Contention 96 (Eleventh Contentions)

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If their defences are strong, it is because you have not used the weapon of mercy.

Commentary:

‘Were you rough and hard of heart they would have dispersed from round about you.’ (3:159) is the battlecry of Da’wa. ‘Allah gives through gentleness what He does not give through roughness’ (Hadith). The Holy Prophet ﷺ transformed his hard-hearted people in only twenty-three years. He took them from the many to the One, from vendetta to the Sacred Law, from despair over death to the certainty of eternal life. In this he was ‘sent only as a mercy to the worlds’ (21:107). But without his mercy this mercy would have been marked ‘Return to Sender’.

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Contention 29

“Nafs is a comedian. So enjoy your Sufism!”

Commentary:

Humour is a divine subtlety in man, rooted in the absurdity of the possibility of human disagreement with reality. Its absence from nature indicates that it is connected to the struggle of the spirit, which only man can know. Lying or mockery are forbidden by the Sunna; and yet three forms of humour will do us immeasurable service.

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Contention 95

“To slouch, and to suck one’s pen, are signs that one has never read Scripture.”

Commentary:

Ayyub (‘alayhis salam} prays: ‘Suffering has touched me, and you are the most merciful of the merciful’ (21:83). He does not say, ‘Have mercy on me,’ because of his courtesy with his Lord.

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Contention 38

“If you have not seen the saint, you have not seen the Sunna.”

Commentary:

Most believers are superstitious. These are the ones who hang a miniature Fatiha from their rear-view mirror, before cursing their way through the traffic. They live their lives in the same fashion, seldom reflecting. The gears of their minds are not engaged with religion; they are conformists, the fog of their inner lives punctuated very occasionally by feelings of guilt or fear.

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Contention 87

“Do not be complacent. Most people judge religions by their followers, not by their doctrines.”

Commentary:

‘You have in God’s Messenger an excellent example [uswa hasana]’ (33:21). ‘There is an excellent example [uswa hasana] for you in Abraham and those who followed him’ (60:4). Looking for role models is human nature. The nabi or wali could remain away from society in holy contemplation, but is called to remain among us so that we may see the beauty of what scripture and other written teaching can only describe. ‘Allah will not punish them while you are among them’ (8:33)

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