Anda di halaman 1dari 15

CULTURE OF ISLAM

055 Rationality The Foundation of Islam


Imtiaz Muhsin 16-Dec-11

The main objective of these talks (and therefore the scripts of these talks), is to stimulate thinking. Sensible, rational and logical thinking. So, my message, think, think & think! Be sensible, be rational and be logical.

55 Rationality - The Foundation of Islam

Please Note
1. I have had the great privilege, (since Aug 2010), of presenting talks on the weekly Radio Program Culture of Islam [Every Friday 8 to 8.30 pm, Radio Sri Lanka - FM 97.4] 2. Since these are Radio Talks, I refer to, or address the audience as listeners 3. I am well aware that the audience to these talks would consist of people belonging to a variety of faiths. So as to make people of all faiths feel included, I very often use words and names that are common to all religions. 4. For these reasons, I use the name GOD, as well as Abraham, Moses, Jesus etc as well as the names Allah, Ibrahim (Alaihis aam), Moosa (Alaihis aam), Easa (Alaihis aam) etc 5. Muslims by habit usually say lallahu Alaihiwalam, when the name of Prophet Muhammad is mentioned, and Alaihis aam' when the name of a Prophet is mentioned. However, in these series of talks I have reduced the use of these prayers & sayings to the bare minimum. 6. Muslims, also by habit, use a number of Arabic prayers or sayings, such as Alhamdulillah, Insha Allah and so on. Again, I have reduced the use of these prayers or sayings to the bare minimum. 7. Sometimes I have to write Arabic words in the English script. I have devised my own way of writing Arabic in English, as follows;

th TH

s Ss SW

DHL DHZ

H h

Gh GH

Information on these talks along with all download links can be found on my on my Blog (http://imtiazm.wordpress.com/) The dates or the schedules of these talks can be viewed on the Facebook Page (http://www.facebook.com/ImtiazMuhsin786) The Scripts of these talks can be downloaded from www.ScribD.com (www.ScribD.com Author Imtiaz Muhsin) The audio files of these talks can be downloaded from YouTube (YouTube Channel Imtiaz Muhsin) The YouTube Link to this talk is at

All Praise and Thanks is due to Allah and Allah alone Alhamdulillah! P.S. The picture on the cover is of a Mosque from the remote village Parasangaswewa in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka

55 Rationality - The Foundation of Islam

055 Rationality - The Foundation of Islam


Dear Friends, I greet all you listeners with Assalamu Alaikum which, I am sure all of you would recognize as the greeting of a Muslim and means Peace be upon you! Today my talk is based on a rather interesting topic the subject of Rationality and Islam in fact my aim is to go even further, that is to provide rational and logical evidence that in fact the foundation of Islam is Rationality What is Rationality? The Dictionary describes it as, the faculty or process of drawing logical inferences. Question 1 Now I ask the question, what is a Religion, especially with reference to Islam? Well, obviously there would be many answers; some of them would be; 1. It is a belief system. 2. It is a value system. 3. It is a series of moral codes that encompass all aspects of life. 4. It is a life style based on set beliefs and set rituals. 5. It is the Culture, and in the case of Islam, it is the Culture of those who profess to be Muslims. Question 2 All these answers would be correct, but then I ask another question. How did all this start? In other words, how did this religion, this belief system, this value system, this moral system, this set of beliefs and rituals, and to crown it all, this culture which we refer to as the Culture of Islam, how or where did it all start? Surely people or it would be better described as whole populations would not just swallow these instructions and begin to behave in the manner that this religion dictates, and thereafter would they just coerce their children, families and society to swallow these instructions and then call them Muslims? There has to have been some starting point, a point or a sequence that appealed to people or at least to some people at the start. The person who started inviting to this religion and his initial core group of accepters would have had to spend a considerable amount of their time and efforts, in fact it would not be wrong to say that they spent all their time and all their efforts learning these teachings and then conveying them to others who gradually began accepting these teachings and changing their lives to suit the directives of these new teachings. It is a huge process. The umpteen questions they would have been asked? The ridicule they would have had to face! The aggression directed at them from those who felt that these new teachings were a threat to their vested interests, in whatever form they may be.

55 Rationality - The Foundation of Islam

For example a new value system would have pointed out that some old and well established morals and values of that society were wrong and had to be changed or adjusted. This would have made people ask are you accusing me of sinning or being immoral? Difficult questions to face, difficult answers to give. The process would have required an immense amount of patience, dedication, conviction, and understanding as well as straight talking, delivered with kindness and tact. I invite all you listeners to spend some time meditating on this scenario or on this process, it is, believe me, a valuable as well as an interesting exercise for the intellect. The task of changing the mind set of an individual is just not easy. Then imagine the task of attempting to change the mind sets of society. It is no joke; it can only be described as an arduous and a courageous undertaking. Question 3 Now I ask another question. Actually the question is at the very core of the topic of my talk. Would people have changed their ways, or their religion or their mindsets or their moral systems or their value systems, without the new replacement being explained to them to their satisfaction? The explanation should address and remove all doubts in their minds. The explanation should have convinced them that the new teachings were in fact better or truer than the beliefs and teachings that they had been following right through their lives as well as followed by their fathers, before them. Is this not a mighty task? And would you all not agree with me if I were to say that the only way of doing this is by presenting watertight logic logic and rationality that could be evinced by their eyes their ears and their thoughts and even deeper evidence or logic that appealed deep into the very core of their very hearts and their souls? In fact listeners, I am sure, would realize that the task of presenting these new teachings or these truths would have been the task of not only Muhammad ( )the enlightened person or the Prophet who presented Islam to his people, but would also have been the task of all Prophets and learned leaders. We could cite as examples Jesus Christ, whom we Muslims reverently refer to as Prophet Easa (AS) and Lord Buddha. They too would have faced the arduous task of presenting the truth or the new teachings to their family, to relatives, to friends and to society. Since this is a talk on the Culture of Islam I shall focus my talks on the rationality of the teachings of Prophet Muhammad ( )and on the rationality of Islam. So let us begin at the very beginning of the story of Nubbuwath or the Prophet-hood of Muhammad () This is a well known story. Our beloved Prophet Muhammad ( )was meditating in a cave on top of Mt Hira, and then suddenly this Angel (Jibreel AS) appeared and commanded him with the word Iqra meaning Read or Recite

55 Rationality - The Foundation of Islam

Muhammad ( )was confused and replied that he could not read, the Angel repeated the command Iqra and Muhammad ( )again replied that he could not read and in the third instance Muhammad ( )began to recite the Aayaths of the Holy Quran as Allah Taala was revealing, to him, through Jibreel AS. All of us Muslims understand this command Iqra to mean Read especially to read or to recite the Holy Quran. When Muhammad ( )began to convey this message, he was speaking to people, most of whom were illiterate they could not read or write as we understand reading and writing. This fact is also confirmed in the Holy Quran itself. In Surah Jummah the 2nd Aayath;

1 2 3 4

He is the One who raised amidst the unlettered people a messenger from among themselves who recites to them His Aayaath (Signs) and purifies them and teaches them the Book and the Wisdom, while earlier, they were in open error.


So, here is something for us to ponder about.

When we hear the word Read we immediately think of reading a book. This is because all of us are literate. We live in a literate world where everyone knows how to read and write. But during the time of the early revelations, hardly any Arab could read, and books or even any reading material (as we know it) were just not freely available as they are now. In fact the Holy Quran was never in a form of a physical book during the life time of Muhammad () We know that the Quran was revealed part by part and the whole revelation took 23 years.

55 Rationality - The Foundation of Islam

In fact the Holy Quran was first put into a form of a book only in the time of the 1st Caliph of Islam, Abu Bakr (Ral) Question 4 So, we ask the question, At that time, what would the word Iqra or Read have meant to the Arabs especially of Mecca and its surroundings? For them their reading was the reading of the world and rationalizing what they read, the reading of nature and rationalizing what they read. The reading of the weather patterns, the reading of the health of their cattle and their crops and the reading of the business climate. These were the readings that they were skilled in and practiced all the time. This was what was Reading for them. Reading of books would have been furthest from their minds because they were not literate and books were not available. To ponder further, we should look into what Muhammad ( )was doing in the Cave on Mt Hira, so we have to first go back in time and look at some of the changes that was gradually shaping the life of Muhammad () Muhammad ( )was an orphan, his Father, Abdullah, had died before he was born and his Mother, Aaminah, had died when he was just 6 years old! Muhammad ( )grew up under his Grandfathers care and was well liked and had a special reputation for honesty. The wealthy widow, Lady Khadija made use of his services to be in charge of her trading when her merchandise joined a caravan. The Caravan returned after a few months with a handsome profit for Lady Khadija. Obviously Lady Khadija was impressed. Due to his honesty and pleasant demeanor, a proposal was arranged, and Muhammad () married Lady Khadija. Now what would any one expect from this union? Let us see the ingredients; 1. Here was a Lady with a fair amount of business capital, 2. She is getting married to a Man who had proved his business acumen and integrity. 3. They lived in Mecca, a city well known as a business center. 4. Muhammad ( )was from the Quraish - the Tribe that was entrusted with looking after the Kaabathullah. So business premises or contacts were his for the asking. So what we would expect is that through this union, a prosperous business establishment or concern should have been built. But then we see something very strange. Muhammad ( )does not do business. Over a period of 15 years the couple gives away all their wealth in charity and Muhammad ( )spends more and more of his time in meditation. During these 15 years, Muhammad ( )and Lady Khadija had 3 daughters and at the time of the event on Mt Hira these 3 girls would probably have been in their early teens.

55 Rationality - The Foundation of Islam

Muhammad ( )had become a very thoughtful person, his business and other social experiences rather than opening up more opportunities to earn, made him meditate on the meaning of the world and life itself. He found the city of Mecca too distracting and began to walk a few miles out of Mecca in harsh lonely conditions and take on a strenuous climb to top Mt Hira to meditate on these truths. Lady Khadija (RA) gave him admirable support and had been a great comfort to him. All of us would agree that the behavior of Muhammad ( )in the period preceding Nubuwwath or the first revelation had been very unusual. Question 5 Why??? Because, he had been reading or rationalizing the world, and what he read or rationalized about the world worried him, it created a great thirst a great worry for him to meditate and unravel that something that frighteningly obvious truth that bore very, very heavily on his mind. He was using his sight, his hearing, his thinking and his conscience to read to rationalize the world and he had to use these same faculties to reason out the truth or the Haqeeqath of this world and of life itself! So, does it not make sense when Allah through Jibreel (AS) revealed to him the first Aayath; (96:1) Read with the name of your Rabb who created (everything),

(96:2) He created man from a clot

(96:3) Read, and your Rabb is the most gracious,

That a possible meaning would be for all of us to read the world, ponder on the signs that are obvious in the workings of this world and accept that there is a very mighty but benevolent power that is controlling and managing this world. These are the signs of Allah Taala that we see all around us in this world and when we say Read the Aayath of Allah Taala we also mean Read the Signs of Allah Taala, because the Arabic word Aayath means Signs So it becomes obvious, that there has been a continuous process of rationalizing. Before his Prophet-hood Muhammad ( )had been in deep thought rationalizing whatever he had been observing in the workings of the World. After his Prophet- hood he was rationally explaining these to his people and the Aayaths of the Holy Quran were in themselves espousing people to rationalize and to believe. Now, what would be the opposite of being rational, especially where the beliefs and rituals of a religion are concerned?

55 Rationality - The Foundation of Islam

The word we use to describe this condition is being dogmatic Unfortunately (today) many Muslims are dogmatic. I would not be wrong to state that many adherents of all religions, base their beliefs and rituals on dogmatism they come up with two arguments in their defense; Argument 1 1. We believe in the unseen, so our belief is blind belief. Argument 2 2. We are following the path shown to us by our wise elders or our sages or what has been shown to us by our parents, thus we do not go in search of rationality, we believe, we follow, we act! Response or answer to Argument 1 The answer to the 1st argument would be that it is belief in the unseen (the Quran describes it as Yuminoona bil ghaib) but then the Quran does go on to elaborate or explain, in a number of places. that we should observe, listen, use out many faculties to think and to process this information and then we would come to the conclusion that there is an unseen power out there. We would come to the conclusion that there are invisible arrangements or processes working. We are also invited to observe the magnificence of these processes, the purity of these processes, the wisdom in these processes. This, is rationalized belief! Response or answer to Argument 2 The answer to the second question is, that it is true that many of us blindly or dogmatically follow rituals or give weight-age to finer points of deeds and we do claim these are the deeds of some respected sage or some saint or some important Imam even though the manner in which we are performing these rituals or deeds does not seem rationale. What we must understand is that these sages, or saints or Imams had rationally chosen to perform some ritual or a finer point of a deed by using his knowledge his own rationale or logic and this had impressed many others. Now we try to duplicate this same action or deed without realizing or even trying to work out the logic or the rationale behind it. So this results in our performing deeds that are sometimes out of context, we could describe it as being irrational, we defend these actions dogmatically. Some of us call it superstition; some of us call it Mumbo Jumbo. The roots of Dogmatism are embedded in ignorance, and dogmatism leads to fundamentalism. This ignorance, dogmatism and fundamentalism are found amongst a large numbers of persons of all religions, Islam is no exception. Now in rationality or even in logic there are certain arguments that we study. There would be arguments for and arguments against, we weigh these and just like a judge we try to work out which sets of arguments are weightier, we try to be as unbiased as possible, and then decide what to us would be logical.

55 Rationality - The Foundation of Islam

In Islam too we are invited to study such arguments and weigh the pros and cons this can be a very educative experience. In Islam it is the Holy Quran that provides us with the many signs, which we search for to establish our beliefs, our values, our morals even our unity. Now the beauty of the Signs or the Aayaths of the Holy Quran is that there are no pros and cons and a process of weighing the arguments and then agreeing that the Aayaths or the Signs in the Quran are weightier the fact is that there are no weak points in the Holy Quran in fact at the very beginning of the Holy Quran it declares

(2:1) Alif. Lm. Mm .

(2:2) That Book has no doubt in it - a guidance for the Muththaqi (the Godanxious),

There is no doubt in that Book now that is an enormously powerful statement to make, and that statement too is a Sign of Allah that whatever Aayaths or Signs are mentioned or described in the Holy Quran have no doubt in them amazing! Now let us get to the rationalizing process itself. Question 6 How do we rationalize? All of us are using this rationalizing process, it is continuously running in our minds right throughout the wakeful hours of lives. What do we use? We use our senses to study the surroundings, take in the information, process it in our minds and compare it with all our earlier experiences which are archived in our minds and then come to conclusions. So, the faculties we use would be the eyes, the ears, the intelligence, the experience we have gathered throughout our lives, and other similar faculties. The Quran mentions each of these faculties and calls upon all of us to use these faculties to rationally work out our beliefs, values, morals ethics and especially our behavioral patterns and Culture;

55 Rationality - The Foundation of Islam

No 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34

Aayath Nos (002:007) (024:044) (015:075) (007:032) (002:242) (013:004) (030:028) (036:068) (045:005) (039:021) (006:098) (010:067) (032:026) (013:003) (016:013) (007:057) (027:062) (016:017) (002:221) (032:027) (016:079) (015:077) (045:004) (007:058) (042:033) (036:073) (040:081) (046:027) (013:002) (052:032) (003:013) (003:028) (003:103) (016:079)

Description Signs for those who ask Signs for those who have eyes to see Signs for those who read signs Signs for those who have knowledge Signs for those who use reason or intelligence

Signs for wise people or people who understand Signs for those who understand (Yafqahoon) Signs for those who listen Signs for those who think do Fikr Signs for those who do Zikr

Signs for those who perceive Signs for those who believe Signs for those who have conviction Signs provided in variety Signs for those who are patient and grateful He shows His Signs do you still deny? Signs - So that you may return Objective of elaborating the Signs Is it rebellious or intellect? Indeed, there is an Ibrathan (lesson) therein for those who do abSWaar (perceive) In this there is surely a sign for you, if you are (truly) believers This is how Allah makes His signs clear to you, so that you may be guided. Surely, in that there are signs for a people who believe.

10

55 Rationality - The Foundation of Islam

Let us go through some of these Aayaths; 1. Signs for those who ask (1 Aayath) (012:007) These are signs for those who ask 2. Signs for those who have eyes to see (1 Aayath) (024:044) Surely, in that there is a lesson for those who have eyes to see 3. Signs for those who read signs (1 Aayath) (015:075) Surely, in that there are signs for those who read signs 4.1. Signs for those who have knowledge (2 Aayaths) (007:032) This is how We elaborate the verses for people who understand (006:097) We have elaborated the Signs for the People who have knowledge 5.1 Signs for those who use reason or intelligence (5 Aayaths) (002:242) Thus doth Allah Make clear His Signs to you: In order that ye may use your Aql (intelligence). (013:004) Surely, in that there are signs for those who use their intelligence (030:028) This is how We explain the signs for those who use their intelligence (036:068) Then, do they not use their intelligence (sense)? (045:005) There are signs for those who use their intelligence.

11

55 Rationality - The Foundation of Islam

6. Signs for wise people or people who understand (1 Aayath) (039:021) Surely in that there is a lesson for the people of understanding 7. Signs for those who understand (Yafqahoon) (1 Aayath) (006:098) We have elaborated the Signs for the People who understand 8.1 Signs for those who listen (2 Aayath) (Dogmatic people do not listen) (010:067) Indeed, there are signs therein for a people who listen. (032:026)Surely, in that there are signs. So, do they not listen? 9. Signs for those who think do Fikr 1 (013:003) Surely, in that there are signs for a people who think. 10. Signs for those who do Zikr (5 Aayaths) (016:013) Surely, in that, there is a sign for a people who accept advice (007:057) So that you may learn a lesson (027:062) Little do you heed to advice (016:017) Would you still pay no heed? (002:221) and makes His Signs clear to mankind: That they may do Zikr. 11. Signs for those who perceive (1 Aayath) (032:027) So, do they not perceive? 12. Signs for those who believe (2 Aayaths) (016:079) Surely, in it there is a sign for the believers (015:077) Surely, in it there is a sign for the believers

12

55 Rationality - The Foundation of Islam

13. Signs for those who have conviction (1 Aayath) (045:004) there are signs for a people who believe. 14. Signs provided in variety (1 Aayath) (007:058) Thus we alternate the Aayath for people who pay gratitude 15. Signs for those who are patient and appreciative (grateful) (2 Aayaths) (042:033) Surely in this, there are signs for everyone who is ever patient, fully grateful. (036:073) So, would they not be grateful? 16. He shows His Signs do you still deny? (040:081) He shows you His signs. Then, which of the signs of Allah would you (still) deny? 17. Signs - So that you may return (1 Aayath) (046:027) while We had given to them a variety of signs, so that they might return (from disbelief). 18. Objective of elaborating the Signs (1 Aayath) (013:002) Elaborating the signs so that you may be sure of meeting your Rabb 19. Some more Aayaths that espouse us to use our intellect, rationalizing, being logical and sensible. 6 Aayaths (52:32) Is it their intellects that direct them to (say) this, or are they a rebellious people? (3:13- Part) Indeed, there is a lesson therein for those who perceive (3:49 - Part) In this there is surely a sign for you, if you are (truly) believers.

13

55 Rationality - The Foundation of Islam

(3:103 - Part) This is how Allah makes His signs clear to you, so that you may be guided. (16:79) Did they not look at the birds how they are controlled in the atmosphere of the sky? No one holds them but Allah. Surely, in that there are signs for a people who believe.

(5:75 - Part) Look how We explain signs to them, then see how far they are turned away.

There are many more such Aayaths. So dear listeners, do you not think it is critically important for us to understand what the Quran is instructing? As a first most vital step should we not be striving both diligently and assiduously to learn Arabic the language that the Quran is worded in? May Allah Taaalah guide us all and accept us all. Jazza Kalla Khairan Assalamu Alaikum
Imtiaz Muhsin Colombo Sri Lanka crescent786@hotmail.com

You Tube Channel - HaneefanMusliman

14

55 Rationality - The Foundation of Islam

Series 2 The Talks numbered 054 to 071 is under a series titled Knowing Allah Taaalah or Knowing GOD The details of the scripts of these 16 Episodes (Talks) are as follows;
Talk No Episode 1 Episode 2 Episode 3 Episode 4 Episode 5 Episode 6 Episode 7 Talk Number & Title 054 Ilm Knowing Allah 055 Rationality - The Foundation of Islam 056 Is Man Special? 057 Ar Rahmaan - The Beneficent 058 Nature or GOD? 059 Our Relationship with GOD! Sub Series: 060 Is this what we are created for? (Is this what we are created for? Part 1) Sub Series: 061 What do we see on Earth (Is this what we are created for? Part 2) Sub Series: 062 Who are WE? Where do we fit in? (Is this what we are created for? Part 3) Sub Series: 063 Our benefits on Earth (Is this what we are created for? Part 4) Sub Series: 066 What makes us 'Stand Out'? What makes us 'Special'? (Is this what we are created for? Part 5) Sub Series: 067 Who is in charge? (Is this what we are created for? Part 6) Sub Series: 068 What ALLAH Teaches Us, About Himself (Is this what we are created for? Part 7) Sub Series: 069 Our Special Faculties How they should be used, How they should not be used! (Is this what we are created for? Part 8) Sub Series: 070 The TWO Paths 071 Is this what we are created for? A review of Parts 1 to 8 from the Sub Series Is this what we are created for? Date Broadcast Dec 9th 2011 Dec 16h 2011 Dec 23th 2011 Dec 30th 2011 Jan 6th 2012 Jan 13th 2012 Jan 20th 2012 Jan 27th 2012 Feb 3rd 2012 Feb 10th 2012 Feb 17th 2012 Feb 24th 2012 Mar 2nd 2012 Details of Picture on Cover Wellawatte Jummah Mosque in Colombo, Sri Lanka Parasangaswewa Mosque (a remote village) in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka Mutwal Jummah Mosque in Colombo, Sri Lanka The Akbar Mosque in Slave Island, Colombo, Sri Lanka Mosque in Matara, from the Southern Province of Sri Lanka Beach Mosque at Kalmunaikudi in the Eastern Province, Sri Lanka A Mosque in the Kurnegala District, Sri Lanka Maradana Jummah Mosque in Colombo, Sri Lanka Colpetty Jummah Mosque, in Colombo, Sri Lanka The Jummah Mosque at Natpidimunnai, in the Ampara District, Sri Lanka The Devatagaha Mosque in Colombo, Sri Lanka A Mosque in a rural village in the Ampara District, in Sri Lanka The Jummah Mosque in Oluvil a village in the Ampara District, Sri Lanka The Dhanakawewa Jummah Mosque in a remote village in the Anuradhapura District in Sri Lanka Mosque at Madhavakulam in the Puttlam District, Sri Lanka A Mosque by a river in the Eastern Province, Sri Lanka

Episode 8 Episode 9 Episode 10

Episode 11

Episode 12

Episode 13

Episode 14

Mar 9th 2012 Mar 16th 2012 Mar 23rd 2012

Episode 15 Episode 16

15

55 Rationality - The Foundation of Islam