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We Are All of Adam

April 1, 2008
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002.037 Then learnt Adam from his Lord words of inspiration, and his Lord Turned towards him; for He is Oft-Returning, Most Merciful.
002.038 We said: “Get ye down all from here; and if, as is sure, there comes to you Guidance from me, whosoever follows My guidance, on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.
002.039 “But those who reject Faith and disbelieve Our Signs, they shall be companions of the Fire; they shall abide therein.”002.040 O Children of Israel! call to mind the (special) favour which I bestowed upon you, and fulfil your covenant with Me as I fulfil My Covenant with you, and fear none but Me.
002.041  And believe in what I reveal, confirming the revelation which is with you, and be not the first to reject Faith therein, nor sell My Signs for a small price; and fear Me, and Me alone.
002.042 And cover not Truth with falsehood, nor conceal the Truth when ye know (what it is).
002.043 And be steadfast in prayer; practise regular charity; and bow down your heads with those who bow down (in worship).
002.044 Do ye enjoin right conduct on the people, and forget (To practise it) yourselves, and yet ye study the Scripture? Will ye not understand?
002.045 Nay, seek (Allah’s) help with patient perseverance and prayer: It is indeed hard, except to those who bring a lowly spirit,-
002.046 Who bear in mind the certainty that they are to meet their Lord, and that they are to return to Him.
002.047 Children of Israel! call to mind the (special) favour which I bestowed upon you, and that I preferred you to all other (for My Message).

And so, we are all of Adam left to reason, knowledge, faith, and to making our own decisions.  Distinguished from animals because of such skills.  Human,  prone to err and still striving for betterment.  Yet that nature of man, that reasoning, that knowledge, that strive for progress, that strive for righteousness,  leads to reprehensible acts worse than instinctively vicious acts of the most ferocious of animals.  It’s our handicap.

002.026 SHAKIR: Surely Allah is not ashamed to set forth any parable– (that of) a gnat or any thing above that; then as for those who believe, they know that it is the truth from their Lord, and as for those who disbelieve, they say: What is it that Allah means by this parable: He causes many to err by it and many He leads aright by it! but He does not cause to err by it (any) except the transgressors

And so, we are Muslims but we are also the children of Israel.  We are Jews.  We are Christians.  We are.

We submit to Allah.  Our gift, our miracle: The Quran.  Our greatest of examples: our prophet Muhammed.  Our promise is the protection of our book which gives us Islam, peace.  That is our promise and this is our warning:

002.079 YUSUFALI: Then woe to those who write the Book with their own hands, and then say:”This is from Allah,” to traffic with it for miserable price!- Woe to them for what their hands do write, and for the gain they make thereby.

And like those that we were before the final message and those that we are, there is no promise that we as Muslims, as humans, will not err .. as did our Adam, as did the Children of Israel that Allah had loved the most.  Verse in and verse out there are the examples of how we lost our way numerous times before and by example will numerous times again.

002.168 YUSUFALI: O ye people! Eat of what is on earth, Lawful and good; and do not follow the footsteps of the evil one, for he is to you an avowed enemy.
002.169: For he commands you what is evil and shameful, and that ye should say of Allah that of which ye have no knowledge.
002.170: When it is said to them: “Follow what Allah hath revealed:” They say: “Nay! we shall follow the ways of our fathers.” What! even though their fathers Were void of wisdom and guidance?
002.171: The parable of those who reject Faith is as if one were to shout Like a goat-herd, to things that listen to nothing but calls and cries: Deaf, dumb, and blind, they are void of wisdom.
002.172: O ye who believe! Eat of the good things that We have provided for you, and be grateful to Allah, if it is Him ye worship.
002.173: He hath only forbidden you dead meat, and blood, and the flesh of swine, and that on which any other name hath been invoked besides that of Allah. But if one is forced by necessity, without wilful disobedience, nor transgressing due limits,- then is he guiltless. For Allah is Oft-forgiving Most Merciful.
002.174: Those who conceal Allah’s revelations in the Book, and purchase for them a miserable profit,- they swallow into themselves naught but Fire; Allah will not address them on the Day of Resurrection. Nor purify them: Grievous will be their penalty.
002.175: They are the ones who buy Error in place of Guidance and Torment in place of Forgiveness. Ah! what boldness (They show) for the Fire!
002.176: (Their doom is) because Allah sent down the Book in truth but those who seek causes of dispute in the Book are in a schism Far (from the purpose).
002.177: It is not righteousness that ye turn your faces Towards east or West; but it is righteousness- to believe in Allah and the Last Day, and the Angels, and the Book, and the Messengers; to spend of your substance, out of love for Him, for your kin, for orphans, for the needy, for the wayfarer, for those who ask, and for the ransom of slaves; to be steadfast in prayer, and practice regular charity; to fulfil the contracts which ye have made; and to be firm and patient, in pain (or suffering) and adversity, and throughout all periods of panic. Such are the people of truth, the Allah-fearing.

And so we eat the things allowed us and stay away from those that are not allowed because we literally have to.  However, when it comes to suffering and adversity and all periods of panic somehow there are those amongst us that elude being firm and patient, skip right past the literal and jump to another literal or scour the hadiths for justifications of their view of “righteousness”.

I, as a layman, as a Muslim, once of the Pagans, of the Jews, of the Christians, as one of the people of the book have to question how it is that our Islam, our peace, came to this point.  I have to look to the history of human faith, narrated to us within the Quran and must reflect upon what is happening within Islam and question that which is allowed questioning.  I will do so with the knowledge that this post will most likely become victim to attack, be called evil, with the knowledge that I am human and not all knowing, that I answer to Allah and no one else and I will pray that Allah guides me in the right path. 

It is from that perspective that I must once again address the issue of hadith and I do so without denying the status of hadith as a source of Islamic jurisprudence and Islamic tradition but I have to question how it is that we humans have given the status of perfection to the prophets companions and to those that have taken at hand the task of compiling hadiths for us.  Have we, as humans, not then given all of these people the status of prophethood?  I have to ask how it was acceptable at one point in time to go through the process of deeming hadiths acceptable, classifying them in regards to mutawatir and ahad and how it is not okay to do the same at this point in time.  I wonder if we Muslims, of today, had been around back in the days of Bhukhari and Muslim would have been labelling them proregressives, liberals, or reformers.  I shudder the thought.

I have to ask how some Muslims, such as Tariq Ramadan, come up with this:

In the name of God the Beneficent, the Merciful
Surely those who believe, and those who are Jews, and the Christians, and the Sabians, whoever believes in God and the Last day and does good, they shall have their reward from their Lord, and there is no fear for them, nor shall they grieve (Qur’an 2:62).
Peace be with you,
This letter is intended as a gesture of goodwill towards rabbinic leaders and the wider Jewish communities of the world. Our aim is to build upon existing relations in order to improve mutual understanding in places where required to further the positive work in building bridges between Muslims and Jews. In the face of the negative and destructive tensions in the Middle East, this letter is a call to positive and constructive action that aims to improve Muslim-Jewish relations.
Many Jews and Muslims today stand apart from each other due to feelings of anger, which in some parts of the world, translate into violence. It is our contention that we are faced today not with ‘a clash of civilizations’ but with ‘a clash of ill-informed misunderstandings’. Deep-seated stereotypes and prejudices have resulted in a distancing of the communities and even a dehumanizing of the ‘Other’. We urgently need to address this situation. We must strive towards turning ignorance into knowledge, intolerance into understanding, and pain into courage and sensitivity for the ‘Other’.

Yet, I still know that the following hadith has still been found in Islamic textbooks and quoted in khutbas.  While it’s purpose may or may not be to demonize Jews with the current Palestinian/Israeli conflict, demonizing Jews is the one thing this hadith does well:

 ‘The time [of judgment and resurrection] will not come until Muslims will fight the Jews and kill them; until the Jews hide behind rocks and trees, which will cry: O Muslim! There is a Jew hiding behind me, come on and kill him!’” (Sahih Muslim book 41, no. 6985)

If the timing of the final days is unknown to man, under Allah’s control and time is for Allah, not for man, then I have to ask why it is necessary for laymen to know this hadith.  I have to ask why a typical cleric whose expertise is not in Islamic jurisprudence needs to repeat this hadith to his congregation.  I have to look at all of the verses in the Quran that are favorable towards the “people of the book”, the verse in which Allah created us in nations.  I have to look at the numerous examples in the prophets lifetime which have shown treatises and allegiances with Jews and wonder how this hadith is even charachteristic of Islam.  I have to do this.  I have to do this because I am a Muslim, once of the Pagans, of the Jews, of the Christians.  I am of Adam.  I am prone to reason, to seek knowledge, to seek justice, to seek humanity and above all I am prone to err.

When we as Muslims stop questioning, stop pursuing Islam (peace), stop pondering all of these issues and just “accept”, it will be then that we will have followed the history of faith according to the Quran. 

6 Comments leave one →
  1. Ploni Almoni permalink
    April 1, 2008 8:35 pm

    You should be congratulated for posting this. It should be noted that amongst the different faiths, Judaism holds that Islam is the most unquestionably non-idolatrous, and both religions actually have much in common. It is sad, for a culture with such a rich history, that so much hatred has occurred recently in the name of Islam, and heartening that you oppose it.

  2. Umm A permalink
    April 2, 2008 12:30 am

    “we humans have given the status of perfection to the prophets companions”

    I read the article that you mentioned in your post. I am amazed that you still ask this question…it is not about ‘perfection’ but it is about Allah’s chosen people and those whom Allah has forgiven and Allah is PLEASED with them, then how can we go around finding major flaws with them??

    Didn’t you read the ayahs mentioned in that article…and the ahadeeth about reviling the companions….
    subhanAllah anyone trying to dig into their flaws must be unaware of his/her own flaws…how can one neglect the fact that Allah has said that He is Pleased with them….

    “Our Lord! Forgive us and our brethren who have preceded us in Faith, and put not in our hearts any hatred against those who have believed. Our Lord! You are indeed full of kindness, Most Merciful.” (59:10)

  3. April 2, 2008 7:28 pm

    Ploni Almoni – I think you can find so much better out there amongst Muslim bloggers in regards to this subject than this particular post but this sentiment can’t be stated enough. I’ve spent a little too much time these days on the defense (as in my last post – and I still take offense to Horowitz’s position) that I haven’t been addressing the issues that need to be addressed.

    Ummm A – it is not about ‘perfection’ but it is about Allah’s chosen people and those whom Allah has forgiven and Allah is PLEASED with them, then how can we go around finding major flaws with them??

    That Allah needs to forgive them shows us that they were not free of flaws.

    Asking for an explanation, asking questions that need to be asked and answered is quite different from having hatred in our hearts for the companions.

    As I said before – when we stop asking, stop confirming – we are following the history of faith narrated to us in the Quran.

    If I were to simply “accept” everything that was told to me is “Islam” then why should I not accept the ideology of extremists or that of Quranists? If I were to simply “accept” what others insist is “Islamic” it would be a blind following and what kind of faith is that?

    If everyone simply “accepted” this is (fill in your faith here) no one would ever have become Muslim nor would anyone ever become Muslim.

  4. Ploni Almoni permalink
    April 3, 2008 11:15 am

    Well, I don’t know this fellow Horowitz except for what I just searched on your blog, but if your blog is accurate about him as a Jew I also take offense to this fellow. I may have political beliefs that differ from most Muslims, but find it offensive to attempt to besmirch a faith our Rishonim (Rabbis of the early Middle Ages) such as the Rambam (Maimonidies) have declared to be so close to Judaism, and unanimously declared to be non-idolatrous; as an example of a faith that’s purely monotheistic. (Later authorities cannot and have not overturned this position.)

    Crusaders and Muslim terrorists, and even some Zionists to mention a nationalist group that gets harsh criticism from the Muslim community, have acted in ways that are evil, but I think we can recognize that none are representative of their entire faith communities. (Well, the evil acts I refer to on the part of some Zionists were mostly committed by atheists who were strongly anti-religious, so it’s hard to call that “faith community”, though I do consider them to be fellow Jews; much as Muslims do not estrange themselves from someone part of their peoplehood) Otherwise, if one declares all xtians to be crusaders, all Jews to be the Stern Gang, and all Muslims to be Osama Bin-Laden, one is being as intolerant as the extremists one opposes.

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