Balance! That precious and rare quality which all the promising attractions and achievements of the post-industrial age fall short of providing to the worn-out modern human being. As Imam Yassine taught us, balance in one’s life correlates proportionately with the person’s receptivity of the light of the Revelation. In other words, the more is the person’s proximity from Transcendence, the more balanced is his/her life; and the less proximity, the more troubled, miserable and imbalanced it will be. Once he shut off his heart and soul from the truths of the other world, modern man has been doomed. W.B. Yeats captures the misery of the modern world in a memorable poetic scene:
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
[. . .]
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold.
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world. (1)William Butler Yeats, “The Second Coming”, Norton Anthology of English Literature, 7th ed. Ed. Stephen Greenblatt et al. Vol 2. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2000. 2106.
In Yassine’s life as well as in his voluminous innovative project, what in the history of Muslims has long been seen as paradoxical and antithetical is reconciled and brought together in an outstandingly harmonious match. The aspiration for spiritual excellence, and not a mere dry application of a manual of rules and regulations- goes hand in hand with the believer’s concern for the betterment and prosperity of his society, for the eradication of injustice, and for the welfare of his fellow human beings. To be sure, his choice of Spirituality and Justice, a double-bind concept which subsumes the main contours of his project, successfully encapsulates the duality of the spiritual aspirations and the earthly obligations. (2)In his interpretation of this verse, our master Abdellah Ibnu Masud may God be pleased with him said that it is the most comprehensive of all the verses in the Quran. So successful was his choice of the expressive Qur’ānic pair of (justice and spirituality) [16:90] that, as he himself says, “some people even envy us for the appeal of the name.”
For Yassine the alchemy which shall bind together all our deeds and efforts in this world is the awareness of that to which modern man today turns his back, and shuts his ears: the Hereafter, the truth of all truths. Woven into the fabric of Imam Yassine’s writings- which span fields of knowledge as disparate as history, philosophy, the history of ideas, theology, politics and gender- is a constant and an insistent reminder of the destiny of the human being on that day when he/she will stand bare in front of his/her Creator. The human being is- not a being-towards-death as Martin Heidegger conjectures; he is a being-towards-after-death. While most people would stop at the promising fruits of democracy, Imam Abdessalam Yassine sees that it only fulfills the clay-part of us, consigning the spiritual component into oblivion. Balance is always in question:
Our main take on democracy is that it does not propose to the human being an outlet from blasphemy- the greatest injustice of all. In the creed of democracy, there is nothing wrong with the person dying so stupidly without knowing what awaits him/her after death. [Shūra and Democracy, 24]
Imam Yassine’s existential concern about the authenticity of faith and the honesty and vitality of the believer’s intentions and actions is in some respects reminiscent of Soren Kierkegaard’s concern about how one should be a “Christian in Christendom”. Religion is not a manual of rules and prohibitions; it is about the purity of the heart; the dwelling place of the revealed light.
References [ + ]
|1.||↑||William Butler Yeats, “The Second Coming”, Norton Anthology of English Literature, 7th ed. Ed. Stephen Greenblatt et al. Vol 2. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2000. 2106.|
|2.||↑||In his interpretation of this verse, our master Abdellah Ibnu Masud may God be pleased with him said that it is the most comprehensive of all the verses in the Quran.|