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Archive for July, 2013

One of the symbols of Islam is the phrase “Allahu akbar (الله أكبر).” Even many non-Muslims know it, unfortunately for some of the wrong reasons. It is often translated as “Allah is the greatest,” which although not technically wrong, obscures some of the phrase’s profundity. What it actually means is “Allah is greater than…,” and you are supposed to fill in the blank (thanks to Shaykh Abdul Nasir Jangda for highlighting this in his amazing class “Meaningful Prayer”). This means that we are meant to “personalize,” or “bring our subjectivities to bear,” or “relate to,” this particular form of remembering God. It is not meant to be said mindlessly – it is an active form of glorifying God. I cannot do it for you – we each must do it for ourselves!

Allah is greater than: my job.

Allah is greater than: my wife.

Allah is greater than: my parents.

Allah is greater than: my mind.

Allah is greater than: my body.

Allah is greater than: my desires.

Allah is greater than: my emotions.

Allah is greater than: my memories.

Allah is greater than: my subjectivity through which all of this has been written.

Allah is greater than: my eternal fate.

Allah is greater than: the United States of America.

Allah is greater than: this material world.

Allah is greater than: fantasies of space travel.

Allah is greater than: computers.

Allah is greater than: artificial intelligence.

Allah is greater than: Google.

Allah is greater than: WordPress.

Allah is greater than: Facebook.

Allah is greater than: Einstein.

Allah is greater than: Beethoven.

Allah is greater than: human history.

Allah is greater than: the universe.

Allah is greater than: Islamic Studies.

Allah is greater than: the media.

Allah is greater than: all contingent narrative.

Allah is greater than: A Mercy Case.

الله أكبر

keep-calm-say-allahu-akbar

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Ramaḍān 9 1434

Bismillah

I strike these keys by the qadr [decree] of Allah

Why am I so worried?

If my Lord has decreed trials ahead

they will reach me

and I should accept them as gifts

meant to teach me something

I am eager for good: a greedy slave.

100_006100_007100_008

Qur’an, chapter 100 (al-‘Ādiyāt), verses 6-8: “man is ungrateful to his Lord—and He is witness to this—he is truly excessive in his love of wealth.” [Haleem, M. A. S. Abdel; The Qur’an (Oxford World’s Classics) (p. 432). Oxford University Press. Kindle Edition.]

my quotation of the self-sufficient Lord, as well as the needy translator/interpreter, does not save me from the reality of kasb

Somewhere between me and You lies the choice I made to quote

Somewhere between me and You lies the reality that

I am still vacillating between Your raḥma [Mercy] and Your ‘adhāb [Punishment]

003_142

Qur’an, chapter 3 (Āl ‘Imrān), verse 142: “Did you think you would enter the Garden without God first proving which of you would struggle for His cause and remain steadfast?” [Haleem, M. A. S. Abdel; The Qur’an (Oxford World’s Classics) (p. 44). Oxford University Press. Kindle Edition.]

 

what can i do, beggar that i am, witnessed by my own non-volitional heart beat

but call on the One (الأحد) who brought me into existence

My Lord, forgive me (rabbī ’ighfirlī)!

My Lord, guide me (rabbī ‘ihdinī)!

My Lord, save me (rabbī ghithnī)!

I ask You for a good end (innī as’aluka husnā al-khātima) and I seek refuge in You from a bad end (wa ‘a‘ūdhū bika min sū’ al-khātima)!

I seek refuge in You from You (a‘ūdhū bika minka)!

Grant my prayer, O Most Merciful of those who show Mercy (āmīn yā arḥam al-rāḥimīn)!

And when the prayer is finished, my eternal neediness is still witnessed by the beating of my heart

not by my own choice

لا حولة و لا قوة إلا بلله

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