The Muslim Ummah today is nearly one and a half billion strong: 1,500,000,000 souls as it were. After the Christians and the Chinese People, Muslims today are the largest grouping of humanity on God's earth. But out...
I know Allah is most forgiving and most accepting of excuses from his slaves, and he is most compassionate and generous. Yet I wonder how in the world I will ever account for all those...
Humans greet each other in all kinds of ways. Even some animals seem to do it. Nose rubbing is one such way -- for both humans and animals.
And some ways humans use to greet each other are, naturally, more fancy -- should I say "cool" or should I say "awesome"? -- than some others.
The Brits, as usual, seem to have a lock on it. They proceed from an intricate matrix: Good Morning, Good Evening, Good Night, Good Day, Hello, and the rest.
And the Devil takes what is in between? Is that how it works?
But they don't tell you when one begins and the other ends, do they?
But the Qur'an does. And in all kinds of the fanciest ways -- and in some detail too. All you need to do is to read the Qur'an.
The Americans, so typical really, just say a sweeping "Hi" and move on -- at least in most cases.
But then research shows that Islam gave the world a fairly airtight and effective formula, not only to say Hi or Hello to each other, but also, at the same time, to fill each other's lives as well as Allah's earth with Allah's Blessings.
Correct me if I am wrong. But I suspect the going greeting formula among Sahaabah Kiraam was Assalamu Alaikum, and it was not Sabaah Noor or a variation thereof.
And this Divine Greeting has stood the test of time for a millennium and a half -- right here in this world. No matter how much Muslims and others may have tried to change it, and introduce all kinds of alternatives or shortcuts to it.
So, my question to modern-day Tech-Savvy Muslims is, hey People, is your Cell Phone or Hand-Held Gizmo the one that determines your ultimate speech patterns?
So, depending on the APP you use, Allah will become "Al"?
Whodunnit? Who Killed the Jum'ah Khutbah? Dr. Pasha (Bringing Islam to the World One Concept at a Time! Taking the Qur'an to Every Home and Heart that Needs It -- And which One Does Not?)...
Those Muslims who have not committed themselves to take the Qur'an to every home and heart in this world, and who are not straining every sinew and bone for the accomplishment of that purpose, are fugitives from God's inescapable justice.
It will catch up with them, no matter where they hide, and no matter how hard they run.
And it already has -- in more ways than you can count.
All you need to do is just take a good look at all that Muslims are caught up in and all they are doing around the world.
And all that is being done to them by others.
I am not sure, but I have this vague recollection that some time ago I ran into a report of some kind on Annual Muslim Giving – charitable gifts and donations, I mean, that Muslims give away each year.
And I suspect it was from the United Nations.
And that report said something to the effect that Muslims around the world give in charitable donations, of one kind or another, on a yearly basis, between US$200 million and US$1 trillion in Zakat – and other charities.
Zakat is Obligatory Annual Giving of at least 21/2 percent of one’s accumulated wealth and assets. Islam requires that of all its wealthy adherents. Just like Islam requires that everyone perform five-times-a-day obligatory “Prayers,” called Swalaat, and also observe a full month of daylong fasting – abstinence from food, drink and sex – during the month of Ramadan.
And just as Islam also makes it compulsory for all well-to-do followers of the faith to perform the Pilgrimage to Makkah at least once in a lifetime, provided they can afford it, financially and otherwise.
My very first reaction, I recall, on reading that report, from the UN or some other source, was: “Wow! Man!”
Then I am sitting here, even now, and saying to myself: Mashallah! Subhanallah! Alhamdulillah!
And a whole lot of La Ilaha Illallah!
And Allahu Akbar!
Which all in colloquial English more or less translates to: “Wow! Man!”
And then my brain does what it always does: Fill the space between my ears with all kinds of questions. Questions that I don’t always have the courage – or the tact and wisdom – to raise or share with others, especially my fellow-Muslims.
Here I will try and share – articulate – just one or two of the safer and more benign of those questions that assault my consciousness from all directions.
Question Number One
If, somehow, the outer figure of one trillion US dollars is true as the Zakat and charity amount that is given out by Muslims annually, then, how much money do Muslims have stashed away that they can take out one $trillion from it and give it out in charity every year?
I am saying “stashed away,” because Zakat is due only on money that has been put away for a year. If your stack of money has been sitting around for only 10 or 11 months, and not for a whole year, then no Zakat can be levied on that money.
So, how many … what is the word I am looking for? …“Trillions” of American dollars is that?
I don’t know if you understand this, but a $trillion is really a ton of money. It is, I am told, actually a thousand $billion.
That is right, thousand times billion, which in figures would mean 1000 X 1,000,000,000. That would be numeral 1 followed by nine 0s.
And then a $billion is simply a thousand times a $million, right? That is what I think. Just take out the last three zeros from the previous equation for a $trillion and make it look like: 1000 X 1,000,000. Number 1 followed by six 0s, and that should give you a $billion – I think.
Ask someone who knows better, someone who can really count. Don’t ask your Christian friends, though. For, they may tell you 1 = 3 and that will nicely mess up your math.
I don’t know, but I have a feeling you are looking at more or less US$40 billion. Oops, did I say “billion”? No, make it Trillion, as in US$40 Trillion, with a capital T.
That is how much money is rattling around in Muslim coffers. And that to me is a fair amount of change.
Mind you, this figure applies to only known Zakatable assets. It says nothing about all the other moneys hidden under or inside a mattress or a pillow, or inside some kind of a personal bank.
By the way, what do Muslims call their “Piggy Banks”?
So, this was the safe question I thought I would ask. Now let us take a peek at the other question, the one the thought of asking which frightens me.
The Question I Am Too Frightened to Ask
Here, then, is the question I am simply too frightened to ask. I have been for years. And that question is: What is the correct percentage of Zakat that should be calculated on what I would euphemistically call “Ill-Gotten Wealth”?
In other words, how much of one’s stolen money – money people in one way or another “stole” from others – should be given away in charity so that it would become clean and “Halaal”?
Should it be one percent, 10 percent or 100 percent? I don’t know the answer to that question. All I am doing is just asking the question.
If my question sounds too scary to you, even to contemplate it, and I told you how scared I myself feel asking it, then I would suggest you ask a rather more naïve question and let things rest at that: Just from where, and how, did these folks get this money?
Now, that is not such a bad question to ask, is it?
Being Muslim is no license to abuse the English language.
I am not an English teacher. Nor am I an expert on the English language. But I suppose I have enough sense of the English language to be able to tell – in most cases at least – what sounds and what does not sound right to the ear.
Nor do I believe in handing over the English language to Her Majesty the Queen and waiting around to do her bidding whenever I have to speak it. You know, speaking “Queen’s English”?
The fact is English is my language. I have been speaking it from the time I was little. I am hesitating to call it my Mother Tongue because my mother did not speak it, even though my father did -- may Allah bless them both.
It is also the language my children and my students speak. And I am always on their case, trying to correct them, not that anyone listens to me, if not the way they speak, at the least the way they write.
So, you want to call me, in some ways, a Minder of the English Tongue, be my guest and go right ahead and do it.
So, given all that background, and all those disclaimers and caveats, there are things about the way the English language gets used by some Muslims that I object to. Take, for example, the expression some Muslims use about non-Muslims “Reverting” to Islam.
“Accepting Islam,” sure!
“Embracing Islam,” why not?
“Converting?” Sounds just about right.
“But 'Reverting’ to Islam”? That is where I see a problem.
“Revert” in the English language, I suspect, is returning to a “prior” state of some kind. So, what exactly are you saying when you say that a non-Muslim “reverted” to Islam?
Are you saying that this individual was somehow a “Muslim” before, in some kind of a “previous life,” then fate took him or her and dumped them in the lap of non-Islam, and now, due to God’s infinite mercy, of course, that person has gone back – “reverted” – to his or her original state of being, which, these people seem to say, was Islam.
In other words, that person “returned or 'Reverted’” to the original state of Islam after a bit of a detour. Am I reading that right?
The fact is, this stuff about one’s “previous life” sounds more Hindu to me than Muslim or Islamic. You know, reincarnation and all that.
Islam or not, what this thing is not is English. This is not English, period.
This is a linguistic monstrosity born of who knows what kind of ego-trips on whose part – and for what mysterious reasons. Are people supposed to somehow feel better that they were “Muslim” in some previous state of their existence? And now they have gone back to the way they were once upon an existence?
Applies to Abu Lahab, Abu Jahal, everybody, right?
As for its being Islam, it is more Mumbo-Jumbo of the kind Islam tends to shun and steer people away from than it is Islam.
Bringing in all that stuff about “Every child is born on Fitrah” and God asking the souls “Am I not Your Rabb?” and they all saying, “Of course, you are!” raises more questions than it answers.
I mean in this particular context. I am not questioning the validity of the relevant A-Haadeeth – plural for Hadith.
Ma’adhallah: Heaven Forbid!
So, whatever Islam some of these special Muslims seem to practice or believe in, the English language they need to learn to use is the one that everyone else uses – the Queen and all the rest of us non-Ma'adhallah-royals.
And that common usage would suggest that when people change their “religion” or faith, they are just “converting,” not Mumbo-Jumbo “reverting.”
If Muslims were serious in their professions of love for Allah, and in their commitment to Islam, and in their incessant declarations of intent to serve Muslims, and what they keep calling “The Muslim Cause,” don’t you think they would have by now, among the One Billion of them – with all the $billions of dollars stashed away in their closets and in European Banks – at least one Radio Station, and one Television Channel, and one Daily Newspaper, and one Weekly Magazine, that will truly be what Ross Perot would have called “World Class,” and that will be able to convey God’s Message of Islam to the world in the most wonderful possible manner?
Don’t you think so? [...]
"The tragedy of Karbala is not just that people with Muslim names killed Husain, the beloved grandson of Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, and mutilated his body, and that too in the month of Muharram during which all bloodshed is clearly forbidden. At the same time, the real Karbala Tragedy of our own time is the fact that Husain, while he continues to be a hero to the Shi’a, has become a stranger to much of the Sunni world." (Dr. Pasha)