Practising and Thinking Muslims (Review)
15th April 2004
Being the first MPF function, albeit unofficially, the air was filled with anticipation as it got off to a promising start when guests started arriving as early as 7.00 pm. The registration tables saw an unabated flow of people as the ladies manning them performed some fine juggling to fit in many who requested last minute seats. A mini bazaar added to the air of festivity. Within the hour the hall was filled and more seats had to be made available as the crowd kept streaming in.
Brother Abdur Raheem Greene arrived promptly and after a brief welcome and introduction by Dr. Mazeni Alwi, MPF’s pro tem chairman, the evening was soon under way.
Brother Greene began by pronouncing the shahadah and declaring that the best speech is the book of Allah and the best way, the guidance of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). He warned against matters that have been newly introduced into Islam which lead to misguidance and ultimately straying away from the path of Allah.
Brother Greene then juxtaposed two extremes we find today. Those who dogmatically stick to traditions in Islam without authenticating their practices, and those who apply their intellect above and beyond the word of Allah, the Quran. In Islam, an extreme is whatever that takes us away from the basis of the religion, that which takes us away from the norm. And Islam is all about balance, taking the moderate path. The ultimate authenticity lies within the Holy Quran and the Prophet’s ways, as they constitute revelation from Allah. And Allah’s knowledge is infinitely superior to ours.
Although the intellect has to accept the superiority of the Quran and the Prophet’s ways, this doesn’t mean we have no use for it. We need it to comprehend Allah’s revelation in order to appreciate it and more importantly, implement it in our lives.
It was evident by then that the listeners were riveted to all that Brother Greene was conveying. As they say, you could’ve heard a pin drop.
“What is our point of reference as Muslims?” he asked. “We need to ask ourselves”.
Islam is a religion as relevant today as it was 1400 years ago, totally, completely applicable. The real Islam, stripped of its cultural baggage, innovations, false traditions, is that which was revealed to our Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). If you want to know what Islam is, it’s in the Quran, in our Prophet’s examples, in the stories of the companions. That’s our point of reference.
True Islam is a source of tranquility, a source of peace. It is what we can cling to during the most trying times.
Why do we only place great emphasis on the pursuit of worldly knowledge? We take great pains in ensuring quality education and spend years of our lives hunting it. We should rightly place greater emphasis on seeking authentic Islamic knowledge, as this is what we’ll be standing before Allah with.
Brother Greene concluded by saying
“It’s so simple. What agrees with the Quran and Sunnah is Islam, plain and simple. Everything has to be compared against that. Apply thinking to our deen. Take our deen as seriously as we do other things.”
After a lively question and answer session, where in part he spoke about the phenomenal growth of Islam, specifically in Britain and France, the evening was brought to an end. Brother Greene, however, was inundated with well wishers and more questions and it wasn’t until about an hour later that the last of the crowd left.
Alhamdulillah, by the grace of Allah, the evening was a success. Thank you to all who helped in any way and a big thank you to everyone who came and supported us in our first event. May Allah reward us all.