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Thread: Charis & Sadaqa, the roads meet

  1. #21
    tWebber
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    Quote Originally Posted by 37818 View Post
    http://www.islamicstudies.info/tafhe...ra=6&verse=163
    
    (6:163) He has no associate. Thus have I been bidden, and I am the foremost of those who submit themselves (to Allah).`
    Thankyou for the effort of finding and sharing this.... I hope others may be able to use it as a resource to double check information....(the tafsir is a bit shallow---but better than nothing)

    As you may have noticed by reading the previous verses beginning with 6:155--the Quran is explaining the human use of "reason" to find excuses not to do the right thing. A list of excuses is given so that the audience is aware that such excuses will not be accepted. God has provided Guidance as a mercy (Grace) so that people may follow the right path. In fact, I actually had a conversation with a non-Muslim similar to the proposition in 6:158---that if God had wanted humanity to believe---he should have sent a revelation/angel/sign to everyone---not just one person----then there would be no doubt. And this led to a discussion about free-will---for if God had done so, it would have compromised our ability to choose freely---but as a text, (Quran) an individual has the opportunity to use his intellect and reason---to engage critically---then to make a choice. The use of ones intellect and reason to come to the conviction of One God is the story of Prophet Abraham in the Quran---that is why verse 6:161 says it (Guidance) is the religion/way of Abraham. Verse 163 is in the context of the previous verses concluding that when one has arrived at conviction, one must submit willingly to God's will.

    In this context of "submission" (Islam) ---as well as Zakat/Sadaqa (Charity) verse 6:165 is relevant.
    (6:165) For He it is Who has appointed you vicegerent over the earth, and has exalted some of you over others in rank that He may try you in what He has bestowed is upon you. Indeed your Lord is swift in retribution, and He is certainly All-Forgiving, All-Compassionate.

    The verse points out that God has given some people more and others less---those who have more, have a higher commensurate degree of responsibility as Trustees (Khalifa)---it is a test and they will be judged accordingly.

    The reason why submission (to God) is important in this context is because of the juxtaposition between hierarchy and equality. In the Islamic context---God alone is superior---all creation is inferior to God. Thus, all humanity is equally inferior to God, thereby, they are all equal to one another in front of God. (to say that one group of humanity is more inferior---automatically makes another group superior---but, God alone is superior). This means that despite human diversity in form or circumstances---all humanity is equal to one another and our diversity is a test of our compassion and mercy towards each other. Therefore, the relationship between God and man is that of master and servant, or King and subject---superior/inferior---but the relationship between Man and Man (humanity) is that of equals---none is superior/inferior to another. To put it another way---God is the giver, humanity is the receiver--since God has no needs, humanity is incapable of "giving" to God---but between people, the relationship is one of sharing between equals---even in the context of charity.
    Thus, the poor, needy, are receiving what is due to them (obligation)---because the right to wealth and happiness is given by God to all humanity and not the entitlement of just a few allocated by some man-made set of "rights" or systems, or laws....

    This premise is a different concept of equality than that of the Enlightenment/Modernity in which one group was "more equal" than others being more civilized, or more progressive, or more whatever....and the entitlement of "equality" is built on the condition that the "other" become "like us". (equality = sameness)

  2. #22
    tWebber
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    Quote Originally Posted by siam View Post
    @ elam
    Right to lineage/identity (nasl) (subject of Kohen)
    Think-by-proxy

    The Sunni/Shia split occurred because there was a dispute as to who would succeed as leader after the Prophet (pbuh) (The Prophet was chosen by the community of Yathrib) When it came time to decide on the next leader there was a split. The question of legitimacy occured. It was easier to convince people of legitimacy if there was a connection to the family of the Prophet....later, the Abbasid (Sunni) and the Fatimid (Shia) dynasties both used descent as a means for legitimacy. The king of Jordan also claims descent from the family of the Prophet(pbuh). The Sharia protects the right to one's identity both for adults as well as children---so a child who is adopted---still retains his name and origins. Yet, identity-constructs can be abused and one has to beware of excess and ego......The Shia have a concept of an Imamate--a spiritual leader who is from the line of the family of the Prophet---but since he does not exist, the practice is the same as Sunni---both use scholars

    The use of Scholars can be abused if people do not use their intellect but blindly follow others. The Quran does not encourage blind belief as this can cause one to fall into "Shirk" (superstitions)---on the other hand, it is difficult to verify everything. Islam is a "way of life" and an average person is so busy living and fulfilling his obligations---it is simpler to follow. So there is an element of "thinking-by-proxy"---let the scholars figure things out and we---the average person, simply follow their conclusions.....So debates about difficult issues such as medical and bio-ethics, Finance and economic ethics, ethical governance...and so forth are left upto Scholars to conclude. Fortunately, Islam is not an "organized" religion with a hierarchical Church system---so people can choose opinions or conclusions (somewhat). Islam is more of an "organic" system....a people's religion.....?....

    So "Scholars" such as Abdal-Wahab get followers known as the Wahabi (or Salafi---depending) who advocate for a "Pure" Islam. Its been labelled as a reformist/reactionary movement ---but its alliance with the Saudi monarchy who in turn are allied with the U.S. makes it used/abused for extreme political purposes......creating headaches for the rest of us Muslims.....

    ...So, as the Prophet recommended, to seek knowledge is a duty of all Muslims for this is the only way to make intelligent choices....
    Hia Siam, Have had a health issue that has kept me offline for a bit...

    What you describe, apart from the hierarchy thing, approximates my experience of the RCC = not a religion but a way of life!

    A week or so ago, on TV, I saw an interview with the Rock'n'Roller, Suzi Quatro, on one of her annual pilgrimages to Oz. I never realised she was RCC!

    She made a couple of points. 1. She has a public (performance) persona and a very private persona, 2. She was RCC and therefore plagued with conscionable self doubt, and "you can't escape being Catholic", it is a way of life that governs your conscience...

    As for the RCC hierarchy: the idea is something of a misnomer. Back when in history when there were competing monarchies trying to subdue the Church there was in fact a political hierarchy. Thus at one stage there were simultaneously at least 5 individuals sponsored by various principalities who claimed the papacy (2 in France, 2 in Italy, 1 in Germany). My RCC educators summed up the history as there have since the times of the apostles (Jesus' discipl;es) there have been three ecclesia (gatherings) = The church political. the church social & the Church religious. The last is made up of the "true believers" whether they be mums, dads, kids or clergy, the other two are those distracted by worldly illusions (wealth, power, poverty etc)... The apostle Paul regularly chastises them...

    In my experience, the RCC hierarchy bends over backwards to keep out of peoples lives. Of course they provide guidelines but as it is often pointed out in Catholic radical literature "it is almost impossible to be kicked out of the RCC". Nobody can be prohibited from the Mass or Confessional but they can, as a public declaration, be denied participation in Communion...

    As an older fellow, I am greatly amused by the American fuss about Muslim's women's attire. In the 1950s, 60s & before no descent "British" or "Australian" woman would go out in public without a head covering (scarf or hat) and wearing gloves...and modest dress...

  3. #23
    tWebber
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    Quote Originally Posted by siam View Post
    @elam
    Many of my thoughts are unformulated and I am still making up my mind on some issues, so I am using you to bounce ideas off of, and I hope you do the same and share your ideas and concerns....

    Exclusivity/Property---
    My concern is with all the groups---Nations, ethnicity, families...as for family, the concern was sparked by your comment about homelessness. Does the "family" have the right to kick someone out into the street because they have a problem with the behavior---such as alcoholism, addiction etc. On the other hand, the safety and security of the other members of the family are also important considerations....and rights. There should be a better way for us (community and family) to handle troubled human beings without throwing them away? I also have misgivings about the nation-state and national borders...etc. There should be a better balance between our need for security and our obligation towards compassion and mercy...of 114 surah, 113 Surah of the Quran begin with the words "In the name of God the most compassionate, the most merciful". So, to be true to these values...one needs to think of a way of community building that cares for the needy while also providing for the support of the caregivers...since I am Muslim---I look at historical examples of (Muslim) community building, for ideas....but care for the needy is an important value for all religions and historical religions have practiced good community building in pre-modern times....so there can be a variety of ideas....

    Proud Catholic/Multiculture---I agree that different religions have their own meta-narratives that give them a particular world-view. Such diversity makes our engagement with the world more interesting. But---it also makes groups different. Though humanity and its nature and needs are not all that different from one group to the other, the interpretations and implementations of our (common) values may take on variety....just as they vary from generation to generation also.....But if we are to be true to our "way"---we need to respect our own values so that we can respect those of others. The present multiculture system does not allow for this--we are all required to homogenize into a public monoculture....and in an age of globalization, if there is going to be only one dominant "culture" in the public space---whose is it going to be?...is a question that distresses everyone. So, perhaps Pluralism may be a better way than Secularism......?....Religious identities are already global (at least for the major world religions)...and so these would provide a better platform for identity-constructs and group-building with the added benefit of encouraging humanity towards its potential for excellence and balanced altruism...?.....
    I guess I am persuaded by the Oz experience, especially since the 1970s when the authorities pursued its policy of multi-culturism. Sure we have had issues with various ethnic groups, but largely those have been drug wars between ethnic factions. Currently, in my area (what is becoming the Sunni Arab capital here in Sydney) the issue is their indiscriminate shooting of each other and honour killings... aprt from the later, in the 1970s we had the same problem with the Italians...but that went away (or at least out of sight) as the years passed by...here is hoping...

    Your circumstance in the Malaysian pursuit of a mono-culture, as far as I understand it, is completely different. I have had numerous Chinese-Malaysian work mates & friends that came to Oz as students but never returned (except to visit family) because of ethnic "Malay" nationalism. So I've only heard one side of the story...
    Last edited by elam; Yesterday at 08:05 AM.

  4. #24
    tWebber
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    Nationalism is also an identity---and like all identities---it can cause problems---today the problem is the mixing of religion with identity---be it the Hindutva movments of India, the Burmese-nationalism (969 group), or the Muslim nationalists of Indonesia/Malaysia, or the Nationalists of Japan and China, or the Australia first/one nation of Australia...Pegida, EDL...etc...of Europe......everyone is fighting to figure out "who" they are and what values define them. The ISIS rhetoric of Khaliphate, or the idea of Zionism...etc...are also a marriage between religion and "nation" identity-constructs----the problem with all of these is not the identity-construct itself---but the notion that only one identity construct can be supreme in one (imagined) "location"/territory (nation). But such a way of thinking is incorrect. Such thinking led to the displacement and/or forced conversion of many Aboriginals in Australia. It has led to extreme exclusivity---forgetting that all humanity is a single family---instead (arbitrary) claims are made that a person must be x and only x to "belong".
    But think of our own family---in our family we have siblings that have different names, personalities and thoughts, yet, we try to get along despite these differences and tensions....and in the East, at least, even when family members have problems...we still try to provide care and compassion...This is how society should function as a larger group---like family---where we respect each others identity and differences, yet also help each other be better.
    How to be "better" requires teaching "values" and these come from religion/philosophy. So, for example, in the case of Lebanese gangs (of Australia)---if the community, and the Mosques and Churches (Lebanese Arabs are both Christian and Muslim) were more active in helping their communities and guiding their young---society would improve with less trauma. Right now---society generally "outsources" their problem-makers to the police and law...instead of actively seeking compassionate solutions....(homelessness, poverty...etc and their "cure" is outsourced to the government....)

    In the case of Islam (as a value-system) the pursuit of a state mono-culture is particularly problematic as Pluralism is an inherent/traditional "value" of Islam. For ex...there are many Sharia and if a state were to choose only one as state-approved....it would destroy one of the key values of Islam---that of legal pluralism....

    Secular "multi-culturalism"---does not come with any "values" as it is not a philosophy itself---it therefore generally uses "Christian" values as default in Christian-majority territories it claims....and Hindus and Buddhists and Muslims use their values as default in territories with their majorities....BUT---this means that minorities in all of these territories must "conform" to a degree....and when they do not or cannot...tensions occur. Some countries such as France have tried to define "secular" values---but other than "secularism" being anti-religion---have not really come up with anything substantial....and so, this is not an attractive solution either...
    So, under such circumstances, I think Pluralism (instead of secularism) is an option worth exploring....

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