Islam: An Informed Decision

First Khutbah – Main Points

طه ما أنزلنا عليك القرآن لتشقى
إلا تذكرة لمن يخشى
تنزيلا ممن خلق الأرض والسموت العلى
الرحمن على العرش استوى
له ما في السموت وما في الأرض وما بينهما وما تحت الثرى
و إن تجهر بالقول فإنه يعلم السر وأخفى

“Ta Ha – We did not send down the Qur’an upon you so that you would be miserable, but such that it would be a reminder for whomever has fear and awe; a revelation from the One who created the Earth and the Heavens on high; the Most Merciful, upon the Throne, firmly established. To Him belongs the Heavens and the Earth and all that is between them and what lay underneath. Though you speak out loud, He knows what is secret and even more concealed.” [Q: 20:1-8]

Many Muslims are feeling miserable these days because of all the hype and attention Islam is getting in the news and in the public discourse. Qutadah relates in Ibn Abi Hātim’s tafsir:

لا ولله ما جعله الله شقيا ولكن جعله الله رحمة ونورا و دليلا إلى الجنة

“No!, by God I swear that God did not make him miserable, but instead God made him a mercy, a light, and a proof for Paradise!” [Tafsir Ibn Abi Hatim]

The importance of choice in the Qur’an: Why and how we make choices.

The choice of what we decide to do; the choices God wants us to make [Shari’ah/Iradah Kawniyyah/Shar’iyyah]:

How we see the importance of making choices through the language of the Qur’an:

Positive choices elicits God’s favor:

ثم كان من الذين ءامنوا وتواصوا بالصبر و تواصوا بالمرحمة ألئك أصحاب الميمنة

“Then he will be amongst those who have faith and command/determine by will with perseverance and and mercy – they are the companions of the Right-Hand Way .”
[Q: 90:17-18]

Negative choice elicits God’s displeasure:

قل كفى بالله بيني وبينكم شهيدا – يعلم ما في السموت والأرض – والذين ءامنوا بالباطل و كفروا بالله ألئك هم الخاسرون

“Say: ‘Sufficient is God for me as a witness between us. He knows what is in the Heavens and the Earth. As for those who believe in falsehood and show ingratitude towards God, they are at a severe loss’.” [Q: 29:52]

و إذا قيل لهم اركعوا لا يركعون – ويل يومئذ للمكذبين – فبأي حديث بعده يومنون

“And when it is said to them, ‘bow’, they do not bow. On that day, Woe to the deniers! In what discourse after this will they achieve faith?” [Q: 77:48-50]

الذي خلق الموت والحياة لنبلوآم أحسن عملا

“We created death and life to test which of you is best in deeds.” [Q: 67:2]

Second Khutbah – Main Points

To demonstrate the difference between these two applications of literalism, take a series of commands, open the window, fetch a fan, turn off the lights, and pour a glass of water. One can separate these commands, interpret them literally, and stop at that. Or one can combine them and interpret them literally, in which case they might generate a cumulative meaning to the effect that, “It’s hot!” On this understanding, it would be proper to do anything that could effectively counter the heat (for example, buy an air-conditioner) and to do nothing that might increase the heat(for example, turn on the oven). In neither case, however, does the status of these ancillary actions depend on any explicit command or prohibition … It, in other words, possibilities [are] opened up by figurative interpretation, that allows (or perhaps even compels) us to go beyond these commands.

Muslims have become defensive and reactive.

Islamic history; the “High Ground”; military strategy; defensive mind set; can’t get to what we need to get at.

God asks us to make the ascent!

فلا اقتحم العقبة

“By he [man] has not made the ascent!’” [Q: 90:11]

وما أدراك ما العقبة
فك رقبة
أو اطعام في يوم ذي مسغبة
يتيما ذا مقربة
أو مسكينا ذا متربة

“But he [man] has not made the ascent!’” [Q: 90:13-16]

Let’s not get too caught up in the dominant hype and forget about those who have come out in support of us and do the responsible thing, make choices and act responsibly based on the hidayah that God has given us through his Holy Prophet [s].

Dr. Sherman Jackson’s article, Literalism, Empiricism, and Induction [PDF].

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