Fire of Love, Charity without Money, Birth of The Kingdom

Issue 1030 » December 21, 2018 - Rabi al-Thani 14, 1440

Living The Quran

Fire of Love
Ta Ha (Ta Ha) - Chapter 20: Verses 9-10

"And has the story of Moses reached you? When he saw a fire and said to his family, 'Stay here; indeed, I have perceived a fire; perhaps I can bring you a torch or find at the fire some guidance.'"

Fire is a mark of munificence and a proof of generosity. The Arabs would light up a fire to bring guests. But no one has ever found a banquet through a fire like Moses, and no one has seen a host from a fire like God. Moses was seeking a fire to light up a tent. He found a fire that burns spirit and heart. All fires burn the body, but the fire of friendship burns the spirit. No one can be patient with a spirit-burning fire.

Fires are of different sorts: the fire of shame, the fire of yearning, the fire of love. The fire of shame burns away dispersion, the fire of yearning burns away patience, and the fire of love burns away the two worlds such that nothing remains but the Real. The evidence of having found friendship is that the two worlds are burned away. The mark of the realizer is that he does not attend to anything other than the Real. The mark of nonbeing is to reach oneself. When rain reaches the ocean, it has reached it. He who reaches the Patron reaches himself.

Compiled From:
"Kashf al-Asrar wa Uddat al-Abrar" - Rashid al-Din Maybudi. p. 312

Understanding The Prophet's Life

Charity without Money

The word 'charity' is too limited as a translation of the Islamic term sadaqah, because the latter combines all the full meaning of charity and kindness to others with connotations of 'truth, right, etc.' The term is derived from the root sidq which means truth. In its Islamic usage, sadaqah retains the connotations of its root. This is the reason the Prophet says 'Sadaqah is a proof'.[Muslim] What he alludes to in this hadith is that it proves a person's claim of belonging to his community by being charitable and kind to others.

The Prophet was keen to ensure his companions understand the full extent of charity, or sadaqah, in its broad Islamic perspective. Therefore, he pointed out on many occasions the different forms of kindness that count as a charity.

Abu Dharr said quoting the Prophet: 'To pour water out of your bucket into your brother's is a sadaqah; to enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong is a sadaqah; to meet your brother with a smile on your face is a sadaqah; to remove a stone, thorn or bone from people's passage is credited to you as a sadaqah; and to guide a person in an area where he fears to be lost is a sadaqah'. [Bukhari]

When we look at these five aspects of charity, none of which involves money, we note that some of them are very simple, while others are of far-reaching effect. The combination serves to highlight the Islamic concept that every good action, no matter how small, is a kindness that earns God's reward.

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


Birth of The Kingdom

The facts of the alliance between Ibn Saud and Abd al-Wahhab have given way to legend. The two men first met as Abd al-Wahhab and his disciples were tearing through the Arabian Peninsula, demolishing tombs, cutting down sacred trees, and massacring any Muslim who did not accept their uncompromisingly puritanical vision of Islam. After being expelled from an oasis where they had received shelter (the horrified villagers demanded that Abd al-Wahhab leave after he publicly stoned a woman to death), they made their way toward the oasis of Dariyah and its Shaykh, Muhammad ibn Saud, who was more than happy to give Abd al-Wahhab and his holy warriors his unconditional protection.

"This oasis is yours," Ibn Saud promised; "do not fear your enemies."

Abd al-Wahhab replied with an unusual demand. "I want you to grant me an oath," he said, "that you will perform jihad against the unbelievers [non-Wahhabi Muslims]. In return you will be leader of the Muslim community, and I will be leader in religious matters."

Ibn Saud agreed, and an alliance was formed that would not only alter the course of Islamic history, it would change the geopolitical balance of the world. Abd al-Wahhab's holy warriors burst into the Hijaz, conquering Mecca and Medina and expelling the Sharif. Once established in the holy cities, they set about destroying the tombs of the Prophet and his Companions, including those pilgrimage sites that marked the birthplace of Muhammad and his family. They sacked the treasury of the Prophet's Mosque in Medina and set fire to every book they could find, save the Quran. They banned music and flowers from the sacred cities and outlawed the smoking of tobacco and the drinking of coffee. Under penalty of death, they forced the men to grow beards and the women to be veiled and secluded.

The Wahhabis purposely connected their movement with the first extremists in the Muslim world, the Kharijites, and like their fanatical predecessors, they focused their wrath inward against what they considered to be the failings of the Muslim community. Thus, with the Hijaz firmly under their control, they marched north to spread their message to the Sufi and Shiite infidels. In 1802, on the holy day of Ashura, they scaled the walls of Karbala and massacred two thousand Shiite worshippers as they celebrated Muharram. In an uncontrolled rage, they smashed the tombs of Ali, Husayn, and the Imams, giving particular vent to their anger at the tomb of the Prophet's daughter, Fatima. With Karbala sacked, the Wahhabis turned north toward Mesopotamia and the heart of the Ottoman Empire. Only then did they get the attention of the Caliph.

In 1818, the Egyptian khedive, Muhammad Ali (1769-1849), at the behest of the Ottoman Caliph, sent a massive contingent of heavily armed soldiers into the Peninsula. The Egyptian army easily overwhelmed the ill-equipped and poorly trained Wahhabis. Mecca and Medina were once again placed under the care of the Sharif and the Wahhabists forcefully sent back into the Najd. By the time the Egyptian troops withdrew, the Saudis had learned a valuable lesson: they could not take on the Ottoman Empire on their own. They needed a far stronger alliance than the one they had with the Wahhabis.

The opportunity to form just such an alliance presented itself with the Anglo-Saudi Treaty in 1915. The British, who were eager to control the Persian Gulf, encouraged the Saudis to recapture the Arabian Peninsula from Ottoman control. To assist them in their rebellion, the British provided regular shipments of weapons and money. Under the command of Ibn Saud's heir Abd al-Aziz (1880-1953), the plan worked. At the close of the First World War, when the Ottoman Empire had been dismantled and the Caliphate abolished, ibn Saud reconquered Mecca and Medina and once again expelled the Sharif. After publicly executing forty thousand men and reimposing Wahhabism over the entire population, Abd al-Aziz ibn Saud renamed the Arabian Peninsula "the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia." The primitive tribe of the Najd and their fundamentalist allies had become the Wardens of the Sanctuary, the Keepers of the Keys.

Almost immediately, the sacred land where Muhammad had received the gift of revelation miraculously burst forth with another gift from God—oil—giving the tiny Saudi clan sudden dominion over the world's economy. They now felt it was up to them to respond to this blessing from God by spreading their puritanical doctrine to the rest of the world and purging the Muslim faith once and for all of its religious and ethnic diversity.

Compiled From:
"No god But God" - Reza Aslan, pp. 244, 245