- "The Sincere Advice" : from the desk of Ustaz Zhulkeflee

يَـٰٓأَيُّہَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ صَلُّواْ عَلَيۡهِ وَسَلِّمُواْ تَسۡلِيمًا

"... O ye who believe! Ask blessings on him and salute him with a worthy salutation." (QUR'AN:AL-AHZAB:33:56)

"O Allah, I believed in Muhammad but did not see him; do not deprive me in the Gardens of his vision. Bestow his company upon me and cause me to die in his religion. Let me drink from his pool a quenching, pleasant, delightful drink after which we shall never thirst again. You are powerful over everything. O Allah, convey to the soul of Muhammad my greetings and peace. O Allah, as I believed in Muhammad but did not see him, do not deprive me in the Gardens of his vision."

O Allah! I make the intention to invoke blessings on the Prophet, may Allah's blessings and peace be upon him, in compliance with Your Order and as an attestation of  the Prophet sent by You, our master Muhammad, may Your blessings and peace be upon him; in his love and in my yearning for him and with the respect due to him as he merits it. Accept it from me by Your Grace and Kindness and remove the veil of negligence from my heart and make me among one of Your righteous servants.

A-MEEN! YA ROB-BAL 'AA-LA-MEEN ! .............











"DALAA-ILUTL-KHAY-RAT" was compiled of Abu 'Abdullah Muhammad Ibn Sulayman al-Jazuli r.a. May Allah Reward & Bless his soul.  (and to reciter Ishak Danis)

...  Al-Faatihah !


Sunday, February 22, 2009

What’s in the label (Muslim)? A reflection .....

We have to admit that we, Muslims have taken many things for granted. We tend to justify and console ourselves when it comes to how much we have done. We do not fully realize that for us Muslims, there is already a model community whose standards and achievement we are supposed to measure ourselves with (not something Utopian, but a real community, which is historical – therefore achievable, not idealism). By standards here we are concern about the qualitative norm.[10] In fact this term ‘Muslim’ was conferred by Allah s.w.t. and not a label manufactured by men[11]. Although it is an Arabic term (proper noun or a name), it is also (adjective) descriptive for it means “one who submits and obey, surrender to the will of God” according to the right interpretation of the Qur’an and As-Sunnah. The early Muslims, our pious predecessors, wore it with gratitude and responsibility. They strove diligently to manifest all sublime qualities, which this term signifies and they were people approved by Allah. And while they were alive, they never rested on mere label of ‘Muslim’ but always considered what their actual states were. All of them regarded the term ‘Muslims’ as a title of honour to be proven in their lives. Being Muslims meant one who is committed to live a life of constant striving in submission to the Will of our Creator. Thus Muslims are reminded to always remain conscious (taqwa) and not heedless, as the state of Islam is in our being:

يَـٰٓأَيُّہَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ ٱتَّقُواْ ٱللَّهَ حَقَّ تُقَاتِهِۦ وَلَا تَمُوتُنَّ إِلَّا وَأَنتُم مُّسۡلِمُونَ

“O you who attained to faith! Be conscious of Allah with all the consciousness that is due to Him, and do not allow death to overtake you ere you have surrendered yourselves unto Him (muslimuun).”

(Qur’an: ali-‘Imran: 3:102)

Alas, today we take the label ‘Muslim’ for granted. Labels commonly used, or are attached to us, but without any real understanding on our part as to what it really means. When we say we are Muslims, we are in fact asserting a claim. But are we fully cognizant of this claim? What is being Muslim all about? Is it a heritage, which our forefathers have left to us, just as being Malay is? And we may even ask, “what is Malay?” Such self-searching questions are indeed an important start. Too much confusion has arisen nowadays in the use of these labels, without any real attempt at educating the masses regarding its true definitions, meanings and import. Not many are concern as to whether the common understanding of these terms amongst people are correct or have they become blurred and corrupted. Who is there to clarify and correct? Has the ambiguity (if any) been clarified? In the absence of this effort, the media can easily manipulate and create stereotypes leading to Islamaphobia.
[12]. What is even worst is that there are hybrids of terminology that are being coined by people nowadays[13] and it only compounded the confusion. Any superficial responses to this only reflect our own superficiality. Being apologetic sometimes lead many Muslims into agreeing to the ‘strawman’ which non-Muslim tried to use against Islam. Example there are some who advocate that Muslim should follow “Moderate Islam” as though there can be many versions or forms of Islam in the various shades of extremity! The term, which the community of Muslims is recognised by the Qur’an is already defined as “balance and moderate” (ummatan wasotan[14]) as clearly stated in al-Baqarah: 2:143. This clearly shows that Islam, as a religion, is one advocating justice, balance and moderation; in essence Islam is a moderate religion. To agree to the additional usage of the adjective ‘moderate’ to the word ‘Islam’ is denying this obvious inherent characteristic of Islam. The implication of wanting us to agree to this new label (i.e. Moderate Islam) is that with our acceptance of it, now they can demonise Islam and they (secularist) are clamouring for Muslims not to be too religious, but practice their religion ‘moderately’! But actually, if Islam is already a moderate religion, to be extremely religious is rather good and should be welcomed i.e. ultimately that Muslim is becoming extremely moderate!

(excerpt taken from my full article - THE NEW MILLENIUM: A REFLECTION AS WITNESSES! [click to read] written in 2001 for NUSMS (National University of Singapore Muslim Society) Quarterly Journal “The Fount”June 2001".)



[10] There are some who may be quick to assert that Muslims are retrogressing 1400 years by the call to the Qur’an and the Sunnah. We are here not obsessed with the form but rather are concern for the preservation of Islam’s unchanging principles, which we believe to be universal and relevant, as long as the species call human, are still human.

[11] هُوَ سَمَّٮٰكُمُ ٱلۡمُسۡلِمِينَ مِن قَبۡلُ وَفِى هَـٰذَا لِيَكُونَ ٱلرَّسُولُ شَهِيدًا عَلَيۡكُمۡ وَتَكُونُواْ شُہَدَآءَ عَلَى ٱلنَّاسِ‌ۚ “It is He (Allah) Who has named you – in bygone times as well as in this [divine writ] – “al-Muslimiin” (those who have surrendered themselves to Allah), so that the Messenger might bear witness to the truth before you, and that you might bear witness to it before all mankind.” (al-Hajj:22:78)

[12] Example how can such term viz. ‘Muslim-terrorist’ be accepted? How can ‘one who submits to God’s will’ (Muslim) be at the same time ‘an agent of terror’ (terrorist)? In one symposium I have asserted that “if a crime is committed by any one, call him a criminal, but please do not attached his religious affiliation as this is, not only irrelevant, but unjust to the religion!” Yet, only the label ‘Muslims’ is being used in this manner by the media. We have not heard terms like ‘Christian-terrorists’ or ‘Hindu-terrorist’ or Buddhist terrorists’ etc.

[13] Other terms that needs our clarification as it may aggravate the confusion are:

[a] The common reference to “Malay-Muslim” – it may further entrench the misconception that Islam is exclusively a Malay religion. If one were to understand what ‘Malay’ is, there is already an implied affiliation to the religion of Islam. (refer my write-up on “Melayu Baru?” dated Dec 2000).

[b] “Melayu Baru” – as though there can be another sub-group of the Malay race. Actually, people with certain agenda are sowing seeds for the deconstruction of the long-held notion of “Melayu”. Historically, the emergence of the Malay race is the effect of Islamization, and is already ‘novel’ and ‘new’. By suggesting “Baru” (new) to the label “Melayu”, perhaps these postmodernist is advocating a change, offering sort of a licence for Malay to remain “Melayu” but without any attachment to Islam and to long-held traditional as well as Islamic values.

[14] وَكَذَٲلِكَ جَعَلۡنَـٰكُمۡ أُمَّةً۬ وَسَطً۬ا لِّتَڪُونُواْ شُہَدَآءَ عَلَى ٱلنَّاسِ “And thus have We willed you to be a community of the middle way – i.e. justly balance and moderate [ummatan wasotan], so that [with your lives] you (shuhadaa’a alan-naas) might bear witness to the truth before all mankind” (al-Baqarah: 2:143)



blue said...

Assalamualaikum wr wb Ustaz,

Indeed, our predecessors are much much more 'successful' as Muslims than the Muslims of our times. As a muslim myself, i do feel ashamed that they have fought and strove hard to preserve Islam and its history etc whereas muslims like me do not show any sign of living up to its name. We could not 'maintain' the legacy that they have left behind.

i have also heard from younger muslims, lamenting:"Islam comes as a religion of flexibility and not rigidity".God will understand why i still can't pray now. I have work committments; 5 times take up too much of my precious time; I can still catch up when i'm much older etc etc...

And muslims who actually pray are considered pious or labelled as staunch muslims or Muslims extremists..

It's a sad sad situation...

Anonymous said...

Assalamualaikum wr. wb.

Ya Ustaz,

Thank you for this posting. It is a timely reminder... A paper you have written sometime ago and is still relevant...

So-called "intellectual Muslims" are using labels to divide fellow Muslims even when these labels are created by non-Muslims. Funnily, these so-called "intellectual Muslims" think that by such a crude sociolgical "analysis" of muslims involving the mere artificial categorisation of Muslims they have somehow understood the Muslim community better. This to me is the result of a potent mix of arrogance and stupidity... a potent mix indeed...Sadly there are then confused Muslims who accept such false labels for themselves!