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Friday, June 12, 2009

As A True Muslim..

As I reflect upon the above passage, as well as many others in the Qur'an, I am struck deeply by the integrated vision of the Qur'an, which does not separate belief in Allah and Allah's revelation ("iman") from righteous action ("'amal"), or regular remembrance of Allah ("salat") from regular discharge of one's financial and moral obligations to Allah's creatures ("zakat"). Thus, to be a Muslim means--in a fundamental way--to be both Allah-conscious and creature-conscious, and to understand the interconnectedness of all aspects of one's life, of the life of all creation and of our life in this transient world to life eternal.

For Muslims, the Qur'anic notion of righteousness has been actualized in the life of the Prophet Muhammad-- known in the Islamic mystic tradition as "Insan al-kamil" or the complete human being. Through his Allah-centeredness, the Prophet of Islam attained the highest degree of "'ubudiyat" (service of Allah) and became a model of righteous living not only as the spiritual and political leader of the Muslim "ummah", but also as a businessman, citizen, husband, father, friend, and a human being in general. Following him, there have been individual Muslims--recorded and un­recorded--in every age, who have known that being a Muslim means more than seeking or worshiping Allah. The poet Iqbal speaks for them when he proclaims, "There are many who love Allah and wander in the wilderness,/I will follow the one who loves the persons made by Allah."7

Considering the emphasis placed upon the interrelatedness of "Haquq Allah" and "Haquq al-'ibad" both in Qur'anic teaching and in the life of the Prophet Muhammad, the exemplar par excellence of this teaching, it is difficult to understand their compartmentalization in the minds and lives of many present-day Muslims. But what has happened is not surprising given the fact that many generations of Muslims have been told by their leaders that the primary duty of a Muslim is to engage in "'ibadat"--which is understood as "worship" rather than service of Allah--and to obey those in authority over them rather than to engage in "'jihad fi sabil Allah"8 to ensure that the fundamental rights given to all creatures by Allah are honored within the Muslim "ummah."

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