Wednesday, March 17, 2010

What type of heart do you have?

Whilst having dinner at Abu Zad last week, I noticed the people having dinner near to us were a family of extremely religious Muslims. The wives were wearing full niqabs, the husbands had full beards. They were quite fair skinned and to be honest, they had a certain distant look in their eyes, not quite crazed, but like somebody who was just not with it. I recognise that exact same look when I see fair skinned Jews from England or America talking about their "divine right" to live in Palestine. I'm not judging anybody, but this is just an impression that I got from looking at these individuals.

As I learn more about Islam and how the Prophet used to behave, I see striking similarities between some Jewish practices and beliefs, and how early Muslims behaved. I also see the distinction, ever so subtle, between a heart that is dead and follows slavishly the letter of the Law, and a living, beating heart that is trying to follow the spirit of that Law. That is the straight path that a Muslim* man or woman should always try to find, not the path of those who are lost or those who have wrath upon them.

Deep thoughts for a Thursday night...

* I don't subscribe to the view that being Muslim is necessarily being a part of a team or civilization, it is more something you do than something you are, to submit.

6 comments:

boxthejack said...

A very thoughtful post thanks.

Out of curiosity, how far do you go with this? Farid Esack, writing about his experience in the anti-apartheid struggle, described his view of [i]iman[/i] and [i]kufr[/i] in terms of the closeness of a person's heart to the heart of God, in particular as it beats for the downtrodden and oppressed. Hence, he viewed some of his Marxist and Christian allies as small 'm' muslims and Mu'minun, and some of those who taught in the mosques which accommodated apartheid as lacking a submissive heart toward God and therefore not Muslim as such.

Maysaloon said...

I'm wary about labelling people Muslim or not. I don't know, he has a point. But that these Marxists or Christians are in tune with the God simply because they oppose apartheid is a flaky way to judge if someone is a Mu'min. I know plenty of people who support the Palestinians but whom I wouldn't touch with a barge pole.

boxthejack said...

I probably haven't done him justice, but I take your point. To say that belief in the right things about apartheid puts someone on God's side is as flimsy as to say right belief in doctrine without a changed heart is sufficient.

Princesse de Clèves, islamogauchiste said...

Salam Maysaloon, this is an interesting post with challenging thoughts about the Spirit and the Letter.
I'd draw slightly different conclusions though, by paraphrasing another man with full beard : Muslims of the world, UNITE!

Maysaloon said...

Haha Princesse,
Yes, excellent point. "We have nothing to lose but our chains". ;)

Lirun said...

the gold ones?