This Age of Freedom – Abdassamad Clarke and Uthman Ibrahim-Morrison

The dictionary definition of an idol: an image or representation of a god used as an object of worship, from Latin idolum ‘image, form’, from Greek eidolon, from eidos ‘form, shape.’

The colossal form of a female deity towers above New York harbour; it is a gigantic idol.  There! We have named it without a trace of irony, metaphor or analogy. The Statue of Liberty is an idol because it is the physical representation of what has become, in this age, the foremost deity in the new pantheon of intangible divinities in whose name people strive to fulfil their highest purpose in life: Freedom.

What has not been sanctioned in this age in the name of freedom and liberty? We know about grubby little Edward Bernais, the devil of Manhattan, teaching corporations how to preach cancer to women, who in turn, willingly offer up their inviolable health, and the health of their unborn offspring, on the insatiate altar of Freedom. That was at the beginning of a new dispensation which allowed corporations to subject the defenceless masses to the doctrines of public relations.

But what are we to make then of Arab peoples on the rampage right across the Middle East and North Africa in the name of Freedom? Muslims are the first of all the people on Earth who ought to recognise idolatry. We, after all, have a teaching based on the utter rejection of idolatry. It is the sine qua non of Islam. Even if we can be deceived by craftily concealed idolatry, by dark shadows flitting across the heart, surely, we ought to recognise this towering invitation to open shirk! There has probably been no more brazen idol in all history. Have the Arabs become completely blind? Have the Muslims fallen prey to complacency?

McLuhan said: “Only the small secrets need to be protected. The big ones are kept secret by public incredulity.” What more need I say about the Statue of Liberty? Indeed, what more need I say about the phantasmagoria of freedom? There they stand right in the open towering over us as naked idols and completely concealed by being so openly on display.

(Published on the Muslims of Norwich website at the height of the ‘Arab Spring’.)

Published by admin

Abdassamad Clarke is from Ulster and was formally educated at Edinburgh University in Mathematics and Physics, and in Cairo in Arabic and tajwid and other Islamic sciences. He accepted Islam at the hands of Shaykh Dr. Abdalqadir as-Sufi in 1973. In the 80s he was secretary to the imam of the Dublin Mosque, and in the early 90s imam khatib of the Norwich Mosque, where he is currently an imam and teacher. He has translated the Muwatta of Imam Muhammad by Imam Muhammad ibn al-Hasan ash-Shaybani (jointly with Muhammad Abdarrahman), which was published by Turath Publishing at the end of July 2004 and a number of other works from Arabic: al-Qawl al-mu'tamad fi mashru'iyyat adh-dhikr bi'l-ism al-mufrad by Shaykh al-Alawi on the standing in Shari’ah of using the divine name in dhikr, which was published by Diwan Press as first part of The Two Invocations and since republished by Madinah Press, The History of the Khalifahs (the chapters on the Khulafa ar-Rashidun from as-Suyuti’s Tarikh al-Khulafa), the Complete Forty Hadith (translation of Imam an-Nawawi’s Forty Hadith along with the Imam’s explanation of their fiqh and linquistic usages) and Kitab al-Jami’ by Ibn Abi Zayd al-Qayrawani (published as A Madinan View), Rijal – narrators of the Muwatta of Imam Muhammad, all published by Ta-Ha Publishers of London, Kitab al-athar by Imam Abu Hanifah and transmitted by Imam Muhammad ibn al-Hasan ash-Shaybani (Turath Publishing 2006), The Compendium of Knowledge and Wisdom (a translation of Jami' al-'ulum wa'l-hikam by Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali, published by Turath Publishing 2007). In addition he has edited Aisha Bewley's translation of Ibn Hajar's abridgement of at-Targhib wa't-Tarhib, Ibn Taymiyyah's al-Kalim at-Tayyib both published by the UK Islamic Academy, Dr Asadullah Yate's translation of al-Ahkam as-Sultaniyyah, published by Ta-Ha Publishing and a number of other works. He is currently engaged with Suád Østergaard on a translation of the Qur’an into Danish, the first volume of which translated in collaboration with Jakob Werdelin, comprising Surat al-Fatihah, Surat al-Baqarah and Surah Ali ‘Imran, was recently published as Den gavmilde Qur’an: en fremlægning of de tre første suraer by Havens Forlag of Copenhagen. Translations yet to be published include Traditions of the Sunnah (Athar as-sunan) by Shaykh Muhammad ibn ‘Ali an-Nimawi (jointly with Mawlana In'amuddin), to be published by Turath Publishing Ltd. Among his unpublished translations are the Sciences of Tafsir comprising portions of Ibn Juzayy al-Kalbi’s Qur’anic commentary at-Tashil li ‘ulum at-tanzil, in particular his introductory sections on the essential elements of the sciences necessary for tafsir. He is author of a number of children’s books, The Year of the Elephant, The Great Victory and The Last Battle all of which are on the sirah of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, as well as The Story of Stories about the Prophet Yusuf, peace be upon him, in which he drew a great deal on the commentary of Ibn Juzayy, may Allah be merciful to him. He has also a poem God is Dead published in the Minaret journal of Stockholm, Sweden, and an as-yet unpublished collection of short stories called Tales Are Like That, and a novel called The Wings of the Butterfly. Abdassamad is a teacher of both adults and children in Qur’an recitation (tajwid) and meanings, Arabic language and the deen in general, most recently having organised and taken part in a conference under the auspices of Islamic Events of London on the History of the Islamic Khalifate, and having given discourses in London, Edinburgh, Dublin, Jena, Weimar, Copenhagen and the Midlands. 18 April, 2007 0:03

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