Muharram Mubarak or Blessed Month of Muharram
This post will work through my writings on disagreement versus kade.
I explored in the past some writings on Aisha; may Allah be pleased with her. She is one of the spouses of Prophet Muhammad’s, upon him peace and blessings. I titled my article, “Let Aisha speak for Aisha.”
So many people were exploring her thoughts and feelings without researching what she said or expressed, likewise, during the trials that faced the community, after the passing of Prophet Muhammad, upon him peace and blessings.
Everybody spoke for Ali; May God be pleased with him, instead amplify what Ali said or did.
Please reflect on the below:
- The Psychologist’s Fallacy: It’s Wrong to Assume that Your Interpretation Must Be Right
- Let Aisha speak for Aisha
As you explore the above, I would like to share the below:
This is not to discount or refute other Muslims who disagree, but rather, when we do disagree, we must avoid using fallacies to promote our understanding or interpretation of historical events. Unless, Ali or Aisha expressed certain thoughts and feelings, we should reject anyone – telling us how they felt or thought.
I am sharing snapshots, from the book titled, “The Jurisprudence of the Prophetic Biography” by Dr. Ramadan al-Bouti. I found it a very excellent read as it clarifies the disagreements between the companions without using kade or fallacies. I recall reading on the political rivalry between Umar al-Khattab and Khalid ibn Al-Waleed, and Umar and Ali ibn Abu Talib.
- The typical straw man fallacy misleads people by disagreeing and defeating an opponent’s argument through misrepresentation (i.e., “stand up a straw man”) and their refutation (“knock down a straw man”) instead of the opponent’s argument. Many engage in the strawman fallacy, thinking they refuted their opponent’s argument when they engaged in kade or sinful cunning.
- In this case, it is fun to watch them argue and disagree with themselves and declare themselves the winners of their fallacies which they role-played for us. Often, when people use the strawman fallacy, I think of it as they projected their ego as a strawman and had a fight with their ego, then declared themselves the winner. When the one-person dramatic play is done, respond with an applause.
- The companions worked together to aid Prophet Muhammad, upon him peace and blessings. And they continued within that same spirit after he returned to our Lord. They are the gold star families of the Muslim community and should be treated as such. A careful study of the lives of the Prophets can help us appreciate their support of Prophet Muhammad, upon him peace and blessings. No other prophet of God had such a gift of companions who disagreed with each other in the healthy spirit of faith and goodwill.
Clarification, verification, and confirmation
One beauty of the Quran is that humans are taught to think critically and use intelligence. Throughout the Quran, righteous people or the Prophets engage in questions that seek to clarify or verify.
Chapter 55, verse 4 reads: “He has taught him speech (and intelligence).”
Bayyan is the art or skill of making things clear, which requires intelligence and critical thinking. It is also a mark of faith, as we study how disinformation and misinformation spread, leading to sedition or wars.
Each of the rightly guided Caliphs was able to shut down malicious disinformation campaigns, preventing the Divine message from being maligned or undermined. We appreciate this when we read about the past Divine messages and how certain events were made to appear.
For example, the Quran says, the crucifixion was made to appear like that. What does that mean? It means a rumor or disinformation campaign regarding an event took place, and the community’s faith was too weak to clarify, verify, and confirm the event’s truth; hence, the message was maligned. The Quran gives the example of the slander of Aisha. The hypocrites planned this event to discredit the Prophet, yet, God used it to purify and nurture the community to use their intelligence in the face of disinformation campaigns.
One of the descriptions of people with lip service faith is that they are avid listeners of lies.
There is much to say about Ali; may God be pleased with him and his relationship with the other companions. I was very impressed with his handling of the event regarding Uthman; may God be pleased with him.
A wrongdoer spread malicious lies in the name and using the seal of Uthman, which appeared to be an act of treachery against other companions. Ali, whose nobility and faith shined in this event, responded with the following:
Take some time to reflect on this event. Uthman is known for compiling the Quran, preventing the message or its language from being distorted. Imagine if Uthman was discredited with this disinformation campaign, and Muslims were led to believe falsehood about Uthman until the day of judgment as some believe of other prophets? Imagine what would have happened to the Quran as a result. A wave of fitna or sedition after another faced each companion, who immediately shut down attempts to undermine the Divine message. It is easy to read, and it is another reality to live through and face.
Although Ali could not prevent Uthman’s death, he tried his best. However, Ali did prevent Uthman from being discredited as a righteous Caliph and an honest leader. This act helped prevent the Divine message from being distorted. As mentioned in an Instagram post, we cannot prevent trials and tribulations. However, the strength of the companions’ faith and character is something to take time and reflect on for our growth.
What can we learn from this event?
As I am reading on ‘Uthman’s assassination followed by ‘Ali becoming a Caliph, you see throughout this process of gaining clarification and verifying the information. Upon reflection, the primary failure in the disinformation campaigns was the their lack of seeking clarification, verification, and confirmation in the face of fallacies and the inability to get their facts straight, which led to the many insurrections that followed.
I have mentioned that God is All-Knowing and knows how people will process events and accusations that will arise in the future. If Ali, the fourth rightly guided Caliph – believed power belonged to him after Prophet Muhammad, upon him peace and blessings, returned to God – he would have gone to battle against Abu Bakr, Umar, or Uthman. However, he was their leading advisor, not to one but all three. Ali also passionately disagreed with Uthman. Yet, his interactions with Uthman were not kade or sinful cunning. In the aftermath of the murder of Uthman, Ali was chosen by the companions as the next Caliph. You do not need a unanimous vote to become a Caliph. What is essential is, did he receive enough votes from the companions as the next Caliph? Those who disagreed are entitled to their political positions.
Having such honorable and righteous companions is a gift from God to Prophet Muhammad, upon him peace and blessings. The gift of righteous companions was not given to any prophet before him or even to his companions, as the murder of Ali shows. He died as he lived, protecting and supporting the Messenger of God, and the Divine message from distortion, allowing it to reach us for centuries to come. His final words were, “There is no deity worthy of worship, except Allah,” the Muslim declaration of faith.
- Ali defended Uthman to the extent of asking his sons to be on guard at his palace.
- Ali could have used the letter by Marwan, an act of treachery – and just refused to make things clear for the community. However, his response, as mentioned above, cleared Uthman’s name.
- Muʿāwiya refused to give his pledge to Ali, claiming Uthman’s murder.
- As Uthman’s kin, Muʿāwiya had a right to demand justice for Uthman’s murder; however, he did not have the right to be a Caliph.
- Ali opened himself up to arbitration to defuse the brewing tension amongst Muslims regarding Uthman’s murder. He was seeking clarity and reconciliation.
- Muʿāwiya did not trust the process but agreed to it. Kade was used in the arbitration process to promote Muʿāwiya as Caliph. In other words, it was a farce.
- Kade was used to stir the passions of the community against Ali.
- The story of the Caliphate of Ali plays out in similar realities to the stories of the prophets. As he was going to fight Muʿāwiya, and demand he surrender to Ali’s Caliphate, he instead went and fought the Kharijites as they were causing major problems to the teachings of Islam.
- Even though people stood against Ali, while he was facing battles from many corners to undermine his Caliphate, he continued to defend the faith from the Kharijites, who had very poor critical thinking skills, and were causing mayhem in the name of God, and extracted such nonsense as declaring Ali himself a non-Muslim, and later murdered him.
- After Ali’s assassination, Hasan, Ali’s son, was appointed Caliph in Kufa. Hasan’s appointment was challenged by Muʿāwiya, who requested Hasan surrender the Caliphate to him.
- Due to the political unrest amongst Muslims, Hasan engaged in a peace agreement wherein he would accept Muʿāwiya if he would comply with the Quran and sunna; his successor would be appointed by a council (shura); grant safety to the people, and grant Hasan’s supporters amnesty.
- Hasan returned to Kufa and surrendered his control of Iraq after a seven-month reign.
- Although Muʿāwiya accepted the peace treaty terms, he selected his son Yazid as ruler upon his death, instead of allowing a council(shura) to appoint the next successor.
The final chapter of his life refutes the false accusations made by various corners that he believed he should be the rightful Caliph instead of the companions (Abu Bakr, Umar, and Uthman) appointed and Ali supported.
What is our view of Muʿāwiya?
The mainstream Islamic teachings differentiate between disinformation campaigns that promote seditions and insurrections and a rebellion based on reasonable claims for justice. It does not shutdown – dissent based on reasonable demands. The following video explains the view of Muʿāwiya’s rebellion. The murder of Uthman is not a simple matter, it is declaration of war against the state, as we would now view the murder of a head of state. We cannot overlook the psychological, social, and emotional impact such a murder has on fellow Muslims. This act shook the Muslim community. We are emotionally removed from the impact of that time, so it is important to separate Muʿāwiya from the Kharijites and from rebels without a just cause. Dylann Roof is a case in point.
‘Ashura and the martyrdom of Husayn
In 2022, ‘Ashura falls on August 8th. Ashura means tenth. In this case, the tenth of Muharram. It is a day that Muslims fast in gratitude to God for saving Moses, upon him peace and his followers. God split the Red Sea and allowed Moses and his followers to flee.
Even at the very end, Pharaoh didn’t have to enter the seabed. But he deluded himself, believing he had all powers. Intoxicated by his own self-deception, he thought he, too, could part the sea.
But the sea folded back, and the Pharaoh and his soldiers drowned.
The following article explores that final moment: “Sometimes, it seems as though a cruel tyrant will live forever. No matter what evils they do, and how many stand bravely against them, it seems they will never fall. But in the end, God’s justice comes.
When Pharaoh saw his death before his eyes, he cried out to ‘the God of Moses,’ still too arrogant to call God his own Lord. Even now, the Pharaoh wasn’t truly remorseful.”
Yazid was not a righteous ruler and was not chosen by a council (shura).
Before Gandhi or Martin Luther King, al-Hussain led a non-violent revolution against political and religious tyranny.
Imam al-Hussain did not sacrifice innocent civilians for a political cause or power sharing. He refused to compromise his values and faith and refused to accept the new ruler. He fought with courage and sacrificed his life and that of his own family for the elevation of truth.
Yazid’s soldiers refused his conditions and demanded he either falls on his knees and pledge to Yazid or face death. He declined to give his pledge to the new ruler and was Martyred with his family and few followers. Thousands professed to stand by Hussain if he stood up to Yazid. Yet, when the time came, they betrayed him and did not come to show him support. As Magicians who followed the Pharaoh out of compulsion, many pledged their support to Yazid, out of fear, not conviction.
Unlike the Magicians who found the courage to break through the fear and transformed into honorable witnesses by embracing the courage of Moses, upon him peace, Hussain’s supporters disappeared.
This trial and tribulation was their life test. Those that followed God, passed, and those that did not are getting their just dues.
The lesson of martyrdom of Imam Ali and his two sons, Hasan and Hussain is this:
“And say not of those who are slain in the way of Allah: ‘They are dead.’ Nay, they are living, though ye perceive (it) not.”Quran 2:154
However, their murderers are dead and being punished.
A lesson we can take from those who did not show up to defend Hussain, or those who mocked and insulted Moses, upon him peace, after God liberated them from the Pharaoh, is the value and station of the companions of Prophet Muhammad, upon him peace and blessings.
We understand the critical role the companions played, and what would happen to the Prophet, upon him peace and blessings, and the message he carried had they deserted, betrayed, harmed, or insulted him.
And remember, Moses said to his people: “O my people, why do you harm me while you certainly know that I am the messenger of Allah to you?” And when they deviated, Allah caused their hearts to deviate. And Allah does not guide the defiantly disobedient people.Quran 61:5
At an appointed time, our tests will come to an end. And we will be discussed by people after us as we discuss these current-day events.
“We granted not to any man before thee permanent life (here): if then thou shouldst die, would they live permanently? Every soul shall have a taste of death: and We test you by evil and by good by way of trial. to Us must ye return.”Qur’an 21:34-35
Look to the Quran for inspiration, and those who died or were martyred defending it. Pray to God for His Grace and Mercy to see the truth as truth and follow it. And to see falsehood as falsehood, and avoid it.
“Soon will ye remember what I say to you (now), My (own) affair I commit to Allah: for Allah (ever) watches over His Servants.”
Then Allah saved him from (every) ill that they plotted (against him), but the burnt of the Penalty encompassed on all sides the People of Pharaoh.
In front of the Fire will they be brought, morning and evening: And (the sentence will be) on the Day that Judgment will be established: “Cast ye the People of Pharaoh into the severest Penalty!” Behold, they will dispute with each other in the Fire! The weak ones (who followed) will say to those who had been arrogant, “We but followed you: Can ye then take (on yourselves) from us some share of the Fire? Those who had been arrogant will say: “We are all in this (Fire)! Truly, Allah has judged between (his) Servants!”
Those in the Fire will say to the Keepers of Hell: “Pray to your Lord to lighten us the Penalty for a day (at least)!
They will say: “Did there not come to you your messengers with Clear Signs?” They will say, “Yes”. They will reply, “Then pray (as ye like)! But the prayer of those without Faith is nothing but (futile wandering) in (mazes of) error!”
We will, without doubt, help our messengers and those who believe, (both) in this world’s life and on the Day when the Witnesses will stand forth,- The Day when no profit will it be to Wrong-doers to present their excuses, but they will (only) have the Curse and the Home of Misery.
We did aforetime give Moses the (Book of) Guidance, and We gave the book in inheritance to the Children of Israel,- A Guide and a Message to men of Understanding. Patiently, then, persevere: for the Promise of Allah is true: and ask forgiveness for thy fault, and celebrate the Praises of thy Lord in the evening and in the morning.”Quran 40:44-55
Professing love to Moses, upon him peace or Hussain, may God be pleased with him, now is akin to those who professed love to Moses and Hussain then. When the test time comes, will we support the current-day Yazids or Pharaohs, or will we do what we can with the power, voice, and influence we have to support and elevate the truth?
Write your story.
Follow your conscience.
Live your values.
Lesson one: dealing with uncertainty
“If you make demands on Him, you doubt Him. If you seek Him, you are absent from Him. If you seek other-than-Him, you are shameless before Him. If you make demands on other-than-Him, you are distant from Him.”Ibn Ata’illah Iskandari
At times, we face trials that make us wonder – why? When we tell stories that if you do everything right, God will open a way for you, we lose people who are oppressed and are left wondering what did they do wrong.
We might say, pray – Moses and Aaron (Haroon) prayed and victory was open for them. However, John the Baptist and his father, Zakariya prayed, upon them all peace, and they were martyred.
We might say, give charity, did you pray Istikhara (prayer of seeking guidance), etc., and give a list of all the things we should do. Then people wonder, well, these people who have doors open for them – they did not do all these things – and doors are opening for them.
The stories of Umar, Uthman, Ali, Hasan, and Hussein, and countless others, may God be pleased with them all help fix our vision of life and reality. Why didn’t God grant them victory as He granted Moses, upon him peace?
When answering people – we must be mindful of all these stories, and reconcile them together, then answer people with wisdom, instead of pop-pill spirituality.
I learned that Imam Hussein prayed, made istikhara – the prayer of seeking guidance on permissible matters, before he set out to Kufa. He sought advice from knowledgeable people around him, regarding the matter. Some advised him to not go. However, he did his research and prayed hard on what is needed at this moment. Hussein was hoping for something similar to what Prophet Muhammad, upon him peace and blessings found in Medina.
Yet, things fall apart, and the situation looks very grim. Karbala. Some say, it comes from the root word, bala’ which means tribulation. You know you are facing your death. We don’t have God wrapped around our fingers. Yet, there is inspiration in this story for many who are oppressed worldwide.
In the case of Palestine, arbitration and negotiation was tried (Ali), so was peacemaking (Hasan). People are realizing they have two roads before them: ethnic cleansing or show resolve and push invaders back to their boundaries.
We listen to stories of mothers, having amazing hope, finally conceiving a child after years of trying. Then they exert their life to raise their only child and dreaming of holding their children. Then, suddenly, that child is killed. Another story of a family of 4 beautiful children, after spending years raising them, all four are killed in a bombing, etc.,
Those are not our stories to tell and share with others. Rather, we must amplify those stories of faith so others facing similar situations can reconcile their faith.
How many prayed Istikhara, did their research, sought advice and followed it, only to see a trial and tribulation unfold?
You prayed for good things, however, you assumed you knew what was good for you. God answered your prayer by giving you what is good for you, according to His knowledge, not yours. Hence, the question, why does God not answer my prayers, needs to be clarified. You asked God to give you what is good for you, and God answered your prayers. Listen to the video or read the translation for further clarification.
You should pray, give charity, etc., so you can receive the answer to your prayers. This is where the resolve and faith come into the picture. Resolve and faith are good for you.
Lesson two: The first debate of Christianity
The first great debate on Christianity was about the Crucifixion. Similar to the debate amongst Muslims on Ali and Hussain, May God be pleased with them. The lessons for Muslims and Christians is the same. Don’t conjecture and interject your own understanding on the unknown.
We love to point out to Christians that the message regarding the Crucifixion, but fail to take heed, with regards to Ali and Hussain, may God be pleased with them.
The Messengers were carrying a message and the message to humanity must be protected.
I have heard of many lessons from Dr. Umar Faruq Abd-Allah on debates and arguments of faith. Very learned teacher. I encourage you to research his videos on YouTube. A treasure of knowledge.
Say, “I do not know if what you are promised is near or if my Lord will grant for it a [long] period.”
[He is] Knower of the unseen, and He does not disclose His [knowledge of the] unseen to anyone
Except whom He has approved of messengers, and indeed, He sends before each messenger and behind him observers
That he may know that they have conveyed the messages of their Lord; and He has encompassed whatever is with them and has enumerated all things in number.Quran 72:25-28
Instead of adding my reflections on these verses from scholarly commentary, let me share a scholarly work that was written years or decades before I was reflecting on these verses or ideas, and sheds insight on these verses.
According to the Arabic semantics of the verse, God affords His prophet-messengers al-izhar ‘ala-l-ghaib; that is, makes the revealed truths “manifest” to them but also gives them power, as it were, over‘ala, their knowledge (see A 29:98). God imparts His message after this fashion and then carefully protects His prophet-messenger in the act of delivering the message so that His message, His revelation of the great realities of the unseen essential to human salvation, reaches mankind exactly and without distortion or alteration (see T 20:54).
Knowledge as Opposed to Conjecture. Prophetic revelation is man’s only means of gaining explicit and definitive knowledge of the great realities of the unseen that affect his destiny. The Qur’an repeatedly contrasts such definitive, revealed knowledge(‘ilm) with the surmise and conjecture (zann) of human beings who speculate about the unseen without the benefit of revealed knowledge. Such verses emphasize that mere conjecture (zann) about the unseen can never constitute a valid basis for religious belief and practice. Traditional Islamic theologians, on the basis of this position, articulated the corollary that the only essential items of Islamic doctrine are those set forth unequivocally and definitively with the revealed textual sources of Islam: the absolute Oneness of God, the physical resurrection of the dead, the existence of angels, the reality of the hereafter, and so forth. Other articles of faith—particularly those containing ambiguities of textual references, etc.—cannot be made central to Islamic doctrine, even if they are deemed to be generally correct. Consequently, all Muslims must accept the “definitively demonstrable”(qat’i) articles of faith, categorically set forth within the Qur’an and the sunna, but a Muslim’s faith may not be termed unacceptable for differing on the interpretation of a teaching whose textual sources afford, semantically and otherwise, a plurality of legitimate interpretations—as long as the interpretation he follows is among those which can be supported by one of these interpretations.Umar F. Abd-Allah, The Perceptible and the Unseen: The Qur’anic Conception of Man’s Relationship to God and Realities Beyond Human Perception
It is an excellent read and raises some exceptional points. Although, I was working on my piece before I came across his article in 2016, I was very humbled by this article. Not to mention, his analysis is much more brilliant.
|Fadwa Wazwaz | Fəd-wə Wəz-wəz is a Palestinian-American born in Jerusalem, Palestine and raised in the US. Currently, she lives in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota. She is an author of God Intervenes Between A Person And Their Heart: Key Lessons From The Prophets.|