Sunday, 20 January 2013

The Many Missions of Jesus, Nabi Isa (as).

The many missions of Jesus

(Nabi Isa (as))!

There can be no doubt that Jesus (as) was born into the great religious traditions of the Children of Israel. Furthermore he was a master of the Torah, its Prophesies and Law.
However, his followers attribute to him the "Gospel", literally "The Good News". And when this is compared to that which he (as) knew so well, the Torah, it appears relatively unsophisticated in its message.
The Anomaly.
Muslims in general explain this anomaly by attributing to the Gospel, a call for the Jews to return back to the basics of their religion. A call to return back from the mechanisation that Judaism had become, and back to the spirit of the first revelations.

Christians answer this anomaly by paradoxically taking on board the Torah as the "Old Testament", whilst at the same time believing that they are not required to be bound to the law, that even Jesus (as) followed.

Back to Life?
To the Jews of today it is still the LAW that is paramount. And so the idea that Jesus (as) might have been sent to breathe life into the religion of the Children of Israel gains credence.

This is especially so when you read his parables, that tend to seek to open people’s eyes. However to emphasize the spirit of the LAW, whilst at the same time seeking to simplify or brush over it, would not be credible. Not for the Jews, today or at that time. And neither for us who know so well the importance of law.

To change our belief from one of GOD the LAW-giver to GOD the Father, Cherisher and Provider, is a simplification indeed.

Is not GOD the Lawgiver, precisely so, because HE is the ONE that cares for us? Is HE not GOD the Father?

Do not laws save us from that which is much worse, anarchy and rebellion?

However the opposite cannot necessarily be said to hold. And this is the case with the followers of the Gospel, the LAW is not Holy!

For the Christians belief in God is confined to God the Creator and Father, in Islamic terminology God the Sustainer (Ar-Rab) (the One who Provides), and its law is confined to the 10 Commandments and the admonishment to ’Love Thy Neighbour’.

The Qur’anic Version.
But the Muslim knows by his book that Jesus (as) was a man sent to qualify and abrogate the Torah.

That he (as) came to make "somethings lawful and others unlawful". Only a Messenger of God, one who receives a scripture (normally a physical book), can do this. Hence the Injil, which was sent to Jesus (as), must have both qualified and even abrogated the law contained in the Torah.

And because of this its message could not have been anything less sophisticated than that of the Torah, in both its belief system and law!

The Gospel and The Injeel.
However, Jesus (as)’s followers follow the GOSPEL attributed to him (as). And so we can only but conclude that the two cannot be the same!

For, if we were to belief that the GOSPEL and the INJEEL are one and the same then we would be forced to say that Jesus (as) was sent to bring life back into the religion of the Children of Israel, by both simplifying their beliefs, from God the Lawgiver to God the Father, and a concurrently simplifying their law, from a sophisticated legal system to a practically absent one. And this cannot be the case.

This realisation should of itself complicate our understanding of Jesus (as) and his given mission amongst us.

The First Mission.
Part of that mission that we know of is that Jesus (as) was a Messenger of Allah t’ala sent to the Children of Israel. However, history has it that the Jewish Priesthood and Rabbis were at odds with the Messiah, Jesus (as), to the extent that they tried to kill him. There can be no doubt that with respect to that mission Jesus (as) failed.

Or did he?

For we, Muslims, accord with the Christians with respect to his miraculous virgin birth. And this is verified in the Qur’an, whilst we disagree with what they attribute to his saying of himself.

Allah t’ala in the Qur’an in response to this blasphemy, likens Nabi Isa (Jesus as) to Adam (as). For Jesus (as) had no father, and Adam was made from dust (having neither father nor mother).

So obviously if Allah t’ala is able to create Adam without father nor mother, why do we attribute divinity to the one whom Allah t’ala made without a father?

Adam and Jesus (as).
But the similarity between the two, Jesus and Adam (as), goes still further.

For in the Qur’an we are told the full story of the making of Adam (as) and the subsequent fall of Iblis.

Iblis is known to the Christians as Lucifer, a fallen Angel.

However, we learn in the Qur’an that Iblis was not an Angel but instead he is the father of Djinn and made of smokeless fire. Whereas, the Angels are created of pure light, to serve Allah t’ala alone.

The Beginning of History.
GOD created Adam and asked the Angels to bow before him.

We know that Iblis was in the high company of those Angels, and that must have been because of his reputed piety.

However when GOD commanded them, Iblis who was amongst them became of those who are haughty and said "I am better than he, for YOU created me out of smokeless fire and him out of sounding clay!". Iblis refused to bow, and became of those who choose to disobey and rebel against GOD Most High. And from that day Iblis became Mans’ mortal and eternal enemy.

It is said that GOD knew of Iblis’s hidden pride and so HE asked the Angels to bow, to make clear to Iblis his pride. For GOD is not unjust, HE will not condemn a person until it is proved true against them. And did not GOD say to the Angels when they asked "I know and you do not know!"

Likewise, Jesus (as) was for the Children of Israel a trial and a test. They failed to believe in him, and sought to kill him. For Jesus (as) knew that the Kingdom of GOD was open to all, and the one to come after would not be from the Children of Israel. And because of this Jesus (as) sought to make his people receptive to that coming, but they would not head his call.

For their pride got in the way of obedience to GOD’s way, just as it did 600 years later.

And just as pride did at the beginning of History.

Because of that their covenant was not renewed and they became of ’those who anger Allah’ (Al-Fatihah).

Allah t’ala made Adam as a trial for Iblis because He knew of Iblis’s innermost pride, and likewise maybe Allah t’ala sent Jesus (as) as a trial for the Children of Israel because He knew of their arrogance and wanted to make it clear to them.

With Adam (as) Allah t’ala fulfilled the dual accomplishment of putting a representative (Khilafah) on Earth and removing Iblis from heaven.

Given the dual fact that both the Children of Israel rejected the Messiah Jesus (as) and that Jesus (as) was spared from their hands, maybe Jesus (as) wasn’t solely sent to try to renew God’s covenant with them. Like Adam (as), maybe Jesus (as) was sent with another mission other than being a Messenger of Allah t’ala to the Children of Israel.

The Gospel of Jesus (a.s).
The Injil was a sophisticated revelation sent to Jesus (as) for the Children of Israel, however the Gospel that is followed by his followers is something other than that.

The central message of the Gospel is to make known the existence of the true benevolent One God (the Father), and to proclaim the Good News (literally Gospel) of the existence of an everlasting life after death.

And all that Christianity requires of its followers is nothing more than an affirmation of these facts, and a belief in Jesus (as).

Christians believe that Jesus (as) preached to Jew and non-Jew equally, to sinful and sin-free equally. He (as) was all to aware of the imminence of the Kingdom of GOD and all to aware that that Kingdom would be open to all, irrespective of whether they were Jewish or not.

It is this fact that may explain why his ’gospel’ concentrated on the characteristics of Allah t’ala the Sustainer and Cherisher of the Worlds and all living things. Because it is that belief that is the easier to grasp without asking too much of the believer.

Jesus (as) and Muhammad (saw).
And maybe it is with this belief that he was sent to prepare the World for the coming of Ahmad the Comforter (Muhammad (saw)), the one to whom GOD will give the rights of intercession on the Day of Decision.

If this is true then he would be the first Prophet to come with a truly Global Message for the whole of Mankind: to believe in Allah t’ala as the One True God and to follow Muhammad (saw).

Jesus (as) was a Messenger of Allah t’ala sent to the Children of Israel and simultaneously he was also Prophet of Allah t’ala sent to the whole of Mankind.

Jesus (as) was Muhammad’s (saw) precursor, he (as) started what Muhammad (saw) fulfilled. For with Muhammad (saw) all that Jesus waited for came to fruition.

The understanding of the many missions of Jesus (as) has one great implication for us today and that is that Muslims are closer than they think to the followers of Jesus (as).

Even though Jesus (as) was a Jew and was born in the Holy Land some 600 years before Muhammad (saw), his mission was and is intricately interwoven with that of Muhammad’s (saw).

Their lives and their missions are so interwoven that during the last days Jesus (as) will come as a Muslim, affirming all that Muhammad (saw) said.
We know this, however do we know it deep enough.

The dilemma of the life of Jesus (as); who he was, what he said and his last days on this Earth; continue to be relevant issues to this day. Muslims should be at the forefront of this debate, affirming his uniqueness and talking about his mission.

The Last Similarity.
In this essay I have touched on the similarities between Adam and Jesus (as). There remains still one similarity left untouched. When GOD announced to the Angels that HE was going to create another to dwell on this earth, He mentioned Adam (as) and his children as being Khilafah over the earth.

Khilafah the word means successor, and Khilafah the concept means "representative, vicegerent".

Adam (as) inaugurated the meaning of Khilafah the word, and Jesus (as) was the start of the inauguration of Khilafah the concept.

And both were fulfilled by the revelation that came to Muhammad (as). May Allah t’ala reward them all innumerably.

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The Kingdom of GOD

The Kingdom of God.

The Milieu.
At the time of Jesus (as), the Jews expectantly awaited, just as they do today, the coming of their prophet-liberator-king-conqueror. This man, it was widely believed, would usher in a new era of both Godliness and Dominion; a Godly Dominion so to speak. And they were especially receptive to that message because at that time they lived under the suffocating shadow of Roman rule.

John the Baptist and Jesus of Nazareth were both Prophets of God sent to the Jews, living within the milieu of those times. John (as) was the first to preach the coming of that era, as it were, as the coming of the "Kingdom of God". Jesus(as) went one step further and preached of the imminence of the Kingdom of God. His main given task was to make people both ready and receptive to the Kingdom of God, so that when it came they would embrace it. At times he implied that he was the epotimization of it and that with him its appearance was being ushered in. Yet at other times he emphasized the nearness of the coming Kingdom of God, as if it were just around the corner, but not yet there. It is apparent that Jesus' mission to his people was in ernest, it is as if he worried that they would be left behind when the Kingdom of God eventually arrived. By this token it is enough to know that he loved his people dearly, and yet it is also evident that he foresaw that the Kingdom of God was not exclusively for the Children of Israel.

The Rejection.
It is probably this most singular fact that caused the Jews to reject Jesus(as); the lack of exclusivity; for were the Godly not meant to be the inheritors of the Earth. And did not the Children of Israel meticulously observe the LAW, and venerate their books?

Aside from that, why did Jesus(as) not fight and conquer, as they expected him to do? Why didn't he liberate them from Roman hegemony? And why did he instead insist "to give to Caesar what is his, and give to GOD what is HIS!"?

He (as) was not what they wanted him to be. And that is why they denied him.

The Dilemma.
Therein is the dilemma for the Christians. They are heirs to the Jews, because Jesus(as) was essentially a Jewish Prophet. And yet the Jews rejected him, whilst the Christians believed in him.

All in all, it was an unfinished business.

What exactly is the Kingdom of God?

The Jews believed it would be an Earthly dominion. The Christians could not escape the fact that this did not materialize, and so they emphasize it being a Spiritual Kingdom.

The Church claims to be the realization of that spiritual kingdom on Earth. However it is constantly plagued by doubt over its role on Earth. Should it be as the Jews envisaged a temporal Kingdom, wielding both spiritual and temporal authority? Or simply concern itself with saving the souls of it's adherents, by keeping with the words of Jesus(as) when he declared "Give to Caesar what is his!"?

The problem of the Kingdom of God finds resonance within the Islamic heritage. But the Muslims, rightly being content with what God has given them, have probably never asked the question of where Jesus(as) left of and where Muhammad (saw) began.

This is a Prelude to the Perfection of Belief, coming next!

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Ghandhi-jii, Jinna & The Pianist

Last Saturday night I watched the film "Jinnah". It was a breath of fresh that at its very least opens up questions about the reality of Indian Independence.

We are all of the Gandhi-jii generation probably because the 80s film (of his name) cast him as a charismatic figure and portrayed him as being instrumental in the anti-colonialist movement. There can be no doubt of his charisma and of his large popular following; however does the one necessarily follow from the other.

Jinnah has never had a fair hearing precisely because the Gandhi film portrays him in a poor light. The "Jinnah" film goes someway to redress that imbalance. However it does not portray Jinnah charismatically, but it portrays him as a realist, someone who cared deeply for his people and most importantly as a man of principle and honour.

The End of the Jewel in the Crown.
It is interesting to note several facts that become evident during the film. And facts they must be because they are portrayed as such and because the film is the work of an English Oxford Scholar.

1. That the Congress Party was existent and extremely active even before the appearance of Gandhi-jii on the scene.

2. That Jinnah played to the contradictions that appeared within the colonialist agenda and imagination. Our imagined (by them obviously) dependence on them both for civilization and rationalization, and their ongoing agenda being the increasing needs for more manpower following on from 2 (essentially) disastrous European Wars.

3. That Britain was increasingly becoming aware of the detrimental nature of its relationship with India.

And given all of these "facts", the independence of India from colonial rule seemed inevitable even, that is, if we forget completely about Gandhi-jii.

Gandhi-jii's Influence and Pertinent Questions.
The question of Gandhi's influence then tends to one of speed and not force of acceleration.

Did Gandhi make the inevitable sooner?

Was his non-violent policy effective in the quicker removal of the British Raj?

These are pertinent questions for OUR World wracked with injustice, persecution and victimization.

What differentiated Gandhi's non-violence from the non-violent policy of Mandela or King's was the utopian other-worldly acceptance and even encouragement of violence done against him and his people. Both Mandela and King never said per se "We will never use violence, period!" Gandhi did just that. Mandela went so far as to rule out "ruling out violence". Did Mandela and King learn from the error of Gandhi's ways? Probably not. However the backbone of their respective ideologies has more of an impact on what was visible to them than most of us care to believe, even about ourselves.

What is Divine?
The Hindu ideology of the Brahmin classes is more eschatological, whereas the Abrahamic faiths are worldlier. For the Hindu divinity is an extreme of forgivingness. Whereas for the Muslim forgivingness has its' place, time and circumstance and to stretch these is to border on oppression. "GOD is Just and loves those who are just" and sometimes forgiveness is an injustice, precisely because forgiveness can be a veritable cause for further injustice.
When man is wronged is it GODLY to accept and forgive as Gandhi did, or is GODLY to revenge and be done with your injustice? To be free of guilt that you did nothing, and allowed things to be done to you, nay against you! Is it not GODLY to be free from such guilt?

But if all men revenge will we not have rancour, mischief and pollution on the Earth? And so the LAW!

That we might be free of guilt in allowing people to act unjustly against us, and that we might have a clean Earth free from the pollution of vice, mischief and every other ill!

And where there is no moral law, than man needs must refer back to the ancient law. Revenge that what is done against you, so that it is not done again, until we as people enact LAW and make all people small before it!

Muhammad (saw) said that even if Fatima (his beloved daughter and of his blessed household) were to steal then her hand would be forfeit. The LAW should be blind and all men should be small before it.

So I do not accept that Gandhi's position was, nor is, a moral position. And if you discount like me the moral superiority of Gandhi, then necessarily you must deny his effectiveness in the removal of the British Raj from India in every manner.

And this idea of mine is made still more concrete in my mind by all that I know of the victimization of individuals. And groups of people are made of individuals.

My first encounter was that of being bullied by an older and consequently bigger person in my comprehensive school. It was a small thing and at first I paid no heed to it, but then it continued and I took a stand. I did not win, nor could I have probably ever won through. But by my continued un-acceptance of what was happening I won the respect of my one-time bully and also the esteem of my friends. I know that today bullying in school is probably a lot worse.

A year later and the bully held a flick-knife to my throat, while I was seated at a desk. However, I was not phased and laughed it off. And from that day my colleagues erroneously assumed that I was tougher than the bully! Silly.. but true story!

Many people probably have similar stories to tell, that the only way to end victimization is not by bowing your head, nor by turning the other cheek but by making your hand into a fist.

Victimization is the cornerstone of policy in Israel, in Guantanamo Bay and in many prisons.
It's goal as policy is one of de-humanisation.

They will do everything to break you, to make you appear in-human (un-capable of laughter, happiness, fear, hatred and the whole melee of human emotion (including hell-bent revenge)) so that they do not feel guilty when they do it to you again.

Your acceptance of your in-humanity is for them a justification of their action.

But by it, GOD's curse rebounds on them and they become themselves in-human, un-capable off all that is good.

The Pianist and the Palestinians.
Ever seen the film the Pianist?
It is about the Jewish Pogroms in Hitler's Eastern European Countries.
What sticks in my head from that film is the Old Jewish Man being told to walk in the gutter and complying. In the end the Jewish People, to their credit, learnt not to accept such treatment and fought for their liberation.

The Palestinian People have been victimized a million fold more. For 38 years of Occupation means that more than 2 generations of Palestinian Children have been targeted, killed and victimized. Some ignorant fools might think that I lie, that Israel only targets Terrorists. Israel wantonly murders children on their way to school and while they are at play. Ever visited an Israeli Check-Point, ever seen them pointing guns at children, humiliating and victimizing them?

May GOD shower HIS blessings on Khalid Sulaiman Mahdi, 15 years old. Israeli Soldiers admitted killing him for sport whilst he worked on his father's farm. 7 bullets pierced his head.

May GOD shower HIS blessings on Iman Al-Hams, a 13 year old Palestinian Girl killed on her way to school. 5 Bullets found in her head and 15 through-out the rest of her body.

May GOD shower HIS blessings on Rania Aram, a 9 year old Palestinian Girl killed outside her house in the Khan Yunus Refugee Camp. 1 Shot to her neck from Israeli positions.

And May GOD shower HIS blessings on all those others who have died, posing no threat... as children, being children.. Ameen.

In the face of such victimization the Palestinian people have not and will not lose their humanity.
They still fight for their honour and dignity, their right to live and smile and laugh without fear of murder.
That they do so with the very thing that makes them human; emotion; can we blame them?

But where NO LAW exists to guarantee to them safety to live in Peace and Harmony, such a fight can and often does descend into the quagmire that is revenge. That they have to resort to that ancient way is a pity. Because revenge can destroy the very humanity that they have sought do hard to preserve.

However, it is Israel that holds all the powerful cards. It is Israel that has the most powerful ally. It is Israel that has the gun-ship and the tanks. And it is Israel that has the power to end such a conflict, even if it means enshrining "the right of return". It is Israel that has the power to stop the wholesale victimization of a people and their children.

And it is true that many Palestinian Terrorists have succumbed to the use of victimization in their own right, by their targeting of civilians. But that is more of a reflection on the inhuman victimization that is Israel.
ISRAEL is not a Victim, unable to do or act. ISRAEL is the Victimizer.

And by all that I have said, would you deny the Palestinian People (Victims of Terror and Hatred for over 38 years) the right to fight against oppression and victimization?

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Tis Magically Numbered

A Magical Number.

Tis magically number’d.
An age when a man becomes a Man,
And he wonders how he might be remembered.

And he wonders about his children.
What he might bequeath to them,
That might not ruin, nor be ruined.

But for one man that was not so.
It was the beginning of a new beginning.
That grew, and even now continues to grow.

At forty he received it.
A revelation like no other.
And at forty we do pay homage to it.

A bequest that cannot be ruined.
A pure message to the Worlds,
From the most Merciful, who created.

For him, at forty, twas a new beginning.
But for his tribe, his people and us all too,
Twas a beginning without an ending.

A life changing force.
A word from the Most High,
That did change our history’s very course.

An uncorruptable word.
An Arabic Qu’ran,
That resonates to your heart’s very chord.

Only the corrupt it corrupts.
But any that wants godliness,
For them, there they shall find it.

This is my bequest.
To read, to live, to study,
That precious treasure chest.

The Qur’an, it’s revelation.
The life of Muhammad,
Who forever will be blessed.
Peace, Shafi.
This was written on my pda, on the flight out to Nairobi.

Some notes will be added later, inshaAllah.
This poem talks of that magical age of 40, when a man tends to look back on his life and reassess it. It is said that for any that do turn 40, should say the prayer contained in the Qur’an on it’s arrival, that their fate might be sealed.
It also takes as it’s source one of the proofs of Muhammad (saw) Prophethood, that before the age of 40 he did not do.
Before the age of 40, he was well liked, well known and respected by his people. He used to honour his relatives, feed the poor and treat the downtrodden with kindness and even strive for their rights that others might have ursurped.
But before the age of 40, he showed no inclination to poetry or the magical prose that is the Qur’an. He did not start any widespread social movements, nor did he in any way call any attention to himself.
At 40 that all changed. He still did the good, but now his calling was to a Higher source than himself.
Why would a man, having had children and lived a whole age with his people suddenly change?
If he were a reformer, he would have started at 20.
If he were a poet, we would have been made aware of the development on his poetry.
Rather it is proved by reliable sources, including thro the phenomenal incident of the Treaty of Hudabiyyah, that he could not read nor write.
But that does not mean that he was illiterate, rather it means that he re-wrote everything. He re-wrote manhood, nobility, generosity and so much else!
He was the greatest of MEN, living in age of true Men.
And Indeed without GOD sending him wih the truth, we would all have been ignorant!
So Allah t’ala we beseech you reward Muhammad innumerably, and send our salutations and peace down upon him until the ends of time. For forever will he be blessed, by us all and by others yet to come. Ameen!


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Powerful WORDS

Don’t you ever wonder at the Power of Words?

To change ourselves,
To cast spells.

To change others,
To make enemies, brothers.

To cast doubt,
To wreck mischief, all about.

To wound, to heal.
To make laws and then repeal.

To question and then to know.
To create and then bestow.

To dream, and then try to make real.
And when you flounder, to call another for appeal.

Have you never wondered at the power of words?

To make you, or to break you!

PARAPHRASED....One day Umar (ra) came upon Abu Bakr (ra) whilst he was pulling at his tongue. Umar (ra) astoundedly asked him what he was doing. To which Abu Bakr replied with the following saying of Muhammad (saw):
"I worry about two things for my people that which is between the legs and that which is between the lips.."
I was astonished and asked Muhammad (saw).."Will we be asked concerning what we say?"
He (saw) replied .."O Abu Bakr! What will cause people to fall flat on their faces into Hell-Fire, other than what they say!"

What you say has the power to exalt you, or demean you.

Be wary my dear friends, choose choice words that will not mislead you.

And to this end let your first knowledge be the World you can see.
Marvel at its intricacies, its inter-connectedness, its wholeness and its beauty.

Then know that there is much that you cannot see nor know.
Marvel and be humbled.

And then say "There is a POWER!"
And then say "God is the POWER, the ONE and ONLY".
And then say "Glory be to GOD who created and to WHOM is our return".
And then say, even as Abraham (as) said, "I will be free of what they ascribe to God".
And then believe in HIM and put your trust in HIM, and ask of HIM.
For HE is the one who gave you the power of speech, and words, that you might deliberate, know and ask.

Surah Balad.. (Al-Qur’an):
"Have WE not given you two eyes (that you might see),
And two lips (that you might deliberate and know),
And shown you the two paths
(the path of ascent by which you are purified and exalted, and the
path of descent by which you are made low and abased).
Then what is the matter with you that you take not the paths of ascent?" brackets are mine...

By the leave of GOD, Most Gracious, Most Merciful....
I call you to the sure, undoubtable knowledge and a true and straight path...
To believe in GOD, the Indivisible ONE and ONLY, and to follow the way of Muhammad (saw), who shall forever be blessed!

Yb Shafi

Lastly, the hadith mentioned above is from memory and highly liable to error. May Allah t’ala forgive me, the ONE who loves to forgive. The below hadiths I have sourced which lend credence to the message contained in the above hadith..

Narrated Sahl bin Sa’d: Allah’s Apostle said, "Whoever can guarantee (the chastity of) what is between his two jaw-bones and what is between his two legs (i.e. his tongue and his private parts), I guarantee Paradise for him." (Book 76, Hadith 481) Bukhari

Malik related to me from Zayd ibn Aslam from his father that Umar ibn al-Khattab came upon Abu Bakr as-Siddiq pulling his tongue. Umar said to him, "Stop, may Allah forgive you!" Abu Bakr replied, "This has brought me to dangerous places." Al-Muwatta.

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Life & Fractals, part 2

Life and Fractals contd

This is a continuation of the preceding blog, please read part 1 to fully follow the arguments presented.

Many people ignore the complexity that is the World because they believe that it has all been explained away by cataloguing its constituent parts and their relations with one another.

And likewise, to many people the miracle of life holds no fascination simply because they believe it to have been explained away by evolution.

A recurring theme within the Qur’an is however the miracle of our lives. Of our conception and being put to rest in a safe place (in our Mothers’ wombs). Of the clothing of our bones with flesh and of the development of our senses through which we know so much of our World.

Evolution & Chaos.
In essence evolution does affirm the complexity and intricacy that is life. But it seeks to explain this by purporting the existence of a relationship between the order we see and a chaos that is.

Because both evolution and quantum theory see an underlying chaos as being the basis for, and even the foundation-stone of that intricate order. And so they claim that there is no need to suppose an intelligent design in order to explain the complexity and intricacy that is Life, the Universe and Everything.

LAWS rule.
But both fail to see their dependence on laws and rules of behaviour to maintain that order. From the Mendelian rules of genetic inheritance, to the number of electrons that are required to fill an orbital shell and to the Quarks that can only come in threes! It is laws like these that provide the basis for that order.

Even evolutionary theory is suffused with laws. Is not "Survival of the Fittest" a Law?

At each level of our WORLD it is Laws that RULE. And it is this intricate web of Laws that should be humbling, marvelling, fascinating.

Whether these laws are contained within the very nature of the things that they regulate or not, as the case may be, is a by-the-by. What is relevant is that even if we suppose a quantum or evolutionary chaos we cannot escape from admitting the existence of such regulation and an underlying order that is provided by it.

Even in our chaotic lives, is it not our laws that lend stability to our society?

And a law that is not enforced is no law at all!

Evolution is POWERLess.
By its own admission and its belief in a chaotic World, Evolution is Powerless. It is an organising PRINCIPLE, a Law without a direct enforcer. Darwinists claim that the enforcer of Evolution is a distant force of a millennia, over vast distances/numbers and what ifs. A principle or a law is NOTHING without a FORCE, a real and tangible force, to enforce it.

The ONE who gives SHAPES.
Evolutionary force does not explain the intricacies of our creation in our Mothers Womb. As we develop our cells differentiate from generic mast cells and become our organs. Cells that are destined to become part of our eyes migrate, past countless other cells, and into the corresponding place of what would one day become your eye socket. What causes these cells to "know" how and where to migrate to, given that their destined place in your eye is not even ready for them? What if that cell makes one slip at one T-junction (and a T-junction is a 2-D characterisation of a 3-D dilemma!)? What prevents that chaos, a distant force that exerts itself over a millennia and over huge numbers of statistical proportions.... i think not!

The Programming.
Darwinists will counter that Evolution has caused each cell to be PROGRAMMED with the correct responses to each possible eventuality (or to at least 99.9% of them).

Do you think that a distant force can programme each cell for each eventuality?

And that it can do so whilst all other cells develop and morph in tandem?

The ISLAMic View.
In the Qur’an GOD asks you to look carefully at the World, at every aspect of it. And GOD testifies that your eyes will come back to you dazed, full of wonder at the perfection of HIS creation.

The Qur’an talks of the "Sunnat-Allah", the ways of God, being unchangeable! Unbending laws, God’s laws over His creation and laws enforced by Him. For GOD testifies that "No change will you find in the Sunnat ALLAH". HE is the ONE that upholds them and enforces them. And HE is closer to HIS creation than even your very own jugular vein.

HE is the Creator, the Giver of Shapes, the Sovereign, the KING to whom all things go back to for decision.

Muslim Scientists
Seek to make clear the LAWS of GOD on HIS creation. And they wonder at the Perfection of it all and glorify HIS names in the Mornings and Evenings!

A Last Word...
For a more detailed expression of my thoughts on Evolution please see a previous blog!

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Life & Fractals, part 1

Life and Fractals

Original Cause
Many people believe that the essence of religious knowledge is the question of the original cause.

Granted the original cause is a fundamental spanner in the work of materialistic theology that tends to avoid it like the plague. Because as with Hawkins they cannot answer that problem unless they resort to an infinite series of infinites, which any sane person will throw off as incomprehensible dogma.

But even if we forget that original problem, the complexity that is life, the universe and everything should be humbling. However just as many people as those who believe in GOD, also believe that GOD created, set the World in motion and left. They believe that the laws of biology, chemistry and physics were determined by the act of creation and that the rest is history.

A ClockWork Mechanism
This is the Christian belief of the 7th day of Creation "and then HE rested"... a clockwork Universe set in motion.

The Muslim version is HE created and then "HE rose over the Throne (of Authority)" and "Neither does HE rest, nor does HE sleep" and "All affairs go back to HIM for decision" (All Qur’anic Quotes).

At the turn of the Scientific Revolution it was this idea that drove our exploration into the ever smaller realms. That everything could be explained by reduction, by examining the cogs and wheels and their relations with one another.

The Mandelbrot Blot
However the more we have studied the World, the more we have observed it’s similarity to fractal geometry!

Because no matter which level of existence you consider, there is no depreciation in complexity.

Quantum Dynamics
The most basic/elementary/explanatory of the Sciences is purported to be Particle Physics, and yet the laws that hold in that realm have absolutely no relation to say Cosmology (which is just another branch of Physics), or any other branch of science.

Gravity is a basic force of the Physics of Cosmology that exerts itself over huge distances, and yet it has no power or use when it comes to considering the interactions between electrons/ quarks etc... Likewise the relationships that exist between particles have no consequence when considering the motion of the planets.

a ToE
Of course in order to mend the hole in their aspirations Physicists have long looked for a particle that would be a modulator for gravity, the so called graviton. If it existed it would neatly tie up both cosmology and quantum mechanics into one neat bundle. But the Physicists search for that their holy grail of a ToE (Theory of Everything) is in vain. The World is a Mandlebrot blot!

If this is true of the so called mother of all sciences, it is also true of chemistry and of the study of life, biology.
Life tbc
Each is as intricate as the other, and the study of life is the most intricate of them all.
To be continued...

Dedicated to my MySpace friend George, ever the Scientist!

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Saturday, 19 January 2013

Blogging Fiend

Written: 10 Mar 2008

I got that Blogging Bug.
And it's bleeding me dry.
Sucking me up, leaving me die.

Ratings are King,
Views are Supreme.
Life's becoming just one long dream.

Just like a TV station,
A lifeless corporation,
Or a worthless Politician.

I have become an Addict of sorts,
Constantly logging in,
Checking my viewings-stats.

I got that Blogging bug,
And it's driving me insane.
All my wild aspirations are becoming tame.

My ideas Fickle,
My concepts trickling Thin.
Especially when you have to Worry about the majorities thinking.

God forbid that should happen.
That I should become a Blogging fiend,
And that all my arguments should get creamed.

Not by any one person.
But by my inability to cognate,
In the face of a non-existent feedback.

God-Forbid that should happen.
That I should become one of the same,
And that all of my arguments should become lame.

God-Forbid that should happen.
That I should loose my faith,
And become a Blogging wraith.

End. Shafi.

Dedicated to the one constant in my prior- MySpace Life...
Thro' thick-and-thin,
"It's 2 Muslim",
Nos Amigo's Fernando the Tornado!

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Friday, 18 January 2013

The World and its People

The World and Its People

The World that we inhabit contains essentially two types of people. And it is the answer to the question of "who they are?" that determines "who we are?" and our futures.

Because it is the way that we see our World that makes our approach to our lives, and then what we ultimately do and become!

Some concrete examples of how people have answered that fundamental question are:
· Marx/ Stalin who saw a "Rich- Poor" divide.
· Hitler who promoted an "Arian and Semitic" divide.
· And more recently Blair & Bush who have both promoted a "the West, and the Muslim" divide.

The CUP.
But is there not a better way that does not divide the World along anthropological lines?

In fact throughout all types of people, and all times, there is a singular behavioural trait that determines their approach to life. It is the difference between a half full cup and a half empty one.

This means of perception cuts across all divides that divide us by the colour of our skin, or our nationality, or our religions.

And at its root determined how the people reacted to the true Messengers when they came to them; either with arrogance or with humility.

For arrogance is born not of power or wealth, but of a fear of loss of that power and wealth(*1). It is a fear of a possible loss of means, a lack of trust in providence and ultimately a fear that there are things that are out of your control (2).

Moses, Jesus & Muhammad (as).
So it was when Moses (as) came to Pharaoh and Pharaoh feared. He feared an empty cup. That Moses (as) was trying to take what was his Kingship (in the Muslim tradition Moses (as) was the foster brother of Pharaoh). He feared that these were things out of his power. And so he became arrogant and disbelieved.

So it was when Jesus (as) came to the Children of Israel. They feared. They feared that the Kingdom of God was slipping away from the ken of their power and knowledge. They feared the empty cup and they disbelieved.

So it was with Quraish when Muhammad (saw) came to them, they feared. They feared lest their standing amongst the Arabs would be diminished. They feared the empty cup and they became arrogant and disbelieved.

Each of them thought that there Prophets brought with them portents of doom. But their doom belonged with them, and it was their seeing only an empty cup.

In contrast the believing men and women from all of the nations; Judaic, Nazarene and Muslim; saw only the good (*3). And even when they suffered trials and tribulations they only said "This is what GOD, most gracious, has promised us" and it only increased them in patience, in doing good to their fellow man, and in faith.

This was the case of the people to whom the Messengers were sent, and is in point of fact the case of all people, at all times.

The Blessed.
Those that ever see a full, brimming cup. Who take the best, and make the most, even from the worst of times. Who learn knowledge from the ignorant, patience from the impatient, and then share it with all (S. Asr). They are the ones who are blessed, whoever they may be, wherever they may be.

And this sentiment is at once both a Unifying and Uplifting force for the whole of Humanity.

It is a sentiment contained in the timeless words of Muhammad (saw), the Messenger of GOD, "The best of people inside the religion, are the best of people when they are outside of the religion". And "No Arab is superior to a non-Arab" famously said without condition on his farewell pilgrimage. And in his saying that "belief is Yemeni" by which he (saw) meant that civility, being kind and considerate, doing good to the people and making them happy are all aspects of true belief, irrespective of who or what you are.

And it is this unifying and uplifting sentiment that is the cornerstone of Qur’anic commentary. For we are told that when GOD intends to do good to a man or woman "HE expands their chest", causes all that is narrow therein to be extinguished and causes us to see an overflowing cup. And then causes belief to enter therein.

So that even when we are tried in this life with loss of means, or health, or life of us or those whom we love... We cry and we mourn but we do not lose hope, nor do we stop doing the good in the hope of earning HIS good pleasure.

The Muslims.
It is these sentiments that have ever guided the Muslims.

After Badr did they not give to their captives, who had been bent on snuffing them out, bread whilst they ate only dates. A rich man’s food they gave to those who had once tortured them in Mecca, and even then came out to kill them at Badr with a superior force.

Did they not always honour their treaties, irrespective of consequence.

Did they not always incline to Peace, when the other inclined to Peace, in accordance with GOD’s commands contained in the Qur’an. Whilst knowing and accepting that such actions might be strategies and deceptions.

These have ever been the sentiments of the Muslims, at one and the same time, both unifying and uplifting.

Believing in the goodness of people, trusting them and sharing with them the good that they have been given!
For notes see comments...

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Frankenstein and the Lode-Stone

Mary Shelley's nightmare (Frankenstein) was born of the then Darwinist pomposity that suggested that the "spark" that gives life is none too far away. Today Sci-Fi has recognised the impossibility of trying to play God in those respects, and yet even more pompously advocates a terra-forming gaseous concoction of methane, nitrogen and oxygen as a means of creating the basis for life (Star Trek & the last episode of Dr. Who).

But even then Mary Shelley's work differs from the art form of the now because it can and does remind us of certain wonders of the World and certain enigmas that we hold explained... For example...

To Wonder.
"There, Margaret, the sun is forever visible, its broad disk just skirting the horizon and diffusing a perpetual splendour. . .

What may not be expected in a country of eternal light?
I may there discover the wondrous power which attracts the needle."

There the hero ( ? cos l haven't read that far yet, lol!) was intent on discovering the fabled north-east passage near the Pole and ascertaining the secret of the magnet.
This passage shook me back down the years to school science.

The Secrets of Magnets.
So long ago I had been taught that the secrets of the magnet HAD been explained.

I had "learnt" that to make a magnet, one needed a fresh piece of iron and another magnet. And that all you had to do was to stroke the magnet over the virgin iron.

And we "learnt" that such stroking aligned all of a multitude of smaller magnets contained within the metal so that all their Norths pointed North and all of their Souths pointed South, in concordance with the linear stroking action of the first magnet.

But we never asked... And were never made to Ask or Wonder... (Until I read this masterly work).
1. Where the first magnet came from? (The proverbial Lode Stone, the mother of all magnets.)
2. How there could be such alignment when we could perceive no movement?
3. And what actually causes the magnet/ compass to point Northwards?

When you actually think about it, these things are not explained.

Explaining AWAY.
However they are explained away by allegory; by the backwards and forwards movement of reasoning from what we can see, into what we cannot.

So we examine how magnets and iron behave on our human scale and suppose it to be likewise on a truly global scale. And then we hold that we have done our job, are fully rational creatures and are masters of the Universe.

The theory of magnets is consistent, in that it assumes that reasonable movement from known to unknown.

"What" "We" "Know"?
So we know that if we cut a magnet into a thousand pieces, we get a thousand other magnets, each with their own Norths and Souths.

And we know that if we file a virgin piece of iron to make iron fillings, that these when they are placed near a magnet behave magnetically and when they are placed on a piece of paper trace a "field".

And so we reasonably, and by extension, believe the Earth and its core produce one big magnetic field. That there is no source that pulls the needle, well at least not at the North Pole anyway. If there is a source then it would be at the centre of our Earth.

To Marvel.
But even if that is so, should we still not marvel whenever we see a needle move?

Because we have not explained anything really. All we have done is observed and related one observation to another.

We have not explained the WHYs of the magnet! Only the Whats and the Whens:

All We Know is What happens When...
- We cut a magnet
- We place iron fillings near a magnet

Period. And that is the sum total of our Knowledge.

The Secrets of the Magnet continue to remain elusive.


Fundamental Questions
All of the fundamental questions that we can ask about our World, being What When Who How & Why, are all relational questions. The first three ask for a snapshot, an instance in time, and the last two seek to connect those instances to enable us to see causal patterns. Of all of them it is "Why" when it is applied to both man & non-man that implies something BEYOND How (a mechanism); it implies a HIDDEN something, whether it be motive or a greater plan!

And once we admit that, then the reality of a hidden World becomes a given.

Once a Why is admitted then reality can never be solely confined to whats, whens, whos and even hows!

"Why" does not however presuppose an irrational hidden World.

Science, just another Story :-)
Furthermore even after our Science, and before our contemplation into what we have achieved, should we not marvel, that such things can be "related to" and that we can do "the relating"?

And that we can construct a story, a causal map of our reality. Is that not what every theory is, just another story?

Except Science is a story with teeth. Teeth chop, rip/tear and grind. Science gives us the questions to probe and ask. And it is this probing that causes us to ask those vital questions that are the body and soul of technology.

Body & Soul, Science & Technology.
Contrarily, the answer to those questions give us little beyond the impetus to ask still more questions. However it is the search for those answers that gives us technology.

And that is why God in the Qur'an testifies that HE has made the Universe subservient to us. Because it is HE who has given us 2 eyes and a mouth, and a reasoning mind... That we might see, question and "know"!

Reading Frankenstein and shivering in my boots.

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Born a Scientist

A father is uniquely positioned to observe the growth and development of his son. And Ibrahim has provided me with such an opportunity.

I observed him playing and exploring his hands and now I see him discovering his feet. The expression on his face, one of wonder.

How much do we really know when we are born into this World? Off course we forget that once we knew neither our hands nor our feet. And that once we had to discover those very sacred trusts that have we have been vouchsafed.

This impacts little on "Nature or Nurture"; how much of us is what we have been given, and how much what we make of ourselves?

The Cradle.

But it says a lot about knowledge and the quest for it. Muhammad (saw) said that a man, or woman, should seek knowledge from the cradle to the grave.

By this he (saw) emphasized that that search is a life-times endeavour, indeed a mission without end. But this prescription also houses a description of what we were and what we should continue to be.

Just like our Father, Adam (as), who bit into the apple, we too are all born inquisitive. We observe, we learn through experimentation and we acquire knowledge. We are all born Scientists.

Muhammad (saw) also said every child is born a muslim and it is their parents that make them a Jew or Christian. But don't we believe that the first Jews and Christians were muslims, obedient to GOD, until the first rebelled and the second went astray. And isn't it a fact that we who are born Muslims yet learn what it means to be a Muslim from our parents and society.

And so the sense of the word muslim, as it is used here, must be in its operative form being "submission to GOD". However Islam can never be a passive submission, and is ever and always an act of volition. The first choice that we all make is that we choose to cry, to live, to bite that apple. And that first and primary choice is an act of submission and not rebellion.

This is because, we are informed in a hadith qudsi, Allah t'ala (GOD most High) created that HE might be known. And to live, to experience, is the first step on our road to knowledge.

But Islam asks that a man go beyond the Scientist that he is born to be, and that he reflect on all things big and small. (Al-Qur'an ... Have you not considered the Heavens, how WE raised them... And the Earth, how WE spread it out? AND... Verily Allah t'ala (GOD most High) is not ashamed to set forth the parable of a mosquito.)

To bite that Apple?

To seek to know GOD through reflection on HIS creation is indeed a sacred vocation. And in this the Qur'an is truly a guide, for it provides the measure of all knowledge whatever and wherever it may be ("Seek knowledge even as far as China" another Prophetic Hadith tells us).

What Muslims have forgotten over the past couple of centuries is that in order to fulfil the sacred duty of reflection one must first be foremost in acquiring knowledge of creation.

This first knowledge of our World, of the Sciences and myriad other disciplines, is cumulative and transmittable.

Whereas the reflection, that every man needs and must undertake for himself in order to find Truth, is not communicable, nor accumulatable... but only discoverable by and within your own self.

It is truly a unique journey for all who undertake it. A journey without end..but full of meaning.

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Colonialism, Orientalism and the Significant Other.

Colonialism, Orientalism
and the Significant Other.

Reading Edward Said's celebrated work on Orientalism, by that name, leaves a believer thinking on the malaise both now and before that allowed such a thing to happen.

Off course Muslims and Islam are the significant other that deserve study, but Orientalists have always done so with little to no respect for either.

Being brought up stradling both East and West leaves me wondering at how a system of thought as deep as Islam could be swept away by one as shallow as everything propounded by the West. For even as Descartes observed everything propounded by the West is at once disputed by the West. They do not know, cannot know and futhermore believe that this anarchy ,of a type, is their greatest virtue.

In the words of the Qur'an, are the seeing and the blind equal? Are the ones who know, and those who dispute comparable?

But then the problem of how we came to be colonialised and conquered, instead of disappearing in a mire of self conceipt and gloating, should become all the more disturbing.

For to be dominated by such unashmed not-knowing shallowness must mean that we have become shallower still. That our knowledge and the knowledge of our brightest Scholarly Stars is but paper thin. For as the historically verefied dictum states "knowledge is power". We are powerless because of our lack of knowledge and more importantly because of our lack of understanding of what knowledge is.

Most of us believe that all good and usefull knowledge is Qur'an and Sunnah, even whilst Allah t'ala disdains not in making a gnat a parable for us. And even our contemporary thinkers, such a Ziauddin Sardar, see the islamization of knowledge at roots as being an undermining of Islamic ideals.

That is not to say that the Islamization of Knowledge movement has no faults. Rather when Allah t'ala took a gnat as an example of the perfection of the signs (or proofs) within creation it was, and should continue to be, for us all an example of how ALL knowledge is GOD's knowledge, and is and should be our knowledge.

For as with all work started with the words of dedication, so to with all knowledge begun with the BasmaAllah, all is sacred devotion. And that is even the case where it's usefullness might be called into question, for why else would Allah t'ala use the least of things to teach us what is holy and what is not?

The aquisition of all Worldly Knowledge is not a thing to be Islamicised, for it is already Holy.

And it is because of this, among many other erreonous concepts that pertain to what knowledge is and what are it's functions, that I blog in that field. Because it is the theories of knowledge that underpin all that is not well with us now, and yet underpinned all that was great about us before.

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The Right of Ascension, a Hereditary Problem

Apaloosa, Kings & Islam

Yesterday I was in the mood for a Western, so I watched Apaloosa. It's funny how the genre has moved on from being completely absurd (John Wayne, who I can't stand) to being absurdly realistic.

The Spaghetti Westerns, personified by "The Good, The Bad and The Ugly", are classics on three fronts: their score, the close-ups and the long drawn out silences. The imagery is one of solitude, and that imagery continues throughout the genre.

At the frontiers, of absolutely anything, you must be prepared to go it alone. But then whether you achieve, or not, depends on the slow movement of civilization. And it is that system of organization that is necessary, both for your survival and your posterity (that which you leave behind after you have gone).

Clash of Civilizations?
Of course the civilization I talk of here is not one of absolutes, or norms.

And so that frontier, there, was not one of Civilization versus Non-Civilization. And that the Western Civilization eventually destroyed the Native Indian Civilization, does not mean that it was necessarily any better. But in order to effect the destruction of another Civilization it is imperative to create chaos and lawlessness, so your claim of superiority might better be believed. And that was the Wild West.

And maybe we are seeing that same dynamic in action in Baghdad, Kabul and now Pakistan; the onslaught of one Civilization against another.

But then maybe, just maybe, the real frontier is someplace else. Maybe that frontier is in this blog that I pen.

This because Islam is not a place, but a most powerful and relevant ideal.

But what, I hear you ask, has this all to do with Kings and Islam?

In Apaloosa in order to deal with the lawlessness of the frontier, the people were forced to give over the right to make LAW to a hired hand. The PEACE-maker, as he called himself, came with a ready solution. He held in his hand a document that once signed into statute, allowed him to become the LAW.

Ibn Khaldun, the first analytical historian, argued that that Royal Authority, to become the Law and make War or Peace, is a function of the measure of bonding between a people (Assabiyah) and hence their needs. For adversity, normally, causes people to rediscover their commonality and ignore their differences.

And just as in Apaloosa, I can well imagine a time when banditry and lawlessness were the order of the day, and where every man, family, town and city was forced to seek shelter and normality in Kingship.

And so at the beginning the common need for security drove people to make Kings. But Kingship is unnatural. A King cannot be free, but of a necessity has to be bound by convention. Every King of Men is a King on the proviso that the people maintain him as such. The taller the tree, the harder the fall. And so a King’s continuous pre-occupation must always be the maintenance of his authority, so that it might not vanish. And then of course Absolute Power corrupts Absolutely.

Thus every King of Men is crushed between one of two extremes: the ability to fulfill his every whim, and the desperate need to maintain his standing both for himself and his posterity.

In Apaloosa we see the absurdity of that conundrum come into play.

And Ibn Khalid noted the temporariness of Kingships in the Maghreb; that in general they lasted but three generations. Whereas other un-natural Kingships are shorn up by convention, in our Muslim lands our GOD-given conventions make poor ground for Kingships.

The Natural Way.
This because of our Deen-al-Fitra.
For Muslims call their faith "Deen al-Fitra", the way of man's natural inclination, and usually explain this with reference to man's inward and psychological life. That to worship is a natural element of what it means to be a man, and that then the sole remaining question is who deserves to be worshiped? One who is deaf, dumb, blind and in need, or the ONE who is free from all needs, sees, hears and knows all? Truly the ONE who deserves is the Creator, the Able, the Living, the Ever-Living.

But surely we all also know that man is a sociable creature. And that thus it is natural that we would want to organize ourselves in a way that adds to that natural sociability. Therefore an aspect of our religion being "Deen al-Fitra" must encompass the means of our Social and hence Political organization.

And the most fundamental matter in respect of all Political Authority is the matter of succession.

And this matter must have been especially urgent for our Prophet (saw), most especially because of his foretelling of all the problems that would come upon his Nation following his departure from this World.

The end of Kingdoms.
And with the coming of Muhammad (saw) Kingship ended.

Such portents were evident in the first years of the Meccan period when Quraish offered up Kingship to Muhammad (saw), on condition of his abandonment of the ONE God. His (saw) refusal was the first indication in his life that he was sent to abolish Kingships.

And then later on in the late Meccan period ALLAH t’ala revealed HIS direct Kingship of not just the Heavens but most importantly of the Earth and ALL on it and ALL in it and ALL between them (Heaven and Earth).

And still later in the early Medinan period ALLAH t’ala revealed to us Man’s stewardship over the Earth and all on it. Those verses reveal a time at the very beginning of archetypal Man’s Creation (Nabi Adam (as)) when ALLAH t’ala designed our creation and thereafter when HE empowered us with the knowledge of Words (S. Baqara).

Thus what was portended in Muhammad (saw)’s refusal of the Quraishi Kingship, was fulfilled in the Words of ALLAH t’ala where HE gave over to us the sacred trust of our World. That Kingship ended, and all ownership became the calling, of all of us, to account at the appointed time, on the Day of Truth. And all LAW became the Sacred Law, and its fulfillment and application, through interpretation, for the betterment of all of us.

The Rights of Succession.
And when Muhammad (saw) said "Obey those placed in authority over you" he did not mean, as many people misrepresent, "Do not rock the boat". For that was an argument of the Kings before him, and also of the Kings that came after him, that theirs was a GOD given authority.

Nor did he (saw) mean the rule of the Imams, for critically examining “Choose the one who best knows the Qur’an” will cause you to realize it’s specificity as opposed to its generality.

For did not Khalid bin Walid (ra) lead Abu Ubaydullah bin al-Jarrah (ra) whilst they both were in Khalid’s army? Evidently they understood it to mean “Choose the one who best knows the Qur’an” when no designated leader is available or present. Our Imams may be the inheritors of the Prophets in Knowledge, but not of their political authority.

However, Muhammad (saw) did teach us that "The Leader of a People is the one who best serves them."

In the instance of the urgency of a multitude of problems, to have left without specifying a successor in all but extremely vague terms can only mean that Muhammad (saw) wished the people to choose their leader for themselves.

A Great Legacy.
And so by these tokens the people were empowered to appoint leaders unto themselves, on the proviso that those leaders would seek to fulfill Mans obligations to ALLAH t’ala (GOD, Most High) (the fardh of the true religion) and then secondarily fulfill man’s obligation to his fellow man (enact justice), and then to do good to the people.

This most perfect form of social organization found expression in the Medina of our Prophet (saw) where every man and woman, irrespective of social status, was given the right to extend protection to whomsoever they wished on the proviso that those so protected would not seek to harm any other member of Medina. The power to make and declare PEACE traditionally lay with a King, and Muhammad (saw) extended that power of PEACE to every man and woman irrespective. Not for naught is this the religion of PEACE.

And not for naught is Islam known as the true religion of Democracy.

The rule of Enlightened Philosopher Kings as advocated by the Greek Philosophers, or Marcus Aerulius (Roman Emperor), was not for Muhammad (saw). Nor was the rule for any Imam or Religious Leader. Rather for Muhammad (saw) the rule to enact GOD’s way was for those who do good to the people and those who are chosen by them.

Muhammad (saw) must, at the very least, be credited with the creation of an open / vibrant society that took the whole World out of the dark ages. And that empowered every individual with the means to work for our collective betterment, all of us. A truly open and free society.
May ALLAH t’ala reward Muhammad (saw) abundantly, for but for him we would never have believed. I bear witness that there is no god but ALLAH t’ala, and I bear witness that Muhammad (saw) is HIS true Messenger and Prophet, who fulfilled that which he was obliged to fulfill, who delivered the True Message even unto us down through the centuries. Ameen.

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