Essays on Islam
Ramadan, Prayer and the Quran
I recently converted to Islam 2 weeks before Ramadan in fact, and now 4 days into the holy month I must confess it’s been a difficult but enlightening experience. To start fasting has been easier than I expected though it helps that waking up early comes easy due to my job so waking before sunrise to pray and eat hasn’t been unusual and as for night prayers those haven’t been an issue, Nizari Muslims pray 3 times a day, we pay Fajr, Maghrib and Isha’a Muslim prayer is more ritualistic than Christian prayer it involves standing, Ruku’ (bowing), second standing, Sujud(prostration to God), sitting, second prostration, second sitting and then Talsim where Muslims say “ Peace and God’s mercy be upon you” that ends the Salah(prayer). Everyday I make an effort to read part of the Quran I don’t really have a system or order I just open to section and read kinda letting Allah decide what he wants to tell me.
Becoming Muslim has been an interesting change and it’s been quite educational, Allah is often knowable and unknowable that sounds weird so let me explain there’s things we can know about Allah the things he tells us in the Quran and through other prophets such as those in the Old Testament and Jesus. But there’s aspects of Allah that we as humans can’t know without being in heaven with him and that’s fine by me exploring the nature of Allah while interesting in a philosophical and even theological way is irrelevant to me, my focus is on following Allah’s commands and doing my best to help other people in this life to be the best person I can.
The Relationship Between Anarchism and Islam.
May 12 2019
First let’s discuss the meaning of the word Islam, it is a word that means complete and full submission to Allah(God). Islam is at it’s core submission to Allah and Allah alone, one of the foundations of the Islamic faith is the Shahadda “There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is his Messenger”. Muslims are required only to follow Allah no kings or presidents or what have you. Anarchism is about an end to states and capitalism, Islam while it has no specific condemnation of states and capitalism especially since capitalism and our modern concept of the state weren’t around in the Prophets time does have support for anarchism. Imam Ali the cousin of the Prophet Muhammad(SAW) once said “If poverty were a man I would have slain him” a fitting statement i’d say. It’s extremely important to mention that above all Muslims are required to submit only to Allah. Part of Jihad(struggle) is the fight against oppressors and tyrants of all stripes, it is the duty of any Muslim to fight oppression and hate. Muslims aren’t out to form our own isolated state/society but Allah is the only authority we submit to and any other authority must be willing to listen to all the people’s voices.
The Quran is the divine word of Allah, it contains guidelines for a multitude of things, but it doesn’t contain guides for every scenario a book like that would be impossibly long so for such situations as that Nizari such as I use a school of thought called Ijtihad: the individual use of one’s reason when using the Quran or Hadiths as a resource and in situations where the Quran or Hadiths has no specific answers i’ll discuss the Hadiths at another time. And so there’s a fluidity to certain things such as the fact that the Quran doesn’t lay out a specific form of government humans should use. You may say “Lilly what about the years of semi-monarchist Caliphates that ruled the ancient Islamic world?” well the great thing about humans is we can look to history and adapt the Caliphates were impressive and effective for the times but we are looking at the modern world, positions such as Caliph and Imam are more religious than civil and there’s nothing to suggest that Muslims must form our own state we can look back at the mistakes and successes to learn from them. Building a secular world in which people are free to believe what they choose is important because Islam is about choice about choosing to serve Allah, to force people to become Muslim is to spit in Allah’s face. Muslims must be kind and respectful of everyone be they Christian, Pagan, Jewish, Atheist or any other belief, Muslims are called upon to be just and to seek out knowledge to not be aggressors
“Believers, be steadfast for the cause of God and just in bearing witness. Let not a group’s hostility to you cause you to deviate from justice. Be just, for it is closer to piety. Have fear of Allah;Allah is Well Aware of what you do.” Quran 5:8
“ Virtue and evil are not equal. If you replace evil habits by virtuous ones, you will certainly find that your enemies will become your intimate friends..” Quran 41:34
My partner recently said “Anything but anarchism is defiling the name of God” I don’t know if i’d fully go that far but to say any one person/party/group deserves full and supreme control is wrong any attempt to deny people a voice in their own governance is unacceptable to me and especially unacceptable to Allah, Islam and anarchism are in my view inseparable, anarchism is about horizontal organization and that’s a way to organize Islam as well. To say any person is above another is an insult to Allah we as human beings are all equal, we all have talents and some people are better at certain things but that doesn’t make them superior people.
If you were to look on say Wikipedia for information on Islamic Anarchism you would find very little one group is the Kharajites a group who believed anyone could be an Imam, anyone who they didn’t murder as an apostate anyway, they’re hardly a good basis for Islamic anarchism they’re like ISIS( such an accusation would very much upset ISIS as they are Sunni and the Kharajites are their own separate sect) in that they think they’re the only real Muslims and believe they can murder anyone they view as an apostate including the previously mentioned Imam Ali. This is why their thinking is so flawed there’s so many ways to look at and read the Quran there’s so much there that Allah tells and teaches us. So if there’s seemingly no historical basis how can I suggest that Islam and Anarchism are so inseparable? Because I look only to the Quran to the word of Allah as my basis and my conclusions are based logically in it.
“All praise be to Allah, Lord of all the worlds Most beneficent,ever merciful King of the Day of Judgement. You alone we worship , and to you we turn for help. Guide us O Lord to the path that is straight, The path of those You have blessed, Not of those who have earned your anger nor those who have gone astray” Quran 1:1–7. Allah Bless
Anarchism And God as King
May 17 2019
Islam means submission to God and God alone that is its basis, so one can’t help but wonder “How does an anarchist who seeks to abolish unjust hierarchy and authoritarianism reconcile that with servitude to a supreme being?” to that I say it’s easy at least to me. I choose by my own free will to submit fully to God, I have chosen to be a servant of God to devote myself to him I am still against unjust hierarchy I just don’t see serving God as an unjust hierarchy, and as for anarchism’s dislike of authoritarianism, I would again say following God is a choice rarely do the dictators of the world ask first before forcing their will upon people, and frankly God as a king is far more metaphor than literal kings were what people at the time knew so it was an apt metaphor and that’s how God is they’re in many ways unknowable so they use human terms and concepts to help us understand and follow him.
It’s like I said in my previous essay as Muslims our responsibility is to follow God any earthly authority is up for debate, Muslims are called upon to engage in Jihad and part of that is physical fighting against those who would harm innocent lives because God cares about and values us. Kings don’t care about people except as tools, God cares about us as people, Kings demand people follow them for the kings own benefit, God calls upon us to follow him so that we can learn and do the right thing. To be silent in the face of oppression is to spit upon God, to help in oppressing other is a total rejection of God. God is not a dictator he is a leader, he wants to bring people together he wants people to be just and kind to each other. Justice is one of the most important ideas in Islam, because God is just and fair so we should strive to be the same way
The Right Wing Hate Machine And its War on God
June 14 2019
If you were to turn on Fox News or Infowars right now there’s a good chance you’d see some story about the communist liberals trying to destroy Christianity, an infamous example being the right wing panic about a war on Christmas. If you look at groups like Al-Qaeda or Daesh you’ll find their rhetoric follows a similar theme the decadent West seeks to destroy Islam and they’re the only ones who can stop this. So let’s start with tearing down the Christian Fundamentalist narrative eh? For one thing a majority of Democrats are Christians of some kind so to suggest they’re “out to get” Christianity is absurd, Fundamentalist Christians look at Jesus saying his followers will face persecution and realize they hold all the power they aren’t persecuted so they invent persecutions to feel justified and special. Fundamentalists like Franklin Graham or his asshole dad Billy have an awful understanding of Christianity that is focused not on things like Jesus, forgiveness, faith, mercy none of that weak lib shit no,The God of fundamentalists is a vengeful, angry spiteful dick, who smites and destroys everything fundamentalists hate. Fundamentalists have made their bed they’ve chosen to reject Jesus’s message of love and mercy and instead chosen a message of hate.
Nowhere in the Bible is homosexuality condemned until translations started adding it in the 1970s that’s fucking right these supposed righteous people willfully altered the very Word of God they proclaim is so sacred all so they could argue being gay was a sin, They use Genesis 1: 27 “Male and Female he created them” as some kind of gotcha against Trans people even though that verse is very specifically talking about Adam and Eve. Fundamentalists seem to have a searing hatred of looking at things in context whether it be the Bible or Quran and i’m not qualified enough to go into detail about their terrible understanding of the Tanakh but I know from listening to Jewish friends that they’re bad at interpreting the Tanakh.
And then there’s the Islamic fundamentalists, much like Christian Fundamentalists Muslim fundamentalists come at Islam from a fundamentally wrong position cherry picking and interpreting the Quran in destructive ways that make no sense. It’s also important to mention that often time the US has lent support to heavily reactionary leaders and groups in the Middle East so for all the talk about the “inherent barbarity” of Islam from Republicans we shouldn’t forget that the House of Saud is supported by the US and other western powers, The US sent money to dictators like Saddam Hussein and Bashar al-Assad so the US could build black sites for torturing terrorism suspects. Islamic fundamentalism is of course a dangerous ideology and western nations can’t be blamed entirely many of these reactionaries would have still been around causing harm. It’s also important to talk about “Sharia Law” a favorite talking point among right wing politicians in the US and Europe. Sharia is just a general word for rules followers of a religion, there’s the multitude of rules about food, there’s the rules about prayer and everything else laid out in the Quran. The oppressive laws of nations such as Iran and Saudi Arabia come from either bad interpretations of Quranic verses or reactionary jurisprudence.
Regardless of the religion reactionary theocratic governance is a dangerous ideology that’s caused massive suffering the world over. In America Christianity has slowly declined it’s still a majority but there’s a noticeable exit from the faith, and reactionaries being the face of religion certainly isn’t helping stop this decline. God doesn’t hate you
July 19 2019
Anyone who knows me can tell you I’m a religious gal, God is a pretty big part of my life. And today I’m going to push back against a common talking point of both fundamentalist religious types and atheists. The one thing i’ve found that conservatives religious people and atheists always agree on is that God is a cruel and murderous tyrant who hates LGBT people and whoever else conservatives are mad at.
In Ismaili Islam God is absolutely transcendent and unknowable beyond matter, energy, space, time etc. All attributes of God named in rituals, scriptures or prayers refers not to qualities God possesses, but to qualities emanated from God, so these are the attributes God gave as the source of all qualities, but God does not consist on one of these qualities. God is almost like a living force, He’s a being who we humans can’t comprehend so then how can I say God loves or hates anyone?
Quran 93 says, “In the name of Allah, the Gracious, the Merciful.
1. By the morning light.
2. And the night as it settles.
3. Your Lord did not abandon you, nor did He forget.
4. The Hereafter is better for you than the First.
5. And your Lord will give you, and you will be satisfied.
6. Did He not find you orphaned, and sheltered you?
7. And found you wandering, and guided you?
8. And found you in need, and enriched you?
9. Therefore, do not mistreat the orphan.
10. Nor rebuff the seeker.
11. But proclaim the blessings of your Lord.”
Quran 94 says “1. Did We not soothe your heart?
2. And lift from you your burden.
3. Which weighed down your back?
4. And raised for you your reputation?
5. With hardship comes ease.
6. With hardship comes ease.
7. When your work is done, turn to devotion.
8. And to your Lord turn for everything.”
These are just a small indication that God cares, even when we struggle God will be there to ease the burden it’s reminiscent of what Jesus says in Matthew 11:28–30, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” The similarities are on purpose i’m sure, Jesus is a prophet of God after all. Quran 109 say
“1. Say, “O disbelievers. 2. I do not worship what you worship.
3. Nor do you worship what I worship.
4. Nor do I serve what you serve.
5. Nor do you serve what I serve.
6. You have your way, and I have my way.”
We are all the creations of God he loves and cares about us he wants us to live good and happy lives and he has a level of understanding that not everyone will follow the same path
Quran 5:48 says “And We have revealed to you, [O Muhammad], the Book in truth, confirming that which preceded it of the Scripture and as a criterion over it. So judge between them by what Allah has revealed and do not follow their inclinations away from what has come to you of the truth. To each of you We prescribed a law and a method. Had Allah willed, He would have made you one nation [united in religion], but [He intended] to test you in what He has given you; so race to [all that is] good. To Allah is your return all together, and He will [then] inform you concerning that over which you used to differ.”
“Abu Sa’id al-Khudri reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Do not cause harm or return harm. Whoever harms others, Allah will harm him. Whoever is harsh with others, Allah will be harsh with him.” Source: al-Sunan al-Kubrá 11070"
I know i’ve thrown a lot of quotes at you with few of my own words but that’s because this isn’t about me it’s about God and Islam and I think i’ve demonstrated that in Islam, God has quite a lot of love for us people. I’m not an Imam or any sort of religious expert i’m just someone with a lot of passion who thinks the critics and fundamentalists are wrong and unfair. If you have bad blood with religion I get it, I grew up in a fundamentalist household and dealt with abuse for much of my life mostly verbal and emotional. Some have questioned why I became a Muslim “Doesn’t *insert Muslim majority country here* kill gay people?” to which I say, I follow God not some monarch or what have you. I’ve gone over the fact that there’s no scriptural support for God being anti-LGBT but I fell like it needs to be repeated as often as possible.
I’m working on more religious content but it takes more time and research than my more entertainment based stuff so be on the lookout for more content!