Tariq Ramadan talk – the footsteps of the Prophet. How should we do?
The Professor has long been one of my favourite. I frequented his blog for his current update, I searched in Youtube for his talks, so the minute I get to know from Ahmad Huzaifah, the CEO of One Heart Creative Solution, that they are organising a talk by Tariq Ramadan – I immediately bought 2 tickets. Our ticket numbers are 002 and 003 and the sister at the registration table said we must be one of his biggest fans to miss the first spot only by one number. I never really thought about it that way – but she is not wrong!
The title for the talk is ‘In the footsteps of the Prophet: How Muslims should contribute to the world.’
Prof Tariq Ramadan, in my humble opinion, is one of the few people that is gifted by God with a very sharp intellect and very keen spiritual insights. This made his talks always so intellectually stimulating and yet is still able to reach into your heart’s core. I also found him very passionate and generous in pouring out the knowledge to his audience that we can’t help but being captivated by his energy from beginning till the end of the talk.
Below are some of the gems that I picked out from him and interpreted and digested by my own understanding:
1) Nation of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) are called the ‘best nation’ conditional on our action of 1) asking towards good and 2) preventing against evil. Only then God announced and approved that we are the people that have faith in Him. Therefore, it’s our action that determines our faith.
2) “our relationship with God is a love story..” I really like this quote by him. He talked about how our spiritual journey towards God is filled with love and mercy from Almighty. Like all love story, there must be struggles and this struggle that differentiates between a hypocrite and a true believer. A hypocrite will say one thing and do a complete different thing and will not feel any concern – but a true believer will always struggle to be consistent in his words and actions and to stay true on the right path.
3) Change our perception. He talked about how the early surahs are all very short but very deep in its meaning. These surahs are normally talking about nature. It’s purpose is to call the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) to change how he looked at nature and the ordinary things. Nature, ordinary things, when looked at from the inner eye, or the spiritual eye – will all have very significant meanings to us. It will all connect us back to God. Nature is a gift to us and we must take care of it
4) How the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) changed the perception of the Arab culture at that time by his behaviour. From a pagan culture of abusing and degrading women, he showed that women, by the example of his wife Khadija – is actually the supporter, somebody that he relied on and seek counsel. He showed gentleness and vulnerability as human when he seek Khadija to console him after he came back the first time from receiving the revelation. When the pagans at the time were burying the child alive, he always demonstrated the most loving and caring behaviour towards children, especially when he gave his sermon while carrying his grandson.
5) How we are loved by the poor, is how we are loved by God.
6) Understanding with only the mind will lead to arrogance but understanding with the heart will lead to humility.
7) Story of the Iblis’s logic. Iblis is rationally right, but spiritually wrong. Due to only justifying things (the creation of Adam) from logical rational point of view, Iblis became arrogant and be doomed by God.
8) There are limits to our rationality. Be aware of that limits. ‘sami’na wa ata’na’.
9) Islam is not about doing what is the harshest, but doing what is right.
10) the Prophet demonstrates firmness and strictness in his worshipping action of God, but he also demonstrates flexibility and gentleness. He is firm when asking his followers to pray exactly like how he did it and yet always showing the rukhsah in worshipping activities (rukhsah for fasting during travelling).
11) 4 qualities that need to be inculcated in order to follow his footsteps: 1) confidence (because we are with God) When the Prophet was asked to ‘read’ the first time, he can’t. But when he is asked to ‘read in the name of God’ – he can do it. The lessons that if we rely on ourselves alone, nothing can be done. We must know and have confidence that when we do things for God, God is always with us.
Our existing community now is not perfect, but must trust each other that we will know what to do when something is essentially wrong.
We must have ambition to do more.
We must have the courage to stand for truth and justice all the time. The mark of courage is when we can stand for justice in front of a tyrant.
12) 3 things to remember:
We are all connected by one God and we all came from one humanity.
2) our role as vicegerent/khilafah
Nothing in this world is ever ours. Not our body, not the earth, nor our property. It will all be returned to God and we will asked how did we fulfil our role as the vicegerent of God on this world.
We will all one day die. Make dua that God will help us to remind us of this fact every day and every hour.
13) Education is very important to people. Emphasise on deeper meaning and not superficial ritual. Governments of the world must invest in education.
14) Creativity and culture. What are we doing for our own? Muslim youth will look for beauty/art/ entertainment in other places because its innate in us to seek beauty. We need to create our own art, music, architecture – beautiful things. The prophet loves beautiful things and always speaks beautifully. Create ethical art, ethical entertainment.
15) Celebrate this life, as we are also preparing for the Hereafter. In Islam, life in this world is not meant to be suffered. We must enjoy and celebrate life within the principle.
16) Ramadhan as training against consumerism. We must eat less in Ramadhan then how we normally eat. Don’t turn Ramadhan into an empty ritual.
17) Be loving and compassionate with ourself first. Start with ourself.
18) Be forgiving and spread forgiveness. We should first welcome question from people who are doing questionable things, before we judge them.
19) Be loving and compassionate with others. Tell other people that we love them, for God’s sake.
I’m afraid I can’t do justice to the many wonderful thoughts that was shared by Prof Tariq yesterday. I tried to be as accurate as possible to what is delivered by him, but of course, some of what he said will be missing from this note and also the nuances of how he said it. Please note that some of what is written here also comes from my own way of interpreting and my writing style. The ones I bold are the ones that really resonated with me. Well, actually most of what he said had really profound impact on me but it would be really futile to bold the whole thing!
I hope this will benefit those who can’t come yesterday, and to be able to share different point of understandings from those who came. To end this entry, I pray that God will bless Prof Tariq Ramadan with good health to keep on speaking and writing, may he will be blessed with barakah in every single thing that he did, and may God increase his iman and always keep him on the path of the Righteous, ameen.