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.

Uncategorized

The Muslim ‘Feminist’

‘…and for women are rights over men, similar to those of men over women ‘—Quran 2:228

This right here in clear Quranic text is the definition of feminism. It is the simple belief that women deserve and should have the same basic rights as men. Contrary to popular belief feminism is not a battle against men neither does it attempt to shorten or destroys the male pedestal. Feminism simply intends to raise the female pedestal so men and women can live -the way heaven intended- as each other’s helpers, partners, equals.

The most popular reaction received when the phrase Muslim feminist is uttered is usually ‘That is not possible’. Most people, Muslims included are under the impression that Islam is anti-feminism when in reality it is the most feminist of religions (cue: the disbelieving snort). Being a Muslim feminist is not so much an oxymoron as it is a paradox: a phrase absurd at first glance but becomes sensible upon closer inspection.

Muslims often disavow feminism by calling it ‘blasphemy’ or ‘unislamic’ because ‘Islam demands women’s total subjugation by and submission to men’. Non-Muslims on the other hand deny the existence of feminism in Islam by touting the hijab which they view as the ultimate symbol of oppression. They can’t be faulted for believing that, it is after all what they have been taught.

The unfortunate truth is that what is often seen and/or taught about Islam are flawed interpretations of the Quran. The Quran, divine though it is, is but a written text that is open to limitless interpretation as explained by this quote by Reza Aslan ‘ people don’t derive their values from their religion- they bring their values to their religion. Two individuals can look at the exact same text and come away with radically different interpretations’

Islam through the Quran reinstates and acknowledges women’s right to: work; education; choose a spouse; own property; freedom of expression; freedom of religion, basically every ideal that feminism stands for. The holy prophet Mohammed (SAW): worked for, loved and married a woman smarter, richer and older than him; supported female education and employment all his life; was incredibly protective and supportive of his wives and daughters. This is a man who famously said ‘the best amongst you (men) is he who treats women best’; he was for all intents and purposes the original male feminist.

I won’t be bothered to quote out the numerous verses of the Quran or list out hadiths and Sunnahs that support feminism because:
1. The subject of Islamic feminism is too extensive and complex to fit into a 700 word blog post
2. For every feminist verse in the Quran a seemingly sexist counter-verse can be supplied( again incorrect interpretation of the Quran)
3. This is not a debate

I would however state these irrefutable truths:
1. The wage for sin and the reward for good awarded to both sexes is equal (Quran 9: 72)
2. The requirement for being a Muslim for both sexes is the same: shahadah, salah, zakat, hajj and fasting ( Hadith 3, Quran 33:35)
3. Birth and death is not discriminatory to either sex (Quran 67:2, 3:185)

When all is said and all is done aren’t these facts what everything comes down to? Aren’t these truths enough to prove no one has license over anyone else and we are all owned and subjugated by The One? Isn’t it time to understand that actions not anatomy grants us favor with Allah?

This post like I said isn’t a debate, I don’t intend nor expect to persuade anyone towards Islamic feminism, it has long been an axiom of mine that education does not erase bigotry only free willingness to disown it can. This post is dedicated to the confused: those struggling to reconcile religion and ideology. Feminism is not blasphemy, it is not a sin, and it is not against the teaching of the prophet (SAW): it is the teaching of the prophet (SAW). Feminism and Islam are one and the same, Islam is feminism. So to The Muslim Feminist, i hope this helps you be proud and comfortable enough to be a Muslim Feminist.