Postmodernism and Islaam

I wonder how postmodernism has changed Muslims way of relating to Allaah and the deen.

The Qur’aan was expressed in a medium that is based on the balanced and healthy perception of fitrah in a time that centered the fitrah. Any internal fragmentation of the whole, whether through trauma or narcissism, distorts the very medium through which we interact with the Qur’aan through. This isn’t an individual pathology, but a social one where we’re socialized into discarding the wisdom of the organic self (fitrah) as primitive and reducing the self to adapt to a reductivist worldview. What was previously integrated and symmetrical becomes displaced and interferes with the central space where we receive and digest information: the heart. We gain a boatload of information that is decontextualized and boundless. It adds noise that distorts the sound of truth.

هُوَ ٱلَّذِىٓ أَنزَلَ عَلَيْكَ ٱلْكِتَٰبَ مِنْهُ ءَايَٰتٌ مُّحْكَمَٰتٌ هُنَّ أُمُّ ٱلْكِتَٰبِ وَأُخَرُ مُتَشَٰبِهَٰتٌ فَأَمَّا ٱلَّذِينَ فِى قُلُوبِهِمْ زَيْغٌ فَيَتَّبِعُونَ مَا تَشَٰبَهَ مِنْهُ ٱبْتِغَآءَ ٱلْفِتْنَةِ وَٱبْتِغَآءَ تَأْوِيلِهِۦ وَمَا يَعْلَمُ تَأْوِيلَهُۥٓ إِلَّا ٱللَّهُ وَٱلرَّٰسِخُونَ فِى ٱلْعِلْمِ يَقُولُونَ ءَامَنَّا بِهِۦ كُلٌّ مِّنْ عِندِ رَبِّنَا وَمَا يَذَّكَّرُ إِلَّآ أُو۟لُوا۟ ٱلْأَلْبَٰبِ

{It is He who has sent down to you, [O Muhammad], the Book; in it are verses [that are] precise – they are the foundation of the Book – and others unspecific. As for those in whose hearts is deviation [from truth], they will follow that of it which is unspecific, seeking discord and seeking an interpretation [suitable to them]. And no one knows its [true] interpretation except Allah. But those firm in knowledge say, “We believe in it. All [of it] is from our Lord.” And no one will be reminded except those of understanding.}

[Aali-Imraan:7]

When our will is split, so is our focus. We become ungrounded in truth, and illusion invades. I’m reminded of Søren Kierkegaard’s book title Purity of Heart Is to Will One Thing. That’s the fitrah. It’s to be tuned into the reality of WHAT IS and not a second-order of illusion projected on the world to escape what is through representation, interpretation, expectation or anticipation. It’s the perception of reality as it is in this present moment.

To the degree that our focus is split, we become increasingly automated and unconscious in worship. It becomes a mechanical process signified by a linearity that leads back to the self instead of connecting the self to Allaah. Worship then becomes an instrument of blocking out awareness and numbing the discord that exists within.

The fitrah remains buried in the unattended rubble, and a false self takes on a managerial role of simulating worship where the person does what they THINK worship is and should be like. Their heart is nowhere in the equation, and neither is intention which is mindfulness. Instead worship becomes absorbed by the current day epistemological crisis of meaning brought about by postmodernism and late stage capitalism where reality has to be visually represented to be real. Only what can be ascertained and assured is pursued. Only what can be tokenized and consumed is deemed real. Only what can be measured and has some sort of exchange value has value. The end goal of worship then is mediated by this hyperreality that dictates how we interact with and navigate our subjective experience of life itself. We then find ourselves fighting to scrutinize ourselves for fear of losing the image of a productive worship that gives us a consistent identity (I’m the one who seeks knowledge/teaches the Qur’aan/prays tahajjud/wears niqab). Worship is aestheticized.

I’m reminded of the verse in suraah an-nisaa [119]

وَلَأُضِلَّنَّهُمْ وَلَأُمَنِّيَنَّهُمْ وَلَءَامُرَنَّهُمْ فَلَيُبَتِّكُنَّ ءَاذَانَ ٱلْأَنْعَٰمِ وَلَءَامُرَنَّهُمْ فَلَيُغَيِّرُنَّ خَلْقَ ٱللَّهِ وَمَن يَتَّخِذِ ٱلشَّيْطَٰنَ وَلِيًّا مِّن دُونِ ٱللَّهِ فَقَدْ خَسِرَ خُسْرَانًا مُّبِينًا

{Verily, I will mislead them, and surely, I will arouse in them false desires; and certainly, I will order them to slit the ears of cattle, and indeed I will order them to change the nature created by Allah.” And whoever takes Shaitan (Satan) as a Wali (protector or helper) instead of Allah, has surely suffered a manifest loss.}

This is a crisis in epistemology that inverts the experience of truth and leads to the manufacture of what imitates meaning. False desires, desires that aren’t connected to organic need but that one is sold on hypnotically. Capitalism, hyperconsumerism. And it all stems from losing touch with reality, with not being able to discern one’s experiences to see whether they’re congruent. That split-off creates fractals of fragmentation on the macrocosmic level. Corruption.

A privilege

I just realized that it wasn’t until Ya’Qub alayhissalaam’s second favourite son was taken that the trial came to a closure. Also, this is parallel to his grandfather Ibraaheem alayhissalaam who was tried with his two sons (one being Is’haaq, the father of Ya’Qub) one of whom he had to abandon and the other one kill (again, similar to the killing claimed for Yusuf and the abandonment of Benjamin in Egypt).

وَإِذِ ٱبْتَلَىٰٓ إِبْرَٰهِۦمَ رَبُّهُۥ بِكَلِمَٰتٍ فَأَتَمَّهُنَّ قَالَ إِنِّى جَاعِلُكَ لِلنَّاسِ إِمَامًا قَالَ وَمِن ذُرِّيَّتِى قَالَ لَا يَنَالُ عَهْدِى ٱلظَّٰلِمِينَ

And [mention, O Muhammad], when Abraham was tried by his Lord with commands and he fulfilled them. [Allah] said, “Indeed, I will make you a leader for the people.” [Abraham] said, “And of my descendants?” [Allah] said, “My covenant does not include the wrongdoers.”

[al-Baqarah:124]

I’m amazed that I never saw that. And my mind is always trying to find connections and patterns. But this one just popped into my mind. Allaah will reveal what He wants whenever He wants and it’s not a matter of vigilance or effort. SubhaanAllaah.

Surrender convention

Dikr is meditation that not only takes you out of the mental space but into your heart space. Its effect is instantaneous because encapsulated in the prophetic phrases is a space in which you can completely let go of the hypervigilance of being in a 3D world focused on survival, danger and scarcity. It allows you to become vulnerable without feeling threatened and to inhabit the unknown deep in you without feeling lost.

Dikr is feminine energy ; it’s Being, stillness, silencing thoughts, transcending ego, awareness, intuition, but above all LOVE.

One example :

لا إِلَهَ إِلا اللَّهُ وَحْدَهُ لا شَرِيكَ لَهُ لَهُ الْمُلْكُ وَلَهُ الْحَمْدُ وَهُوَ عَلَى كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ

There is no true deity but Allaah alone, no partners has He. His is all sovereignty and praise, and He is over all things potent

The heart longs to surrender and we often surrender it to our minds which confines and suffocates and treat it very harshly. Only Allaah has the abundance and transcends all limitations to give us the true confidence to let go of control. By reiterating this, we recalibrate ourselves to the divine reality and take back the balance from a hectic and frantic outer reality that can obscure the possibility of anything else.

It is by reminding ourselves of our humanity that we can receive the divine. But for as long as we’re frantically trying to conquer this space of surrender by constant doing and being overly steeped in masculine energy that overwhelms us, we are incapable of receiving harmony and love no matter how much we think we want it. The underlying identification with perfectionism and outcomes has with it a deep fear of losing yourself if you slow down.

فَلَمَّا جَآءَتْ قِيلَ أَهَٰكَذَا عَرْشُكِ قَالَتْ كَأَنَّهُۥ هُوَ وَأُوتِينَا ٱلْعِلْمَ مِن قَبْلِهَا وَكُنَّا مُسْلِمِينَ

So when she arrived, it was said [to her], “Is your throne like this?” She said, “[It is] as though it was it.” [Solomon said], “And we were given knowledge before her, and we have been Muslims [in submission to Allah]

وَصَدَّهَا مَا كَانَت تَّعْبُدُ مِن دُونِ ٱللَّهِ إِنَّهَا كَانَتْ مِن قَوْمٍ كَٰفِرِينَ

And that which she was worshipping other than Allah had averted her [from submission to Him]. Indeed, she was from a disbelieving people.

قِيلَ لَهَا ٱدْخُلِى ٱلصَّرْحَ فَلَمَّا رَأَتْهُ حَسِبَتْهُ لُجَّةً وَكَشَفَتْ عَن سَاقَيْهَا قَالَ إِنَّهُۥ صَرْحٌ مُّمَرَّدٌ مِّن قَوَارِيرَ قَالَتْ رَبِّ إِنِّى ظَلَمْتُ نَفْسِى وَأَسْلَمْتُ مَعَ سُلَيْمَٰنَ لِلَّهِ رَبِّ ٱلْعَٰلَمِينَ

It was said to her: “Enter As-Sarh” [(a glass surface with water underneath it) or a palace], but when she saw it, she thought it was a pool, and she (tucked up her clothes) uncovering her legs, Sulaiman (Solomon) said: “Verily, it is Sarh [(a glass surface with water underneath it) or a palace] paved smooth with slab of glass.” She said: “My Lord! Verily, I have wronged myself, and I submit (in Islam, together with Sulaiman (Solomon), to Allah, the Lord of the ‘Alamin (mankind, jinns and all that exists).”

[an-Naml:42-44]

Though she was very astute and intelligent, she had let her position and possessions and abilities cloud her from the inner space that would give her the right awareness. It wasn’t until she was met with something that exceeded far beyond any worldly structure that she decided to look inwardly. She had to reach a point where her thoughts and thinking ability gave out on her for her to tap into an inner knowing that has a far deeper and wider scope of perception than the mind can ever have.

And this is why I believe that as women, constantly being in positions that demand masculine energy is extremely detrimental to our well-being and it depletes our inner power. But that’s for another post.

Outstripping the sky

Before you attempt to change what you see, change the way you perceive your feelings towards the outside world. Often, we externalize an inner resistance or conflict because it seems easier to tackle a problem that’s concrete and malleable, than to delve inwards. We think that if we change the circumstances that make us feel uncomfortable, insecure or unsafe then those feelings will automatically dissolve. But what we find is that we simply move into a new house with our old stuff, recreating the scenarios every time.

قُلْ إِنِّي لَن يُجِيرَنِي مِنَ اللَّهِ أَحَدٌ وَلَنْ أَجِدَ مِن دُونِهِ مُلْتَحَدًا

Say, “Indeed, there will never protect me from Allah anyone [if I should disobey], nor will I find in other than Him a refuge.

[al-Jinn:22]

The truth breaks the hypnosis of illusions

Surrendering to Allaah entails that you refuse to surrender or succumb to any other reality, construct or condition.

Hopelessness is caused by a subtle shirk of attributing effect to a confounding circumstance, instead of Allaah.

يَا بَنِيَّ اذْهَبُوا فَتَحَسَّسُوا مِن يُوسُفَ وَأَخِيهِ وَلَا تَيْأَسُوا مِن رَّوْحِ اللَّهِ إِنَّهُ لَا يَيْأَسُ مِن رَّوْحِ اللَّهِ إِلَّا الْقَوْمُ الْكَافِرُونَ

O my sons, go and find out about Joseph and his brother and despair not of relief from Allah. Indeed, no one despairs of relief from Allah except the disbelieving people.”

[Yusuf:87]

I affirm the wahdaaniyya (وحدانية) of Allaah in the depths of my existential depression and the threatening darkness around me. I ask Allaah to make firm in my heart the certainty that divine relief is coming.

The void has ears

I can’t protect myself and I can’t advance myself. I can’t control my feelings or the feelings of others. This is the great existential threat that I have been tirelessly toiling against since my teens, trying to control and predict my world so that I could be safe. Of course, I didn’t want to cut straight to the chase and leave the whole simulation I was born into and conditioned to run on. I didn’t think I could survive that level of intense confrontation.

I didn’t know Allaah, intrinsically.

He’s protected me from annihilation even in the midst of extreme distress and trauma. He’s advanced my understanding by quantum leaps despite me not being in a state of mind where I could devote myself to studying.

And now I’ve come to the precipice of my existential battlefield and though I have no proof of what lies beyond, or if something lies beyond this for that matter, I have an intuitive feeling to go for what magnetizes me and not fear the doubts that crop up because my departure and my safe landing is but a creation of Allaah’s.

وَقَالَ ٱرْكَبُوا۟ فِيهَا بِسْمِ ٱللَّهِ مَجْر۪ىٰهَا وَمُرْسَىٰهَآ إِنَّ رَبِّى لَغَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ

And he [Nuh] said: “Embark therein, in the Name of Allah will be its moving course and its resting anchorage. Surely, my Lord is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.”

[Hud:41]

The acorn is still the heart of the oak tree

There’s no situation that isn’t created and sustained by Allaah. If you don’t get what you’re anxiously seeking, it’s not because the bitter boss sabotaged you or the person you wanted to marry rejected you. It’s simply that Allaah willfully and benevolently didn’t place your rizq there. Your need won’t go unmet. It’ll simply be redirected to a higher and more abundant good. Allaah never deprives. He never distorts. He never reduces except by our heart reducing in turning away from Him and His abundance. He never creates disorder. He never obscures. He never makes things difficult or complex. Everything He creates is impeccable, good, balanced and expansive. It’s Love; something you’ll only be able to internalize once you let go of the faulty worldview based on a lack mentality and a dominance of evil.

مَّا يَفْعَلُ ٱللَّهُ بِعَذَابِكُمْ إِن شَكَرْتُمْ وَءَامَنتُمْ وَكَانَ ٱللَّهُ شَاكِرًا عَلِيمًا

What would Allah do with your punishment if you are grateful and believe? And ever is Allah Appreciative and Knowing.

[an-Nisaa:147]

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