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Notes from Prof. Tariq Ramadan's "In the Footsteps of the Prophet".

by Aneesah Satriya on Saturday, July 21, 2012 at 9:37am Quotes and points transcribed / paraphrased from the YouTube recording[]. Feel free to copy/paste/share any part of the text below if you so wish. Jazakumullahu khairan kathira to []One Heart Creative Solution as the organiser.


I was told that you are 2500 people this evening, and it's huge, and it's nothing. The Prophet 'alaihi solatu wassalam

told us from the very beginning, "The time will come when you are going to be numerous, millions, and then your impact in the world will be like nothing." Because we are not counting how many are believing, we are talking about the quality of our faith.


At the end of the day, this last message came to the Prophet 'alaihi solatu wassalam not only for the Muslims, it came

for the worlds -- the visible and the invisible worlds. So it's a message that is stronger than us. It's not for us only, we have a human responsibility to live by it, and to spread it around: through our words, through our deeds, and with our behavious with our fellow human beings.


The most important thing is not to start with "Allah seeing our mistakes", but "Allah is close to our intentions". And it's

not the same. Your intentions might be good even though the people can't see them. Ihsan, the highest level of faith. That you worship God as if you are seeing Him, or that He's seeing you. He is not monitoring your mistakes, He is welcoming your intentions.


The word "Allah" (non-)issue: We have, sometimes, an inferiority complex that we want to monopoly on words. What

we should try to have is a share on good deeds. Let us monopolise the good deeds.


No -- by the way there is something which is a personal fatwa: in my talk you don't clap. Not because it's not Islamic,

just because it helps us -- when you like something, you take ten seconds to think about it. Clapping is making you forget what you heard and ten seconds is making you think about what you heard.


"Happy with what I'm not doing" = Hypocrisy


"Struggling against my own contradictions" = Sincerity


The starting point of spirituality is to look at nature and what is natural, in a new way. Convert your sight, convert the

way you look at things. The way you look at things is a mirror. Look at nature as if it is a gift. Thank Allah.


The difference of understanding with your mind and understanding with your heart: understanding with your mind

could lead you towards arrogance. Understanding with your heart is always the condition of humility.


We have two things -- "When it's against the West, it's more Islamic", by definition. Which just shows how much we

don't understand Islam. Second -- "When it's difficult, it's Islamic." No. I'm sorry.


Anyone who is coming to you today, who is telling you, "Follow the Qur'an. And the Sunnah is not important", you

have only one question to ask him or her: "Tell me how to pray by reading the Qur'an". And the discussion is closed.


There is something which is very important: four qualities that are a starting point. The first one is confidence. And

confidence is not, not to doubt yourself. It's always good to doubt yourself. But what you should not doubt, is "la hawla wa la quwwata illa billah".


"I can't read, I can't read", and Allah is telling him, "Iqra' bismi rabbik", means "read in the name of your Educator" --

he was able to read. Meaning, "even if you can't read on your own, WITH ME YOU CAN."


"Even if you think you can't change this world on your own, WITH ME YOU CAN."


The second is trust. You have to put your trust in this community because even though there are divisions, even

though sometimes you have the feeling that you are doing exactly the opposite of what we have to do, there is a secret: this community will never come to an agreement on something which is wrong. And you can feel it, you can feel it everywhere you go. The secret of a link, between us, the Prophet 'alaihi solatu wassalam, and The One.


The third quality is ambition. Ambitious means with Allah's help, we can do it.


The last quality which is missing very often in our community these days, is courage.


Allah s.w.t. is not telling us, "forget about humanity and forget this life." No, it's all about balance. Don't forget your

share of this life, this life is important! You need to find your way in this life: well-being, feeling good, having a family, having joy, sometimes it will be sadness, but your life is your life, and you have to care about your life and humanity. Islam is, feel good here, with your principles, and prepare yourself for the next life. Celebrate your life with the right principles.


Remember that in the consumerist society, when it comes to entertainment, the first thing that the people want you

to forget, is that one day you are going to die. This is a scoop: one day you are going to die. It means that this life is limited, and you are going to be asked about things that you were not the owner of, and second is your own life -- what have you done?


If you want to have a good life, never forget that you are going to die.


There is no humanity without education. "Ar-Rabb", is in fact the roots of "At-Tarbiyyah" which is "the educator". We

translate this into English by "Lord", but in fact it is "The Supreme Educator".


The way we have to educate in our schools; not only the Islamic schools, but in everything, when it comes to our

Islam, and when it comes to life, is to stress on meanings and not only rituals. The very meaning of fiqh is deep understanding.


Education is not to ignore things, it's to talk about them!


Are you working tomorrow? Yes? I'm not. Alhamdulillah.


In the past time, we were very great in ... astronomy, in architecture, in science. And many people among you here

are very skilled and they are very much at the forefront of these new sciences. But very often, they give their skills and their competence to industries, to institutions, and they are not coming back to their community. So it's a lost knowledge for the Muslims today because we are bringing this to the people who are paying more. Sometimes we need also have to have a sense of priority. Sometimes we have to think about, "In which way am I useful here, in my society, in which way can I be creative with my knowledge, and to add knowledge to knowledge."


We are not distinguishing between Muslims and non-Muslims when the people are victims. We are on the side of the

poor, the oppressed, because this is the way that the Prophet 'alaihi solatu wassalam was.


Very often the American way of life is "Islamised". We want to drink and to eat fast, and we put halal meat, halal fast

food. In Islam, when you care about creation, fast food by definition is problematic. Take your time when you eat, say bismillahirrahmanirrahim and take your time. To eat fast is not to eat well.


Compare what you are eating during Ramadan and what you are eating now: it should be less. You eat less and think

more. Not eat more and sleep more.


Look, now, if I am coming from Europe, and I look at what you are producing, in arts, in culture, in creativity,

imagination, expression, what could you bring me that is something specific to you? Where are you? What do you want, do you want only Islamic songs, you put some Arabic words, and say this is Islam? Where is your culture?


He (the Prophet 'alaihi solatu wassalam) himself was talking in the way that was beautiful: few words but with deep

meaning. He was talking beautifully.


Ethical entertainment, ethical arts, this is where the Muslims should be -- not to disappear, then to say, "You don't

have to listen to music", and all the kids, they are going to the internet and they are listening to music and we are in a state of denial. We are silently colonised and this is not acceptable.


If you are asking the question, "Is God loving me when I am like this?" it means that Allah is within the question. He

is close to your conscience. (hati kecil)


Remember something: learn to forgive yourself. Not in an easy way. It's coming from the Buddhist tradition by the

way, it's talking about compassion (belas kasihan), and compassion is rahmah. They are always saying something which is very true: start with yourself. Be full of rahmah towards yourself first. When you are making du'a, you always have to start with yourself, not because you are selfish.


I keep on repeating to Muslims, wherever you are, we respect the people, though we disagree with their behaviour.

And this is our freedom to be able to say this. We should be clear on some references, and not -- in the name of being open-minded -- to forget all the principles that we may have as Muslims.


Three conditions for someone when he/she is going to work in a specific field within the community: competence integrity, accountability (bertanggungjawab). We are not only looking at the religion.



Two difficult things for Muslim communities to give up: the "victimhood" mentality; the sense that we can blame the

world for what we are doing, and to talk about unity and complaining that we are divided. By the way, it is one of the great challenges: Sunni, Shi'a, within the Sunni tradition the Salafi, the Reformists, to go beyond these divisions and to come to some agreement... The people who are complaining the most about Muslims are Muslims themselves, in a very negative way.


We don't thank God if we don't thank humanity and human beings