My proposed lecture title was, Pakistan and India through the ages in the real battle, that is cricket. But all these bearded ulema want me to talk about Islam and all you know. So that will have to be some other time.
My visit to Pakistan costs me dearly. I recently went to Canada, and even though it should just have been routine, they kept me for 3 days – they wouldn’t let me leave the airport – just because I had travelled to Pakistan in January. But I came back for biryani. Now I’m not a great fan of conferences, they’re more fluff and flash than anything else. And at the end of the fizz, big speakers and AC and food, we just go back to normal and so most speakers don’t like it either; there is some truth to this.
Actually what we have at this moment is a large middle class of scholars in terms of knowledge. They may be called by different names like ulema and mufti but they are all equal when it comes to understanding and knowledge, and they’re unable to solve the problems of our ummah. The Muslim, the momin, the muhsin, is never satisfied by the state of things.
Putting things into practice is inspired by action itself, because a lot of people are telling you what to do. We have an information overload in Islam today too. It’s like there’s a flood of quotes but we are not able to imbibe those characteristics into our lives. When Nouman came to me about how to do things in the conference, I told him we have to get people out there doing things. The companions were not all the same in knowledge and they did not all know everything either but they would apply whatever little they learnt. Meaning, they brought about a change because they applied it, acted!
I’ll tell you of an incident that happened recently. A student of mine, he picked me up from the airport and asked for a moment to deal with his parent. Now you’ve got to understand that organisers usually make a whole lot of fuss about speakers because the speakers are usually in a foreign land, foreign language and ways and overall vulnerable. But this guy, I had taught him a course on silat ur reham in the UK and wallahi it was beautiful to see him putting it in practice. He actually left me for a bit to go and see his father off who was going for Hajj. So I said, let me meet your dad too ya’ni, and he can pray for us. So we went to him, shook his hand and everything and he sees him off there only to take me to the hotel, and I’m like go on man, go with him until the end. He says, you sure you’ll be okay, and I had to tell him I’m fine you go and see him off properly. Awesome, masha Allah.
In Surah ‘abas, what do we understand from Allah’s words is that we are not to denegrate any action when it comes to being exemplars of this ummah. Not enough of us are putting things into action. For example, you never think of generosity as an Islamic science, or like al’adl and alqist, justice. Insaaf can be translated as fairness but ‘adl or justice does not involve fairness or money, it can be more and not equal. Our mistake is that we think of the rulers when we think of ‘adl. How is your ‘adl with your spouse, your business partner, your competitor?
You see, a lack of justice is when a person looking exactly like me is treated worse merely by virtue of the fact that I put down a red British passport when asked for identification while he puts down a Pakistani identity card. We are now in a time when action is needed more than ever. There is one thing I wish to place higher than justice, despite everything I just said about justice and Allah loving justice and dunya being based upon justice… and that is forgiveness. For qayamah shall be based upon forgiveness and even RasulAllah sallallaho ‘alaihi wasallam said that the only way I shall enter Jannah is if Allah drowns me in His mercy.
Ibn Taimiyyah taught us that we have to forgive. Don’t allow people to get away with abuse but make a practice of forgiving. How many people shake when they read the small news that comes every few years of how these parents forgive the murderer of their son! And imagine what the forgiveness does to the families affected, and of how you gave away your haqq when you forgive you should be really proud. The emotion is far little when you listen to lecture upon the greatness of mercy, etc. Imagine someone does a crime of abuse, shariyah actually says that you shouldn’t make izhar of it if it doesn’t reach the hakim. Are you willing to forgive?
RasulAllah sallallaho ‘alaihi wasallam knew the importance of a broken person making tawbah to Allah for their sin, over justice being established. You know of the story where a woman comes to the Prophet sallallaho ‘alaihi wasallam and told him of how she had committed adultery? He turned his face away, kept telling her to go away until she said she was with child. And what did he say then? He said go and have it, then come to me. She comes again after having it and he keeps telling her to go away until he tells her to go suckle the baby. She comes again after two years and this time he asks if anyone is willing to take care of the baby. And when somebody says yes, he orders for her punishment. So he knew the importance of tawbah and of forgiveness.
Disclaimer: The words in this composition may not be the speaker’s by the letter; we may have paraphrased at places for clarity, trying our utmost to maintain the essence.