The stories of the Muslim prophets are generally used for legalistic purposes, either to support Muslims or to tear them down. I would like us to take a step back from these dos and don’ts and to see the Muslim prophets as benchmarks or a mirror devoid of imperfection that can help us human beings see our various imperfections and reflect on our human struggles, to see and question afresh.
I have begun writing the following books, and have many sections about the lives of the prophets and how their stories connect to the contemporary world. I hope to make the prophets relatable to the readers by sharing stories of how they embraced and faced their all-too-human struggles.
In this project, it’s important for us to connect all our wounds together: The wounds of the prophets; the wounds of the Native Americans; the wounds of slavery, Jim Crow, and racism; the wounds of the disabled; the wounds of domestic violence. We have to recognize and seek out the wounds in our society, both as the oppressed and as the privileged, and sometimes as both. The prophets’ stories can help us see into this complex landscape, and help us see how coexistence, too, is a shared, universal experience.
I hope to open the book with the anger of the oppressed and blend it into the stories of Adam and Satan, as the story of humanity begins with repentance and self-criticism, a state that doesn’t have to feel harsh or depressing, but instead can feel comfortable and wholly human. I want to expand on how the prophets expressed and embraced their vulnerability, powerlessness, dire need, pain, and suffering.
The questions of love and projection, truth and wisdom, power and oppression are not just stories from the Torah, Bible, or Qur’an: They are things that each one of us struggles to understand. By being able to connect to the shared cultural history, and the shared stories of these prophets, we can connect to each other.
The stories of the prophets are connective tissue, and the prophets are connective figures, helping connect Muslims with themselves, Muslims with each other, and Muslims with other groups.
Two books were written with this theme.
The first book is titled: God Intervenes Between A Person And Their Heart: Key Lessons from the Prophets, published on May 23, 2020.
You can purchase it on major retailers. Here is a listing on Goodreads. A review of the book is appreciated either in email or the retailer site.
The second book will be published, God-willing by the end of the Ramadan 2022. It is titled: Love is Deeper Than Words: Key Lessons from the Prophets
Some scholars mention two extremes that cause people to go astray: justice and love. And there is a spectrum in between the extremes. Hence, in reading Al Fatiha, we seek protection and guidance from both extremes.
Show us the straight way, The way of those on whom Thou hast bestowed Thy Grace, those whose (portion) is not wrath, and who go not astray.Quran 1:6-7
The first book discusses the spirit of the law with respect to justice and the second book discusses the spirit of love. I do not touch on what is permissible and what is impermissible since such knowledge is in the domain of jurists and scholars, who are qualified to speak on such matters.
I listen and respect many teachers of various schools of thought, however, I relied heavily on the teachings of Mohammed Said Ramadan Al-Buti and Imam Muhammad Metwally Al Shaarawy in gathering my ideas.
From a lesson by Dr. Ramadan al-Buti:
Love is a powerful force, such that whatever a person loves enslaves and drives them. God wants us to love Him more than anything else. This isn’t because He needs our love, but rather because God loves us.
God is Al Ghani. He is free of want and need.
If all humanity lovingly worshipped God, this would not benefit Him in the least. And all of humanity choosing disobedience would not bring Him the smallest harm.
He wants us to love Him more than anyone and anything else to protect us from being enslaved to any person or object, including our own ego. His love for us is protective and nurturing.
Then, why not compel us to love Him? Since He has power over us, God can compel us. We are His universe, His property, and His creation.
Because His love invites with beautiful wisdom but does not compel or force. Instead, we are free to choose out of love and conviction to know, obey, and seek Him. God gives us the power and choice to disobey Him, and yet many lovingly choose to obey.
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