how to become a human

W.E.B Dubois (in Black reconstruction) “In December, 1863, Morgan led Negro troops in the battle of Nashville. He declared a new chapter in the history of liberty had been written. “It had been shown that marching under a flag of freedom, animated by a love of liberty, even the slave becomes a man and a hero.” Between eight and ten thousand Negro troops took part in the battles around Nashville, all of them from slave states. When General Thomas rode over the battlefield, and saw the bodies of colored men side by side with the foremost on the very works of the enemy, he turned to his staff, saying: “Gentlemen, the question is settled: Negroes will fight.” How extraordinary, and what a tribute to ignorance and religious hypocrisy, is the fact that in the minds of most people, even those of liberals, only murder makes men. The slave pleaded; he was humble; he protected the women of the South, and the world ignored him. “The problem is solved. The Negro is a man, a soldier, a hero.”

praise

According to a tradition once the people heard the pebbles in the Holy Prophet’s hand praising Allah. They could understand the praise of the pebbles, but the praise was such that the human ears were quite unfamiliar with. It was in the pebble’s own language, not in any human language. – Imam Khomeini

May Allah make this Eid safe and bring Muslims together in peace.

 

question of alliances

Often, but not always, we may find that evangelical christians might be closer to Muslims and Islam because of their own beliefs. On the other hand while liberals may defend, grudgingly at times, the right for Muslims to have our own space, they will continue to critique the content of our beliefs – deen.

This leads to a problematic issue:  we see Muslims organizations engaging with liberals because the basis of engagement is right to practice i.e. civil rights, but with contradictory beliefs.

By participating in secular committees meetings etc., Muslims end up being challenged on a whole host of issues ranging from “gay rights” misunderstandings of “women’s rights” to the very notion of being critical of Islam itself. After all for a secular there is nothing sacred, and it is assumed that those who wish to join with them will similarly question all – including the very legitimacy of the Qur’an itself. Because the ultimate goal of liberalism is not only a secular political entity/state but a secular person with a divided and disconnected psyche.

The quandary however is that we see evangelical christians – or practicing Christians – have a warped notion of Islam that has been created for the political purposes of 1) eliminating Muslims from within the US and 2) to justify a militaristic approach to world issues/conflicts – where Muslims are a key player and bulwark against secular outlooks.

How then should Muslims approach this question – while we may not be able to build bridges – i.e. institutional bridges -with believing Christians (of all denominations) – we might be able to build common ground by staying true to our deen. Thus, we may plainly state our point of views on social issues such as gay marriage, abortion, and other values that we may share with Christians. We might even go so far as recognizing a Christian character of a state. Such an approach may well also lead to people becoming more familiar with Islam, and people may see religion as providing an alternative to the secular and fragmented character of US society. The socially engaged characteristic of Islam may also attract those who who don’t particularly care for the, at times, reactionary and/or apolitics of evangelical Christians. But yet have not bought into the wholesale abandonment of social / ethical moral values.

Sahifah Al-Sajjadiyah – by Dr Rebecca Masterton

An excellent review of the history of Islamic spirituality/mysticism and its relationship to the prayer manual Shaifah Al-Sajjadiyah (translated in English as the Psalms of Islam) of Imam Zain al-Abideen (AS)

Below are links to some of the works mentioned in the talk by Dr. Masterton:

Shaifah Al-Sajjadiyah (trans. William Chittick)

A Comparative Exploration of the Authority of the Awliya’ in the Shi’i and Sufi Traditions by Dr. Masterton

The Concept of Sainthood in Early Islamic Mysticism: Two Works by Al-Hakim al-Tirmidhi – An Annotated Translation with Introduction