Let me start by proposing an outline of terms to start guiding our thinking. This has been taken from my readings:
The title is taking from Spengler who, in his book ‘The Decadence of the West’, proposes that history has a grammar and that we must learn it to understand history and, therefore, the current time. The first triad comes from the Ajrumiyya, a classical text for the study or Arabic grammar. The second from the notes of Sidi Karim, may Allah have mercy on him, on his reading of the book ‘The Decadence of the West’ by the aforementioned author. The third one from the book, The Entire City, by Ian Dallas. The fourth is from Shaykh Abdalqadir as-Sufi’s ‘Root Islamic Education’. The fifth is based on the famous Hadith of the Prophet, peace be upon him, which says that if you cannot remove a wrong with your hand, you must do it with your tongue and if not, with your heart. The last and conclusive title is from the Quran, when Allah says: I have completed your Deen for you.
This is not a conclusive outline, many more triads could be added here, interchanged or eliminated, but a framework to apply to different situations. For example, in cinematic terms, we would say that a film has actions, text and subtext. Actions are what we see happening. The text is the dialogues of the characters, what we heard them say. The subtext is everything else that is not directly shown or stated but understood by the audience.
Jerusalem holds, no doubt about it, a significant and important place in Islam and in the hearts of the Muslims. But we cannot let this emotion guide a reading of what has happened. It will cloud our judgment.
Rather, let use the triads above.
We can start by proposing a sentence: The Muslims have lost Jerusalem to the Israelis.
This is not something that happened yesterday, but a long time ago.
In this scenario, the nouns are Muslims, Jerusalem and Israelis. The verbs ‘to have’ and ‘to lose’. And the particles (according to Arabic grammar, and not English) ‘the’ and ‘to’.
We can follow that by saying that Muslims and Jerusalem and Israelis belong to Human Nature. Why? Because Muslims is a noun given to a group of individuals that are characterized by following the Deen of Islam; Jerusalem is a city: build by people and inhabited by them, it is the natural arena for humans. And Israelis, as Muslims, is a name given to a set of people characterized by particular adjectives.
We can say that ‘to have’ and ‘to lose’ is the social organization. Everything in existence is about having and losing. You have life and then you lose it. You have things and then lose them. Everything is in a state of change from ‘having’ to ‘loosing’. And social organization is who loses what to whom.
The particles are the historical events, which tell us that ‘the’ Muslims, not any other group of people, had something and the lost it ‘to’ the Israelis. It’s what happens. Which tells you from whom you gain and to whom you lose.
Let’s carry on. Why are the Muslims, Jerusalem and Israelis the inward? Because you must define what each thing is. What is a Muslim? What does it mean in plural? Who are the Muslims as and what does it mean as referring to a grouping? You see… is not that easy. Jerusalem, is it the buildings? The people that inhabit it? The historical context of the city? And what do we mean by Israelis? Who are they? All of this is part of the Inward because to classify each you must refer to aspects which are not in the seeing.
The Hidden is having and loosing, because as much as we would like, we never know when we are going ‘to have’ something and when are we going ‘to lose’ it, the extreme example being life and death. This is something that belongs to God. Because He is the only one that really has and He gives. The same way that He is the only one that never loses anything, and takes away what he wants.
The Outward: what has happened that has led to this situation? What are the events that we can know? The wars, the treatises, the handshakes, the exchange of money, from whom and to whom.
If we go a step forward we can say that Iman, that we know is what a Muslim should say with his tongue and believe in his heart, is what defines a Muslim, an Isaraeli, or, in another sphere, what defines Jerusalem. Defining of what each thing is: a noun, and we cannot think of reality if we don’t know the nouns, because we won’t know what we are pointing too. Nouns are expressions of a hidden reality.
The Hidden, in this case, Ihsan. What we gain and lose, as the Prophet, peace be upon him told us. And if this is true for an individual, it is also true for a community, which is not but an arrangement of individuals; and if it’s true for a person during his lifetime, it is also for a whole community during its lifetime. What have Muslims, as a community, gained or loosed that has placed us in this situation.
The situation, the outward, in this case, Islam. What has happened to Islam? Islam is the actions, the ‘ubudiyat and the mu’amalat. The things that we do with the ‘hands’.
The Iman is what we say, the tongue. And Ihsan, what is hidden, the heart. All three composes the Deen, the transaction between the Creator and the creatures.
When they are not in harmony, what our heart believes, our tongue says and our hand does, then the result is confusion and in the extreme case, schizophrenia.
We must ask, at each level, what each thing means to understand in which state they are to know what has happened, and, therefore, to know if we should act with the hand, the tongue or the heart.