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Channeling Anger for the Doing of Good – Nurulain Wolhuter

Anger is one of the more serious diseases of the heart. The Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, emphasised its severity in numerous ahadith. For example, Abu Huraira, Allah be pleased with him, narrates that a man said to the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace: “Advise me”. He said: “Do not become angry”. So he (the man) reiterated (the question) over and over. He (the Prophet) said: “Do not become angry” [al-Bukhari]. And Anas, Allah be pleased with him, asked the Prophet about that which distances him from the anger of Allah, and he said: “Do not become angry” [Ahmad].

But does this mean that one should never feel anger? How should we feel, for instance, when experiencing or witnessing oppression, cruelty or injustice? Or when someone reviles our religion or our beloved Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace? Imam al-Ghazali takes the view that excessive anger, as well as the inability to become angry at all, are reprehensible. However, being angry in moderation is permissible, as long as it is controlled by the intellect. This is in accordance with our Prophet’s instruction to always follow the middle way in everything.

By way of illustration, let us consider the case of Islamophobia. As Muslims living in the West, we have become all too familiar with its subtleties – veiled comments about bomb-carriers, descriptions of women in niqab as letter-boxes – as well as with its more overt forms – women’s headscarves being ripped off, pigs’ blood being spattered on mosques. But how should we deal with the anger that these experiences evoke?

Imam al-Ghazali’s cures for anger are as insightful in this respect as they are in regard to anger more generally. He exhorts us to humility and patience, and to view ourselves as no better than others. Rather than step forward to take on the perpetrators, to insist on our rights above all else, or to retreat to a siege of separatism, we should think of how our response can demonstrate the truth and beauty of Islam. And how better to do this than to emulate the example of Allah’s Beloved, Allah bless him and give him peace. In this way, our moderate anger will be kept under the control of our intellect. For he, when people reviled and hurt him, responded with the best of character. Instead of seeking the destruction of the people of Ta’if who had hurt him so badly, he expressed the hope that believers would come forth from among their descendants. And instead of being harsh to Abu Jahl, he asked Allah to honour Islam with the one whom He loves more: Abu Jahl or Umar ibn al-Khattab [Tirmidhi].

So the anger we feel when we experience or witness things that hurt or offend us in our religion is justified, provided that it is moderate and controlled. But if we go beyond that, and try our best to transform the anger into forgiveness, gentleness and kindness to those who have hurt or offended us, we will be calling them to the truth and reality of Islam. Let us try to emulate our Beloved in this, as we try to emulate him in everything else.


 

How Can I Find Balance in Religious Practice?

Answered by Shaykh Jamir Meah

Question: Assalamu alaykum

I find practicing religion overwhelming after coming to know the importance of time. I read that wasting time is forbidden and I will have to account for it to Allah. It is very tough to pass a whole day only thinking about religion. I feel scared to meet my friends since most of them discuss only worldly affairs. How can I find a balance?

Answer: Wa’alaykum assalam. Jazakum Allah khayr for your question. May Allah reward you for wanting to take the religion seriously and with devotion.

The key in all matters is moderation. The Prophet ﷺ advised us that, ‘Religion is easy, and no one overburdens himself in his religion but he will be unable to continue in that way. So do not be extremists, but try to be near perfection and receive the good tidings that you will be rewarded. Gain strength by worshipping in the mornings and afternoons and during the last hours of the night.’ [al Bukhari, Muslim].

From this hadith it becomes obvious that a Muslim is not meant to be engrossed in worship at all hours of the day, as this is the life of a hermit. Rather, set aside some time in the day and evening for worship that is sustainable, otherwise one will burn out. Also, as we’ll see, worshiping God can take on many forms.

Balancing After life and worldly affairs

Allah Most High tells us, ‘But seek, amidst that which God has given thee, the Last Abode, and forget not thy portion of the present world.’ [28:77]. So one should not forget that one has a portion of this world that contains one’s livelihood, human relationships, and happiness. This world is a means to the next world, and part of human engagement with the world is enjoying some of the permissible avenues of provision and pleasure that it offers, within moderation.

This is why, when ‘A group of three men came to the houses of the wives of the Prophet ﷺ asking how the Prophet worshipped, and when they were informed about that, they considered their worship insufficient and said, “Where are we from the Prophet as his past and future sins have been forgiven.” Then one of them said, “I will offer the prayer throughout the night forever.” The other said, “I will fast throughout the year and will not break my fast.” The third said, “I will keep away from women and will never marry.”

Allah’s Messenger ﷺ came to them and said, “Are you the same people who said so-and-so? By Allah, I am more submissive to Allah and more afraid of Him than you; yet I fast and break my fast, I do sleep and I also marry women. So he who does not follow my tradition in religion, is not from me.’ [Al-Bukhari]

There is no one more god-fearing or devoted to God than the Prophet ﷺ, and he ﷺ commanded us to be moderate in our religious devotion and worldly affairs. Ai’sha (May Allah be pleased with her) was once asked, ‘What did the Prophet use to do in his house?” She replied, ‘He used to keep himself busy serving his family, and when it was time for prayer he would go out for it.’ [Al-Bukhari].

We can see that the Prophet ﷺ did not lock himself away in a room praying to Allah, reciting Quran, or teaching, but rather he gave everything and everyone their due, and participated in everyday life.

Right intentions

Worship doesn’t just have to be praying, reading Qu’ran, fasting, and lectures. Not everything has to be overtly religious. The Prophet ﷺ has said, ‘Be avid for that which benefits you’ and this benefit encompasses any form of benefit, whether religious, social, health, and in both worlds.

Rather, everything we do, from helping others at home or outside, doing our duties and obligations to others, studying and working to get a good job, spending quality time with family and friends, exercise and sports, cooking, and even reading or watching beneficial and permissible articles and documentaries etc., can all be a form of benefit and reward from Allah Most High, if one makes the right intention.

Right intentions can be to fulfil duties to others, earn a halal living, strengthening the ties of kinship and brotherly bonds, strengthening one’s body so one can worship Allah better, increasing in faith and gratitude to Allah through reflecting on the world and Allah’s creation, helping others and making things easy for them through housework and assistance, and many more noble intentions for even the most mundane matters.

Socialising

There is nothing wrong with socialising in moderation and meeting with friends. In fact, it is needed. We all need to have diversity in our lives in order to continue doing what we do. So socialising, hobbies and interests are good ways to revitalise us and continue with all our affairs, as well as a source encouragement to each other.

Its mentioned in al Bukhari that ‘The companions used to play with one another by throwing watermelon skins at each other, but when it was time for seriousness, they were real men’. Abu Salamah said, describing the Companions, ‘The Companions never exaggerated in seriousness, nor were they heedless; they used to recite poetry in their gatherings and mention some incidents which took place during their pre-Islamic period and laugh, but if they saw any action against Islam, they would become furious.’ [Ibn Abu Shaybah]

The moderation that the Sahaba had with the religion is that everything had its place and time, and part of this was socialising and being able to have fun or relax when it was appropriate.

The Prophet ﷺ was asked once, ‘Do you joke with us? He ﷺ replied, ‘I do, but I only say that which is true’ [Al Bukhari]. Again, we see the permissibility of being light hearted in the company of others without necessarily having to bring a profound or religious aspect to all our conversations, as long the conversations stay within certain limits.

Timetabling

It is important to timetable one’s daily routines so one makes the most of each day and night, and this is where time management is important. The Prophet ﷺ said, ‘The best deed in the sight of Allah is that which is done regularly.” [Ahmad].

Therefore, timetable your daily routine, incorporating time for different types of worship in the morning and night that is maintainable and will not tire you out. It is a trick of the devil to make yourself burn out until you find the religion overwhelming and unbearable, in the hope you will start to detest the religion and abandon it.

Do a little daily that is manageable, and not for long periods. If it ever feels too much, half the time put aside for religious devotion, or even less, until you feel it is easy, and then stay on that for a while until you want to do more, then increase very gradually. ‘God does not burden any human being with more than he is well able to bear. [2:286]

Ensure that your timetable includes time to spend with family and good friends (and relax with them!), and others things you need to do or like to do. Take it easy and give everything it’s due, including yourself.

May Allah grant you to every good.

Warmest salams,
[Shaykh] Jamir Meah

Shaykh Jamir Meah grew up in Hampstead, London. In 2007, he traveled to Tarim, Yemen, where he spent nine years studying the Islamic sciences on a one-to-one basis under the foremost scholars of the Ribaat, Tarim, with a main specialization and focus on Shafi’i fiqh. In early 2016, he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continues advanced studies in a range of Islamic sciences, as well as teaching. Jamir is a qualified homeopath.

"Stop Cherry-Picking From Islamic Texts To Justify Hatred"

SeekersHub seminars are unmissable. Broadcast live from Toronto, anyone, anywhere can log in and benefit. To receive a reminder before the next seminar on Refuting Radicalism, register your interest today.
In the meantime, watch a brief teaser of what’s in store. Shaykh Faraz Rabbani speaks unequivocally on the dangers of cherry-picking hadiths and verses of the Qur’an to further an understanding that goes against the spirit of Islam.

Remember to register to take a course with SeekersHub online academy. There are over 30 brilliant ones on offer and no one is turned away for lack of funds.

Resources on ISIS and related issues for seekers:

The Modern Extremists – Who Are They? What Are The Consequences?

Who are the modern extremists and are they a recent phenomenon? How can we understand them and their motivations? And what are the utterly devastating consequences of their words and actions?
Shaykh Ahmed Sa’ad Al-Azhari, Director of the Ihsan Institute, gives a detailed and engaging explanation at this event hosted by SimplyIslam of Singapore.

Send Your Zakat To Besieged Scholars of Sacred Knowledge

Did you know SeekersHub actively provides financial support to traditional scholars whose lives – and ability to teach, have been utterly devasted or disrupted by the acts of violent extremists? These scholars are zakat-eligible – contribute your zakat today and earn the rewards from these noble efforts.

sh_saadShaykh Ahmed Sa’ad Al-Azhari is the Founder and Director of the Ihsan Institute of Arabic & Islamic Studies (United Kingdom). He was born into a family of scholars whose lineage goes back to the Prophet, peace be upon him, and became a master of the Qur’an at a very young age. Shaykh Ahmed was the SeekersHub Ramadan Scholar in Residence in 2015 and much of the content can be found on the SeekersHub archives.

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Nothing more American for American Muslims

American-Flag-Hijabi

Simply Continue

There is nothing more American for American Muslims to do at this time than to simply continue remaining as Muslims.

Foundations

This country was founded by those who escaped religious persecution and insisted on practicing their deen in the manner in which they deemed important.

No Apology

They did not compromise, apologize or feel they had to change their beliefs and actions in order to thrive.

In Good Company

This country’s history is also filled with many religious groups who faithfully maintained their religious practices and beliefs.

Compromising is Un-American

It is not only unbecoming for American Muslims to compromise their Islam, but it is the most un-American thing they can do right now.”

Statement from Shaykh Mohammed Amin Kholwadia
Founder & President, Darul Qasim

 

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Modern Day Khawarij: Dissociate Yourself from them! – Dr. Hamid Slimi

Imam Hamid SlimiA khutbah delivered by Dr. Hamid Slimi, of the Sayeda Khadija Center, Canada, stressing on understanding the similarities and common ideas between the historical khawarij/kharijites (secessionists) and today’s new groups that claim to do things on behalf of Islam including breaking the laws of the countries where they live or visit, killing innocent people – Muslim and non-Muslim – as well as doing takfir (excommunicating Muslims from their faith). The message here is loud and clear: learn who we are dealing with and dissociate yourself and your families and loved ones from such people and such dangerous ideologies.

 

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American Muslims Respond: Fundraise for Victims’ Families

At least 14 people have been killed and 17 more wounded in San Bernardino, California where up to 3 attackers went on a shooting spree at a regional center that provides services to those with special needs. The San Bernardino families lost their loved ones in a deplorable act of violence. This is why a collective American Muslim leaders and groups have launched an effort to raise funds for the victims’ families.

We wish to respond to evil with good, as our faith instructs us and send a powerful, united message of compassion through action. Our Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him, said: “Have mercy to those on earth, and the One in the Heavens (God) will have mercy upon you.” And the Quran teaches to “Repel evil by that which is better.” (41:34)

All fundraising proceeds will help with the immediate, short term needs of the families, such as funeral expenses. If we exceed the $50,000 goal, we can even assist the families with long-term expenses or possible provide a donation to the regional center where the shooting took place. Funds will be distributed to the victims’ families by the MiNDS Institute.

Please contribute and share this project with those you know and inshaAllah together we can send this message of compassion.

 

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“Be Unapologetically Muslim No Matter What” – Linda Sarsour

Linda-Sarsour

Linda Sarsour, in the aftermath of the shootings in San Bernardino, California, writes: “A young man, Saqib, put this 1-minute video together from a speech I recently gave and it really sums up a sentiment and feeling I hope we can all share. So many tragic and horrible things happening around us impacting so many people of all backgrounds around the world. Amidst that all, we need to stay grounded. Hope you listen carefully, absorb my words, and hold them close in your heart when you are feeling any fear or doubt.”

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“Our hearts are with all who are suffering in California” – Shaykh Jihad Brown-Totten

Mushhaf-Quran-on-Stand-in-Mosque.pngWhat I’ve been compelled to convey to my non-Muslim family members out in Southern California:

Our hearts are with all who are suffering tonight in California.

We suffer with you.

There is no excuse for the taking of innocent lives.

Our beautiful and gentle Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is certainly turning in his grave as he witnesses what he declared to be criminal activity.

Among his mandates, “Whoever takes a single life it is as if he has taken the lives of all of humanity”.

Confused and ignorant youth who we are consistently prevented from teaching after the collapse of our classical theological institutions and the rise of reactionary reductionist political ideologies in the vacuum that ensued.

No amount of humiliation and anger at abuses warrants or justifies criminal activity in response to criminal activity.

Religion is a potent and powerful phenomenon with such power to destroy – when abused. But when understood soundly – to heal like no other medicine.

We live in confusing times “that will confuse any gentle man”.

Killing is never an effective answer to killing. Everyone is left blind.

Your Muslim neighbours continue to decry the actions of an angry and confused minority that – for all types of unrelated reasons insist on misrepresenting their faith despite best efforts.

I do however, demand from Muslim community decision-makers that those who are properly qualified in Islamic law and theology be allowed access to teach the modern Muslim public a correct balanced realistic (and grounded) understanding of the religion of Islam.

This lack of professionalism and sustained immaturity in scriptural interpretation must end.

With caring and judiciousness we all as neighbours together can find solidarity healing and brightness in our future.

It is our collective decision to take.

Concerned and hopeful.

 

~ Shaykh Jihad Brown-Totten

 

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Can Muslims Stop The Rise of Extremism? Perhaps, If…

muslim-boys-peace-sign…We start with our own families to make sure there is a safe, non-judgmental space for everyone, all the oddities and the depressives and the questioners, so that no-one feels so isolated from their religious environment that they swing first to extremes of rebellion, drugs, gangs or suchlike, only to bounce to the opposite extreme of psuedo-religious death cults.

…We invest in the arts. Ezra Pound said that “Artists are the antennae of the race”, which I take to mean the human race. Artists are not beholden to political vetos or line-toeing: we can say what we like, and often it’s the artists who point out hypocrisies when no-one dares to. We’re like the jesters of medieval courts. But more important than that, the arts are a space in which we can renew ourselves, be freed from frustrations and heartache, find deep peace and then share it with others. We don’t need to wait to be “discovered” by the mainstream – we can create our own channels and platforms, but it needs support, time, a bit of manic sharing on social media and most importantly, investment. This might be through micro-grants or crowdfunding via sites such as LaunchGood (I recently did a crowdfunding campaign through them and they are very friendly, helpful and dedicated).

…We learn Non-Violent Communication to defuse confrontation and turn verbal abuse into a valuable way for Islamophobes to reassess their prejudices. I believe this is essential if we are to get away from defensive attitutes that turn into insular, divided realities. Read how families have soothed ancient feuds, women have pulled the rug from under the feet of would-be rapists, disputes between Israeli and Palestinian neighburs have been resolved, and millions of people worldwide have been enabled to deal with problems without resorting to fighting.

…We recommit to the founding principles of our faith, compassion and mercy. Why compassion and mercy, why not just love, straight up? Because compassion and mercy are forms of love you can give anyone, even when they’ve hurt you or treated you unjustly. You have to be a saint to truly love your tormentor, but even us mortals can hope to treat others with compassion.

…We campaign passionately but peacefully to end the roots causes of extremism, of any kind: militias and corrupt dictators being propped up and funded by our tax money ($500m of American tax dollars was sent to Syria to arm the Free Syrian Army in their fight against Bashar al-Assad…yet the FSA is the biggest source of arms and recruits to ISIS, go figure); poverty; social exclusion; racism.

…We take every opportunity to create beauty in the world. When everything looks ugly, plant roses. Write poems, paint murals (where you can), sing, whirl, do whatever you can to drown out the ugliness with its opposite. This is how we love and respect creation, how we show thanks to its Creator, how we free ourselves from fear and pessimism. This is a spiritual path that encompasses everyone, regardless of faith or practise, and does not require others to agree with us.

There will always be extremism of some form or another, somewhere or another. But at least we can say we didn’t sit and watch helplessly. There are no excuses – “A smile is charity”. You don’t need money, only determination. Now read this again without the title!

By Medina Tenour Whiteman, Cavemum

 

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