Year: 2017

Por Barbara Castleton
Shafaqna

Según la tradición judía y cristiana, mil años después de Abraham el pueblo judío fue esclavizado y pasó a estar en perpetua servidumbre en Egipto antes de ser conducido a la libertad por Moisés. En su épico viaje a Palestina, Moisés se detuvo en los alrededores del Monte Sinaí. Fue en su cumbre que Moisés recibió de Dios una serie de convenios o leyes, grabados en tablillas de arcilla. Esos 10 mandamientos se convirtieron en el fundamento de una existencia moral.

Más de 1000 años después, en el 2 H. o 624 C., el Profeta Muhammad escribió y otorgó un pacto de otro tipo a los monjes en el Monasterio de Santa Catalina, una abadía cristiana con 60 años de antigüedad en la base del Monte Sinaí. El mismo no ordenaba a los destinatarios honrar a su madre y padre o desistir en la creación de ídolos sino que, algo sin precedentes en los anales de la historia, prometía proteger a los monjes cristianos y residentes de la región de incursiones y ataques o de asaltos al sitio de peregrinación cristiana. El Profeta Muhammad juró proteger a cada uno y todos los monjes en donde sea. Además, se comprometió a permitir que los habitantes tuviesen la religión de su elección. Las palabras manuscritas sobre pergamino, firmado con la impresión de la mano del Profeta, comprometía a la nación islámica honrar esas promesas de manera permanente y “hasta el día del juicio y el fin del mundo”.

Presentación del Dr. John A. Morrow en Seattle (Estado de Washington) – Diciembre de 2017

El Dr. John A. Morrow, académico, investigador, erudito, profesor, miembro y activista de la comunidad canadiense Métis, se convirtió al Islam a los 16 años mientras estudiaba en la escuela secundaria en su país natal. Aún adolescente, persistió en la abundante investigación bibliográfica del Islam y se encontró con un texto del siglo XVIII escrito por Richard Pococke que describe y traduce partes del Tratado que el Profeta Muhammad redactó con los monjes del Monte Sinaí.

En un apartado del documento se lee: ” Cada vez que los monjes en sus viajes se instalen sobre cualquier montaña, colina, pueblo u otro lugar habitable, (se encuentren) en el mar, o en los desiertos o en cualquier convento, iglesia o casa de oración, yo estaré en medio de ellos, como protector y cuidador de ellos, de sus bienes y efectos, con mi alma, ayuda y amparo……”. Estos sentimientos y otros parecidos daban basamento firme a las enseñanzas del Islam y a la compasión de la que está imbuido.

Luego de treinta años de investigaciones, varios grados académicos y docenas de publicaciones, el Dr. Morrow da a conocer “Los Pactos del Profeta Muhammad con los Cristianos del Mundo”. Esta obra revoluciona el mundo islámico y cristiano. Intencionalmente o no, el tratado con los monjes del Monte Sinaí y más de una docena de documentos similares pasaron al olvido durante siglos y quedaron archivados entre miles de otros documentos en distintas bibliotecas, dispersos por Europa y Medio Oriente. Con su extravío virtual, se perdía un mensaje de paz, inclusión y tolerancia.

“Nada tendrán que temer ni se afligirán”. Este versículo del Sagrado Corán (2:62) se refiere a todos los monoteístas del tiempo del Profeta, es decir, los judíos, cristianos y sabeos. Y promete que si estos grupos actúan con justicia y creen en un Dios como los musulmanes, estarán protegidos. La revelación divina citada ―(Corán, 2:62)― transmitida por Dios al Profeta Muhammad, garantiza un futuro de unidad y de seguridad. Sin embargo, como una característica esencial de sus esfuerzos en la construcción de la nación, el Profeta Muhammad fue incluso más allá por medio de generar documentos a favor de grandes poblaciones. Estas quedaban protegidas bajo las normas islámicas en tanto “el mar mojase las conchas en la playa”.

Gracias a estos pactos, recientemente analizados por el Dr. Morrow, los musulmanes cuentan ahora con un recurso religioso adicional rigurosamente autenticado —un preciso Ashtiname—, es decir, cartas de paz o acuerdos literales del Profeta. A través del dictado y la diplomacia, Muhammad dio lugar a tratados con la mayor parte de las comunidades religiosas en la península arábiga y otros lugares. Algunos de los pactos más importantes son:

Pacto del Profeta Muhammad con los Monjes de Monte Sinai.

Pacto del Profeta Muhammad con los Cristianos de Najran.

Pacto del Profeta Muhammad con los Cristianos del Mundo (I).

Pacto del Profeta Muhammad con los Cristianos del Mundo (II).

Pacto del Profeta Muhammad con los Cristianos Asirios.

Pacto del Profeta Muhammad con los Cristianos de Persia.

Pacto del Profeta Muhammad con los Cristianos Armenios.

Pacto del Profeta Muhammad con los Judíos de Maqna.

Pacto del Profeta Muhammad con los Judíos Yemenitas.

Pacto del Profeta Muhammad con los Zoroastrianos.

Pacto del Profeta Muhammad con los Cristianos Coptos de Egipto.

Pacto del Profeta Muhammad con los Cristianos Siriacos Ortodoxos.

Pacto del Profeta Muhammad con los Samaritanos. 

En pocos años, la Ummah o nación islámica se expandió ampliamente y gradualmente incluyó territorios y pueblos de distintos grupos. El Dr. Morrow sugiere en su libro que «el Profeta era un visionario planificador a largo plazo que entendía que la propagación del Islam podía tomar siglos. Entonces intentó crear las condiciones en las que se podrían plantar y regar las semillas del Islam, de modo que los musulmanes las hiciesen germinar, crecer y reproducirse. Si una población prefería seguir siendo pagana, cristiana o judía, tenía derecho a ello en tanto acordaran con el estado islámico ser personas protegidas». Así, en lugar de iniciar un conflicto con las poblaciones con las que, en gran medida, se había vivido en armonía durante generaciones, Muhammad decidió asegurarse que se siguieran sintiendo parte de la comunidad mediante un apoyo mutuo determinado. De ese modo tendrían su protección y luego el de la Nación Islámica y su sucesores o califas designados.

Además de dar protección, estos pactos vedan ciertas acciones,  prohibiéndose a los musulmanes llevarlas a cabo. Los derechos y privilegios concedidos a los cristianos de Najran ― esta localidad se ubicaba en lo que hoy es el sur de Arabia Saudita, donde el cristianismo echó raíces en el siglo IV― se reflejan en la mayoría de los demás tratados:

“La promesa de protección del Profeta de Dios a los cristianos de Najaran y territorios aledaños, abarca sus vidas, su religión y sus bienes. Se aplica a los presentes y a los ausentes. Nadie interferirá en las prácticas de su fe o celebraciones religiosas. Nada modificará sus derechos y privilegios. Ningún obispo será expulsado de su obispado, ningún monje de su monasterio y ningún sacerdote de su parroquia. Todos seguirán gozando de las cosas que gozaban antes, grandes o pequeñas. Ninguna imagen o cruz será destruida. No oprimirán ni serán oprimidos” (Nota del traductor: esta es una de las versiones existente de dicho tratado).

En un lugar y tiempo donde la religión y creencias paganas eran factor importante de conflictos y guerras casi perpetua, los pactos del Profeta Muhammad proporcionaron un paraguas de seguridad y libertad para cientos de comunidades. En los pactos escritos para comunidades heterogéneas ―a diferencia del celebrado con los monjes del Monasterio del Monte Sinaí, donde solo había hombres― Muhammad añadido derechos previamente desconocidos para las mujeres:

“Los cristianos no deben ser sometidos a abusos que les hagan sufrir por medio de matrimonios que no desean. Los musulmanes no deben tomar a niñas cristianas en matrimonio contra la voluntad de sus padres ni deben oprimir a sus familias en caso de que rechazaran sus ofertas de compromiso y matrimonio. Los matrimonios no deben tener lugar sin su deseo y acuerdo y sin su consentimiento y aprobación. Si un musulmán toma a una mujer cristiana como esposa, debe respetar sus creencias cristianas. Ella tendrá libertad de escuchar a sus superiores [a sus clérigos] y seguir el camino de su religión en tanto lo desee”.

El Dr. Morrow, al sacar nuevamente a la luz los Pactos del Profeta Muhammad en una época que necesita desesperadamente modelos de tolerancia, compasión y unión comunitaria, espera llegar a los musulmanes que desconocerían el trabajo en perspectiva del Profeta así como a los cristianos que posiblemente estén muy influenciados por la parcialidad de los medios de comunicación. Invitado a hablar en conferencias, iglesias, mezquitas e instituciones, desde Dubai a California, el Dr. Morrow busca restaurar la trayectoria del liderazgo benevolente instituido por el profeta Muhammad hace más de 1400 años. 

Barbara Castleton, con el grado de Master of Arts o Maestría en Humanidades, es profesora de inglés en el Colegio South de Seattle. Es coautora de “Arabic, Islam, and the Allah Lexicon: How Language Shapes Our Conception of God” y ha publicado diversos artículos sobre sociolingüística árabe en revistas especializadas.

By Barbara Castleton

Source: IslamiCity

Dec 23, 2017

Category: Faith & Spirituality, Featured, Highlights Topics: Christianity And Judaism, Covenants Of The Prophet, Interfaith Values: Tolerance

According to Jewish and Christian tradition, a thousand years after Abraham, the Jewish people were slaves, locked in perpetual servitude in Egypt before being led to freedom by Moses. On their epic trek to Palestine, Moses broke the journey in the area around Mount Sinai. It was at its peak that Moses received from God a set of covenants, or laws, etched into clay tablets. These 10 Commandments became the foundation for a moral existence.

Over 1000 years later, in 2 AH or 624 CE, the Prophet Muhammad wrote and granted a different covenant to the monks at the Monastery of St. Catherine, a 60-year-old Christian abbey at the base of Mount Sinai. Though not commanding the recipients to honor their mother and father or desist in the creation of idols, the covenant from the Prophet Muhammad did something unheard of in the annals of history — it promised to protect the Christian monks and residents of the region from any incursions, attacks, or efforts to take over the Christian pilgrimage site. It swore to protect the monks singularly and as a group wherever they were. Further, the contract vowed to allow all inhabitants to keep the religion of their choice. The handwritten words on parchment, signed with the Prophet’s hand-print bound the Islamic nation to honor these promises “for all time, even unto the Day of Judgment and the end of the world.”

Dr. John A. Morrow, academic, researcher, scholar, teacher, a member of the Canadian Métis community, and an activist, converted to Islam at the age of 16, while a high school student in his native Canada. Still a teen, Morrow continued to research Islam through dozens of texts, and he came across an 18th-century text written by Richard Pococke which described and translated parts of the treaty the Prophet Muhammad had initiated with the Monks of Mount Sinai.

In one section of the document, the text reads, “That whenever any of the monks in his travels shall happen to settle upon any mountain, hill, village, or other habitable place, on the sea, or in deserts, or in any convent, church, or house of prayer, I shall be in the midst of them, as the preserver and protector of them, their goods and effects, with my soul, aid, and protection…” These sentiments and others like them anchored Morrow’s attachment to the demonstrated compassion and teachings of Islam.

Thirty years, several academic degrees, and dozens of publications later, Dr. Morrow’s most recent work, The Covenants of the Prophet Muhammad with the Christians of His Time, is shaking up both the Islamic and Christian worlds. Whether intentionally or circumstantially, the treaty with the monks of Mt. Sinai and over a dozen other, similar documents, had receded from religious consciousness over the centuries and were squirreled away amid thousands of other papers in libraries scattered around Europe and the Middle East. With their virtual burial, a message of peace, inclusiveness, and tolerance was lost.

“No fear shall be upon them, nor shall they grieve.” This verse from the Holy Qur’an (2:62) refers to all the monotheists of the Prophet’s time, Jews, Christians, and Sabeans, and promises that these groups, being righteous in action, and aligned with Muslims in their belief in one God, would be protected. The above divine revelation, an edict transmitted to the Prophet Muhammad from God, guaranteed a future of unity and safety. Nevertheless, as an essential feature of his nation-building efforts, the Prophet Muhammad went even further, creating documents meant to serve vast populations living under Islamic rule as long as “the sea wets the shells on the shore.”

Due to those covenants, newly explored by Dr. Morrow, Muslims now have an additional rigorously authenticated religious resource — the detailed Ashtiname — peace letters or covenants spoken by the Prophet and written down verbatim. Through dictation and diplomacy, the Muhammad formulated treaties with most of the religious communities on the Arabian Peninsula and beyond. Some of the major covenants include:

The Covenant of the Prophet Muhammad with the Monks of Mount Sinai
The Covenant of the Prophet Muhammad with the Christians of Najran
The Covenant of the Prophet Muhammad with the Christians of the World I
The Covenant of the Prophet Muhammad with the Christians of the World II
The Covenant of the Prophet Muhammad with the Assyrian Christians
The Covenant of the Prophet Muhammad with the Christians of Persia
The Covenant of the Prophet Muhammad with the Armenian Christians
The Covenant of the Prophet Muhammad with the Jews of Maqna
The Covenant of the Prophet Muhammad with the Yemenite Jews
The Covenant of the Prophet Muhammad with the Zoroastrians
The Covenant of the Prophet Muhammad with the Coptic Christians of Egypt
The Covenant of the Prophet Muhammad with the Syriac Orthodox Christians
The Covenant of the Prophet Muhammad with the Samaritans
The Covenant of the Prophet Muhammad with the Zoroastrians

Over just a few years, the Islamic Ummah, or nation, expanded widely, until it gradually encompassed territory that included peoples of various sects. As Dr. Morrow suggests in his book, “A visionary long-term planner, the Prophet understood that the spread of Islam could take centuries. What he sought to create were the conditions under which the seeds of Islam could be planted and watered, thus enabling Muslim seeds to sprout, grow, and spread. If a population preferred to remain heathen, Christian or Jewish, they were entitled to do so as long as they entered into a covenant with the Islamic State as protected people.” Thus, rather than initiate any conflict with those populations, groups who had largely lived in harmony for generations, Muhammad resolved to ensure that they continued to feel connected and protected by detailing the mutuality of the support each provided, first from the Prophet, the Islamic Nation, and his designated successors or caliphs, and then from the group specified in the treaty.

Beyond protection, these covenants outlined forbidden actions, that is acts which the Muslims in these areas were prohibited from initiating. The rights and privileges granted to the Christians of Najran, a place in what is now southern Saudi Arabia where Christianity took root in the 4th century, are mirrored in most of the other treaties as well:

“To the Christians of Najran and its neighboring territories, God’s protection and the pledge of His Prophet extend to their lives, their religion, and their property. It applies to those who are present as well as those who are absent. There shall be no interference with the practice of their faith or their religious observances. There will be no change to their rights and privileges. No bishop shall be removed from his bishopric; no monk from his monastery, and no priest from his parish. They shall all continue to enjoy everything they previously enjoyed great or small. No image or cross shall be destroyed. They will not oppress or be oppressed.”

In a place and time where religion and pagan beliefs were a major driver of conflict and almost perpetual warfare, the covenants of the Prophet Muhammad provided an umbrella of safety and freedom for hundreds of communities. In covenants written for general societies, unlike the abbey on Mount Sinai which was an exclusively male population, Muhammad added previously unheard-of rights for women:

“Christians must not be subjected to suffer, by abuse, on the subject of marriages which they do not desire. Muslims should not take Christian girls in marriage against the will of their parents nor should they oppress their families in the event that they refused their offers of engagement and marriage. Such marriages should not take place without their desire and agreement and without their approval and consent. If a Muslim takes a Christian woman as a wife, he must respect her Christian beliefs. He will give her freedom to listen to her [clerical] superiors as she desires and to follow the path of her own religion.”

By bringing the Covenants of the Prophet Muhammad to light in an age that sorely needs models of tolerance, compassion, and community, Dr. Morrow hopes to reach and influence Muslims who may not be aware of the more global and far-reaching intentions of the Prophet and Christians who may have relied too heavily on the one-faceted view of Islam promulgated by the media. Invited to speak at conferences, churches, mosques, and institutions from Dubai to California, Dr. Morrow seeks to restore the trajectory of benevolent statecraft instituted by the Prophet Muhammed over 1400 years ago.

Barbara Castleton, MA, is a professor of English at South Seattle College. She is the co-author of Arabic, Islam, and the Allah Lexicon: How Language Shapes Our Conception of God and has published several articles on Arabic sociolinguistics in peer-reviewed journals.

By Dr. John Andrew Morrow

SHAFAQNA – (Presented at the St. Luke Church in Renton, Washington, USA, on Saturday, December 9, 2017)

In the Name of God, the Creator and Sustainer of the Universe, the Lord of Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad. Praise be to God, the Lord of the Worlds, and peace be upon all the prophets, messengers, and friends of God.

I would like to welcome you to this gathering focused on “Achieving a Better Understanding of the Other.” I come in peace seeking peace in the hope of building bridges of understanding between Muslims and the People of the Book for the sake of this planet and humanity.

I would like to thank Sister Zahra Abidi, the Executive Director of Roots of Conflict, for organizing this important event. Islam, true Islam, has a long tradition of powerful women: women with spiritual might and women with political clout: Asiyyah, the wife of Pharoah; Mary, the Mother of Jesus; Khadijah, the pillar of Muhammad; Fatimah, the wife of ‘Ali, and Mother of the Imams; Zaynab, the sister of Husayn, the Lord of the Martyrs; Hamidah, the wife of Imam Ja‘far al-Sadiq, and Narjis, the Mother of Imam al-Mahdi, the Savior of Humanity who, along with Jesus, will ride the world from corruption and exploitation and establish a global government of peace and justice.So, I commend Sister Zahra for her initiative and call upon the Muslim community, as a whole, and the Shiite community, in particular, to support her efforts. It is not true that only scholars can lead: leaders are those who should lead. Some scholars should just focus on leading prayers.

I would also like to thank our friends and allies from St. Luke’s Church and St. Mark’s Cathedral for hosting this event. I would also like to thank Sheikh Noor-uddin, a respected scholar, for sharing the podium with me this evening. God-willing, he will be providing you with some important insights on the origin and early development of Islam. By the grace of God, I begin:

“No fear shall be upon them, nor shall they grieve” (2:62). Such are the words of the Qur’an. Such are the words that were revealed to the Prophet Muhammad by the Angel Gabriel, peace and blessings be upon them both. Such is the attitude of Islam, true Islam, towards the People of the Book. Allow me to place this line of verse in its broader context. As Almighty Allah states in the Glorious Qur’an:

Surely those who believe, and those who are Jews, and the Christians, and the Sabians, whoever believes in Allah and the Last day and does good, they shall have their reward from their Lord. No fear shall be upon them, nor shall they grieve. (2:62)

The verse in question is clear. It establishes that all monotheists who do good deeds will ultimately attain salvation: they have nothing to fear. As Almighty Allah elucidates in the Glorious Qur’an:

For each We have appointed a divine law and a traced-out way. Had Allah willed He could have made you one community. But that He may try you by that which He hath given you (He hath made you as ye are). So vie one with another in good works. Unto Allah ye will all return, and He will then inform you of that wherein ye differ. (5:48)

We, believers in One God, whether we are Jews, Samaritans, Christians, Muslims, Sabeans, Zoroastrians, Brahmans, or monotheistic members of the First Nations, have theological differences. Big deal. Get over it. Almighty Allah Himself (or Herself if you prefer) explicitly expresses opposition to uniformity. The Creator espouses unity within diversity. Rather than fight over petty religious differences, God challenges us to “compete with each other in righteousness” (5:48). As Almighty Allah explains once again:

O mankind [my apologies for the gender-centric translation]… O humankind, We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. Indeed, Allah is Knowing, and All-Aware. (49:13)

Differences enrich us. Homogeneity is boring. Rather than focus on areas of disagreement, Almighty Allah asks us to concentrate on areas of agreement:

Say: We believe in Allah and in what was revealed to us and what was revealed to Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, and their descendants. We believe in what given to Moses and Jesus and to the prophets from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them and to Him do we submit” (3:84)

In other words, Allah asks us to seek common ground with the People of the Book:

O People of the Book! Come to common terms as between us and you: That we worship none but Allah; that we associate no partners with him; that we erect not, from among ourselves, Lords and patrons other than Allah. (3:64)

Although there is little common ground between monotheists, polytheists, and atheists in theological matters, there are areas of agreement in ethical and moral areas. Consequently, Allah encourages Muslims to adopt a tolerant attitude towards those who do not share their beliefs. As Almighty Allah says in the Glorious Qur’an: “To you your religion and to me mine” (109:6).

As far as Islam is concerned, nobody has a monopoly on truth. We should all respect the elements of true found in different religious traditions. Did not the Prophet ask Muslims to “Travel, for even if you don’t gain wealth, you will certainly gain wisdom” (Makarim al-Akhlaq). In other words, we must be open-minded and learn from others.

Whether people believe or disbelieve, they are all human beings. As Imam ‘Ali, the successor of the Prophet, peace be upon them both, said: “People are of two kinds, either your brothers in faith or your equals in humanity.” Our religions may or may not unite us; however, our humanity can and should bring us together. Islam’s mercy and tolerance extends even to agnostics and atheists. As Imam Husayn, the grand-son of the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon them both, said on the Day of ‘Ashurah: “If you do not have a religion, then at least be free and open-minded in your present life.”

Yes, I know, this sounds too lovie-dovie to some of you. It sure stands in stark contrast to the teachings of ISIS. Yes, indeed, it’s day and night, white and black, God versus Satan. It’s like comparing Christ to Slavery, Christ to Segregation, Christ to the Klan, and Christ to colonialism, imperialism, and globalism. Just like there are demonic entities that have exploited Judaism and Christianity to political purposes, perverting their teachings to turn them into tools of oppression and exploitation, so have some diabolic forces corrupted the teachings of Islam for the most sordid of reasons.  Please allow me to give you a short history of Islam: the enemies of the Prophet Muhammad, those who fought and opposed him savagely during his lifetime, usurped the spiritual and political authority of his successors, and turned Islam into an imperial dynasty.

The Umayyads and the ‘Abbasids ruthlessly hunted down the descendants of the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, and slaughtered them like the innocent lambs that they were. The enemies of the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, did not simply kill the Progeny of the Prophet, they killed Islam in the process. They destroyed it from within. Truth became mingled with falsehood but, as Almighty Allah states in the Glorious Qur’an: “Truth stands clear from falsehood” (2:256). So, let us talk a bit about the Covenants of the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, and see what true Muhammadan Islam teaches.

In accordance with the Qur’an, the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, consulted with the community in Madinah. He met with tribal and faith leaders. He deliberated with them. Then, under his leadership, but in collaboration with non-Muslims, he created and promulgated the Covenant of Madinah, the first constitution in the history of humanity which provided equality for all, regardless of religion, tribe, race, gender or social class. “They are one community [or ummah],” proclaims the Covenant of Madinah: “conditions must be fair and equitable to all.” Jews, Muslims, polytheists all had to contribute equally to the defense of the Ummah.

The religious rights of the People of the Book were protected: “The Jews have their religion and the Muslims have theirs.” “To the Jew who follows us belong help and equality,” it proclaims, “he shall not be wronged, nor his enemies aided.” Muslims were even obliged to protect and defend the allies of the Jews: “The close friends of the Jews are as themselves.”

The enemies of the Ummah, namely, the pagans from Quraysh, who persecuted the Muslims and non-Muslims who followed the Prophet, the Muslims and non-Muslims who followed the Prophet, were to be given no protection. All members of the Ummah were bond “to make peace and maintain it.” However, in the event they were attacked by their common enemies, they were all required to rally in defense of it.

The Covenant of Madinah established the rule of law among a lawless people: “Whenever you differ about a matter it must be referred to Allah and to Muhammad.” The teachings of the Torah, the Gospel, and the Qur’an, became the law of the land, governing their respective communities. The Prophet was to oversee their implementation impartially. He was the final arbiter.

Word of the Prophet Muhammad’s rise continued to spread to the four corners of the world. In the second year of the hijrah, a delegation of monks from St. Catherine’s Monastery visited him in Madinah where they reminded him of his promise of protection. There, in his mosque in Madinah, the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, dictated to ‘Ali the ‘ahd al-nabi, the ‘ahd nabawi, the ashtinameh, the Covenant of the Prophet Muhammad with the Monks of Mount Sinai, which guaranteed freedom of religion, protected religious establishments, granted tax-free status to priests, monks, and nuns, and prohibited forced conversions.

The Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and grant him peace, provided the same protections to the People of the Book throughout the Greater Middle East. He protected the Christians of Najran, Aylah, Egypt, Syria, Persia, Armenia, and the world. He protected the Samaritans in Palestine. He protected the Jews from the Yemen and Maqnah. He also protected the Zoroastrians.

The authenticity of Covenants of the Prophet Muhammad with the People of the Book is documents is indisputable. They have been transmitted consecutively from the 7th century to the present. Hundreds upon hundreds of scholarly authorities have concluded that they are genuine. What is more, they were treated as authentic and established as law by Abu Bakr, ‘Umar, ‘Uthman, and ‘Ali, by the Fatimids, the Ayyubids, the Ottomans, and the Safavids, among others. So, what do these documents say? They are quite lengthy, and time is of the essence. Allow me then to provide you with some key quotes for the sake of clarity and concision.

The Treaty of Najran, which appears in the Tafsir of Muqatil ibn Sulayman al-Balkhi (d. 767 CE), the Kitab al-kharaj of Abu Yusuf (738-798 CE), the Kitab al-Siyar of Muhammad ibn al-Hasan al-Shaybani (d. 805 CE), the Tabaqat of Ibn Sa‘d (845 CE), and the Kitab al-Amwal of Ibn Zanjawayh (d. 865 CE), reads: “No bishop is to be driven from his bishopric, no monk from his monastery, and no priest from his priestly vocation.”

The Covenant of the Prophet Muhammad with the Christians of Najran, the original of which was found in the House of Wisdom in 878/879 CE, and entered the Chronicle of Seert in the 9th century, reads: It is not permitted to remove a bishop from his bishopric, a monk from his monastic life or an anchorite from his vocation as a hermit. Nor is it permitted to destroy any part of their churches, to take parts of their buildings to construct mosques or the homes of Muslims.

The Treaty of Najran, cited in Baladhuri’s (d.  892 CE) Kitab Futuh al-Buldan, reads: “No bishop is to be driven from his bishopric, no monk from his monastery, and no hermit from his hermitage.” The Treaty of Najran, which was recorded by Ibn Qayyim, prior to 1350 CE, is very similar to the version published by Ibn Sa‘d in the 9th century. It reads: “No bishop is to be driven from his bishopric, no monk from his monastery, and no priest from his priestly vocation. No changes will be made with regards to their rights.”

The Covenant of the Prophet Muhammad with the Monks of Mount Sinai which was placed in the Ottoman Treasury in 1517 CE, reads:

A bishop shall not be removed from his bishopric, nor a monk from his monastery, nor a hermit from his tower, nor shall a pilgrim be hindered from his pilgrimage. Moreover, no building from among their churches shall be destroyed, nor shall the money from their churches be used for the building of mosques or houses for the Muslims.

The Covenant of the Prophet Muhammad with the Christians of the World, which was recorded in 1538 CE, reads:

It is not permitted to remove a bishop from his bishopric or a Christian from his Christianity, a monk from his monastic life or a pilgrim from his pilgrimage or a hermit from his tower. Nor is it permitted to destroy any part of their churches, to take parts of their buildings to construct mosques or the homes of Muslims.

The Covenant of the Prophet Muhammad with the Christians of the World, which was printed in 1630 CE, reads:

It is not permitted to remove a bishop from his bishopric or a Christian from his Christianity, a monk from his monastic life or a pilgrim from his pilgrimage or a hermit from his tower. Nor is it permitted to destroy any part of their churches, to take parts of their buildings to construct mosques or the homes of Muslims.

Although no Arabic version of the Covenant of the Prophet Muhammad with the Christians of Persia is currently known to exist, it also contains a very similar clause:

Their building enterprises shall not be interfered with; their priests shall not be molested in the performance of their task… neither shall their churches be dismantled or destroyed, or their homes and mansions confiscated by Muslims, for mosques or residences…

And while a Persian version of the Covenant of the Prophet Muhammad with the Assyrian Christians survives, the Arabic is apparently no longer extant. Nonetheless, it conveys the same key components:

Leave their possessions alone, be it houses or other property, do no destroy anything of their belongings… their church buildings shall be left as they are, they shall not be altered, their priests shall be permitted to teach and worship in their down way… None of their churches are to be torn down, or altered into a mosque…

Enough with the repetition, you may think. However, its purpose is didactic. There are those who claim that the Covenants of the Prophet are 16thcentury forgeries. When that was proven to be false, they claimed that they were 10th century forgeries. However, even that has been proven to be false.

I am sorry to disappoint Islamophobic trolls, who refuse to believe that any good could come from the Prophet or Islam; however, the Covenants of the Prophet Muhammad were circulating in the 9th century, the 8th century, and yes, even the 7th century. They are what we call in Hadith Studies:mutawatir, transmitted by so many people, for so long, from the 7th century to the 21st century, that it is impossible to accept that they all agreed upon a falsehood.

The Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, never said: “Follow the Qur’an and only the Qur’an.” No, he told us to hold fast to the Qur’an and the Ahl al-Bayt (Muslim). He told us to follow his Sunnah but only as transmitted and interpreted by his authorized representatives, the Imams of Ahl al-Bayt and their faithful followers.

A text has no life of its own. It is inert. It comes alive when it is read and interpreted. The Qur’an, on its own, in the hands of evil-ones, can become an instrument of evil. Just look at the way ISIS interprets the Qur’an. They turn the Qur’an into a Satanic Scripture just like white supremacists turn the Bible into the work of Beelzebub.

As al-Sharif Ahmad ibn Muhammad Sa‘d al-Hasani al-Idrisi al-Azhari, the Founder of the Ihsan Institute and a distinguished graduate from al-Azhar University, has stated, the Covenants of the Prophet “serve to clarify the true meanings of the verses of the Qur’an.” La yakfi al-Qur’an. The Qur’an does not suffice. We must follow the Qur’an and the Prophet. We must follow the Qur’an and the Sunnah.

We must follow the true Sunnah as transmitted by the Imams of Ahl al-Bayt, peace be upon them. And who transmitted the Covenants of the Prophet? None other than Imam ‘Ali, may Allah be pleased with him. If we, as Muslims, hold on to the Qur’an and the Covenants of the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon his and his purified progeny, we will never go astray.

Islam, true Islam, traditional, civilizational Islam, balances justice with mercy. It creates a tolerant, pluralistic, society, governed by the rule of law, which provides equality and equity for all its citizens regardless of race, ethnicity, tribal affiliation, gender, social class or economic status.

The Qur’an, the Sunnah, the Shari‘ah, the Constitution of Madinah, and the Covenants of the Prophet, the Imams, the Caliphs, the Sultans, and the Shahs of Islam all provide fundamental and universal civil and human rights. The Islam of the Prophet and the Islam of the Imams, peace and blessings be upon them all, provides safety and security for both Muslims and non-Muslims. As Almighty Allah commands in the Glorious Qur’an: “No fear shall be upon them, nor shall they grieve” (2:62).

Dr. John Andrew Morrow (Imam Ilyas Islam) is a proud member of the Métis Nation, one of the three aboriginal peoples recognized by the Canadian government. He embraced Islam at the age of 16 after several years of serious study. He has been a student of the Islamic Sciences for over thirty years and has acquired knowledge around the world. His teachers have included traditional scholars of Islam from various schools of jurisprudence and spiritual paths as well as Western academics. He received his PhD from the University of Toronto at the age of 29 and reached the rank of Full Professor by the age of 43. He retired from academia in 2016 to devote his time entirely to research, scholarship, and service. Dr. Morrow has authored hundreds of academic articles and over thirty scholarly books, the most influential of which is The Covenants of the Prophet Muhammad with the Christians of the World (2013). He is also the Editor-in-Chief of Islam and the People of the Book, a three-volume encyclopedia on the Muhammadan Covenants which features critical studies by over twenty leading Muslim scholars along with translations of the treaties of the Prophet in over a dozen languages. Dr. Morrow received an interfaith leadership award from the Islamic Society of North America in 2016 and a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition from the US House of Representatives in 2017. An award winning academic, author, and activist, he lectures around the world and acts as an advisor to world leaders.

Por: Dr. John Andrew Morrow

SHAFAQNA – (Presentado en la Iglesia San Lucas en Renton, Washington, EE. UU. el sábado 9 de diciembre de 2017)

En el Nombre de Dios, el Creador y Sustentador del Universo, el Señor de Abraham, Moisés, Jesús y Muhammad. Alabado sea Dios el Señor de los Mundos y la paz sea con todos los profetas, mensajeros y amigos de Dios.

Les doy la bienvenida a este encuentro centrado en “El Logro de una Mejor Comprensión del Otro”. Vengo en paz y busco la paz con la esperanza de construir puentes de entendimiento entre los musulmanes y la Gente del Libro por el bien de este planeta y la humanidad.

Quiero agradecer a la hermana Zahra Abidi, Director Ejecutivo de “Raíces de los Enfrentamientos”, por la organización de este importante evento. El Islam, el verdadero Islam, tiene una larga tradición de mujeres de peso: mujeres dotadas de una gran espiritualidad, capacidad de trabajo por el bien común e influencia política. Entre ellas encontramos a Asiyah, la esposa del Faraón (Ramsés II); María, la Madre de Jesús; Jadiya, la sostenedora de Muhammad; Fátima, la esposa del Imam ‘Ali y la madre de los Imames; Zaynab, la hermana del Imam Husein, el Señor de los Mártires; Hamida, la esposa del Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq y Nargis, la madre del Imam al-Mahdi, el Salvador de la Humanidad, quien junto con Jesús terminarán con la corrupción y explotación en el mundo y establecerán un gobierno mundial de paz y justicia. Por lo tanto, elogio a la hermana Zahra por su iniciativa y su llamamiento a la comunidad musulmana en general y a la shiita en particular, para que apoyen sus esfuerzos. No es cierto que solo los eruditos pueden conducir sino que son quienes deberían hacerlo. Algunos estudiosos deberían enfocarse en dirigir las oraciones.

También quiero agradecer a nuestros amigos y aliados de la iglesia de San Lucas y de la Catedral de San Marcos por dar acogida a este evento. Y al Sheikh Noor-uddin, respetado erudito, por compartir el podio conmigo esta noche. Dios mediante, nos proporcionará algunas ideas importantes sobre el origen y desarrollo temprano del Islam. Por la gracia de Dios, doy inicio a la conferencia.

“Nada tendrán que temer ni se afligirán” (2:62). Tales son las palabras del Corán. Tales son las palabras que fueron reveladas al Profeta Muhammad por el Arcángel Gabriel ―la paz y las bendiciones sean con ellos―. Tal es la actitud del Islam ―el Islam verdadero― hacia la Gente del Libro. Pondré lo manifestado del versículo mencionado en un contexto más amplio, citándolo completo:

Los creyentes, los judíos, los cristianos, los sabeos, quienes crean en Dios y en el Último Día y obren bien, esos tendrán su recompensa junto a su Señor. Nada tendrán que temer ni se afligirán (2:62).  

La cita coránica es clara. Establece que todos los monoteístas que hacen buenas obras alcanzarán en última instancia la salvación: nada tienen que temer. Aclara Dios Todopoderoso en el Corán:

…. A cada uno os hemos dado una norma y una vía. Dios, si hubiera querido, habría hecho de vosotros una sola comunidad, pero quería probaros en lo que os dio. (Los ha hecho como son). ¡Rivalizad en buenas obras! Todos volveréis a Dios. Ya os informará Él de aquello en que discrepabais (5:48). 

Nosotros, los creyentes en Dios Uno, seamos judíos, samaritanos, cristianos, musulmanes, sabeos, zoroastrianos, brahmanes o monoteístas miembros de las naciones originarias, tenemos diferencias teológicas. Algo importante, pero no dramaticemos y superémoslas. Dios Todopoderoso (o Él si lo prefieren) manifiesta explícitamente que se opone a la uniformidad. El Creador propugna la unidad en la diversidad. Antes que pelear por mezquinas diferencias religiosas, Dios nos reta a “rivalizar en buenas obras” (5:48). Dios Todopoderoso explica una vez más:

¡Hombres! [pido disculpa por la traducción centrada en el género]… ¡Oh humanidad! Os hemos creado de un varón y de una hembra y hemos hecho de vosotros pueblos y tribus, para que conozcáis unos a otros. Para Dios, el más noble de entre vosotros es el que más Le teme. Dios es omnisciente, está bien informado (49:13).

Las diferencias nos enriquecen en tanto que la homogeneidad o semejanza nos llega a aburrir. Seguramente a eso se debe que Dios Todopoderoso nos pide que lleguemos a acuerdos enriquecedores a partir, precisamente, de las diferencias:

Di: “Creemos en Dios  y en lo que se nos ha revelado, en lo que se ha revelado a Abraham, Ismael, Isaac, Jacob y sus descendientes. En lo que Moisés, Jesús y los profetas han recibido de su Señor. No hacemos distinción entre ninguno de ellos y nos sometemos a Él (3:84).

En otras palabras, Dios nos pide buscar un fundamento común con la Gente del Libro:

Di: “¡Gente del Libro! Convengamos en una fórmula aceptable a nosotros y a vosotros, según la cual no serviremos sino a Dios, no Le asociaremos nada y no tomaremos a nadie de entre nosotros como Señor fuera de Dios”… (3:64) 

Aunque hay poco en común entre monoteístas, politeístas y ateos en materia teológica, hay áreas de acuerdo en lo que hace a la ética y a la moral. Por lo tanto, Dios anima a los musulmanes a adoptar una actitud tolerante hacia quienes no comparten sus creencias. Dice Dios Todopoderoso en el Corán: “Vosotros tenéis vuestra religión y yo la mía” (109:6).

En cuanto al Islam se refiere, nadie tiene el monopolio de la verdad. Debemos respetar los elementos de verdad en las diferentes tradiciones religiosas. ¿No dijo acaso el Profeta a los musulmanes: “Viajen, porque aunque no obtengan riquezas sin duda obtendrán sabiduría” (Makarim al-Akhlaq). En otras palabras, debemos tener amplitud mental y aprender de los demás.

Todas las personas, crean o no, son seres humanos. Dijo el Imam ‘Ali, sucesor del Profeta (la paz sea con ellos): “Hay dos clases de personas. Tus hermanas en la fe y tus iguales en humanidad”. Nuestras religiones pueden unirnos o no. Pero nuestra humanidad puede y debe llevarnos a estar juntos. La misericordia y la tolerancia del Islam se extiende incluso a los agnósticos y ateos. Dijo el nieto del Profeta Imam Husein ―la paz y las bendiciones sean con ambos― el día de Ashura: “Si no tienes una religión por lo menos sé libre y ten amplitud mental mientras vivas”.

Ya sé que a algunos esto les puede sonar muy romántico. Seguramente ustedes están en una posición de marcado contraste con lo que “enseña” el ISIS. Sí, el contraste es el mismo que hay entre el día y la noche, entre lo blanco y lo negro, entre el bien y el mal. Es el mismo tenor de discrepancia que saltaría si se llegase a decir que Cristo apoyaría la esclavitud, la segregación, al Ku Klux Klan, al colonialismo, al imperialismo y al globalismo. Es decir, de la misma manera que hay entidades demoníacas que utilizaron el judaísmo y el cristianismo con fines políticos pervirtiendo sus enseñanzas para convertirlas en herramientas de opresión y explotación, otras fuerzas diabólicas hicieron lo mismo con el Islam.

Por favor, permítanme en este punto una breve síntesis de la historia del Islam. Los enemigos del Profeta Muhammad ―que se le opusieron y combatieron salvajemente mientras vivía― usurparon la autoridad espiritual y política de sus sucesores y convirtieron al Islam en una dinastía imperial. Los Omeyas y los Abasidas persiguieron despiadadamente a los inocentes descendientes del Profeta ―la paz y las bendiciones sean con él―, masacrándolos. Tales enemigos no solo asesinaron a la descendencia del Profeta ―la paz y las bendiciones sean con él― sino que en ese proceso destruyeron el Islam desde adentro. Se mezcló la verdad con la falsedad pero, como dice Dios Todopoderoso en el Corán, “La buena dirección se distingue claramente del descarrío” (2:256). Hablemos entonces un poco sobre los Pactos del Profeta ―la paz y las bendiciones sean sobre él― y veamos lo que enseña el verdadero Islam, es decir, el Islam de Muhammad.

Según el Corán, el Profeta ―la paz y las bendiciones sean con él― consultaba con la comunidad en Medina. Se reunía con los líderes tribales y de la fe. Deliberaba con ellos. Luego, bajo su liderazgo pero en colaboración con los no musulmanes, creó y promulgó el Pacto de Medina, la primera Constitución en la historia de la humanidad que declara que todos son iguales como ciudadanos, independientemente de la religión, tribu, raza, género o clase social a la que se pertenezca. El Pacto de Medina proclama: “Son una comunidad [ummah]”…. las condiciones deben ser justas y equitativas para todos”. Judíos, musulmanes, politeístas, es decir, todos, tenían que contribuir igualmente a la defensa de la Ummah.

Las derechos religiosos de la Gente del Libro estaban protegidos: “Judíos y musulmanes tienen, cada uno, su religión”. La Constitución declara: “Al judío que nos acompaña le corresponde la ayuda y el trato igualitario” y “No será perjudicado ni se ayudará a sus enemigos”. Incluso los musulmanes estaban obligados a proteger y defender a los aliados de los judíos: “Los amigos cercanos de los judíos son como ellos mismos”. A los enemigos de la Ummah, es decir, los paganos de Quraish, que perseguían a los musulmanes y no musulmanes que secundaron al Profeta, no debía dárseles ningún tipo de protección. Todos los miembros de la comunidad “están obligados a hacer la paz y mantenerla”. Y en el caso de que fuesen atacados por enemigos de unos y otros, era necesario que se uniesen en la defensa de la comunidad.

El Pacto de Medina estableció el estado de derecho en un pueblo sin ley: “Si surge cualquier diferencia….. debe ser referida a Allah y a Muhammad”. Las enseñanzas de la Torah, el Evangelio y el Corán, se convirtieron en la ley de la tierra, rigiendo sus respectivas comunidades. El Profeta iba a supervisar su aplicación imparcial. Él era el árbitro final.

La palabra del Profeta Muhammad continuó propagándose a las cuatro esquinas del mundo. Una delegación de monjes del Monasterio de Santa Catalina visitó al Profeta en Medina en el segundo año de la Hégira y le recordaron su promesa de protección. Allí, en su mezquita en Medina, el Profeta ―la paz y las bendiciones sean con él― dictó a ‘Ali el ‘ahd al-nabi, el ‘ahd nabawi, el ashtinameh (el Pacto del Profeta Muhammad con los Monjes del Monte Sinaí), los cuales garantizaban la libertad de religión, la protección de los establecimientos religiosos, la exención de impuestos a los sacerdotes, monjes y monjas y la prohibición de las conversiones forzadas.

El Mensajero de Allah ―lo bendiga Allah y le conceda paz― proporcionó la misma protección a la Gente del Libro en todo el Gran Oriente Medio. Protegió a los cristianos de Najran, Aylah, Egipto, Siria, Persia, Armenia y el mundo. Protegió a los samaritanos en Palestina. Protegió a los judíos de Yemen y Maqnah. También protegió a los zoroastrianos.

Resulta indiscutible que la documentación que hace a los Pactos del Profeta Muhammad con la Gente del Libro es auténtica. Los Pactos se transmitieron permanentemente desde el siglo VII hasta la actualidad. Centenares de autoridades académicas han concluido que son genuinos. Más aún, fueron tratados como auténticos y con carácter de ley por Abu Bakr, Omar, ‘Uthman, ‘Ali, los fatimíes, los ayyubíes, los otomanos, los safávidas, etc. ¿Qué dicen estos documentos? Puesto que son muy largos, veamos lo esencial de ellos por medio de citas claves, en consideración de la claridad y la síntesis.

El Tratado de Najran, que aparece en el Tafsir de Muqatil ibn Sulayman al-Balkhi († 767 C.), en el Kitab al-kharaj de Abu Yusuf (738-798 C.), en el Kitab al-Siyar de Muhammad ibn al-Hasan al-Shaybani († 805 C.), en el Ṭabaqat de Ibn Sa‘d (845 C.) y en el Kitab al-Amwal de Ibn Zanjawayh († 865 C.), dice: “No se permite remover a un obispo de su obispado, a un monje de su vida monástica o a un sacerdote de su vocación sacerdotal”.

El Pacto del Profeta Muhammad con los cristianos de Najran, cuyo original se encontró en la Casa del Saber en 878/879 C. y se lo conoce enChronicle of Seert en el siglo IX, dice:

No se permite remover a un obispo de su obispado, a un monje de su vida monástica o a un anacoreta de su vocación de ermitaño. Tampoco está permitido destruir cualquier parte de sus iglesias, tomar parte de sus edificios para construir mezquitas o casas de musulmanes.

Leemos en el Tratado de Najran, citado en el Kitab Futuh al-Buldan de Baladhuri († 892 C.): “Ningún obispo será expulsado de su Obispado, ningún monje de su monasterio y ningún ermitaño de su ermita.” El Tratado de Najran registrado por Ibn Qayyim antes de 1350 C., es muy similar a la versión publicada por Ibn Sa‘d en el siglo IX. Allí dice: “ningún obispo será expulsado de su Obispado, ningún monje de su monasterio y ningún sacerdote de su vocación sacerdotal. Sus derechos se mantendrán inalterables”.

En el Pacto del Profeta Muhammad con los monjes del Monte Sinaí, depositado en el Tesoro Otomano en 1517 C., podemos leer:

Un obispo no será removido de su obispado, ni un monje de su monasterio, ni un ermitaño de su torre, ni se dificultará a un peregrino su peregrinación. Además, no será destruida ninguna iglesia o capilla, ni lo que es propiedad de las iglesias será usado para edificar mezquitas o casas para los musulmanes.

El Pacto del Profeta Muhammad con los Cristianos del Mundo, fechado en 1538 C., expresa:

No se permite sacar a un obispo de su obispado o a un cristiano de su cristiandad, a un monje de su vida monástica o a un peregrino de su peregrinación o a un ermitaño de su torre. Tampoco está permitido destruir cualquier parte de sus iglesias, tomar partes de sus edificios para construir mezquitas o las casas de los musulmanes.

El Pacto del Profeta Muhammad con los Cristianos del Mundo impreso en 1630 C. dice lo mismo:

No se permite sacar a un obispo de su obispado o a un cristiano de su cristiandad, a un monje de su vida monástica o a un peregrino de su peregrinación o a un ermitaño de su torre. Tampoco está permitido destruir cualquier parte de sus iglesias, tomar partes de sus edificios para construir mezquitas o las casas de los musulmanes.

Aunque por ahora no se conoce ninguna versión en árabe del Pacto del Profeta Muhammad con los Cristianos de Persia, contiene una cláusula similar:

No se interferirá en sus actividades de construcción; sus sacerdotes no serán molestados en el cumplimiento de sus tareas….. Sus iglesias no serán desmanteladas o destruidas ni confiscadas sus casas y mansiones para convertirlas en mezquitas o en residencias para musulmanes….

Si bien sobrevive una versión del Pacto del Profeta Muhammad con los Cristianos Asirios, aparentemente ya no se conserva la versión en árabe. No obstante, comunica los mismos elementos claves:

Dejen en paz todas sus posesiones, se trate de viviendas u otras propiedades, no destruyan nada de sus pertenencias….. sus iglesias quedarán como están, sus sacerdotes podrán enseñar y adorar a su manera….. Ninguna de sus iglesias será derribada o convertida en mezquita….. 

Cada uno puede sacar sus conclusiones sin necesidad de seguir repitiendo esas expresiones. Pero la repetición tiene un objetivo didáctico. Lo hacemos ante la afirmación de algunos de que los Pactos del Profeta son falsificaciones del siglo XVI. Al demostrarse que eso era erróneo alegaron que las falsificaciones, en realidad, eran del siglo X. Pero se demostró que también eso era erróneo.

Siento decepcionar a esos troles islamofóbicos que se niegan a creer que del Profeta o del Islam pueda venir algo bueno. Empero, los Pactos del Profeta Muhammad circulaban en el siglo IX, en el siglo VIII e incluso en el siglo VII. Son lo que en el estudio de los hadices llamamos mutawatir, es decir, algo transmitido por tantas personas y durante tanto tiempo ―desde el siglo VII al XXI― que cae por su propio peso que no se trata de algo falso.

El Profeta Muhammad ―la paz y las bendiciones sean con él― nunca dijo: “Sigan el Corán y solo el Corán”. Lo que dijo es que nos aferremos al Corán y a Ahl al-Bayt [lo expresa, entre otros, Abu al-Husein Muslim en su Sahih, refiriéndose al hadiz de Az-Zaqalain (Los Dos Tesoros)]. Nos dijo que sigamos su Sunna (enseñanzas y dichos) transmitidas e interpretadas por sus representantes autorizados: los Imames de Ahl al-Bayt y sus fieles seguidores.

Un texto no tiene vida propia. Es inerte. Cobra vida cuando se lo lee e interpreta. El Corán, por sí mismo y en manos de malhechores, puede convertirse en un instrumento del mal. Basta observar la manera en que el ISIS interpreta el Corán. Lo convierte en una escritura satánica, de la misma manera en que los supremacistas blancos convierten a la Biblia en el trabajo de Belcebú.

Al-Sharif Ahmad ibn Muhammad Sa’d al-Hasani al-Idrisi al-Azhari ―fundador del Instituto Ihsan y graduado distinguido de la Universidad al-Azhar― ha dicho que los Pactos del Profeta “sirven para aclarar el verdadero significado de los versículos coránicos”. La yakfi al-Qur’an (el Corán no es suficiente). Debemos seguir el Corán y al Profeta. Debemos seguir el Corán y la Sunna. Debemos seguir la verdadera tradición, transmitida por los Imames de Ahl al-Bayt ―la paz sea con ellos―. ¿Y quién transmitió los Pactos del Profeta? Nada menos que el Imam ‘Ali. Si nosotros, como musulmanes, nos aferráramos al Corán y a los Pactos del Profeta ―la paz y las bendiciones sean sobre él y su descendencia purificada― nunca nos extraviaremos.

El Islam, el verdadero, el tradicional, el que impulsó la civilización, el que equilibra la justicia con la misericordia, el que crea una sociedad tolerante, pluralista, gobernada por el imperio de la ley, facilita la igualdad y la equidad para todos sus ciudadanos independientemente del origen étnico, filiación tribal, género, clase social o situación económica. El Corán, la Sunna, la Sharía, la Constitución de Medina, los Pactos del Profeta, los Imames, los califas, los sultanes y algunos otros, brindan los derechos humanos y civiles fundamentales y universales. El Islam del Profeta y el Islam de los Imames ―la paz y las bendiciones sean con todos ellos― proporciona seguridad y protección para los musulmanes y no musulmanes. Dios Todopoderoso dispone en el glorioso Corán: “Nada tendrán que temer ni se afligirán” (2:62).

El Dr. John Andrew Morrow (Imam Ilyas Islam) es un orgulloso miembro de la Nación Métis, uno de los tres pueblos indígenas reconocidos por el gobierno canadiense. Abrazó el Islam a los 16 años de edad luego de estudiarlo seriamente durante cierto tiempo. Lleva más de treinta años analizando las ciencias islámicas y recorrió el mundo en búsqueda de conocimiento. Entre sus maestros se cuentan académicos tradicionales del Islam de diferentes escuelas de jurisprudencia y caminos espirituales. Asimismo, académicos occidentales. Se doctoró en la Universidad de Toronto a la edad de 29 años y alcanzó el rango de profesor titular a la edad de 43 años. Se retiró de ese trabajo en 2016 para dedicar todo su tiempo a la investigación y el culto. Lleva escritos cientos de artículos académicos y más de treinta libros académicos, el más influyente de los cuales es Pactos del Profeta Muhammad con los Cristianos del Mundo (2013). También es el director de redacción de Islam y la Gente del Libro, una enciclopedia de tres tomos sobre los Pactos Muhamadianos que cuenta con estudios críticos de más de veinte de los principales eruditos musulmanes y las traducciones de los Pactos del Profeta en más de una docena de idiomas. La Sociedad Islámica de América del Norte (ISNA) confirió al Dr. Morrow en 2016 el premio de liderazgo interreligioso y en 2017 la Cámara de Representantes de EEUU le otorgó un Certificado de Reconocimiento Especial. Además de ser un académico galardonado, escritor y activista, dicta conferencias en distintas partes del mundo y asesora a líderes mundiales.

 

By: John Andrew Morrow   

Source: IslamiCity Dec 6, 2017

In the Name of God, the Most Compassionate, the Most Merciful. Praise be to God, the Lord of the Worlds. Peace be upon the Prophets and the Messengers of God, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad, and peace be upon you all and God’s mercy and blessings. I welcome you wholeheartedly to “The Muslim Documents Everyone Must Know.”

So, what are these documents that every Muslim must know? Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler? The Protocols by the Learned Elders of Zion?  The International Jew by Henry Ford? Join the Caravan by Abdullah Azzam? How about the Al-Qaedah Handbook?  No, not quite. This is completely and totally false: just like the claim that Muslims are devoid of a sense of dark humor. What do you expect? We Muslims are the bomb!

What is the most important book in Islam? The Arabian Nights? The Perfumed Garden by Shaykh Muhammad al-Nafzawi? The Sources of Pleasure by Harun al-Makhzumi? No. It is the Qur’an:  the Glorious Qur’an. And what goes hand and hand with the Qur’an? Terrorism? No. I must be watching too much Fox News. I must be reading too many tweets from President Trump. Astaghfirullah. May God forgive me. No, the second most important source in Islam is the Sunnah:  the teachings, traditions, sayings, and actions of Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah. And within the Sunnah, we find some sparkling jewels: the Constitution of Madinah and the Covenants of the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him.

Let us commence, then, with the Qur’an, which, as Muslims, we believe to be the Word of God. The Qur’an is a book. Texts are inert. You can pray all day and wait your whole life, but the Qur’an is not going to speak to you. A text only comes alive when we engage with it through reading, thought, analysis, contemplation, and interpretation. It only comes to life when we put its teachings into practice. Although it is important to read the Qur’an, it is even more important to understand how to read the Qur’an.

Read the Qur’an with an open-mind, an open-heart, and an open-spirit. Absorb what you can from the surface of the text. Ensure that you understand all the vocabulary and all the terminology. Unless you read the Qur’an in Arabic, consider reading and comparing many translations of the Qur’an for every translation represents an interpretation. They convey different shades of meaning. In the past, this required comparing half a dozen physical translations of the Qur’an. Now, fortunately, one can easily compare over a dozen translations in English, not to mention numerous other languages, using Quran.Com, SearchQuran.Com, Islamicity’s Qur’an Search, and other sites.

To understand a text, one must also understand its context: the time and place in which it was produced. This is where the sirah, the biography, and the sunnah, comes into play. You also need a broader understanding of Middle Eastern history, culture, and religion. Unless you are familiar with the broader Judeo-Christian tradition, you will have a challenging time comprehending all the allusions and references found in the Qur’an. You get what you put in to it. In other words, what you derive from the text is what you bring to the text. The greater your knowledge, your culture, and your points of reference, the broader and deeper your understanding of the text will be.

After you have read the Qur’an, dozens and dozens of times, at the very least, it is valuable to consult works of commentary. Know that works of exegesis are of various kinds. There are Qur’anic commentaries that focus on language and linguistics. Some are theological in nature. Some are legal in nature. Some are political in nature. And others are spiritual in nature.

Commence with classical commentaries of the Qur’an. On the Sunni side, that would include commentaries of Tabari, Suyuti and Mahalli, Ibn ‘Abbas, Ibn ‘Ajibah, Ibn Juzayy, Wahidi, Baydawi, Nasafi, Razi, Tustari, Kashani, Qushayri, and Sabuni, among others. On the Shiite side, that would include Tusi, Qummi, Tabarsi, Ayashi, Kufi, Bahrani, Tabatabai, Amuli, and Makarem Shirazi, among others.

Understand that the Qur’an has seven, seventy, or seven hundred layers of meaning: both inner and outer. Understand that the Qur’an is both literal and allegorical. Understand that Qur’anic commentaries convey opinions and should never be accepted blindly, uncritically, and unconditionally. They represent an independent intellectual effort to understand the sacred text. They are not binding upon believers. One is not required to accept an interpretation as if it were divine revelation. According to Sunni and Shiite Islam, it is the Prophet Muhammad who is mas‘um or infallible: not Qur’anic commentators and scholars.

Recognize that Islam represents a spectrum at the center of which is found Sunni Islam, and its major schools of law, alongside Twelver Islam, and its major school of law. Stick to the center as much as possible. Maintain moderation. Avoid extremes. Stay far away from fringe groups. This applies in matters of theology, jurisprudence, and spirituality. Stick, as much as possible, to the straight path while recognizing elements of truth found on the periphery of Islam and even on the outside of it. One can study, analyze, and appreciate marginal aspects; however, one should stand firmly at the center of the spectrum.

Keep away from anyone who claims to have the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Run from any literalist or fundamentalist who claims that there is only one interpretation of the Qur’an, the Sunnah, and Islam. Flee from pompous pretenders who believe that they know the Qur’an better than anyone. Hide from arrogant extremists who believe that they, and only they, are right and that anyone who disagrees with them are unbelievers. As Obi-Wan Kenobi has said, “Only a Sith speaks in absolutes.”

Now that we have a general idea of how to approach the Qur’an, let us examine some of its most important teachings regarding the Muslim attitude towards the Other. As Almighty God revealed in the Glorious Qur’an:

The verse in question is clear. It establishes that all monotheists who do virtuous deeds will ultimately attain salvation. This is confirmed by several traditions of the Prophet. In fact, it is a fundamental Sunni belief. As Ghazali stated: “The believer must give credit to the final leaving of Hell of all the monotheists; for no one who believes in God’s Unity will abide eternally in the Fire.” As Almighty God elucidates in the Glorious Qur’an:

For each We have appointed a divine law and a traced-out way. Had Allah willed He could have made you one community. But that He may try you by that which He hath given you (He hath made you as ye are). So, vie one with another in good works. Unto Allah ye will all return, and He will then inform you of that wherein ye differ. (5:48)

We, believers in One God, whether we are Jews, Samaritans, Christians, Muslims, Sabeans, Zoroastrians, Brahmans, or monotheistic members of the First Nations, have theological differences. Big deal. Get over it. Almighty God explicitly opposes uniformity. The Creator espouses unity within diversity. Rather than fight over religious differences, God challenges us to “compete with each other in righteousness” (5:48). As Almighty God explains once again:

O humankind, We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. Indeed, Allah is Knowing, and All-Aware. (49:13)

Differences enrich us. Homogeneity is boring. Rather than focus on areas of disagreement, Almighty Allah asks us to concentrate on areas of agreement:

Say: We believe in Allah and in what was revealed to us and what was revealed to Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, and their descendants. We believe in what given to Moses and Jesus and to the prophets from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them and to Him do we submit. (3:84)

In other words, Allah asks us to seek common ground with the People of the Book:

O People of the Book! Come to common terms as between us and you: That we worship none but Allah; that we associate no partners with him; that we erect not, from among ourselves, Lords and patrons other than Allah. (3:64)

Although there is little common ground between monotheists, polytheists, and atheists in theological matters, there are areas of agreement in ethical and moral areas. Consequently, Allah encourages Muslims to adopt a tolerant attitude towards those who do not share their beliefs. As Almighty Allah says in the Glorious Qur’an: “To you your religion and to me mine” (109:6). As far as Islam is concerned, nobody has a monopoly on truth. We should all respect the elements of truth found in different religious traditions and socio-political and economic philosophies.

There are, no doubt, verses of the Qur’an that are harsher when they speak of the People of the Book. However, these need to be properly interpreted and placed into context. There is also a tendency, among extremists, to take verses of the Qur’an that were revealed regarding belligerent unbelievers, polytheists, that is, and apply them, erroneously and unfairly, to Christians and even to Muslims. The term mushkrikin or polytheists, as used in the Qur’an, applies to pagan Arab polytheists and idol-worshippers. It does not, and cannot, apply to Christians, who are monotheists. It does not, and cannot, apply to Sunni Muslims, Sufi Muslims or Shiite Muslims as a pretext to persecute and kill them.

Second only in importance to the Qur’an is the Sunnah, the teachings and actions of the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him. In accordance with the Qur’an, the Prophet, Allah bless him and grant him peace, consulted with the community in Madinah. He met with tribal and faith leaders. He deliberated with them. Then, under his leadership, but in collaboration with non-Muslims, he created and promulgated the Covenant of Madinah, the first constitution in the history of humanity which provided equality for all, regardless of religion, tribe, race, gender or social class. “They are one community [or ummah],” proclaims the Covenant of Madinah: “conditions must be fair and equitable to all.” Jews, Muslims, polytheists all had to contribute equally to the defense of the Ummah.

The religious rights of the People of the Book were protected: “The Jews have their religion and the Muslims have theirs.” “To the Jew who follows us belong help and equality,” it proclaims, “he shall not be wronged, nor his enemies aided.” Muslims were even obliged to protect and defend the allies of the Jews: “The close friends of the Jews are as themselves.”

The enemies of the Ummah, namely, the pagans from Quraysh, who persecuted the Muslims and non-Muslims who followed the Prophet, were to be given no protection. All members of the Ummah were bond “to make peace and maintain it.” However, in the event they were attacked by their common enemies, they were all required to rally in defense of it.

The Covenant of Madinah established the rule of law among a lawless people: “Whenever you differ about a matter it must be referred to Allah and to Muhammad.” The teachings of the Torah, the Gospel, and the Qur’an, became the law of the land, governing their respective communities. The Prophet was to oversee their implementation impartially. He was the final arbiter.

Word of the Prophet Muhammad’s rise continued to spread to the four corners of the world. In the second year of the hijrah, a delegation of monks from St. Catherine’s Monastery visited him in Madinah where they reminded him of his promise of protection.

There, in his mosque in Madinah, the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, dictated to ‘Ali, may Allah be pleased with him, the ‘ahd al-nabi, the ‘ahd nabawi, the ashtinameh, the Covenant of the Prophet Muhammad with the Monks of Mount Sinai, which guaranteed freedom of religion, protected religious establishments, granted tax-free status to priests, monks, and nuns, and prohibited forced conversions.

The Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and grant him peace, provided the same protections to the People of the Book throughout the Greater Middle East. He protected the Christians of Najran, Aylah, Egypt, Syria, Persia, Armenia, and the world. He protected the Samaritans in Palestine. He protected the Jews from the Yemen and Maqnah. He also protected the Zoroastrians.

The authenticity of Covenants of the Prophet Muhammad with the People of the Book is indisputable. They have been transmitted consecutively from the 7th century to the present. Hundreds upon hundreds of scholarly authorities have concluded that they are genuine. What is more, they were treated as authentic and established as law by Abu Bakr, ‘Umar, ‘Uthman, and ‘Ali, by the Fatimids, the Ayyubids, the Ottomans, and the Safavids, among others. So, what do these documents say? They are quite lengthy, and time is of the essence. Allow me, then, to provide you with some key quotes for the sake of clarity and concision.

The Treaty of Najran, which appears in the Tafsir of Muqatil ibn Sulayman al-Balkhi (d. 767 CE), the Kitab al-kharaj of Abu Yusuf (738-798 CE), the Kitab al-Siyar of Muhammad ibn al-Hasan al-Shaybani (d. 805 CE), the Tabaqat of Ibn Sa‘d (845 CE), and the Kitab al-Amwal of Ibn Zanjawayh (d. 865 CE), reads:  “No bishop is to be driven from his bishopric, no monk from his monastery, and no priest from his priestly vocation.”

The Covenant of the Prophet Muhammad with the Christians of Najran, the original of which was found in the House of Wisdom in 878/879 CE, and entered the Chronicle of Seert in the 9th century, reads:

It is not permitted to remove a bishop from his bishopric, a monk from his monastic life or an anchorite from his vocation as a hermit. Nor is it permitted to destroy any part of their churches, to take parts of their buildings to construct mosques or the homes of Muslims.

The Treaty of Najran, cited in Baladhuri’s (d.  892 CE) Kitab Futuh al-Buldan, reads: “No bishop is to be driven from his bishopric, no monk from his monastery, and no hermit from his hermitage” (online edition). The Treaty of Najran, which was recorded by Ibn Qayyim, prior to 1350 CE, is very similar to the version published by Ibn Sa‘d in the 9th century. It reads: “No bishop is to be driven from his bishopric, no monk from his monastery, and no priest from his priestly vocation. No changes will be made with regards to their rights.”

The Covenant of the Prophet Muhammad with the Monks of Mount Sinai which was placed in the Ottoman Treasury in 1517 CE, reads:

A bishop shall not be removed from his bishopric, nor a monk from his monastery, nor a hermit from his tower, nor shall a pilgrim be hindered from his pilgrimage. Moreover, no building from among their churches shall be destroyed, nor shall the money from their churches be used for the building of mosques or houses for the Muslims.

We find the very same protections in the Covenant of the Prophet Muhammad with the Christians of the World, which was recorded in 1538 CE and in the Covenant of the Prophet Muhammad with the Christians of the World, which was printed in 1630 CE.

Although no Arabic version of the Covenant of the Prophet Muhammad with the Christians of Persia is currently known to exist, it also contains a very similar clause:

Their building enterprises shall not be interfered with; their priests shall not be molested in the performance of their task… neither shall their churches be dismantled or destroyed, or their homes and mansions confiscated by Muslims, for mosques or residences…

And while a Persian version of the Covenant of the Prophet Muhammad with the Assyrian Christians survives, the Arabic is apparently no longer extant. Nonetheless, it conveys the same key components:

Leave their possessions alone, be it houses or other property, do no destroy anything of their belongings… their church buildings shall be left as they are, they shall not be altered, their priests shall be permitted to teach and worship in their down way… None of their churches are to be torn down, or altered into a mosque…

Enough with the repetition, you may think. However, its purpose is didactic. There are those who claim that the Covenants of the Prophet are 16th century forgeries. When that was proven to be false, they claimed that they were 10th century forgeries. However, even that has been proven to be false.

I am sorry to disappoint Islamophobic trolls who refuse to believe that any good could come from the Prophet or Islam; however, the Covenants of the Prophet Muhammad were circulating in the 9th century, the 8th century, and yes, even the 7th century. They are what we call in Hadith Studies: mutawatir, transmitted by so many people, for so long, from the 7th century to the 21st century, that it is impossible to accept that they all agreed upon a falsehood.

There are those who claim that I am full of it. I cannot say what “it” is. I can only say that it is not chocolate ice cream. There are those who accuse me of lying about the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him. Hundreds upon hundreds of scholars, writers, political and religious authorities have authenticated the Covenants of the Prophet from the 7th century to the 21st century. Are all these sources, half of whom are Muslim authorities, including myself, full of “it” as well? Yes; yes, we are: we are full of chocolate ice cream! Not only do we make Islam palatable: we make it down right delicious. Provecho! L’chaim! Salud! A votre santé! To your health!

Islam, true Islam, traditional, civilizational Islam, balances justice with mercy. It creates a tolerant, pluralistic, society, governed by the rule of law, which provides equality and equity for all its citizens regardless of race, ethnicity, tribal affiliation, gender, social class or economic status.

“I have left two things,” said the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, “the Qur’an and my Sunnah” (Malik and Muslim). The Qur’an and the Sunnah, which includes the Constitution of Madinah and the Covenants of the Prophet, provide fundamental and universal civil and human rights. Islam, and by Islam, I mean traditional Islam, I mean classical Islam, provides safety and security for both Muslims and non-Muslims.

As al-Sharif Ahmad ibn Muhammad Sa‘d al-Hasani al-Idrisi al-Azhari, the Founder of the Ihsan Institute and a distinguished graduate from al-Azhar University, has stated, the Covenants of the Prophet “serve to clarify the true meanings of the verses of the Qur’an.”

So, let us hold fast to the Qur’an, in its true, traditional, balanced, orthodox, mainstream, normative, and moderate interpretation, and avoid excesses and extremes. Let us hold fast to the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, particularly the Constitution of Madinah and the Covenants of the Prophet with the People of the Book.

I close with greetings of peace: peace be upon you, que la paix soit sur vous, que la paz sea con ustedes, salaamu ‘alaykum, and shalom aleichum. And Allah Akbar, God is the Greatest. We need to reclaim the takbir.

*****

Presented at Sound Vision’s Annual Seerah Conference in Chicago, Illinois, on December 3, 2017

After being bombarded by Salafi-Wahhabi-Takfiri propaganda for so long, the appearance of Shaykh Hamza Yusuf on the Muslim scene was refreshing. Over the past few decades, the Californian-based scholar has played a primordial role in spreading the traditional, mainstream, Islam of Ahl al-Sunnah wa al-Tasawwuf in the Western world and drawing scores of believers into a normative form of the Muslim faith. For this, he must be commended.

Although many people were pleased to see an American scholar assume a position of leadership in the Western world, hoping that it would start to turn the tide of religious colonialism and outside interference in our domestic religious affairs, the fact that Shaykh Hamza Yusuf has received financial, political, and logistical support from Britain, the United Arab Emirates, and Turkey calls his independence into question. A formidable form of soft power, funds from global and regional players typically come with conditions which are either explicit or implicit. For this, he must be cautioned.

Even though Shaykh Hamza Yusuf was one of the first Muslim scholars to receive a copy of The Covenants of the Prophet Muhammad with the Christians of the World, he has steadfastly refused to sign the Covenants Initiative, a statement that has been endorsed by hundreds of Muslim scholars, intellectuals, and activists. What he found objectionable is a source of wonder for it simply says:

We the undersigned hold ourselves bound by the spirit and the letter of the covenants of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) with the Christians of the world, in the understanding that these covenants, if accepted as genuine, have the force of law in the shari‘ah today and that nothing in the shari‘ah, as traditionally and correctly interpreted, has ever contradicted them. 

As fellow victims of the terror and godlessness, the spirit of militant secularism and false religiosity now abroad in the world, we understand your suffering as Christians through our suffering as Muslims, and gain greater insight into our own suffering through the contemplation of your suffering. 

May the Most Merciful of the Merciful regard the suffering of the righteous and innocent; may He strengthen us, in full submission to His will, to follow the spirit and the letter of the covenants of the Prophet Muhammad with the Christians of the world in all our dealings with them. 

In short, the Covenants Initiative merely reiterates our commitment, as Muslims, to abide by the treaties and promises that the Prophet Muhammad made with the People of the Book. Evidently, nobody is compelled to sign petitions or statements and the Shaykh is entirely within his rights to decline such an invitation. The Covenants of the Prophet have been widely embraced by the Muslim Community. The list of signatories only represents a small segment of supporters.

Like other scholars, Shaykh Hamza Yusuf is entitled to his opinions. He is free to keep these private or make them public. He could have expressed support for the Covenants of the Prophet. If he had reservations regarding the authenticity of the Covenants of the Prophet, he could have shared his sentiments in a scholarly study. Shaykh Hamza could also have adopted a position of neutrality. For this, he would be within his rights.

The fact of the matter, however, is that Shaykh Hamza Yusuf has actively opposed the Covenants of the Prophet. In fact, several attempts were made by faculty members at the first accredited Muslim undergraduate college in the United States to organize lectures on the Covenants of the Prophet. Numerous other attempts were made by outside parties who wished to organize lectures on the Muhammadan Covenants at Zaytuna. All such efforts were reportedly scuttled by Shaykh Hamza. If this is indeed the case, then he should be called to account.

I call Shaykh Hamza Yusuf to the Covenants of the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him. I call Shaykh Hamza Yusuf to reconciliation, brotherhood, and friendship, failing which I challenge Shaykh Hamza Yusuf to a televised public debate, held on neutral ground, before a neutral audience, and moderated by an impartial personality, on the authenticity of the Covenants of the Prophet Muhammad with the People of the Book.

By Dr. John Andrew Morrow (Imam Ilyas Islam) –  Muslim scholar, author, and activist. He is the Editor-in-Chief of Islam and the People of the Book: Critical Studies on the Covenants of the Prophet (2017), a three-volume encyclopedic work on the letters, treaties, and covenants of Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah. 

The Muslim Vibe (December 6, 2017).

This is the second of a two-part series and was originally a speech delivered by Dr John Andrew Morrow (Imam Ilyas Islam) at the 13th Annual National Muslim Congress Conference in Dallas, Texas, in the United States of America. You can read part 1 here.


In order to cultivate a relationship with the Creator, we must be lovingly obedient and we must walk the path of love. We must slowly and gradually attempt to acquire the attributes of Allah (swt). If Allah is al-Sabbur, the Most Patient, we train ourselves to be patient. If Allah is al-‘Alim, the Most Wise, we strain ourselves to become ‘alims or scholars. We must remember Almighty Allāh at all times, knowing, full-well, that “Wherever you turn, there is the face of God.” [2:115] “We are nearer to the human being than the jugular vein,” [50:16] and “He is with you wherever you are.” [57:4] And most importantly, we must love Almighty Allah with all our hearts and all our souls since “He loves them, and they love Him.” [5:54] As Allah, the Loving, states in his Book of Love: “Those of faith are overflowing in their love for Allah.” [2:165]

It goes without saying that the lovers of the Most Loving express their love by respecting the ‘usul al-din and by performing the furu’ al-din, namely, by accepting the Roots of Faith and by practising the Branches of Faith. You must walk before you can run. This is how you distinguish a real ‘arif, a real su, and a real walī from a spiritual charlatan. One cannot be a spiritual authority unless one obey the shari‘ah. Nobody is above the law. At the same time, the simple fact that one follows the shari‘ah, and specializes in the shari‘ah, does not make one a spiritual authority. If the simple fact of obeying the law or knowing the law makes one a holy person than any law-abiding citizen and any attorney is a holy person. No. Obeying the shari‘ah does not suffice to make someone a holy man. It does not even guarantee that someone is a good Muslim. In fact, there are plenty of people who obey the law who are horrible human beings. As Imam Ja‘far al-Sadiq warned, “If you want to know the religion of a person, do not look at how much he prays and fast but rather look at how he treats people.”

If love has a spiritual and religious dimension, it also has social, political, and economic dimensions. People were not made to serve religion. Religion was made to serve people. The purpose of religion is knowledge of God and knowledge of self. Its purpose is to teach morals, values, and ethics. Its purpose is spiritual edification, self-improvement, and moral reformation. Faith does not suffice for salvation. Deeds without religious devotion are like seeds without water and soil. As Muslims, we are called to put our faith into practice and to place religion at the service of society and humanity. As Almighty Allah (swt) instructs us in the Glorious Quran:

“It is not righteousness that ye turn your faces Towards east or West; but it is righteousness- to believe in Allāh and the Last Day, and the Angels, and the Book, and the Messengers; to spend of your substance, out of love for Him, for your kin, for orphans, for the needy, for the wayfarer, for those who ask, and for the ransom of slaves; to be steadfast in prayer, and practice regular charity; to fulfill the contracts which ye have made; and to be firm and patient, in pain (or suffering) and adversity, and throughout all periods of panic. Such are the people of truth, the God-fearing.” [2:177]

They are so-called Sufis who believe that politics are below them. They are apolitical: the very manifestation of privilege. They suffer from spiritual arrogance. There are those who wish to reduce Islām to politics. They are the so-called Islamists. There are those who are so stupid and narrow-minded that they wish to reduce Islam to violence. They are the so-called Jihadists. Beware of extremes. Beware of extremists: liberals and conservatives; fundamentalists and reformists; the Gnostics and the literalists; the apolitical and the political. We must stand our religious and spiritual ground by sticking to the straight path. The straight path is the path of the law and the path of love. To walk the path of love, we must love Allah, Allah First, and Allah Last, Allah forever and ever and ever. Love Allah and feel Allah with every breath you take and with every move you make. If you love Allah, then you love the Prophets, Messengers, and Imams that were sent by Allah. Why? Because the Most Loving send them to us in love.

As Almighty Allah explains in the Glorious Quran: “We have notsentd you but as a rahmah [an an act of mercy and love] to all the worlds.” [21:107] He further says: “The Prophet is preferable for the believers even to their own selves.” [33:6] So, if we are true believers, we love the Prophet more than ourselves; however, that love is not unilateral: it is reciprocated. As Almighty Allah says in the Glorious Quran, “For the believers,” the Prophet “is full of kindness, mercy, and love.” [9:128] If we love Allah, we love the Prophet, and if we love the Prophet, we love the Progeny of the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon them all. “Train your children in three things,” said the Messenger of Allah, “the love of your Prophet, the love of his Progeny, and recitation of the Quran.” [Suyuti] He also stated: “Love Allah for the favours He has granted you, love me out of love of Allah, and love my family out of love for me.” [Tirmidhi]

As the Messenger of Allah said: “I have left among you two precious obligations as a testament: if you love them you will never go astray. They are the Book of Allāh, which is like a rope extending from heaven to the Earth, and my children, my Ahl al-Bayt” (Tirmidhī, Sadūq, Mufīd, Kulaynī). “The love for my Ahl al-Bayt is an obligation,” said the Prophet (Ṭabarānī, Nabahānī, Ibn Ḥajar). I could go on for hours stressing the importance of loving the Prophet and His Purified Progeny, ‘alayhim ṣalawātu wa salām.

Loving God, the Prophet, and his Family, is not enough. We must love our wives as well. As we read in the Glorious Qur’ān: “It is He who created you from a single soul, and made his mate of like nature, in order that ye may dwell with her [in love]” (7:189). Men and women were created from a single soul. They long to be united as one in the same fashion that all souls yearn to be united with Allāh in total tawḥīd. Of the Prophet’s three loves, the other two being perfume and prayer, the foremost was women. As the Messenger of Allāh, peace and blessings be upon him, stated: “It is the tradition of the Prophets to love women.”

The union of husband and wife is an expression of divine union. Men are the embodiment of the masculine attributes of God whereas women are the embodiment of the feminine attributes of God. The love of women takes many forms. The exegesis of these traditions is profound. As the Messenger of Allāh,ṣalawāt Allāh ‘alayh, stated: “The words of a husband to his wife, ‘I truly love you,’ should never leave her heart” (‘Amilī).

The Prophet, peace be upon him, said that “Women are the likes of men.”Women complete men. Women represent the feminine attributes of the Divinity. Loving women, purely and spiritually, that is, is a form of worship. As Imām Ja‘far al-Ṣādiq stated:  “Whoever’s love for us increases, his love for women must also increase” (‘Amilī). To love, respect, and revere women is synonymous with being a follower of Ahl al-Bayt. It suffices to say that one cannot be a pious Muslim while simultaneously being a misogynist. At the same time, the Messenger of Allāh stresses that “The best of you among women are those who are loving and affectionate” (Majlisī).

We love Allāh. We love the Prophet. We love the Imāms. We love our wives. We also love our children and our families. As the Messenger of Allāh, ‘alayhi ṣalawātu wa salām, said: “The creatures are Allāh’s family so the most loved one of Allāh is he who shows kindness to his family” (Bayhaqī). The sixth Imām, Ja‘far al-Ṣādiq, peace be upon him, said: “Verily, Allāh, the Mighty and High, is merciful to the man who loves his child intensely” (Kulaynī).

As you will note, the love that I describe is emanating outward, from the Center, from Allāh, to the Prophet, to the Imāms, and to our families. For most people, love does not extend beyond this small circle. However, since Allāh is One, and we, as Creation, are one, our love should truly be all-encompassing.

The Prophet and the Imāms, peace be upon them, did not only speak about loving our women: they spoke of loving all women. They did not say that we should only love our children: they said that we should love all children. As the Messenger of Allāh, ṣallalahu ‘alayhi wa alihi wa sallam, taught: “Love children and be compassionate with them, and when you promise them something, always fulfill it, because they certainly consider you their benefactors” (Kulaynī). And while he instructed us to tell our wives that we loved them, he also spoke in general terms, stating: “When you love someone, let the person know” (Majlisī).

As the Messenger of Allāh, peace and blessings be upon him, said: “None will move from his place of reckoning on the Day of Judgment until he has stated four things: how he lived his life, how he spend his wealth, how he earned his living, and whether he loved the Ahl al-Bayt” (Ṭabarānī, Suyūṭī, Nabahānī). So, we need to love Ahl al-Bayt, but we need to live a moral life, earn a moral income, and share our income with the poor and needy. As Almighty Allāh, ‘azza wa jalla, Mighty and Majestic, says in a ḥadīth qudsī: “O Son of Adam! Behave with the people with good manners until I love you” (Shīrāzī). And yet again: “Purify your deeds… until I dress you with the clothes of My love” (Shīrāzī).

“Islām started as a social justice movement. The Prophet Muḥammad taught his followers to reject sexism, racism, and most of all, classism” stated a silly girl who should seriously study Islām. Islām is a religion, a worldview, a complete and total way of life, with spiritual, religious, social, political, and economic dimensions. It is a culture. It is a civilization. For God’s sake, Islām is much more than a “social justice movement.” It is a faith. It is rooted in monotheism. It is a belief system which, if followed properly, will ensure social justice and eradicate sexism, racism, and classism. Allāh is very clear about this in the Qur’ān: “Serve Allāh, and join not any partners with Him; and do good- to parents, kinsfolk, orphans, those in need, neighbors who are near, neighbors who are strangers, the companion by your side, the wayfarer (ye meet), and what your right hands possess.” (4:36)

Faith in one God, first and foremost. Pure monotheism followed by good deeds to family, relatives, neighbours, orphans, the poor, the needy, the indigent, the homeless, refugees, the sick, the elderly…

Love is central in Islām. It is at the heart of the Golden Rule. As the Messenger of Allāh, peace and blessings be upon him, stated: “None of you have faith until you love for your neighbor what you love for yourself” (Muslim); “Whoever wishes to be delivered from the fire and to enter Paradise… should treat the people as he wishes to be treated” (Muslim); “None of you truly believes until he wishes for his brother what he wishes for himself” (Nawawī);  “None of you is a believer if he eats his full while his neighbor hasn’t anything” (Aḥmad); “Do unto all men as you would wish to have done unto you; and reject for others what you would reject for yourselves” (Abū Dāwūd); “Hurt no one so that no one may hurt you” (Farewell Sermon); and “There should be neither harming nor reciprocating harm” (Ibn Mājah). In fact, the Qur’ān goes beyond the Golden rule by encouraging Muslims to “Return evil with kindness” (13:22, 23:96, 41:34, 28:54, 42:40).

Why must be love others? Because as Rūzbihān Baqlī of Shīrāz explains in is‘Abhār al-‘āshiqīn, “The soul is nurtured through human love until love becomes firmly rooted in the inmost mystery.” How can you love a God you cannot see when you cannot even love a human being that you can see? Start seeing God in others and you will see wonders. As Almighty Allāh, subḥānahu wa ta‘alā, states in a sacred saying:

“Allāh will say on the Day of Judgment, ‘Son of Adam, I was sick but you did not visit Me.’ ‘My Lord, How could I visit You when You are the Lord of the Worlds?’ ‘Did you not know that one of My servants was sick and you didn’t visit him? If you had visited him you would have found Me there.’ Then Allāh will say, ‘Son of Adam, I needed food but you did not feed Me.’ ‘My Lord, How could I feed You when You are the Lord of the Worlds?’ ‘Did you not know that one of My servants was hungry but you did not feed him? If you had fed him you would have found its reward with Me.’ ‘Son of Adam, I was thirsty, but you did not give Me something to drink.’ ‘My Lord, How could I give a drink when You are the Lord of the Worlds?’ ‘Did you not know that one of My servants was thirsty but you did not give him a drink? If you had given him a drink, you would have found Me with him.” [Muslim]

And yet again,

“My servant does not draw near to Me with anything more loved than the religious duties that I have imposed upon him, and My Servant continues to draw near to Me with supererogatory works so that I shall love him. When I love him, I am his hearing with which he hears, his seeing with which he sees, his hand with which he strikes, and his foot with which he walks.” (Bukhārī)

This is what is meant when we speak of being at one with the One. This is the true meaning of tawḥīd or unity between the Creator and the created. This is what happens when a human being acquires the attributes of Allāh. The is the station of al-insān al-kāmil: the perfected human being. This is what the Imāms, peace be upon them, meant, when they said: “We are the Most Beautiful Names of God.” This is the destination of the path of love.  This is what Imām Ja‘far al-Ṣādiq meant when he asked: Is the religion anything but love?

The Muslim Post (December 5, 2017)

By Dr. John Andrew Morrow (Shaykh Ilyas Islam)

(Presented at the Sound Vision Benefit in Houston, Texas, on December 2, 2017, and at the Annual Seerah Conference in Chicago, Illinois, on December 3, 2017)

I take refuge in Allah from Satan the Rejected. In the Name of Allah, the Most Compassionate, the Most Merciful. Praise be to Allah, the Loving and the Just, and peace be upon the best of the prophets and messengers, Muhammad ibn ‘Abd Allah, along with his family and faithful companions.

I am delighted to participate in Sound Vision’s Annual Seerah Conference. I would like to thank everyone involved in making this event a reality, including, but not limited to, Imam Abdul Malik Mujahid and Imam Musa Azam. I would also like to thank all the speakers for sharing their time and knowledge with the community, including, but not limited to, the Right Honorable Lord Nazir Ahmed. And I would like to thank you all, the audience, that is, for taking time out of your busy schedules, to expand your intellects and cultivate your spirituality. Now then…

I have been invited to address a topic of timely concern and universal importance: “Coalition Building as a Major Strategy of Prophetic Success.” All I can say is masha’ Allah, in the good sense, not in the “O my God!” sense. It is evident that a great deal of strategic thought was placed in the selection of themes to be explored at this conference. Although I deliver many highly-academic, graduate-level, lectures, today, I will opt for clarity and simplicity. The scholarly approach and the popular approach are both valid. They each have a time and place.

Muslims need to know Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him. Non-Muslims need to know Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him. Unfortunately, some of the biographies of our beloved Prophet, Allah bless him and grant him peace, do us a relative disservice. They provide us with a chronology of events and place an overemphasis on wars and battles. They read, very much, like the life of a CEO, a chief-executive officer, or a military commander. Some are filled with boring, tedious, and mind-numbing detail. Others are full of action, no doubt, however, they speak very little about the Prophet as a person, the Prophet as a husband, the Prophet as a father, the Prophet as a friend, the Prophet as a spiritual and ethical being, the Prophet as a community leader, and the Prophet as a coalition builder.

The Messenger of Allah, may Allah shower him with blessings and grant him peace, was a complete and total human being. He had many dimensions. He was a warrior, no doubt. He was a legislator, a judge, and a jurist. He was a political leader. He was a religious leader. He was a philosopher. He was an orator. He was an economist. He was an abolitionist. He was a suffragist. He was a civil rights activist. He was a human rights activist. He was a racial, economic, and social justice activist. He was a democrat, an advocate of democracy (not a member of the Democratic Party, thank you very much). He was a proponent of pluralism who created a Confederation of Believers based on the Constitution of Madinah and the Covenants of the Prophet.

With all of this information in mind, it is no wonder that Michael H. Hart ranked Muhammad as the most influential figure in human history. As he explained, “he was the only man in history who was supremely successful on both the religious and secular levels.”

How is it, then, that a poor, uneducated, orphan, from some back-water in Arabia became one of the most powerful leaders in the world with billions of believers? “Violence, bloodshed, terrorism, and mass-murder” respond the intentionally ignorant Islamophobes and hard-hearted hate-mongers. Baraka bi al-kudhubKafa min al-kidhb. Enough with the lies already. He did not receive revelation, proclaim his prophethood, and impose his authority by force. If Muhammad, the son of ‘Abd Allah, was successful, it was because he was a master communicator and coalition builder.

While it may come as a surprise to some, Muhammad’s bridge-building predates the appearance of the Angel Gabriel on the Mountain of Light. Although it has become a dogma that Muhammad only left Arabia on two occasions, once when he was a boy, in the company of his uncle Abu Talib, and yet again, when he was a young man in the service of Khadijah, such a belief is not evidence-based. Early Muslim and Christian sources clearly confirm that Muhammad was well-traveled, that he participated in caravans throughout Arabia, Yemen, the Sinai, Egypt, Palestine, Syria, Iraq, Persia, Armenia, Abyssinia, and parts of the Roman and Byzantine Empires, including, perhaps, North Africa and the Iberian Peninsula. I am not making such claims. I am simply sharing what early sources state.

The monks from monasteries throughout the Greater Middle East claim to have been in personal contact with Muhammad when he was a child and a young man. Many of these monks, from Egypt, the Sinai, Syria, and beyond, recognized Muhammad as the Prophet that was foretold in the prophecies they had in their possessions. The monks from St. Catherine’s Monastery in the Sinai asked Muhammad to protect them when he would proclaim his prophethood. He is said to have provided them with a print of his palm as a promise.  By the will of God, and according to His Master Plan, Muhammad appears to have been laying the groundwork for his future mission.

At home, in Arabia, Muhammad also earned the respect, trust, and reverence of the Arab people. When the Ka‘bah needed to be rebuilt, and the question of who should return the Black Stone to its place arose, the Arabs turned to Muhammad al-Amin, the Trustworthy, to resolve the dilemma. He placed the stone on a sheet and had the leaders of each tribe hold on to it, lift it, and return it to its place.

Due to unethical business dealings, conflict arose between the Arabs. Who did they call upon to resolve the conflict? To Muhammad. He spear-headed an alliance to establish fair commercial dealings. It was known as Hilf al-Fudul, the League of the Virtuous, in which tribal leaders agreed to respect the principles of justice and collectively intervene in conflicts to establish justice.

Although this event took place before Muhammad received revelation, and even though the parties were non-Muslims, it is considered an important precedent in Islamic law and ethics. Years later, when Muhammad ibn ‘Abd Allah became Muhammad Rasul Allah, he insisted that the pact remained valid and binding.

After Muhammad, Allah shower him with countless blessings, received the revelation on the Mountain of Light, he commenced the Islamic tradition of coalition-building. Who did he appeal to? The rich? The powerful? No. He reached out to his family first and foremost. He then appealed to his friends. He focused on building a small, spiritually-strong, community.

When he had the support of those who were close to him, Allah asked him to andhira ‘ashiraka al-aqrabin or “warn your closest kindred.” (26:214). Consequently, he sought permission from the tribal chiefs to preach on Mount al-Safa. They agreed to listen to him because they had never heard him tell lies.

Unfortunately, the Arabs of Quraysh responded with hostility to the peaceful, non-violent, message of the Prophet which focused on faith and justice. Eventually, the persecution took such a toll that the Prophet proposed to send his supporters to Abyssinia, the land of a just Christian king where no one was wronged.

If one peruses the correspondence between Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, and al-Najashi, one is struck by their familiar, as opposed to formal, tone. The Prophet spoke to the Abyssinian leader, who appears to have been Judeo-Christian in faith and practice, as if they were friends.

For all intents and purposes, it appears that both men knew and respected one another. If so, this is, once again, evidence that Muhammad had long engaged in alliance-building. Thanks to these efforts, many Companions of the Prophet found refuge in Abyssinia in the year 615 CE.

In the year 619 CE, early Muslim and Christian sources state that the Prophet Muhammad, Allah bless him and grant him peace, received a delegation of Christians in Makkah. This was several years after the first hijrah to Abyssinia and several years before the second hijrah to Madinah. The delegation appears to have consisted of Armenian Christians from Jerusalem. They had long been expecting the rise of an Arabian prophet. They knew that his faith would conquer the world. They knew that he would free them from the oppression of Byzantium. Hence, they asked him to protect their Christian faith and to grant them possession of the holy sites in Jerusalem. This document survives to this day and was ratified by ‘Umar, ‘Ali, and Salah al-Din, among many others.

As a result of extensive epistolary outreach and the diplomatic efforts of his envoys, the Messenger of Allah was able to conclude the Pledge of ‘Aqabah and was able to migrate to Madinah, along with most of his persecuted followers. And who guided the Prophet to Madinah? Who did he select to bring him to safety? Was it a Muslim? No. Was it a Christian? No. Was it a Jew? No. It was an Arab polytheist whom the Prophet trusted with his life. Why did the guide risk the wrath of his own polytheistic people? Because he knew the Prophet as a person. Humanity trumps religion.

The Prophet Muhammad did not impose himself on the people of Madinah: he was invited by the people of Madinah. He was a popularly-acclaimed leader who was asked to act as a mediator between the Jews and polytheists of the prosperous city-oasis. Muslims, at the time, numbered in the hundreds. Non-Muslims numbers in the tens of thousands. The people of Madinah were not converted by force, turned into dhimmis or slaughtered. They gradually entered Islam in the years and decades to come. Some, however, remained Jewish: loyal Jewish allies of the Muslims. So, don’t generalize.

How, then, did the Prophet consolidate power in Madinah? It was certainly not by force for as Almighty Allah confirms in the Qur’an: “There shall be no compulsion in religion” (2:256). It was by means of shura’ or consultation: wa shawirhum or “Consult with them in the matter” (3:159). As Almighty Allah confirms in the Qur’an, the correct method of community-building consists of consultation. The believers are those “whose affair is [determined by] consultation among themselves” (42:38) or amruhum shura.

In accordance with the Qur’an, the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, consulted with the community in Madinah. He met with tribal and faith leaders. He deliberated with them. Then, under his leadership, but in collaboration with non-Muslims, he created and promulgated the Covenant of Madinah, the first constitution in the history of humanity which provided equality for all, regardless of religion, tribe, race, gender or social class. “They are one community [or ummah],” proclaims the Covenant of Madinah: “conditions must be fair and equitable to all.” Jews, Muslims, and polytheists all had to contribute equally to the defense of the Ummah.

The religious rights of the People of the Book were protected: “The Jews have their religion and the Muslims have theirs.” “To the Jew who follows us belong help and equality,” it proclaims, “he shall not be wronged, nor his enemies aided.” Muslims were even obliged to protect and defend the allies of the Jews: “The close friends of the Jews are as themselves.”

The enemies of the Ummah, namely, the pagans from Quraysh, who persecuted the Muslims and non-Muslims who followed the Prophet, were to be given no protection. All members of the Ummah were bond “to make peace and maintain it.” However, in the event they were attacked by their common enemies, they were all required to rally in defense of it.

The Covenant of Madinah established the rule of law among a lawless people: “Whenever you differ about a matter it must be referred to Allah and to Muhammad.” The teachings of the Torah, the Gospel, and the Qur’an, became the law of the land, governing their respective communities. The Prophet was to oversee their implementation impartially. He was the final arbiter.

Word of the Prophet Muhammad’s rise continued to spread to the four corners of the world. In the second year of the hijrah, a delegation of monks from St. Catherine’s Monasteryvisited him in Madinah where they reminded him of his promise of protection. There, in his mosque in Madinah, the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, dictated to ‘Ali, may Allah be pleased with him, the ‘ahd al-nabi, the ‘ahd nabawi, the ashtinameh, the Covenant of the Prophet Muhammad with the Monks of Mount Sinai, which guaranteed freedom of religion, protected religious establishments, granted tax-free status to priests, monks, and nuns, and prohibited forced conversions.

The Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and grant him peace, provided the same protections to the People of the Book throughout the Greater Middle East. He protected the Christians of Najran, Aylah, Egypt, Syria, Persia, Armenia, and the world. He protected the Samaritans in Palestine. He protected the Jews from the Yemen and Maqnah. He also protected the Zoroastrians. None of this is new. None of this is comes from me or some revisionist reading of Islam.

All of this is authentic and confirmed in early Jewish, Samaritan, Christian, and Muslim sources, both Sunni, and Shii. Don’t take it from me. Read it for yourself. Read the Constitution of Madinah.

If you are proficient in Arabic, read Majmu‘ah al-Watha’iq al-siyasiyyah li al-‘ahd al-nabawiwa al khilafah al-rashidah by Dr. Muhammad Hamidullah, the famous Sunni scholar and Western academic. It is nearly 1,000 pages long. It contains hundreds upon hundreds of letters, treaties, and covenants of the Prophet. It clearly shows the massive diplomatic endeavors of the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon them.

Read Makatib al-Rasul, a commentary of Hamidullah’s compilation, by Ayatullah Ahmadi Minyanji, the respected Twelver Shiite scholar. It consists of four volumes. So, it’s about 4,000 pages long. You can also read the Arabic translation of my work: Uhud al-Nabi li Masihiyyi al-‘alam which is published by Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah.

If you are only familiar with English, read Power Manifestations of the Sirah by Zafar Bangash, a Sunni intellectual from Canada. It provides an excellent analysis of the Prophet’s coalition-building efforts.

If you wish to understand how the Prophet engaged with Christians, I recommend my work, The Covenants of the Prophet Muhammad with the Christians of the World.

If you wish to broaden your understanding of how the Messenger of Allah built bridges with the People of the Book, Jews, Samaritans, Christians, and Zoroastrians, read Islam and the People of the Book: Critical Studies on the Covenants of the Prophet, a three-volume encyclopedia which features three dozen studies on the subject by leading Muslim scholars along with translations of the Covenants of the Prophet in English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Dutch, Russian, Tamil, Indonesian, Urdu, Persian, Azeri, Turkish, and Arabic.

Allah is Just. The Prophet was just. And we Muslims must strive to be just. Coalition-building is the key to success.  I send you greetings of peace and prayers for success and prosperity in this life in the next. Al-salaamu ‘alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu.

Por John Andrew Morrow

SHAFAQNA – Después de ser bombardeados por la propaganda salafita-wahhabita-takfirita durante tanto tiempo, la aparición en el escenario musulmán del sheij Hamza Yusuf fue refrescante. En las últimas décadas, este erudito con base en California,  ha desempeñado un papel primordial en la difusión del Islam tradicional ―el Islam de Ahl al-Sunnah wa al-Tasawwuf― en el mundo occidental, con lo que acercó a decenas de creyentes a las regulaciones de la fe musulmana. Debe ser elogiado por esto.

Muchos se pusieron contentos al ver que un erudito norteamericano asumía una posición de liderazgo en el mundo occidental, esperanzados en que comenzaría a cambiar el rumbo del colonialismo religioso y de la interferencia en nuestros asuntos internos en la materia. Pero debido a que el sheij Hamza Yusuf recibía apoyo financiero, político y logístico de Gran Bretaña, Emiratos Árabes Unidos y Turquía, se puso en entredicho si actuaba o no con independencia. Ese tipo de ayuda es una forma temible de influencia atractiva, porque por lo general los fondos de los actores mundiales y regionales cuentan con condiciones implícitas o explícitas. Por esta cuestión merece una advertencia.

A pesar de que el sheij Hamza Yusuf fue uno de los primeros estudiosos musulmanes en recibir una copia de “Los pactos del Profeta Muhammad con los Cristianos del Mundo”, se negó categóricamente a firmar la Iniciativa de los Pactos, declaración que ha sido avalada por cientos de eruditos, intelectuales y activistas musulmanes. Es sorprendente que su objeción se centrase en lo siguiente:

Los abajo firmantes nos comprometemos a la protección de los cristianos del mundo en función del espíritu y la letra de los Pactos del Profeta Muhammad (la paz y bendiciones sean con él), a los que consideramos auténticos y parte de la ley (Shariah). Aclaramos que nunca nada en esta los contradijo, según la interpretación correcta y tradicional.

Como ciudadanos víctimas del terror, la impiedad, la atmósfera del secularismo militante y la falsa religiosidad extendida por todo el mundo, entendemos su sufrimiento como cristianos a través de nuestro sufrimiento como musulmanes y profundizamos en el grado de nuestro sufrimiento a través de la contemplación del que sufren ellos.

Quiera el Más Misericordioso de los Misericordiosos tener en cuenta el sufrimiento de los justos y los inocentes. Quiera Él fortalecernos en total sumisión a Su voluntad, para seguir el espíritu y la letra de los pactos del Profeta Muhammad con los cristianos del mundo en todas nuestras relaciones con ellos.

En resumen, la Iniciativa de los Pactos, reitera, simplemente, nuestro compromiso como musulmanes de respetar los tratados y promesas que el Profeta Muhammad cumplimentó con la Gente del Libro. Por cierto, nadie está obligado a firmar peticiones o declaraciones y el sheij está totalmente en su derecho de rechazar tal invitación. Dejamos constancia de que los Pactos del Profeta han sido ampliamente adoptados por la comunidad musulmana. La lista de firmantes solo representa un pequeño segmento de seguidores.

Al igual que otros eruditos, el Sheik Hamza Yusuf tiene derecho a mantener sus puntos de vista. Es libre de hacerlos público o no. Podría haber expresado su apoyo a los Pactos del Profeta. Si tenía reservas sobre la autenticidad de ellos, podría haberlas manifestado a través de un análisis sustancioso. También podría haber adoptado una posición de neutralidad, cosa que le cabe perfectamente.

Sin embargo, la realidad es que el sheij Hamza Yusuf se opuso activamente a los Pactos del Profeta. Miembros de la facultad de la primera universidad musulmana acreditada en los Estados Unidos hicieron varios intentos por organizar conferencias sobre los Pactos del Profeta. Otras numerosas tentativas fueron hechas por terceros que deseaban organizar conferencias sobre los pactos muhammadianos en la universidad Zaytuna. Todos esos esfuerzos fueron presuntamente frustrados por el sheij Hamza. Si esto fue así, entonces debería rendir cuentas.

Convoco al sheij Hamza Yusuf a hacer suyos los Pactos del Profeta ―la paz y las bendiciones sean con él―. Lo convoco a la reconciliación, la fraternidad y a la amistad. Y si nada de eso fuese posible, lo desafío a un debate público televisado en terreno neutral, ante un público neutral, moderado por una personalidad imparcial, sobre la autenticidad de los Pactos del Profeta Muhammad con la Gente del Libro.

Por Dr. John Andrew Morrow (Imam Ilyas Islam) – un erudito musulmán, autor y activista en distintos campos. Es el director de edición deIslam and the People of the Book: Critical Studies on the Covenants of the Prophet (“El Islam y la Gente del Libro: Estudios Críticos sobre los Pactos del Profeta” ―2017―), obra enciclopédica en tres volúmenes de cartas, tratados y pactos de Muhammad, el Mensajero de Allah.

 

SHAFAQNA – He was there when I left to work in the morning. He was sitting next to my doorway dressed in army fatigues surrounded by US army duffel bags. He was also there when I returned late in the evening. He was a soldier, an American soldier.

As much as I respected soldiers for their discipline, obedience, skills, and courage, this man, in my mind, was a servant and slave of the American Empire. The mere sight of his uniform invoked the atrocities and mass murder committed across the globe in places such as Southeast Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East. Although every man is a book, I judged him by his cover as opposed to his content.

Although I never looked at him directly when I set off to teach at an institution of higher learning earlier in the day, merely catching a glance of him thanks to my peripheral vision, I looked at him directly upon my return, ignored him, entered my apartment, and was anguished by guilt.

“He’s been there all day,” said my wife. “Do you have any idea how hot it is?” “Offer him something to drink,” she suggested. I struggled, in my heart and mind, between my commitment to revolutionary convictions and my commitment to humanity and hospitality. That day, my wrath gave way to my mercy.

“You must be tired, thirsty, and hungry,” I stated, looking at him directly in the eyes as I stepped outside of my cool and cozy apartment. “Please join my wife and I for dinner,” I said, inviting a complete and total stranger into the privacy of our domestic domain: “We would be honored to host you.”

“God bless you,” he said, as he rose. The physical, psychological, emotional, and spiritual barriers that divided us had now disappeared. I had decided to judge not lest I be judged. I had emptied my heart of prejudice and hate. I grounded myself in my humanity and gave my guest a blank slate. We were no longer strangers. We were acquaintances. I had cast off layers of darkness.

Famished and parched after spending more than twelve hours in the un-air-conditioned hallway of an apartment complex, the man that I was hosting eagerly consumed the water and food that my wife had lovingly prepared. When I first glimpsed at him earlier that day, I had assumed that he was uncouth, low-of-class, and devoid of respect for women. As he interacted with my wife and I at the dinner table of our humble home, the young man was polite, calm, and courteous.

Details of his early life were sketchy. He mentioned that his father had died when he was in his early teens, that his mother had left him to fend for himself, and that she had passed away a few years later. As the issue was painful, he did not wish to elaborate, nor did I press him for more information. It was clear that he had lived a very difficult life leaving him with little more than the military in way of opportunity.

“What do you do in the armed forces?” I asked inquisitively. “I joined the infantry,” he responded.” “Good God,” I responded, “that is the most dangerous of all ranks.” “My duty is to serve where and how I am needed,” he explained. “There is no greater honor than to die for God and country.”

As we conversed on that calm night, I was intimately aware of the dual nature of his discourse. To one unversed, the words of the soldier were simple and straightforward. To one versed, they took on entirely new shades of meaning. I became increasingly engrossed and utterly attentive to his every word. He was very much a teacher teaching a teacher the teachings of the tariqah or path.

“Take me to my brother,” he asked, “for I am headed to the Sahel in North Africa.” I knew then that the lesson was over. He bid my wife goodbye with words of gratitude. I helped him gather his belongings and loaded them into my vehicle. I drove him down the road where his brother was said to live. The man in question refused to come down to greet him or help him with his belongings. The people from the apartment were vile and devoid of hospitality.

“They don’t deserve him,” I thought, sinning once again. Who was I, I scolded myself, to question his mission? After all, had I not abandoned him at my doorstep myself? And now, shortly after, my heart was aching that he was leaving. How I wanted him to stay! “Who are you?” I asked as he prepared to leave my vehicle. “They call me George,” he said with a smile. We looked at each other as friends. That day, he killed the dragon that was devouring my heart.

“Do you know who that was?” I asked my wife: “He was St. George or al-Khidr. He was a servant from among our servants (18:65). “Whether or not he was al-Khidr,” answered my wife wisely, “he was a man sent by God to teach you a lesson.”

Dr. John Andrew Morrow (Imam Ilyas Islam) is a proud member of the Métis Nation, one of the three aboriginal peoples recognized by the Canadian government. He embraced Islam at the age of 16 after several years of serious study. He has been a student of the Islamic Sciences for over thirty years and has acquired knowledge around the world. His teachers have included traditional scholars of Islam from various schools of jurisprudence and spiritual paths as well as Western academics. He received his PhD from the University of Toronto at the age of 29 and reached the rank of Full Professor by the age of 43. He retired from academia in 2016 to devote his time entirely to research, scholarship, and service. Dr. Morrow has authored hundreds of academic articles and over thirty scholarly books, the most influential of which is The Covenants of the Prophet Muhammad with the Christians of the World (2013). He is also the Editor-in-Chief of Islam and the People of the Book, a three-volume encyclopedia on the Muhammadan Covenants which features critical studies by over twenty leading Muslim scholars along with translations of the treaties of the Prophet in over a dozen languages. Dr. Morrow received an interfaith leadership award from the Islamic Society of North America in 2016 and a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition from the US House of Representatives in 2017. An award winning academic, author, and activist, he lectures around the world and acts as an advisor to world leaders.

By Dr. John Andrew Morrow (Ilyas ‘Abd al-‘Alim Islam)