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Moderate Nation

Moderate Nation

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Published by adhamfaruqmurid
A brief treatise expounding on the Muslim doctrine and the call of moderate Muslims in opposition to extremism in-the-name-of Islam.
A brief treatise expounding on the Muslim doctrine and the call of moderate Muslims in opposition to extremism in-the-name-of Islam.

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Published by: adhamfaruqmurid on Sep 22, 2010
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10/04/2010

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A Moderate Nation
 Bismillahir-Rahman-ir-Rahim“And God has made you a moderate nation”
(2: 143)At a time when “Islam” is widely discussed in the Western media, little is said aboutwhat Muslims consider the most important aspect of their religion, namely their belief inGod. The heart of Islam is
Tawheed 
. The term
Tawheed 
is derived from the trilateralroot W-H-D, which means literally, “one.” Muslims understand Allah (God) to be One— not in the numerical sense, but in the sense that there is One Creator, Who is the onlyCreator, Who alone deserves to be worshipped. This is the meaning of the first half of the Declaration of Faith (
Shahadah
),
 La ilaha illallah
.
1
Also, it is understood regardingthe Oneness of the Creator, that Allah is Indivisible. Not only is the Creator’s Godhoodnot partitioned amongst the creations, the Creator Himself 
2
cannot be partitioned. God isnot a body, for bodies, whether dense bodies, mental bodies, or bodies of an etherealnature are all dependent upon one dimension of space or another for their existence.Allah, being eternal, is not dependent upon anything. Allah existed before anything elsewas. Before there was light, darkness, direction, distance, motion, stillness, or time therewas a Creator. Allah is not a spatial or temporal entity, for Allah exists without being intime, and Allah exists without being in a place. Also from the trilateral root of W-H-D of the word
Tawheed 
, we know that God isabsolutely Unique. Muslims make a complete distinction between the Creator and thecreated. Failing to understand this distinction would cause one to fall into
 shirk 
(polytheism), for the person would attempt to worship God, but in reality would beworshipping a creation. Allah does not resemble the creations--
at all 
--in any regards, andMuslims mean that categorically and absolutely. So unlike the atheists, the Muslimsaffirm the existence of the Creator, and on the other hand, unlike the polytheists, theMuslims do not compare the Creator to the created. Muslims take the position of moderation: we know that God exists—but we do not resemble God to anything.Muslims firmly believe that rationality has a significant role in the Islamic doctrine andour understanding of 
Tawheed 
. The `
aql 
(intellect) is the faculty that God has endowedhuman beings with so they may distinguish truth from falsehood. If we use our naturalintelligence, we realize that this universe could not be self-created, for action requiresexistence. A thing must be to do; hence the non-existent cannot act, much less can thenon-existent assemble and coordinate itself from nothing. Our natural intelligence alsotells us that this universe cannot be eternal (“beginningless”), for that would require aninfinite regression, which is a logical impossibility. From this we can realize the
1
The two Declarations that one would say to enter Islam are:
 La ilaha illallah. Muhammadur-Rasullah
.(In English: “No one is God except Allah. Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.)
2
As should be obvious, Allah is not of a literal gender, for Allah is not a body, much less somethingascribed with a sex. The masculine pronouns used in referenced to Allah are a matter of grammatical usageand not to be understood literally.
 
absurdity of atheism and can conclude the universe is in need of an Eternal One Whooriginated and sustains this world and all that it contains.Muslims use their minds to recognize the existence of the Creator and what necessarilyefits the Creator, such as, Oneness, Omnipotence and Knowledge, and what necessarilydoes
not 
befit the Creator, such as, multiplicity, dependency and ignorance. Nonetheless,we realize the inherent limitations of the mind. For one, our minds cannot fathom theReality of the One Who created us. Our minds process images and other phenomena thatreach us through our senses. The Creator, however, is in no way similar to anything wemay perceive in this world. The Creator is
absolutely
Incomparable; therefore, theCreator cannot be imagined.Also, regarding the intellect’s limitation, Muslims realize that reason does not supersedeDivine Revelation. Our minds, by themselves, cannot penetrate that realm we are boundto enter when we shuffle of these mortal coils. To understand what will benefit us in thistemporary dimension of existence and what lies beyond, human beings are in desperateneed of the Sacred Laws of Divine Revelation for guidance. Although our intellects—if we employ them according the sound laws of thought—will recognize the existence of One, Eternal, Perfect, Incomparable Creator, our intellects cannot know what will be toour ultimate benefit or detriment in the Hereafter. This is the mission of the HolyProphets whom God has sent through the various eras of history to wake us from our slumber and remind us of our duties to our Lord and the fact that we shall be here all but briefly.The scholars of the Sunni Islamic Orthodoxy (
 Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jama`ah
) elaborated asystem of detailed theology derived from the Quran, Hadith (Prophetic Traditions), andthe rational arguments to preserve the integrity of the Islamic creed, protect the Muslimmasses from doubts and confusion, and repudiate and guide those who held hereticaldoctrines. These beliefs were codified in the works of the major Sunni scholars of Doctrine, Abu Mansur Al-Maturidiyy, Abu Hasan Al-Ash`ariyy, their students, and thesuccessive generations of scholars. The virtuous sages, the students of knowledge, andthe lay people followed their methodology for explaining precisely what it is Muslims believe, why they believe it, and what Muslims don’t believe and why they don’t believeit. These great scholars, such as, Abu Ishaq al-Isfarayini, Abu Bakr Al-Baqallaniyy, AbuMansur at-Tamimiyy, Abu Hamid Al-Ghazaliyy, among thousands of other scholarsestablished the positions of the Islamic orthodoxy and their responses to the claims of thegross materialists, the ultra-rationalists, such as, the Mu`tazilah, and the ultra-literalists,such as, the anthropomorphists with the proofs from the Quran and Sunnah, as well as,the compelling rational proofs.Over the centuries, as the Muslim Community became increasingly distant bothtemporally and spiritually from the blessed era of the Prophet Muhammad; apathy settledin; the zeal for learning lagged; obedience to God waned, and sinning and the blind pursuit of worldly distractions desensitized the collective hearts of the MuslimCommunity. With the advent of colonialism, widespread military defeat, and thehumiliation of occupation, the situation further degenerated for Muslims. A growing
 
number of Muslims lost touch with their own intellectual legacy and became enamored by the latest fads in European thought. As a result, many Muslims for severalgenerations became estranged from their own intellectual, theological and spiritualheritage.In this void, especially in the past few decades, has sprung what is deemed by the media,as “political Islam.” Largely influenced by a handful of heretical thinkers, such as,Ahmad Ibn Taymiyyah, Muhammad Ibn `Abdul-Wahhab, Sayyid Qutb, and petroldollars, these political movements, act in ignorance of, if not outright rebellion to, theDivine Commands of the Creator. We witness almost daily in the media the swath of destruction caused by so-called “political Islam”--of unholy “jihads” carried out by thosewho often don’t know how to even determine the times of the five daily prayers. We seean untold level of human misery and carnage caused by their actions. As a result, theSacred Law is profaned by those legitimating anarchy and murder in the name of Islam.But none of this should be surprising when one understands that the incoherent and ultra-literalist reading of 
 select 
Quranic verses and Prophetic Traditions pertaining to SacredLaw is the product of a methodology that advocates an incoherent and ultra-literalistreading of 
 select 
Quranic verses and Prophetic Traditions pertaining to the belief in theCreator.The doctrines, for instance, of the so-called “Salafis/Wahhabis,” make a travesty of theOne, Perfect, Eternal, Incomparable Creator as understood by those following traditionalorthodox Islamic scholarship. Whereas the traditional Sunni belief, as can be found inhundreds of texts on the matters of doctrine, is that Allah is not a spatial or temporal being, and that Allah exists without a being in a location and is not subject to change, theso-called Salafis/Wahhabis pray to a deformed imaginary shadow casting object that theythink is located somewhere over their heads with a literal smiling face, eyes, fingers, tworight hands, one tibia, and a pair of big feet. It is no wonder that people who consider theCreator in such low regard would care little about recognizing the rights of human beings. People who read the Sacred Texts of Islam while failing to employ the faculty of reason and common sense God has granted us are going to be prone to take extrememeasures to defend what is in essence indefensible. Being defeated in the realm of reason, it should surprise us not that these people resort to indiscriminate violence to“persuade” people that they are right. The terrorism we witness today that is committedin the name of Islam is largely rooted in the doctrines of those who failed to uphold the balanced and humane Faith that Prophet Muhammad conveyed.Until we understand that so-called Islamic terrorism is the result of the doctrines of asmall number of thinkers, it cannot be defeated. Terrorism in the name of Islam is notgoing to be successfully countered by treachery, disproportionate brutality, anddestruction by the Western military industrial complex. To the contrary, these policieswill only incite more extremists, who will feel all the more that their nihilistic responsesare justified. Extremism can only be countered by its opposite—which is moderation and balance. And genuine moderation and balance can only be realized with purity of  purpose and the sincere desire to seek the truth about God and submit to God’s SacredCommands.

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