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


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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.

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

  1. whiskeyraider@outlook.com'Abu Ibrahim

    Assalamo Alaikum…

    So why does the Qur’an not console our hearts? Why does our relationship with Allah not make us feel better?

    These might have been rhetorical questions but I have pondered about them and here are my questions: How can I love someone who gives me pain?

    I am fine being his slave and Him being my master. I will do everything to obey his command just so that I can save my skin, but, but I cannot bring myself to love him. I will obey Him because He has incredible power to inflict pain and misery upon me.

    How can I love someone who ignores the suffering of the people who had no choice as to who would be their ruler. The people who are suffering are blamed for not being religious enough, but the structure that put the ruler in his place was implemented and strengthened long before they were even born.

    How can I love someone who will put 999 of every 1000 human being that was ever born in hellfire.

    To obey Him… yes I can do that, but with love, that I have a hard time doing…

  2. Marc

    Wa ‘alaykum Salaam Abu Ibrahim. I’ll try and respond to a few of your responses.

    1. “why does the Qur’an not console our hearts? Why does our relationship with Allah not make us feel better?” For one, you presume that Allah does not console anyone’s heart because apparently your heart is not consoled. Likewise, you impugn everyone’s relationship with Allah because yours is apparently lacking. In short, only you can plum the depths of why your heart is not consoled or why your relationship with Allah does not make you feel better. I for one share the almost exact opposite of your claims as do innumerable other Muslims. In short, only you have the answers to that. You must investigate it. What you are doing here is projecting your personal experiences as a universal. We all do it in someways but it’s important to remember that our individual, subjective, experiences are not the same as universal truth-claims.

    2. “How can I love someone who gives me pain?” Again, you have another presumption: that because one receives pain from someone you love, you are then incapable of loving that person. My question and comments would be: is your relationship with that person (husband, wife, God, etc.) completely axiomatic around pain? In other words, is pain the only thing you get from that person. If you feel that pain is the only thing you get from God … well, again, looks like you’ve got something for you to sort out. In my own subjective experience, I received pain and so much more from those I love: intentionally and otherwise. This goes back to the central question I ask in the khutbah: “What are your expectations of Islam/God?” If your expectation is that you will not feel pain from God (which is another way of saying that God should not cause pain), then you have not understood what God Himself has said in the Qur’an in multiple location that “No catastrophe can ever happen except with God’s permission”. In summary, it seems that you have an expectation (not based on God’s word) that God should not cause us pain.

    3. “I am fine being his slave and Him being my master. I will do everything to obey his command just so that I can save my skin, but, but I cannot bring myself to love him.” One aspect of faith is introspection and considering one’s station with God. In other words, being honest about one’s station and practice. In Surah Maryam Allah says,

    “And He’ll bestow His love upon those who believe and did what was morally right.” Qur’an 19: 96

    إِنَّ الَّذينَ آمَنوا وَعَمِلُوا الصّالِحاتِ سَيَجعَلُ لَهُمُ الرَّحمٰنُ وُدًّا

    What I’m saying here is you need to also investigate and consider if your predicament is due to things you’ve done, feelings you’ve harbored, or something else akin to this. The other possibility is perhaps something of a mental health nature, such as depression or the like. Again, this would require your investigation.

  3. hashfunction@hotmail.com'Mufti Bro

    “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.”

    Amen.

    To add, we should also be humble in our OPINIONS and the opinions of those scholars before us instead of being arrogant that there is only one right way for we all know the early scholars of Islam held many differing views and indeed even debated them publicly. This strict ‘this way or highway’ view of various rituals in Islam is a completely modern phenomena!

    And Allah knows best!

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