To Know One, Varied Supplications, Class Struggle

Issue 1049 » May 3, 2019 - Shaban 28, 1440

Living The Quran

To Know One
Al-Kafirun (The Unbelievers) Sura 109: Verse 1

Say: "O unbelievers!"

Abdallah Ibn Abbas said that no surah is more difficult and harsher for Satan than this surah, because it is sheer tawhid and disavowal of associationism.

Tawhid is of two sorts: the tawhid of attestation and the tawhid of recognition. The tawhid of attestation is to say one, and the tawhid of recognition is to know one.

"To say one" is to bear witness to God's oneness and purity in Essence and attributes. In Essence, He is pure of spouse, child, and partner, and in attributes, He is pure of similar, equal, and pointer. His attributes are not intelligible, their "how" is not understood, comprehended, or limited. They are outside of imagination and understanding, and no one knows how they are.

"To know one" is to know that He is one in blessings and bounties, that the giver and bestower is He, and that He is one in apportioning and beneficence. It is He who is one in word and deed, He who is one in bounty and gentleness, He who is one in mercy and favour. He is one—gratitude and favours belong to no one but Him. No one has power and strength but He, and no one has withholding and bestowal but He.

When the rays of the sun of tawhid shine on the faithful, tawhid-voicing servant, his mark is that he is watchful over his rest and his movement. He does not take one breath without the permission of the Shariah.

Compiled From:
"Kashf al-Asrar wa Uddat al-Abrar" - Rashid al-Din Maybudi, p. 556

Understanding The Prophet's Life

Varied Supplications

Ibn Umar said: 'God's Messenger used always to say the following words, morning and evening: "My Lord, I pray to You for wellbeing in this life and in the life to come. My Lord, I pray to You for forgiveness and wellbeing in my faith and my life, with my family and in my property. My Lord, cover my defects and give me reassurance in time of fear. Grant me protection, my Lord, from the front and the rear, from the right and the left, and from above. I seek shelter with You against any evil that may overwhelm me from under me". [Bukhari]

In this supplication, the Prophet (peace be upon him) is appealing to God for wellbeing in all situations and all aspects of one's life. This is clear at the beginning where wellbeing in faith, which means having only sound beliefs and following the Divine guidance in worship and other practices, is stressed ahead of safety in life which indicates physical and psychological health. The Prophet also teaches us to pray for the wellbeing of one's family and property. This prayer addresses practically all the main concerns of everyone. Having sound faith, feeling healthy, and taking proper care of family and property are the total sum of what everyone would like to have at any moment in time.

But the Prophet's supplication also addresses what may unexpectedly happen. To start with he prays for the covering of his defects and to be granted reassurance in time of fear. Needless to say, the Prophet had no defect in character, action or feelings towards others. He never entertained any feeling of hatred. He loved all people and cared for them. Even those who opposed him and did him much harm would have enjoyed his love had they, at any time, acknowledged the truth of his message and believed in God.

As a human being, the Prophet experienced times of fear, but he always placed his trust in God, and prayed to Him for wellbeing, safety and security. Hence, in this supplication, he prays for reassurance in times of fear, and for God's protection all around. He expresses this in a very tangible way, since human beings have to think within their limited world. Besides, his supplication is meant as guidance for us so that we know how to pray to God for our own protection from all evil. We cannot do better than follow the Prophet's example and repeat his supplication.

The Prophet varied his supplication, using different formulae so that his supplication did not become too stereotyped. Moreover, the variation meant that different people heard different prayers and supplications, and reported them. We have, as a result, a good variety, and whatever we learn is sufficient as such supplication is recommended, not obligatory.

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


Class Struggle

Class difference and the way in which it divides women was an issue women in feminist movement talked about long before race. In the mostly white circles of a newly formed women's liberation movement the most glaring separation between women was that of class. White working-class women recognized that class hierarchies were present in the movement. Conflict arose between the reformist vision of women's liberation which basically demanded equal rights for women within the existing class structure, and more radical and/ or revolutionary models, which called for fundamental change in the existing structure so that models of mutuality and equality could replace the old paradigms. However, as feminist movement progressed and privileged groups of well-educated white women began to achieve equal access to class power with their male counterparts, feminist class struggle was no longer deemed important.

When women acquired greater class status and power without conducting themselves differently from males feminist politics were undermined. Lots of women felt betrayed. Middle-and lower-middle-class women who were suddenly compelled by the ethos of feminism to enter the workforce did not feel liberated once they faced the hard truth that working outside the home did not mean work in the home would be equally shared with male partners. No-fault divorce proved to be more economically beneficial to men than women. As many black women/women of color saw white women from privileged classes benefiting economically more than other groups from reformist feminist gains, from gender being tacked on to racial affirmative action, it simply reaffirmed their fear that feminism was really about increasing white power. The most profound betrayal of feminist issues has been the lack of mass-based feminist protest challenging the government's assault on single mothers and the dismantling of the welfare system. Privileged women, many of whom call themselves feminists, have simply turned away from the "feminization of poverty."

The only genuine hope of feminist liberation lies with a vision of social change which challenges class elitism. Western women have gained class power and greater gender inequality because a global white supremacist patriarchy enslaves and/or subordinates masses of third-world women. In this country the combined forces of a booming prison industry and workfare-oriented welfare in conjunction with conservative immigration policy create and condone the conditions for indentured slavery. Ending welfare will create a new underclass of women and children to be abused and exploited by the existing structures of domination.

When women with class power opportunistically use a feminist platform while undermining feminist politics that help keep in place a patriarchal system that will ultimately re-subordinate them, they do not just betray feminism; they betray themselves. Returning to a discussion of class, feminist women and men will restore the conditions needed for solidarity. We will then be better able to envision a world where resources are shared and opportunities for personal growth abound for everyone irrespective of their class.

Compiled From:
"Feminism is For Everybody" - Bell Hooks, pp. 37-43