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RAMADAN MUSINGS: Reason in religion

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Muslims kneel in prayer outside a mosque in Manila, the Philippines, July 11, 2014. Muslims continue their observance of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

Asian Lite marks the Holy Month with a series of Ramadan Musings with Masarat Daud

Muslims kneel in prayer outside a mosque in Manila, the Philippines, July 11, 2014. Muslims continue their observance of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.
Muslims kneel in prayer outside a mosque in Manila, the Philippines, July 11, 2014. Muslims continue their observance of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

When a cousin recently won a court case against a creep who had molested her, I was appalled at the reaction of many within the family. They said that she had won the case because the perpetrator had taken oath on the Holy Quran and still lied. There was no mention of the person’s own agency, no mention of how she had taken the decision (and acted upon it) to take this man to court. Surely, without physically taking action against this man, there would be no verdict?

It is a tragedy of our times, a tragedy within Islam where reason and thought has been divorced from religious practice. We have been made to believe that science is against religion but we take every opportunity to give examples of how science coincides with Islam and how everything from childbirth to honeybees to geographical events have an explanation in Islam that coincides with scientific discoveries.

We forget that the Shariah was not sent through a single moment of divine revelation. It has taken shape over hundreds of years. We often forget that it is tens of thousands of volumes of work, years of debates, discussions, reasoning that gave us the Sharia. If it should teach us anything, it is the sheer hard work and thought put behind it. That people cherry-pick to hate and oppress is a different topic altogether.

Ramadan MusingsI always remember a lovely, simple story where a man comes to meet Prophet Mohamed (Peace Be Upon Him). The Prophet asks him to tie his camel to a tree before he entered his house. The man replies that Allah will take care of his camel and he had nothing to worry about. The Prophet tells him that he should tie his camel first and then, think about praying.

Action and effort makes things happen. Prayers are for a deeper connection where we find ourselves and reflect on our actions, but they don’t directly make things happen. If we sit at home and hand all our affairs to God, will our bills be paid by some divine intervention?

A simple reminder for us that our human agency and our gift of thought is exactly that, a gift. We need to exercise the gifts we have been given instead of trying to embrace ignorance in the name of Islam. How does one think of not educating their children or to exclude women from learning when the first word that was sent to the Muslims was to ‘read’. Knowledge is the foundation of our being. Earlier Islamic societies were successful and are still celebrated centuries later because of their intellectual contributions to our world.

Are our actions positive or negative? That should put our life in perspective.

(Masarat Daud is many things. A girl’s education campaigner, a TED speaker, a TEDx curator, a recent SOAS MA graduate and a politically-incorrect humourist currently based in London)

 

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