Saturday, September 12, 2009

ELEVATING the HUMAN SOUL - Becoming Holy

A journalist highlights Islam, the Quraan and the season of Ramazan (Ramadan), a scholar's work and all true spirituality/religion at core. She describes a spirituality of faith, vision and becoming holy illuminated by Ramazan (Ramadan) and the Yusuf (Joseph) story.

"Allama Yousuf Ali explains in one of his many commentaries that Islam as a non-racial, non-ethnic, non-biased code of life. It simply requires undisputable faith in the Almighty; a determination to live right and to see that justice and truth prevails. It requires us to stay away from wrongdoings, to fight injustice and to stay clear of deceit. And as I see it that is the main code by which all decent humanity abides and all religions have preached just that. So where is the dispute amongst religions? Don’t they all speak the same language?"

The photo of Scholar Kharrum Ali Shafique Sahib is in Nawabshah where he was teaching (LEFT) shaking hands with local official (posted on August 29th)



Akhtar Wasim Dar Sahib said about the photo:
"Today’s comment must start from the vivid photograph of KAS and must also end with that. This MAN OF LETTERS is for us the symbol of hope, source of inspiration and the guiding light...where the modernity of KAS meets his traditions." Under that photo, I also added "...There is joy and vision in the faces and the meeting of hands - an inspiration for me as well on the other side of the world!"

BECOMING HOLY By Maheen A. Rashdi - for Sunday September 13, 2009

The past three weeks of Ramazan have induced me to take stock of the twists that the holy month brings into the lives of us Muslims each year. While it requires us to show our better sides, it inevitably turns us into short-tempered, work shirking, lethargic individuals. While at the one hand divine proclamation intends to promote abstinence and restraint in all matters of worldly things during Ramazan, we end up fully unleashing our gluttonous desires and zero tolerance for fellow beings.

And for some, it is almost a swapped existence. I have seen confirmed alcoholics kick the bottle for precisely these thirty days, shed their tailored suits for the white, starched, shalwar kameez (not forgetting the topi on top) and frequent the mosque five times a day as opposed to their daily late-night binges in non-Ramazan days. Well, whatever makes people tick, who am I to comment on personal choices.

When a dear friend posted a beautiful commentary on the Surah Yusuf from the Quraan last week on his blogspot to ‘honour the holy month of Ramazan,’ I was surprised that the Ramazan season had had that effect on him too. For I had always stereotyped him – for no logical reason at all -- as someone who was far removed from all things pertaining to religion. And here I pride myself on being non-judgemental.

Anyway, I discovered that Khurram Shafique is not only an historian/scholar/philosopher and the only one I personally know who may be qualified to be called a genius with indefatigable mental energies, but he is also as well-versed in Quranic text and sub text.

In his commentary, Khurram captures the description of the Surah which is about Hazrat Yusuf (Joseph), his dream, his brothers’ deceit and his revelation besides the all too famous story of Zuleikha (wife of Potiphar) and her seductive overtures towards Yusuf. Retelling a tale about one of the most detailed stories from the Quraan, Khurram Shafique has structured his analysis along Aristotle’s six ‘elements of drama’.

When I marveled at his work, he confessed that he would not have expostulated on Quraanic verses as these have a magic of their own which should not be polluted by mere human descriptive, but that he was compelled to do so.

Why? “Because there’s a danger lurking on the ‘intellectual horizons’ which promotes literature that debases the human soul and runs down literature of dignity,” he explained. He feels that an esoteric school of thought now dominates the frontier of Islamic Studies and Comparative Religion which is bent on defiling all credible voices on religion.

I however, do not feel that any such threat has the power of taking over established values or eradicating worthy literature. And as far as the Quraanic words are concerned, these are the most accepted religious writings by scholars of all faiths besides Islam. No amount of loose talk from naysayers has the power to dull or negate its magic.

Allama Yousuf Ali explains in one of his many commentaries that Islam is a non-racial, non-ethnic, non-biased code of life. It simply requires undisputable faith in the Almighty; a determination to live right and to see that justice and truth prevails. It requires us to stay away from wrongdoings, to fight injustice and to stay clear of deceit. And as I see it that is the main code by which all decent humanity abides and all religions have preached just that. So where is the dispute amongst religions? Don’t they all speak the same language?

But alas, being also the most potent tool for power, religion has been twisted to become the cause for every war as well. That is also why it has been complicated and high-jacked by clerics, dogmatic preachers and political players.

It took a lot of will power for me to pick up the Quraan’s translation the first time and find out for myself what exactly are God’s words which have filtered to us in many versions – sometimes even distorted for fearful effect. And because my grade two teacher’s words of how Quraan describes the details of hell had stuck in my mind, my fear was quite tangible. She of course failed to convey the overwhelming kindness of the Almighty contained therein perhaps to maintain a perverse fear factor and her own authority. Before starting, I never knew that I would actually be reading a story book with multiple components – history, jurisprudence, health guidelines, biology, geography and rules for decent civilized living.

Islam is neither complicated, nor terrifying nor unbending and unmindful of human vulnerability, and that is my last word for my believing, practicing, non-practicing and non-believing readers and friends.

Forgive me if I have been too dogmatic, for I too have been swept by the season.

Maheen.rashdi@yahoo.ca

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GO OFTEN to the official website - memorize it and be glad. There is great JOY here!

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Photo is of Ms. Maheen Rashdi, author of the article above. Sent September 12, 2009 to Khurram Ali Shafique. The author is a renowned journalist whose regular column is featured in the Sunday Magazine of Dawn dot com - a large well-known Pakistani newspaper.

Also come back and look for a few related Comments coming soon below and add your own. Thanx for stopping by! May our Ramzan and our other sacred practices for reflection, prayer and spiritual readings be lived out in joy and may our daily lives and hours bring us all into the most Holy!

7 comments:

ReeBz said...

First of all thanks Connie to post it all here.It is the best place for articles like these as the owner of this blogsite is the one who doesn't share the same religion but shares the spiritual language.
No doubt the articles you post and the topics you decide to talk about,are all in all and thought provoking but your interpretations make them more meaningful.

Its a nice feeling for me to notice here that how a non-Muslim view Islam and the Muslim culture :)

Your efforts can help us(Muslims)to regain our lost identity..

Connie L. Nash said...

What a great joy posting such items is for me as I see God through what at first seems like an unfamiliar window and then find out our Source is One and the same!

This morning there is special light here to see you, ReeBz. Shukran!

Connie L. Nash said...

From a hymn entitled: "This Is My Song" 1934 by Lloyd Stone, b. 1912 often put to the tune of Finlandia arranged by Jean Sibelius 1933 b1865-d1957

Verse One:
This is my song, O God of all the nations,
a song of peace for lands afar and mine.
This is my home, the country where my heart is,
here are my hopes, my dreams, my holy shrine;
but other hearts in other lands are beating
with hopes and dreams as true and high as mine.

Connie L. Nash said...

"This Is My song" 1934 by Lloyd Stone

Verse Two:
My country's skies are bluer than the ocean,
and sunlight beams on cloverleaf and pine;
but other lands have sunlight too, and clover,
and skies are everywhere as blue as mine.

O hear my song, thou God of all the nations,
a song of peace for their land and for mine.

Akhtar Wasim Dar said...

This is a lovely post, and what to say about THIS IS MY SONG, simply marvelous, touching with reverence and sublimity.

Connie L. Nash said...

Akhtar Sahib,

I am so glad you noticed this beautiful song...Tears of recognition for it's truth streamed down my eyes when I heard this today in a church we visited...You are the first one to see it...you are up late, no? Take care of self! :)

Connie L. Nash said...

ONE way to ELEVATE the HUMAN SOUL is to go to events such as these...For more, go to blogpost below entitled: "UPDATE: Lullaby for Palestinian Child" I've read the speaker's online column often and found it quite illuminating and with information, perspectives found nowhere else.

ATTENTION JOURNALISTS AND CONCERNED:

The Middle East Institute and The Foundation for Middle East Peace

Invite You to a Talk entitled:
Who Speaks For the Palestinians at the Negotiating Table?

Featuring: Helena Cobban - Author and Journalist

Thursday, September 24
12-1 PM
MEI Boardman Room
1761 N Street NW
Washington, DC 20036