Islam and Civilization by Nadwi

Islam and Civilization

By Syed Abul Hasan Ali Nadwi

Scope and Significance

Islam and civilisation is a realistic and living issue which relates not only to the prophethood of Muhammad (peace be upon him) and the teachings of Islam, but also to the reality of life itself, the present and future of mankind and the historic role played by Muslims in the development of culture and the building up of a flourishing civilisation. This is a subject important enough to receive the attention of an academic body instead of by just a single individual. In its depth and scope, it can compare with any discipline of thought pertaining to the life of man. It covers an immense area in time and space, from the first century of the Islamic era to this day and from one corner of the world to the other. In its immanence, it encompasses everything from creed to morals and behaviour, individual as well as social, and is linked with diverse phenomena, whether if be law, political, international relations, arts, letters, poetics, architecture, cultural refinement, etc. Each of these aspects of human life are indeed many-sided and, hence, an academic body composed of scholars of different disciplines is required to study them so that each may undertake objective research and present his detailed findings courageously, without fear or favour. Each of these scholars, specialist in his own field, can discuss the issues in greater detail as, for example, one can study the creed and religious thought of Islam, another sociology and culture, a third Islamic law, a fourth the equality and dignity of man, a fifth the position of women, and so on. Detailed discussions on each such subject can indeed cover an encyclopaedia instead of being dealt with by an individual like me who has little time to spare for literary pursuits. But as the saying goes, the thing which cannot be owned completely should not be given up altogether. I have, in working on this subject, kept in mind the Qur’nic verse which says: And if no torrent falls on it, then even a gentle rain (Al Baqarah: 265).

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Jurayj and his Mother by Imam Bukhari

Abu Hurayra reported that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "Three supplications are answered without a doubt: the supplication of someone who is oppressed, the supplication of someone on a journey, and the supplication of parents for their children."

Abu Hurayra reported that he heard the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, say, "No human child has ever spoken in the cradle except for 'Isa ibn Maryam, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and the companion of Jurayj." Abu Hurayra asked, "Prophet of Allah, who was the companion of Jurayj?" The Prophet replied, "Jurayj was a monk who lived in a hermitage. There was a cowherd who used to come to the foot of his hermitage and a woman from the village used to come to the cowherd.

"One day his mother came while he was praying and called out, 'Jurayj!' He asked himself, 'My mother or my prayer?' He concluded that he should prefer the prayer. She shouted to him a second time and he again asked himself, 'My mother or my prayer?' He thought that he should prefer the prayer. She shouted a third time and yet again he asked himself, 'My mother or my prayer?' He again concluded that he should prefer the prayer. When he did not answer her, she said, 'Jurayj, may Allah not let you die until you have looked at the faces of the beautiful women.' Then she left.

"Then the village woman was brought before the king after she had given birth to a child. He asked, 'Whose is it?' 'Jurayj's,' she replied. He asked, 'The man in the hermitage?' 'Yes,' she answered. He ordered, 'Destroy his hermitage and bring him to me.' They hacked at his hermitage with axes until it collapsed. They bound his hand to his neck with a rope and took him along to the king. When he passed by the beautiful women, he saw them and smiled. They were looking at him along with the people.

"The king asked, 'Do you know what this woman claims?' 'What does she claim?' he asked. He replied, 'She claims that you are the father of her child.' He asked her, 'Where is the child?' They replied, 'It is in her room.' He went to the child and said, 'Who is your father?' 'The cowherd,' he replied. The king said, 'Shall we build your hermitage out of gold?' 'No,' he replied. He asked, 'Of silver?' 'No,' he replied. The king asked, 'What shall we build it with?' He said, 'Put it back the way you found it.' Then the king asked, 'What made you smile.' 'Something I recognised,' he replied, 'The supplication of my mother overtook me.' Then he told him about it."

 

Taken from Parents: Al-Adab al-Mufrad Al-Bukhari

The Pious Pretender

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Advice of Hadhrat Sheikh
Eighth Discourse from Al-Fath ar-Rabbani
Hadhrat Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jeelani (RA)

               It was in the schoolhouse, in the late evening of Tuesday, the 19th of Shawwal, A.H. 545, that the Shaikh (may Allah be well pleased with him) said:

              The pious pretender [mura'i] wears clean clothes, but his heart is filthy. He abstains from permissible things, and is too lazy to earn a livelihood. He eats off his religion, and exercises no self-restraint at all. He consumes things that are explicitly forbidden [haram]. His game may be hidden from the common folk ['awamm], but it is not concealed from the Elite [khawass]. His asceticism [zuhd] and obedient worship [ta'a] are all superficial. His external facade is splendidly fashioned, but his interior is a ruin.

Woe unto you! Obedient service to Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) is performed by the heart [qalb], not the outer mold [qalab]. All these things are connected with hearts, innermost beings and spiritual qualities [ma'ani]. Strip yourself bare of what you now have on, so that I may get for you from the Lord of Truth (Almighty and Glorious is He) an outfit that will never wear out. Get undressed so that He may clothe you. Take off the garment of your indifference to the rights [huquq] of Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He). Take off the garment of your attachment to creatures and your idolization [shirk] of them. Take off the garment of lust, frivolity, conceit and hypocrisy, of your love of being acceptable to people and having them approach you and bring you gifts. Take off the clothing of this world, and put on the clothing of the hereafter. Divest yourself of your power, your strength and your very existence [wujud], and throw yourself down before the Lord of Truth (Almighty and Glorious is He) without power, without strength, without attachment to material means [sabab], and without idolatrous worship of any created thing. Then, if you do this, you will see His gracious favors all around you. His mercy will come to join you, and His blessing and benefit will clothe you and enfold you in their embrace. Flee to Him. Dedicate yourself wholly to Him, naked, with no you and no one other than you. Move toward Him in isolation, distinct from any other than Him. Move toward Him separately, apart, until He joins and connects you to your inner and outer forces [quwa zahirika wa-batinika]. Even if He were to close the whole universe [al-akwan] against you, and make you carry all its burdens, this would do you no harm; not at all, for He would protect you throughout.

When someone blots out creatures by virtue of his realization of Unity [tawhid], blots out this world by virtue of his renunciation [zuhd], and blots out everything else apart from his Lord (Almighty and Glorious is He) by virtue of his longing, that person is completely prepared for righteousness [salah] and success [najah], and he will enjoy the all the blessings of this world and the hereafter. You must experience the mortification of your lower selves, your desires and your devils, before you die. Experience the special death [al-mawt al-khass] before the common death [al-mawt al-'amm].

O my people! Respond to me, for I am the crier of Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He), calling you to His door and His obedient service. I am not calling you to myself. The hypocrite does not call the people to Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He); he is a self-promoter. He is looking for favors and acceptance, seeking worldly gain.

O ignorant one, you give up listening to words like these, and sit there in your cell, with only your own self and your passions for company! What you need first is the fellowship of the Shaikhs [shuyukh], and the slaying of the lower self, the natural instincts and everything apart from the Master (Almighty and Glorious is He). You must stay by the door of their houses, I mean the Shaikhs', then after that you may go off by yourself, and sit in your cell alone with the Lord of Truth (Almighty and Glorious is He). When this has been fully accomplished by you, you will come to be a remedy for the people, a rightly guided guide [hadi mahdi] by permission of the Lord of Truth (Almighty and Glorious is He).

As you are now, your tongue is pious [wari'], but your heart is immoral [fajir]. Your tongue praises Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He), while your heart resists Him. Your outer being is a Muslim, but your inner is an unbeliever [kafir]. Your outer is a monotheist [muwahhid], but your inner is a polytheist [mushrik].

Your asceticism [zuhd] is part of your facade. Your religion [din] is part of your facade. Inwardly, you are a mess. It is like whitewash on the water closet, i.e. the toilet, or a lock on the garbage can. Since this is how you are, Satan has set up camp in your heart and made it a place for him to live in.

The believer starts with the development of his inner being, then tackles the development of his outer being. Someone who is constructing a house will spend large sums of money on its interior while the gateway is just rubble; he will leave fixing the entrance until after he has completed the main building. One must likewise begin with Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) and earning His good pleasure [rida], and then pay attention to creatures with His permission. The first stage is to acquire [tahsil] the hereafter, and only then to obtain one's allotted shares [aqsam] in this world.

Reference url: http://archive.islamkashmir.org/radiant-reality/jan-2006.htm#article-9

Short Quotes

Mercy

"And We have not sent you (O Muhammad) except as a mercy to mankind" (The Holy Quran, Al-Anbiyah, The Prophets 21:107)