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How Should I Go About Leaving What Doesn’t Concern Me?

Answered by Shaykh Jamir Meah

Question: I have learnt the following hadith: The Prophet said: “None of you will perfect your faith until you leave that which does not concern you.” How do we do that in practical terms?

Answer: In the Name of God, the Merciful and Compassionate

 

Thank you for your question. May Allah grant you the best of states and guide you to what is pleasing to Him.

 

On the authority of Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him), The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessing be upon him) said, ‘The excellence of a person’s Islam is his leaving that which does not concern him.’ [Tirmidhi]

 

What concerns one is that which will be of benefit in his life on earth and his next life. This is why Imam al Shafi’i (may Allah be pleased with him) is stated to have said, ‘Whoever wishes that Allah illuminate him, let him leave that which doesn’t concern him,’ and, ‘Three things will increase your intellect: sitting with the scholars, sitting with righteous people, and leaving off speech that doesn’t concern you.’

 

In regards the practical application of this when we live in a world of 24 hours news cycles, feeds, notices, and constant messaging etc., the answer is relatively simple: UNPLUG!

 

In a 24-hour news cycle, the smallest and most insignificant news item gets dissected and regurgitated over and over again. Not only is it a waste of one’s life and energy, but by constantly feeding oneself with news items and images, we are dissociating ourselves from the real world, and exposing ourselves (and our families) to various external influences that one may not be aware of.

 

Noam Chomsky rightly explains, ‘The mass media serve as a system for communicating messages and symbols to the general populace. It is their function to amuse, entertain, and inform, and to inculcate individuals with the values, beliefs, and codes of behavior that will integrate them into the institutional structures of the larger society. In a world of concentrated wealth and major conflicts of class interest, to fulfil this role requires systematic propaganda.”  [Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media]

 

If one needs to keep up with the news, then they should set aside 10 minutes a day to briefly gloss over the newspaper or online news. Read any articles that may be of benefit, and leave off anything that isn’t.  One may argue that by not connecting to the news, people become insulated. This is not true. They become free. One does not need to keep up with the events of the world at every hour of the day, not even every week. This only puts people in a state of anticipation and agitation, whether they perceive it or not.

 

Muslims need to stop being a part of this system and disconnect themselves from it. Instead, we need to connect to the Book of Allah, to the scholars and the righteous, and to the people and communities around us. Muslims need to become literate and read books. The knowledge presented in a good book lasts a lifetime and tells you all you essentially need to know to understand what is going on in the world, because in essence it’s always the same issues, even if the playmakers and names change. The best of books, is of course the Qur’an.

 

If we really want to have concern for what’s happening to people in the world, once we get the news we need (which is very little and never changes much week to week), then we should send money, food and clothes to those who need it.  Rather than watching the news continuously, we should spend that time making earnest du’a to Allah for the relief of those who are suffering or being oppressed. While we read and follow what’s happening in remote parts of the world, our own neighbours or communities could be suffering and going without. This is having true concern, and much more beneficial and effective. And Allah knows best.

 

Warmest salams,

[Shaykh] Jamir

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. Away from the Islamic sciences, Jamir is a qualified homeopath and runs a private clinic in Amman.

No Reward in Punditry: What To Do When Following (Bad) News

Contrary to popular opinion, following the news is not good for us because almost all news is bad news. Some of the most depressed people are those who consume a regular diet of news media. However, if you must follow the news, Shaykh Faraz Rabbani advises that you do so for two reasons:

  • if there is going to be a benefit
  • if you are genuinely concerned

No Reward in Punditry

When you follow the news, realise that there is no reward in punditry. There is however, immense benefit in making du’a at every opportunity. Make dua when you hear bad news and even during everyday moments like when you meet someone. It can be in your own words and in any language you are comfortable in.

Photo credit: Stéphane Peres

Do Something about it!

A timely call for us to be proactive in these challenging times:-

As-Salamu alaikum brothers and sisters,

As you very well know, many of us have been attending conferences and forums especially in the last 14 years after 9/11 explaining and speaking about Islam and the Muslim stance in regard to many different issues but more importantly about the recent violent acts of extremism done in the name of our faith. These acts are becoming a daily news and a global phenomenon happening almost everywhere around the world including here in Canada with the recent attacks and threats. We are inviting everyone to do his/her share by getting involved in our programs but urgently in our social media campaign.

Here is how you can help us:1. Watch the following 11 minutes video released today, Friday, Jan 23. It is called “The Legacy of Peacemaking”. Please forward the link to all the Muslims and non-Muslims that you know around the world:
2. Watch the following 7 minutes video about our campaign’s 10 action Points and forward the link to all the Muslims that you know around the world:

3. Go to the Facebook Page and like us and share it with all the people you know.Together we can make a difference! This is not a reactive approach but rather a small proactive one and a long-term vision in action.May All bless you all and Peace be with you!

Dr. Hamid Slimi
Syeda Khadija Centre
Toronto

What is a fatwa? Who can give one? By Sheikh Musa Furber – Washington Post

What is a fatwa? Who can give one? – Washington Post
By Sheikh Musa Furber

Recently at a conference in Cairo, Imam Hashem Islam issued a fatwa (religious edict) to the people of Egypt. His edict was that an upcoming protest, aimed at criticizing Egypt’s President Mohamed Morsi, was illegitimate, as the newly elected president was, in fact, the legitimate lawful president. Furthermore, that the protest was to be considered as one that was “apostasy” (riddah) from democracy and freedom, and that those who participated in it should be considered as engaging in the crime of plunder (hirabah) and high treason (khiyana al-uzma).

Thus, the “people of Egypt” should confront them, and if the protesters resisted by force, then the “people of Egypt” should respond with force. If the ‘people of Egypt’ were killed, they would be in paradise, while if the protesters resisted, no one would be held liable for their deaths or have to pay compensation to their families.

There was a public outcry. The preacher had claimed he was a part ofal-Azhar University’s official institution for issuing religious verdicts, which presumably gave his opinions weight. In the aftermath of his statements, the Ministry of Religious Endowments, as well as the al-Azhar University , came out in full force, contradicting the preacher’s claim that he had any connection to the al-Azhar University, beyond the fact that he is a graduate, and that his opinion was not to be given attention. Even the Muslim Brotherhood, to which Morsi belongs, rejected the fatwa.

Clearly, the mainstream religious establishment rejects this fatwa: however, the episode raised a number of points. What is a fatwa? Who can give one? What are the repercussions of a fatwa in general? And what was the meaning of this “fatwa” in particular?

As with any legal system, not anyone is competent to deliver a fatwa, which refers, simply, to a non-binding verdict of Islamic jurisprudence. Competency comes from a rigorous legal education from within the tradition of Islamic jurisprudence, with a mastery of a particular school of law, and training in the practical application of that school on contemporary issues. There is a whole science, entitled the etiquette of verdict (adab al-fatwa), that the prospective issuer of fatwas (or someone known as a mufti) needs to learn, in order to ensure all verdicts are clear, accurate and valid.

Fatwas might be issued by a number of different jurists in any given time or place – but those jurists may find that their verdicts only get followed by those who voluntarily choose to do so. In Egypt, the most famous institution that individual Egyptians will visit to receive one of these non-binding verdicts is that of the Grand Mufti of Egypt: Dar Al Ifta Al Misriyyah, or the Egyptian House of Edicts. I know that institution well – it is where I underwent my own training in delivering legal verdicts, and on a daily basis, hundreds of verdicts were delivered. That institution itself, even though it is a part of the Ministry of Justice (and thus a state institution), does not have the ability to enforce its decisions. The ability to enforce verdicts in Egypt is rightfully accorded to the state authorities – i.e., the legal system.

This recent “fatwa” was particularly problematic in a number of different ways related to the procedure of issuing a fatwa. The details that were provided were sketchy, and appear based on a rather biased political reading of the situation. This alone is a basis for repudiating the “fatwa” as the conditions of a fatwa include that it be unbiased and impartial. That the issuer of a fatwa is for or against a particular political force – whether that force is former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, Morsi, or former U.S. president George W. Bush – must never influence a fatwa he or she issues.

There are conditions to be fulfilled before someone might be considered, within Islamic law, a brigand or guilty of high treason – conditions which are clearly laid out in different books of Islamic law. Those books do not indicate that participation in protests or voicing disagreement with rulers, in and of themselves, can be considered as acts of banditry or high treason.

Even if they did meet the legal criteria for high treason or banditry (which protests do not), only the state authorities responsible for maintaining law and order have authority to consider such a verdict as it falls within the remit of the judicial system – not individual religious personalities and fatwa committees. This, on the other hand, involved an individual operating in a private capacity, and was delivered publicly to the “Egyptian people” – not an official judge to an appropriate government body. The imam’s “fatwa” is, in effect, a call to vigilantism, something in complete defiance of Islamic law.

It is compulsory upon any mufti to ponder the likely consequences of their ruling and to weigh whether their ruling obtains or denies the ultimate purposes of Islam. While it is not normally necessary for a mufti to always provide evidence for his opinion, it is incumbent upon him to give details where details are needed, such as where failure to do so can result in the misapplication of his words. This statement, on the other hand, was, essentially, a press release given over the course of a few minutes, with virtually no details. Moreover, it does not appear that the issuer gave any forethought to the consequences of people following his opinion – with bloodshed being an obvious likely consequence of its application. In issuing a statement in this fashion, he is encouraging less law and order, not more, and moreover, increasing the possibility of civil strife.

In addition to the previous major procedural issues, there are two others. Firstly, the idea that there is ‘apostasy’ from democracy and freedom, while likely a rhetorical tool void of any real meaning, it is a tool that no jurist would ever use. It’s a baseless polemic, nothing more – and has no place in a legal argument of any sort. Moreover: it was widely reported that the imam claimed to be a member of al-Azhar University’s official fatwa committee, a claim al-Azhar University itself rejects. The imam’s claim and his association with al-Azhar’s Fatwa Commitee are objective facts that can be verified. If the claim proves to be false – as opposed to being simply misrepresented by the press, which is not uncommon – this alone is sufficient to disqualify the imam from issuing fatwas as a fraud. Frankly, it would be advisable for al-Azhar University to investigate this imam, and any others who display such recklessness, lest the name of al-Azhar and religion in the public sphere be brought into disrepute.

Yet, this discussion goes far beyond the particulars concerning this preacher and his “fatwa”, and the qualifications of muftis and fatwas. The point here is the role of the religious establishment: and how seriously its members perceive that role. The religious establishment of Egypt needs to be more vigilant in ensuring that standards do not drop against the backdrop of a political space that is more infused with religious imagery. Standards cannot be allowed to drop, or weaken – rather, they have to raised, and strengthened. The participation of the religious establishment must always be a source of wisdom and insight, and never one of confusion and strife.

Sheikh Musa Furber is a research fellow at the Tabah Foundation and a qualified issuer of verdicts. He received his license to deliver legal edicts or fatwas from senior scholars at the Egyptian House of Edicts including the Grand Mufti of Egypt.

By Sheikh Musa Furber |  04:12 PM ET, 08/22/2012

See also:

Announcing “Etiquette With the Quran” eBook for iPad and iPhone – Etiquette With The Quran