The Miracle of “We the People”
The Qur’an miraculously addressed humanity as a whole by calling them directly as “O, You People!” This was in the beginning of the 7th Century.
Then, toward the end of the 18th Century – nearly 1200 years later – that call of the Qur’an found an echo in the Constitution of the United States of America, which began with a direct response to that call by saying “We the People…
I will not here trace the tortuous path of that divine message from the sands of Arabia to the shores of America. But suffice it to point out the obvious and the most visible: Allah said in the Qur’an: “O, You, the People!”(2:21). And the American Qawm – the American people – responded, a thousand years later, through an acknowledgment, in the American Constitution, of that great divine call of the Qur’an of “O the People!” (2:21), with the amazing expression of “We the People!”
To most people in the world, including most of the Americans themselves, this was a mystery: where and how America stumbled upon this most breathtaking expression. But for those with a thorough grasp and understanding of history, it was far from being a mystery.
Nor was it a mystery to the believers blessed by Allah by what the Prophet, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, referred to as the Firaasat of a Mu’min: the ability of a believer to see through time and space.
Reducing Islam to Drudgery
Many of us are not able to have fun with Islam because so many of us have reduced Islam to such drudgery – and taken all the fun and all the true excitement out of it.
Muslims are allowed to have fun you know. In fact, that is where they are supposed to find real fun – A-laa bi-dhikrillahi tat-ma-innul quloob. It is just that their way of having fun is at times a bit different from that of some other folks.
If you ask me, there is nothing more fun in this world than Islam – and the Qur'an.
And of course the Hadith – if we ever get anywhere close to it.
Miracle of Ihram
Here is another Miracle of Islam and Muslims that I want to draw your attention to: the miracle of Ihram?
How powerful is that miracle? And how lightly and easily, and with what great nonchalance and indifference, does everyone, both Muslim and non-Muslim, pass that miracle by!
I am referring to that most amazing 2-piece suite of unsewn white cotton sheets that Islam requires all male pilgrims to wear when they are doing their Hajj or Umrah – their major or minor pilgrimage to Makkah.
Is there a greater marvel of human equality being put on display every year, every month, every day, as Muslim pilgrims go around the Kaabah in their divinely mandated uniform of universal human equality that consists of two simple unsewn sheets of white cotton, within reach of anyone and everyone?
Worth a Ph.D. from a Fairly Decent University:
Most Teachings of Islam
Do you know that most decent universities of the world may give you a doctorate degree for discovering, explicating and documenting just that one single fact about the world and about Islam – and, yes, naturally about the Muslim people and the Islamic way of life?
I mean, for example, this same most amazingly comprehensive and dynamic concept of Salaam that I have been talking about so much in my writings and speeches. And that the Muslims so nonchalantly have managed to squander over the years and decades – mostly following Western and Christian influences – by translating it as “peace,” even though the concept of Salaam does include the notion of “peace” as most people understand it.
Miracles of Wudu, Hajj, Salaat and Such
And the same is pretty much the case with most other teachings of Islam and practices of the Muslim people that are truly Islamic.
Like, for example, the concept and practice of Wudu – how Muslims must wash up for their “prayers.”
Or of Salaat – another one of those most dynamic, comprehensive and amazingly multidimensional concepts that Muslims minimize and mischaracterize as “prayer,” even though the concept of Salaah does include Du’a or “prayer” as most people understand and use that expression.
Or of Siyaam – fasting during the month of Ramadan or at other times.
Or of Hajj – the major annual pilgrimage to Makkah that every able-bodied Muslim of means is obligated to perform.
Or just about anything else that Islam teaches and Muslims practice.
Doing the Undoable – and Thinking the Unthinkable:
So Many Square Pegs in So Many Round Holes
Allahu Akbar! Allah bless the Muslims – and have mercy on them.
How do they expect to do the undoable? Think the unthinkable?
And just how do they expect to translate the untranslatable? Find equivalents in Western culture and English language for words, expressions, ideas and concepts from Islamic culture and Arabic language, when there is so little equivalency between these two cultures and languages on so many important issues?
But the Muslims try to do it anyway, hammering all kinds of square pegs in all kinds of round holes. That is what happened not only to Salaam and Salaah, but also to Zakaat.
As we saw earlier, Salaam became “peace” and Salaah became “prayer.”
As for Zakaat, don’t even ask me about it. It is a different story altogether. Muslims don’t seem to be able to figure out how to characterize it in English: charity, tax, “religious” tax, whatever catches the fancy of whoever happens to have the podium or the pen on that day – some sort of an expert de jour.
But anyone with any knowledge of Arabic will tell you that the original meaning of Zakaah has nothing to do with either wealth or charity. For, in Arabic wealth is Tharwah and charity is Sadaqah.