Monday, 27 August 2012

Suffering Secularism, part 1

Political Impotence?
Most Muslims today address the dilemma of our political impotence from the standpoint of there being too little religion. However I believe the opposite to be true, that our problem lies in there being too much of a certain type of religion.

However I am no advocate of secularism. For I firmly wish to be reckoned on the tongues of truth to be amongst those Hufadh of the Hudood, whilst balancing that by following the Prophetic tradition of the ascendency of mercy, as mentioned both in the Qur'an and in the famous Hadith Qudsi.

Universalism v/s Specialism.
Rather it is the same perenial problem of universalism v/s specialism, that is even addressed by the then Quranic themes, that is the kernel of such political impotence.

Off course the opposite of universalism is usually specificism, but in religious terms such a specificism is compounded by a firm belief in your being special.

The classical example being the Judaic Nation.

And it is obviously this prescient worry that led the father of all prophets, Abraham (as), to supplicate to Allah t'ala (GOD, most high):
"O God, make me not a trial for the people."

A supplication that GOD heard and thus blessed him and honoured him both with Messengership and a Scripture whilst giving him no Nation (Umma). For in a Prophetic Hadith we learn that he will be raised with himself being his own Nation.

It is interesting then to juxtaposition that, very real worry, with the other pole of Quranic injunctions that define a distinctive Ummah; the Hijra, Qibla and then Jihad; characteristics that point to a highly charged political dimension.

The tension between two poles.
A tension that we all know in our brains in that we recognise that the Qur'an is an address to all men, whilst simultaneously being the cornerstone of our Society and the Prophet's Nation.

But whilst we might know it in our brains, we often fail to feel it in our bones and in the livers of our sides. For it will not become personal to us, until we remember what God ordained to be when HE blessed Muhammad (saw) with a great gift in the penultimate year of his life. The significance of that gift is always overlooked.

For whilst we are special, we must recognise that that speciality comes not from our own doing but from being blessed by bearing witness to the truth of GOD's last Messenger and all that he brought: the purity of belief that is the supplication, gratitude and obedience due to the ONE transcendental Creator.

It is a speciality that emanates from the Shahadah and permeates all that we do. Down to the greatest of our political endeavours to emulate the Quranic injunction to be a middling Nation, bearing witness to all other Nations. Neither a subjugating nor a subjugated Nation, but one which is the standard bearer for truth and justice, honesty and harmony; an epitome of the Shahadah; calling to all that is good.

The Last Messenger (saw).
And it is our link to the last Messenger and our love of him; his life and all that he did; and the manner in which GOD bestowed upon him that last personal gift, before granting him that which made him well pleased, that is telling.
A story and a reality of feeling that we should feel in our bones, and in the liver of our sides, every day of our lives.

That whilst Muhammad (saw) was the Messenger of GOD, he was also very much a man full of feeling.

And whilst he was blessed with many children prior to Messengership through Khadijah bint Khuwaylid (ra), the first of the believers, after her none but one fathered him any.

For Muhammad (saw) as a man showed us that manhood should encompass the loving care that a father shows to his children, even going so far as to declare that a man that does not show compassion to his children then GOD will not show compassion to him. And this in a tribal patriarchal society of warrior-men.

And then GOD blessed him with his last son, Ibrahim (as).
If GOD had so wished could HE not have blessed it upon him through one of the Mothers of the Believers?

But GOD choose Mariah, the Coptic Handmaiden, to be the vessel that bestowed upon him that beautiful gift.
Who when offered freedom through the testification, freely refused and then gained it through the birth of Ibrahim(a.s).

Perchance it was given to happen like that so that we might pause and reflect on our common heritage. That what makes us special is not who we are but what we do.

And whilst we have a special bond with Abraham, who had no Nation, we would have to admit that our cousin brothers, the Jews and the Christians, likewise claim a different special link with the father of the prophets, Abraham (as). Abraham (as) as declared by the Qur'an was neither a Christian, nor a Jew, but he was a Muslim before us.

And then it might be good to remember that they too, the Nations that preceded us, were muslim before us. That we have a common heritage and must live in a time where that commonality needs to be recognised.

Politics as Diplomacy.
Politics is diplomacy. No diplomacy can exist where there is a dearth of appreciation.

For as Muslims we cannot threaten, nor bribe, nor run rough-shod over any other people. But then what is left if the stick and the carrot are removed, but our words that might help men become better men, and women better women.

To bear witness to the truth of Muhammad (saw), and all that he brought, in his manner and with his tongue; appealing to the good in all men, and all women.

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