What Are Our Expectations of Islam? – A Middle Ground Khutbah


[Direct download]

It’s not about having a faith in which one attempts to force revelation to conform to your own thought patterns and constructions but rather it is that you are secure and firm in the truthfulness of what God says, no matter how astonishing it may be to you.

“Allah: I fit into your perspective. You can never fit into my perspective.”

Questions for the Skeptics

فَاستَفتِهِم أَهُم أَشَدُّ خَلقًا أَم مَن خَلَقنا ۚ إِنّا خَلَقناهُم مِن طينٍ لازِبٍ
بَل عَجِبتَ وَيَسخَرونَ
وَإِذا ذُكِّروا لا يَذكُرونَ
وَإِذا رَأَوا آيَةً يَستَسخِرونَ
وَقالوا إِن هٰذا إِلّا سِحرٌ مُبينٌ
أَإِذا مِتنا وَكُنّا تُرابًا وَعِظامًا أَإِنّا لَمَبعوثونَ
أَوَآباؤُنَا الأَوَّلونَ

“So ask them their opinion. Are they harder to create or the other things that We created? In fact, We made their ancestors from sticky clay! But no! You’re amazed at God’s creative power, while they just ridicule it. When they’re reminded, they don’t accept the reminder, and when they see a miracle, they belittle it. Then they say, “This is clearly no more than wizardry. Huh? When we die and become dust and bones, are we really going to be raised up to life again and our ancestors, too?” Qur’an 37: 11-17

Sometimes it’s unsettling or even challenging to hear ridicule. Allah was aware of this in relation to his Prophet and the way the Quraysh ridiculed him:

وَلَقَد نَعلَمُ أَنَّكَ يَضيقُ صَدرُكَ بِما يَقولونَ
فَسَبِّح بِحَمدِ رَبِّكَ وَكُن مِنَ السّاجِدينَ
وَاعبُد رَبَّكَ حَتّىٰ يَأتِيَكَ اليَقينُ

“We know how your heart aches at what they’re saying, but glorify and praise your Lord, be among those who bow down prostrate, and serve your Lord until what is certain comes to you.” Qur’an 15: 97-99

This chapter is from the Late Makkan Period. At this point the Prophet was really feeling worn down; delivering the message and the ridicule that came with being Muslim was starting to take its tole.

Parts of this Book are like a love letter; a consolation. And when you’re in love, even when it’s long distance, any mention, any reminder of the one you love, softens the heart.

The word/verb “dīq” can mean to be, “cramped, confined, anguished, angry, annoyed, dejected, oppressed and even depressed”. Undoubtedly the Prophet felt many if not all of these.

So why does the Qur’an not console our hearts? Why does our relationship with Allah not make us feel better? Perhaps it is not only the frequency with which we read The Book but how we read it. What expectations do we pour into it? That the Quraysh constantly accused the Prophet of being a magician or that the Qur’an was nothing other than a book of magical fables, they fulfilled their disbelief because that’s the only thing they would accept as proof of its truthfulness.

#MiddleGroundPodcast – An Islam Without Boundaries – Is It Still Islam?


[Direct download]

In this episode, I clarifyy some points in my article, The Unrecognizable Islam of Reza Aslan, about the boundaries of belief and asks some important questions for our community to consider.

Sources

1. The Unrecognizable Islam of Reza Aslan.

2. Mu’min and Kafir – Negotiating Shared Space.

3. The Trouble With Muslim Pundits TodayPart 1 and Part 2.

What Is Our Place in Society? – A Middle Ground Khutbah


[Direct download]

Who are the believers? I sometimes wonder if we know more about disbelief than we do belief.

We claim to know what’s wrong with society, but do we know what’s right with it? What does a good society look like? What part or role do we play in that?

If the society is to be good, if the world is to be made a better place, than what is our place in that society? In that world?

Read the rest of the notes here.