The Universal Message of Ramadan

 

“The beauty of Islam is that Islam recognizes the value of human beings, and so there must be some benefits to fasting.”

“Anyone and everyone who fasts will be able to become closer to Allah through fasting.”

“These people who say you should not recite the Quran if you don’t understand it, they neither learn what the Quran means, nor recite. They become bone-lazy.”

“The Arabic of the Quran is beyond the Arabic of the Arabic-speaking people.”

This talk delivered May 11, 2018 at Masjid Annoor, Knoxville

 

Graduating From The College Of Ibaadah

I chose the title of this post from a metaphor coined by the Shaykh in this talk through which he explains the level of effort accompanying a quest for the night: To earn the degree of Laylatul-Qadr and access the nur and the rahmah in it, one has to graduate from the college of ‘ibaadah – an equal-opportunity institution accessible to every Muslim regardless of his/her background and intellect.

Allahu Akbar. There is so much packed into these 30 minutes that this talk by itself is a shining example of barakah in the dispensation of knowledge.

If you’ve ever wanted clarity on Laylatul-Qadr,  this lecture will help you connect the dots between: the revelation; the angels and the Ruh (Jibreel alayhisSalaam) coming down with it; the rationale behind the Power in the night; its greatness exceeding a thousand nights of worship. All of it comes together in bite-size bursts of alternating exegesis and exposition, peppered with fascinating stories from the lives of Shah Ismaeel Shaheed رحمه الله‎, Imam Abu Hanifa رحمه الله‎, and Hadhrat Uthmaan رضي الله عنه .

And just as we begin to take stock of this trove of knowledge to benefit ourselves, we learn that the ultimate act of compassion lies in harnessing the Power of this night to make a grand supplication to Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى . I thought this was a fascinating piece of advice, especially relevant in our times when blaming the ummah for our troubles has become the norm.

May we find the nur we seek, and may Allah grant us the taufeeq to harness it to our advantage. And may He, the greatest Forgiver and the One who loves to forgive, forgive us.

Surah Al-Jāthiyah – A Warning Against Following Our Desires

Another no-holds-barred lecture speaking to the pervasive practice of following our own desires, using Islam to seek validation before whatever our target audience may be. This is relevant to the likes of ISIS that follows its own misguided representation of an Islamic khilaafah, as well as to proponents of Muslim gay rights. The talk primarily revolves around verse 23 of Al-Jāthiyah:

أَفَرَأَيْتَ مَنِ اتَّخَذَ إِلَٰهَهُ هَوَاهُ وَأَضَلَّهُ اللَّهُ عَلَىٰ عِلْمٍ وَخَتَمَ عَلَىٰ سَمْعِهِ وَقَلْبِهِ وَجَعَلَ عَلَىٰ بَصَرِهِ غِشَاوَةً فَمَنْ يَهْدِيهِ مِنْ بَعْدِ اللَّهِ ۚ أَفَلَا تَذَكَّرُونَ

Have you seen he who has taken as his god his [own] desire, and Allah has sent him astray due to knowledge and has set a seal upon his hearing and his heart and put over his vision a veil? So who will guide him after Allah ? Then will you not be reminded? [45:23]

 

 

Quotes from this lecture

Sometimes people say, “I don’t care what the fiqh says.” That’s worshipping your hawa, that’s worshipping your desire. Because you’re not really in it to please Allah, you’re in it for validation.

If you’re not worshipping Allah (S), you’re worshipping something else.

You have made the legal classification of sin in a certain country, something that is haraam, as a criterion for right or wrong….”Allah misguides them despite their knowledge” because their god is their passion.

You can’t get enough of Islam. Even the sinner wants to be validated by Islam.

How do we experience the doors of hell being shut? There should be no sin, because sins open the doors of hell.

One man and one woman will make a difference. You (as an individual) make a difference because of your existence on the planet… Ibrahim as one man was an ummah.

A Challenge To Those Engaged In The Arts

It hasn’t even been two hours, and I can’t stop thinking about what I heard. We listened to the entire recitation of Al-Shu’raa and Al-Naml.

In this commentary, Shaykh Amin explains how the former surah (naturally) feeds into the latter. The Quran addresses poets and their futile flights of fancy, eventually leading the audience into the world of military might under the reign of Sulayman (AS). Shaykh Amin’s rationale is simple and illuminating as he interprets these verses and lays out the conditions that must be meet by an artist. The take-away: show backbone and avenge injustice on the back of your art.

The most thought-provoking, introspective, and honestly, terrifying part of this lecture:

“… although the prophet Muhammad (S) is the most intellectual human being ever, he will never compose poetry. The answer to this question is right at the end of the surah…”

Allahumma Salli ‘ala Muhammad wa baarik wa sallim.