Archive for February, 2023

What is Muslim about me?

That I have a beard?

That I cover my ʿawra (that area of the body deemed “private” by Islamic law)?

Sure, that’s important. But what else?

Is it because I have eyes?

أَلَمۡ نَجۡعَل لَّهُۥ عَیۡنَیۡنِ

“Did we not make for him two eyes?!” (Qurʾān 90:8)


بَلَىٰ قَـٰدِرِینَ عَلَىٰۤ أَن نُّسَوِّیَ بَنَانَهُ

“In fact, We can reshape his very fingertips!” (75.4)


وَٱللَّهُ أَخْرَجَكُم مِّنۢ بُطُونِ أُمَّهَـٰتِكُمْ لَا تَعْلَمُونَ شَيْـًۭٔا وَجَعَلَ لَكُمُ ٱلسَّمْعَ وَٱلْأَبْصَـٰرَ وَٱلْأَفْـِٔدَةَ ۙ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَشْكُرُونَ

“And Allah brought you out of the wombs of your mothers while you knew nothing, and gave you hearing, sight, and intellect so perhaps you would be thankful.” (16.78)

Is not my very being itself Muslim?

Does not the time in which I exist belong to Allah?

Was not the place on which I stand fashioned by Allah?

Is not every atom in my body controlled by Allah?

I did not make myself.

I did not make this world in which I exist.

My existence is submission to the Lord of all that is.

Voluntary actions like not drinking alcohol, obeying my parents, and facing Makkah 5 times a day in al-ṣalāt (ritual prayer) are how I try to remember that.

Perhaps your day was spent in a large masjid surrounded by thousands of Muslims. The day this picture was taken I was spending two weeks in a gated American community for almost exclusively White Christians. It is the life that Allah has decreed for me. Please make a du’a for me, for it is not always easy.

May Allah forgive our sins, accept our voluntary actions done in conformity to the sharīʿah (sacred law) of the Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه و آله و سلم, and raise us up amongst martyrs, the truthful, the righteous and the prophets, āmīn!

وَمَن يُطِعِ ٱللَّهَ وَٱلرَّسُولَ فَأُو۟لَـٰٓئِكَ مَعَ ٱلَّذِينَ أَنْعَمَ ٱللَّهُ عَلَيْهِم مِّنَ ٱلنَّبِيِّـۧنَ وَٱلصِّدِّيقِينَ وَٱلشُّهَدَآءِ وَٱلصَّـٰلِحِينَ ۚ وَحَسُنَ أُو۟لَـٰٓئِكَ رَفِيقًۭا

“Those who obey Allah and the Messenger are with those whom Allah has blessed, namely, the prophets, the truthful, the martyrs and the righteous. And excellent are they as companions.” (4.69)

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“According to the Holy Qurʾān and mutawātir traditions, all the sins which humans commit are pardonable if they repent sincerely. It is wrong to say that such a sin can never be pardoned. Allāh says in the Qurʾān, in Sūrah Ash-Shūrā verse 25:

And it is Allāh who accepts repentance from Allāh’s servants and pardons evil deeds, and Allāh knows what you do.

وَهُوَ ٱلَّذِى يَقْبَلُ ٱلتَّوْبَةَ عَنْ عِبَادِهِۦ وَيَعْفُوا۟ عَنِ ٱلسَّيِّـَٔاتِ وَيَعْلَمُ مَا تَفْعَلُونَ

Elsewhere in the Qurʾān, Allāh has mentioned Allāh’s Names as:

Tawwāb (The Constantly Turning to accept repentance)

  • Ghaffār (Intensely Forgiving)
  • Ghafūr (Completely Forgiving)
  • Ghāfir al-dhanb (Forgiver of sin)
  • Qābil al-tawb (Acceptor of repentance)

Allāh has given a general invitation to all the people to turn towards Allāh and seek forgiveness for their sins. If we study the meaning of the 54th verse of Sūrah al-Zumar we find that sinners have no cause to lose hope. This āyah is also known as “Āyat al-Raḥma (The verse of Mercy)”:

“Say: O My servants who have acted extravagantly against their own souls, do not despair of the Mercy of Allāh – Surely Allāh forgives all sins; surely Allāh is the Completely Forgiving, Especially Merciful.”

قُلْ يَـٰعِبَادِىَ ٱلَّذِينَ أَسْرَفُوا۟ عَلَىٰٓ أَنفُسِهِمْ لَا تَقْنَطُوا۟ مِن رَّحْمَةِ ٱللَّهِ ۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ يَغْفِرُ ٱلذُّنُوبَ جَمِيعًا ۚ إِنَّهُۥ هُوَ ٱلْغَفُورُ ٱلرَّحِيمُ

A few points must be noted from the above verse.

  • Allāh says, ‘O My servant’ and not ‘O sinners!’ Even though he is addressing the sinners he addresses them as ‘My servants,’ so that the hopelessness of the servants may be transformed into hope in Mercy.
  • Allāh says, “who have acted extravagantly.” This denotes a soft approach. Allāh does not say, ‘O you who have acted blatantly,’ so that the sinners may not lose hope of obtaining pardon.
  • Allāh has told the sinners, “do not despair of Divine Mercy.” The use of a negative term signifies the prohibition of hopelessness. Also it means that to lose hope regarding salvation is forbidden!
  • Allāh did not stop at this, and further adds, “surely Allāh forgives all sins,” signifying that the statement covers every possible sin.
  • The addition of the word ‘altogether’ at the end signifies that the statement includes all sins without any exception.
  • At the end of the verse, Allāh repeats, “surely Allāh is the Completely Forgiving, Especially Merciful,” to stress upon the fact that Allāh desires and wishes to forgive those who repent.”

[from a text by Shaykh Sayyid ʿAbd al-Ḥusayn Dastghaib Shīrāzī رحمة الله عليه]

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