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Islamic Studies

Engaging The Difficult Task Of Cultivating Brotherhood: Thoughts on al-Ghazzali’s work

[Of the most difficult engagements today is to engage other human beings at the level of the heart and love with sincere attention and refined manners. I suppose this is not a new affair given that Imam Ghazalli {r} spoke regarding this matter sometime ago and there is a text documenting what he said regarding this matter in English it is entitled: The Duties Of Brotherhood.

Today we just find dealing with others a task of heavy weight especially if we do not agree with the angles presented by others and that is understandable for the task of creating common ground between differing persons in this case has not been undertaken and without common ground dealing with differences can take on the dressing of being an impossible if not a taxing task not to mention many of us are not nice people when pushed we have mastered the craft of nastiness. So the demand of forging brotherly ties seems the most absurd of notions unless it means building brotherhood with those of the same ilk that I a m from and then even here for the wise observer brotherhood is lacking.]

One would think that the adab of the Prophet {saw}, if it was cultivated in our public personality and secret lives would be enough to help us in human interaction and surely without thought it was enough to unite brigand Arab tribes bent of perpetual civil war with each other and make human beings out of maldeveloped persons.

So why does it not settle in the mind and heart of the civilized Western Muslim that the adab of the Prophet {saw} is enough, a starting point for a civil dialogue and its cultivation is a serious attempt at the first stages of reconciling with each other?

In theory I suppose few would dissent but in practice even if we agreed in theory we would have mutiny because everyone wants to be a Captain and others are tired of being bossed to and fro.

This is a crisis of sorts in fact this is an emotional and intellectual quagmire that has moral implications and traumatizing effects on the soul and more so on the individual.

How do we chart a path of hope and a way out of deep depression and loneliness and the feelings of distress and mistrust and hurt? Again we were headed on the right course in theory that is we must cultivate the adab of the Prophet {saw} in public dealings and in our secret lives but before that we must be ready to give up one little thing: our ego and then we are charged with being nice according to the model of the Prophet {saw}. The problem is not in the theory the problem is that we are apt to pass the responsibility of making the world a better place one small moment at a time to others and we dash from having to begin with our very self. We at this stage of da’wah are not faced with a theoretical crisis we are faced with the evils laziness and self deceit and must come to realize we are traitors of the cause to illustrate the light of Islam because we added to detracting from the light of goodness by bringing into the world another set of bad deeds to compound the crisis of the world today.

Test the hypothesis next time you are in a jam with your Muslim brother take the high moral ground and be a bit self less and be nice the choice is yours. Let the Captain of your ego be the Allah {swt} and see where you go but in order for you to be literate in the orders of the ship you ought to read the manual: The Qur’an and then train your self by following the Prophet {saw}.

About the author

Yusuf Rios (Abul Hussein)

Yusuf Rios was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. While becoming a Catholic priest, Yusuf discovered the path to Islam. He studied Islamic sciences for a period of seven years, studying with scholars in Cleveland, Ohio before receiving a work-study contract with the Islamic American University. At the Islamic American University, he read Arabic and a limited number of Islamic sciences intensively for one year. He then traveled to Cairo, Egypt where he resided for five years. There, he attended a number of intensive courses at Arabic learning centers. After these courses, he joined various scholarly circles, reading Islamic sciences with a host of scholars of diverse expertise and orientations. Yusuf takes particular pride in having studied intimately with a number of scholars from al-Azhar University. Likewise, he has great love and attachment to Egypt and especially al-Azhar Mosque where he studied for the major portion of his residence in Egypt. Yusuf has a Bachelors in Western Philosophy and Sociology and is working on a Masters in Education. He serves as an instructor in Islamic Sciences with Islamic American University and in local mosques in Dearborn, Michigan and Cleveland, Ohio. His four main research areas in Islamic sciences are in the areas of Usul al-Fiqh, Maqasid ash Shar’ia, Hadith Sciences, and Fiqh.

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