Freedom

If we don’t understand slavery and slavehood, then we don’t understand freedom. Once the distinction is abolished and the slaves become free, by the same token the free become slaves.

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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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18 Comments

  1. And, folks, M. Bakri Musa.com is not, never is my blog.
    I think that is a very cool blog of a Malay in the USofA.
    If you go to this blog the owner is the sweet-sour smile guy with the white hair stuck to the American side of the flag in the heading block.

    THANK YOU.

  2. How right you are, Abdassamad: Life is a dance.
    I have only a learner’s permit just to learn the introduction to a Irish style – just to learn the very beginning mind you. That is very hard to be good at as I do not understand the beats being just musically inclined.
    Care to show me the steps? Do I have to jump about over a sword and his scabbard?

  3. But dance is not all pirouette, just as life is not all jest, although there is sometimes wisdom in jest. It is like the two aspects of poetry: a bellyful of pus or wisdom, but the latter is rare and all the more to be treasured for its rarity.

  4. Dave, I haven’t praised slavery, but said that we need to understand it, and then followed a logic which should make us ask, “Why is it that we all think we are free, but are now slaves?”

  5. Dear Admin,

    OK, and it’s an interesting thing to think about. Yes, you are absolutely correct in this philosophical statement. I question your statement ‘why do we all think we are free’ because I certainly do not think I am ‘free’ in a complete way…I am burdened by the System that is in place, just as we all are. In much that same way the President of Iran questioned why a reporter stated ‘others’ opinions as being fact. I think you only know what YOU think. Do YOU think you are free? If so, I think you have enough ‘money’ to establish a certain lifestyle where you are not beholden to the System, but you are still locked into that system. Personally, I think a person has to live within the reality and then somehow attempt to make as much ‘freedom’ of movement/thought as possible.

    You bring a very interesting thought. Initially, I was thinking in terms of ‘owning by the right hand’ and that ownership of another person’s life is the Slavery that I feel is, and always was, wrong. Nothing good came of ownership of another human being in totality, by that meaning sexually and labor-wise. It can be argued that wages today are so low that in some circumstances Slavery exists (sugar plantations in Florida, ‘sweat-shops’, sex-trade slavery. These conditions are where Government should super-cede Profit/Greed.

    Whatever. Thanks for taking my initial comment seriously.

  6. The Heart of The Paradox

    Alhamdulillah;
    and David Stewart is another thought
    that holds the pillar of Creation – eh, Abdassamad:
    system within a system

    Slavery – physicallyandthemindintoto –
    has always existed if I understand the teachings of beliefs systems – Islam being one; and Islam says that was, is, and will be when the word ‘kun’ was uttered:
    Allahu-Ahad is a Slave To His Office of Only God – can we say that, Abdassamad? Slavery, that is a big word for me, then

    Hey, Abdassamad, the slave of the all container
    do you understand no-religion – not just no-god religion?
    Everything is Absolute and Nothing is Not.
    Is this a paradox or an aphorism, Abdassamad and David Stewart?,

    Do you mean then, David Stewart, that when there is nothing good in slavery, by being the Master there is no good in that, too – much less a student or the slave; since it is part of the system.
    I gather that you must mean that the system SUCKS big-time.
    In which case I agree; but will that get me anywhere? As I still have this shackeled feeling around my neck – like a schakel that has ‘made in Jannatul-Firdaus’ embossed in the alloy of lights. I hate to think I am locked into a system where I have no control of since
    I am a not-so-much-of-such-a-control-guy-but-want-to-be-in-control-kinda-guy, you know what I mean.

    So where is the answer to feeling good?
    An obese dino strutting in a floridan sweatshop?
    Or inherently feeling good like kangaroos jumping
    with orangutans exchanging slappingly solid wholesome high-fives?
    finger touch the heaven of the muntaha tree
    subhanallahsalhamdulillahsla-eelaha-illallahsallahu-akbars
    when you are in no-memory
    but know you are and are not in
    the serenity of mad-sanity that is
    a voice that unveils you to there
    where your every heart desires?
    in the cry and the teary smile
    the heart of the paradox

    la toodrikul aabsorru
    wa huwa yuudrikl aabsorror
    wa huwal-Lawtiful-hawbeer!
    so said mim-ha-mim-dhal
    so said jin baa raw ya lam
    so said alif lam lam ha

  7. Dave,

    We are the system (but please do not capitalise it), since it is made up of all our different actions and has no life of its own. The secret of the pyramid is the bricks.

    To think and to know are two different things. I think what I think and I know what I know, but I definitely don’t know what I think.

    The money is a part of our slavery. Having it does not make one free. Being without it does not enslave one. The trouble is when it gets into one’s heart; that is when you lose your freedom.

    We don’t live “within the reality”, but the Real expresses Itself through us and the world, and does what It wills. That is the reality that we have to live within.

    The organisation that works for the abolition of world slavery admits that there is today more actual not metaphorical slavery than ever before, much of it quite brutal. So our struggle to produce this egalitarian and libertarian world has paradoxically produced more inequality and more slavery than ever existed before, and that is before we get to my point that all of us “free” people are perhaps more enslaved than we care to think, acknowledging that you are aware of our own enslavement to some degree.

    It goes back to the other post on technique and technology, which we invented to free ourselves, but which have reduced us to servitude to them. Yes, we buy a nice shiny new car, and it can now have an almost non-existent carbon footprint, but what about the factory that makes it and the mines that extract the ores and all the other processes that go to make the car? All of that carbon so that one consumer can have a delusory guilt-free conscience when he leaps into his ton of steel.

    I buy the washing machine (and of course I do have one), and it frees me from the drudgery of washing my clothes by hand, or in reality it frees my wife not to mention the servant or slave who would have done both our washing before in another time. But look at the entire process from mine to factory to distribution that produces the washing machine; how many people’s lives have become meaningless drudgery and slavehood in order to save me that bit of drudgery and to make me more “free”? And of course, I in turn am enslaved in some part of the process to give someone else a washing machine or a car.

    But here we are only skimming over the surface. There are though many suggested ways to take, not all necessarily political.

    Regards,

    Abdassamad

    (Admin is my alias, just like Mika Angel-0, who for some reason known only to him uses an alias that alludes to an anthropomorphist whose main patron was a usurer – one of the Medici – who arguably did a great deal to bring about the modern age and the slavery we are talking about)

  8. “Alhamdulillah;
    and David Stewart is another thought
    that holds the pillar of Creation – eh, Abdassamad:
    system within a system”

    Dave Stewart and you and I are all thoughts of another, and yet we are thinking. But what system you mean I do not know, let alone one within another.

    “Slavery – physicallyandthemindintoto –
    has always existed if I understand the teachings of beliefs systems”

    More systems there; a very telling use of words.

    ” – Islam being one; and Islam says”

    “says” indeed! How very anthropomorphic.

    “that was, is, and will be when the word ‘kun’ was uttered:
    Allahu-Ahad is a Slave To His Office of Only God – can we say that, Abdassamad?”

    Well, if you mean it in the sense of the Jews who denigrated even God, how can I stop you? But I certainly cannot recommend you to say such a thing.

    “Slavery, that is a big word for me, then”

    “Hey, Abdassamad, the slave of the all container”
    Laysa ka mithlihi shay’ – nothing is like the likeness of Him.

    “do you understand no-religion – not just no-god religion?”

    Well, if I reflect I certainly do not understand your syntax, so am unable to answer your question.

    “Everything is Absolute and Nothing is Not.
    Is this a paradox or an aphorism, Abdassamad and David Stewart?,”

    Or yet another pirouette?

    Abdassamad

  9. Dear Abdassamad
    Salaam

    Your dislike to “Islam says this and Islam says that” is noted. When it is actually the Qur’an says this and the Qur’an says that and as for the Sunnah it is, well, long winded.

    A leap and a spin of faith, actually; but you need to have more than hot air space.

    Great dancing steps, Abdassamad. Slow and easy, please: koala like speed.

    Terima Kasih

  10. Wa alaikum as-salam,

    Not so much dislike, as a care for words. Language is a great part of who we are. And as for “the Qur’an says this”, another anthropomorphism, for it is Allah Who “says” in the Qur’an. And neither does the Sunnah speak. We get ourselves in a pickle by using language sloppily, and then we have no choice but to pirouette endlessly to try and get out of trouble. But it is much less exhausting to begin with clarity of expression and its sister clarity of thought. Pirouettes necessarily go around in circles (because of the limited dimensions of stages), but we would like to go forward.

    By the way, I never brought up this thing of Bakri Musa, and was surprised to see you make a denial that you had anything to do with him. But why do your comments always link back to his web-site?

    Salams,

    Abdassamad

  11. A Shadow of a Thought
    (i am insignificant, i am nothing)

    In our acknowledgement that the technique culture ultimately comes from Allah and our awareness that we are in need of a discrimination, it is clear that it is only Allah Who can give us the discrimination we need for that which comes from Him. It is Islam that contains that discrimination until the end of time. The task of future Islam is to recover law, Divine law, and to make it dominant over technique, both in terms of technology but particularly in terms of financial and commercial technique. – Abdassamad

    Slavery is a subject that easily floats into my thoughts
    with a soft fanfare of sadness. Slavery is a fall from grace,
    my hands are shackeled, all of a sudden
    – I am not free as I thought I could be:
    why should I have to answer for my deeds
    and to another than me?

    Slavery – what is it? Who is a slave?
    How did one become a slave?
    And who is a free man?

    Will I ever be free or just
    contented be

    do not mind me – should you wish to go
    forward or backward
    I don’t mind really.
    At least, for the moment my thoughts are free
    but never would I wish
    to say, to utter other that will set me free
    from the bond of
    la eelaha illallah
    muhammadurrasuulullah
    .

  12. The secret of the brick is that it is itself a little Pharoah in miniature. Tyranny on all levels. That is the strength of the pyramid. It is also its weakness. When the slaves opt out, then it was a pyramid in the past tense.

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