In today’s hyper consumerist societies, where effortless instant gratification is the norm, it is easy for those whose faith is weak to stray from the path of Allah. Those whose faith is literally “on the edge”, weighed down by unanswered questions and unresolved emotions, are ready to fall off when faced with life’s inevitable trials and tribulations. But at such times of personal and public crisis, says Nouman Ali Khan, we must remember that the purpose of those tests is to draw those with strong faith closer to Allah, who has a plan for everybody. Both Yacoub (AS) and Musa’s mother lost a child but despite their agony, and because they both had unshakable faith, the former was reunited with his son after many years while the latter was returned to his mother within hours. When we question Allah’s design we miss the core truth that reality will only submit to us when we submit ourselves to Allah. This is ultimately the path to inherit paradise.
In this video, Dr. Umar Faruq Abd-Allah reminds us of the ultimate purpose of fasting Ramadan: to find Allah Most High. He highlights the many means to attaining consciousness of God in the month of Ramadan, including leaving sin, vice, and everything that busies away from Allah. Amongst these, he puts particular emphasis on fulfilling the obligations due upon us, the most important of which are the five daily prayers.
“O son of Adam, so long as you call upon Me and ask of Me, I shall forgive you for what you have done, and I shall not mind. O son of Adam, were your sins to reach the clouds of the sky and were you then to ask forgiveness of Me, I would forgive you. O son of Adam, were you to come to Me with sins nearly as great as the earth and were you then to face Me, ascribing no partner to Me, I would bring you forgiveness nearly as great as it.'” (Tirmidhi)
Many people think that when they have sinned, they can’t go back to Allah and aren’t worthy of being forgiven. Tawbah is seen as being exclusively for those who are closer to Him. When Allah promises reward, it’s mandatory; however, punishment is not. It can be followed by forgiveness if you genuinely repent. Hope for Allah’s mercy – Allah forgives those who truly want to be forgiven. Allah SWT says in the Qur’an: “So remember Me, I will remember you … ”[2:152], “ … ‘call upon Me, I will respond to you’ … ” [40:60], and “… Allah will not punish them, while they seek forgiveness” [8:33].
Paul Barrett and Dr. Umar Abd-Allah in a discussion of their recent works, American Islam: The Struggle for the Soul of a Religion and A Muslim in Victorian America. Dr. Abd-Allah’s work is a biography of Alexander Russell Webb, one of the earliest American converts to Islam to achieve a modicum of fame. Mr. Barrett’s book offers portraits of a number of contemporary American Muslims, demonstrating the complexity of the community and diversity of opinion within this community. Paul Barrett was a reporter and editor for 18 years at the Wall Street Journal, and currently directs the investigative reporting team at Business Week. Dr. Abd-Allah is Scholar-in-Residence at the Nawawi Foundation.
“What we have to understand is that our history is rich and beautiful, and it took on so many different colors. There’s not such a thing as an ‘Islamic Civilization’; there are Islamic Civilizations – plural.” In this relevant and inspirational talk, Dr. Umar Faruq Abd-Allah contextualizes the revival of Islam in difficult, hateful times. Through the stories of giants like Shaykh Abdul-Qadir al Jilani and Imam Abu Hamid al Ghazali, he explains the great legacy that modern Muslims are inheriting, and our role in restoring the true Islamic tradition.
Wherever Islam has gone it has produced wondrous beauty, a reflection of inward and outward excellence (ihsan), from the arts to human character. This session will move us to rediscover the meaning of beauty, and how to achieve and manifest it in the making of Muslim American culture.