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Taking A Patient Off Life Support

 

Asalaam alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I hope you’re doing well, insha’Allah. May Allah Most High grant you relief in this difficult and testing situation.

Keep in mind that all such tests are expiations (kaffara) for believers’ sins, and reward and raising in eternal ranks in Paradise with Allah Most High.

Our prayers are with your father and family.

Taking A Patient Off Life Support

Life support equipment—such as a ventilator—is a sunna (highly recommended) to seek when someone is sick. It is not morally obligatory for a patient to seek such medical treatment—though when healing is likely or hoped for, it is recommended and encouraged.

Thus, when reliable doctors state that there is little or no likelihood of recovery, it is permitted for the immediate family to agree to take the patient off life support. It is good to seek a second qualified medical opinion, when feasible, out of caution and for peace of mind. Striving to preserve life is a basic aim of Islamic teachings.

It is also good for the family to come together and agree to the course of action being taken. They should also agree not to second-guess any choice made—whether to continue life support or not.

The family should support each other in this difficult time. They should all make many prayers for your father; give in charity on his behalf, and renew certitude in Allah, and have complete trust in His Mercy, Wisdom, and Grace.

Please see the following links as well.

https://seekersguidance.org/answers/general-counsel/dealing-with-a-terminal-illness-and-impending-death/

https://seekersguidance.org/answers/general-counsel/extending-life-support-when-no-recovery-is-expected/

May Allah facilitate all ways of good for you. May Allah grant you success and facilitation.

And Allah is the giver of success and facilitation.

Wassalam,

Faraz Rabbani

 

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

How Can I Help My Old Mother That Suffers a Mental Disorder?

Answered by Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat

Question: My old mother is bed-bound, disabled, demented, and now deaf. I have to look after her without much help from my siblings. She is very difficult to deal with, and I lost my cool with her a lot, but then repent. Please advise. 

Answer: Wa ‘alaykum assalam wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh

Dear sister, I pray you are well, and that Allah makes a way of these difficulties for you. You have a very difficult test, and I pray Allah Almighty makes it easier for you and rewards you tremendously for it.

Good News

A woman who had epileptic fits came to the Messenger of Allah, Allah blesses him and give him peace. She wanted him to pray for the affliction to be removed. He told her that if she remained patient she would get Paradise. (Bukhari)

From the details you described in your question it seems that you have an incredibly difficult test. Perhaps this is the means that will gain you a place in Paradise without any judgment. And perhaps your mother’s illness will gain her the same. Have a good opinion of Allah.

Do What You Can

Try your best to remain calm with your mother. If you do happen to lose your patience,  ask Allah for forgiveness and try to apologize to her. It’s clear that your test is an intense one, and as humans, there is only so much we can handle, especially when there is no rest from the trials. Don’t let the guilt burden you. With every repentance, assume your mistakes are all wiped away.

Practically, however, I don’t think this situation is something you can manage on your own long term. If you carry on like this you are going to end up getting ill yourself. Speak to your siblings, and if they cannot physically come to help, then maybe they can all make a monthly contribution towards hiring a carer to come to your home and assist you.

This is the least they can do, and it will give you some much-needed rest as well.

Please have a daily dose of reminders on patience and fortitude as they will provide you with invaluable support. May Allah grant you ease in all your affairs. Amin.

[Shaykh] Abdul-Rahim Reasat

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat began his studies in Arabic Grammar and Morphology in 2005. After graduating with a degree in English and History he moved to Damascus in 2007 where, for 18 months, he studied with many erudite scholars. In late 2008 he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continued his studies for the next six years in Sacred Law (fiqh), legal theory (Usul al-fiqh), theology, hadith methodology, hadith commentary, and Logic. He was also given licenses of mastery in the science of Qur’anic recital and he was able to study an extensive curriculum of Qur’anic sciences, tafsir, Arabic grammar, and Arabic eloquence.

Can I Work as a Nurse in Hospice Care?

Answered by Ustadha Shazia Ahmad

Question: I am a registered nurse considering doing Hospice nursing. The purpose of hospice care is to treat symptoms of the terminally ill and keep the patient as comfortable as possible. Am I permitted to do such work?

Answer: Assalamu alaykum, thank you for your question.

It is permissible for you to work in hospice care. Managing pain and making patients comfortable is praiseworthy and more conducive to making them capable of tawba before the end of their lives. Being a Muslim in the company of non-Muslims before their deaths could very well be great mercy, too.

As for morphine, this is the explanation that I have found: If a person has never received morphine, the initial doses given are low. They are gradually increased to relieve the person’s level of pain or shortness of breath. After a few days of regular doses, the body adjusts to the morphine. The patient becomes less likely to be affected by morphine’s most serious side effect—the slowing of breathing. It would take a large dose to increase over a short time to harm someone. Morphine doses are increased gradually and only as needed to maintain comfort. [CanadianVirtualHospice]

It seems that with the responsible administering of the medicine, it is not be assumed that it hastens death, but that it falls in the category of many other medicines: curing the symptom with some side effects. And Allah knows best. Please see the following links for more information:

Extending Life Support When No Recovery is Expected

Is Euthanasia Permissible?

May Allah grant us all a good ending (husn al khitam).

[Ustadha] Shazia Ahmad

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadha Shazia Ahmad lived in Damascus, Syria for two years where she studied aqidah, fiqh, tajweed, tafseer and Arabic. She then attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she completed her Masters in Arabic. Afterwards, she moved to Amman, Jordan where she studied fiqh, Arabic and other sciences. She recently moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.

 

Waiting Period After A Miscarriage

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: Salams, I was 24weeks pregnant and had a sudden delivery and my baby died. I want to ask how many days should I wait for praying to make my Prayer?

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullah,

I’m deeply sorry to hear that your baby passed away shortly after birth. May Allah Most High increase you in steadfastness and facilitate your healing and recovery. Insha’Allah, you shall be reunited with your baby in the next life where you will find an infinite reward for your sincere faith and submission. It’s moving to see somebody so concerned about their relationship with their Lord after such a tragic event.

The blood which exits from the uterus after the birth of a child is legally considered to be lochia (nifas). The maximum period of such bleeding is forty days, but keep an eye on it to see if it stops before then. If it does, you should perform the full, ritual bath (ghusl) and then begin praying your prayers as usual. Similarly, you may fast, recite the Qur’an and engage in other acts of devotion after your bath.

Marital Relations After Childbirth

If you have a lochial habit, that is to say, you have had a child before and the lochia lasted a certain length of time, then it would not be permitted to engage in sexual relations with your spouse until the completion of this period. For example, if your bleeding lasted thirty days last time, and this time it stopped after twenty-five, you would need to avoid such relations until you reach thirty days.

Note that you can still be intimate with your spouse at any point during your lochia, yet without any direct, skin-to-skin contact between your navel and knee.

However, if the bleeding continues and reaches forty complete days, you may not engage in any sexual relations during this time and up to this point, even if your lochial habit finished much earlier. Further, you would consider all blood after your lochial habit to be irregular (istihada). Accordingly, you would need to perform a ritual bath and then make up the prayers from the end of your habit and until day forty, and then continue to consider yourself ritually pure thereafter.

If there are issues in calculation or any other problem arises, it’s worth reaching out to a reliable scholar to ask for assistance.

(Birgivi, Dhukhr al-Muta’ahhilin wa al-Nisa’; Shurunbulali, Maraqi al-Falah, with Tahtawi’s Gloss)

Please also see: How Can I Know the End of My Menstrual Period? and: When to Resume Prayers After Having a Child

And Allah Most High knows best.

Wassalam,

[Ustadh] Tabraze Azam

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Tabraze Azam holds a BSc in Computer Science from the University of Leicester, where he also served as the President of the Islamic Society. He memorized the entire Qur’an in his hometown of Ipswich at the tender age of sixteen and has since studied the Islamic Sciences in traditional settings in the UK, Jordan, and Turkey. He is currently pursuing advanced studies in Jordan, where he is presently based on his family.

Grave Visits

Answered by Ustadh Salman Younas

Question: My husband offers only Friday prayers and their family belongs to a sect. They visit shrines. Is my marriage valid?

Answer: assalamu alaykum

Yes, your marriage is certainly valid.

Missing prayer is sinful but a person does not become a non-Muslim due to it. You should gently encourage your family to perform their obligatory prayers when the right moment presents itself for presenting such advice.

Similarly, visiting shrines is permissible. It is no different from visiting any other grave.

Marriage is only invalidated through divorce, annulment, a khul’, or the apostasy of one of the spouses. The latter case has a very high threshold. We do not rule Muslims as disbelievers unless there is decisive and clear evidence in that regard. The issues you mention do not relate to belief/disbelief.

[Ustadh] Salman Younas

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Salman Younas was born and raised in New York and graduated from Stony Brook University with a degree in Political Science and Religious Studies. After studying the Islamic sciences online and with local scholars in New York, Ustadh Salman moved to Amman. There he studies Islamic law, legal methodology, belief, hadith methodology, logic, Arabic, and tafsir. Ustadh Salman’s personal interests include research into the fields of law/legal methodology, hadith, theology, as well as political theory, government, media, and ethics. He is also an avid traveler and book collector. He currently resides in Amman with his wife.

The Passing of Dr. Fuad Nahdi

To Allah we belong and to him we shall return.  The world lost a senior activist, mentor to many.

It is with great sadness that we receive the news of the passing of our beloved friend Dr Fuad Nahdi (May Allah have mercy on him).

When I went to visit Dr Fuad during his illness in 2008, he said to me something that I will not forget, he said “I am not worried about my illness, I am worried about my adab with Allah during this illness.”

We share our condolences with the family especially his wife Humera, she went through a lot of difficulties… May Allah bless her and our dear children Sidi Nadir and Illyeh.

We beg our Lord to accept him and grant him a safe journey of wellbeing, such a journey that has a beginning but no end…

– His friend and close associate, the respected Shaykh Faid Said

 

Dr. Fuad Nahdi died today. A great man, a great friend, a great mentor, a tireless servant of the Prophetic Way of wisdom, mercy, balance, concern, love, and beauty. Someone who knew him had a dream in which the Beloved Messenger of Allah (peace & blessings be upon him & his folk) said, “Sidi Fuad is a door of the dawah in the West…”

May Allah grant Dr. Fuad the very highest of Paradise, in close proximity to the Beloved Messenger of Allah (peace & blessings be upon him & his folk), whom he loved deeply and dearly.

The eyes tear, the hearts hurt, but with contentment, and with complete certitude in the Most Merciful and Most Generous.

– Faraz Rabbani

written Saturday, March 21st, 2020

The Passing of Mufti Umer Esmail

We are deeply saddened at the news of the passing of one of our beloved teacher’s, Mufti Mohamed Umer Esmail. A religious scholar, community leader, and loving father and husband, he is survived by his wife and three daughters.

Let us pray for Mufti Umer and his family, may God grant him the highest levels of Jannah and may God’s Mercy shower his family and may the Razzaq, the Provider, provide for his family.

“Mufti Umer Esmail was a wonderful person, of gentleness, and good akhlaq. Much beloved by all those who knew him.”

– Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Help us raise $100,000 by the end of the week to support his estate in this challenging time. The funds raised will be through our Islamic Scholars Fund initiative and 100% of the proceeds will go directly to his family.

Is Euthanasia Permissible?

Shaykh Jamir Meah answers a question related to Euthanasia and its ruling in Islamic law.

Question:

My question is regarding the medically assisted death option which patients in hospitals are choosing. I’m completing a clinical pastoral education unit in a hospital and was recently asked if I would assist patients who have chosen medically assisted death and without any confusion or hesitation I said yes. However, I’m wondering if as a Muslim that is problematic or not. I don’t think so but I just need to speak to someone who is in the field and is a Muslim to provide some kind of comments, feedback or advise. Please let me know your thoughts.

Thank you

Answer:

Assalam ‘alaykum, thank you for your question.

Euthanasia is of two types, active and passive. Active euthanasia is deliberately performing an act that will cause the person to die, such as administering a fatal injection. Passive euthanasia entails leaving a person to die without any action being taken to preserve life.

Active Euthanasia, Suicide, and Assisted Suicide

Active Euthanasia, the direct and deliberate act performed to kill the patient maybe involuntary, such as when the patient is unconscious and the decision to end their lives is taken by the family or physician, or voluntary, in which case it is termed suicide, or assisted suicide if a third party assists the person in the act.

Active Euthanasia, suicide, and assisted suicide, are unlawful in Islamic Law, even if the person is suffering.

This is based on the words of God, ‘And take not life, which Allah has made sacred, except by way of justice and law’[6: 151], and, ‘Do not kill yourselves. Verily, Allah is ever Merciful unto you’. [4:29].

Alongside the prohibition, the person who deliberately caused death would have committed homicide.

Vegetable States

The ‘exception’ to the prohibition on involuntary euthanasia is when the patient is in a severe vegetable state, such that the medication, feeding (i.e. hydration), or life support machine, is the only thing keeping the person breathing, and without it, it has been concluded that the person would be dead or will not function. In these cases, it would be permissible to stop treatment if qualified physicians state that this is the case and there is no hope of recovery.

Passive Euthanasia

Passive euthanasia, where no action is taken, entails stopping medical treatment. The vast majority of scholars have held that it is recommended for a person to seek medical treatment but it is not obligatory. Therefore, if a person chooses to stop treatment, and they are left to die naturally, then this would be permissible. However, it would not be permitted to starve the person to death (or self-starvation). And Allah knows best.

Do Not Desire Death

It is disliked for a person to desire death, as the Prophet ﷺ said, ‘Let none of you wish for death on account of an affliction that befalls him. If he has no alternative, let him pray, O Allah! Give my life so long as the life is good for me, and take away my life if death is good for me.’ [Al Bukhari and Muslim]

Role of the Muslim physician

The Muslim physician holds a very important yet precarious role. It is essential that any person wishing to treat or care for patients first learn the rulings of sacred law (fiqh) that apply to their job, as well as study some central tenants of Islamic belief (‘aqida).

Though it can be very difficult, Muslim physicians should always encourage patients, Muslims and non-Muslim, to have hope in something greater than their suffering, for hope is often far greater a cure than any medicine can afford.

[al Majmu’, Tuhfatul Muhtaj, Mughni al Muhtaj, Tarshih al Mustarshidin]

 

Please also refer to the following answer:

I wish you all the best in your affairs.

Warmest salams,

Jamir

 

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabanni


 

Diya for Car Accident Resulting in Death

Ustadh Tabraze Azam is asked about paying blood money and expiation due to the accidental death of someone.

If a Muslim is involved in a traffic collision which results in the death of an individual is he liable for diya and kaffara?

Usually, if a person unintentionally kills another, he is expected to pay the blood money (diya) and perform the expiation (kaffara). The former would commonly be paid with assistance from family members (‘aqila) over a period of time. However, there is some detail here depending on the nature of the accident, who did it and where it occurred.

Allah Most High says: “It is not lawful for a believer to kill another except by mistake. And whoever kills a believer unintentionally must free a believing slave and pay blood-money to the victim’s family – unless they waive it charitably…” and towards the end of the verse, “Those who are unable, let them fast two consecutive months – as a means of repentance to Allah.” (Sura al-Nisa 4:92)

Given the sensitive nature of the topic, I’d suggest consulting a local, reliable scholar with the specifics of the situation.

(Usmani, Buhuth fi Qadaya al-Fiqhiyya al-Mu‘asira (1.297); Ibn ‘Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar ‘ala al-Durr al-Mukhtar; Mawsili, al-Ikhtiyar li Ta‘lil al-Mukhtar)

Please also see The Punishment for Murder: Reconciling Verses 4:93 and 4:116.

And Allah Most High knows best.

Wassalam, Tabraze Azam

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

Exploring Tawhid: Islam as a Universal Civilization

Shaykh Seraj Hendricks reflects on the profound meanings and realities of the concept of tawhid, beginning with the words: La ilaha illa Allah.

The defining statement of Islam “La ilaha illa Allah” (there is no deity worthy of worship but Allah), captures the inherent civilization of oneness and unicity upon which Islam is built. This unicity is accompanied with a sense of the sacred ontology of spirituality; that is, the very nature of our reality and our being – when viewed through the lens of tawhid – is that our essence is sacred. It mirrors tawhid. One of our shortcomings is that we have externalized spirituality and abandoned its internalization. There is therefore a dire need to re-inject Islam with this awareness of inner spirituality – a need that demands the re-exploration of the very notion of tawhid.

Allah says:

The one who has indeed succeeded is the one who purifies himself, remembers his Lord and prays. But you prefer the worldly life, while the Hereafter is better and more enduring. Indeed, this is in the former scriptures, the scriptures of Abraham and Moses. (Sura al-A‘la 87:14-19)

The Qur’an promotes purification and tazkiya (cleansing) of the self through dhikr (spiritual remembrance) and du’a (invocation), and states categorically that the Akhira (the afterlife) is better for us than the Dunya (material existence). Yet we as human beings have come to prefer and prioritize the Dunya – some to the point of abandoning the Akhira altogether. The Qur’an then reinforces the universality of this message by stating that it is one that has been confirmed in the earlier scriptures.

However, the “self-image” of the Qur’an is highly pragmatic in that it deals with realities, emotions, people and communities. It recognizes the palpable context of the Dunya – whilst the message is clear that the Akhira is better, it does not condemn the Dunya. On the contrary, it views our earthly existence as a “Dar al-Balah” – as an abode of trials in which we will be tested.

Furthermore, Allah declares:

He who created Death and Life, that He may try which of you is best in deeds: and He is the Exalted in Might, Oft-Forgiving. (Sura al Mulk 67:2)

The sequence of this verse (ayat) places “death” before “life”, reminding us firstly that death is both a creation of Allah and a transition to the next life, and not merely a lifeless condition of absolute nothingness. But in its pragmatism, the Qur’an also reminds us of our earthly responsibilities:

Do not forget your portion in the Dunya. (Sura al-Qasas 28:77)

And thus we recognize the profoundness of one of our most oft-repeated supplications:

Our Lord, grant us the best of this Dunya [world] and the best of the Akhira [the hereafter]. (Sura al-Baqara 2:201)

It is in this reflective state of the believers, who ask and seek for the best of both “worlds”, that we find ourselves as an “ummatan wasatan”, a balanced community … a community dynamically located in this world but with a supremacy of focus on the world to come. In this regard, all of us, as men and as women, have two roles to play: that of Ubudiyyah (being the bondsmen of Allah) and that of Khilafa (being representatives/vicegerents of Allah) in this world.

Wasatiyyah thus becomes a balancing act between these two functions, because if we prioritize our Khilafa and forget that we are the servants of Allah, we may become tyrannical. On the other hand, if we immerse ourselves only in Ubudiyyah, then we forget our social responsibilities towards our communities; or even collapse into form of servility unbecoming of our dignity as human beings. To embody these two roles and become communities of equilibrium and justice, we must locate ourselves within a spirituo-moral locus of Islam as a “Way of Being” before our conception of it as “a Way of Life” – which is a somewhat externalised way of viewing and practising the Deen (Religion as a “way of being” and “becoming” in consonance with the Divine Principle of tawhid). As a ‘Way of Being’, it presents us with the potential to change and to transform internally. This perspective finds a powerful resonance within the Qur’an where it states:

Allah will not change the external conditions of a people until they change that which is within themselves. (Sura al-Ra‘ad 13:11)

We often focus excessively on changing the conditions outside of ourselves – and those of others. Immersed in our dunyawi (worldly) delusions, we have externalized and exteriorized change and transformation to our detriment. This attitude constitutes the “heart” of self-righteousness. And so it is that we fail to realize that it is only when we change that which resides within ourselves – within the very core of our hearts and minds and souls – that Allah will change our external conditions and allow us to be the vessels of that social change.

Further emphasizing the importance of our internal realities, Allah says:

Soon will We show them our Signs in the (furthest) regions (of the earth), and in their own souls, until it becomes manifest to them that this is the Truth. (Sura al-Fussilat 41:53)

We will only be able to read these ayaat ­- these symbols and signs of Allah – through the process of tazkiyatu n–nafs (purification of the Self). Attempting to recognize and understand the signs and symbols of Allah is what forms the foundation of interacting with the Divine – it is what links us with spirituality. Herein lays our “identity” as Muslims. Ours is an internal, spiritually focussed and centred identity. “Identity” in Islamic Spirituality encompasses an ontology of being. It is an existential condition. To fully realise this demands a number of things: that we interrogate ourselves both spiritually and ethically; that we reflect upon and modify our conduct and comportment where necessary; and that we ask ourselves to what degree we are prepared to undergo the requisite transformation. From this point of departure, we may trace the trajectory of our Islamic “identity” along the oft-mentioned triad of the Nafs: from the Nafs al–Ammarah Bi s-Su’ (the Inciting Self) through the Nafs al-Lawwama (the Reproachful Self) to the Nafs al-Mutma’inna (Tranquil self/self at rest). It is only after we have cultivated the ability to objectively criticize ourselves (the Lawwama of the Self) that we are able to attain that serenity and inner peace – that Itmi’nan. Without this tranquillity there can be no peace between ourselves and Allah, ourselves and creation, or that sublime condition of inner peace.

It is therefore necessary that we ask ourselves important questions about the state of our Islamic education – referenced in Arabic as Tarbiyyah (to nurture, enrich, refine and cultivate). It is imperative, too, that we identify the points of reference for such a process. How – in more specific terms – and in a holistic manner, we are able to connect the idea of tawhid with Islam as a universal Din. Allah says,

The Religion before Allah is Islam (submission to His Will). (Sura Aal Imran 3:19)

How do we translate this into our educational models. What are the principles that underlie our educational processes?

There are three important aspects to consider:

The individual – how, for example, are individuals and individuality constituted?
Society – how do we understand the histories, the values and the norms of societies?
The content of reality – namely, its relation to both the material and spiritual contexts?

Moreover, and on the one hand, the tensions that may arise between “individuality” and “individualism” (particularly as they are often-times embraced in the contemporary world as ruthless and necessary forms of competitiveness – the corporate world providing just one of the spaces for some of its worst manifestations), and our notions of “collectivity” on the other, need to be urgently addressed. These tensions are fraught with the potential to lead to unrest and wars.

With a view to more fully grasping these complexities we need to understand that the aims and purposes (maqasid) of education are both intrinsically and intimately linked to our ultimate convictions.

We, as Muslims, need to ask ourselves and critically examine what our ultimate convictions are about human nature and society. What Quranic or Sunnic template do we need to foreground in order to express and actualize those ultimate convictions? Again it needs to be re-emphasized that as Muslims we are governed by spirituo-ethical values. These values form the foundation of the concept of adab (right and fair conduct – or virtuosity) and is far more important than ilm (knowledge), without diminishing the exalted station of knowledge in Islam in any way. As the Arabic proverb goes, “al–adab fawq al-ilm”, (adab is above knowledge), because without good conduct and virtuosity, knowledge reduces to mere information. One can be a tyrant and yet be the most learned and informed of people.

We come to realize that Islam is thus based on unity of knowledge and servitude to Allah through service to the creation, as well as the centrality of revelation, because we view the cosmos itself as reflective and symbolic of higher realities.

Islam and tawhid as our aqidah (belief and theological system), are thus synthetic in nature. It is an approach that builds towards a dynamic and regenerative concept of unity (as opposed to being merely deconstructive or reductionist). It continuously strives to inform us of the interconnectedness and wholeness of all things, of the intimacy and meaningfulness of the created order, so that we can transform both ourselves and the world within which we live. This we cannot do without the characteristics of justice, fairness and equality (for example, between males and females). In addition, if we cannot do justice to ourselves how can we do justice to others? If we cannot forgive, how can we expect to be forgiven; if we show no mercy, how can we expect mercy to be shown to us; if we cannot love, how can we expect to be loved? Even more so, the blameworthy attribute “malicious envy” (hasad), for example, is not condemned so much for the pain it causes others, but for its horrific potential to bring spiritual ruin and destruction upon the soul guilty of such envy. Allah cares for all His creation! Said the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him:

Malicious envy (hasad) destroys the goodness (hasanaat) in us in as much as fire devours wood. (Abu Dawud: Hadith 2653).

There ought to be, therefore, several natural consequences for societies who embrace and build themselves on tawhid:

1. Tawhid forces us to embrace and look to the essence of being human rather than the happenstances of our creation in which we played no part. It relegates race, ethnicity, nationality, gender and language – those things for which we are not responsible and have not come by way of acquisition. If we really internalize tawhid, it marginalizes secondary qualities and forces us to recognize the essentials of our existence and obliterate the contingencies.

2. Tawhid engenders love and mutual respect; it urges us to respect all human beings, to argue in the best of ways, and to invite to the way of Allah in the most excellent manner and with wisdom. The Quran is emphatic about this.

3. Tawhid demands from us that we both verify and establish truth. Whenever we view tawhid as an Ultimate Truth, everyday truthfulness becomes symbolic of this higher truth.) This matter of faithfulness to the truth plagues us as an ummah (community of believers). Allah says,

O you who believe! if an evil-doer comes to you with information, then first verify it, lest you harm a people in ignorance. (Sura al-Hujarat 49:6)

This is a Divine imperative, and so if we embrace tawhid we will not be easy victims of falsehood and malicious speculation; and herein lies the safeguards and protection for societies and communities that have the potential to be both wholesome and fructifying.

4. Maintaining purity and clemency in our societies – without clemency we can never establish truth and justice. Only when we internalize kindness, compassion and generosity, will we naturally strive to free ourselves from fitnah, scandals, divisiveness and arrogance. Also included here is the elimination of poverty, as poverty militates against the stability and unicity of our societies, so we should strive to empower the incapacitated and disadvantaged.

5. Respecting the freedom and the dignity of all human beings, including both personal and intellectual freedoms.

6. Implementing consultation (shura), co-operation and mutual assistance.

7. Striving for justice that is vitally alive in valuing both the rights of Allah and the rights of people and the rights owing to ourselves.

Without understanding the inherent diversity that goes along with tawhid, our aqidah becomes another form of totalitarianism and tyranny. Even those people who call themselves “muwahidun” (proponents of the Oneness of Allah) have failed to embrace the importance of diversity.

Allah says,

O humakind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may come to know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah are those of you with taqwa. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted. (Sura al-Hujarat 49:13)

We need to realize that in this context Allah speaks to “humankind” and not just “believers”. That which are ultimately important are not the properties with which we are born and in which we have had no hand, but what we acquire (as mentioned earlier). The best of us and most honored of us therefore – and according to the Quran – are those who have taqwa. Taqwa is that form of higher consciousness of Allah that enables us to become both “personifications” of the highest values enunciated by the Qur’an and representatives of the most endearing qualities of Prophethood.

The most worthy qualities are those which we can acquire, not those which are the accidents of our creation (like the colors of our skins, languages, gender or nationalities). Taqwa is eminently attainable and open to all, from the poorest to the richest – it a kind of spiritual democracy, which, when we align ourselves with tawhid – we may discover and realise within ourselves that spiritual station of becoming muttaqin.

However, we cannot achieve this if we cannot embrace and live with diversity. Taqwa is available to those who are able to both live with and be enriched by diversity. Only in this way can we become the vehicles of tawhid, and hopefully align ourselves with the Will of Allah, the Most High. Unrealized (including crass modes of literalism) and superficial understandings avail nought, no matter how stringently we enact the externals of our ‘ibadah. If we cannot embrace diversity, we cannot fulfil our roles as khulafa and be true practitioners of tawhid. Says Allah, the Most High,

Do you not see that Allah sends down rain from the sky? With it We then bring forth produce of various colors. And among the mountains are tracts white and red, of various hues, and (others) raven-black. And so amongst people, and crawling creatures and cattle, are they of various colors. Those truly fear Allah among His servants who have knowledge, for Allah is exalted in Might, oft forgiving. (Sura al-Fajr 35:27-8)

And yet again,

And of His signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the variations in your languages and your colours. Indeed herein are signs for those who have knowledge. (Sura al-Rum 30:22)

Islam is the last of the Revealed Faiths. If we cannot see beyond the walls of our ghettoized cultures; if we cannot see beyond our dress codes (which in essence form a part of the beauty within a ubiquitous diversity). If we cannot see beyond our stubborn social codes (particularly the gendered ones). If we cannot see beyond the many fossilized features of our increasingly regressive religious mindscapes, then we call a lie upon our claim to have embraced the liberating beauty of Islamic universality. We would have called a lie upon our much-professed tawhid that constitutes that axis of Divine unicity around which the many-hued and kaleidoscopic beauty of Allah’s Creation rotates. And we would have called a lie upon ourselves in the face of the verse in the Quran,

And we shall reveal to them our Signs along the horizons and within their own souls until it becomes manifest to them that He is the Truth. (Sura al-Fussilat 41:53)

From the distant edges of our visual perceptions to the very core of our souls, we are called upon to bear witness to the wondrous nature of tawhid encapsulated within the equally wondrous nature of multiplicity. Islam is a universal civilization of Oneness within a universe of diversity. To those who reject or scorn this we say, as the Quran does:

To you your Way and Religion and to me mine. (Sura al-Kafirun 109: 6)

What more need be said?

Shaykh Seraj Hendricks

September 2014.