REFLECTIONS

Website: www.ummah.net/islam/reflections

Quarterly: Issue No 36

Shawwaal 1426

 

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PURIFICATION OF THE SOUL (TAZKIYYAH)

 

Allah, Glorified be His Name, said:  And whosoever STRIVES (JAAHADA), STRIVES (YUJAAHIDU) only for himself”.   (Surah Al-Ankaboot (Chapter 29) : Verse 6).

As for those who STRIVE (JAHADA) in Us (the cause of Allah), We surely guide them to Our paths, and verily! Allah is with the good doers.”   (Surah Al-Ankaboot (Chapter 29) : Verse 69).

 

This is a Makkan Surah and the two verses refer to Jihaad-un-Nafs.  There was no military jihaad then.  Without Jihaad of the Nafs, fighting leads to Hellfire.

 

Allah, the Most High, after taking seven oaths before it, says:

And by Nafs (Soul) and Him Who perfected him in proportion; Then He showed him what is wrong for him and what is right for him; Indeed he succeeds who purifies his own self (i.e. obeys and performs all that Allah ordered, by following the true Faith of Islamic Monotheism and by doing righteous good deeds).   (Surah Ash-Shams (Chapter 91 : Verses 6-9).

 

This is also a Makkan Surah.  Without purification, the Nafs remains a "soul that enjoins evil" (al-Nafs al-ammarah bil-soo') until it surrenders itself in total obedience to the call of animal passions and Shaitaan.

 

Allah, the Most High, also says:  Have you (O Prophet) seen the one who chooses for his God his own lust?   (Surah Al-Furqaan: Chapter 25 : Verse 43).

And had We willed, We would surely have elevated him therewith but he clung to the earth and followed his own vain desire.  So his description is the description of a dog: if you drive him away, he lolls his tongue out, or if you leave him alone, he (still) lolls his tongue out.  Such is the description of the people who reject Our Ayaat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.).  So relate the stories, perhaps they may reflect. (Surah Al-A’raaf: Chapter 7 : Verse 176).

 

The above two verses are both also Makkan Chapters.   About the person who controlled the passion of his ego, Allah says:

But as for him who feared standing before his Lord, and restrained himself from impure evil desires, and lusts. Verily, Paradise will be his abode.  (Surah Al-Nazi’aat: Chapter 79: Verses 40-41).

 

This is also a Makkan Surah.  The above are among the many Makkan verses and chapters enjoining Jihaad al-Nafs. One that denies that there was or is such a Divine command commits kufr.  Such a command cannot mean military jihaad, as there was no permission - much less an order - for such a Jihaad until the Madinan period.

Further, the our beloved Prophet (peace be upon him) said:

1. The mujaahid is he who makes jihaad against his Nafs (ego) for the sake of obeying Allah. (Ibn Hibbaan (Hadith No 1624, 2519): Authenticated by al-Haakim: Recorded as Sahih in Tirmidhi, Ahmad, and Tabraani.

2. Sayyidatuna A'isha, may Allah be pleased with her, asked:  'O Messenger of Allah, we see jihaad as the best of deeds, so shouldn't we join it?'  He replied: 'But the best jihaad is a perfect Hajj (pilgrimage to Makkah)’.  (Sahih Al-Bukhari: Hadith No 2784)

3. On another occasion, a man asked: "Should I join the jihaad?"  The Prophet asked: "Do you have parents?"  The man said yes. The Prophet said: "Then do jihaad by serving them."

(Sahih Al-Bukhari: Hadith No 5972)

4. Another man asked: "What kind of jihaad is better?" The Prophet replied:  "A word of truth spoken in front of an oppressive ruler."  (Sunan Al-Nasa'i: Hadith No 4209)

5. The Prophet (peace be upon him) also said:

“The strong one is not he who overcomes people, the strong one is he who overcomes his Nafs [ego].”.  Declared authentic in Majma` al-Zawa'id.

 

The above authentic Ahaadith provide additional explicit evidence refuting the lie that "all the Ahaadith on Jihaad al-Nafs are fabricated or weak."

 

Furthermore, Allah Most High is Tayyib and accepts only the Tayyib (Pure).  He declares in the Qur'an that He accepts acts of worship only if they are based on:

 

- purification of the self (qad aflaha man zakkaahaa)

- soundness of the heart (illa man ata Allaha bi-qalbin saleem)

- a humble spirit (wa-innaha lakabiratun illa ‘alal khashi’een)

 

Purification of the Intention precedes these acts.  That is why the pious and learned Imams (e.g. Bukhari, Shafi’ee, Nawawi etc.) always began their books of Fiqh with the Hadith of intention: 

"Actions will be judged according to the intentions."

 

An act outwardly considered worship but performed without pure intention is not considered worship, even when fighting and dying in defence of Islam and the Muslims. The Prophet, peace be upon him, explicitly said of one such fighter that he was bound for the Fire.  In fact, purification of intention is needed for all five pillars of Islam.  Such purification is a Fard-ul-Ayn and is required of all Muslims, male and female.

Thus those that claim there is no Jihaad al-Nafs in Islam have endangered their Imaan and might make their Shahaadah, Salaah, Zakaah, Sawm, Hajj and Jihaad worthless and invalid. 

 

Let us seek refuge in Allah from such rejection.  May Allah protect us from saying such things of which we have no proper knowledge to substantiate that which we reject. Ameen!

 

ISLAMIC MORALITY & TODAY’S WORLD

 

Dangerous are the times in which we currently live. No doubt there are many areas where this statement applies i.e. the proliferation of wars, civil strife, economic sanction, takeovers and forced expulsion, genocide, natural disaster, environmental pollution, political oppression, street crime etc. In this article, however, I would like us to ponder over a very dangerous situation regarding one of the most fundamental aspects of human behaviour which, if abused, can lead to an insidious form of genocide, and that is the destruction of people through immoral sexual relationships.

It can neither be denied that any given society undergoes changes nor that these changes usually have an underlying cause or source, as they don’t just suddenly “spring up” but rather develop over time.

In the west, in particular, sexual relationships are generally viewed as the private preference of each individual. No one has the right to determine with whom, or how one conducts one’s sex life. What occurs between consenting adults, no matter what sex or how many, is usually condoned.

Current Reality

Premarital sex between man and woman is considered quite acceptable, normal, well within the bounds of morality, and indeed desirable. It has been this way for a long time and could honestly be said to be part of the "American Way of Life". Dating begins at a very young age and every socially well-adjusted youngster is expected to have several girlfriends and boyfriends by a certain age. Unmarried couples are expected to live together and getting married has long ceased to be considered as a major aim in life.  Those who grow up in the West are weaned on sex in both subtle and not so subtle ways.  It is quickly learned through TV shows, commercials, movies, advertisements, songs, etc. that being sexy is the desired goal and aim in life.

Females are intensely focused on being sexually attractive and are conditioned to be so from the time they get their first Barbie doll. This is what makes the fashion, cosmetic and entertainment industries thrive and prosper economically.

In Middle Eastern Muslim countries, including areas where most of the native women cover their entire bodies (face and hands included), newsstands and bookstores are filled with magazines with front-page covers featuring the faces of gorgeous Arab (dare we say Muslim) women in the latest fashions, not to mention what is within the pages of these magazines.

The amount of sexual activity that the average person, including children, may view on prime time national television is far above that which one may have had to search for less than a decade or two ago.  Daytime soap operas make their ratings on the number of affairs the characters are having and how sexually bold the beautiful, young and restless co-stars are on screen. Cable television is full of sexually explicit programs that can be seen at all times. Video stores are stocked with plenty of films that anyone can rent to view in their own homes when they are too embarrassed to go to the theatre to see them. The latest compact disks are easily available, as are satellite dish transmissions of the same fare in the seemingly staunchest “Islamic” countries. Indeed, satellite broadcasts based in the heart of the Muslim World feature music videos, films, models and everything else from Hollywood to Bollywood that sends a clear message that being desirable, attractive and sexy is of paramount importance.

The entertainers and their producers, advertisers and writers  claim that one of the most gratifying reward of their professions is the effect they have upon people and society.

Destructive Consequences

After all that liberation, a woman's worth is still tied to her level of physical beauty which is still considered her greatest asset and one to be exploited in the worst way. Indeed, it is commonplace, normal and in no way embarrassing for a woman to wear the tightest and most revealing clothing in public and walk virtually nude at public beaches and swimming pools.  People are not at all embarrassed or inhibited with public displays of sexual passion. Prostitution in all its forms is increasingly open and given a "blind eye" by law enforcement who have their hands full with "real" crimes. Adultery and fornication are no longer viewed as deadly crimes and sins because they really are so common. It has now become normal for married men to have several mistresses.

It is the odd parent who does not expect their child to become sexually active at some point long before getting married or even before getting out of junior high school.  Indeed, it is the odd person who values virginity until marriage even in these times of AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases. Condoms are being handed out for free in several public school systems.  A heavy price is being paid in unwanted teenage pregnancies, 'fatherless' children and resultant economic, health and psychological problems.

Homosexuality has now become accepted by a large number of people particularly in the West as well as in other circles that are "westernized". Recent portrayals of homosexuals are now often described as sensitive, level-headed and responsible members of society. It is an accepted fact in so much as no one will report, condemn or discriminate against a homosexual in most areas unless they are flagrantly offensive in their mannerism and behaviour. This in no way implies that there are not many people who still find homosexuality abhorrent and even react violently to it.

Violent sexual crimes are no longer shocking and rapists are given relatively light sentences if convicted. Child sexual abuse and "date rape" is a major problem and who knows how many incidences go unreported. Literally, millions of people, especially women, are victims each year of sexually related disasters from rape and assault to divorces and crimes of passion, and from sexually transmitted diseases to psychological and emotional disorders.

Refusal to admit the Need For Change

Even in the face of this staggering toll in human suffering and degradation, the disbelievers and doubters in Islam still incredulously ask: You Muslims say that Islam wants women to be all covered up. They can't wear whatever they please and should not go out perfumed. The opposite sex should not even shake hands with those who are not their close relatives or spouses, nor should an unrelated man and a woman be in a room alone together even if they are engaged. You are not supposed to go out on dates. You should not listen to music, especially the romantic, sexy, and sexually explicit songs. No swimming or visiting the public beaches in the summer.  Not even the same sex should see each other in scanty, skin-tight, or see-through clothing or even shower together at the gym. You are against co-educational institutions. You are supposed to lower your gaze when the opposite sex comes along and if you must speak to them it should be in a no-nonsense tone. You really place great value on chastity, modesty and virginity until marriage. You encourage that men be jealous for and protective of their wives. Premarital sex is a punishable crime and adultery is a capital offence. No sex unless you are married to your partner. You can marry up to four women etc.

They call the genuine, devout, practising Muslims extremists (equating them with terrorists in the mind of the average person), yet they don't (or refuse to) recognize the ugly realities described earlier as outrageous and extreme. They label Muslims as fundamentalists, but they don’t admit that the present situation calls for a major and fundamental revision of their principles.

They say we are strange but true Muslims don't mind.

 

May Allah guide us all on Straight Path with sincerity. Ameen!

Requesting your humble du'aas!

 

I request your humble du'aas.

Abdul Haq Abdul Kadir

Umhlanga Rocks, KZN

South Africa