“If You Save A Life….A Muslim brother contemplating taking his life.”

And whoever saves one – it is as if he had saved mankind entirely. (Holy Qur’an 5:32)

Bismillah ir rahman ir raheem, Allahumma Salli Ala Muhammed.

As salamu ‘alikum warahmutallahi wabaraktuh, Dear respected readers.  This was an e-mail that was sent to me some many months back.  I will keep the reader’s name confidential as I will with all such correspondence insh’Allah.    Rather or not you agree with Prima-Qur’an is irrelevant. Please keep this person in your du’a.

This is what the respected brother had put forward as well as my response.

 

Dear brother Jason, Assalamualaikum. Going through different websites in search of knowledge, I would so many debates and discussions regarding aqida. Salafis and Maturidis/Asharis fighting each other regarding questions as to where Allah is, and how do we understand what we mean by Allah’s hand. Such debates have caused great turmoil to me. I cannot even pray because of these doubts. I have found you a sincere person. No doubt you would have gone through the same debates much before than me. How do you understand these debates? Feel free to be frank, as I swear I am no mischief maker who would use anything against you. Please do answer some doubts. Is the Quran uncreated or created? What does that mean? How do we interpret Allah having a Face, Hands etc and how do we reconcile that he sees and hears, even though we do the same? If you answers these doubts based on your research and satisfy me, consider yourself to have saved a life, as these doubts make life very hard, and death a pleasing alternative. Fi Amman Allah
My response:
Bismillah ir rahman ir raheem, walakum salaam wr wb, Dear respected brother, I hope you are in the best of health and faith and that Allah swt has brought some levity to your situation and ease to your troubled heart. Indeed these are challenging times, for us all.
If you are still around, please do let me know. I would be curious as to which debates/discussions on forums you have already weighed over, and/or which books you have read in English, Urdu, Punjabi, Hindi, Arabic, Farsi and so forth on the subjects at hand. You may include works in other languages. The reason I am asking you this is, is because I wish not to be redundant and recommend material that you may already posses or have poured over.
So what I would try and do is find out what issues in particular you are grappling with and than I would give you recommended sources from the Ashari, Salafist-Athari, or Mutazalite theological schools so that you can pray on it. As regards the Athari-Salafi/Maturdi/Asharis and all of this, I am of the impression that Islam is a big tent with a room for all these views. I would say I am a minority in holding this conviction.
I am actually more interested to see which of these theological positions, Athari, Maturidi, Ashari, Mutazalite and others can safe guard the hearts and minds of Muslims. How do each of these view points square up with say, Christianity, Hindu Brahmanism, New Age belief systems, various Western/Eastern philosophical schools and their formations of ontological and epidemiological world views.
Because this is a debate WITH-IN Islam, I am curious and fascinated to see which of these theological schools safe guard the heart and mind of Muslims. It even could be that the truth is in a combination of these schools.
I’m quite sure that the early Muslims did not delve into all of these matters. I believe that there primary concern was that they ascribed no partner to Allah (swt) than to delve into the ‘who/what/when/where/why’ of Allah (swt). So I think the main issue is shirk and we have to be very careful of accusing any Muslim of shirk. I find that all of these schools of creed are constructs of human beings, being constructs of human beings they are bound to contain flaws and inconsistencies.
If Allah (swt) says in the Holy Qur’an that he has hands , are we to fault someone for repeating this? Does the Holy Qur’an say, “I have two hands (btw in a way that benefits my majesty” or does it simply say, ” I have two hands” ? So in reality when Athari-Salafist say that Allah (swt) has two hands (in a way that benefits Allah swt majesty) they are already making concessions to the Ashari’s. When the Athari-Salafist take the verse “Allah is with you where ever you are” they always like to add “in his knowledge” and that is not what the text says. So in reality we are making the text to conform to our theological presuppositions. So the Atharis-Salafist are guilty on this point. I think we are all a bit guilty of this and Allah (swt) knows best.
Or In the Hereafter, Muslims can see Allah. “Some faces that Day shall be shining and radiant looking at their Lord.” (Holy Quran 75:22-23) So as you may have read the Ashari’s seem to be masters at giving interpretations to anything and everything and yet seem to get stuck on this point. So why is it appropriate for Ashari’s to assert that people will see Allah (swt) without this in any way shape or form belittling the majesty of Allah (swt) without Allah (swt) being contained by time/space and yet Salafist-Atharis can not state what Allah (swt) has stated about himself in the Holy Qur’an? There could be volumes and volumes written on the meaning “nothing like unto him”.
After all it seems a bit redundant to allow theological and philosophical classifications to so easily define what ‘is’ and ‘is not’ for a being in which “there is nothing like unto him” no model or mode for comparison. “Say: the things that my Lord has indeed forbidden are: shameful deeds, whether open or secret; sins and trespasses against truth or reason; assigning of partners to Allah, for which He has given no authority, and saying things about Allah of which you have no knowledge.” (Holy Qur’an 7:33).” For example I do not believe that Allah (swt) is a Trinity not because I believe its impossible, I do not believe it because I do not believe that this is how Allah (swt) has revealed himself to us.
In fact when I have participated in dhikr -sufi circles of remembering Allah (swt) I actually felt closest to Allah (swt) by not defining the Creator as this or that, or putting my own finite limited understanding to the All Powerful, and the one who Has Full Grasp of All Things, but by simply being in a state of awe that Allah (swt) is beyond my comprehension, and that this Omnipotent being cares for me loves me , showers compassion and mercy upon me and All creation.
To be fair in the same way that Hanbali and Shafi’i and the ‘Ahl Hadith’ have been unfair to the Hanafi madhab when it comes to their approach to the hadith, I feel that the Hanafi, Shaf’i and Maliki have been at times unfair to the Athari-Salafist school. Hence if you notice today when people speak about ‘traditional Islam’ when/where do you see Hanbali fiqh classes? The truth of the matter is that the Salafi manhaj is a natural outgrowth of the Hanbali mahadhab. The idea that Ahl Sunnah Wal Jammah is one big happy family is not entirely false nor is it entirely true. Our history has been fraught with tensions concerning jurisprudence and creed.
If you have not had the chance I would highly recommend a translation of Abu Hamid Al Ghazali’s Faysal Al-Tafriqa (On the Boundaries of Theological Tolerance in Islam) by Sherman A. Jackson. I think this is an absolute MUST read; especially needed in our times.
Please forgive me for the time it has taken to reply you. I hope that you have not given up on life. Please know that I am here for you my beloved brother in any capacity that I can be. In service to you.
As salamu ‘alikum warahmutallahi wabaraktuh.

2 Comments

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2 responses to ““If You Save A Life….A Muslim brother contemplating taking his life.”

  1. If this brother is still about, I think he would benefit greatly from a discussion with Shaykh Atabek Shukurov, or at least from watching his lectures that are available on YouTube, particularly his series on `Aqīdah Tahāwiyyah and/or the Wasiyyah of Imām Abū Hanīfah.

  2. Abdullah

    Assalaamu Alaykum Wa Rahmatullah my brothers in Islam.

    I recieved this article in my email this morning and couldn’t help but repond with my own personal experiences regarding this matter. I myself come from a typical Salafi/Wahhabi background and I was heavily into this ideology where I belived firmly that this is the correct way and eveyone else including the Hanafi’s/Maliki’s/Asharis/maturidis/sufis are all wrong! This caused me massive problems in my life and confusion.

    I remember attending classes of these literalists and still couldn’t help but ask questions regarding the attributes of Allah and issues regarding Aqeeda. I remember reading the hadeeth about Allah (SWT) descending to the lowest heaven/earth and was told we must belive this literally! Ofcourse we are to believe it in a way that suits His (SWT) majesty. And Quranic verses that mentions a hand (Yad), a face (Wajh), etc, I was only looking at Islam from the Salafi madhhab but really its just following Ibn Taymiyyah, Ibn Qayyim, Sheikh Albani, Bin Baz, and Uthaymeen (May Allah be please with them all). In other words, we are looking at one version or interpretation of Islam whereas Islam has so many other branches to it. So who are we to say I’m correct and you’re wrong?

    I started to do my own research and I spend months listening to lectures and did alot of reading (mainly articles from websites including this one). I realised that there’s more to Islam than just Salafism! I realised that the earliest schools that existed where the Hanafis, the Malikis, the Asharis, Matruridis, sufis, and even the Mutazzilites! And I was even more shocked to find that many early Hanbali scholars refutes these so called literalists (modern day Salafis) including the great Abu’l Faraj Ibn Al Jawzi, Abu’l Fadl At Tameemi, Al Qaadi Abu Ya’laa, and others. Also well known Muhaditheen including Imam An Nawawi, Ibn Hajar Al Asqalani, and Imam Al Bayhaqi were well known Asharis also took mertaphorical interpretations regaring the attributes of Allah. But ofcourse Salafi’s don’t want you to know that and they quote from these scholars as well.

    They make Ibn Taymiyyah (May Allah be pleased with him) like the only scholar who was correct at his time but yet 4 Qadi’s (Judges) from 4 madhhabs found him quilty because he was issueing fatwa’s that noone before him were saying. So a Hanafi judge, a Maliki judge, a Shafi judge, and hanbali judge all found him quilty! Isn’t this a little strange?? and yet salafis make it look like they were just jelous of him and were all wrong. I find this extremely hard to believe. Although I DO NOT agree with many things Ibn Taymiyyah says but I respect him as a scholar and he had alot of knowledge. Even his own student Imam Dhahabi critisized him. You can search and verify this information yourself brother. But Shhh, don’t tell salafis this!

    Brother, there are oceans of knowledge out there yet to be dicovered so I feel your pain. Trust me I do. I too was extremely confused and me Imam went rock bottum and if it wasn’t for reading the Qur’an for myself without all those Tafsirs, Hadeeths, scholarly works, biased interpretations, I probably wouldn’t be muslim today. I thank and Praise Allah (Azza Wajal) for opening my heart to His beautiful book.

    My advise to you brother is to stay away from salafism, make alot of dua, and read the Quran. Focus on the Quran! Not everything in the Quran is literal and not everything is metaphorical. People undertand things differently and this is just human nature. Like when Allah mentions Hands (Ayd) in reference to Himself but also uses the Masculin pronoun (He, His, Him) so are we to take this literal and say Allah is a male? Ofcourse not! Then why do we say He has a literal hand and we don’t know the howness of it? Allah also says that He is in the heavens and in the earth (huwallahu fis samawati wa fil ard) so are we to say Allah is here with us on earth? So why do some take this literal and some take it metaphorical? Doesn’t Allah say Laysa Kimithlihi Shay (There is NOTHING like Him)? Then why do we put an Image on Him and say whatever suits His majesty? This never made sense to me.

    SubhanAllah, I don’t want to over burden you brother but just know that you are NOT the only brother who’s going through difficulty. I say just go with what your heart tells you and what makes sense to you. This website will surely help you as well especially regaring the approach to hadeeth. Salafis tell you that any hadeeth that is Sahih must be followed which is nonsense! I pray that Allah (SWT) blesses us, forgives us, and guides us all! Ameen Yaa Rabbil Alameen.

    Salaam.

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