Islam, Religion

DO WHAT IS BEAUTIFUL

Beauty is one of the few words in the English language that has innumerable subjective meanings. Yes, most dictionaries describe beauty as the quality of having physically and/or emotionally pleasantly attractive features. Humans feel and view things differently depending on their sociological, environmental, psychological, religious and cultural makeup. There is no set standard for beauty: beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Anything/anyone can be beautiful so long as they are plesantlty attractive to someone just as anything/anyone can be ugly so long as they are repugnant to someone. By this logic, there is no such thing as universal beauty or ugliness.

Yet in the Quran, Allah demands that we:

‘Do what is beautiful; Allah loves those who do what is beautiful’ Surah Baqarah 2:195

What are beautiful actions? Beautiful actions are good deeds: actions that are pleasant to behold and receive. With beauty being subjective how can one know for sure if one’s actions are truly beautiful? Good intentions are not enough as ‘the road to hell is paved with good intentions’. Something intended to be a kindness could very easily be produced and received as evil. What irrefutable cannon determines and measures the quality of beauty in an action? Does it even exist or are we doomed to assume and hope we are acting beautifully?

Indeed this Quran guides to that which is most suitable and gives good tidings to the believers who do righteous deeds that they will have a great reward’ Surah Al Isra 17: 9

The Quran is the one-size-fits-all guidebook to doing what is beautiful. The sunnah is the template you must follow and the hadith are your cheat codes (a collections of prophet Mohammed SAW’S monologues that explain the how, when, where and why of doing what is beautiful).

We have revealed to you this book as clarification for all things and as guidance and mercy and good tidings for the Muslims’ Surah An Nahl 16:89

Amongst the many examples of beautiful deeds, the most frequently mentioned are:
• Humility
• Fairness
• Respect
• Honesty
• Kindness
• Empathy
• Acceptance
• Love
• Forgiveness
• Purity
• Patience
• Hard work
• Charity
• Self-control
• Worship

These are the universally and, most importantly, eternally accepted forms of undeniable beauty. Islam can’t be bothered with a concept as fragile and fleeting as physical beauty: the Quran makes no mention of the value of physical beauty because it has none. But any Muslim that can encompass these listed attributes is the most valued, priced and beautiful of all Allah’s creation.

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Islam, Religion, Uncategorized

To You Your Religion and To Me Mine

The Quran is not reader-friendly; Islam is not a gated community.

No one and no one has monopoly on Islam, it is a religion that welcomes every race, gender, nationality, culture, orientation and character. It is a religion that says: come in and drown into my warmth your troubles and you will pull out peace. This is a religion that is all welcoming.

There is no such thing as an ideal Muslim (The prophet (saw) is an impossible act to follow), we are all just doing our best and relying on Allah’s grace. Because no one can unhypocritically declare themselves as a perfect Muslim: no one can or should decide who a perfect or ideal Muslim is.

All Abrahamic religions require 100% faith dictated by a holy scripture that has been interpreted by their respective religious scholars. The truth is there is no irrefutable proof that any religion in the word is the right one: if there were religion won’t require faith, because faith by definition is the undying belief in uncertainty. The holy books that are to serve as guides are ambiguous and easily misinterpreted which gives way to a scary thought: what if all this time we have been doing it wrong?

That is when our faith comes in, molds hope and begs God for grace. Judgment, hate, intolerance and prejudice have to be thrown overboard to make room for love and community on this testing voyage of uncertainty. We are all sinful servants on errands for our master, our sins may vary but ultimately we are the same: the nerve of us to reject our fellow servants and falsely accuse God of being the reason for our hate. ‘No one speaks for God, not even the prophets (who spoke about God).-Reza Aslan

This paragraph is going to start out a bit controversial but please bear with me: ISIS, ISIL, Al Qaeda, Boko Haram and similar terrorist organizations are emboldened and justified by Quranic texts ( hold on to those death threats and curses for a moment let me explain). Like I said at the start of this post the Quran is complex and Islam has a revolving door, unfortunately some of those that come into Islam underestimate or are unknowing of the complex, metaphorical and allegorical nature of the Quran. They selectively pluck out verses from context and display them as vindication for their heinous crimes.

We should definitely, by every means available decry terrorists and their actions, and make it clear they do not represent Islam and its principles. However, it is not only false but it is dangerous to categorically deny their twisted validation because it is the lack of full and accurate Islamic education that makes terrorist recruitments to easy. Scholars should spend less time denying the existence of seemingly controversial and complex verses in the Quran and instead spend more time correctly interpreting them.

Terrorist, murderers, rapist, abusers and all perpetrators of dangerous crimes are the obviously faux Muslims the Islamic community should reject not the: LGBT; non-hijab wearing; alcoholic; gambling; sex-positive; nonconformist Muslims just minding their own business and being the best Muslims they can be. They are not the ones we should disown. We should welcome them, preach to them, pray for and with them, love them for the sake of Allah and leave them to their religion as we live with ours. Let Allah do his work: judge them.

If someone says they are a Muslim, believe then, but should they dangerously misquotes or misinterpret the Quran, correct them. It hard enough being a good Muslim all on our own: let’s not be burdened with others’ religion.