Islamic American Diary - Starting from the Beginning *
By Hafiz Muhammed Amin Kholwadia
In their zeal to understand and familiarize themselves with a new-found hobby, many people ignore the preliminary stages of its acquisition. This inevitably leads to tremendous contradictions and confusion when that hobby becomes an every day “over dinner talk”. “Born again Muslims” are no exception.
In the midst of their discovery of a great forgotten power, many Muslims undertake browsing through the Qur’an and Hadith as if they were reading obsolete editions of “The Reader’s Digest”. It is true that the Qur’an was revealed to be read: but it is equally true that it was revealed to create an affiliation with its Initiator, Allah. And it is this preliminary reality of the Qur’an which is systematically ignored and even perhaps undermined. It is also true that Hadith has to coincide with the Qur’an and reality; but it is just as necessary for those who “object” to it to develop an affinity with its source, the Prophet S.A.W.
Again, this fundamental pre-requisite is categorically swept away in the name of objectivity and rationality.
Ironically, these well-wishers of the Muslim ummah claim to be professional and scientific in their approach. How many literary works are read without understanding the author’s biography and the historical circumstances of its time? How many scientific analyses are made on insufficient research? How many amateur (and emotional) opinions are accepted by professional experts? How many of these “professional and scientific” explorers of the Qur’an and Hadith would even listen to a lay man’s view in their respective fields? How many indeed?
Again, to reiterate, this is not an attempt to condemn the reading or discussing of the Qur’an and Hadith, for that would be suicidal. This is an attempt to echo the need for subjective affiliation with Allah and the meta physical reasons why the early Muslims were able to become an international force. Haven’t you heard what the Companions used to say to their students:
“We learned Iman (faith) first and then we learned the Qur’an.”?
Or how was it that the early scholars of Hadith (who were the first to formulate stringent rules for its validity) were able to develop one of the greatest systems of law (of their time) without compromising their love for the Prophet’s words?
Knowing Allah and His ways is what enabled early Muslims to understand and disseminate the Qur’an and its sciences. Breathing in the spirit of Hadith is what helped our forerunners bring the Prophet’s S.A.W. message and system to us. Academics and rationality have their places in classrooms. But it is indisputable love for Allah and His Prophet S.A.W. which wrote our better history! That’s where we have to start again!
The American Muslim
Originally published in the September/October 1991 print edition of
Visit Hafiz Muhammed Amin Kholwadia’s site at http://blog.darulqasim.org/