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Dawah and Interfaith

Unity Based on Renewal & Guidance

Ustadh Abu Easa has written a must-read introduction (I had the word “teaser” in my mind but it takes away from some of the importance of this discourse) on an initiative/conference that occured in the UK recently. Inshallah, we are expecting Shaykh Yasir Qadhi to write something on it as well, as time permits. Until then, here are a few excerpts (not continuous) from the article that is here:

It has become increasingly clear in recent times how important it is to unify the Muslims of Tradition, known as the “Salafis” and “Sufis” in the most crudest of terms, but more accurately referring to those practising Muslims that hold to the three well known central schools of ‘aqidah (ash’ari, maturidi, and athari/salafi) at the primary level, and then a mixture of the four schools of law and “no set school of law” at the secondary level. Basically, this means me and you…

It was with this in view that an initiative headed by Shaykh Abdullah b. Bayyah (hafidhahullah) and some of the senior Imams and Students of Knowledge in the West has just convened a week-long retreat to discuss these very issues and declare a unified front against this fitnah that is creating such weakness. The “Global Centre for Renewal and Guidance” (المركزالعالمي للتجديد والترشيد) as well as many other things, has officially been launched earlier today and will be releasing a pact insha’Allah very soon cementing all that which holds Sunni Muslims together and unified so that we can move forward and deal with the real challenges facing the Ummah at the moment, identified by our Shaykh throughout this intensive week into three main categories here

This will not be easy, and we don’t expect a miracle over night – but the seeds of unity have been sown and the scholars and leaders of the da’wah from all schools, including Hamza Yusuf, Yasir Qadhi, Zaid Shakir, Usama Hasan, Jihad Brown, Abdullah Aladhami, Sherman Jackson and many more in attendance last week from all over the world at this historical and blessed event, have come together to demand their students and followers to do the same.

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Abu Reem is one of the founders of MuslimMatters, Inc. His identity is shaped by his religion (Islam), place of birth (Pakistan), and nationality (American). By education, he is a ChemE, topped off with an MBA from Wharton. He has been involved with Texas Dawah, Clear Lake Islamic Center and MSA. His interests include politics, cricket, and media interactions. Career-wise, Abu Reem is in management in the oil & gas industry (but one who still appreciates the "green revolution").

122 Comments

122 Comments

  1. Avatar

    inexplicabletimelessness

    August 30, 2007 at 12:07 AM

    excellent mashaallah.

  2. Avatar

    ...

    August 30, 2007 at 8:58 AM

    TAKBEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEER

  3. Avatar

    Abu Muhammad

    August 30, 2007 at 10:11 AM

    I have mixed feelings towards this new unity. Whilst I fully understand that at least in the west it is required, if we are at all to meet the continuously evolving challenges. I also have grave reservations.

    I cannot speak from a Sufi perspective. But from a Salafi perspective I would ask: Who is representing us in this initiative?

    Are the senior scholars divorced from this process? Have they even been consulted? Or is this going to be a new era where the old guard are left behind?

    Salafis at least in the UK (including myself) are still looking to the likes of Shaikh Salih Al Fawzaan, Abdul Aziz Aal Ash Shaykh, Abdul Muhsin Al Abbaad and others for guidance even in ‘fiqh of the minorities’.

    Maybe it is ignorance, but no Salafi I know has even heard of Abdullah Ibn Bayyah let alone considers him to be from the major scholars.

    I remember when it was all: Allamah Falih Al Harbi. People heard the name and blindly followed thinking him to be a major scholar. I think many have learnt a harsh lesson that left a bitter taste in the mouth. I don’t think they will accept a ‘new’ ‘allamah’ all that easily, even if he is on the opposite side of the spectrum.

    I think without addressing these issues you will get a few Salafis on the boat. But the majority are firmly attached to the scholars.

    As much as I love Shaikh Yasir Qadhi and Shaikh Tawfique Chowdhury (may Allah allow us to benefit from them, always) I have never considered them from amongst the scholars. And the reality on the ground, at least in the UK is that most Salafis don’t either, and Allah knows best. (I hope this is not misunderstood and is no way negative on either of them, may Allah bless them and increase them in all good).

    Then there is the issue of compromise. What is the extent of the unity and where are the lines drawn.

    Sorry to say but without mentioning names, there are those in the UK, who whilst espousing unity are underhandedly trying to dismantle the dawah of Al Albani and the Ahlul Hadeeth. And if it continues then if Allah wills, there will be a response.

    Otherwise how are these issues to be dealt with. It is like one side has an arms embargo on it but the other is free to do as it pleases.

    There are a few elephants in the room that people are avoiding.

    I think it’s better to discuss some issues head on, rather than put our heads in the sand and hope it all works out.

    Anyhow, I’m all for it if we can come up with a practical paradigm that involves the scholars and not just the greater students of knowledge.

  4. Avatar

    Mahin F Islam

    August 30, 2007 at 10:36 AM

    I think Br. Abu Muhammad raises some valid points….if the mashaykh on the board (Abu Yusuf, Abu Ammaar, Yaser Birjas) could respond appropriately, I think it would be quite beneficial.

    As for Sh. Ibn Bayyah, it is my understanding that he is the teacher of Dr. Salmaan Al-Awdah; I assumed that since he (Ibn Bayyah) resides in the Kingdom, he would be known amongst the Saudi ulemaa.

  5. Avatar

    Mahin F Islam

    August 30, 2007 at 11:05 AM

    However, I think it is also important to recognize that there is some manipulation going on when conveying who the ulemaa are, “their stances on issues”, “who they give tazkiyah to” in regards to relaying these issues to the English speaking brothers.

    I don’t think there is any doubt about the credibility or knowledge of Shaykhs Fowzaan, Abdul Azeez aal ash-Shaykh or Abdul Muhsin Al-Abbaad and if those mashaykh are the criterion for us here in the West, I don’t see what the problem would that would be. However, there are others as well and sometimes there is manipulation by some individuals as to who is known to us(the English speaking Muslim). Hope that makes sense.

    The whole issue of Faalih Al-Harbee being conveyed to the masses as “Allaamah” and having his own website through SP was a good example of this manipulation.

    Additionally, keeping the masses in the dark about the Shanqeetee ulemaa alive today, Muhammad Saalim wal Udood, Muhammad Ibn Mukhtar and Muhammad Hassan walid Ad-Dido is another example. I know many Salafees that if you were to mention these scholars, they would look at you funny and think maybe you are confusing these guys with “Muhammad Al-Amin ash-Shanqeetee”(since that is the only one of the tribe that many are familiar with). Another example perhaps of this manipulation; so I don’ t know if the fact that Salafees haven’t heard of Sh. Abdullah Ibn Bayyah is substantial evidence that he is not from the major ulemaa.

  6. Avatar

    Abu Muhammad

    August 30, 2007 at 11:19 AM

    @ Mahin F Islam

    Muhammad Al Amin shanqeetee for me is not recognised because he was from a certain tribe but because he was on a certain belief and methodology. Our shaikh in mustalah was a student of Muhammad Al Amin Ash-Shanqeetee, he studied both in Madinah and Al Azhar. So I have no bias except on belief/methodology.

  7. Avatar

    BintMuhammed

    August 30, 2007 at 11:59 AM

    Assalamualaykum
    I understand that we should respect these people because they are apart of sunni Islam, but at the same time how far should our unity extend. Like Anon said, if they differ in our fundamental beliefs mainly in Allah names and attributes, how are you to sit with them and have coversations about Allahs attributes for example. I am all for unity, but how far should my allegiance go? I dont know im all iffy about this, perhaps some one should enlighten me with more details.

  8. Pingback: muslimmatters.org » It’s Ego-Busting Time!

  9. ibnabeeomar

    ibnabeeomar

    August 30, 2007 at 12:51 PM

    i think if we step back and look at the bigger picture, it makes more sense. unity doesn’t mean that we have to solve issues that haven’t been settled for 1000+ years, or all of a sudden come to a conclusion on them, or even necessarily ACCEPT those views.

    what it DOES mean though, in the grand scheme of things is in the west specifically:

    muslims are a minority, muslims are being attacked on the very fundamentals of our religion – the quran is being attacked, hadith in general are being attacked, and quite frankly, there’s a decent amount of people in this society who would much rather see us dead or in a concentration camp then out and about free to practice our religion.

    so with that being the case – what is more important for us here? to cast each other aside because you make tafwid and i dont? or say ok we have our disagreements on these issues, however, for the general muslim population at large here, it is for the overall good of the ummah to work together to improve our situation. stop making people think we are terrorists and whatnot. work together where we are in a country in which being salafi or being sufi is far better than being morally depraved, nonpracticing, or fallen into kufr.

    we CAN all work together to improve the image of our deen, and bring the youth back into practicing and away from the vices that many of the masses are falling into.

    its a bit different for scholars in muslim countries to be debating some of the issues we split upon, but its another thing for us where our mere survival as muslims in this country is under attack. this doesn’t mean you should not learn the technicalities of aqeedah, fiqh, etc, but keep things in perspective in regards to your situation here.

    the people in guantanamo werent asked about which scholars they took from or their stances on madhabs, and ta’weel, etc.

    if we strive with sincerity towards Allah(swt) to learn the religion for His sake, and use what we learn to benefit the OVERALL ummah , then inshallah we will be successful.

    in all reality, the issues people are hung up on, only a small percentage of muslims are actually even actively involved in those things anyways. the majority of muslims are the ones struggling to pray 5 times a day, earn a halal living, and raise a family. we can disagree on some of those creedal issues, etc, but it shouldn’t prevent us from working together to address our overriding (and common) concerns.

  10. Avatar

    Abû Mûsâ Al-Habashî

    August 30, 2007 at 1:04 PM

    @ Abu Muhammad

    Well said.

  11. ibnabeeomar

    ibnabeeomar

    August 30, 2007 at 1:15 PM

    btw abu muhammad – i agree with your point of discussing issues and not keeping your head in the sand – but it must be done with proper etiquettes, and keeping in mind the overall goals of the ummah. the breakdown occurs when people can’t discuss those issues in such a manner, and the “muslim minority” becomes further fractionalized and weak. so discuss the issues, but don’t let them get in the way of what our goals are.

  12. Avatar

    MR

    August 30, 2007 at 1:28 PM

    Allah hu Akbar!

  13. Avatar

    Abû Mûsâ Al-Habashî

    August 30, 2007 at 2:10 PM

    @ ibnabeeomar

    “…keeping in mind the overall goals of the ummah.”

    What exactly are the overall goals of the ummah akhî?

  14. ibnabeeomar

    ibnabeeomar

    August 30, 2007 at 2:23 PM

    that sounds like a leading question there.. i thought i stated goals and concerns for the ummah in the west pretty clearly. if you disagree with those goals and think they are something else then please go ahead and say so..

  15. Avatar

    Abu Muhammad

    August 30, 2007 at 2:37 PM

    I must mention also that every ‘Salafi’ scholar I have asked about unity in the west has broadly agreed that it is permissable and sometimes obligatory to work with all ‘sunni’ groups on issues where the deen is under attack. Specific issues that were mentioned were:

    Hijab
    Halal Meat
    Preservation of ibadah, salah etc…

    Without mentioning names some of these scholars are looked upon as ‘rigid’ Salafis by some, but even they agreed. So there is more agreement than we think and we can get a lot more people working together if we interact with all spectrums of ‘sunnis’.

  16. Avatar

    Abû Mûsâ Al-Habashî

    August 30, 2007 at 3:40 PM

    @ibnabeeomar

    “that sounds like a leading question there”
    I had a feeling you would say that. Just so you know, that wasn’t my intention.

    “i thought i stated goals and concerns for the ummah in the west pretty clearly.”
    Yeah I just noticed your first comment. I retract the question.

  17. ibnabeeomar

    ibnabeeomar

    August 30, 2007 at 3:50 PM

    cool no probs. btw sorry if i came across as rude as that also wasnt my intention :)

  18. Avatar

    Dawud Israel

    August 30, 2007 at 3:57 PM

    I hate to break it to you Abu Muhammad…but the vast majority of Muslims are not you. I mean to say, we could care less about this shaykh or that shaykh. Would you follow your Salafi shaykh for that matter on EVERYTHING? What if the shaykh left Islam what would you do then?

    Most of us are not among the minority hard-core Salafis or Sufis, we are in-between.
    In the interest of confusing the masses, I think this specific discussion should be dropped. And this really isn’t a beneficial issue to spend time discussing.

  19. Amad

    Amad

    August 30, 2007 at 7:34 PM

    asalaamalikum ikhwaan,
    Before we jump to conclusions and try to color the situation with our individual biases for ourselves and for others… it is the sign of wisdom to observe and witness first, comprehend second, and then judge… but only in that order.

    No one’s giving up their Aqa’aid… our scholars, who have been much maligned for being divisive in the past, are trying to find areas of agreement… if only they do that, it will be a huge step forward.

    Let’s be positive and open-minded inshallah. Br. Yahya Birt had mentioned the word “groupthink” in one of his comment. I don’t know if many folks actually understand what that really means. I would urge my brothers and sisters to read this article on groupthink (i know it is on a separate issue but it covers the basics)… IF we can only keep some of the negative aspects of groupthink at bay (implying that there are indeed positive aspects), we will become part of the solution instead of the problem.

    Groupthink article

  20. Avatar

    Abu Muhammad

    August 30, 2007 at 8:02 PM

    @Dawud Israel

    Please reread the main post and then my comment. It might click eventually.

    I think you got the wrong end of the stick. Don’t worry about it.

  21. Avatar

    aarij

    August 31, 2007 at 12:10 PM

    i’m seriously confused. what is unity?
    what happens if one of the brothers starts going to hamza yusuf or any other ash’ari scholar and starts learning deviated aqeedah (yes, i very strongly believe its deviated)? what do we do, do we stop him and tell him “what he is saying is false”, or do we sit quiet in the name of unity?

    its soo many issues that are differences upon, and they are not small either. we don’t even agree on what the correct translation of “la ilaha illallah” is.

    i think we should just say this: we are all willing to work together for the good, but let’s not try to paint the deviancies in aqeedah of groups such as the asharis and others as part of the pure, orthodox aqeedah.

    this is a very tricky topic, may Allah guide us all, ameen.

  22. Avatar

    Mahin F Islam

    August 31, 2007 at 12:44 PM

    If one holds the opinion that the Ash’aree/Maturi’dee schools of creed are not within the framework of Ahlul Sunnah and is afraid of himself/herself and his/her brothers/sisters, then that is valid.

    However, keep in mind that most lecturers from the aforementioned schools do not publicly advertise their beliefs either in general seminars/lectures. One should have a framework of the aqeedah of the Salaf us-Saalih and understand it to a basic level and then insha’Allaah an individual can filter out anything that is incorrect (but most of what they say in large gatherings seems to be agreeable or at worst case, issues of ikhtilaaf).

  23. Avatar

    Shariq Hasan

    September 1, 2007 at 7:30 AM

    Bismillah..

    Ok, so some of the brothers have embarked on another effort to close the ranks of the muslims and bring about unity with Allahs help. Alhumdulillah.

    But something seems odd to me with the whole scenario, and part of my feelings have been expressed by abu muhammad above.
    Were any of the salafi ulema involved with this project and if so what was their advice, if not then why not?

    How can such an effort be considered legitimate from a salafi stand point when none of their ulema seem to be involved while shaikh Abdullah Bin Bayya, presumeably representing the non-salafi side (as he is Hamza Yusuf’s shaikh) is involved?

    It is all well and good that Usamah Hasan and others have asked their students and flock to come together, but with all due respect, these are not the people salafi’s consider scholars or people whose lead is worthy to be followed in such matters.

  24. ibnabeeomar

    ibnabeeomar

    September 1, 2007 at 10:29 AM

    i know this will come across as rude, but its an honest question – for the brothers who are so concerned about the salafi ulemma and whatnot – why don’t you simply contact them and ask them? the follow up to that question is how many of the ulemma overseas (salafi or otherwise) really and truly understand the full complexity scope of all the problems we are facing in the west?

    part of the reason i might be asking this is because i think im just scarred by some amongst the “salafi dawah” who have nothing better to do than call up random people in saudi arabia, give them fancy titles, ask them leading questions, then run around everywhere giving people fatwas – its just left a REALLY bad taste in my mouth. so when you hear people go on about “salafi ulemma” this and that, thats what people are reminded of.

    also im a bit turned off by the tone of “these are not people salafis consider…” this on face just makes it sound like a cult. theres a few people who all apparently have the same exact views on everything and anyone at anytime can represent all of them? i know some very knowledgable ‘salafis’ who hold sh. bin bayyah in high esteem as a scholar despite disagreeing on a number of issues.

  25. Avatar

    Aboo Uthmaan

    September 1, 2007 at 11:18 AM

    As-salaamu ‘alaikum

    “…how many of the ulemma overseas (salafi or otherwise) really and truly understand the full complexity scope of all the problems we are facing in the west?”

    On the flip side of that how many of us here in the West really understand how to deal with the complexities of problems in light of the Sharee’ah, so should we not be taking our problems back to the senior scholars who are qualified to examine such problems and bring fourth Islamic solutions.

    Was-salaamu ‘alaikum

    Aboo Uthmaan

  26. Amad

    Amad

    September 1, 2007 at 12:22 PM

    Salam… I understand that there are legitimate concerns…but again, we should first step back and evaluate before jumping to conclusions. Here are some relevant comments from Abu Easa on similar concerns. I have added ## before and after the questions from others that Abu Easa was answering:

    As for the definition of “Unity”: for me, it is recognising valid difference of opinion, advising on invalid differences and loving your Muslim brothers and sisters for their Islam at all time

    # Usinf your (Abu Eesa’s) definition, what do we do practically? you have said we recognise valid difference of opinion, and advise regarding invalid difference. But what do we actually *do*?? #

    In fear of sounding flippant, you will either know what to do or you won’t. If one doesn’t, they have to put their trust in their teacher that they take their religion from and seek guidance on those issues they find difficult to reconcile. The knowledge of al-ikhtilafāt is a detailed chapter that requires deep study with a reliable teacher and is not something that can just be posted about.

    # Who did S.Bin Bayyah take his ‘ilm from? *seriously* #

    Likewise, seriously, would you recognise any of the scholars that Shaykh Abdullah studied under? *Seriously* Anyway, you can find some further information about the Shaykh here: http://www.binbayyah.net/Pages/memoir/saidabout/index.htm
    Also brother/sister, I’d like to thank you because by your question, I went to the Shaykh’s site run by his students and found a very special tazkiyyah for Shaykh Abdullah from one of my own teachers who not only have I not seen in approximately a decade, but is also the first time I’ve seen a photo of him on the net, namely Shaykh Muhammad Salim Wald Wudūd al-Shanqiti (may Allah always protect him), the uncle of Muhammad Hasan al-Dadu. Thank you!
    http://www.binbayyah.net/Pages/memoir/saidabout/morabit.htm

    # Also Abu ‘Eesaa, you make it sound as though there are minor differences between the Soofees and Salafees. Which isn’t the case. There are MAJOR ‘AQEEDAH differences! #

    There is some truth in what you say – both extremes of each group do have major ‘aqīdah differences, whereas the middle ground of both camps have very much in common and indeed only “minor” differences (as far as one can go in terms of far‘i and usūli differences in ‘aqīdah) as far as I’m concerned. And I haven’t tried to sound anything out yet! And if you believe there are major differences and problems, I urge you to deal with that as you see fit, for we are dealing with things as we see fit and Allah jalla wa ‘alā knows best.

  27. Avatar

    Abu Muhammad

    September 1, 2007 at 5:16 PM

    May Allah guide us all in this matter of ‘unity’.

    May Allah unite the Ummah upon the Truth.

    May He raise the way of the Sahabah and destroy the way of all those who seek to distort Islam from it’s true meaning, that meaning which the Prophets came with.

    May Allah raise the Sunnah of His Messenger and wipe away those other paths that take away from His Path.

    May Allah raise the scholars and silence those that seek to take their place.

    May Allah make us love and hate for His sake.

    May Allah forgive us and correct our affairs and our hearts.

  28. Avatar

    al-Harrani

    September 1, 2007 at 5:33 PM

    as-salaamu ‘alaykum…

    Here is an edited version of what I posted on brother AE’s blog in response:

    Cooperation on that which Islam considers good is not limited to Ash’aris, Maturidis, etc. But the command in the Quran encompasses the entire creation, which includes the Jews, the Christians, the Socialists, BNP, Gays and Lesbians and what have you. In that sense, I am a fierce promoter of cooperation with all, and especially our Ash’ari and Maturidi brethren.

    However, the current climate and whatever is going on has absolutely nothing at all to do with cooperation upon righteousness. Nothing at all. It is all to do with recognising the Ash’arism and Maturidism as legitimate Sunni schools, and legitimising deviant and heretic practises that are rampant amongst majority of the Sufis today. You can count the references to our ‘Sunni brothers’ in this thread alone, referring to Ash’aris and Maturidis.

    The most saddening part of the episode is that the Ash’aris and Maturidis in this regard haven’t changed one bit. They still consider us anthropomorphists. The ‘Athari’ in their Sunni trinity refers to a mufawwidh, who cannot be bothered to understand ‘ilm al-kalam and therefore he subdues his intellect to kalami conclusions and instead of making ta’wil, he opts for tafweedh.

    We are not part of the equation at all.

    So here we have our elders, so-called leaders of the Salafi Dawah in the West who once couldn’t stand outside of al-Muntada, lest their orthodoxy is attacked, are now calling for cooperation with those whom they regarded as heretics, but in reality, what we read and hear from them is pure legitimisation of what they previously regarded to be heresies. It is only the ‘Salafis’ that are having a change of heart. Not the Ash’aris or others, and that is the most saddening part of the episode.

    The brother who wrote the original article, did once say to me that he does not take much interest in ‘aqida issues, as far as I remember. If that is true, he is not in a position to determine who are the extremes or the mainstreams in either of the groups, and whether or not the difference between them are minor or major.

    I don’t think the brother in question, or even other brothers will be willing to objectively discuss who are or aren’t the mainstream in both camps and whether or not the differences are major or minor. It seems that they’ve already made up their mind, and therefore, wouldn’t dare to venture into that kind of objective discussion to begin with. And if this is the case, then we would like to know honestly, who is evading a fruitful and truth-seeking discussion here? After all, as some of the brothers here know that this has been my only complaint: say what you want, but at least discuss with an open mind and heart instead of shying away from such discussions, fearing their inevitable outcome.

    The belief in the creation of the Quran, is it major or minor difference?

    The view that faith only consists of beliefs and not actions, is it a major or minor difference?

    Legitimisation of ‘ilm al-kalam, is it a major of minor difference?

    Negating Allah’s elevation upon the throne, is it a major or minor difference?

    Belief in determinism, is it major or minor?

    Are all these issues minor? If that’s the case then I guess the entire generation of Imam Ahmad were foolish to get lashed, banged up in prisons and die of starvation.

    Yes, these difference have existed for a thousand years, and for a thousand years these views have been regarded as heretical by the Sunnis. So what has changed now that we suddenly feel the need to disregard our 1000 years tradition and accept them as orthodox? In fact, the Shi’as have also existed for more than a 1000 years, longer than the Ash’aris. In that sense, they would have more right over recognition than the Ash’aris. Yet, when Israel attacked Lebanon, it was suggested that somehow it was good to see the oppressors kill each other.

    As far as I am concerned, I am all for cooperation with the Shi’as, even. I have no problems with playing football, snooker, or campaigning for our rights with Shi’as, socialist, etc… And I am very eager about the idea bringing the Maturidi and Ash’ari brothers closer to us to at least create a channel of communication and dialogue…

    But I guess, once you accept them whole heartedly as Ahl al-Sunnah, there is no gap to bridge then, is there? So this our strategy for unity?

    The bottomline is this. Most of the people are sick and tired of people shoving their agendas down their throat. We are all as much thirsty for the truth as we are for unity, and we cannot get one without the other. Unity and cooperation based on lies will collapse, just as the agendas set by our respected elders, which was based upon lies and deception, collapsed. This is inevitable.

    We would rather work with our Ash’ari and Maturidi brothers, knowing that we both consider each other deviants, than to lie to ourselves and the general public about our history, facts and beliefs.

    We are all for cooperation, but NOT for hiding the truth and another wishy-washy agenda that is bound to fail like all the other agendas in the past.

    How about unity with Abu Hamza et al? After all, he also condemned 7/7 and 9/11, etc; yes, his other statements are probably as nasty as those we heard on the Dispatches. The difference is that The Sun was on his case. Just wait till The Sun is on your case, then there hardly will be a difference left. Not that it would change anything.

  29. Avatar

    abu ameerah

    September 2, 2007 at 4:10 AM

    @ ibnabeeomar:

    “…i think im just scarred by some amongst the “salafi dawah” who have nothing better to do than call up random people in saudi arabia, give them fancy titles, ask them leading questions, then run around everywhere giving people fatwas – its just left a REALLY bad taste in my mouth.”

    I think that you’re referring to the Madakhilaah who, by the way, were dealt with quite some time ago.

    Even though you were not making this point — I simply wanted to clarify that if one avoids Hamzah Yusuf, Nazim Haqqani, or WD Mohammed this does not mean that he/she has joined the ranks of that Madakhilaah (or exhibits a cult-like mentality for that matter).

    Neither does this mean that one is opposed to the idea of unity. As previously stated by others … the idea/concept of “unity” must be based on purpose and a shared understanding.

  30. Avatar

    amad

    September 2, 2007 at 6:17 PM

    I will use AE’s response again :) as he sums up my sentiments

    A lot of statements, a lot of assumptions and all based upon…what exactly?

    My advice: wait a few days for something to materialise and then attack/critique/destroy/objectively discuss it.

    Really, who talked about the “trinity Aqeedah”? Do people think that the students of knowledge from the “athari” side who are part of this don’t know about the tafweedi issues? Do people think that there is a massive game of trickery going on from the ashari side to fool the poor salafi aqeedah-holders into a trinity that they are not part of? Sometimes, I think we take a leap of faith that jumps over reality into our own perceptions… Give peace a chance ;)

  31. Avatar

    al-Harrani

    September 2, 2007 at 7:35 PM

    No need to copy and paste someone else’s comments if you have nothing else to add from yourself.

    My comments are based on what? Well, a brother who replied to AE’s comment you posted (which was subsequently censored by AE) says it all: My comments were based on AE’s post. It doesn’t take long to figure out, does it?

    More productive response would be to state clearly: dear brother, you assumed ABC, whereas the truth is DEF, and the proof is GHI. Instead, all we got from you is the old-Salafi school-like cut-and-paste from your new ustadh. Well, thank you. But a fruitful discussion deserves a lot more than that, with all due respect.

    A lot of statements, true. They are, after all, in response to a lot of statements made by AE, I suppose?

    A lot of assumptions? Ok. What exactly are the assumptions?

    a) Ash’aris are heretics?

    b) Ash’aris believe in the creation of the Quran, and the rest of the kalami issues?

    c) that these differences are in fact major?

    d) that our brothers are calling for more than cooperation, i.e. accepting them as Sunnis? (something clearly stated in AE’s post and reiterated right here by several users without any critique?)

    Do help us understand if we’ve missed something.

    “Really, who talked about the “trinity Aqeedah”?”

    Ask your Ash’ari friends who have been promoting the three legitimate Sunni theological schools; i) Ash’arism, ii) Maturidism and iii) Atharism.

    “Do people think that the students of knowledge from the “athari” side who are part of this don’t know about the tafweedi issues?”

    This is what I would like to know. Well, at least brothers like Yasir knew this only a couple of years ago. If they’ve forgotten then that’s a different issue. They can, of course, be reminded again.

    “Do people think that there is a massive game of trickery going on from the ashari side to fool the poor salafi aqeedah-holders into a trinity that they are not part of?”

    Not at all. They haven’t changed a bit, as I said. They are very clear as to who they refer to as Atharis; namely the mufawwidh. We aren’t part of the equation as far as they are concerned. Listen to Hamza Yusuf’s and Umar Abdullah’s ‘Attributes of God’, from the beginning till the end, and they are very clear about what they think of us. The problem is only on part of the Salafi figureheads.

    “Sometimes, I think we take a leap of faith that jumps over reality into our own perceptions…”

    ditto.

    “Give peace a chance”

    Just Gimme Some Truth ;)

  32. Avatar

    Umm Zaid

    September 3, 2007 at 7:09 AM

    And meanwhile, along comes some massive bomb that doesn’t distinguish between Salafee and Soofee and Shee’ah and ends the argument once and for all.

  33. Avatar

    al-Harrani

    September 3, 2007 at 3:54 PM

    Umm Zaid said:

    “And meanwhile, along comes some massive bomb that doesn’t distinguish between Salafee and Soofee and Shee’ah and ends the argument once and for all.”

    I agree 100%. Bombs do not discriminate and we should endeavour to save entire humanity from these bombs. However, I am pretty sure that these bombs wouldn’t make you declare the Shi’a as your Sunni brethren. I would only hope that you remain consistent with respect to the rest of the 72 sects.

  34. Amad

    Amad

    September 3, 2007 at 4:24 PM

    Akhi Abuzubair, sometimes comments end up in the spam folder… they weren’t being deliberately held back.

    wasalam

  35. Avatar

    Yasir Qadhi

    September 3, 2007 at 4:45 PM

    Akhi Abu Zubair,

    To be honest I was disappointed in your hastiness at jumping to conclusions without any verification. You have our e-mail addresses…

    In any case, and again with all due respect to you, we are fully aware of these issues that you raised, and more that you have not. The ‘agreement’ that many of the du’aat have already reached, and which will be publicized shortly, is about a code of disagreement (adab al-ikhtilaf) and not about legitimizing any one theology over another.

    The language of the agreement is very precisely worded, even though no doubt ‘those with a disease in their hearts’ (and no, I’m not referring to any specific person here) can read it as they please.

    Patience akhi…

    Yasir

  36. Avatar

    al-Harrani

    September 3, 2007 at 6:01 PM

    Dear brother Amad, JK for clarification. I had thought there must be some problem with the way cookies are being handled.

    Yasir, what good are the emails if they are not responded to? On the list that we’re on, I was the only one commending you for the controversial lecture you delivered. It is a shame that the audience were intellectually shallow to appreciate it. But the deafening silence from your side made me think that perhaps you, too, really have join the ‘elders’ you were up against, not only in views but also in their ‘right to remain silent’. Well, this is what happens when communication breaks down.

    Besides, I was not commenting on this new agreement you just mentioned (agreements? lol, have we been there before? :) ) And to be honest, I am not even concerned about what the agreement says. I am more concerned about the message the people are getting from a number of things that are happening:

    i) Sh Suhayb’s introduction to HY’s translation of al-Tahawiyya. This is NOT a cooperation on righteousness by any stretch of the word.

    ii) Exposing the Sunni Muslims to the figureheads of heresies today, as it happens in JIMAS.

    iii) Constant, albeit, mild criticisms of the Salafis engaged in internet feud with the Ash’aris. (And come on, how many Salafis do you know are engaged in this?)

    Besides, the message that people have been getting after reading AE’s post and his further comments, is that the Ash’aris and Maturidis are Sunnis, and that those who say otherwise are extremists, and that there aren’t any major differences between us. This is the people’s understanding of what is going on as clearly reflected here and elsewhere.

    And it is this, about which I said, has nothing at all to do with cooperation and everything to do with recognising them as Sunnis. And to counter that, you can easily say: ‘Sorry, but you misunderstood. Ash’aris are deviants and not Sunnis. However, we are talking about adab al-khilaf, or whatever else.’ It would go a long way clarifying matters for the average Muslim who might have got the wrong message after reading AE’s post and comments.

    Lastly, dear Yasir, if you remember couple of years ago, on a certain list, we were all being encouraged to talk to each other, understand and consult before taking a step, without consultation that could have adverse affects on other people’s concerns/projects. And as far as I remember, you agreed and further disliked that certain ‘elders’ have taken a route which is adversely affecting the da’wah and that since we’re all together, we should be consulted. Well, it seems something happened and you pulled out of the list and disappeared; and ended up doing exactly what you disliked others for doing, namely, making decisions that did adversely affect others without any consultation. Why then expect an email from me or anyone else when you’re not bothered about consultation to begin with? Honestly, you’ve become so distant since you left the list we haven’t a clue what you’re thinking and why you’re doing what you’re doing. Why should you now expect us to consult you before complaining? Communication goes both ways.

    Anyway, out of all those who attended that meeting, you are still the only one I expect NOT to accept Ash’arism and Maturidism as two legitimate Sunni schools. (The rest of the ‘salafis’ who attended often do not have a clue what they’re talking about) And frankly, I am not interested in this new agreement. It has nothing to do with me or anyone else. It is between those who worded and signed it. But I am all for bridging the gap between the Ash’aris and the Sunnis and furthering cooperation, as I have stated numerous times. Now please do the honours and clarify to the confused people here that unity and cooperation does not mean accepting them as Sunnis. That would go a long way bridging the gaps between us, Salafis (as these gaps, too, ought to be bridged, I suppose)

  37. Avatar

    Tarannum

    September 4, 2007 at 10:40 AM

    Assalaam alaikum ,
    I have been waiting for this topic to be addressed for sooooooooo long! We live repectfully and with understanding with non-muslim but when it comes to “our own” we tend to dissect our differences so finely.
    Lets focus on Tawheed rather than fiqhy issues. Lets unite and work together and become as strong as a block. Right now we are so divided and thus weak yet a block, that if someone were to kick the foundation this block will crumble to peices.
    We don’t have to have scholars that everyone has to agree on. We have to have leaders with a foresight and Taqwa. Lets support a good cause for the goodness in it. Wouldn’t you support environmentalists/scientists of today who are working to protect the earth from global warming. This earth is you and me.
    The article Brother Amad posted is in Arabic, I am waiting for a translation, Insha’Allah.
    Jazak’Allahu Khairan

  38. Avatar

    al-Harrani

    September 4, 2007 at 1:20 PM

    Absolutely agree with brother/sister Tarannum. However, the point of contention is slightly different.

  39. Avatar

    abu falafel

    September 4, 2007 at 7:54 PM

    during the lightuponlight course taught by br. yasir qadhi, he mentioned an interesting quote by ibn taymiyah when it came to the treatment of the groups of ‘Sunni kalaam’.

    br abu zubair, what do you think of ibn taymiyah’s statement below:

    “They (i.e. Ash’aris) are the closest to the Ahl-al-Sunnah…and you will find in their statements examples of correct evidences and agreement with the Sunnah that you will not find in all other groups, because they are the closest of kalaam groups to the Ahl-al-Sunnah and the People of Hadith. And when they are compared to the Mu’tazilah or Raafidah, they can be considered a part of Ahl-al-Sunnah [in opposition to them]; in fact, in countries where people are [all] Mu’tazilah or Raafidah, they are the Ahl-al-Sunnah…”

    [Naqd al-Ta’sis, 2/87]

    isn’t ibn taymiyah calling for the Ash’aris and their likes in Sunni kalaam to be included as part of Ahl-al-Sunnah when it comes to facing a ‘common enemy’? and how is it different from what we are facing today?

    jazakAllah khair

  40. Avatar

    al-Harrani

    September 5, 2007 at 3:21 PM

    Ibn Taymiyya’s statement is very accurate:
    ““They (i.e. Ash’aris) are the closest to the Ahl-al-Sunnah”

    Meaning, they are not Ahl al-Sunnah, but are closest.

    “because they are the closest of kalaam groups to the Ahl-al-Sunnah and the People of Hadith”

    Meaning, they are a group of mutakallimun, and NOT Ahl al-Sunnah, yet they are still the closest of the mutkallimun to Ahl al-Sunnah.

    Doesn’t need explanation, really. It is quite self explanatory.

    The term ‘Ahl al-Sunnah’ is used in different senses.

    In a sense it refers to anyone who opposes the Shi’ah, including the Mu’tazila and the Jahmiyya; i.e. whoever isn’t a Shi’i is a Sunni.

    In another sense it refers to all those who adhere to the four madhabs, including the many Mu’tazilis Hanafis had in their ranks.

    In another sense, when a country only has Mu’tazila against the Shi’a, then the Mu’tazila ARE the Ahl al-Sunnah in that land. Ash’aris in that regard are no different.

    However, by default whenever we use the term ‘Ahl al-Sunnah’, we mean it in its strict context, i.e. the one sect out of 73, about which al-Saffarini spoke in his poem and said that the saved sect is none but one, i.e. Ahl al-Athar. In that sense, as Ibn Taymiyya has made clear, Ahl al-Sunnah strictly refers to those who affirm all of Allah’s attributes without negating any. So Ash’aris, Maturidis and the Mu’tazila in that regard are beyond the pale of Ahl al-Sunnah.

    Besides, I feel I have gone beyond the culture where we would satisfy/refute each other by quoting statements of scholars here and there. In that sense, I couldn’t careless even if Ibn Taymiyya said Ash’aris were Ahl al-Sunnah (which he doesn’t). We have Imams from Ahmad b. Hanbal, through to al-Sijzi, Ibn Qudama and others, even Ibn al-Jawzi, who regarded the Ash’aris to be deviants and not Ahl al-Sunnah.

    What I want to know is, why are the Mu’tazila declared as heretics, beyond the scope of Ahl al-Sunnah, whilst the Ash’aris are shown leniency and considered Sunnis, whereas BOTH believe in the creation of the Quran (without exaggerations). Why this inconsistency? If you want to convince people, do so on grounds of logic and reasoning, and not Sh fulan or allan said, and this must be it. At least for me, those days are gone. I wouldn’t give two hoots if I was shown Sh Ibn Baz’s statement. I am more interested in knowing the underlying reasoning for his words. thereafter, if I am convinced, al-hamdulillah, if not, so be it. Be I see no reason why I must toe the Saudi line and follow their agenda, or any other agendas that are being drawn up for us – without our consultation – in the West.

    Moreover, we are told that this is a coalition of the ‘traditionalist’ and the ‘salafists’ against the progressives? Let’s see, how many Salafis attended this meeting? I can only think of Yasir Qadhi. Usama Hasan and AE do not even consider themselves Salafis. Yasir may represent us in many of our beliefs and practices, but people like Usama Hasan, who did he represent in that meeting? Tariq Ramadan? Who did AE represent? The Cheadle crowd?

    So who represnted the Salafis exactly?

    Secondly, we are told it is a coalition against the progressives, yet, we have members within this coalition who support and promote some of the progressive views, such as Abd al-Hakim Murad and Usama Hasan who has made, even the hijab a subject of debate, not niqab, but hijab (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/hardtalk/6970298.stm)

    So what does coalition exactly mean? A coalition against itself?

    Is it not obviously clear to all that there is more going on than this flower-power Peace and Love bandwagon? that people are continuing to evolve and change their entire DNA structure?

    Is it too hard for us to admit the obvious to the public: ‘guys, don’t take our word for anything… we are still undergoing evolution. Come back when we’ve settled’?

    And before it is implied that I am still on the madkhali manhaj, well, here is the newsflash: I was never ever a madkhali in my life, and I am glad. Otherwise, I would too be evolving with everyone else. In fact, I am all for cooperation, love and understanding amongst not only Muslims of difference sects, groups and parties, but the Muslims and the wider public. I am all for minority fiqh. I am as much sick and tired of Saudi agenda as you guys are. But I just don’t see why must the Saudi agenda be replaced with yours?

    Lastly, I realise my posts have been very stinging, so I would like to thank the admin to allow me to post here. Only with frank and open dialogues where we all pour our hearts out, can real bonds of love and brotherhood be created.

    JK

  41. Avatar

    al-Harrani

    September 5, 2007 at 4:02 PM

    One more thing yasir,

    I remember you said in your lecture that we should refer to our own Western scholars for our issues instead of referring to scholars from the middle east who do not understand our reality.

    Where is Sh Ibn Bayyah from?

  42. Avatar

    Shariq

    September 5, 2007 at 5:43 PM

    Assalaamu alaikum.

    What does Al-Harrani mean by the “saudi agenda” ? Did shaikh bin baz have an agenda that we dont know about?

  43. Avatar

    al-Harrani

    September 5, 2007 at 6:12 PM

    What I mean by that is to impose their version of fiqh which reflects their culture and imposing it on a completely different environment, namely, our own… while most of these issues are merely subject to ijtihad. Unfortunately, many of the Salafis let the foreigners dictate their fiqh, their politics, their thoughts and pretty much everything else, whereas those foreigners, with all due respect, are not very well informed of our situation.

    This is reflected in some of the questions posed in this thread like: What do Sh so-and-so from Riyadh think about it?

    Well, who cares what he thinks about it? If you had ever lived with him and studied with him for some time, you would know he hardly knows much about his own country or what is broadcast on the national Television. And you expect him to solve your problems in the UK?

    In this respect, Yasir is right. But what I fear is that not only we are divorcing ourselves from the Saudi version of fiqh, we are also divorcing ourselves from issues that are firmly engraved in our sharia and aqida.

  44. Avatar

    Hassan

    September 5, 2007 at 7:36 PM

    I asked a very respected Sheikh in Houston, Amad bhai and Sh Yasir Qadhi know him very well, about praying behind brelvis. He said anyone who claims to be from a deviant sect, like shia, brelvi etc, we can not pray behind him, nor we can eat their slaughtered meat. Period.

    I think there is no such thing as unity with these deviants, it could be only co-operation. I know it feels and sounds nice to talk about unity and being tolerant, but how am I supposed to feel any love for such people?

  45. Avatar

    Umm Layth

    September 5, 2007 at 8:28 PM

    Ya Allah

    The other day, at a restaurant owned by a very kind shi’i brother, a story was shared of an incident that happened at his restaurant with a sunni like yourselves, who came in his restaurant and stood in the middle of the restaurant and said, ‘If you are shi’a you are kafir! I prefer to eat the meat of the Christians over yours!’

    You, Hassan, remind me of this incident. I felt disgusted after this story was mentioned.

    This man returned later on when he changed his stance and said, ‘well, my shaykh said it’s okay to treat you well because you are Muslim, sorry.’ And that makes me think that one day some of you may realize how unjust you are to other Muslims, like I one day was when I called every shi’i and sufi a kafir or deviant because of the stupidity I was brainwashed with. These ‘deviants’ were made to be the ‘bogeyman’ but subhanallah when I decided to actually be open minded, talk to them, understand why they differ, I found people far better than I could have imagined.

    It’s my advice that you do your own researching about these ‘deviants’ before you call them such. Why not try and see why they believe such, where their proofs come from, what great scholars of the past held their beliefs so that atleast you are able to walk past them and smile, without feeling all this hatred based on ego for them.

    I remember my first encounter with ‘sufis’ where I actually wanted to sit down and listen. My salafi friends came in the room and told me not to sit there because this person worshipped the graves, did this and that. Again, my rebellious part of me, decided that I needed to stay, to listen. I had heart bits of what he said before they bombarded his room with slanders. I was left in shock. I asked him if he worshipped graves like they always taught me, like these Muslims proclaimed in his room with such certainty, and everything else and his answer was NO! I learned and my heart softened. I was confused, though. But it’s an experience that has forever changed my views of people and one that I’m grateful for. May Allah forgive us for our injustice towards people, for our lies and our slanders; for talking about things we have no knowledge of and for acting like we have the keys to Jannah and Jahannam. Ameen

  46. Amad

    Amad

    September 5, 2007 at 8:32 PM

    There is a big difference between braelwis and shias …. and then there is a big difference between brelwis and deobandis. I don’t think we are talking about the shias for sure, and even the braelwi-types here because the latter corrupted many aspects of the deen.

  47. Amad

    Amad

    September 5, 2007 at 8:34 PM

    Also praying or not praying behind a Shia or a Braelwi does not imply that they are kaffirs. Make sure to clarify that before people make assumptions. I would simply not pray behind a shia because their prayers are so different from ours anyway.

  48. Avatar

    Hassan

    September 6, 2007 at 12:04 AM

    Umm Layth, after reading entirely what you wrote and how you wrote, I feel honored to have you disgusted.

  49. Avatar

    al-Harrani

    September 7, 2007 at 11:53 AM

    Hassan, there is a different of opinion on praying behind a heretic whose heresy hasn’t reached the level of kufr. But people like the Barelwis, and some elements in the so-called traditionalist movement who believe in praying to other than God, one may not pray behind them at all.

    “I think there is no such thing as unity with these deviants, it could be only co-operation”

    You raised an important point here that there is still much confusion about what essentially these terms mean. Is ‘unity’ the same as ‘cooperation’ or different? Also, although we are all promoting cooperation, no one has yet penned down the Shara’i guidelines for such cooperation, and the lack thereof can cause a lot of chaos, with people accusing each other of going too far or falling short in enough cooperation. It is all very ambiguous, which is why the general ppl like us are ought to be cautious.

    UmmLayth, I hope you realise that you are given the freedoms on a Sunni platform which you do not provide us in your own platforms. And all this talk about ‘Why not try and see why they believe such, where their proofs come from’; well, we did that on your forums and then what happened? We were accused of lying, distorting and finally banned for the reasons as stated by your own husband: ‘Though I am not an ‘Asha’ri or Maaturidi, this debate is an unfair debate in the sense that no one on this forum will be able to respond adequately to the claims of the anti-orthodox way of Harrani’

    And this is where the story ends. So much for ‘go and read their books yourselves.’ Here you go yourself, have a read this: http://aqeedah.files.wordpress.com/2006/09/bayjuri-quran-created.gif

    ‘It isn’t permissible to say that Quran is created, except in a classroom setting’ This isn’t coming from a Salafi book. This is coming from a standard Ash’ari manual on creed.

    Go and read for yourself, sure!

    And what is the point of posting that HY video link? To further prove to us that HY lies upon the Prophet – and the girl, that illiterate slave girl who was more aware of her Lord’s whereabouts than our half-witted Muslim intellectuals?

    Give us a break :)

  50. Avatar

    ...Niamah

    September 7, 2007 at 1:58 PM

    my parents/family are barelwi (i am not, im a student of sheikh yasir qadhi and alhamdulillah 4 that) however most of what they believe is due to ignorance.
    As i have been explaining to my mother and sisters about the whole tradition of going to shrines and looking up to so called sains, they stopped believing in it due to the ahadiths and quranic ayahs i provided to them..
    The point is that, most commmon people are not barelwi because they studied it and thought it to be authentic according to Quran and sunnah, rather they learned certain traditions from their parents and deemed them to be true (barelwis claim to be sunni and they think they r the most devouted group amongst sunnis, however im confident that if one takes out time and explains to them with proper adab and compassion then there is no reason why they would reject ayahs and ahadiths pointing to their deviant beliefs.

  51. Avatar

    Mahin F Islam

    September 7, 2007 at 5:46 PM

    Al-Harrani,

    I also agree w/ Sh. Yasir that the Saudi ulemaa cannot give fatawaa on many issues we face here and for us to ask them is unfair to us and unfair to them as well.

    As for Shaykh Ibn Bayyah and his credentials to give relevant fatawaa, from what I know about him he is pretty well exposed to the West and knows what is going on here which would make him qualified.

    The issue is as you mentioned, “Who is representing the Salafees?”. I even disagree that Sh. Yasir is representing the Salafees, because for one, he doesn’t refer to himself as one. How can he represent the Salafees when the people who are all about the label of ‘ad-dawatus Salafiyyah” are the same people who would not consider him to be one? Honestly, I don’t think there is a single da’ee out there who can do so…because the concept of gathering with “deviants” would get one thrown out of “Salafiyyah”. This is unless one has the backup of the kibaar ul ulemaa, which brings us back to that point and for that, at least the du’aat should have that connection with their mashaykh and do their best to explain to them what is going on here. Right now, it seems that no one is trying; things are already being blown off by the reasoning that “they don’t understand our situation” which might be true, but one has to try and give them the benefit of the doubt. The major scholars I would believe are people of wisdom and if the situation is broken down to them, why wouldn’t they give the proper advice?

    BTW akh..I for one would never mistake you for a “Madkhalee” as it is obvious you weren’t when you questioned the “Saudi agenda”. I don’t like the term “Madkhalee” either for what it’s worth.

    Umm Layth,

    I have to agree with alot of what you said. I am a Salafee and I know that much of the Salafee propaganda about the Soofees is baatil, because it doesn’t add up to what I hear from the mouths of the Soofees themselves.

    However, ulemaa from across the spectrum call to their da’wah and against those that oppose it, they call us to avoid sitting with ‘Ahlul Bi’dah’.

    “Do Not Lend Your Ear to the Innovator”- Sh. Muhammad Al-Yaqoubi (Soofee/Asharee)

    From the Salafee side, how many quotes do we have about boycotting and not sitting with the people of desires and innovation??? They are countless. It’s hard to pick one.

    As for the brother’s stance on the Shi’aa, then know that ulemaa have preceded him in this…Shaykh Saalih Al-Fowzaan (hafidhahullaah) has the opinion that the Raafidah are not from Ahlul Kitaab and that they are not Muslims, so it is not permissible to eat their meat not marry their women. He is on the Permanent Committee for Fatwa and Research in Saudi and many of the ulemaa agree with him on this.

    I have a friend who is a Deobandi student of knowledge and he refuses to give salaams to Shi’a or eat their meat; he won’t even return their salaam because he believes their asl to be of kufr.

    So while I see your point and advice to the brother based on the situation you witnessed, we cannot disregard the statements of our scholars either.

  52. Avatar

    al-Harrani

    September 7, 2007 at 6:27 PM

    Dear brother Mahin,

    I am not suggesting that we do not refer to scholars in the middle east at all. What I am saying is pretty much similar to what you said; we should not burden them with our issues when they do not understand them well. Moreover, most of the scholars from the middle east usually give their answers straight from the books. Enlightening them about our specific situation wouldn’t be beneficial either because even that depends on who informs them. On a single issue, if we wanted to, we could get two different fatwas from two different Saudi scholars, or even just one. Getting a fatwa is as easy as 123, and it doesn’t solve anything.

    Secondly, these Saudi scholars, as human beings, cannot comprehend the situation in-depth, unless and until they live our lives in the West. Remember, we are not coming from a Muslim country like Egypt or Somalia. We are coming from a minority. And any minority but a minority living in the West. Most of these grand scholars cannot even envisage the world we live in, even if they tried to.

    They cannot understand the culture where you’re supposed to make eye contact with the opposite sex, travel in a tube packed like sardines for work, or even going to Islamic lectures. So what happens? They either give you standard Haram responses; or, they begin to develop an entirely new fiqh for you where virtually everything becomes halal. (islamtoday had a fatwa implying that the headgear for kickboxing would suffice as a hijab, despite of being told that ears remain uncovered).

    With respect to Sh Ibn Bayyah, he does not even live in the West or speak the language. Putting aside the extreme views, ppl like Abu Qatada and Abu Basir are more aware of the life in West, yet even they do not speak English. Sh Ibn Bayyah’s view of the West is not his own. He cannot have his own since he neither lives here nor speaks our language. It is only what’s painted for him, and most of those who paint that image, we know who they are. So the whole fatwa system becomes a farce.

    As for the Salafis who would throw you out of Salafiyya for gathering with the deviants, well, I am not concerned about them in the least. Their existence nor inexistence in the UK does not change anything. And I don’t think we’re talking about those type of people here. We’ve been told in the Quran to cooperate upon righteousness and piety. The context of the verse is general and so it should be kept unless for a text that makes exceptions. Abandoning the deviants is not ta’abbudi. It goes with the ‘illa of rectification and maslaha. And if there is no maslaha in a person avoiding a mubtadi’, then hajr is not sanctioned.

    InshaaAllah, none of us here are extremists. We all want to know the truth without blind following anyone. But what’s important in all of this is that we talk and see where the next person is coming form. Listen to others and be heard. This is how, I believe, people come together. It is only when communication breaks down that people start to step on each others’ toes.

    ‘Tis good to talk! :)

  53. Avatar

    Abu So-and-So

    September 7, 2007 at 7:45 PM

    jazakallahu khair Abu Zubair. I’m glad someone is here to ask the right questions.

    Question. Did no one think of inviting Sh. Ja’far Shaikh Idris? If you’re looking for someone who combines Islamic knowledge with experience of the West, he’s the man, and i can’t believe his name hasn’t been mentioned.

  54. Avatar

    Hassan

    September 7, 2007 at 10:31 PM

    Salaam al-Harrani. There is a new masjid in our location that is now run by brelvis, and it happened that I missed zuhr prayer at my main masjid, so I went there to pray, even knowing they are brelvis.

    Later next day I asked the respected sheikh, if there is guidelines to whom we can not pray behind. And sheikh listed shias and brelvis. I argued saying most people are brelvis by name, he said the matter would be dealt by Allah, we should refrain from praying behind them, and eating their slaughter, because they claim to be brelvis (if they just say they are muslims, we are not supposed to investigate then). Then I said why are we treating them more harshly then even jews and christians, he said to display strong dislikeness of what they are doing. (he never labeled anyone kaafir though).

    Although I am no fan of brelvis or shias, I feel sheikh’s opinion is slightly harsh. But he is sheikh I am not.

    As far as unity is concerned, it seems its just become fashion to sound cool and show tolerance fad.

  55. Avatar

    Yus from the Nati

    September 8, 2007 at 1:00 AM

    I wonder if it has been ever suggested/in the works for one of the Kibaar or even a high student of knowledge to come and LIVE here in the West. Like 4 real one of them just come over here and post up and see what’s happening over here for an extended period of time.

    Would they answer a call such as this to come here when we’re in need or would it be one of those things where they find it’s a greater good to stay where they are and do what they do…

    Unfortunately I think that they’d be disgusted with what they’d experience here and disgusted with us maybe? and want to dip all the way back to where they came from.

    On a more serious note…I think we can’t make light of the wisdom/knowledge/experience of the Ulema no matter where they’re from. I have no doubt that there is a HUGE difference between someone READING a book about say a lower-income neighborhood vs. LIVING in a low-income neighborhood…as the two experiences are NOT the same.

    However, what do you do when you have on one side the knowledge of experience vs. knowledge of the religion. How do you reconcile it?

    I can’t see how someone SO knowledgeable in the deen can’t understand a situation if it’s layed out to them properly? I just can’t see it. I mean trying to lay out the WHOLE picture….not just a specific fatwa like “can we buy car insurance”…I’m talking about the WHOLE picture.

    Just the other day we were talking about (it’s probably paranoia) how EVERYTHING we do here has a lil bit of “haraam” in it? Our taxes funding wars, our clothes/food we buy are from child labor or evil corporations, you “die” or live miserably without insurance….but then can’t afford it at the same time…and on top of all that, the principle of insurance is wrong, secular schools, money in the banks support riba, blah blah list goes on. Now what the hell are we supposed to do. We got all this crap to deal with and a scholar can’t understand this? I can’t see it. Allah’hu’alim.

    I think we need to make more Dua…4 real 4 real.

  56. Avatar

    ExEx Blogger

    September 16, 2007 at 7:37 PM

    I’m sorry but I think I can’t agree with this type of “unity”. I think we should work together but there are people that refuse to change their beliefs. Why should we bend over for them and make concessions when they themselves refuse to learn and change? If we were to join hands with these people and youth started joing their camps and coming out as hardcore sufis, who are we to answer? Whatever man…muslim matters…you’ve kerpluncked out of my blogroll.

  57. Avatar

    ExEx Blogger

    September 16, 2007 at 7:40 PM

    For those that think I’m being “madkhali” for saying that in my previous comment…go right ahead. I aint one and I could care less if people branded me as one.

  58. Avatar

    abu ameerah

    September 16, 2007 at 9:58 PM

    @ ExEx Blogger:

    Just remember that “Teamwork makes the Dream work”!!!!! ; )

    Say that to yourself about 4 billion times and everything will be just fine…

  59. Avatar

    ExEx Blogger

    September 17, 2007 at 1:11 AM

    I am saddened that you guys left the Deobandees, Traditonalists and Shias. Why not heal the 1000 year old wound of the death of Hussain! Can we sunnis just admit that we’re sorry for what yazid did and let the healing begin?

    Maybe their contemporary scholars such as Al-Khoei and “Wa-Amma Fee-Saqeefah!” and Baqir Hakim, Ayatollah Sistaani can also shed some light on how to deal with the spiraling problem in Iraq. In fact Amad, could you invite Muqtada Sadr to your online conference next time and start the kumbaya healing process?

  60. Amad

    Amad

    September 17, 2007 at 8:19 AM

    Assalaamaikum Shaykh Chao… with all due respect, you should not allow yourself to become a one-issue entity and let your emotions get the best of you.

    There are many areas that we agree on, and others that we should agree to disagree on; so to make our blogroll-wala-wal-bara on this one is plain unfair ;)

    Furthermore, what is interesting is that we don’t even know the details of what is or was worked out, yet we are ready to jump at anyone who dares talk about moderating our dislikes for other Muslims.

    I think we should work together but there are people that refuse to change their beliefs.

    So what is it then? You can’t say we should “work together” and somehow associate it with changing “their beliefs”? Why does either party have to change its beliefs in order to “work together”.

    Finally, Abu Ameerah, on a more important note, does that mean we can’t go to eat the succulent kabobs together when I stop by Maryland next time?

  61. Avatar

    AnonyMouse

    September 17, 2007 at 1:14 PM

    Heh… Shaykh Chao, you strongly remind me of my father! I think you guys would get along pretty well :)

  62. Avatar

    ExEx Blogger

    September 17, 2007 at 1:28 PM

    @ AnonyMouse:

    If that is supposed to be comment, then Alhamdulillah, if not, you’ve mocked your father in ramadan.

  63. Avatar

    ExEx Blogger

    September 17, 2007 at 1:29 PM

    compliment*

  64. Avatar

    AnonyMouse

    September 17, 2007 at 1:32 PM

    It’s not meant mockingly at all! It’s meant as an affectionate observation…

  65. Avatar

    abu ameerah

    September 17, 2007 at 5:17 PM

    @ Amad:

    LOL ….

    Oh you just make your way to MD after Ramadan … and Kabobing we will go, inshallah!

    : )

  66. Avatar

    Hassan

    September 18, 2007 at 1:05 AM

    I have to agree with Sheikh Chao (ExEx Blogger), I used to come regularly to this blog, but not anymore. I feel muslimmatters have gone too far, and by that I mean they have no balance anymore. Yes, we should co-operate where we can, yes we can sometimes put blog posts supporting each other. But ever since its inception never once it dared to say anything that would God forbid offend anyone who just claims to be sunni. And it just does not stop it there, it seems bashing salafis is welcomed with no defence. I mean the site has become anyone but salafis site.

    This is remarkable U-turn for someone, that would call people who just follow madhab strictly, kaafir, to supporting all sort of tom dick and harrys aqeedahs. Moderation taken too far, political correctness taken too far.

  67. Amad

    Amad

    September 18, 2007 at 9:52 AM

    I hope Hassan you are ready to back up your accusations on the Day of Judgment. That’s all I’ll say to you.

    wallahualam

  68. ibnabeeomar

    ibnabeeomar

    September 18, 2007 at 10:45 AM

    who calls people who follow a madhhab a kaafir? thats quite an accusation…..

  69. Avatar

    Hassan

    September 18, 2007 at 11:34 AM

    I dare not take this matter to day of judgment, no matter how convinced or accurate my information is. Hence I apologize sincerely and openly to following:

    1. Accusing “someone” to call someone following madhab kaafir. Now I remember it was rather accusing them of shirk, but regardless, I may be dreaming, and incident may have never occurred. So I apologize sincerely for that accusation. And ramdan is month of forgiveness, and I hope the person forgives, because Allah would forgive his/her sins as well.

    2. Accusing muslimmatters of “supporting” tom dick harrys aqeedah. Since I personally know most of people I can not imagine them supporting it.

    Things I am still not comfortable with:

    1. Although I know people at muslimmatters do not support tom dick and harrys aqeedah, yet they have given (seemingly) a platform for them to speak without being corrected/refuted by their prestigious scholars on the blogs.

    2. Trying to soften themselves and blog readers towards other groups beliefs. If thats what muslimmatters want, what can I do, except to stop coming here.

    3. Only criticizing super-salafis (justifiably) yet ignoring others.

    4. The site gives impression to me of anyone but salafi site. I would understand if it was not “salafi-only” site.

    5. Unity mantra. Again I do not own the site, so muslimmatters can do what they want.

    6. (Not accusing) The attitude comes across as smugness that we are better than the person who is regular salafi (like me), because I may not be intellectual enough and tolerant enough, evolved enough etc to “understand” the non-salafis.

    I am sure muslimmatters have made many friends, but they may loose some, but who cares about them, they are not good enough because they do not agree or see eye to eye to muslimmatters.

  70. ibnabeeomar

    ibnabeeomar

    September 18, 2007 at 12:11 PM

    ive refrained from responding to a lot of these comments, especially since it’s ramadan, but let’s clarify a few things,

    1. MM has never claimed to be a ‘salafi’ only site, nor will you find this in any of our posts.

    as our about page states:

    This site is dedicated to issues relating to Muslims and Islam: Social, political and religious. Random rants and light humor. We are especially concerned with affairs of Muslims in the West. We challenge ourselves and our readers to engage in discourses that touch our lives as citizens of the West, While maintaining our individual Islamic identities; Ultimately to cooperate, but not to compromise.

    that is our M.O.

    2. please go back and reread the posts and comments. no one is legitimizing any deviant aqeedah or anything like that. more importantly no one has been given a ‘platform’ to spread anything that has been alleged. as shaykh yasir mentioned, “[it] is about a code of disagreement (adab al-ikhtilaf) and not about legitimizing any one theology over another.”

    3. the qur’an says “cooperate one another upon birr and taqwa, and do not cooperate upon ithm and ‘udwaan”

    shaykh bin baz (rh) mentioned it was ok to cooperate with other groups on acts of righteousness. [see this book]

    would anyone consider it not allowed, for example, to cooperate with non-muslims in building shelters for abused women, or feeding the homeless, or any other such activities?

    similarly, would you not consider it ok to cooperate with other muslims (perhaps even of different groups) if it means bringing muslims out of a progressive/secular mindset? or step back from that – how about cooperating to save the youth from being non-practicing, or from reaching out to the muslims who aren’t even praying (which by the way is the MAJORITY in this country)?

    3. MM is by no means some kind of george bush style “you are with us or against us” our point here is to serve, again as stated, a discussion point. i dont think anything from MM has come across like that, and i think its an unfair accusation.

    we can post about and evaluate the issues affecting muslim life in the west, and different viewpoints are given on here. many times there are disagreements, but for the most part alhamdulillah they are carried out with proper adab.

    4. unity is a HUGE issue in the west. it doesnt take much to step back and evaluate the situation we are in to realize that muslims HERE need to get together and come up with a common vision of what to do for the future.

    is it not possible to do that despite having some differences on some issues?

    5. none of this is meant to be “smug” or condescending. the issue is not whether or not you are salafi, you are free to follow whatever you like. the main issue of the unity post as has been stated is to evaluate our priorities and start tacking our bigger, common problems. maybe inshallah after that is fixed, we can move on to the other issues. this is not to say that the issues you may have with other groups are unimportant or anything like that – in fact id probably agree with the objections you had to most other groups – but the point is to evaluate PRIORITIES and see which issues need to take precedence.

    after all, isn’t it better (esp in the west) to be sufi/ashari/tableeghi than be non-practicing?

  71. Amad

    Amad

    September 18, 2007 at 12:30 PM

    salam…
    The last point Omar made needs to be thought out carefully and unemotionally. And the flip of this should be contemplated by the “other side”.

    If you really honestly think it through, the answer is obvious. And you only have to consider the fact that in Houston, which claims 200,000 Muslims, there is only place to pray for maybe 20,000 or 30,000 if we were overly generous? For Jumuah prayers! At Eid, you get what 30,000 in all the areas combined. Think about it again. Where are all the Muslims?

    Just yesterday, I was reading a letter that came from a young sister who was begging for help because her mother is involved in online rendezvous with different men. Do you think she really cares if her mother has the right Aqeedah? I know, I know that this is not exactly what we are talking about. It is just a small example of how many problems our community is facing, not to mention our civil rights imbroglio.

    Just contemplate… that’s all we are asking.

  72. Avatar

    Hassan

    September 18, 2007 at 12:39 PM

    My comments may not be totally related to this post, so you can move it to “about” or any other.

    And kindly do not patronize me, I know difference between unity and co-operation. And I am fully aware of the need of “co-operation” with anyone, even non-muslims.

    “1. MM has never claimed to be a ’salafi’ only site, nor will you find this in any of our posts.”

    And I have understood this very well, read my points 3-4 above. You may try to defend it, and say its false accusation, it may be certainly not your niyyah, but I am telling you as a reader this is what the site leaves impression. Its not “fair and balanced”. Wassalam.

  73. Avatar

    Hassan

    September 18, 2007 at 12:44 PM

    Imam Muhammad bin Abdul Wahhab was asked from his students, why you spend all this time on tawheed, can we move on to something else.

    One day, he said in so and so village, man fornicated with his mother, and all students were shocked and disgusted and was thinking of doing something about this. He then said, yet you guys show no disgust when people commit shirk and put tawakul on trees. That is why I spend time on tawheed to make you feel disgusted with shirk more than you feel disgusted with man fornicating with his mother.

  74. Amad

    Amad

    September 18, 2007 at 12:47 PM

    On your point#3… remember blacks can criticize blacks more easily than whites. It is easier to clean out your own house than someone else’s.

  75. Avatar

    Hassan

    September 18, 2007 at 12:51 PM

    Why not criticize all muslims? Muslimmatters is a muslim website, not salafi site???

  76. Avatar

    AnonyMouse

    September 18, 2007 at 12:54 PM

    As-salaamu ‘alaikum wa rahmatullaahi wa barakaatu,

    I must say that I feel quite saddened by these claims against MM, which I truly feel are inaccurate and untrue.
    I’ve mostly kept out of this discussion and the entire topic in general because I don’t consider it totally relevant to where I am right now (a very, VERY small city).

    To me, the entire point of this post was unity and cooperation in physical matters without compromise of our ‘aqeedah. But, not compromising our ‘aqeedah doesn’t mean to stand around arguing about it all day with those whom we (might) consider deviants/misguided, or holding away from offering them aid and support in certain matters (like the case Amad mentioned).

    Rather, it means pooling together our resources – financial and otherwise – to work for a stronger community overall. I think we all know – or should know – how so many members of the Muslim community are lax, non-practicing, have fallen into sins such as alcoholism and zina. What are we going to do about it? Sit around debating the finer points of ‘aqeedah (and no, this is NOT to belittle the ‘aqeedah of Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jama’ah, not at all), or to reach out to these people and do what we can to help them?

    It doesn’t mean that all of a sudden we start teaching the ‘aqeedah of the Shi’a, or any other sects, in our masaajid; we will hold firm to what we know is the truth, but this should not stop us from working with them in other things such as, for example, trying to help out Muslim drug addicts or providing financial aid to the miskeen or finding ways to bring the youth (and even elders) back to Islam.

    On second thought, maybe the post *was* relevant to me and my situation: The community in my city is so small that we welcome anyone who comes to the masjid regardless of what they call themselves (shi’a, deobandi, whatever) because most people here aren’t very practicing anyway.

    We open all our programs to them, and offer the same services to them that we offer anyone else in the community.Yet, we don’t stop teaching the ‘aqeedah of Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jama’ah, we don’t stop pointing out that such-and-such a belief is totally contrary to the Qur’an and Sunnah, etc.
    So, we’re *not* compromising on Tawheed, we’re *not* staying silent about shirk. It’s just that, everything has a time and place of it’s own.
    On one hand, we keep firm to our ‘aqeedah and we keep teaching the Truth and don’t back down on it; on the other hand, when the time comes to cooperate/ unite on certain projects, then we certainly will.

    This was my understanding of unity and cooperation, and if I’m wrong, please correct me.

    (And if I’m just repeating things here, please feel free to tell me to delete this comment, as I don’t want to take up unneccessary space.)

  77. Avatar

    AnonyMouse

    September 18, 2007 at 12:57 PM

    Brother Hassan, I’m also very sorry that you find the attitude of MM writers to be “smug” and “patronizing” – because I’m sure, and Allah knows best, that it’s something that was definitely not intended.

    Perhaps you could point out an example of where exactly we come off as smug and patronizing, so that we can see where we went ‘wrong’ and improve/ correct ourselves on that?
    (Here, I speak for myself – the other writers are of course free to decide to change their tone/ wording or not.)

  78. Amad

    Amad

    September 18, 2007 at 12:57 PM

    well-said sister.

    Hassan, we are going in circles now. If you didn’t get what I meant in my last comment then I can’t explain it better…

    wallahualam… may Allah make it easy for all of us.

  79. Avatar

    Hassan

    September 18, 2007 at 1:11 PM

    And if you guys sincerely do not get what I am saying then I cant explain it better either. The site is muslimmatters not salafimatters, we should not have any guilt to handle any issue openly about muslims and deviances among them. We should not target salafis to correct themselves only, we should target muslims. And as I said, it may be the niyyah of the bloggers of muslimmatters, but due to themselves being salafis, it seems in their subconscious not to offend anyone other or say or raise any issue that may stop non-salafis coming here. As I said, this is my perception, based on following this blog for months.

    Sister AnonyMouse, I find it condescending to be repeatedly told what unity and co-operation means. Thanks.

  80. Amad

    Amad

    September 18, 2007 at 2:13 PM

    Hassan you continue to make an assumption about “themselves being salafis”… the group of writers on MM consists of 13 individuals, so you cannot speak for all of them.

  81. Avatar

    ExEx Blogger

    September 18, 2007 at 3:36 PM

    @ Amad: Birds of Feather Flock Together.

    Working together for non-Islamic issues are okay. But working together to solve “islamic-issue” will definately affect us all. It’s this “pan-unity” poison that will make us like ikhwaanees. The Ikhwaanees are masters of this type of work. They said, we work with what is good and leave that is bad. They got poisoned by this because all the ranks of the innovators joined and tarnished their dawah.

    At the same time, how could there be any sort of guidance and renewal and healing when the people of innovation do not use the Quran and Sunnah as a means of guidance?

    The Prophet (PBUH) said, “And the best of guidance is the guidance of Muhammad”. Are these innovators seeking a way of guidance through that of the sunnah? By what means and what type of guidance are you seeking to unify with them? I agree that working with them does not necessitate changing/agreeing with their beliefs, BUT can you guarantee the masses that reads this blog and beg to sideline themselves theologically with them after finding you guys working with them? I guess we differ on the means on how to work with these groups. :)

    Also, the idea of healing is the same. Allah tells us that he sent this Quran down as a form of healing. The Quran is the way of healing. But when people deny outright from the attributes of Allah that Allah’s hand is power, by what means are they going to heal? Are they going to pick and chose of they use to heal and revive or choose to take all?

    @ Ibnabeeomar: Thanks for the reminder about the ayah, but remember Wallahu Alam that the verse is saying that we should cooperate in the good (enjoining the good), and not get together to (enjoining the evil). No where does it imply that you should work with innovators for the good which in my humble view might have adverse ramifications on the followers in the future.

    Wallahu Alam.

  82. Avatar

    Mahin F Islam

    September 18, 2007 at 4:14 PM

    Logically..I agree for the most part with Amad/Omar/Anonymouse on issues that the Muslims aren’t even praying and whatnot.

    However, Br. AbdulRahman raises some major points that we cannot ignore either. Adherence to the proper creed is something that cannot be put on the backburner under the guise of “the Ummah is not praying etc”.

    There should be a mechanism to clarify baatil vs haqq in the light of unity. We cannot like AbdulRahman said be like the Ikhwaanees and water down our da’wah by ignoring deviance. For example there are certain famous speakers that provide very beneficial talks which can bring a non-practicing Muslim into practice yet they may have certain tenets of faith that go against the mainstream Ahlul Sunnaah wal Jamaah. I don’t have a problem perhaps recommending such speakers but at least a disclaimer that there “may be issues” be made.

    What gets me is that we may be on a slippery slope; is it going to stop at unity between Salafees and Traditionalists? If so, then that’s fine. But when I see speakers at ISNA talking about unifying with the Raafidhah Shi’aa and Qadiyanis..we’ve got a major problem. The question is: “Are we working with any standards as to what extent we’ll allow unity?”. I believe that unity between Deobandis/Asharees/Salafees can work…and that is where I disagree with Br. AbdulRahman. But I think that’s where the buck stops.

    I would ask Br. AbdulRahman if possible as he is a recent grad of Jamiatul Madeenah to maybe call some of the mashaykh and consult them on this issue. In my gut, as much as I hate to admit it have problems digesting that the senior ulemaa…alive and recently passed would approve of the unity that we are talking about here(between Salafees and Asharees).

  83. Amad

    Amad

    September 18, 2007 at 5:29 PM

    Is it me alone or do others find it amusing that we are picking holes in something that we haven’t yet seen any official documentation of.

    So, let’s see what the offer is and conversely what is at stake before we take it apart. Furthermore, I disagree that the ulema sitting in Saudi will have all the solutions to our problems in the West. Perspective is an important element that even great scholars suffer when and if they do not possess that personal element. Wallahualam.

  84. Avatar

    AnonyMouse

    September 18, 2007 at 5:36 PM

    Quick clarification of my view:

    I don’t think that we should be unifying with the Shi’a/ Qadhiyanis (those who know and practice their own religion as opposed to simply being an ignorant follower) on Islamic issues, because obviously our ‘Aqeeda is quite different from theirs.

    From what I understood, this whole unity thing wasn’t about deciding to agree on ‘aqeeda issues, but about working together on community issues.
    I guess I misunderstood… in which case, consider me withdrawn from the circle of this discussion.

  85. Avatar

    Mahin F Islam

    September 18, 2007 at 5:49 PM

    Good point Amad…I just noticed that little clause in the article about a ‘soon to be released’ document outlying the proposal. LOL..my bad..84 posts for nothing then I guess.

  86. Avatar

    Mahin F Islam

    September 18, 2007 at 5:53 PM

    @ AnonyMouse. I for one do not believe that you or anyone else on MM would accept Shia/Qadianis. My point was that there are speakers out there suggesting that we all hold hands with them..when I have a hard time believing that the speakers themselves do not believe the Shia/Qadianis to be heretics. Thus, my fear is that unless there is some standard..we will slide down that slippery slope.

    PS my comment about “84 posts for nothing” was out of jest..many posts were beneficial..just felt I had to clarify.

  87. Avatar

    AnonyMouse

    September 18, 2007 at 5:53 PM

    May Allah forgive us all for any words that we’ve spoken heedlessly, without knowledge or benefit, ameen.

  88. Avatar

    inexplicabletimelessness

    September 18, 2007 at 7:12 PM

    Ameen.

  89. Avatar

    Umm Layth

    September 19, 2007 at 1:58 AM

    The shi’a are our brothers. May Allah make their Ramadan a blessed one. Ameen.

  90. Amad

    Amad

    September 19, 2007 at 8:43 AM

    Probably not a good idea to put the Qadiyanis and the Shias in one basket. The Qadiyanis are not Muslims and in fact most of the times they work against the interests of Muslims. They are the followers of the Dajjal, the liar Mirza Ghulam.

    On the other hand, we believe that the Shia masses (according to the majority Sunni scholars) are indeed Muslims.

    On the unity question, I agree, that there are such huge fundamental and basic level differences that it is a non-starter. No doubt, we can cooperate with them in the good and wherever our Islamic principles are in unison.

  91. Avatar

    ExEx Blogger

    September 19, 2007 at 10:33 AM

    @ Umm Layth:

    “The shi’a are our brothers. May Allah make their Ramadan a blessed one. Ameen.”

    If the shia are our brothers, then the Hindus, Buddhists, Jains, Confucianists, Taoists, Falung Gong, Sikhs, Bahais, Wiccans, Satanists, Scientologists, Gnostics, Babists, Rastafarianists, Sabians, Zoroastrians, Shintoists, Jews & Christians are our dear brothers.

  92. Avatar

    ExEx Blogger

    September 19, 2007 at 10:41 AM

    @ Amad:

    “On the other hand, we believe that the Shia masses (according to the majority Sunni scholars) are indeed Muslims.”

    According to Mashaayikh, the masses of Shia are not Muslims but we don’t specify anyone in particular.

    **Removed Text**

    No need for personal comments inshallah… its Ramadan, let’s be as kind as possible, esp. with those we disagree with- MM**

  93. Amad

    Amad

    September 19, 2007 at 11:54 AM

    Chao sahib, with all due respect, I am not sure which Mashaaykh you are referring to, but that is not what I understood. wallahualam.

  94. Avatar

    ExEx Blogger

    September 19, 2007 at 12:42 PM

    Lajnaa Ad-Daaim Fatawaa

    ولأن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم قاتل رؤساء المشركين وأتباعهم، وكذلك فعل أصحابه ولم يفرقوا بين السادة والأتباع.
    وبالله التوفيق، وصلى الله على نبينا محمد وآله وصحبه وسلم

    http://www.alukah.net/Fatawa/FatwaDetails.aspx?CategoryID=53&FatwaID=1804

    Exerpt from the question:

    What is the ruling of the Shia 12vers their scholars and their followers:

    Because the Prophet fought the leaders of the mushrikeen and their followers. His companions didn’t differentiate between the leaders of shirk and its followers.

  95. Avatar

    Mahin F Islam

    September 19, 2007 at 12:57 PM

    If I may add, there is a specific fatwaa from Shaykh Saalih Al-Fowzaan(who’s on the Permanent Committee for Fatwa and Research) saying that it is not permissible to eat the meat of the Shi’a because they are not Muslims and they are not Ahlul Kitaab. The shaykh also mentions that it is not permissible for men to marry their women based upon the same logic.

    Such understanding is not restricted to the Salafee ulemaa..you find this with the Deobandees as well to the point that they will not return the salaams of the average Shi’a in Dearborn. (I did..and my friend who is a Deobandi student of knowledge reprimanded me for it) He also will not eat their meat.

  96. Avatar

    AnonyMouse

    September 19, 2007 at 1:01 PM

    I must admit that I’m a bit confuzzled here…

    My dad says that we consider the Shi’a masses – those who are relatively ignorant and don’t know much about their own beliefs – to be technically within the fold of Islam, but we neither eat their meat, marry amongst them, or reply their salaam fully (we just say “wa ‘alaikum”).

  97. Avatar

    Mahin F Islam

    September 19, 2007 at 1:03 PM

    @Amad…I agree that the Qadianis are worse than the Shi’a.

    However, since the da’wah of the Sunnis(in the most general broad term) is stronger than the Shi’a in the West; there is no need whatsoever to compromise and work with them. On a practical level, there are enough Sunni groups out there doing good worthwhile projects that we can jump in with; there is no need to join with the Shi’a. Of course, if the Shi’a want to participate in such projects, then they can do so. I don’t think we should even entertain the idea of reaching out to them though.

  98. Avatar

    Mahin F Islam

    September 19, 2007 at 1:12 PM

    @Anonymouse…

    Your dad’s position makes perfect sense. Yeah, your average Shi’a doesn’t know jack and so you can’t make takfeer on specific individuals (especially since they consider themselves Muslims). But because their aqeedah(which the laymen Shi’a is ignorant of) is straight up kufr, then we shouldn’t delve into their meat, marriage and whatnot. It makes sense to me, but I’m not sure if I explained it right.

    As for returning the salaams..I read a fatwa from Shaykh Naasir(Al-Albaanee) where he deduced that it is permissible to return the salaams of the Jews and the Christians. See http://bakkah.net/articles/salaamstojews.htm

    Wallaahu alam.

  99. ibnabeeomar

    ibnabeeomar

    September 19, 2007 at 1:34 PM

    anonymouse – thats a good answer mashallah.

  100. Avatar

    Umm Layth

    September 19, 2007 at 4:21 PM

    What, from the beliefs of the shi’a, makes their beliefs kufr al-akbar? No copy and pastes, please.

  101. Avatar

    AnonyMouse

    September 19, 2007 at 4:27 PM

    Amongst others – calling upon Ali, Hassan, and Hussein (radhiAllahu anhum) instead of directly to Allah. This, I know because of a woman who accepted Islam, who came from a Shi’a family and told us of their common practices.

  102. Avatar

    Umm Layth

    September 19, 2007 at 4:57 PM

    How do they call on them?

  103. Avatar

    AnonyMouse

    September 19, 2007 at 5:02 PM

    By saying “Yaa Ali/ Hassan/ Hussein, grant me such-and-such, or protect so-and-so, etc.”

    Basically, making du’aa to them the way Catholics call upon their saints.

  104. Avatar

    ExEx Blogger

    September 19, 2007 at 5:33 PM

    The shias believe generally that their scholars are closer to God than Gabriel Muhammad and know knowledge of the unseen. You can find this in their books: Bahrul Anwaar etc.

  105. Avatar

    Ahmad AlFarsi

    September 19, 2007 at 6:11 PM

    I read an excerpt from an introductory Shia book in English that says that they believe that their 12 imams have knowledge of everything, past, present, and future, and that every atom in the universe submits to their will.

    That is kufr in both Ruboobiyyah and Asmaa’i wa asSifaat. AnonyMouse mentioned their kufr in Uloohiyyah. There should be no doubt about the kufr of the official Shii doctrine, even though the lay-people of the shias may be ignorant of it.

  106. Amad

    Amad

    September 19, 2007 at 6:26 PM

    salam…. this answer was sent to me by one of MM’s shaykhs, and I believe it is the most balanced:

    http://www.islamtoday.com/show_detail_section.cfm?q_id=274&main_cat_id=37

    Also, I found the answer that I was looking for concerning the bohras or the bohris sect. They are definitely not Muslims and here is the text of fatwa on them:

    http://www.islamtoday.com/show_detail_section.cfm?q_id=275&main_cat_id=37

    The Bohras are an Ismâ`îlî sect from the Bâtiniyyah (those who believe in hidden doctrines). They pretend to be from the Shî`ah, but in actuality they are involved in philosophic apostasy with respect to Allah’s names and attributes.

    They reinterpret the pillars of the religion based on hidden doctrines with interpretations that they do not publicly disclose. They interpret certain texts to symbolically indicate specific people who are given divinity in their belief, such as `Ali and the hidden Ismâ`îlî imam.

    They believe in the existence of an infallible imam.

    They conceal their beliefs when they fear something.

    They believe in reincarnation which is a dangerous and old heresy.

    They do not pray in the mosques of the Muslims except on occasions when they fear negative repercussions from other people for their not doing so.

    The select among them have a different creed than that of the general community of their adherents. These select totally deny the teaching of Islam. They accept licentiousness and atheism. They deify the human intellect.

    These people are not Muslims, they are enemies of Islam and they conduct themselves in Muslim societies as hypocrites.

    The majority of them are in India now. They are derived from an Ismâ`îlî sect that used to exist in Yemen and southern Arabia.

  107. Avatar

    al-Harrani

    September 19, 2007 at 11:40 PM

    as-salaamu ‘alaikum,

    I would like to remind us all once again that my comments were entirely in response to AE’s comment posted here, his latter comments, and the mixed messages people have been getting from this post, i.e. that Ash’aris and Maturidis are within the fold of ahl al-Sunnah wal-jama’ah. I was not at all concerned about this pact that was signed. I haven’t a clue as to what it contains and frankly I am not even bothered.

    My only concern is the message that people have been getting, and as it has been explicitly stated by some that Ash’aris and Maturidis are Sunnis.

    Looking at this thread alone shows how much confusion this whole issue has caused. Mainly because no one here seems to have any legal maxims as to the whole issue of cooperation. Those who are leading the show should be the ones participating more in this thread and clarifying for the people all the necessary maxims surrounding this issue. It is their responsibility since they started it all.

    For instance, someone here suggested that it is OK to cooperate with Ash’aris and Maturidis, but not with the Shi’as. What is the Shara’i basis for this when Allah commands us to cooperate with all on righteousness? If we can cooperate with Socialists and the liberals, why cannot we cooperate with even Qadiyanis if it means cooperating upon righteousness and no greater harm resulting from it? What are our dawabit? Do we even have any?

    Unless of course, if you mean by ‘cooperation’, more than just cooperation, so as to include the Ash’aris and Maturidis and exclude everyone else. So what do we exactly mean when we say cooperation?

    Besides, there are other issues I raised that have been sidelined in this discussion:

    a) Is this coalition really that of the Salafis+Sufis against the progressives? If this is the case, why are people like Usama Hasan and Abd al-Hakim Murad (he is a hardcore neocon kabbanite) on it?

    b) More than 50% of the mosques in the UK are controlled by the Deobandis who have recently come under attack. The people who signed that contract hardly have any role to play in the UK. The deobandis seem to be completely absent from the whole drama. Why don’t we extend our hands of friendship towards the deobandis when they need us?

    c) HTs are as deviants as Ash’aris, and to their credit, they have been at the forefront of defending the political aspects of Islam, and hence the government+ media are on their case. Why aren’t we also signing agreements with them when they need us? Instead, we are suggesting that they should be disbanded. It seems, it isn’t even about friendship with Ash’aris as a genre, but only the happy-clappy and wishy-washy ones amongst the Ash’aris.

    d) I have stated numerous times that I am all for cooperation with everyone under the sun. However, the only thing I am worried about is the mixed messages that people are getting here. And all it would take is for brother Yasir to say: ‘Sorry, we’ve been misunderstood. Ash’aris and Maturidis ARE heretics, however, our remit here is merely to cooperate upon what Islam considers good.’ This is all it will take to clear up the confusion, but even this has proven to be so difficult to utter.

    On a side note, I remember in 2005 (or was it 2004?) when we all spoke at a conference organised in Manchester by AE, Yasir gave a lecture on Unity. The lecture was along the lines of ‘Unity, but based on what? Based on tawheed and sunnah, etc…’ the usual salafi stuff.

    After the lecture I approached him and said: ‘well, that was a good lecture generally, but I found it too ‘salafi’ in approach. You should have mentioned that unity aside, we can, and should still cooperate with those we differ with.’ At that point Yasir laughed for labelling his lecture ‘too salafi’, since he didn’t find the ‘salafi’ bit as a compliment, although he did agree with my point and said that he simply didn’t have time to discuss that aspect.

    Well, the irony of the incident aside, the point here is that I was and still am all for cooperation with the entire human race, irrespective of their creed, colour or sex.

    The *only* thing I am concerned about here is the reluctance to call the Ash’aris ‘deviants’ which is resulting in people receiving mixed messages about the whole thing.

  108. Avatar

    ExEx Blogger

    September 20, 2007 at 12:33 AM

    @ Amad:

    Well, I think I’d like to stay with the Lajana Daaimah (permanent committee for fatwaa) which consists of the great kibaar ulama of saudi arabia as opposed to others that “you view” as balanced. Wallahu Alam

  109. Amad

    Amad

    September 20, 2007 at 8:10 AM

    salam Sh. Chao… I made it clear that it was the view sent to me by a Shaykh, not from my own personal “ijtihad”.

    As a humble advice, may I suggest that you try hold back on some of your sarcasm, which appears supercilious at times… it does not do justice to the knowledge that Allah has blessed you with.

  110. AbdulHasib

    AbdulHasib

    September 20, 2007 at 10:12 AM

    Ramadan.. wa maa adraka ma Ramadan?

    Ramadan. What will make you know what Ramadan is?

    Taqwa – Qur’an – Fasting.

    Who remembers the hadith of
    Ka’ab Ibn Ujrah (radyAllahu anh)?

    The one who HEARD the Prophet salAllahu ‘alaihee wa sallam saying Ameen to the Du’a of Jibreel ‘alayhissalaam.

    “Destruction to him who found the blessed month of Ramdhan and let it pass by without gaining forgiveness”

    Ya ayyuhal insaanu ma gharaka bi Rubbil Kareem?
    O mankind, what has deceived you concerning your Lord, the Most Generous?

    The big shayateen may be chained. But maybe the many small ones are working hard to deceive us.. socialist shayateen. But who is there to work together to benefit each other in this month?

    Allahul Musta’an..

    WAllahu ‘Alam

  111. Avatar

    ExEx Blogger

    September 20, 2007 at 11:52 AM

    I apologize. I would assume this is the culmination of my frustration towards this Unity Posting.

  112. Avatar

    ExEx Blogger

    September 20, 2007 at 4:52 PM

    @ Amad:

    “and I believe it is the most balanced”

    I’m sorry that I misunderstood you…

  113. Avatar

    al-Harrani

    September 20, 2007 at 6:02 PM

    Dear all,

    remember that this discussion is not about us vs. them. There is no debate going on here, and there is no reason to make sarcy comments about each other. Last time I checked we are still one and not different camps. May Allah keep us that way. All we are doing is trying to understand where we are coming from and in that spirit, we should avoid at all costs, throwing accusations at each other or exaggerating facts. Otherwise, the discussion becomes fruitless and we get side-tracked from issues that are central to the discussion.

  114. Avatar

    ExEx Blogger

    September 20, 2007 at 8:13 PM

    May Allah forgive us all!

    Amad, if you come to TDC, are you in the mood for succulent kabobs? :)

  115. Avatar

    Yus from the Nati

    September 20, 2007 at 11:12 PM

    It might be beneficial to now close these comments. Or delete this post? I think we’re all shooting in the dark of hypothetical situations and don’t even know what’s going on exactly.

    We should maybe wait till the “what if” arrives, then get the ruling for it insha’Allah.

  116. Pingback: muslimmatters.org » Pledge of Mutual Respect and Cooperation

  117. Avatar

    What do you expect

    October 10, 2007 at 3:15 AM

    Ibn Mas’ud said “nothing can be gained from thorny trees except thorn.”

    What do you expect, Yasser Qadhi translated from Salman Oudah on Islam Channel!

  118. Amad

    Amad

    October 10, 2007 at 5:17 PM

    “What do you expect”… thanks for reminding us Yasir’s great service… I am sure it was his honor and would be an honor for anyone to translate for this great man, Shaykh Salman Oudah, whose tree has yielded more fruits for the Ummah than many of today’s scholars can even dream of.

  119. Pingback: The Pledge of Mutual Respect and Cooperation « MT.Akbar

  120. Avatar

    Abd- Allah

    May 28, 2009 at 3:20 PM

    These empty “seeds of unity” will not grow into anything!

    What are we uniting on? or are we uniting for the sake of being united?

    Yes, unity is important, however, we should unite on the truth and not on falsehood.

    Anyone who “unites” with the sufis and accepts what they have of innovations and shirk is just as bad as they are.

  121. Pingback: Cohesiveness within Sunni Islam - GupShup Forums

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#Islam

Identity Scholarship: Ideological Assabiya And Double Standards

The Prophet helped the Arabs overcome their asabiya (tribalism) and enter a new defining bond of Islam. The criterion for right and wrong was no longer clan membership, but rooted in the religion of Islam. Muslims were instructed to defend the truth, command good, and forbid evil regardless of tribal affiliation. Asabiya does not just relate to kin-based tribes.  One of the resurging traces of jahilya affecting our discourse is ideological tribalism. In ideological tribalism, we hold double standards between our tribe and other tribes, and overlook fallacies in our group that we would not for other groups. Just as we protect an idea that represents our identity, when a personality reflects our group identity, there is a personal reason to defend the personality. It then becomes instinctual then to double-down in discussions even when wrong to show group strength, which at this point is a survival mechanism and not a true dialectic. Abandoning a quest for truth and succumbing to an in-group vs. out-group dichotomy leaves us to defend falsehood and dislike truth. Refusing to accept truth is one way the Prophet described arrogance. 

Group belonging

One of the main drivers of identity scholarship is group belonging. When we focus on defending our group rather than principles which extend beyond group delineations we prove false our claims of wanting the truth.  The burden of moral responsibility is not offset by finding someone to follow [1]. Charismatic leaders have an ability to tap into latent desires of individuals and awaken in them the desire to be part of something greater than themselves. Their own identities are often validated by following the charismatic figure, and they then work hard to preserve the group as they would to preserve their own selves.

According to Ann Ruth Willner, charismatic authority “derives from the capacity of a particular person to arouse and maintain belief in himself or herself as the source of legitimacy. Willner says that the charismatic leadership relationship has four characteristics:

  1. The leader is perceived by the followers as somehow superhuman.
  2. The followers blindly believe the leader’s statements.
  3. The followers unconditionally comply with the leader’s directives for action.
  4. The followers give the leader unqualified emotional commitment.
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Charismatic leadership satisfies our desire to be part of something bigger, and paradoxically, to hand all power over to someone else can make us feel more powerful because we think that person is the best version of ourselves. We feel that we have gained ‘agency by proxy.’ We have also dumped all responsibility for decisions onto the leader- what Erich Fromm, the scholar of Nazism, called an ‘escape from freedom.’ When we are in a charismatic leadership relationship, our sense of self-worth attaches attached to the identity of the leader, so that we take personally any criticism of that leader, and have as much difficulty admitting flaws or errors on the leader’s parts as we do on our own. Because we see the leader as us, and we see us as good, we simply can’t believe that he or she might do bad things” (59) [2].

Charismatic leadership is emotional and works on desires. This type of leadership has no relation to truth. It exists and persists due to feelings, hence contradictions, double-standards, and outright hypocrisy aren’t issues for those in the relationship. Even when the leader confidently behaves irresponsibly, followers do not think less of him. What is inconsistent and irresponsible for an out-group observer is charming to members of the in-group.

As Miller points out: 

Followers don’t expect charismatic leaders to be responsible for what they say, nor to behave responsibly; their irresponsible behavior is part of their power. Their use of hyperbole and tendency to be unfiltered in speech are taken to signify their passionate commitment to the in-group (60).

Such loyalty is not specific for charismatic leaders, The Minimal Group Paradigm shows that we have more empathy for our in-group even if that in-group is arbitrarily assigned, and we will act biased in their favor against an arbitrarily assigned out-group. This is a tendency against which we must actively fight to maintain clarity in thinking and fair standards in discussions. When group loyalty is prized there is a fear of opposing the group, which obliterates any chance of scholarly discourse. Questioning a position becomes akin to questioning authority and leaves the questioner ostracized and out-casted. When the out-group is pejoratively labeled, there is an additional fear of thinking like or ending up in that group. 

Identity scholarship

Rather than looking at the argument constructed and judging whether or not it is sound, identity scholarship approves or dismisses arguments based on the person making them. Arguments are then validated by personalities and not standards of scholarship.  This is a dangerous shift from reasoning and evidence to personalities. 

Identity scholarship leverages the need to belong and centers the personality over the argument. However, focusing on the strength of arguments and not the personality is especially important given that the term ‘scholar’ or ‘shaykh’ is applied to vocationally trained Muslims, seminal graduates, preachers, or to those who display a scholarly caliber in Islam alike. This is a sufficient crisis. The term is heavily equivocated, and should never serve to stand in place of standards of scholarship in discourse. 

Ambiguity in the term ‘scholar’ or ‘shaykh’ is exploited by groups to strengthen their influence. Not always pernicious, this is the natural progression of proselytizing via group identity. An in-group who will dismiss dissenting voices for not having studied long enough, not obtaining ijazas, will promote voices of similar or less educated Muslims when those voices are in their ‘in-group.’ Titles like ‘ustadh’ and ‘ustadha’ are quickly conferred upon those who are volunteers or proponents of the ‘in-group’ even with minimal study. Advocating for the correct paradigm is rewarded more than a knowledge based approach to issues. Giving titles to those with social capital in your in-group is also an effective way for brand expansion. For example, loosely affiliated students with avenues into the growing Muslim mental health field are often referred to as ‘ustadha.’  Also, traditionalists will often promote in-group religious figures engaging in no-risk activism like condemning already popularly condemned figures as exemplary ‘scholars and activists’ who should be followed by other activists.  

If a person has been doing this long enough they become ‘shaykh,’ and then eventually a ‘senior scholar’ with assumed wisdom and spiritual insight, worthy of deference. I am well acquainted with the unfortunate irony in traditional circles where those who push a manhaj of studying at the feet of scholars have by and large not done so beyond attending general lectures by visiting scholars.  Many do not even know Arabic, but their zeal and tenure of feel good lectures in a community primarily interested in nasheeds and tea coupled with their promoting the right figures secure for them a scholarly status by generations who venerate the theory of studying at the feet of scholars. 

Thus authority and titles are conferred by virtue of in-group allegiance. 

Slip into demagoguery

When we accept an in-group and out-group dichotomy and don’t argue fairly, we lay the foundation for demagogic discourse. As Patricia Mill-Roberts writes “If people decide to see things as a zero-sum game- the more they succeed, the more we lose, and we should rage about any call made against us, and cheer any call made against them- then democracy loses” (13). The best way to avoid this is by maintaining fair discussions and letting go of double standards. Arguments appealing to in-group or out-group positions rather than being based in fact should not be accepted regardless of which group they are coming from. Several tactics used in these types of arguments are described below. 

Creating a strawman

Falsely representing the out-group is a common tactic in demagogic discourse. One example is portraying out-group critics as only critics. The critic is frozen in time as someone who has accomplished nothing, helped no one, and as only one who sees the faults in others. The in-group then goes on to list what they have accomplished -‘albeit with some faults’- to not seem as braggarts, but insists that those faults are magnified by the arm-chair critics. 

Another example is labeling Muslims more concerned with academic preservation and development as Muslims in ivory towers. This suggests knowledge is only relevant if immediately actionable and discounts the role of theoretical knowledge in both present and future action as well as an intrinsic end.  

Even when it comes to the epitome of practical action, Allah tells the Muslims to not all go out in battle, but to have groups remain behind to study.

Condescending discrediting

One way demagoguery characterizes the out-group is by a “dithering, wavering, impaired masculinity, and weakness…”(66).  Just as Rudy Giuliani dismissed those protesting Trump’s 2016 win as “professional protestors” with nothing else to do in life, so do we dismiss dissenting voices. 

Terms like ‘keyboard warrior’ should be dropped from the vernacular of anyone who uses the internet for Islamic education. If the internet is good enough for theatrical Ramadan reminders and choreographed Islamic reflections, it should also be good enough for dissent and valid critiques.[3] We have to embrace the fact that the internet is not a pretend medium; social media posts are used in newsfeeds, are reacted to on the mimbar, and even prompt live events. If we dismiss valid criticisms made online as the act of ‘keyboard warriors’ we should also call those giving dawah online ‘studio daa’is.’  

Discrediting due to inexperience

Experience is an important element in answering questions and dealing with different scenarios, and, should rightly be considered when one is looking for a teacher, etc. However, frequently, the standards for what constitutes experience are used inconsistently. The same individuals who refer to young teachers as ‘shaykh’ or ‘mufti’ while in their in-group, dismiss ‘shaykhs’ and ‘muftis’ in the out-group of similar age and experience, arguing that a person can’t be a ‘real’ mufti because studying 7 years doesn’t make anyone a scholar. Graduating from a seminary or Islamic university will be the standard for members of an in-group to be called scholars, but the out-group will be ‘immature graduates’ who have not learned wisdom.  Wisdom itself will be defined as the avoidance of actions which challenge the in-group. Likewise an activist saying the right thing and echoing in-group talking points will be called ‘ustadh,’ but if from the ‘out-group’ dismissed as a Godless- activist’ that just hates hierarchy. 

Victimization and Victimology

Demagoguery thrives on the in-group being victimized by the out-group. It is common for religious figures to dismiss valid criticism as nothing but hate, envy, or ignorance [4]. When criticized by activists, it is common to label them as ‘anti-clerical’ activists who only have an issue with Islamic leaders because they are neo-Marxists. 

‘Neo-Marxist’ is used as a catch-all term to discredit those who disagree with the positions of some religious leaders to insinuate the disagreements are rooted in hate for hierarchy or authority thus being illegitimate. Even conservative and practicing Muslims are labeled as ‘leftists’ and ‘Godless activists’ for simple critiques. In Sufi groups, disagreeing with leadership is often said to be the result of being spiritually veiled, or the work of ‘dark forces’ and ‘shayateen’ dividing us. If we can agree that black-magic and evil-eye are real but should not be the first culprit in a failing marriage, let’s also look for practical failures when religious organizations break down before we start blaming the ‘shayateen.’  

On one hand the in-group claims they are victims, on the other they blame the out-group for having a victim mentality.  This may seem like an obvious contradiction, but as Miller explains,  

If condemnation of out-group behavior is performed by a very likable persona, then onlookers are likely to conclude that the rhetor would never engage in the behavior she or he is condemning. This maneuver is especially effective with people who believe that you can know what someone believes by listening to what values he or she claims to espouse, and with people who think you can predict behavior by listening to values talk (who believe that ‘good people- that is, people who say the right things- don’t do ‘bad’ things) (56) 

Another tactic is using terms like ‘victomology’ to belittle legitimate grievances of being wronged and falsely representing those grievances as an attitude of being a victim in life.

Being oppressed (mazlum) does not require living a tough life, being a victim in life, or being part of an oppressed group. We are told by the Prophet that delaying a payment owed while being capable of paying is oppression (Muslim). When our God given rights are transgressed upon, we are mazlum in that situation. It is not uncommon however to see Muslims want to claim their rights and express they have been wronged to be dismissed as those who love to be victims. Ironically, this is even done by organizations that describe themselves with the leftist concept of ‘safe spaces.’  

Disregarding Nuance

“Demagoguery is comfortable because it says the world is very simple, and made up of good people (us) and bad people (them)” (24). 

We must understand that if someone does not see an issue as black or white, it’s not because they are obviously corrupt, willfully ignorant, or stupid.  The word nuance itself triggers cynicism and is treated as an excuse to employ mental gymnastics to deny what is ‘obvious.’  The fact of the matter is when it comes to khilafi issues there is generally a vast scope of acceptable actions, and when it comes personal ijtihaadi matters for policy there is often no clear-cut best answer. Thus in such matters the objective is to come to a best resolution or course of action. In short, we should all take appropriate measures in our decisions to ensure the benefit outweighs the harm. Certain positions are cautioned against due to the likelihood of harm to one’s religion, but that likelihood may not serve as evidence that one has harmed his religion. As the great scholar Muhammad Awama relates in Ma’laam Irshadiya, the way of the scholars is to leave people in what they are following as long as it is correct and has a valid legal perspective [5]

Scholarly discourse

Advice from recognized experts in a field carries weight, but it should not be conflated with a scholarly argument. A common mistake is to confer authority upon an opinion outside the area of one’s authority. Scholarly works must prove themselves to be scholarly as stand-alone works. Even if a great scholar has published many scholarly works, his advice should be taken as advice. For example, Imam al-Ghazali was a great scholar, but Dear Beloved Son is not a scholarly work.  We have a malfoozaat (wisdom-sharing) tradition that is precious, but we must know where to place it in the hierarchy of Islamic knowledge. 

Islamic scholarly discourse should be evidence based, demonstrative of legal proficiency, and cater to Islamic concerns. Those engaging should share the evidence for what they say, the sources of the rulings they share, the difference between the reason for a ruling and the wisdom of a ruling [6], understand contextual fatwas,[7] and understand which rulings are based on urf and which rulings are intrinsic obligations or prohibitions. These are just some elements of Islamic scholarly discourse, and it cannot exist alongside identity scholarship. 

There should be private forums with prerequisites where scholarly discourse can take place. When these discussions move outside of their proper place other issues such as discussing weak or aberrant (shadh) fiqh opinions arise, which to an undiscriminating audience all will seem co-valid on the spectrum of differing opinions in sharia. Promoting aberrant positions caters to our cultural preferences of thinking outside the box and carries the façade of an intellectual approach to Islam. In Maharam al-Lisaan (Prohibitions of the Tongue) Muhammad Mawlud lists both mentioning the conflict between the Sahabah, and mentioning aberrant opinions as prohibitions.  This is not due to the utterance being sinful, but rather to the misconceptions it can lead to for the average Muslim if not properly addressed.  

There may be a need to dismiss open innovators and those spreading misguidance, because there is no end to the possibilities of innovation and it obfuscates what should be self-evident, and can be very difficult for even scholars to refute in ways that resonate with those affected by innovation. The double standard as previously mentioned is when lack of formal credentials is only a problem for out-groups. 

How to have productive discourse

Islamic historical discourse has its share of polemics. There are commentaries, fatwas and treatises which insult valid ijtihad and even refer to the entirety of a madhab with epithets. Some scholars were harsh and had a penchant for polemics. Transgressions into mockery and slander were not condoned, and belligerent attitudes were something scholars sought to check with reminders of adab al-ikhtilaf (the etiquettes of disagreement). While the previously mentioned certainly existed and such an approach may serve to strengthen positions of the in-group to the in-group, it does not make for productive dialogue with the out-group.

Outside of scholarly discourse, when we debate policy and Islamic positions, we need to have sincere, fact based arguments with the goal of arriving at truth. Our ability to accept truth no matter who says it shows we have transcended in-group vs. out-group tribalism and have entered the realm of sincere discourse.  Overcoming in-group tribalism and following the truth, rather than blindly following our ‘fathers’ is a central message in the Quran. 

And when it is said to them, “Follow what Allah has revealed,” they say, “Rather, we will follow that which we found our fathers doing.” Even though their fathers understood nothing, nor were they guided?  2:170 

Arguments on points should never be personal. We should train ourselves to evaluate arguments and understand that people we like can make mistakes, and people we dislike and generally disagree with may be right on certain matters. 

Don’t take cheap shots if you disagree with someone, such as pointing out a typo to insinuate incompetence. 

It’s important to leave double-standards, and to point them out when someone is employing them.  When one side is unfair or uses double standards, it encourages the opposition to act in kind, and the discussion devolves into a fight. When disagreeing with someone, never insult that person.  When a personality is attacked, the response will be defending the personality, and the entire discussion is derailed. 

Sharing a post, or article should not be seen as endorsing an individual or a post. Sometimes it’s a means of opening a discussion, other times to share beneficial points even if the entirety of what is shared is not beneficial. Furthermore, endorsing an individual in one area is not a blanket endorsement, and should never be taken as such.  The Hanafi tradition was able to benefit from legal fatwas while not accepting theology of Mu’tazilite scholars. Likewise, many of our best tafseers are from Mu’tazilite scholars. The widely studied and highly regarded Tafseer al-Baydawi is basically a reworked Mu’tazilite tafseer without the Mu’tazilite aqidah. Scholars have been able to ‘take the good and leave the harm.’ 

“I don’t think you could search America, sir, and find two men who agree on everything.” – Malcolm X

We need to uplift our intellectual level and drop disclaimers like “I don’t agree with everything in this article” or “I don’t agree with everything he said.”  It is only worth stating when you do agree with everything someone says or does.  The common disclaimers should be taken as givens and we shouldn’t capitulate to a cultural push of walking on egg-shells so no one accuses us of supporting the wrong person or idea. 

It is critical we operate under the assumption that sharing a panel with or working with an individual is not an endorsement of that individual. Likewise, working with an organization is not an endorsement of that organization. Such associations are attacked as potentially confusing to the average Muslim, but we must work towards establishing that such actions are not support. 

Here we see an ambivalent conceptualization of the ‘average Muslim’ as someone who both deserves transparency from religious scholars for their actions as well as one who is easily confused or misled by the actions of Muslim scholars. If we can accept both propositions, that a scholar’s actions are not proof, and that working with someone and sharing posts and platforms do not equate support for every particular view or stance of a person, we may set the foundation for being issue focused rather than personality focused. 

In conclusion, it is important we all hold ourselves to high standards of discourse and not support behavior or fallacies from our in-group that we would deride from an out-group. The groups themselves are inevitable and not a problem, but we have to work to overcome the natural ideological tribalism that accompanies group membership.  If we personally transcend in-group bias and reflect it in our discourse, we can overcome the pettiness and hypocrisy that stifles productive discussions. 

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Dawah and Interfaith

10 Lessons I Learned While Serving Those in Need

charity

I have spent about a decade serving the impoverished domestically and recently, abroad. I don’t work for a major charity organization, I work for my community, through grassroots efforts. It was something embedded in me while learning Islam. Before starting a charity organization, I started studying Islam with Dr. Hatem Alhaj (my mentor) and various other scholars. The more I studied, the more I wanted to implement what I was learning. What my community needed at the time was intensive charity work, as it was neglected entirely by our community. From that, I collected 10 lessons from servicing those in need. 

1. My bubble burst

One of the first things I experienced was the bursting of my bubble, a sense of realization. I, like many others, was unaware of the hardship in my own community. Yes, we know the hadith and see the events unfold on the news and social media, but when a father of three cried before me because a bag of groceries was made available for him to take home, that moment changed me. We tend to forget how little it takes, to make a huge difference in someone’s life. This experience, made me understand the following hadith of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him): “Every Muslim has to give in charity.” The people then asked: “(But what) if someone has nothing to give, what should he do?” The Prophet replied: “He should work with his hands and benefit himself and also give in charity (from what he earns).” The people further asked: “If he cannot find even that?” He replied: “He should help the needy, who appeal for help.” Then the people asked: “If he cannot do (even) that?” The Prophet said finally: “Then he should perform good deeds and keep away from evil deeds, and that will be regarded as charitable deeds.” – Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 2, Hadith 524. I

t is simply an obligation, due to the amount of good it generates after you do this one action. I then realized even more how beautiful Islam is for commanding this deed. 

2. Friendships were developed on good deeds

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Serving the poor is a great reward in itself. The Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said: “Save yourself from hellfire by giving even half a date-fruit in charity.” – Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 2, Hadith 498. But it is better done with a team, I began building a team of people with similar objectives in serving the needy. These people later became some of my closest friends, who better to keep close to you than one that serves Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) by helping the neediest in the same community you reside in. Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said: “A person is likely to follow the faith of his friend, so look whom you befriend.” [reported by Abu Dawood & Tirmidhee] This is turn kept me on the right path of pleasing Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He). Working with a team removes a lot of the burden as well and the depression that might occur seeing the saddest stories on a daily basis. Allah says in the Qur’ān, “Indeed the believers are brothers.” (49:10). Sometimes there is a misconception that you have to have a huge office or a large masjid in order to get work done. But honestly, all you need is a dedicated group of people with the right intention and things take off from there. 

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: 'If you love the poor and bring them near you. . .God will bring you near Him on the Day of Resurrection.' - Al-Tirmidhi,Click To Tweet

3. Made me thankful

This made me thankful for whatever I had, serving the less fortunate reminded me daily to turn to Allah and ask for forgiveness and so be thankful. This kind of service also puts things into perspective. What is truly important in life? I stepped further and further away from a materialistic lifestyle and allowed me to value things that can’t be valued by money. I learned this from the poorest of people in my community, who strived daily for their family regardless of their situation — parents who did what they can to shield their children from their harsh reality. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: “If you love the poor and bring them near you. . .God will bring you near Him on the Day of Resurrection.” – Al-Tirmidhi, Hadith 1376. They had a quality about them, despite their poverty status. They were always some of the kindest people I have known. 

dardir

4. People want to do Good

I learned that people want to do good; they want to improve their community and society. I began to see the impact on a communal level, people were being more engaged. We were the only Muslim group helping indiscriminately in our county. Even the people we helped, gave back by volunteering at our food pantry. We have schools where small kids (under adult supervision) partake in preparing meals for the needy, local masajids, churches, and temples, high school kids from public schools, and college organizations (Muslim and nonMuslim) visit frequently from several cities in neighboring counties, cities, and states. The good spreads a lot easier and faster than evil. People want to do good, we just need more opportunities for them to join in. United we can rock this world.

“We need more light about each other. Light creates understanding, understanding creates love, love creates patience, and patience creates unity.” Malcolm X. Click To Tweet

5. Smiles

Smiles, I have seen the wealthiest smiles on the poorest people. Despite being on the brink of homelessness, when I saw them they had the best smile on their faces. This wasn’t all of them, but then I would smile back and that changed the environment we were in. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: “Charity is prescribed for each descendant of Adam every day the sun rises.” He was then asked: “From what do we give charity every day?” The Prophet answered: “The doors of goodness are many…enjoining good, forbidding evil, removing harm from the road, listening to the deaf, leading the blind, guiding one to the object of his need, hurrying with the strength of one’s legs to one in sorrow who is asking for help, and supporting the feeble with the strength of one’s arms–all of these are charity prescribed for you.” He also said: “Your smile for your brother is charity.” – Fiqh-us-Sunnah, Volume 3, Number 98. Smiles are truly universal.

6. It’s ok to cry

It was narrated that Abu Hurayrah raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allah said: “A man who weeps for fear of Allah will not enter Hell until the milk goes back into the udder, and dust produced (when fighting) for the sake of Allah and the smoke of Hell will never coexist.” Narrated by al-Tirmidhi and al-Nasaa’i. There are situations you see that hit you hard; they fill your heart with emotions, but that never swayed my concrete belief in Allah’s wisdom. Crying before Allah, not just out of fear, but to be thankful for His Mercy upon you is a relief.

7. Learning to say no

It was one of the hardest things I had to do, a lot (if not all) of the requests I received for help were extremely reasonable. I do not think anyone asked for anything outrageous. Our organization started becoming the go-to organization in our area for help, but we are one organization, with limited resources, and a few times we were restricted on when or how we could help. This is where learning to say no became a learned skill. Wedid do our best to follow up with a plan or an alternative resource.

8. It is part of raising a family and finding yourself

How so? Being involved in your community doesn’t take away from raising your family, it is part of it. I can’t watch and do nothing and expect my children to be heroes. I have to lead by example. Helping others is good for my family’s health. Many people living in our country are consumed with their busy lives. Running out the door, getting to work, driving the kids to their after school activities, spending weekends taking care of their families, etc. So people have a fear of investing hours in doing this type of work. But in reality, this work puts more blessings in your time.

One may feel they are taking time away from their family, but in reality, when one comes back home, they find more peace in their home then they left it with. By helping others, I improve the health and culture of my community, this in turn positively impacts my family.

I enjoy being a softie with my family and friends. I am a tall bearded man, and that image suited me better. I am not sure what made me softer, having kids or serving the poor. Either way, it was rewarding and defined my role and purpose in my community.

I learned that you make your own situation. You can be a spectator, or you can get in there and do the best you can to help. It gave me an opportunity to be a role model for my own children, to show them the benefit of doing good and helping when you can.

It came with a lot of humility. Soon after starting I realized that all I am is a facilitator, Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) is giving an opportunity of a lifetime to do this work, a line of work very little people get to engage in regularly. My advice to my readers, if you can serve the poor do so immediately before you get occupied or busy with life.

Helping others is good for my family’s health.Click To Tweet

9. Dawah through action

As I mentioned before I did spend time studying, and at one point developed one of the top dawah initiatives in the country (according to IERA). But the reality is, helping the less fortunate is my type of dawah, people started to associate our food pantry and helping others with Islam. As an organization with one of the most diverse groups of volunteers, people from various religious backgrounds found the environment comfortable and hospitable. I began working with people I never would have worked before if I had stuck to traditional dawah, studying, or masjid involvement, all of which are critical. This became a symbol of Islam in our community, and while serving, we became those that embodied the Quran and Sunnah. For a lot of those we served, we were the first Muslims they encountered, and Alhamdulilah for the team we have. Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) also says in the Quran: “So by mercy from Allah, [O Muhammad], you were lenient with them. And if you had been rude [in speech] and harsh in heart, they would have disbanded from about you” (3:159). It is our actions that can turn people away or towards Islam.

10. Once you serve the needy, you do this for life

I wasn’t volunteering on occasion,— this was an unpaid job that was done regularly. I got requests and calls for emergencies daily at times. It took up hours upon hours every week. As a charity worker, I developed experience and insight in this field. I learned that this was one of the best ways I could serve Allah [swt. “They ask you (O Muhammad) what they should spend in charity. Say: ‘Whatever you spend with a good heart, give it to parents, relatives, orphans, the helpless, and travelers in need. Whatever good you do, God is aware of it.'” – The Holy Quran, 2:215

I believe the work I do with the countless people that do the same is the best work that can be done in our current political climate and globalization. My views and thoughts have evolved over the years seeing situations develop to what they are today. This gave me a comprehensive outlook on our needs as a society and allowed me to venture off and meet people top in their fields like in social activism, environmentalism, labor, etc.

I want to end with three sectors in society that Muslims prosper in and three that Muslims can improve on. We strive on individual education (noncommunal), distributing and organizing charity, and more recently being politically engaged. What we need to improve on is our environmental awareness, working with and understanding unions and labor rights, and organizing anti-war movements. 

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#Islam

Swallowing Your Pride For A Moment Is Harder Than Praying All Night | Imam Omar Suleiman

Iblees was no ordinary worshipper. He worshipped Allah for thousands of years with thousands of prayers. He ascended the ranks until he accompanied the angels with his noteworthy worship. Performing good deeds was no issue for him. He thanked Allah with his prayers, and Allah rewarded him with a lofty station in Paradise. But when Adam was created and given the station that he was, suddenly Iblees was overcome by pride. He couldn’t bear to see this new creation occupy the place that he did. And as he was commanded to prostrate to him, his pride would overcome him and doom him for eternity. Alas, swallowing his pride for one prostration of respect to Adam was more difficult to him than thousands of prostrations of worship to Allah.

In that is a cautionary lesson for us especially in moments of intense worship. When we exert ourselves in worship, we eventually start to enjoy it and seek peace in it. But sometimes we become deluded by that worship. We may define our religiosity exclusively in accordance with it, become self-righteous as a result of it, and abuse people we deem lesser in the name of it. The worst case scenario of this is what the Prophet (peace be upon him) said about one who comes on the day of judgment with all of their prayers, fasting, and charity only to have it all taken away because of an abusive tongue.

But what makes Iblees’s struggle so relevant to ours? The point of worship is to humble you to your Creator and set your affairs right with His creation in accordance with that humility. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said that whoever has an atom’s worth of pride in their heart would not enter paradise. The most obvious manifestation of that pride is rejecting the truth and belittling someone else. But other subtle manifestations of that pride include the refusal to leave off argumentation, abandon grudges, and humble yourself to the creation in pursuit of the pleasure of the Creator.

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Yaqeen

Hence a person would rather spend several Ramadan’s observing the last 10 nights in intense prayer seeking forgiveness for their sins from Allah, rather then humble themselves for a moment to one of Allah’s servants by seeking forgiveness for their transgressions against him, even if they too have a claim.

Jumah is our weekly Eid, and Monday’s and Thursday’s are our weekly semblances of Ramadan as the Prophet (s) used to fast them since our deeds are presented to Allah on those days. He said about them, “The doors of Heaven are opened every Monday and Thursday, and Allah pardons in these days every individual servant who is not a polytheist, except those who have enmity between them; Allah Says: ‘Delay them until they reconcile with each other”

In Ramadan, the doors of Heaven are opened throughout the month and the deeds ascend to Allah. But imagine if every day as your fasting, Quran recitation, etc. is presented to Allah this month, He responds to the angels to delay your pardon until you reconcile with your brother. Ramadan is the best opportunity to write that email or text message to that lost family member or friend and say “it’s not worth it to lose Allah’s forgiveness over this” and “IM SORRY.”

Compare these two statements:

The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said: “He who boycotts his brother for more than three days and dies during this period will be from the people of hellfire.”

He also said:

“I guarantee a house in the suburbs of Paradise for one who leaves arguments even if he is right.”

Swallowing your pride is bitter, while prayer is sweet. Your ego is more precious to you than your sleep. But above all, Allah’s pleasure is more precious than it all.

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