Jumu’a Khutbah, Claremont Main Road Masjid  Friday 16 January 2015/ 24th Rabi` al-Awwal 1436 – Emulating Muhammad, the Prophet of Allah (pbuh) by Dr. Muhammad Rafiq Khan

Jumu’a Khutbah, Claremont Main Road Masjid Friday 16 January 2015/ 24th Rabi` al-Awwal 1436 – Emulating Muhammad, the Prophet of Allah (pbuh) by Dr. Muhammad Rafiq Khan

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIn The Name Of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

We Beseech Allah To Send His Choicest Blessings And Peace Upon Our Leader And Master, Muhammad (S.A.W).

Maulud al-Nabi

A fortnight ago we celebrated the occasion of Maulud-al-Nabi at this masjid, as we have been doing for the past 160 years. It has become a part of the ‘urf or custom of this congregation.

It was a very spiritually uplifting experience. A profound sense of joy and happiness pervaded this sacred space. It was a festive occasion and the lights, the flowers, the qasa-id, the salawat, all contributed to the warmth and the ambience associated with this event. It enriched us with a very pleasant memory; something we will all cherish for a long time to come.

Tragic Deaths

Our happiness was rather short lived as the events unfolding in Paris brought us into direct contact with another painful reality. No cartoonist, satirist, novelist, writer should die by the sword or the gun for what he or she constructed with a pen. It is completely inhumane and insane to kill a human being for such an offence. Any loss of life diminishes us all. We mourn and grieve for this tragic loss of life. Buildings can be rebuilt, magazines can be re-established; lives however, once taken out cannot be returned.

The tragic killings in Paris, mistakenly undertaken to avenge the honor of the Prophet of Allah causes us to take a pause and to reflect very deeply on a number of issues. One of the most painful things for us to accept is that we have no control over the process of how any person can act in the name of or use the same teachings and symbolic resources of our faith for purposes we would not like to be associated with. As long as there are legitimate political and economic grievances in the eyes of some and they have the will to confront these, they will use whatever they can lay their hands on to seek redress from their situation.

Promoting negative stereotypes

These are painful times for Muslims. We are shocked, hurt, confused and feel so helpless to stand by and watch idly as others exercise their liberties to denigrate our Prophet (PBUH); we feel aggrieved that they can do so with impunity because their liberal, democratic and secular dispensations can sanction their behavior by invoking freedoms of expression and speech.

Jesus Christ (PBUH) never commanded anything like the Crusades! In later years, at best the Church pleaded ignorance and at worst it tried to turn a blind eye to the Holocaust! White supremacist behavior and a fundamentalist attachment to scripture were the defining features of the terror spread by the Ku Klux Klan. These behaviors did not make the whole of Christendom responsible for some of the worst excesses done in the name of any religion. Yet time and time again ordinary Muslims like ourselves have been victimized for the actions of a few irrational, desperate, armed and dangerous individuals who just happen to have “muslimness” etched onto them as a part of the multiple identities we all no doubt carry about us.

Fourth state’s failure

Today’s khutbah says we need draw a line in the sand and say “thus far and no more”. We are shedding any remnant of adopting a victim mentality. We are no longer living in an immediate post 9/11 world; the world has grown far more resourceful, especially with the advent of social media to keep itself informed rather than waiting feebly for the official media to shape a narrative which subverts the truth as it serves the interests of some at the expense of many. It failed to hold the Bush and Blair governments responsible for their excesses during the so-called war on terror destabilizing Iraq and Afghanistan beyond recognition, and resulting in the rise of ISIL and Taliban ascendancy being only a matter of time.

Imagined communities

We must take hold of our pain and discomfort, and work through it as we imagine what a different world free of blame, suspicion, stereotyping, profiling and subliminal racism can be like. We must begin our liberation by beginning to imagine a new community; a community that networks differently from the one we inhabit at present (1). One that is able to neutralize negative perceptions of our faith but also seek ways and means simultaneously to promote the positive perception our faith and religion should rightfully enjoy.

It is through observing tawaqqul (dependence on Divine Succour), patient perseverance and diligence through this crisis that we will come out stronger as an Ummah and as a Civilization that has a meaningful contribution to make to the welfare of all of mankind.

Inspiration

In todays khutbah, I draw my inspiration from two sources; the one is derived from our classical sources which helps us to form an understanding of the importance of the Sacred in our lives and the other from a more contemporary event which shows just what is possible when Divine Inspiration (ilham) combines with human aspiration (himma) and humility to bring real peace and stability amongst people of different cultures and faiths.

Martin Ling’s biography on the Prophet (PBUH), Muhammad: His Life Based on the Earliest Sources, is to my mind still one of the finest publications amongst the hundreds in that genre (2). He describes in detail the Prophet’s earliest encounters with Revelation. After the Prophet of Allah disclosed to his beloved wife Khadija his experiences with the Angel Gabriel, instructing him to say Iqra! (read) and how he was overcome with awe and fear, she comforted him, covered him with a cloak and sought the counsel of her cousin Waraqah, who was by now an old and blind man.

“al Qudddus, al Quddus…Holy, Holy”, he said. “By Him in whose hand is the soul of Waraqah, there hath come unto Muhammad, the greatest Namus (from the Greek Nomos, Divine law or scripture, here identified with the Angel of Revelation), even greater than what came down to Moses. Verily Muhammad is the Prophet of this people. Bid him rest assured.”

Khadija returned to the Prophet with this reassuring message. The Prophet returned to the cave to complete the number of days of his tahannuth or spiritual retreat he had originally intended to dedicate to his Lord.

On completion of his retreat he went straight to the Ka’bah and after completing his circumambulation or tawaf he found the old man Waraqah sitting. After greeting him he asked the Prophet of Allah; “ Tell me, O my son of my brother, what hast thou seen and heard”?  The Prophet told him and again the old man said what he had said to Khadija. But this time he added: “Thou will be called a liar, and ill treated, and they will cast thee out and make war upon thee: and if I live to see that day, God knoweth I will help His cause.” Then he leaned forward towards him and kissed his forehead, and the Prophet returned to his home.

Highest human calling

Prophethood is no easy calling.  It is a supreme task and only those who have the capacity and are chosen for this role will have the necessary Divine support to succeed in their mission. Allah in His Infinite Wisdom has not spared his Prophets, His ambiya, His Chosen Messengers from the reality of being rejected, ridiculed and tormented by those who refuse to accept Divine Guidance in their lives.

In fact the very next revelation of the Qur’an comprising the opening verses of Surah al Qalam chapter 68 verses 1-6 declares:

Nun

Consider the Pen and all that they write (therewith)!

Thou art not by the Sustainer’s grace a mad-man!

And verily, thine shall be a reward never ending-

For, behold, thou keepest indeed to a sublime way of life;

And [one day] thou shalt see, and they [who now deride thee] shall see,

Which of you was bereft of reason [Q:68:1-6]

These verses give an affirmation and assurance to the heart of Muhammad (PBUH) that he is responding to a higher call in life shaped by faith in and submission to the Divine Will which will radically alter his destiny on earth and even beyond.

No Islam without Muslims

This Prophetic call had to find a fertile soil in which to germinate and flourish. Without believing Muslims, men and women, there would never have been any Islam. Islam, like any other religion is not a mythical free- floating entity (3). It inhabits human individuals, it touches the very core of their beings and the final product it produces is a complex and unique individual, manifesting simultaneously strengths and frailties, love and hate, caring and selfishness, reason and irrationality we are all so capable of.

The very heart of our faith lies in our relationship with our Creator. It entails submission to the Divine Will. This gives meaning and significance to our lives. That remains the most central teaching of our beloved leader and master. As Muslims we acknowledge the pivotal role Muhammad plays in conveying this core message not only to Muslims, but also to all of humanity. We do not worship Muhammad but we venerate him, honor him and love him very intensely.

Veneration of Muhammad

We seldom mention his name without seeking Allah’s Benediction and Grace upon him. We hold his memory very dear. He taught us about the Existence and the Unity of Allah. His name reminds us of our Sacred connection with him. He is not only our earthly guide but also our Source of Salvation in the Hereafter. He is the Door that opens up for us all other avenues for spiritual and moral growth (4).

One wonders whether the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)’s detractors ever left the rarefied atmosphere of their lofts and studios and walked with ordinary Muslims, whether citizens or not, and engaged them to fathom just what Muhammad means to them. I must confess even Muslims themselves do not have a uniform and at times an adequately informed understanding amongst themselves about the spiritual, moral, and ethical status and significance of Muhammad in their lives.

Embodied practices and virtues

I found it fascinating to engage with some of Saba Mahmood’s seminal insights into how pious Muslims view their relationship with Muhammad.

“Muhammad is regarded as a moral exemplar whose words and deeds are understood not so much as commandments but ways of inhabiting the world, bodily and ethically.”

“Those who profess love for the Prophet do not simply follow his advice and admonitions ..But also try to emulate how he dressed; what he ate; how he spoke….etc.”

These mimetic ways of realizing the Prophet’s behavior are lived not as commandments but as virtues where one wants to ingest, as it were, the Prophet’s persona into oneself”

ahmood continues to develop the theme of how a devout Muslim’s relationship with Muhammad is based not on “a communicative or representational model as on an assimilative one,”  and she uses the Greek term schesis to denote “a sense of embodied co-habitation and intimate proximity that imbues such a relation” (5).

 

For many pious Muslims it is these embodied practices and virtues, which provide the substrate through which one comes to acquire a devoted and pious disposition. Through such an understanding you are attached as it were by an umbilical cord to the author and thereby constantly receiving spiritual nourishment through a sense of intimacy and desire. This is not based on compulsion through the law, but it is a labor of love, which manifests also the ethical capacities one has developed that incline your behavior in a certain manner.

 

Based on this understanding one can begin to form some idea of the sense of moral injury that these crude cartoons and satire inflict.

 Prophet of love, Cartoons of hate

 

We find these cartoons and forms of satire offensive not because there is a fatwa or a religious verdict Muslims can universally agree upon. It is simple and self-evident truth that you cherish and love something which is Sacred to you. You need no law to tell you that or to enforce that. This is a universal tendency and Muslims are no exception to the rule. The U.S. flag is similarly a sacred symbol for American citizens and they react with horror when they see their flag being burnt. The American flag is for them a sign of their national identity and an attack on the flag is regarded as an attack on that identity or even as an attack on America itself. Hence it is not surprising that an overwhelming majority of Americans are in favor of a constitutional amendment, which will make flag burning a punishable offence (6).

 

We find these cartoons and forms of satire offensive not simply because we lack a sense of humor. Humor is good because it makes us look less serious and serves to invert hierarchies of power and domination. This is never a smooth and gentle process. However when you start depicting a revered and sacred figure in a pornographic, violent and humiliating manner your images are deliberately trying to cause offense when you have no reason, moral or otherwise, to do so. You are acting irresponsibly for you are deliberately gnawing away at the fabric of social cohesion and stability.

 Asymmetric power

 

At the heart of any discrimination lies an unequal power relationship. The one has the means to dominate and often to get away with it until such time that a more equitable relationship is established. You invoke freedom of speech, which has a different ring for those with power and for those who are enfeebled as a result of their material conditions (7).

 

 Freedom of speech

 

Freedom of speech is not a sacred given as some have claimed and is always contingent (8). All societies draw lines that are ill defined, constantly shifting and continually debated about what constitutes acceptable standards of public discourse when it comes to cultural, racial and religious sensitivities.

 

The question is whether those lines apply to Muslims as well.

 

Two years after the Danish paper first published the offensive cartoons on the Prophet in 2006, it rejected ones offering a light-hearted take on the resurrection of Christ for fear they would “provoke an outcry” (9).

 

When Reza Aslan, the well known author interviewed the editor of Jyllands Posten, the same publication as above after the Danish cartoons controversy, he was completely unrepentant in his views that his aim was to provoke a reaction amongst Muslims; “to poke them in the eye and say “do you have what it takes to live amongst us?” (10).

 

The cartoons were meant to make Mulsims uncomfortable and to denigrate that which they hold very dear and provoke negative behavior, which is then exploited further. Simply stated it means we do not care whether you are law abiding, hard working etc. We will use the power we have to create perceptions around you,

which will make your life as uncomfortable as possible. This is naked racism!

 

It is a deliberate attempt to marginalize any difference or diversity; it is a mindset, which refuses to accommodate the other. It speaks of deep-seated prejudice, which it tries to hide under the rubric of free speech.

 

Our din and our way of life is a life affirming one. It is not distanced from social reality. It works to bring about change and justice for all. It supports the marginalized. It speaks truth to power.

 

What would Muhammad have done today?

 

If the Prophet of Allah was living in France today he would be working in the banlieus, agitating for social reform, demanding justice against police brutality, defending the rights of widows and orphans, engaging in schemes to reduce poverty and unemployment, encouraging racial and religious tolerance. Being the moderate and balanced person he was he would have acted justly and condemned zealots and extremists in his own midst; he would have displayed a special sensitivity to the homeless and the immigrants working towards integrating them into French Society instead of alienating them further. He would have been a real asset to his nation (11).

 

That is my understanding of what Muhammad would have done today. I do not look at him as a figure in seventh century Arabia only but as a savior for all of humanity. Such a personality would simply have laughed at this crude satire or cartoons. He would have had much more weightier matters on his mind to deal with than become agitated with the actions of satirists and cartoonists.

 

Secular ideals, Religious values

 

As a first step let us acknowledge that neither assumed religious beliefs nor contemporary secular values are rigid categories. They have a history how they have evolved; they do not necessarily remain poles apart into two mutually exclusive camps but their growth and development have shown them to be dependent on one another and they have both contributed towards transforming the other (12).

 

Secularism is not only a doctrinal separation of church from state but also a re-articulation of religion in a manner that is compatible with modern sensibilities and governance.

 

But what secularism demands it must also be willing to give! Its own truth claims must also be held up for closer scrutiny and adjusted as necessary. Its truth claims, its underlying assumptions, quickly morph into accepted norms. These cannot be erected like firewalls and an impasse declared. With changing political circumstances they need to be re-visited.

 

Immigrants in Europe are there to stay. No matter how much some might dislike that thought.

 

One way forward to ensure this debate does not degenerate into a dialogue of the deaf is for proponents of religious views and secular ideals to make a concerted effort at serious dialogue with one another. Many Muslims maintain that certain forms of satire and cartoons are a particularly vicious form of racism. They argue that racism is not simply about biology and can be directed at a culturally and religiously marked group. The counter argument is that you can change your religion, which is a matter of choice but not your race. In this way they minimize the hurt by merely offending “religious beliefs”.

 

One of the ingenious defenses used by civil law experts not to outlaw these satirical and cartoon images as racist is because they highlight terrorism in which “religion does have a finger in the pie”. But this argument does not hold either for by definition if religion is all about assent and religion itself does not have an independent corporate existence but is embodied in individuals, where is the evidence that the overwhelming majority of those who profess a particular religious expression condones such behavior? (13).

 

The deliberate labeling of certain forms of unacceptable behaviors as religious serves to create negative stereotypes and further marginalizes certain groups within society. How does this contribute towards social cohesion when such a form of collective punishment is meted out time and time again for the infractions of a few misguided radicals? Does it solve any problem or does it just fuel a base desire for revenge and blaming?

 

Assimilation, Marginalization

 

These cartoons and satires are crude forms of racism against a beleaguered, subaltern people. France has had a brutal colonial past. Even today it still follows a policy of either you become completely assimilated into French Society or you are an outcast, always suspected, always regarded with disdain and somehow subhuman!

 

It is this alienation coupled with economic marginalization, xenophobia, high unemployment rates and downright discrimination against immigrants by an assertive right wing that are all factors contributing towards the rise of extremism amongst some French Muslims. Immigrants have little job security. They do menial labor and have little in the form of job security.

 

Does it come as any surprise therefore that French prisons have a disproportionately larger Muslim population? Get arrested for a minor infraction and chances are you will get a longer sentence than somebody who is of French stock and commits a similar crime.

 

It is no surprise that this heady mix of very poor socio-economic circumstances and time spent in prison becomes the ideal recruiting grounds for many proselytizing, radical jihadis of all stripes, ranging from Tabligh Jamat to Al Qaeda- and ISIL headhunters (14).

 

It is a completely outrageous idea to suggest that these individuals were avenging the honor of the Prophet of Allah (P.B.U.H). Nothing could be further from the truth. Nor should we ascribe to the conspiracy theories, which will invariably do the rounds of this being a deliberate ploy by the French state to plan this incident and put the blame on convenient Muslim scapegoats.

 

On the one hand there are some who take their liberty to insult and lampoon very lightly and without any remorse; on the other there are those who have a political agenda for whom insults to the memory of Muhammad is grist to the mill. They milk the situation for their dubious political gain.

 

The key question we have to ask is just how much do we know of the Prophet of Allah? Do we have any idea of the level of certainty and conviction with which he tackled his task? What gave him this supra human capacity to forgive his enemies and turn their hearts towards him with real affection and tenderness?

 

There are many things I remember our beloved Rasul, leader and master with; three things however remain foremost for me (15).

  Allah Consciousness, Love, Knowledge

 

Everything good we have learnt about our din (faith) comes from Muhammad. I believe Allah had Blessed him with an awareness of the Divine, an Allah

Consciousness or Taqwa, that was the bedrock of his entire existence on this earth. Nothing could sway him from his total dependence on his Creator.

 

He understood what it meant to be an ‘abd or a servant of Allah. His utter humility and sense of total surrender before his Creator was the leitmotif of his entire life and example he displayed at all times. It is this Allah consciousness or this Reverential Fear of the Divine, or makhafa, which made him at all times a humble and sensitive human being.

 

He never ascribed to any good as directly emanating from himself but rather he gave thanks to his Lord for any virtuous act he performed. He understood that human beings approach their Lord with deeds but He in his Majesty approaches them with Insight, with Knowledge, with Wisdom, with Conviction, with Guidance, with Unveiling of Subtleties, with Gnosis or Knowledge of God. There is simply no one to one correspondence or a linear relationship between what virtuous acts we do and how Divine Generosity responds.

 

It is perhaps in the many heart -rendering supplications of the Prophet of Allah that best captures this poignant relationship of Lord and servant.

 

What gives any of us the idea that it is our acts of defense in honor of the Prophet that are even necessary to avenge His Good name?  Many were the detractors of Muhammad throughout history. Who cares to remember them?  Even Charlie Hebdo will soon be forgotten. Yet Muhammad will always be remembered.

 

It is part of our urf to recite:

 

Thakaraka thakirun  wa ghafla an thikrikal ghafilun

 “Let Muhammad be remembered as many times as there are people who accept him and as many times as there are people who reject him.”

 

In other words let him be remembered in infinity.

 

Muhammad’s earthly sojourn, and ours he taught us, was towards our Lord. That makes us fellow travellers. We lean on one another and we support one another. We do not live an isolated existence. This journey he taught us was never going to be a smooth one without love or mahabba for one another.

 

One wonders just what has happened to his noble words these days. How much of it have we forgotten?

 

More Muslims have died at the hands of extremists and jihadis than have been the case with non-Muslims. Let me remind you of a landmark study by Karima Bennoune, “Your Fatwa Does Not Apply Here, Untold stories from the fight against Muslim Fundamentalism” (16). It is a shocking and riveting account by this Algerian borne Professor of International Law at University of California-Davis School of Law.

 

Lastly the Prophet of Allah taught us the most edifying thing in life is to seek wisdom. How ironic and how sad amongst all the hubris now surrounding this tragic event that Muslims have to be painfully reminded of the power of the pen when it was no one else but the Prophet of Allah himself who first stirred our hearts by his wise words of:

 The pen is mightier than the sword

 

Or even more poignantly:

 

The ink of a scholar is greater than the blood of a martyr.

 The Ummah I believe must return with a collective tawbah (repentance) before Allah in all humility for failing to uphold the Prophetic injunction to promote ma’rifah or a deeper quest for true knowledge.

 

We have allowed ignorant, misinformed and ill-informed people to preach to us. We have left the spread of true knowledge of our beautiful din in the hands of those who are least qualified to do so.

 Meta skills

 

Any fool who can read and quote hadith feels empowered to preach to us and convert us or rather recruit us for his mission. They think they have acquired the skill to teach when they know so little about the true nature of the personality of the Prophet of Allah. They have a skill but not the requisite meta skills required to convey the true message of the Prophet. It is akin to placing a hammer in the hands of a child! He will knock against all objects. The consequences of which can be damaging indeed (17).

 

Nowhere do I find a more befitting explanation and elaboration of “thou keepest to a sublime way of life” than in the way the Prophet dealt with his enemies or his detractors. The Qur’an in Surah Fussilat, chapter 41, verses 33-35

 

A good action and a bad action are not the same

Repel the bad with something better

And, if there is enmity between you and someone else,

(and if you do this good action, Allah will cause this enmity to erode)

And you will become like bosom friends

 None will attain this state except those who are steadfast

None will obtain it except those who have a great fortune

If Shaitan urges you onto evil (diverts your behavior)

Seek refuge in Allah

He is All Hearing, the All Knowing [Q41:33-35]

 

 

 

If there is one abiding lesson we learn from this tragedy, it is simply how far we have strayed from the true legacy Muhammad (PBUH) left for us. In my humble opinion our attention and commitment to makhafa, mahabba and ma’rifah is an important first stepping-stone in the long and arduous journey that lies ahead.

 

We ask for nothing more than that Allah in his Infinite Mercy should guide us back to this noble example with ilham and himma and crown our efforts with tawfiq ( Divinely assured success).

 

A Sublime Example

 

In seeking healing and a form of solace for our troubled souls I want to share with you, in my closing remarks, what Emir Abdel Kader, the leader of the resistance against French Colonial expansion in North Africa, wrote in reply, in 1860, to Bishop Louis-Antoine Pavy for the gratitude the latter expressed to him for personally saving the lives of 11 000 French Christian men, women and children during the siege on their part of the town when Damascus, under Ottoman rule was beset with civil war between Arabs, Kurds, Druze and Turkish fighters on one hand and the Christians on the other..

 

“that which we did for the Christians , we did to be faithful to Islamic law and out of respect for human rights. All creatures are part of God’s family and those most loved by God are those who do the most for His family. All the religions of the book rest on two principles- to praise God and to have compassion for His creatures.. The law of Muhammad places the greatest importance on compassion and mercy, and on all that, which preserves social cohesion and protects us from division. But those who belong to the religion of Muhammad have corrupted it, which is why they are now like lost sheep. Thank you for your prayers and goodwill towards me” (18).

 Emir Abdel Kadir received many accolades and honors, none more pertinent than France’s highest honor, The Legion of Honor.

 

Today we tell the people of France we mourn with you the loss of your citizens. We grieve with you. Let us try to emulate the example of Emir Abdel Kadir’s sense of bravery and chivalry which was no doubt inspired by his better understanding of what it means to hold Muhammad close to your heart, at the very epicenter of all your sense of intelligence and perception.

 

As Muslims, we take comfort from the statesmanship displayed by President Francois Hollande in calling for unity amongst all his compatriots and refraining from identifying the perpetrators by their Muslim, Arab or Maghreb roots and more specifically for emphasizing that the religion of Islam has nothing to do with the tragic events in Paris. This is of course a far cry from the satirists and their kind who, remain largely the enfant terrible in their society.

 

To our Brothers and sisters in Humanity, the people of France, we appeal to you, let not the ignorance of a few turn us away from one another. Let us take great heed from the words of Emir Abdel Kadir.

 

Let us pray,

 

Oh Allah! hear our prayer, for this indeed comes from our innermost being, it is the plaintive cry from our hearts, it is our Cri du Coeur.

 Place your Choicest Mercies, Salutations and Peace upon our leader and master Muhammad (PBUH).

 Grant sabr to the hearts of those who have lost their loved ones. Grant guidance to those who have lost their way and are engaged in thoughts and deeds which lead to self destruction. Protect the Honor and dignity of all Muslims world wide.

 References

 

1).   I refer here to Manuel Castells works, see The Information Age;  

       Economy, Society, and Culture. Oxford : Blackwell, 3 vols. 2nd edit. 2000-

  1. See also The Rise of The Network Society. 2009. Wiley Blackwell.

2).   Lings, Martin. Muhammad, his life based on based on earliest sources.

Millat Book Centre Centre. New Delhi.

3).   Safi, Omid 9 Points to Ponder on the Paris Shooting and Charlie Hebdo

       http://onbeing.org/blog/9-points-to-ponder-on-the-paris-shooting-and-

Charlie-hebdo/7193 , Downloaded 14/01/2015.

4).   For the two most scholarly references on this topic see Annemarie

Schimmel’s And Muhammad is His Messenger, The veneration of the

       Prophet in Islamic Piety. 1985. University of North Carolina Press and

Marion Holmes Katz, The Birth of the Prophet Muhammad, Devotional

       Piety in Sunni Islam. 2007. Routledge, Culture and Civilization in the

Middle East series. London and New York.

5).   Mahmood, Saba, Religious reason and Secular Affect: An

       incommensurable divide? In Asad,Talal, Brown, Wendy, Butler, Judith, &

Mahmood, Saba. (2009). Is Critique Secular? Blasphemy, Injury and

       Free Speech. UC Berkely: Toownsend Center for the Humanities.

Retrieved from : http://escholarsh.org/uc/item/84q9c6ft. p75-78

6).   The Flag of the United States of America/ Constitution amendment

issue. http://www.usflag.org downloaded 15/01/2015

7).   Dawjee, Faizal. We need to expand speech that is really free and truly

       free without fear or favour. Cape Times, 15 January 2015, p.11

8).   Younge, Gary, Charlie Hebdo: the danger of polarized debate.

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/jan/11/charlie-

hebdo-danger-polarised-debate.

9).   Ibid.

10). Aslan, Reza Is there a civil war taking place in Europe? ; France has 

       never really tolerated multiculturalism. www.realpolitics.com downloaded

14/01/15

11).  Safi, Omid. Memories of Muhammad, Why the Prophet matters? 2009.

HarperOne, New York. p297. This is an adaption from Safi’s idea of

realistically trying to insert Muhammad into contemporary times to

imagine different social outcomes.

12). Mahmood, Saba, p64

13). Ibid. p. 88

14). Leikin, Robert. S. in Europe’s Angry Muslims, revolt of the second the

generation. 2012. Oxford. See especially the first three chapters on

Muslims in France.

15). See Frithjof Schoun, The Quintessential Esoterism of Islam in Sufism,

        Love and Wisdom eds. Jean Louis Michon & Roger Gaetani  2006,

World Wisdom. Bloomington, Indiana, USA. P.273

16). Bennoune, Karima Your Fatwa Does Not Apply Here. Untold stories

        from the fight against Muslim fundamentalism. 2013. W.W. Norton. New

York.

17). I have adopted the term meta skills here from the work of

Helene Smit’s work, Depth Leadership, Moonshine Media, 2013

Kalk Bay, Cape Town. In applying it to Hadith

usage in Muslim society I am trying to caution it being employed for

polemic purposes where Hadith are sometimes used as conversation

stoppers rather than to meaningfully and respectfully promote deeper

understanding, to resolve apparent contradictions in hadith themselves

or try to judge which hadith is more applicable depending on the context

we are dealing with. Evens more problematic is the use of some

hadith to promote a patriarchal agenda when the Prophet’s character and

personality would not support such forms of gender discrimination.

18). Kiser, John. W. Commander of the Faithful. The life and times

       of Emir Abd el Kader. 2008, Bartlow, Cambridge, U.K. p302.

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