Nothing But God, Consequences, Men and Lov

Issue 1043 » March 22, 2019 - Rajab 15, 1440

Living The Quran

Nothing But God
Al-Qamar (The Moon) Sura 54: Verse 49

"Surely We created everything according to a measure."

"Everything that was, is, and will be is all My creation by My decree and determination, by My desire and will." The decree has been made, the judgment issued, the work completed. It is not your desire that He puts into effect today. It is the beginningless deed that He makes apparent.

For one person the inscription of bounty was written by the beginningless gentleness. He accepted him before his deeds, He responded to him before his supplication, He bestowed upon him before his asking, He gave a robe of honour before his service, and He pardoned him before his sins.

Another person He branded with justice on the first day at the Beginningless Covenant, and He drove him from His threshold. His chastisement was before his disobedience, and His punishment before his sins.

O indigent man! Ask for nothing of Him but Him. Do not serve Him by making a contract. Making a contract is the creed of Iblis. Iblis said, "Now that You have rejected and cursed me and driven me from Your Presence, give me something: Grant me respite till the day they are raised up [7:14]." He gave him all of this world, but He took Himself back from him. When someone is held back from Him, even if he finds everything, he has found nothing. And when someone finds Him, even if he finds nothing, he has found everything.

Compiled From:
"Kashf al-Asrar wa Uddat al-Abrar" - Rashid al-Din Maybudi, p. 487

Understanding The Prophet's Life


Sulaym ibn Jabir al-Hujaymi said: 'I visited the Prophet and he was wrapped in a cloak with its edges over his feet. I said: "Messenger of God, advise me". He said: "Make sure to be God-fearing. Do not scorn any small kindness, not even pouring water out of your bucket into that of someone who needs it, or talking to your brother with a cheerful face. Beware of dragging your lower garment, because it is an act of arrogance which God dislikes. If a man tries to shame you for something he knows about you, do not try to shame him for something you know of him. Let him face the consequences of what he does while you have the reward for it. Do not abuse anything". After this, I never abused anything, neither an animal nor a human being'.

In this hadith, the Prophet refers to dragging one's robe or garment. In fact, this is mentioned in other hadiths and they are authentic, but every time the Prophet mentions this, he points out that it is an aspect of arrogance. Thus, he does not censure it for its own sake, but for the fact that it was in his time and place a mark of arrogance, done by the rich to stress that they were privileged. Some people nowadays make an important issue about the length of one's garment, without referring to any point of arrogance. The fact is that Islam does not disapprove of a particular type of dress, but it lays down principles. Whatever can be associated with arrogance is condemned. When a type of clothing is not so associated, it is acceptable, even if it covers the ankles, as trousers do.

The Prophet also makes it clear that one should not retaliate to an evil action with a similar one. The Prophet tells his interlocutor that he should not shame a person in retaliation for being shamed. Let the other person bear the consequences, and receive God's punishment, while the one accepting the situation with forbearance receives the reward. We also note how the man accepted all the Prophet's advice. He says that he never abused an animal or a human being after this occasion. The Prophet simply told him not to abuse anything and he applied this to animals in addition to humans.

Compiled From:
"Al-Adab al-Mufrad with Full Commentary: A Perfect Code of Manners and Morality" - Adil Salahi


Men and Love

Women and men alike in our culture spend very little time encouraging males to learn to love. Even the women who are pissed off at men, women most of whom are not and maybe never will be feminist, use their anger to avoid being truly committed to helping to create a world where males of all ages can know love. Yet, any time a single male dares to transgress patriarchal boundaries in order to love, the lives of women, men, and children are fundamentally changed for the better.

Every day on our television screens and in our nation's newspapers we are brought news of continued male violence at home and all around the world. When we hear that teenage boys are arming themselves and killing their parents, their peers, or strangers, a sense of alarm permeates our culture. Folks want to have answers. They want to know, Why is this happening? Why so much killing by boy children now, and in this historical moment? Yet no one talks about the role patriarchal notions of manhood play in teaching boys that it is their nature to kill, then teaching them that they can do nothing to change this nature - nothing, that is, that will leave their masculinity intact. As our culture prepares males to embrace war, they must be all the more indoctrinated into patriarchal thinking that tells them that is their nature to kill and to enjoy killing. Bombarded by news about male violence, we hear no news about men and love.

To create loving men, we must love males. Loving maleness is different from praising and rewarding males for living up to sexist-defined notions of male identity. Caring about men because of what they do for us is not the same as loving males for simply being. When we love maleness, we extend our love whether males are performing or not. Performance is different from simply being. In patriarchal culture males are not allowed simply to be who they are and to glory in their unique identity. Their value is always determined by what they do. In an antipatriarchal culture men do not have to prove their value and worth. They know from birth that simply being gives them value, the right to be cherished and loved.

I heard from many men around our nation about early childhood feelings of emotional exuberance, of unrepressed joy, of feeling connected to life and to other people, and then a rupture happened, a disconnect, and that feeling of being loved, of being embraced, was gone. Somehow, the test of manhood, men told me, was the willingness to accept this loss, to not speak it even in private grief. Sadly, tragically, these men in great numbers were remembering a primal moment of heartbreak and heartache: the moment that they were compelled to give up their right to feel, to love, in order to take their place as patriarchal men.

Women have believed that we could save the men in our lives by giving them love, that this love would serve as the cure for all the wounds inflicted by toxic assaults on their emotional systems, by the emotional heart attacks they undergo every day. Women can share in this healing process. We can guide, instruct, observe, share information and skills, but we cannot do for boys and men what they must do for themselves. Our love helps, but it alone does not save boys or men. Ultimately boys and men save themselves when they learn the art of loving.

Compiled From:
"The Will to Change: Men, Masculinity, and Love" - Bell Hooks, pp. 10-16