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Hakim Murad on Ka'ba & Malevich's "Black Square"


This majestic and serene painting above is known as the Black Square by Kazimir Malevich, a Russian painter (who died in 1935). It is a very fascinating painting i have seen for years. Abdul Hakim Murad writes about it at length: "Malevich’s greatest work is a painting called Black Square. This is a square, painted completely in black, against a white border. He called it his ‘absolute symbol of modernity’, a modernity which he hoped would be pure and spiritual, as opposed to the congealed decadence of 19th-century Western materialism.

He chose the image of a Black Square because it is the total inversion of the Western tradition of recording the writhing diversity of the manifest world. He wrote, later, that when painting it he felt ‘black nights within’, and ‘a timidity bordering on fear’, but when he neared completion he experienced a ‘blissful sensation of being drawn into a desert where nothing is real but feeling, and feeling became the substance of my life.’

What on earth could this mean? The modern British writer Bruce Chatwin, who knew Islam well, commented as follows:

‘This is not the language of a good Marxist, but of Meister Eckhart - or, for that matter, of Mohammed. Malevich’s Black Square, his ‘absolute symbol of modernity’, is the equivalent
in painting of the black-draped Ka‘ba at Mecca, the shrine in a valley of sterile soil where
all men are equal before God.’
[...]

At the centre of the Islamic religion lies the Ka‘ba. Uniting the aspects of the divine beauty and the divine majesty, it is a place of resort and safety for human beings’. It lies in a city protected by the prayer of Ibrahim al-Khalil, alayhi’l-salam: ‘My Lord, make this land a sanctuary.’

The Ka‘ba has many meanings. One of these pertains to the Black Stone, which is the point at which the pilgrims come closest to its mystery.

‘Ali ibn Abi Talib narrated that when God took the Covenant, He recorded it in writing
and fed it to the Black Stone, and this is the meaning of the saying of those who touch
the Black Stone during the circumambulation of the Ancient House: ‘O God! This is
believing in You, fulfilling our pledge to You, and declaring the truth of Your record.’’
The Ka‘ba therefore, while it is nothing of itself - a cube of stones and mortar - represents and reminds its pilgrims of the primordial moment of our kind. Allah speaks of a time before the creation of the world: ‘when your Lord brought forth from the Children of Adam, from their reins, their seed,
and made them testify of themselves, He said: ‘Am I not your Lord?’ They said, ‘Yea!
We testify!’ That was lest you should say on the Day of Arising: ‘Of this we were
unaware.’’ (7:171)
When we visit the House, we are therefore invited to remember the Great Covenant: that forgotten moment when we committed ourselves to our Maker, acknowleding Him as the source of our being. The Black Stone itself is, according to a hadith which Imam Tirmidhi declares to be sound, ‘yaqutatun min yawaqit al-janna’ - a gemstone from Paradise itself.

The Ka‘ba functions, in the imagination of those who visit it on Hajj, or turn towards it in Salat, as the centre and point of origin of all diverse things on earth. It is oriented towards the four cardinal points of the compass. Its blackness recalls the blackness of the night sky, of the heavens, and hence the pure presence of the Creator. Allah tells us that there are signs for us in the heavens and the earth; and recent astronomy affirms that the spiral galaxies are revolving around black holes. A powerful symbol, written into the magnificence of space, of the spiritual vortex which beckons us to spiral into the unknown, where quantum mechanics fail, where time and space are no more.

The yearning for the Ka‘ba which sincere Muslims feel whenever they think of it is therefore not, in fact, a yearning for the building. In itself it is no less part of the created order than anything else in creation. The yearning is, instead, a fragment, a breath of the nostalgia for our point of origin, for that glorious time out of time when we were in our Maker’s presence."

Read the rest of the article here.

Know your worth...

...and don't boast. This is the sunna of our Prophet.

Learning Islam from the "Objective" International Standard Universities?

About the "grey" thing

"Beware the darkness in the grey areas."
-Abdul Hakim Murad

What I think this aphorism of Shaykh Abdul-Hakim Murad refers to really is what Islam is all about. According to a hadith, it's Islam to abandon things of doubtful nature (of which we have no certainty of its being either halal or haram). It, on another plane, may be a criticism on the general notion of the Muslims that many things lie in the "grey," implying ,as I have observed in my society, that all such things that lie in the grey area between clear Truth and clear Falsehood are things too much complicated to decode that easily, and hence should be left to the 'reason' to suggest the final answer. Practically, the obedience to reason here is by and large nothing but the obedience to our lower self/desires. I have generalized this mental attitude on the basis of observation of only a handful of the brightest people of my society, who are most literate of worldly and religious affairs, well only knowers of the later domain, and may not be the doers necessarily. 'Masses follow the brightest'. (That's a principle I a brilliant friend of mine told me, who is a president of a student organization called ESEF.) Therefore, when truth is obscure we should not tend to overlook that it is darkness that veils light from our sight, which is not a positive element in the equation.

Muslims' Epistemology

The other we were discussing in our Sociology of Religion class a term called epistemology.. I confess every time I look up its meaning in the dictionary, which I have been doing for some years now, I get more confused than ever, especially because of its fairly repetitive mention in books and philosophical articles. Now I have no confusion about it, since when i came to know:
"The sunna is our epistemology."
-Abdul hakim Murad.
Source.

Wittgenstein Sir!

I have been given this "life-time opportunity" of doing a research on Wittgenstein (W) and his critique on Frazer (F) and Freud (F*). The question is: Where does Wittgenstein's critique on F-F* stands within his own system of philosophy? Was it immature? Was it taken back? Etc. Etc. The question came up when we were being given a comprehensive understanding of W's critique on the theories of F on religion and its sociology. Someone, intelligent and serious enough, raised the point that W had become confused later on about his world-views, so as a consequence he may have abandoned his stance on his previous philosophies, of which this critique, we're studying, may be a part of. I am very interested in W's famous critique on F-F*, so I accepted the challenge even though i can't properly spell W's name. What I don't know now is that what do i need to know and do?

"Boys will be Boys"

Theory of liberation of women and equality of sexes really needs to be revised today. i become more and more convinced of its fallibility the more i study and analyze the nature of the sexes in the light of scientific and anthropological data, and the aftermaths of the so-called liberation movement of women in West. It seems quite clear to me, the result has been more of another kind of enslavement of the female sex with catastrophic consequences for the society at large, a crisis which humanity may never have witnessed before. Shaykh Abdul-Hakim provides a candid, objective analysis of these issues, while also providing Ummah with the critique of Islam on gender-based issues, which if misunderstood at the hands of Western education/prophets of modern education who are storming the lecture rooms iof our "up-to-date," "INTERNATIONAL STANDARD" universities and colleges, can have severe consequences for Muslim community. Shaykh Abdul-Hakim Murad writes:

"I have been asked to offer some comments on gender identity issues as these impact on Muslims living in post-traditional contexts in the West, and particularly as they affect people who have traded up to the Great Covenant of Islam after an upbringing in Judaism or Christianity. The usual way of doing this is by examining issues in the classical fiqh, and explaining how Islam’s discourse of equality functions globally, not on the micro-level of each fiqh ruling. That method is legitimate enough (although as we shall see the concept of ‘equality’ may raise considerable problems), but in general my experience of Muslim talk on gender is that there is too much apologetic abroad, apologetic, that is, in the sense not only of polemical defence, but also of pleas entered in mitigation. What I want to do today is to bypass this recurrent and often tiresome approach, which reveals so much about the low serotonin levels of its advocates, and suggest how as Western Muslims we can construct a language of gender which offers not a defence or mitigation of current Muslim attitudes and establishments, but a credible strategy for resolving dilemmas which the Western thinkers and commentators around us are now meticulously examining.

Let me begin, then, by trying to capture in a few words the current crisis in Western gender discourse. As good a place as any to do this is Germaine Greer’s book The Whole Woman, released in 1999 to an interesting mix of befuddled anger and encomia from the press."

Read the rest of the article here. Its really interesting and eye-opening.

The grace of human kindness vs. machines ( part of discourse on intrinsic morality)

There are many things in the world that capitalism cannot give you, and i am talking specifically about those things on which it has its claims fixed. i am living in exile. in another city. i live on the upper story with my father, who stays here half a week and does work in his office beneath my dwelling (called philosopher's corner, excluding other typical corners), and for the rest of the week goes back hometown. the tea i take is made by the man of the home and office, who does all sorts of work quite singlehandedly. made in an electric kettle, as most of the time, or even if i 'cooked' properly on fire, i always feel, in the words of hamza yusuf, "the anxiety of the cook, my cells can feel the anger (rage)." No soothing feeling do i induce, it's not to be unthankful, but comparing it to the kind of tea i experience back at home - its way different. last time i went to my home after the strokes of stress at the hands of academics and out of indulgence in vain activities, the cook (at home) - a happy, little man who somehow detecting some good in me is very, very nice and humble towards me, i feel sorry for him though - cooked some tea and said, "You won't taste a tea like this." And yes i didn't, and i won't, insha Allah :). the only magic it had, in terms of effect, was that it put my senses in a calm state; i felt a joy, a joy that can only be produced when somebody does a good to you, not for social consequences, but out of generosity - of course not a mere materialistic joy, which is quite profane often times. my claim is: you may never get these feelings out of machines, if not tempered by human kindness and bounty; or at the hands of human beings devoid of a value called "care" . i like to think in this way, it may never be like that, though.

The criteria of virtue and vice

What I believe?

What follows below: This is what I believe. This is the center of my life about which all my efforts are directed, around which my days revolve. This is my world-view.

"TAHAWI'S STATEMENT OF ISLAMIC DOCTRINE (AL-`AQIDA AL-TAHAWIYYA)

In the Name of Allah, the Merciful, the Compassionate Praise be to Allah, Lord of all the worlds.

The great scholar Hujjat al-lslam Abu Ja'far al-Warraq al-Tahawi al-Misri, may Allah have mercy on him, said: This is a presentation of the beliefs of Ahl al-Sunna wa al-Jama`a, according to the school of the jurists of this religion, Abu Hanifa al-Nu`man ibn Thabit al-Kufi, Abu Yusuf Ya`qub ibn Ibrahim al-Ansari and Abu `Abdullah Muhammad ibn al-Hasan al-Shaybani, may Allah be pleased with them all, and what they believe regarding the fundamentals of the religion and their faith in the Lord of the worlds.

We say about Allah's unity, believing by Allah's help that:

1. Allah is One, without any partners.

2. There is nothing like Him.

3. There is nothing that can overwhelm Him.

4. There is no god other than Him.

5. He is the Eternal without a beginning and enduring without end.

6. He will never perish or come to an end.

7. Nothing happens except what He wills.

8. No imagination can conceive of Him and no understanding can comprehend Him.

9. He is different from any created being.

10. He is living and never dies and is eternally active and never sleeps.

11. He creates without His being in need to do so and provides for His creation without any effort.

12. He causes death with no fear and restores to life without difficulty."

Read the rest of the article here.

Why talk of creed? Hamza Yusuf answers the question:

Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6

Proof of Ijmah in Quran

Surah Nisa, Ayat # 115:
"And whoever contradicts and opposes the Messenger (Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) after the right path has been shown clearly to him, and follows other than the believers' way, We shall keep him in the path he has chosen, and burn him in Hell - what an evil destination!"
The 'emphasis part' of the quote is the proof.

Love your fellow men as you love yourself

A friend of mine gave a very wise advice. He said, "Don't have contempt for people, because the person you disdain may become friend of God someday - you never know it."

Soul's yearning



After listening to the strange rhythmic lines in the preceding video, reader/listener may be wondering what sense does it make? Partially because, as it proves, you don't know Arabic, which neither do I; and partially: if I don't understand Arabic poetry - then? So what? For my ears detect harmony in these words recited by Abdul-Hakim Murad. I listen to these short melodic lines again and again, its very pleasant for my soul. May be there is a treasure hidden in these lines that awaits me to unlock it...

God, Man and Choice

Frithjof Schuon says in the Light on the Ancient Worlds, "Man does not choose; he follows his nature and his vocation, and it is God who chooses." Yet there are people on earth suffocated enough, blind in their vision that makes them to take such statements lightly because they find their defenses against the devil so down, so to say them being dominated by him, that they are unable to free themselves of the hatred of wisdom he induces in us. Revolt against Islam is revolt against oneself, against Man. And even Derrida believed that Islam is not Islamism...

Read "Riyad-us-Saliheen"


Riyad-us-Saliheen is perhaps when of the most read books of hadith in Muslim world. It was written for us, non-scholars, ordinary people (in terms of their degree of knowledge). And this is the beauty of this book, it helps us avoid the pitfalls of misunderstanding certain hadiths. This happens mostly when its interpretation requires a considerable amount of knowledge, which I will try sometime to write at length as to why?; and that what sciences are involved in this complex art of decoding the correct meaning out of certain hadith that seem confusing, Insha Allah. You can read the book here. Download in pdf-form here.

Of Proofs!


"Man is the proof of God. The man of God is the proof of religion." And that "He who knows himself, knows Islam."

-Abdul-Hakim Murad

These contentions should never be taken lightly for they are the extracts, like perfumes, of penetrating intellective vision, of deepest meditations, reflections and study of truth - suffice to say, these are nothing but expression of the Truth, which can only be perennial.

Which charity is the most superior in reward

In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

"Seek, and you will be found." I wish to add: seek, and you will get the guidance. These days I really was feeling incomplete just for the fact that I have not been able to give charity even when having enough to give out in Allah's way. Perhaps, I was worrying about the best or superior kind of charity, and today I found the answer which is being posted here - curiously my intuition (answer from within) predicted that only such kind of charity, as mentioned in next lines, could be of superior kind, which explains the truth that Islam is the religion of fitrah:
Narrated Abu-Huraira (may Allah be pleased with him): ‘A man came to the Prophet (May Allah exalt his mention and protect him from imperfection) and asked: “O Allah’s Messenger which charity is the most superior in reward?” He replied: “The charity that you give while you are healthy, niggardly and afraid of poverty and wishing to become wealthy. Do not delay it to the time of approaching death and then say: ‘Give so much to so and so, and so much to so and so.’ (And it already belongs to such and such (his heirs)).”‘ (Bukhari)
Riyaadiss-Saliheen (The Meadows of the Righteous) (Abridged)
By Imam An Nawawi Vol. (1)
Publisher: Dar Al-Manarah
ISBN: 977.6005.23.3
Chapiter 12, Page 205, Number

* This post has been taken from the following blog: Salaat Time’s Daily Islam.

Educating Muslim Youth by Shaykh Hamza Yusuf

Chittick says that Muslims have stopped to think. One of the major reasons for that is that Muslims have brushed the Islamic model of education replacing it with Western model of education, the latter not compatible wholly with the former. "Everyone nowadays is Qadi al-Qudat, Judge of Judges" - thanks to this alien system's intellectual outlook. While another oppression of the imported system is that it has replaced the fear of God in Muslims with an overwhelming fear of dunya (world) - overwhelming so to say to the mind rooted in tradition - the worth of which, i.e., dunya, is no more than a dead dog. I find this following lecture by Shaykh Yusuf invigorating, as if really 'revitalizing the dying organism' which is our mentality, generally speaking. Hope our elders get the point, reflect deeply on these matters, and do something about 'the dying organism' our youth is. But then again, as he proves, its on youth to take initiative to change, which, taking myself as an example, they can naturally do.

Part 1.


Part 2.

A false way of utilising the knowledge of Shari'a

"Beware the Shari 'a of the Cheshire Cat: able to bite but not to nourish."

- Abdul-Hakim MuradImage source

British Muslims Condemn Anti-Semitism

Source

"In the Name of God, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful

16th January, 2009

Dear Fellow Muslims,

We are deeply saddened to hear about anti-Semitic assaults on British Jews, and a recent arson attack on a London synagogue. Although the perpetrators are yet unknown, we unreservedly condemn attacks on innocent British citizens and the desecration of all places of worship.

The ongoing killing of Palestinian civilians in Gaza by Israeli forces has angered us all.

However, this does not, and cannot, justify attacks on our fellow citizens of Jewish faith and background here in Britain.

Most Muslims are completely against such behaviour. However, we call on all Muslims to continue to remain vigilant against attempts to bring our own faith and community into disrepute. British Jews should not be held responsible for the actions of the Israeli government.

Yours in Islam and peace,

Shaikh Abdal-Hakim Murad, Cambridge
Shaikh Mawlana Shahid Raza, Leicester/London
Shaikh Sayyid-Mohammed Musawi, London
Shaikh Ali Qadiri, Barking
Shaikh Mufti Barkatulla, London
Shaikh Dr Musharraf Hussain MBE, Nottingham
Shaikh Dr Usama Hasan, London
Shaikh Bilal Abdullah, London
Shaikh Aftab Ahmad Malik, Bristol
Shaikh Irfan Chishti MBE, Rochdale
Dr Tahir Abbas, Birmingham
Navid Akhtar, London
Parvin Ali OBE, Leicester
Kamran Fazil, Birmingham
Rokhsana Fiaz, London
Ed Husain, London
Azeem Ibrahim, Glasgow
Maajid Nawaz, London
Dr Zahoor Qureshi, London
Usman Raja, Berkshire
Yasmin Sheikh MBE, London
Zeshan Zafar, London. "

Okay, this is a late news. Unfortunately, I never came to know about it. That sometimes makes me believe that scholars of Islam are not being reported by media on such issues.

Remember death

Remembrance of death is the best drug to treat the base desires issuing out of our ever-changing heart.
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MuddleHead Signs Off!!