Speak Not, They Are Our Fallible Ulemas!
I am at my home office in Sanford, FL, at peace with the world for a change. The air outside is a crisp 48F; I am shivering when I drop Maaha Zainab at her high school at seven, when the sky is a deep ebony. Imagine! I wish we’d stop tinkering around with the daylight savings nonsense and let nature be nature; seven o’clock is supposed to be light and chirpy.
So, I am minding my own business, enjoying a Dubai style Malabari paratha, now available frozen with the same-to-same texture and taste, with a steaming cup of karak Wah Bakri chai when an email from a highly charged and emotional Blog reader pops up, blasting me for criticizing a ‘respectable’ aalim for consuming a cancer stick. The email rocks with anger and indignance, railing against my alleged arrogance. Who, he lambasts, am I to criticize an ‘aalim’, even one who smokes? Would I do the same to A. Khui (r) who was an avid and a chain smoker?
There goes my day. And I thought I might have a tranquil one, take a nap, go for my routine run and then catch up with so many trivial tasks I have shelved due to a hectic CAI related travel schedule. Especially now that my third novel Phoot! is at the printers and will be out in about a month. More on Phoot! later.
Reactions to my Blogs are frequent, overwhelmingly favorable, but some, like this, are irritants. I usually ignore them. With circa 5,000 followers, I can’t possibly be synced with everybody’s mindset. And that’s okay. But this dude has touched a raw nerve, one that rubs me bad. That a person who sits on a mimbar, representing the Prophet (a), the Aimaas (a), no less, and then does something that is reprehensible is bad enough. What is worse is the acceptance by the masses of such behavior. This zaakir, bless him, is a fairly good reciter, he can emotionally rouse the crowds. But, he smokes. Like a chimney. Which is bad. Period.
One would be a lunatic to believe that smoking and or vaping anything other than Allah gifted clean air is WRONG. Ethically and medically, and especially when the culprit is supposed to be a representative of an infallible. It is of no consequence if the offender is a zaakir or a marja. Perhaps A. Khui (r) did not have the information and damning data about smoking during his lifetime and would have chosen not to indulge; I don’t know.
The bigger picture about faith is that we regard everybody and anybody sitting on the pulpit as an infallible. It simply ain’t so, and this paradigm must change! Yes, they have spent years studying about Islam and may have the prerequisites to sit on the mimbar and enlighten us about the madhab. They – most of them, since some are outright nitwits and know not what they speak – should be respected, admired even, only if they use the acquired knowledge with intellect and decorum fit for the mimbar. But if they indulge in things that are obviously and intellectually wrong, why, then they should be advised otherwise.
So, Mr. Indignant, my brother in humanity and Islam, may Allah bless you. Calm down and please don’t get your chuddies in an uncomfortable twist, you’ll burst a vein boore. We have so much pain and turbulence in our world already, no? Let us agree to disagree? If you didn’t like what I have written and are obviously offended, I’m honestly sorry; I even said so as a disclaimer in the Blog. And if my Blogs still cause you so much heartburn, please unsubscribe. It’ll sadden me that you will not continue to be intellectually challenged and enlightened by my offerings, but that’s a burden I am ready and willing to bear. Only for your wellbeing and happiness.
Perhaps I’ll postpone my run today. Praying behind the Sheykh at the stunningly beautiful but sometimes dysfunctional Masjid al Hayy has the same benefits. Almost. The good Sheykh’s salaats are fasta-fasta, they accelerate the heartbeats and makes me break into a sweat.
You may already know CAI cares for the wellbeing of about 500 orphans worldwide, now that 100 fresh new ones from the Rohingya refugees rotting in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh have been added to the expanding roster. They are fed, clothed, treated if ill, but most importantly, they get an opportunity for a quality education. The recourses for all this comes from people like you – Allah bless.
You may not be a book lover, perhaps not read fiction, not like my writing or not like me, even. All taken in stride. This novel, my third, Phoot! is a personal gift towards the education of these orphans. All proceeds, 100%, support the cost of their education, I keep not a penny for gain. I am hoping CAI can raise US$100,000, enough funds to support over 100 orphans annually.
So please consider supporting the cause. You can read it, you may actually like it insha’Allah, or gift it, or add it to your collections of books. You will definitely be investing in a very valuable cause, one that Allah repeatedly commands you and me to do in His holy book. The Prophet (s) too, has encouraged us to take care of orphans, promising a close place to him in Janna. There is no better care than educating one, I promise. I state this from 19 years of experience working with and educating orphans. It is a paramount sawaab e jaaria; the benefits do not cease.
You can read an excerpt of Phoot! here. The cost for a printed version is US$100, delivered worldwide; equal to one or two dinners with your family. You can purchase it here.
FYI, the total cost for supporting an orphan, including a quality education is US$86 / month. The $100,000 raised from selling these books will take care of 20% of the total annual cost for caring for these orphans.