Discussion – 31/03/2014

Fountain of Faith, Monday, March 31, 2014

  • Narrated Abdullah (bin Umar): Once Allah’s Messenger passed by an Ansari (man) who was admonishing to his brother regarding Haya’. On that Allah’s Messenger said, “Leave him as Haya’ is a part of faith.” Sahih Al Bukhari
    • Vol. 1, Book 2, Hadith 24 USC-MSA web (English) reference 
  • Yai’zu– This word is translated as “admonishing” (or severely warning) in the hadith.
    • However, this word doesn’t necessarily mean admonishing à It means advising, preaching, giving guidance, speech.
    • By translating the word as admonishing, the translator is implying that preaching or advising is okay, but admonishing is not
      • However preaching about something which is irrelevant is NOT okay.
      • The Prophet (s) says to leave the man – do not preach, or advise him about Haya or modesty.
      • The hadith doesn’t give the authority to preach
  • Most classical scholars use language the common people can understand, however this may be misleading
    • We turn the Quranic teaching into mere story telling
  • You have to be the judge
    • In order to learn from the Quran, the greatest question you should ask while reading the Quran is:
      • Why does God bother to tell me this story?
  • The Prophet (s) says leave the man because (fa) haya is a part of faith
    • So essentially, preaching about haya will do no good – the focus should be on building faith. Why?
      • Because if one has faith, the immediate consequence of faith will be having haya.
  • Haya comes out of faith
    • If there was no faith, just talking about haya will have no effect
    • If I’m not satisfied about my belief, why would I bother to pray, etc?
      • The reason I don’t pray is because I don’t have certain belief.
      • You have to be convinced you have to pray in order to pray.
  • The advice the man gave in this hadith was directed towards the wrong target
    • You have to target the source of belief not the outcome of belief
  • Without teaching the foundations of religion (belief matters), one cannot possibly skip to the consequences, or outward forms of religion.
    • For example: If I don’t believe in the value of medicine and you keep telling me to take a biology class – why would I take a biology class?
      • You have to make me believe that I have to learn medicine, and that it is absolutely necessary and essential for me.
      • Once I am fully convinced that it is necessary for me, no one can stop me from taking a biology class.
    • In the same way, once we are fully convinced in our belief, actions will automatically follow.
      • The focus should be on making belief confirmed, and certain.
  • If you keep saying, “Be modest” or “Pray!” to a person who doesn’t know the value behind it – it will waste your time.
  • Ask yourself, what convinced you to pray?
    • Are you convinced that I have to respond back to my Creator, I have to acknowledge it?
    • You can present your gratefulness to the Creator in this way – by praying and acknowledging all the good things are from Him, that’s the way to respond – say Alhamdulillah
    • Follow the Prophet’s example in his life
      • Actions in general should be the results of belief; if they are not then they have no base.
  • Belief is the foundation
    • We have to feed the root so the branch will get its power and flourish.
  • Iman training is the essence of everything
    • Quran says perform as-salah (pray) to believers
      • All actions have their roots in iman
    • For example: If you cough because of a problem in your lungs, and the doctor gives you coughing medicine, does that solve the root problem? No. Instead it harms you, because it takes the symptom away and doesn’t cure the real problem, which is inside your lungs.
      • The Prophet is saying don’t prescribe cough medicine to pneumonia à Don’t prescribe modesty for a lack of belief.
      • Lack of haya means we should go to the root cause
    • It doesn’t suggest not to advise people, it says to go to the root cause
      • We have to go back to the root and establish the root
    • When He describe certain actions He says all those who believe, do this – meaning actions are the outcome of your belief
    • When God talks in general in the Quran He addresses all human beings and says worship your Lord, who has created you
      • He’s asking the addressee to think of who created them so they worship whoever created them, not anything else that did not create them.
  • Root of religion is faith, actions are the branches
    • Prophet says stop advising the man about branches, the root is corrupt – it means prescribe the right medicine to cure the disease.
      • Usool – primary matters related to belief
      • Furu’at – secondary matters related to fiqh
    • If you have not established primary matters, you cannot give advice about the secondary matters
    • The Prophet is advising if you want to have any betterment concerning the secondary matters, go to iman, the root.
  • Authorities have all operated for political power
    • Emphasizing actions is a way to control the people.
    • The authority cannot go into your belief system, the community was administered by kings, who wanted obedience, monolithic order, a stereotype society – it has to do with actions, not belief in God
      • Belief connects you to God, obeying the king connects your being subservient to his power
  • Historically, nations supported Fiqh matters, has to deal with obeying rules – same thing happened in Jewish society – turned into a religion of codification
    • Turning religion into rules makes it easier to control the people.
    • However if we focus on matters like belief, it makes you free from oppression
    • Then people would say I don’t obey the oppressive king  – I obey God.
  • This is the mission of the Prophet (pbuh)
    • When he started, he asked the people why do you follow the tribal chief blindly?
      • Kings/Tribal chiefs are self-employed authorities
      • What you have to do is obey the real Owner, acknowledge the True Authority
    • Roman and Persian empires were the strongest
      • How did the people of desert who came on camels, win against the equipped, highly advanced Persian army?
        • By calling people to believe in the oneness of their Creator.
  • The Prophet (s) is saying Haya is a part of faith, so preach the man in faith
    • You have to look at the matter in an analytic way
  • Think about the source of your creation, what has given you existence?
    • When you find out my Creator is the One who created the whole universe, you have to look for His example, look for the Prophet.
    • See the way in which the Quran deals with the subject, see the context of the structure of the sentence.
  • Then you start understanding what the teaching of the Quran is based on
    • Prophet taught his companions to understand the verses, not particularly memorize them.
  • The companions of the Prophet would spend great time to think about the verses of the Quran
    • They would reflect on the Quranic teaching, which is what we have to learn to do.

Going to the roots – iman.

  • Speak to everyone according to his/her own level
    • Don’t force religion as a responsibility
    • Start from the foundations
  • Stop preaching à tell me the root cause
    • Don’t tell me to have chastity, tell me why I should have chastity, give me the reason.
  • For a child’s understanding, refer things to their Creator.
    • Explain why you are giving the child a gift for example – I am giving the gift to you because that’s how my Creator created me, my Creator gave me the sense to give you a present, it is provided by God
    • Never teach religion in terms of activities that will gain a reward because then an association will be made between religion and reward à they will expect a reward for the things they do (creates a greedy, selfish attitude)
  • How do you believe in God?
    • By observing the signs in the creation à ayat
    • Two types of signs (ayat)
      • 1. Signs of the Quran
      • 2. Signs of the Creation referring to the unseen world
        • Both point to the Creator’s existence.
  • We need to learn how to read the text technically, and methodologically
    • We have to read the text so as a human being it makes sense
    • Following the text blindly is not faith à it is imitation
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