There are no gods.
Recently, whilst listening to my friend Terrosum's "No Heroes", I was reminded of The Religion's insistence on, and then origination of, humanism (including the European form).
For the declaration of faith embodies both a throwing-off of ignorance and a reliance on self-ability/responsibility; and that is the title of this blog.
That there are no multiple of deities that can shape your fortune in this life, whose appellation and favour you should seek. That your fortune is your own to make, or break.
And then, once you have broken free from those falsities and have chosen to become the decider of you own fate, your search for TRUTH begins in earnest. You become free to appreciate the complexity and fragility of the World that surrounds us all.
And as this appreciation dawns on you, so too does the reality and necessity of a single Originator and Sustainer of all that you see. For if that were not the case then would not all of the intricate order and complexity, that you see before your eyes, vanish into a sea of chaos (Al-Qur'an).
The balancing Poles.
And these are the two balancing poles of our declaration of faith; denial and then affirmation, an affirmation which solely by and of itself is not belief (for to say the one without the other, whichever other, is not belief).
It is the tension between these two poles that is so much of our faith.
It marks our prayers.
The standing, to demonstrate our ability, and then the prostrating to make clear our choice of submitting to GOD's will.
It marks the relation between our religiosity and our society.
For a Muslim, there is no intermediary between him and GOD. ALLAH t'ala (GOD, Most High) is the sustainer/ nourisher of all that is. HE is both a personal GOD, and a communal GOD (the GOD of all things). And so for a Muslim, whilst the religion is personal, it is also communal, for GOD loves most those that do good to the people.
It marks the beginnings of our history.
And the preparation for what would come after the fusion between heaven and earth, that was the revelation sent upon Muhammad (saw), came to an end (when Muhammad (saw) left us and the revelation ceased).
"Muhammad (saw) is not the father of any man amongst you", a verse from the Qur'an that tells both of the finality of Muhammad (saw)'s mission and of GOD's plan.
A plan that many religious people fail to appreciate. And a failure that leads them to suppose that the link (between heaven and earth) remained and remains in the continued presence of Muhammad (saw) (aka the Sufis) or his descendants (aka the Shia).
But did not Muhammad (saw) ever seek to prepare his companions for the coming of that day? Didn't he (saw) ever ask for their opinion before giving his? Always as a means of making them think and as a means of impressing them with its import.
And wasn't he (saw) happiest when he (saw) saw his Nation stand as a Nation of Men. After the battle of the Trench, when Sa'd ibn Mu'ad (of Aws) was appointed to pass judgment on the treacherous Bani Quraizah. Wasn't it Muhammad (saw) who appointed him to that position?
And wasn't it Muhammad (saw) who told the Aws to stand for their chief, Sa'd, when he came?
To hold an opinion?
So many were the times when he (saw), who had the right to tell it as he (saw) saw it, deferred and chose instead to teach us that a religious man could be a MAN. Could hold an opinion, could get it wrong and yet being still a MAN, would hold fast to the principles of Truth even if it be against his own self.
And after he (saw) left us and the companions complained to Abu Bakr as-Sidiq (ra)(the then Caliph) about the appointment of Usama, I believe that Muhammad (saw) would not have wanted it any other way. In fact even whilst he (saw) yet lived, even then, they complained about Usama's appointment. They complained for no other reason than they were eager about their religion, and worried about Usama's ability to fulfil the necessary. And for that reason Muhammad (saw) choose how he (saw) choose, and left us fully prepared.
For the trials of the Muslims are ever the Muslims.
Did Muhammad (saw) not forewarn us that Iblis, the accursed devil, had given up trying to make us worship him (or renounce our religion) and now concentrates only on trying to make us do wrong.
And Allah t'ala (GOD, Most High) has the right to try us and HIS promise is true.
And so the trial of the Muslims will ever be their fellow Muslims. All other People and Nations are but incidental.
This truth can easily be appreciated if you choose to read our history.
And the balancing pole of the truth of our trial is that Allah t'ala (GOD, most High) loves best the Muslims. This is because irrespective of their meanness, it is Allah t'ala (GOD, Most High) that chose for them their religion, then guided them to it and continues to keep them safe on it.
All because they choose to affirm HIS Unity and call HIS Messenger True.
The Chosen People?
However unlike the non-believers, Muslims seek not God's favour but solely His Pleasure. And unlike our cousin-brothers, the Bani Israel, Muslims are not the chosen Nation through any birth-right but because they themselves choose to affirm GOD'S Oneness/ Uniqueness and call HIS Prophet True.
And for a Muslim who knows of his imminent trial by his brothers, he also knows too well that he is commanded to care deeply for them. For to honour them, is to honour the Messenger of Allah t'ala (GOD, Most High).
May Allah t'ala bless Muhammad (saw) abundantly, without measure. For I bear witness that Muhammad (saw) delivered the Message entrusted to him (saw), selflessly and completely. And I bear witness ALLAH t'ala is ONE, without partner or helper.