Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Heirs of the Prophets

The Heirs of the Prophets
Grazing the Gardens
Reluctance in giving religious verdicts

Written by : Ibn Rajab Al-Hanbali
Translated by: Imam Zaid Shakir

The early imams were cautious about speaking about [the lawful and unlawful], because one who speaks about these matters is relating information from Allah, enunciating His commandments and prohibitions, and passing on His sacred law. It was said about Ibn Sirin, "If he was asked about something regarding the lawful or unlawful, his color would change. He would be transformed until he no longer seemed the same person." Ata ibn al-Saib said, "I met people who, when asked for a religious verdict, would tremble as they spoke." It is related that when Imam Malik was asked about a legal matter, it was as if he were suspended between Heaven and Hell.

Imam Ahmed was extremely hesitant to speak on the lawful and unlawful, to claim that something was abrogated, or related matters which others would too readily expound. He frequently prefaced his answers with phrases such as, "I hope that...," "I fear...," or "It is more beloved to me..." Imam Malik and others used to say, "I do not know." Imam Ahmed would often say on an issue about which the righteous forbears had various opinions, "The most likely answer is, 'I do not know.'"

Friday, December 25, 2009

Muslims are Cool

Check out this excerpt from Imam Suhaib's talk:

"I remember I met a brother named Ali who became Muslim in Wichita, Kansas of all places. He had a stereo that broke the sound barrier. The brother would pull up to the masjid and the windows would start shaking. Step by step he became Muslim. Alhamdulilah he’s all right.

So I asked Ali, “Brother Ali, how did you become Muslim?”

He said, “Muslims are cool.”

I said, “Cool?” I thought maybe he was like me, you know I read the Qur’an, I read Ahmed Deedat, and got into intellectual debates about Paul and the concept of the trinity.

He was like, “No. Muslims are cool, man. Muslims are cool.”

I said, “Could you elaborate on that coolness?” Let’s get into our core coolness here and try to understand why Muslims are cool. Listen to this, sisters.

He said, “From middle school to high school in Wichita, Kansas there were these girls that used to wear this thing on their head. I couldn’t believe that they could do that.”

I said, “Why?”

He said, “Because of the pressure in my school for them to lose their virginity and dress like prostitutes. I watched those women from seventh grade to my senior year in high school and I came to a conclusion.”

I said, “What?”

He said, “Those girls are onto the truth.”

I said, “How?”

He said, “They didn’t waver, brother. Everyone wavered but them. To wear that in the nineties? The age of J. Lo? To wear that, something had to be stronger than the human spirit. Something had to cause them to transcend popular culture and cling to principles. The only thing that can do that is al-Haqq (the truth). That’s why Muslims are cool.”

I said, “I agree, brother. Muslims are cool.”

He became Muslim and he said, “I never talked to those girls. Those girls don’t even know me.”

By watching a living example of someone in the age of post-modernity, where there is supposedly no “fixed truth”, cling to the truth, and to look how he watched them from middle school to high school; he said, “From middle school to high school I realized that these women were holding onto a higher power. Something that they were clinging to gave them the ability to transcend the jahiliya (ignorance) that was around them and I realized it had to be the truth. So I stopped to ask questions and I found out that they were Muslims.”


Sunday, December 6, 2009


I think that I shall never see
A poem as lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth's sweet flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day.
And lifts her leafy arms to pray:
A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair:
Upon whose bosom snow has lain:
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me.
But only God can make a tree.

- Joyce Kilmer

"One thing that intrigued Kilmer, and possibly all others who would take time to reflect on that marvelous creation,
is the tree's constant and intimate communication with God. As he states ' A tree that looks at God all day, and lifts her leafy arms to pray'
Before such a powerfully reverent creation, Kilmer can only sense his own inadequacy and weakness. We humans can produce wonderful, eloquent
poetry; but what is a poem that emerges from our frail quills compared to the timeless wisdom and inspiring beauty embodied in a tree, a simple yet infinitely
complex creation wrought by the hand of God?"

Have you not seen how God sets forth a parable?
A good word is like a good tree whose roots are firm
and whose branches reach heaven.
It gives its fruit during every season, by leave of its Lord.
And God sets forth parables to people
that they may be reminded. [14:24-25]

Commentary by Imam Zaid Shakir
"Scattered Pictures: Reflections of an American Muslim"
(pages 99-101)