Wrath, Teeth Cleaning, Religious Authority

Issue 987 » February 23, 2018 - Jumada al-Thani 7, 1439

Living The Quran

Al-Baqara (The Cow) Sura 2: Verse 90 (partial)

"Thus they have drawn on themselves Wrath upon Wrath, and a humiliating chastisement is the punishment of those who reject Faith."

One of the literal meanings of al-Ghadab is hardness. Hence a hard rock is called ghadabah and a deadly poisonous snake is called Ghadub. The other meaning is to be angry or enraged, thus, anger is called Ghadab and an angry person is referred to as Ghadban. Ghadab is a relative state and varies, for example, the hardness of a rock, the poison of a snake and the anger of a human being differ in their manifestations, but all possess a sinister quality. Allah is above the feelings and sensations that we experience; thus, we cannot really comprehend the quality of His Anger.

The word Ghadab signifies anger, displeasure and wrath. Those who incur Allah's Wrath are those who are deprived of His Favours and receive punishment. The causes that incur Allah's Wrath are deviations from the Path of Righteousness, after receiving Divine Guidance and favours, and people following their own base desires. It is important to know why this disease afflicts and prevents people from following the Way of Truth. One factor is their own inclinations, desires and self-interest and the other is the corrupt environment that surrounds them. These disrupt their relation with Divine Guidance, and thus they follow their own whims and desires. All corruption and deviation in din start from these diseases.

Compiled From:
"Treasures of the Qur'an: Surah al-Fatihah to Surah al-Mai'dah" - Abdur Rashid Siddiqui

Understanding The Prophet's Life

Teeth Cleaning

"Cleanse your teeth with miswak. For, it is a purification for the teeth and a means of seeking God's pleasure. Gabriel recommended that I use the miswak every time he came. So much so that I began to fear that it would become obligatory for my umma. If I had not thought it hard for my followers or the people, I would have ordered them to clean their teeth with miswak for every prayer. I use miswak so relentlessly that it seems as if my teeth (or my gum) will be scraped off." [Ibn Majah]

This hadith, reported by forty different people, clearly shows that miswak is a Sunna of God's Messenger (peace be upon him) and has many benefits. So this Prophetic practice should be followed by believers. Using miswak is important as a preventive measure and will continue to be so in the future. In another hadith he says, "Surely your mouths are ways for the Quran. Clean them with miswak" [Bukhari].

Although the word miswak is used in the Prophet's sayings, it is clear that the main point that is stressed is the cleansing of the teeth. This can be done in any way, rubbing with fingers, using a toothbrush, or dental floss. On the other hand, the importance of miswak lies in the fact that it contains fluorine, which is useful for teeth health. Studies about miswak have shown that some enzymes excreted by the essence of miswak are protective against germs, that it protects teeth enamel, feeds the gums, and that it is also useful for the stomach because of its sweet smell. Certainly, if cleansing the mouth is done with God's good pleasure in mind, the importance of religious rules for our daily life will be better understood. In any case, believers should brush their teeth with miswak or toothbrush whenever they perform ablution for the prayers.

Compiled From:
"Cleanliness In Islam (Islam in Practice)" - Remzi Kuscular


Religious Authority

The highly politicized nature of the role of the "Islamic tradition" is rooted in a post-colonial historical and social context. Many Muslim scholars see the colonial experience and loss of empire as a punishment for Muslims. Muslims lost God's favour because they had gone astray, neglecting their religious duties. Some Muslim scholars have called for a return to a pre-colonial Islam in order to reconnect with God and to restore the glory of Muslims past by reclaiming their political sovereignty. As the myth of an uncorrupted, pristine pre-colonial past began to emerge, the "Islamic tradition"—which came to mean the legal and exegetical disciplines—took on an overblown authoritative status. The details of the Islamic tradition that scholars spoke of and continue to speak of are necessarily hazy and unfocused. The authority of this tradition is disconnected from its content. The myth of a pure Islamic tradition projects back expectations of what post-colonial scholars hope for from the Islamic tradition; it is not about actually adhering to this tradition. In this context, authority in Muslim communities is often granted to those whose voices seem rooted in the "Islamic tradition."

Meanwhile, scholars who offer new and innovative religious approaches lose religious authority on two counts: by cutting themselves off from the authoritative tradition and by appearing to be influenced by modernity, which is Western and therefore presumptively colonial. For a large portion of the Muslim world, the traumatic experience of colonialism and loss of empire after a glorious history of global expansion and leadership coincided with their encounter with modernity and enlightenment. Modern ideals and ideas thus came to represent the degrading and humiliating experience of colonialism. Moreover, since colonialists disingenuously justified their economic, political, and military conquests through the language of women's emancipation, feminism is often viewed by Muslims as part of a dangerous colonialist or neo-colonialist agenda. In this political context, calls for feminism and gender-egalitarianism can be tantamount to betraying one's community and collaborating with colonialists.

Compiled From:
"Domestic Violence and the Islamic Tradition" - Ayesha S. Chaudhry