Tag Archives: Sunnism

The Tattoo-Issue: An Islamic-Perspective

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tattoo pic

This is a fairly controversial-subject, within the Muslim-World, historically as well as contemporarily, something that I had only found out recently, the issue of Tattooing: to do or not to do. Honestly, I, myself, early on, as a New-Muslim, had actually, seriously, considered & was prepared to get a  Tattoo. But, once I learned the general Islamic prohibition against it, I was very unsettled: I had wondered to myself why would something like a Tattoo be such a religious-issue. It has taken a considerable amount of time for me to actually come to the correct-conclusion about this issue, and the conclusion is fairly-simple: Tattoos are Mahrum/Haram (Prohibited/Unlawful). Now, there are a lot of people (both Muslims & Non-Muslims alike) whom will in fact take issue with this particular stance, regarding this issue, and that’s okay…I’ll explain why I chose to arrive at this conclusion, after considerable study, textually (via the Qur’an & Sunnah/Prophetic-Tradition).

Allah states, very clearly, within His Noble-Book, “There is no justifiable change for the creation of Allah.”(Noble Qur’an: Chpt.30, V.30). Now, this means that we are to be grateful for how Allah has fashioned our bodies, and to not attempt to make “improvements” or “adjustments”, based upon our selfish egos/desires. When you get a Tattoo, you’re basically stating that Allah didn’t complete you, that you know have to spend money, endure unnecessary-pain, etc., in order to gratify one’s self, instead of just being grateful for the way that Allah has already formed us.

Then, there’s also this: Muhammad (Peace be upon him) has stated that we are not to cause (unnecessary) Harm, either upon ourselves, nor upon others. And, also, Muhammad quotes Allah, as Allah has stated, “Oh, My Property/Servants!!! Verily, I’ve made Oppression prohibited upon Myself, as well as between you (the Creation). So, do not oppress one another (yourselves)!!!”.(an-Nawawi)

This Verse (from the Qur’an) & these Prophetic-Narrations show us that any type of Oppression (large or small), either to one’s own self, or to others, is completely (Islamically) prohibited. Because, the Islamic definition of Oppression is actually: to place something where it doesn’t belong, where it can damage, or cause Harm, and it’s Islamic wrong to harm people, unless Islamically justified, and there’s never any Islamically justified reason to harm one’s own self.(Lisan-ul-`Arab/The Language of the Arab: Lexicon of the Arabic-Language)

Let’s stay on-topic with the self-harm: When getting a Tattoo, what happens? Well, you get stuck with a needle-machine, for quite awhile, depending on how sophisticated the Tattoo in-question actually is: there’s significant, (unnecessary) pain/blood-loss, that one endures, for no Islamically sound, or universally-intelligent reason, at all. Then, there’s the (very-high) risks of getting infections, diseases (most common HIV, Hepatitis, etc.). You then have the ink of this Tattoo tainting your blood, which could, in the near/distant future, cause many (potential) health-complications, as a result of this ink inserted into the body.

Now, it’s obvious why people would have a problem with what I’ve thus mentioned, especially if they are among those whom profit from the Tattoo Industry: people like me are bad-for-business. And, also, for those whom may or may not even be Muslims, they would obviously have a problem with my statements, because they view it as a valid element of either individual, social, cultural, expression. But, let’s focus on the Muslims, for just a minute: who created us? Who sent-down/revealed Guidance to us, via Revelation, Textual-Scriptures? Who has the ultimate right to dictate to the Creation, Humanity, etc., what is right, wrong, proper, improper, etc.? Yeah, you’ve got it: Allah, the Creator/Lord of the Universe: it is He whom has [provided us with existence, life, family, Guidance, etc. And, likewise, it is He, alone, whom is worshipworthy & it is He, alone whom has the ultimate-right to dictate our beliefs, statements, actions, behavior, conduct, etc.

So, with that being said, regardless to whether you’re a Muslim or Non-Muslim, proponent or opponent (to Tattoos/Tattooing), Scholar or Layman: just, please, simply digest what I’ve mentioned, just for a few minutes or moments, then, if you really feel like I’ve not made my case concrete enough, then, you definitely have the full-option to ignore what I’ve presented. At the end, it is Allah whom will judge us all, according to His own standards & we all will be held accountable for what we’ve done & what we haven’t done, what we knew & what we didn’t know, what we adhered to & what we ignored…May Allah guide us all…Amen

GarethBryant/2013

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It’s okay to be Non-Sectarian: The Muslim’s guide to stay Sect-free

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Author’s note:
This particular article is exclusively based upon a discussion which I had with one of my Facebook followers. They had asked me a very fair & valid question, in regards to my religious-identity. They had asked me, “Why are you a Non-Sectarian Muslim?”. This term, that I very often refer to myself as, I’m sure, is something which was unfamiliar to this particular individual, as it is just as unfamiliar to many, if not most Muslims, globally, even though, in practicality, the vast majority of Muslims, regardless of their upbringing, are in fact Non-Sectarian, relative to their everyday-lives, as Muslims, without even realizing it. I decided to answer their question as honestly as Humanly possible, without concealing my general disdain for Sectarianism overall, and the following below is what my response to them was.

I consciously choose to be a Non-Sectarian Muslim, because of the Hadith/Prophetic-Statement of Muhammad (Peace be upon him), when he had drawn a line in the sand, among his Companions (May Allah be pleased with them), and said to them that this line is the as-Sirat-ul-Mustaqim/the Straight-Path. He then drew branched-off lines, like branches springing from a tree. He then stated that each branch has a Shaytan/Devil upon each of these diverted paths, springing off of the initial-line which Muhammad had drawn in the sand, calling people to misguidance.(ibn-Majah, Ahmad, al-Bazzar)

Primarily, anyone whom is calling you to individuals & ideologies, as opposed to calling you to Allah, His Messenger and knowledge+action, then this person/these people are to stay away from, as much as Humanly possible. Ironically, all Firaq/Sectarian-Groups have the (universal) pathological habit of giving themselves away, to those whom they are calling to, to join them, by doing exactly what I’ve already said, which is calling people to ideologies, as opposed to Allah, His Messenger, and knowledge+action.

I’ll give some examples of Muslim-Sects:

1. The Salafis-
Being a former Salafi, I have a pretty well-grounded, in-depth knowledge about how these people actually work, and my criticism about them is very fair & honest: The Salafis often attempt to monopolize the fellowship of as-Salaf (the 3-generations of Muslims after Muhammad [Peace be upon him]: as-Sahabah/the Companions [May Allah be pleased with them all-together], and generations 1 & 2 of at-Tabi`in/the Followers [of as-Sahabah]). Meaning, they basically claim that they are the only true religious-inheritors of as-Salaf, in both word & deed. Also, they specifically claim to be those included within al-Firqat-in-Najiyah/the Saved-Group (those whom are referred to as the only group of Muslims whom will be safe to never have to engage the Fire at all in the Hereafter). These claims of theirs are not only inaccurate & unfounded, but also very religiously-pompous & religiously-dangerous. These claims have caused many, if not most Salafis, to adopt a very negative, arrogant, entitled, religious-posture towards other Muslims, as though the Salafis are the most-elite among the Muslims, as though the Salafis some type of religious special-forces.

2. The Sufis-
I’ve had, historically & contemporaneously, significant contact & discourse with Sufis, from various persuasions & backgrounds. Their angle is basically this: Sufis very often attempt to monopolize upon Tassawuf (Spirituality/Spiritualism). Meaning, they largely claim that they possess the keys to “Spiritual-Islam”, where ironically, there’s really no such thing as “Spiritual-Islam”, because, Spirituality is an automatic/default element of Islam, that’s always existed within Islam. And, their call, I think is very unique & evasive, as opposed to the Salafis, or Shi`is (I’ll get to the Shi`is, don’t worry): they largely, almost exclusively, use tell-tale terms, to people, which won’t necessarily seem red-flagish. These terms are: “Teacher” as well as “Shaykh” (“Teacher” & “Shaykh” are always used interchangeably among Sufis). Very often, people whom are of a Sufi persuasion/orientation attempt to convince people that they need a “Teacher” for this or a “Shaykh” for that. And, this often sounds really good, to have a constant instructor to help you find your religious-way. The problem is that this is just one of many steps towards delving deeper into a sect, like any other sect out there.(For more info. about Spirituality, look here:https://garethbryant.wordpress.com/2011/12/04/mythoughtsonspiritualityvsreligiosity)

3. The Shi`is-
The Shi`is are perhaps the most outgoing, among these other groups whom I’ve mentioned, especially in light of what they mainly call to…yes…you’ve guessed it…they claim to monopolize the respect & love that all Muslims must, by default, have for Ahl-il-Bayt/the People of the House (the Muslim family-members & of Muhammad [Peace be upon him]). That sounds just-great, except with one major problem (among many other problems with Shi`is, but we’ll just focus upon this particular problem): Shi`is, largely, only consider the maternal-descendants of Muhammad (Peace be upon him) to be of Ahl-il-Bayt, which is very problematic, and has (both historically & contemporaneously) caused immense strife between the greater Sunni & Shi`i factions of our Ummah/Community.(For more info. concerning Ahl-il-Bayt, look here: https://garethbryant.wordpress.com/2012/11/04/theperfectsolutiontothewholeahlulbaytissue)

4. The Kharijis-
Better known as al-Khawarij/the Departers, these people have been held responsible for the deaths of `Uthman, `Ali, several other Companions (May Allah be pleased with them all-together), as well as other righteous Muslims, innocents generally, several political/military usurpations, upheavals, revolutions, terrorism, and the list goes on & on. At present, very few, if anyone would overtly refer to themselves as the Khawarij, simply out of fear of ostracization. However, there are several splinter-groups, which have adopted, either from their inceptions or later on in their evolutions as groups, the ideology of the Kharijis, which is “Restoration of the Khilafah”: this is their battle-cry, even though as a group/entity, ironically, they are the ones, among the Muslims, anyway, whom have largely contributed to the destruction of geo-political stability even when the Khilafah was established, and even in modern times (particularly post-WWII) have completely contributed to the Muslims’ disdain for even attempting to establish the Khialafah anywhere, because the vast majority of Muslims, especially now would much rather live under the conditions which they now face, then to have people like the Kharijis in any type of real governmental power/authority.

Unlike most typical Salafis, Sufis or Shi`is, most, if not all Kharijis will not be forthright and just say “Salam…hey, I’m a Khariji!!!”. However, there are some significant, modern, groups whom have amassed a particularly significant following within the past 2-decades, namely al-Muhaajiroon (originally starting in the U.K. & spreading to the U.S. during the 1990’s & fell apart shortly before/after 9/11), Revolution-Muslims, and Islamic-Thinkers’ Society. Now, with RM & ITS, they’re basically the exact same organizations, except with a different hierarchy of leadership & fellowship; but, in practicality, they’re both under one. With the exception of the Salafi-Movement, which in all-fairness has really only been in existence for less than a century, and other historical sectarian-groups (with their own separate roots, whom have died out and/or have had their ideologies absorbed into other sectarian-groups), basically, any/most other sectarian-groups, historically/contemporarily, would largely have either Sufi, Shi`i, or Khariji roots.

One of the other reasons as to why I so choose to not follow any sectarian-groups is the simple fact that none of these groups or individuals calling to these groups will have any say as to who goes to either the Paradise or the Fire. And, even on Yawm-il-Qiyamah/the Day of Standing, Allah describes it as a day when a person will abandon his own siblings, parents, spouses & children.(Noble Qur’an: Chpt.80, V.34-36) Now, just based upon Human-Nature, these 4-types of persons: siblings, parents, spouses, children…literally, in this order, are generally, universally, recognized as the closest people to any Human being, under normal, harmonious, circumstances.

So, if someone, regardless to what knowledge that they have, or what sect that they’re calling to, will abandon me on the day that matters most, then , I, as an individual, deem it, within my best-interest, necessary to abandon them/these sectarian-groups here in the Mundane, so that I won’t be heart-broken, as to when they won’t be in my corner in the Hereafter. And, by virtue of all that I’ve mentioned, regarding not adhering to any sectarian-groups, I choose to not risk treading upon the path that can/will lead me astray.

Gareth Bryant/2013


The Perfect-Solution to the whole “Ahl-ul-Bayt” Issue:

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Author’s-Note:
I hear Muslims (all the damn time) debate about this issue, so unnecessarily. So, what I’ve decided to do is the following: do some actual, honest, unbiased, historically true, research as to who the Ahl-ul-Bayt truly are. And, once you embark upon this type of research, you’ll learn so much about the actual Ahl-ul-Bayt, as well as significant aspects of Islam, generally, historically, and, as to why people have been at odds over this one singular issue, for so many centuries.

So, without any further adieu, here’s what I’ve got:
Ahl-ul-Bayt (literally meaning, “The People of the House”, referring to the Prophetic-Household of Muhammad [Peace be upon him]) isn’t just a group of four persons (Fatimah, `Ali, al-Hasan & al-Husayn [May Allah be pleased with them]), and their familial-descendants. Rather, Ahl-al-Bayt, based upon its strongest Islamic understanding, according to as-Salaf (as-Sahabah/the Companions of Muhammad [May Allah be pleased with them altogether] & generations 1 & 2 of at-Tabi`in/the followers of as-Sahabah [May Allah mercify them altogether]), are persons whom were Muslims, during the lifetime of Muhammad (Peace be upon him) & were either related to him through blood or through marriage.

Ahl-al-Bayt are specifically categorized as 3-Tier categories:

1st-Tier-
The actual blood-relatives, both paternal & maternal, of Muhammad, who became Muslims during his own lifetime-Among them are, but not limited to, the following: `Abbas/al-`Abbas ibn-`Abd-il-Muttalib, Hamzah ibn-`Abd-il-Muttalib, Harith/al-Harith ibn `Abd-il-Mutalib (all of them were Paternal-Uncles of Muhammad, the brothers of his father, `Abdullah ibn `Abd-il-Muttalib), `Abdullah ibn-`Abbas, Fadhl ibn-`Abbas, `Ali ibn Abi-Talib, Ja`far ibn Abi-Talib,`Aqil ibn Abi-Talib, `Ubaydah ibn-il-Harith (the first Companion of Muhammad to be killed in battle [the Battle of Badr]), Rabi`ah ibn-il-Harith, Abu-Sufyan ibn-il-Harith (both of whom were among 8-persons whom did not flee during the Battle of Hunayn), Arwah bint-il-Harith, Hind bint Abi-Umayyah & Zaynab bint-Jash (who were both cousins of Muhammad & two of his wives), Waraqah ibn-Nawfal (the Christian-Priest, who died as a Muslim & Companion, on account of him believing in the legitimacy of the Prophethood of Muhammad [a paternal-cousin of Khadijah bint-Khuwaylid, the 1st wife of Muhammad]), etc. This has actually been proven, through a Hadith/Narration of Muhammad in which he was specifically asked, “Who are Ahl-ul-Bayt?”. Muhammad had mentioned that, “Ahl-ul-Bayt are persons whom Zakah (not Saqaqah/Optional-Charity, but the annual Zakah/Obligatory-Charity) is Mahrum for (meaning that it is Islamically-Prohibited for them to be recipients of it). From among them are: `Abbas (ibn `Abd-il-Muttalib) & the descendants of `Abbas, `Ali (ibn Abi-Talib) & the descendants of `Ali, Ja`far (ibn Abi-Talib) & the descendants of Ja`far, and `Aqil (ibn Abi-Talib) & the descendants of `Aqil.”.(Muslim) In addition to this: it’s important to note that all of al-`Asharat-ul-Mubashshirin (the 10-Companions of Muhammad [Peace be upon him] who were promised Paradise in their lifetimes, by name) were all in  fact blood-related to Muhammad via their Common-Ancestor `Abd-Manaf.(ar-Rahiq-ul-Makhtum, Hayat-us-Sahabah)

2nd-Tier-
The Wives of Muhammad, the Mothers of the Believers and his In-Laws (Relatives via Marriage)-We know, for a fact, that these women are among Ahl-il-Bayt, just because, in Surat-il-Ahzab/the Chapter of the Partisans (Chpt.3, V.61 & Chpt.33, V.33), Allah mentions the Wives of Muhammad, as a group, and gives them the honorable title, “Ahl-ul-Bayt”. And, among his In-Laws are, but not limited to, the following: `Abdullah ibn Abi-Quhafah/Abu-Bakr as-Siddiq (father-in-law), `Umar ibn-ul-Khattab (father-in-law), `Uthman ibn-`Affan (son-in-law), `Ali ibn Abi-Talib (son-in-law), Abu-Sufyan ibn-Harb (father-in-law), Hind bint-`Utbah (mother-in-law), Yazid ibn Abi-Sufyan (the brother of Mu`awiyah whom also accepted Islam [brother-in-law]) Hudhayfah ibn-`Utbah (uncle-in-law), Mu`awiyah ibn Abi-Sufyan (brother-in-law), Yazid ibn-Mu`awiyah (nephew-in-law), etc.(ar-Rahiq-ul-Makhtum/The Sealed-Nectar)

3rd-Tier-
The Children & Grand-Children, Step-Children & Adopted-Children of Muhammad-Among the Children of Muhammad are the following: Fatimah, Ruqayyah, Zaynab, Umm-Kulthum, `Abdullah, al-Qasim, Ibrahim-Among his Grand-Children are, but not limited to, the following: al-Hasan ibn-`Ali, al-Husayn ibn-`Ali, Among his Step-Children are, but not limited to, the following: `Umar ibn Abi-Salamah (his mother, Hind bint Abi-Umayyah, had married Muhammad, after his father, `Abdallah ibn-`Abd-il-Asad, had been martyred during the Battle of Uhud), Sakran ibn-is-Sakran ibn`Amr (his mother, Sawda’ bint-Zam`ah had married Muhammad, after her husband, as-Sakran ibn`Amr ibn `Abd-ish-Shams had died when on route to al-Madinah, from the 1st-Hijrah, from al-Makkah, to Abyssinia), etc. The Adoptive-Children of Muhammad were only Zayd ibn-il-Harithah.(ar-Rahiq-ul-Makhtum)

Now, as we can all clearly see, there are at the very least, up to about 50 individuals, who can easily be classified as Ahl-al-Bayt, just from the names of persons whom I’ve already mentioned. Now, with that being said, for someone to say that they “only take knowledge from members of Ahl-il-Bayt”, or that they “prefer to only take from Ahl-il-Bayt”, or that they “trust Ahl-al-Bayt more”, then, they will seriously have to change their perspectives on a lot of individuals, because most of the individuals whom I’ve mentioned most-definitely have the most-rightful claims to being from among Ahl-il-Bayt, yet among certain sectarian-groups, they’re just not acknowledged as such.

And, also, when you observe/study the authentic narrations in which the names of any, some, most of these persons are mentioned in, you find that not only are those narrations are classified as Sahih/Authentic, by the vast majority of well-known/well-trusted Hadith-Scholars, from among the Salaf, but that these same narrations can be & are found within some of the most highly-regarded & respected collections of Prophetic-Statements. And, more importantly, these same persons, most of them, those who could read & write, were in fact persons, trusted & commissioned by Muhammad to document not only the Qur’an itself, but also Prophetic-Statements.

So, with that being said, it’s pretty clear that Ahl-al-Bayt is so much more extensive, than most people give it credit for.

Gareth Bryant/2012