Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Wasathiyyah; The concept of moderation in Islam

Last weekend, Mr O & me went to Konvensyen Fiqh Ummah 2012 in PWTC.
Alhamdulillah. Praise to Allah for the opportunity given. My youngest brother helped me babysit the kiddos throughout the weekend. Babysitting and driving kids to classes. Thanks a zillion dude!! ;-) Kiddos ain't complaining. Infact, they were having the time of their life. No parents...wooohoooo!! Adoilahhh ;-)

Anyway, the conference was good. To be honest, it was quite heavy for me. The noob. It was quite technical. Lots of theories. Peppered with lots of Arabic. Very deep. Mr O was feverish by end of day 1. Information overloaded...ha3. But I am still very grateful he persevered and decided to come for Day 2. To have him with me, in an event like this....doing our best to seek knowledge to be a better Muslim, few days shy of our 16th wedding anniversary, is a blessing to me. Couldn't ask for more ;-)

The speakers. Scholars from diverse background. Kudos to them. The event wasn't perfect. Nothing is perfect. Nothing will. But I personally feel they deserve lots of credit for initiating the conference.
May Allah bless them and their efforts. May Allah make it easier for them to continue the great work. For the benefit of everybody. Muslims & non-Muslims.
 Picture is from here.
The conference was the brainchild of the scholars who are concerned about the current friction between Muslims. All in the name of religion. The other issue the conference is trying to address is the avalanche of religious information available to the public. Unfiltered, unedited information from unreliable sources.

The main objective of the conference is to present a blueprint to help the public from different background to understand some of the aspects of Islam. From the perspective of wasathiyyah.
The blueprint. In a book. Awesomeness ;-)

Wasathiyyah means moderation. Fair minded. Balanced thinking. Middle. The middle is always the most secure. Think of u being attacked. Those who are in the middle is in the most secure position compared to those at the side. Middle can also be the strongest. Think of the mid-noon sun. Islam is wassat. It's in the middle. It will not be eroded by everything on the side.

For 2 days, the respected scholars tried their very best to discuss and elaborate the concept of wasathiyyah in akidah, dakwah, politics, economy & finance, turath (treasure of Islamic knowledge), tazkiyah an-nafs (cleansing of the soul), ibadah, zakat, Quran & Hadith and lifestyle. So I will try my best to share the knowledge. As far as I can understand. More of my personal key take aways than the details of the actual lectures. So pardon me for any inaccuracies.

Aqidah is our  belief. What's in the heart. And it goes hand in hand with faith. Faith has 3 essential components. Truth acknowledged by the heart. Verbalized by the tongue. And translated through the actions. So when we say we believe in something, it's not sufficient just to acknowledge it and say it, we must translate it to action. If we don't, we have not attain faith.

One of the issues I found interesting was the discussion on usul and furu' in aqidah. We spent waaaayyyy too much times arguing on petty issues. Usul is the core issues. Furu' is the branch. The non core issues. Muslim should focus on the core issues. Consensus must be reached in core issues. Not the furu'. There will always be differences in opinions among the scholars in furu' issues. It's very important to know the difference between usul & furu'. From my understanding, furu' are issues like;

Can men and woman shake hands?
Can we celebrate Maulidurrasul?
Can we do tahlil?
The issues of Imam Mahdi and the details of his come back.
etc.
etc.
etc.

We should acknowledge there are differences in opinion regarding the matter. So stop arguing who's right and who's wrong. And the opinion of the respective scholars on these issues will not discredit themselves and jeopardize their credibility.  When u encounter 2 groups with different opinions, the best approach is to think good. Give them benefit of doubts. It's always better to over-forgive than to over-punish.

The speaker also discussed about concept of wasathiyyah in the unseen. The supernaturals. The current trend of people seeking help from the jinn need to stop.

And that: "Some people from among the men used to seek refuge with some people from among the jinn, so they caused the jinn to become even more arrogant." 
Al-Jinn; 6-7

This is strictly prohibited in Islam. For whatever reasons. Only Allah knows the unseen. Nobody except Allah. Not the human. Not the jinn. Our media is not helping either. The excessive exposure on mysticism, supernaturals, black magic  etc etc through media has conditioned us that it's purely harmless entertainment. It's NOT. It affects your aqidah. So be careful.

Ustaz Mohd Zamri spoke about wasathiyyah in dakwah. Dakwah is a process of bringing people to the right path. It's continuous. Changing for the better. Striving for better. And better than best. So on. and on.

Ustaz Syed Mohd Nurhisyam elaborated on how to do dakwah.
Invite to the way of your Lord with wisdom (hikmah) and good instruction (hasanah), and argue with them in a way that is best (al-mujaadalah bil husna). Indeed, your Lord is most knowing of who has strayed from His way, and He is most knowing of who is [rightly] guided.    
An-Nahl; 125


Dig in the Quran & hadiths to learn how Rasulullah (pbuh) and the previous prophets preached with the 3 attributes. Think of Prophet Musa a.s and Firaun. Prophet Ibrahim a.s and his father. Definitely no scaring tactics. Or shunning the sinners. Avoid argument. Avoid humiliating people. No bashing. Focus on important matters. Not the petty stuffs.

It's our responsibility to improve the way we communicate with people. Coz EVERYBODY is a da'ee. Not only the scholars.

All of us have a responsibility to be good, make others good. It's aligned with the reason we were created. Our tasks in this world. To worship Allah and to be His vicegerent. Rasulullah (pbuh) said..."Deliver, even one sentence..." One of the scholars reminded the audience, everytime u update your FB status, and post something on your FB wall, think of the 2 angels on your right and left. It might be your wall. U can say whatever u want. Bitch all u want. But u r also accountable of every single words that u wrote. And every single bashing that u provoked. THINK. So there u go ;-)

Xifu Abdul Naser Abdul Rahman, spoke about the stereotyping of Islam in our country. Islam=Malay. Malay=Islam. The confusion of culture and religion. Racism. Issues faced by reverted Muslim. And how media is responsible in screwing up the image of Muslims. Think about the themes of all the local Malay films. What are the common themes? Rape, incest, disunity, broken marriage, corruption, sex, violence, drug. Is there anything to be proud of?? Most of the actors and actress are Malay. Malay=Islam. So this is how we represent Islam to the general public. So wonder no more why Muslims are struggling with their image. Hmmm...Ombak Rindu anyone??? :-)

Another important key take aways for me is how to practise moderation in the studies of Al-Quran. One of the aspects of wassathiy explained by Ustaz Dr Zahazan was about Quran as syifa'. Understanding of the meaning of syifa' and Quran from the real context.

O mankind, there has to come to you instruction from your Lord and healing for what is in the breasts and guidance and mercy for the believers. 
Surah Yunus: 57

The scholars interepreted syifa' or healing for what's in the breasts means the Quran is an antidote for spiritual diseases. Syirik, munafiq, disbelievers. And this can be achieved through understanding and integrating Quran in our daily life. For physical diseases, refer to the experts. Like doctors. This argument is based on the following verse from the Quran & hadith.

And We sent not before you except men to whom We revealed [Our message]. So ask the people of the message if you do not know. 
An-Nahl; 43

Sahih Bukhari. Volume 7, Book 71, Number 587:
Narrated Jabir bin Abdullah:
I heard the Prophet saying, "If there is any healing in your medicines, then it is in cupping, a gulp of honey or branding with fire (cauterization) that suits the ailment, but I don't like to be (cauterized) branded with fire."
BUT, the use of Quran for physical disease is not ruled out completely based on the fact that the Quran itself is a  mukjizat. A sign from Allah. So it can be, probably 10% of the time. But most of the time we should refer to the credible experts in the respective field for physical disease.
Being in medical line, I have always believe a patient should go for medical treatment first. Then proceed to alternative treatment if they wish to. Purely because the former has more scientific data to support it. It's not 100% fool-proof but it's a calculated risk. We must be very careful not to take Quran as syifa' out of context. Be very wary. More so when the alternative medicine has become a booming business lately. Any practise that is not from the Quran & hadith is wrong. Done wrongly, it can destroy our aqidah.

Ustaz Zahazan quoted a story of an 80yo granny who apparently cured cancer by practising a certain verse from the Quran. But the granny has also completed reading Quran 30 times in her life. Which probably implies that she has been constantly reading the Quran. In health and in sickness. Which is most likely why Allah grants her prayer and it works for her. And the fact that it works for her, doesn't mean it works for us. Who only started reading the respective verse when we are in trouble. If u never hold an M16 before, and u suddenly have it in your hand right now, can u shoot and kill the enemy infront of u? Maybe not.

The highlight of the conference was definitely Iman Menk's lecture. Mufti Ismail Musa Menk from Zimbabwe.
He spoke about wasathiyyah in general. In our life.

He talked about pop star. And how they popped.  The higher they go up the ladder, the more they deteriorate. If we practise the concept of wasathiyyah, it should be the opposite. Pray Allah will grant us the best in jannah, the best that we haven't seen yet. To achieve this we need to find the balance. We should enjoy life. Allah said enjoy the world. BUT with limit. And bear in our mind, what's coming later is better. Then u will be more successful. And when Rasulullah (pbuh) met a man who dressed in patches despite his wealth, Rasulullah (pbuh) said;  Let the gift of Allah be apparent on you. Presentation is important. So present yourself well. Coz it reflects your religion. Islam is never extreme. Take the middle path.

He discussed some other issues of wasathiyyah. Of striking the balance. Or lack of it.
Some  people only worry about others. Never speaks about themselves.
Some people worry so much about their physical appearance. And neglect their spiritual health.
Some people are so engrossed with their religion and don't bother others. They forget religion includes their other duties. He narrated the story of how Salman Al-Farisi helped Abu Darda striked the balance between his God, his body need (heath) and his family.

Imam Menk  also spoke about dakwah. Calling people to the right path. When u see others do wrong, u should rectify it. In a POSITIVE manner. Either by hand (action), tongue (verbal) orthe lowest point of iman, by heart. After being abused and rejected by the people in Taif, Rasulullah (pbuh) pray to Allah;
O Allah, guide my people. They don't know what they are doing.
That was a perfect example of thinking good of people. Of giving benefit of doubts. Deep down in their heart, even sinners know they need to improve. Especially once they have been tested. One day, they can change. SO we can never be judgmental.

And don't understimate yourself. That's the work of the devil. The devils give u doubts. Remember Allah keeps reminding us in the Quran..."Never lose hope in my mercy".

Build on our good habits.Sometimes, all it needs is a tweak. A minor tweak that eventually help us strike the balance.

InsyaAllah.

PS. Credit to my dearest friend, Ms Fifi for some of the pictures ;-)

2 comments:

  1. As we know we took study of the different just to gain information that can be used in our lives. When we get on the study of the Qur'an, we expect that this book too will revolve around a definite subject. Quran gives us guideline to every aspect of life and we can get many other ways to solve the problem that makes our life more successful that is possible only by reading Quran we likewise expect a separate and systematic arrangement of instruction and guidance for each of the various aspects of human life.
    Learn Quran

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