible smoke. Covering the people, this is a painful torment.” (Ad-Dukhan 44:10-11)

    Allah(swt) have Mercy on us!

  14. Sayf

    May 10, 2010 at 9:14 PM

    You know, people sometimes arrogantly think that with our modern science and technology we really have a firm hold on the world around us, but it couldn’t be further from the truth. If someone really understood science they would see how little we know, how horribly fragile and insignificant we really are, and how much we’re at the mercy of Allah subhana wat’ala. I hope to submit something along these lines one day insh’Allah!

  15. Salaam

    May 10, 2010 at 10:58 PM

    ummbudi: I don’t believe I mentioned how the ayahs moved or didn’t move me personally. Kindly refrain from making comments like that in the future inshAllah.

    But I will take your comment into consideration. Perhaps I am strange but would it not be the “Muslim” thing to do to try and show compassion– if not understanding– instead of alienating me?

    Abdullah: Thank you for the reminder. I really do respect scholars so I ask you to read my initial comment again. And I understand they are people like you and me, so I was trying to give constructive criticism I didn’t BLAME anyone. Perhaps I didn’t explain myself too well so allow me to expand.
    I was just stating in my experience that the majority of scholars are not personable, approachable to the average person. It would be better for the ummah inshAllah if they gave a narrative, and tied in these beautiful verses so we may understand their enlightenment and their depth of understanding can be shared –inshAllah at least to some degree– with the rest of us. People remember stories, personally connections, let’s help each other build a better relationship with Allah and Allah’s word.

    I believe dishing out ayah’s like this, in a list no less, [and please forgive me dear author] is like fast food.

    Shoot the drug in for a quick fix of fear so we can feel our hearts shake and then tell ourselves we’re religious and anyone who doesn’t find such a swallow skimming of ayahs and unsophisticated thoughts satisfying –well, there must be something wrong with them!–they are not religious. There is something wrong with their deen. Let’s condemn them and shut them out before someone starts to deeply and compassionately engage with what they have to say.

    Too often we allow our affiliations, whether racial, economic or religious, to limit us instead of allowing it to help us in the fight to expand ourselves. InshAllah by remembering the principles of Islam, let it be a way we humble ourselves, look introspectively and forgive people [even if they criticize you].

    And may Allah forgive me if I have said anything wrong or hurt anyone

    • Amad

      May 11, 2010 at 12:19 AM

      To be honest, “salam”, I myself found the article a bit dry and it would have made it 10x better if it talked more directly to us. Not just verses, but show us how these verses talk to us. A lot like Br. Nouman has the quality to do.

      However, I think the issue is not that you had this sentiment, but rather how you broached it, how you related to a scholar. Ivory towers is not where actually many scholars live… some of them may struggle to relate to EVERYONE (remember, their audience is no longer their halaqa, which makes it much more challenging in this day and age), but I think it’s unfair to think they are not trying. And also keeping in mind their various audiences, it is likely that indeed this style does impact others, if not us.

      wasalam

      • Salaam

        May 11, 2010 at 1:35 AM

        Amad thank you for your feedback. After serious consideration perhaps my use of “ivy tower” was a misuse in terms of typical specification so let me clarify. “Ivy tower” I meant in terms of underestimating the sophistication of the audience and general populace and dumbing down lectures and articles to the level of a hormonal preteen [no I am not an ageist–in fact it wasn’t long since I was one myself]. I know this is not without causation whether through intimidation the community puts on their scholars [etc] or the need to relate to everyone all the time through playing the lowest common dominator of faith: namely fear, in my humble opinion.

        But the thing is that people move on and many people are disillusioned with the constant ‘fear’ card.

        Fear and anger can be a great and basic motivating force but soon people get burned out. SubhanAllah, things like love, thankfulness and understanding are things that the more you give, the more you have to give and the more you receive.

        And may I repeat again: I never said they [scholars] weren’t trying and I am NOT blaming. In fact if I didn’t think they weren’t trying then I would have never bothered to write out this sentiment in the first place. InshAllah my intention is give constructive criticism and to vent out my frustration at the plethora of articles and lectures like this. Can’t we encourage our ummah to become critical thinkers, to see life though the eye of insight? To a higher level of eman and sophistication of knowledge and understanding –inspiring a depth of love for Allah and our deen? Must we endorse and encourage acceptance of shallow observations and cutting and pasting of Qur’anic ayahs without which nurturing and careful fostering of rumination and experience has taken place?

        It’s heart-wrenching and it pains my heart dully that because of this widely accepted monopolizing archetype of religiosity and devoutness that I, and others like me, feel they cannot take refugee in our ummah. Not only are we “othered” in the mainstream for being religious but we are “othered” by the discourse of religiosity in our communities*.

        And may Allah forgive me, you and the seekers

        *often unintentionally; as it seems I must spell out my disclaimers.

    • Abdullah

      May 11, 2010 at 1:35 AM

      Bismillah!

      Aselamu Aleykum.

      Salam: Dear brother,we need to know what place the scholars have in the sight of Allah.

      I still take your words inappropriate and wrong. (I don’t mind you hurting me BUT to scholars YES) Hence, I was forced to correct you. I am not trying to challenge/disappoint you nor to anyone.

      Please, once again WATCH out your language & your words! In fact, I am afraid (as I’m IGNORANT & POOR slave of Allah) since we are talking about scholars.

      Re:”constructive criticism”: who are we to criticize; on what base?REMINDER: the title of the article was called [Reflections on the Icelandic Volcano] + (Summary of an Arabic article by Shaykh Muhammad Salih Al-Munnajid). Do you know Shiek Muhammad Al-Munnajid (Hafizehullah)? If not, check one of his website that I know: http://www.islamqa.com/en/ref/islamqapages/2 and one of his response to Modemists http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PpweeeFlVs4

      Re: “approachable to the average person”, It’s very important that we need to recognize who really a scholar is. You had your own experience, which we can’t generalize. The problem is we call everyone a scholar nowadays. By Allah, the true scholars are never like that.

      “fast food” “[even if they criticize you].”…I better stop….

      Re: “..so we may understand their enlightenment and their depth of understanding can be shared”
      There are i-numerable Halaqat, lectures, episodes of Tafsirs in depth. For instance: Shiek Muhamad Hassan has excellent episodes of Tawheed, Tafsir etc.. that has been recorded in many websites, with many Islamic channels. If you know Arabic you can get and download them from http://www.rabania.com/media/cat.php?catid=2 or http://alrahma.tv If not you can google it from reliable such us tafsir.com sources, I just have a quick reference now i.e http://www.kalamullah.com/juzz-amma.html Br. Nouman [Brother not scholar :)].

      May Allah guides us to the straight path (A-sirat Al-Mustaqim)!

      Allah knows best!

      • Amad

        May 11, 2010 at 2:08 AM

        I think Salaam got the point, and I understand his perspective. Thanks for sharing the links. Lets move on to the topic now :)

        • Salaam

          May 11, 2010 at 2:29 AM

          Sister not brother :)

          WaShalom

          –Ilana

          • Amad

            May 11, 2010 at 4:41 AM

            Oops, sorry, tough to make out the gender of “salaam” you know :)

            As for “otherness” you mentioned in your previous comment, we have quite a diversity in opinions on the MM staff… so don’t be discouraged by comments. Being misunderstood or mischaracterized by some is often a part of the ritual of “blogrowing”. You just have to stick to your guns if and when you believe strongly in your view and get the message across to those who are less rigid, or less tied to one view. That has been my own (continuing) experience.

            Btw, any reason for the Hebrew “shalom”?

  16. Umm Ibraheem

    May 11, 2010 at 12:11 AM

    jazakAllah khayr. Excellent reminders.

  17. Abdullah

    May 11, 2010 at 1:45 AM

    Chapter 241
    Virtues of Knowledge which is Learnt and Taught for the sake of Allah

    http://witness-pioneer.org/vil/hadeeth/riyad/12/chap241.htm

  18. Salaam

    May 11, 2010 at 3:39 PM

    Indeed, “Salaam” not particularly gendered for a reason, I rather not deal with the facade of kindness and understanding people display when they know they are talking to a woman–esp a young woman. However I did let it be known I am one at the end of my intended comments so inshAllah they would be able to feel the disparity of the perception they had of the commenter [me] as a man and then as a woman. It’s usually amusing even if it is disheartening.

    As for MM I don’t particularly think it’s varied. Occasionally it has an article I appreciate but definitely caters to a populace inclined towards rigidity. It’s a good idea but it would be better if it was multi-facade as being Muslim doesn’t come in one way–and instead of appealing to the lowest common dominator let’s bring in scholars and people who come from different backgrounds and believe strongly in their point of view creating a lively discourse instead of creating a complimentary club that preaches to the choir [aka “ivy tower syndrome”].

    As for the encouragement for sticking with my views; Alhumdullah I believe it is already apart of my character and inshAllah it will continue to be.

    As for the “Shalom” it’s my own way to combat the overt or subtle forms of dehumanization and prejudice I have witnessed in the Muslim community against our Jewish brothers and sisters.

    beace out.

    • Amad

      May 12, 2010 at 3:20 AM

      Every site has to have a focus, a vision and a mission. We have a vision as well, and orthodoxy is our fundamental base. See the “About Us” section to get a better understanding. Upon this fundamental base, there are huge variations, and if you have followed comments, you will see that variation, often in heated debates, even sometimes between authors. So, your comment about preaching to the choir belies the actual situation, and highlights a lack of research and visits to MM. I urge you to review some of our political articles, and you can get a pretty good idea that we hardly have an observant choir! A little research goes a long way in avoiding conclusions based on one or two posts.

      Secondly, we don’t believe in a completely open tent, because Islam is not a religion that is open to everyone’s whims and desires. You can find “scholars” who think its perfectly okay for Muslims to do pretty much anything, and to be anything. That’s not the Islam MOST Muslims agree with. We cater to the mainstream ahl-sunnah wal-jamah, which constitutes majority of Muslims.

      And I don’t understand the comment about appealing to the “lowest common denominator”… please expound further.

      Finally, dehumanization and prejudice against Jews (stereotyping) is definitely an issue in some Muslim quarters, but we don’t allow any antisemitism on MM. There is a huge gulf between the Zionist Islamophobic types and the general Jewish masses, the latter constituting most of the American Jewish diaspora. I would say though that the reverse is more true these days, esp. in the occupied territories.

  19. Pingback: Pen Marks | Icelandic Volcano

  20. Rightstuff

    May 17, 2010 at 12:12 PM

    Assalam u alaikum,

    A wonderful piece, great reminder of how Allah (swt) works his wonders

    May Allah grant us success in Dean dunya and Akirah…..Ameen

    Jazakallah Khayr.

  21. Sana

    May 20, 2010 at 12:24 PM

    Asalma-o-alikum

    May Allah reward the author the best… And give us Hidaya. Ameen

    Its really the time to repent to Allah. Because our sins are so great that we sometimes don’t realize that things happening because of our daily life sins like lies, backbiting, slandering,& corruption

    Even if the author wrote Ayah after Ayah, But I think that’s fine because Allah SWT already told us that “And He made Quran easy to understand”. And everything has its starting. For the people who can’t comprehend it, they got the aya reference now they can go to any tafseer book and read it InshaAllah

    Wasalam

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