The Dull Knife

The most dangerous knife in the kitchen is the dull knife. It’s unreliable and when you least expect it, it cuts you. When you most need it, it slips.I have noticed a growing tendency amongst our communtiy that we are no longer people of extended thought — knowledge you might say — but instead have become people of narrative. I do not say this as a snide remark but I say this with also indicting myself. Narrative is important but without foundational knowledge, we’ll have nothing other than shifting sand to plant the flag of our narrative in.

Everyone’s busy. That’s what I hear. That’s the excuse I’m given. But I also hear, “Shaykh, I want to learn Arabic!” (without showing up to the Arabic class) ; “Imam, how did you learn your Arabic?” (I spent many many long hours sacrificing play time to do thousands upon thousands of drills, etc.). The list goes on and on. And instead of providing opportunities for learning, I believe the last generation of institutions and their scholars/imams/etc., have largely indulged the phenomenon I call Islamotainment. Our gatherings, if we have them at all, tend to range from “chop-it-up” sessions to superficial demonstrations of knowledge that are more about their “wow” factor versus anything transformative. So what can we do?

Continue reading “The Dull Knife”

Knowledge and Salvation in Islam

إن الحمد لله نحمده ونستعينه و نستغفروه و فيه نتوآل، و نعوذ به من شرور أنفسنا و سيئات
فمن يهده الله فلا مضل له، و من يضلله فلا هادي له،
و نشهد أن لا إله إلا الله، وحده لا شريك له، رب الأرباب و مسبب الأسباب، فاطر السموات
السبع، خالق آل شيئ،
و نشهد أن محمدا، النبي الأمي، عبده و رسوله، خطم الأنبياء و أشرف المرسلين، صلى الله
عليه و على آله و أزواجه و أصحابه و أنصاره و ذرياته و سلم. إن الله و ملائكته يصلون على
النبي، يا أيها الذين ءامنوا صلوا عليه و سلموا تسليما، و بعد

Verily all praise belongs to God ‐ thus we praise Him, seek His aid, repent our sins to Him and in Him do we place our trust. We seek protection in Him from the evil whisperings of our own souls as well as from
blameworthy actions and deeds.

For the one God has chosen to guide, there is no misguider for him. And as for one whom God has
misguided, there is no guidance. And we bear testimony that there is no god but God, Allah, One is He,
with no partner, Lord of lords, Causer of all causes, the Fashioner of the Seven Heavens, Creator of all
that is. We also bear witness that Muhammad, the Unlettered Prophet, is His slave and messenger, Seal
of the Prophets and most noble of the Messengers. May God send peace and blessings upon him, his
family, his wives, his companions, his helpers, and his progeny. Surely God and His Angels send blessings
upon the Prophet therefore O’ you who believe!, send prayers and blessings upon him abundantly.

Dear respected brothers and sisters in Islam, I greet you today with the greeting of Paradise,
“as‐Salaamu ‘alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakaatuhu”.

First Khutbah – Main Points

In today’s world, where the Sacred is hardly ever mentioned in the public space, people have lost any
connection or notion of knowledge either being sacred, or in the case of Muslims, leading to the Sacred,
as one of Allah’s Beautiful Ninety‐nine names is al‐Qudduws [The Holy]. This detachment from knowledge being
sacred has caused the modern world to suffer from a number of maladies, from schizophrenia to
megalomania. With the first, we see its symptoms everywhere: emotionally stunted; social isolation
[we have to resort to online “social networking” web sites to know one another]; disorganized speech,
in which much is connoted [ دلالة – “care”, “standard of living”, “welfare”] yet very little is denoted
[ إشارة] – welfare for who? What does a ‘standard of living’ look like? What type of care and for who?],
and disorganized behavior [one can even say in the absence of man’s recognition of tawhīd, he
becomes both more fractured socially, where all attempts to repair such fractures aim to make tawhīd
by his own hands]. In summary, this state can be described as the simultaneity of contradictory and/or
incompatible elements. Continue reading “Knowledge and Salvation in Islam”