Old Warrior Passes On

maqbool farhat cropBack in 1999, almost 15 years ago, I had the pleasure of meeting Mr Maqbool Farhat. I was on a trip down from Leicester where I was studying for my BSc. It was my first time actually getting to know London properly although I had done the tourist thing a few times before.

Uncle Maqbool met me at the St Pancras station and took me to a house in North London where senior Quranists gathered. It was there that for the first time, I met two quranists   who would influence how I looked at the Quran and enhance my reading. I remember Uncle Maqbool bringing me to the very house as if it was yesterday. Bright day in late spring and we discussed the Quran till very late.

Uncle Maqbool has been at the helm of Toluislam London from the very beginning. He was always armed with his trusty receipt book ready to write you one should you happen to buy a book from him. His home was laden with the works of Mr Parwez, Dr Abdul Wadud and a few other authors. The place I consider the treasure trove though had to be his shed. This was where he kept the stock of the books. He would get them directly from the publishers in the Pakistan and even assist in their translation and editing. He had been dedicated in this endeavour for around 40 years. A quiet dedication whose fruits are being enjoyed today, including by yours truly.

The last time I saw him was to return unsold copies of the translated Nizaami Rabubiyah by Mr Parwez. Uncle Maqbool had helped to distribute it and I was pleased that it was being sold at a brisk pace. He was a shadow of his former self and finally told me of his cancer ordeal. I had no idea about this previously. He then lamented about the state of the Ummah and how they needed the message of the Quran. I tried to comfort him by reminding him of his contributions to that end but I was of little help. As emotions overcame me, I had to excuse myself before an ambulance came to take him to the hospital. Even though his stay in hospital was to be short (according to him), there was something final about that afternoon. I felt that this was our last meeting and I duly kissed him on the cheek, something I had never done before all through the years I’ve known him. He was in tears and so was I.

Death comes to all of us. It is the only certainty. Therefore we should make our life worthwhile as Uncle Maqbool did. Goodbye old friend.

Don’t label me

There are some people out there trying to undermine the term “quranism”, by encouraging people to say they are “just muslim”  (imo this is deceptive). My emotional response is this: (not being snarky, just trying to make a point)

Don’t Label Me.
I am not a “mother”. I am just a person  (But I do have parental responsibilities and go to Mother and Toddler groups)
Don’t label me!
I am not a woman, I am just a person (But I do use the womens bathroom)
Don’t label me!
I am not a “Stay-At-Home-Mom” or a “SAHM”, I am just a person. (But I do have kids and I am at home during the day)
I am not an “adult”. I am just a person (But I am over the age of 18.)
Don’t label me!
I am not a “sister”. I am just a person. (But I do have brothers)
Don’t label me!
I am not a “daughter”. I am just a person (but I do have parents)
Don’t label me!
I am not “lactose intolerant”. I am just a person. (But please don’t give me dairy products as I suffer allergic reactions)
Don’t label me!
I am not an “aunty”. I am just a person. (But my brother has a kid, yeah my nephew…)
Don’t label me!
I am not a “student”. I am just a person. (But I do study and I have a Student Discount Card)
Don’t label me!
I am not a “non-smoker”. I am just a person. (But yeah I will take the non smoking room thanks cos I don’t smoke.)
I am not “Asthmatic”. I am just a person. (But please help me get my asthma medicine urgently if I start having an asthma attack.)
Don’t label me!

Rohail Waseem on How to Approach Quranic Concepts

I think this is a brilliant set of instructions:

Peace! I just want to share some of my thoughts with you guys on Islam and Allah. I’ve really had enough of ‘my religion/sect is right and yours is false’ type of thing.

First of all, Allah (The God) is NOT a man in the sky. He is everywhere and is hence timeless/boundless. None can fathom His form, yet He perceives everything (Apparent or hidden) (6:103). When the Qur’an refers to his ‘face’ (2:272), it refers to His existence as the face is covered when one dies. Beautifully presented, but taken literally by some people unfortunately. Secondly, when He refers to His ‘hands’ (36:71), it obviously denotes His strength! And that is a pretty straightforward thing to understand.

Secondly, ALL the prophets came with the same message, and that was Islam (42:13). Islam is NOT a label or a religion of the Arabs. Rather, it is the means to achieve PEACE in your inner self, in the society and eventually in the Hereafter.

Third, Allah is NOT an economist who observes behavior and patterns, and then passes laws accordingly. He is the Creator and hence knows its Creation perfectly. He knows what will work and what wouldn’t. Hence, his laws do not ever change! To think otherwise would obviously demean His Knowledge. 33:62

Fourth, Malaika (angels) are NOT endowed with wings! Wings denote power and speed. They are the universal forces, I believe. When Allah says: Jibrael (Malaika) brings down the revelation to your hearts (2:97), it is NOT an angel with wings that does so. It is only a natural phenomenon that whenever you study the book with interest and conviction, the force Jibrael brings down the revelation to you. It is automatic! Just like a pen is bound to fall if it is dropped! No ‘angel ‘brings it down. Malaika praise Allah by carrying out his commands in the universe, not by humming his Praises. He is FAR above what we attribute to Him. He does not need our Praise. He only wants us to acknowledge His existence, follow his commands (to attain peace) and stay connected with Him (Salat) for our own betterment!

Now, people make a big fuss about Salat, and I will only briefly try to state my point of view.

Just as there is no ‘set’ method of eating/studying/teaching/conversing, Connection with the Almighty is also a thing which should naturally come to you. How that comes to you is none of my or anyone else’s business. If you find it in rituals, please continue to do so (without invoking anyone else of course, including the prophets). If you find it in reading the Qur’an, then that is also Salat. The prime focus should be on what derives the most connection, not mindless rituals on which people debate even today! The important thing is to ESTABLISH a connection whereby one can feel His presence at all times. 2:77-71 deals with this beautifully.(Note, I do not condemn rituals, in fact even I pray ritually when I feel I can derive a connection out of it)

See, the Deen (Way of life) by Allah is very easy to implement. In a nutshell, it is to develop your ‘inner self’, help other people to the best of your abilities by opposing tyranny in the land and being at peace with the Hereafter. THAT’S IT. Now the problem is, no money can be made if the deen of Allah was this simple since there would be absolutely no need of endless priests/imams. That’s where they come in and make the Deen difficult for everyone to implement (by coming out with their own books and laws) and thus making one of the worst crimes by making the Qur’an dependent on THEM (57:27). They divide people into sects and delude them into thinking that only their followers will achieve salvation. Examples are in front of you! I have tons else to say but I’ve tried my best to keep it brief.

Now some of these concepts might be new to you, but if you’re reading this, I just want to say thank you. And I want you to think about it with a clear head. Are we doing justice to the Supreme Creator by dividing into religions and worse even, sects? And that we fight with each other that our version is the best and others are doomed for fire when we don’t even need any book to teach us about how to spend this life! It’s installed in every single one of us! We already know what is good and what is bad. The Qur’an is a reminder (Dhikr) for a reason. It reminds you of what’s already there! The only reason we might not be at peace is because of the piles of garbage that has been fed to us, unfortunately by our own family, society, and priests (Knowingly or unknowingly). Hence the need of Qur’an, only to polish our souls! So break the shackles and set free! Don’t let anyone think for you and dictate YOUR life. Do it yourself! If you disagree with any of my points, fair enough! Your path should be unique since you have to walk on it. I am nobody to tell you to do this or do that. Focus on your spirituality! Walk your own path!

Finally, if you find anything useful out of this, it is only from the Lord of the Universe and I am really humbled to him for making me at peace with His book and Himself. What I condemn today, I was a part of a year ago so I know how it feels like. You can defend your imams all you want but it does not change the fact that they’re one of the biggest problems why the so called ‘Muslim’ world is totally opposite to what its name suggests, and that is to attain peace and security.

Thank you for your time.