Imam Magid joined us at LLSP this morning for a discussion about sources of Islamic law as well as a lecture about faith and leadership. He opened the class by setting out the objectives of Shari’a law—which is to protect, preserve, and promote life. Islamic law protects all life, as well as property, honor, faith, and religion. He explained the concept of “wahy,” which means revelation, or the act of speaking with someone in private, and how Muslims derive guidance, in life and law, from the Quran.
Imam Magid referred to the Quran as the book of social change, and that it should be read as one flowing unit. He mentioned that problems arise when people pick certain aspects of the Quran out of context to justify wrongful actions. Some treat the Quran as a book of law that only lays out the dos and don’ts in life, forgetting that it is mostly a book of inspiration and guidance as well as instruction. The rules in the Quran are very few while the rest are examples that describe how a person should live according to the rule of God.
The Sunnah is obligatory, provided it does not contradict the Qur’an, as it is secondary to the Qur’an. Imam Majid then talked about the role of the hadith in Islamic thought and law, emphasizing the importance of knowing how to identify and treat a weak hadith. While a hadith that contradicts fundamentals of Islam or goes against what is rational is a fabrication, it should be rejected. A weak hadith can be used for moral value but we cannot make a ruling out of it.
In his second lecture, Faith and Leadership, Imam Magid started by stating that leadership is a form of forgiveness and strength. Compassion is absolutely required in leadership, and it is thus important for leaders to be always advocating for justice. Because justice is so subjective, compassion and the ability to accommodate other people’s needs and feelings are necessary in becoming a just leader. Moreover, a leader must be able to interpret the laws of the physical world with the awareness that there is life after death. This leader is therefore always cognizant of the consequences we will all eventually face in the spiritual world.
Imam Magid also mentioned how as leaders and as activists we can become drained of our energy and experience burnout. We have to recharge ourselves and have frequent conversations with God. Prayer provides reflection in our personal life. Prayer is interpersonal (a conversation with God) and intrapersonal (a conversation with yourself). Not many forms of communications offer both, so prayer is a unique form of reflection.
Finally, Imam Magid stated that the physical world is a world of limitation, whereas the spiritual world is a world of possibilities. As leaders who also embrace our own spirituality and faith, it is imperative that we know how to advocate for others as well as when to retreat and find peace in ourselves and in God.