Note on Moderation:
Strict moderation will be in place for this post, I will mod your comment if:
1) You defend or promote violence against civilians (including South park guys or anyone like that– this isn’t CNN!).
2) You defend or promote the revolution guys.
3) You cut and paste tons of ahadith and verses trying to prove that its OK to use violence. I am not censoring the texts, but your contextual use of them.
4) Push some radical “scholar’s” view that it is okay to use violence for Muslims in the West.
South Park Episode & Censorship of Mohammed’s (S) Depiction: The Script Played to Perfection
Ever since the South Park episode issue arose and this non-event became a big story, I have been itching to write something. This itch arises from a combination of disappointment and frustration, with a tinge of amusement at how the same old script is successful every time!
Here is how this script goes:
1) Some despairing soul (could be plural, but sticking to singular for this script)- let’s call him Party-I (I for instigator), who has very little purposeful happening in his life, decides to write something disparaging about Islam or Muslims for one or more of the following reasons:
(a) spice up his “human rights” credentials (maybe a desire for some legacy?); this reason is almost always never the sole or real motivating force
(b) earn lots of dough ($$) in the process; almost always the “real” reason
(c) earn some fame; goes back to (b) in some ways.
2) Party-I then makes sure his attempt at establishing “freedom of speech” is well-publicized. He will go at great lengths at how afraid he is for his life, or how he feels that this is a “mission written for him”, or how he wants to stand up for the other “brave souls” who similarly stood for “freedom of speech.” Party-I will include a lot of hot-button phrases in his speeches/interviews, lamenting the lack of freedom Islam provides or how he shouldn’t need to feel afraid for writing whatever he wishes. The purpose is to gain sympathy of everyday Americans, using the easy Islam scapegoat. Party-I will almost NEVER touch topics such as Holocaust denial or other subjects that can get one arrested in some parts of the “free West.” Some speech is more free than others? The reason for this is obvious. Such topics will never get #3 flowing, and hence are not be desirable for the ultimate goal outlined in #1.
3) Some media outlet, usually FOX, but sometimes one or two from the “liberal” mainstream will pick the story up and look for angles to sensationalize it (sensationalism is important otherwise it won’t help with the ratings-think $$ again). Let’s call this outlet Party-M (M for media). Party-M then goes on a frenzied search for someone from the Muslim circles to say something that endorses the “mission” of Party-I, directly or indirectly. Party-M needs someone who will make a threat (veiled or otherwise), will invoke a previous threat or simply disagree “strongly” with Party-I’s attempt at mocking what Muslims hold dear.
4) If Party-M is lucky, they will happen to land on Party-W (W for wacko). Party-W usually represents some fringe Muslim element, a one-man show or a little bigger. Party-W usually has no physical links to scholars of the mainstream, or really any foundation of Islamic knowledge. Sometimes Party-W is actually working for Party-I (indirectly), an agent provocateur of sort, whose specific goals would be to delegitimize Islam in the garb of a “practicing” and “Muslim-looking” Muslim. Either way, Party-W would make himself fully available to the media, and ultimately do (intentionally or otherwise) exactly what both Party-M and by proxy, Party-I were hoping for, and bang:
5) With Party-W in the wraps, Party-M finds “Islamic experts” (code for Islamophobes) who then exploit Party-W’s exhortations to his fellow Muslims against Party-I, to assert how they have been warning everyone for so long about the threat of “Islamism.” Of course, to maintain the script, Party-M never even tries to contact a mainstream Islamic organization.
- Party-I gets media attention, which equals $$.
- Party-M gets a loud-mouthed Party-W, and gets the ratings, equals $$.
- Party-W, despite having no Islamic expertise (except that gained with Shaykh Google), finds himself on TV (yoohoo), popularity and depending on the type of agency, perhaps some $$ as well.
- Islamophobes relish in increasing Islamophobia
And Who Fails:
- The Muslims. The opinions about Muslims. The views about Muslims.
- And the media, having sacrificed quality and responsibility for ratings.
- And Muslim organizations, for not jumping on the issue faster than lightening (considering the script)
- And the West, allowing for some freedoms (of speech) to be more sacred than others.
Coming back to South Park, having provided you the script, consider the three players in this: CNN, South Park (creators) and RevolutionMuslim. I will let you figure out what Party is which… shouldn’t be that hard!
Starting with the South Park creators, having taken a look at these guys, it is obvious that these junkies are not really looking at this as an opportunity to become ambassadors of human rights. I mean they are creators of a show that is intended to be dumb and highlight the dumb. They get their kicks by offending other people. They find it very satisfying to step on what others hold dear or sacred. What this obviously means is that these despairing souls probably don’t have much that they themselves hold dear, and thus it’s the “if I can’t get it, then I’ll make fun of yours.” Dumb? Didn’t I just say that! But the point is that they live in America. This country gives them the freedom to be dumb and to say dumb things. For them, a successful script is a guaranteed jackpot, so why not?
What is unfortunate this time is that it wasn’t FOX that jumped on this non-story, rather it was Anderson “I-am-really-serious-and-the-burden-of-the-world’s-human-freedoms-is-on-me” Cooper, whose Anderson-360 was reduced to a mere 180, or maybe only a right-angle (that’s 90 degrees for those not mathematically-inclined). Watch the video, witness how grand Cooper makes the issue sound; you could be excused for thinking that another Katrina just hit New Orleans! And then he leans over what he probably thinks is a real cool touch-screen and flashes different screens, so that we can admire CNN’s technological brilliance. But Anderson shames his own journalistic standards, relying on a “radical Muslim,” completely on the fringe to basically represent the entire Muslim community. To “balance” it, he interviews Ayaan Hirsi, the discredited Islamophobe, who claims that Islam cannot be criticized these days? If Islam can not be criticized, it would not have become the only “acceptable” cottage industry to thrive on racism and prejudice.
And who is Cooper’s radical (#4 of the script)? Some radical jihadist with thousands of armed followers, some extremist with a million unarmed followers, someone respected (even if disagreed with) in the wider Muslim community? Not quite. Our radical is none other than Yousef al-Khattab (officially Joseph Cohen) whose only claim to fame is a website with the “scary” name, “Revolution Muslim,” leading an army of four individuals. Brilliant mate! Mr. Khattab’s background is interesting, to say the least. He claims to be an ex-extremist Jewish settler and ex-Zionist. Only Allah knows the secrets of the heart, so I will not venture to guess Khattab’s allegiances (although some are not hesitating), but I will say that he could do a lot more good doing dawah to his Zionist family and friends, than to turn away countless people away from Islam due to his vitriolic speeches.
Two men do not an organization make and so far, there is no more evidence that these hateful nutcases are any more representative of any broader stream–or even a really narrow one –within “their” community than, say, the infamous and equally odious Westboro Baptist Church, whose handful of congregants are known for traveling the land to picket at high profile events with outrageously homophobic and anti-Semitic signs (e.g., “AIDS cures fags.”). Both “groups” are minuscule and repudiated by their fellows, and both would be unknown were it not for the media attention they’ve gotten
In the old days of publishing, the incoherent rants of kooks and nobodies like the dim duo behind MuslimRevolution.com [which appears to have been pulled off the web] would end up where they belong, in a trash barrel with all the other waste produced by modern society.
If Muslims would stop feeding Party-W to the media, we wouldn’t be talking about this. Party-I/B would not be able to profit off Muslim sensibilities and/or kooks. The insulting misrepresentations or mockery Party-I wanted to propagate would suffer a sudden death-blow. When no one cares, no one will care. And we have seen the history be witness to it.
In fact, South Park already characterized the Prophet (S) 9 years ago and until this recent ruckus, you and countless others would probably have never heard or remembered that episode. In other words, our methodology in channeling our anger in fact helps promote what we don’t want promoted. Think of the countless chain emails we get, reminding Muslims not to visit such and such a site for its materials against Islam. Countless Muslims actually click on it, check it out, and then pass it 10 other friends!
How do we channel our anger properly? More than a year ago, we promoted an alternative treatment, the “Silent Treatment” towards the republishing of the Danish Cartoons:
Seriously, what has any of the above done for us? No matter what we say and do, the enemies of Islam will continue to try and provoke our anger and – more importantly – try to push us to do something that will harm us far more than it will harm them. It’s also imperative to note that their pathetic attempts at mocking and insulting the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) are absolutely useless: like throwing dust in the direction of the moon. The dust will be swept away, and the moon’s beauty and guiding light will not be affected in the least. [Read the full article here]
Married couples know that the worst thing that your partner can do during a fight is to stay silent. I believe there is some application of the same psychology in this case. It will make the instigators appear as fools, when no Muslims takes them up on their “mission.” And so this may actually help prevent a repetition in the future. As minorities living in a countries whose laws we have to stay within, our goal should be to break the script, to say what needs to be said, forcefully and politely. And sometimes, as in this case, not to say anything at all. Or consider other strategic options. Perhaps use interfaith opportunities to express disappointment over the depiction of all Prophets, like Moses and Jesus, peace be upon them, a sensibility shared by other faiths.
Ultimately, we have to remember how the media makes its money. It is all about advertising products. The more attention we give these idiots, the more attention we give to the advertisers, and the more money the outlets will make.
So, if you really want to hurt them where it counts, ignore them. Next time, it won’t be profitable to repeat!
Think long-term strategy over short-term emotional release.
As far as the Islamic ruling around the issue of defaming the Prophet (S), many scholars have discussed this in the context of an Islamic state (like on Islam-QA). Islam pays a great deal of attention on individual actors not taking state matters in their own hands in an Islamic state. We can argue and discuss the rulings around blasphemy in an Islamic state, but that discussion is irrelevant to the issue at hand. No respectable scholar residing in the East, with any sort of mainstream following, has urged Muslims in the West to take the law in their own hands, and to resort to violence. Similarly, the fact that NOT ONE mainstream scholar in the West has ever encouraged or approved of violence by Muslims in this issue, is sufficient to prove that any other opinion is a fringe, marginalized view with no place in the mainstream public sphere.
Do You Know Why Uzma Was Killed?
#JusticeForUzma is a campaign that highlights the many terrible ways household help is treated in places around the world. Here, Fatima Asad writes about how she is raising her children to be the change they want to see in their society.
Last week, Pakistani society was struggling with the story of the horrific murder of Uzma, a teenager, who worked as a house maid in the city of Lahore. The 16-year-old was allegedly tortured for months and then murdered by the woman she worked for…for taking a bite from the daughter’s plate. #JusticeForUzma is a campaign that highlights the many terrible ways household help is treated in places around the world. Here, Fatima Asad writes about how she is raising her children to be the change they want to see in their society.
By Fatima Asad
Living in Pakistan, my children realize that within the gates of our neighborhood, they will see no littering, they will not experience water or electricity shortages and certainly, no one will be knocking on the door begging for food or money. The reason they have this realization is because I make it the day’s mission to let them know about their privilege, about the ways they have been blessed in comparison to the other, very real, living, breathing little girls and boys outside those gates. Alas, my children come face to face with those very real people as soon as the gates close behind us.
“Why are there so many poor people in Pakistan, Mommy?” they ask, quite regularly now, unsatisfied with the answers I’ve provided so far. The question perpetually makes me nervous, uncomfortable, and I hastily make a lesson plan in my mind to gradually expose this world’s truths to them… ahista, ahista…(slow and steady).
But on days like these, when we find out about the death of yet another underprivilged young girl (they’re becoming redundant, aren’t they?), on days like these, I want to hold them, shake them, scream at them to wake up!
Wake up, my child! Beta jaag jao.
Do you know why that little girl we see outside, always has dirt on her face and her hair is in visible knots?
It is because, there are too many people who can take a shower anytime they want, who have maids to oil, brush and style their hair.
Do you know why there are children with no clothes on their backs?
It is because, there are too many of us with too many on ours. There are too many of us with walk-in closets for mothers and matching wardrobes for their infant daughters. We obsess about tailors, brands, this collection, last season. How often do we hear or say “can’t repeat that one”, “this one is just not my thing anymore…”
Do you know why there are children with their cheeks sunk deep in their skulls, scraping for our leftovers in our trashcans?
Because there are too many of us, who are overstuffed with biryani, burgers, food deliveries, dinner parties, chai get-togethers, themed birthday cupcakes, and bursting appetites for more, more, more, and different, different, different.
There are too many of us craving the exotic and the western, hoping to impress the next guest that comes to lunch with our useless knowledge of foods that should not be our pride, like lasagna, nuggets, cinnamon rolls, banana bread, pizza, minestrone soup, etc.
There are too many of us who do not want to partake from our outdated, simple traditional cuisines… that is, unless we can put a “cool” twist on them.
Do you know why there are children begging on the streets with their parents? Because there are too many of us driving in luxury cars to our favorite staycation spots, rolling up the windows in the beggars’ faces.
We are rather spent our money of watching the latest movies for family nights, handing out cash allowances to our own kids so they won’t feel left out when going out.
Do you know why there are mothers working during the days and sacrificing their nights sewing clothes for meager coins? Why there are fathers, who sacrifice their sleep and energy to guard empty mansions at the cost of their self-respect? Because there are too many of us attending dance rehearsals for weddings of the friends we backstab and envy. Because there are too many of us binge-watching the latest hot shows on Netflix, hosting ghazal nights to pay tribute to dead musicians and our never-ending devotion for them, and many more of us viciously shaking our heads when the political analyst on TV delivers a breaking report on a millionaire’s private assets.
Do you know why there are people who will never hold a book in their hands or learn to write their own names? Do you know why there will never be proof that some people lived, breathed, smiled, or cried? Because there are too many of us who are given the best education money can buy, yet only end up using that education to improve our own selves – and only our own selves. There are too many of us who wear suits and ties, entrusted with building the country, yet too many of our leaders and politicians just use that opportunity to build their own legacies or secret, off shore accounts.
Do you know why children, yes children, are ripped apart from their parents, forced to provide their bodies and energies so that a stranger’s family can raise their kids? Because, there are too many of us who need a separate maid for each child we birth. Because, there are too many of us who have given the verdict that our children are worth more than others’.
Because, there are too many of us who need a maid to prove to frenemies our monetary worth and showcase a higher social class.
Because, there are too many of us who enslave humans, thinking we cannot possibly spoil our youth, energy and time on our own needs, our own tasks, our own lives.
Because, there are too many of us who need to be comfortable, indulged, privileged, spoiled, educated, satisfied, excited, entertained and happy at the expense of other living souls.
And we do all this, thinking—fooling ourselves into believing— that our comforts are actually a way of providing income for another human being. Too many of us think that by indulging in our self-centered lifestyles, we are providing an ongoing charity for society’s neediest.
Too many of us are sinking into a quicksand that is quite literally killing us. This needs to stop immediately. This accelerating trend of possessing and displaying more isn’t going to slow down on its own- in fact, it’s become deadly. Too many of our hearts have hardened, burnt to char.
More of us need to sacrifice our comforts, our desires, our nafs so others can have basic human rights fulfilled. More of us must say no to blind consumerism, envious materialistic competition and the need for instant gratification so others can live. We may have the potential to turn into monsters, but we have exceedingly greater potential to be empathetic, selfless revolutionaries. Too many of us have been living for the here and now, but more of us need to actively start thinking about the future.
Do we want to raise generations that will break bread with the less fortunate or do we want to end up with vicious monsters who starve and murder those they deem unworthy? The monsters who continue to believe that they have been blessed with more, so others can be given less than they are entitled to.
It is time for change andthe change has to start from within these gates.
OpEd: Breaking Leases Into Pieces
Ali ibn Talib once said, “Know the truth and you’ll know who’s speaking the truth.”
I am based in Canada and was recently having coffee with friends. In the course of the conversation, a friend (who I consider knowledgeable) said that it’s okay to pay interest on a leased car because interest doesn’t apply to lease contracts. This completely caught me off guard, because it made no logical sense that interest would become halal based solely on the nature of the contract.
I asked him how this can be true and his response was that the lease contract is signed with the dealer and the interest transaction is between the dealer and the financing company so it has nothing to do with the buyer. Again, this baffled me because I regularly lease cars and this is an incorrect statement: The lease agreement is signed with a third party financing company who is charging you directly for the interest they pay the car dealership. Therefore, any lease contract that has interest associated with it is haram. This is the same as saying your landlord can charge you interest for his mortgage on a rental contract and this would make it halal. I tried to argue this case and explain to my friend that what he was saying was found on false assumptions and one should seriously look into this matter before treating riba in such a light manner.
Upon going home that night, I pulled out all my lease contracts (negotiated to 0% mind you) and sent them over to my friend. They clearly showed that a bill of sale is signed with the dealer, which is an initial commitment to purchase but the actual lease agreement is signed with a third party financing company which is charging you interest directly. If this interest rate is anything above zero it is haram (anything which is haram in a large quantity is also haram in a small quantity).
To my dismay, instead of acknowledging his mistake, my friend played the “Fatwa Card” and sent me a fatwa from a very large fatwa body in North America, which was also basing their argument on this false assumption. Fortunately for me, my friend pointed out the hotline number and the day and time the mufti who gave the fatwa would be available to answer questions.
I got in touch with the scholar and over a series of text messages proceeded to explain to him that his fatwa was based on a wrong assumption and for this reason people would be misled into leasing cars on interest and signing agreements with financing companies which are haram.
He was nice enough to hear my arguments, but still insisted that “maybe things were different in Canada.” Again this disappointed me because giving fatwa is a big responsibility – by saying “maybe” he was implying that full research has not been done and a blanket fatwa has been given for all of North America.
It also meant that if my point was true (for both Canada and the United States) dozens of Muslims maybe engaging in riba due to this fatwa.
The next week I proceeded to call two large dealerships (Honda and Toyota) in the very city where the Fatwa body is registered in the US and asked them about paperwork related to leasing. They both confirmed that when leasing a new vehicle, the lease contract is signed with a third party financing company which has the lien on the vehicle and the dealer is acting on the financing company’s behalf.
It is only when a vehicle is purchased in cash that a contract is signed with the dealer. This proved my point that both in the US and Canada car lease contracts are signed with the financing company and the interest obligations are directly with the consumer, therefore if the interest rate is anything above 0% it is haram. I sent a final text to the mufti and my friend sharing what I had found and letting him know that it was now between them and Allah.
1. As we will stand in front of Allah alone on Yaum al Qiyamah, in many ways we also stand alone in dunya. You would think that world renowned scholars and an entire institution would be basing their fatwas on fact-checked assumptions but this is not the case. You would also think that friends who you deem knowledgable and you trust would also use logic and critical thinking, but many times judgment is clouded for reasons unbeknownst to us. We must not take things at face value. We must do our research and get to the bottom of the truth. Allah says to stand up for truth and justice even if it be against our ourselves; although it is difficult to do so in front of friends and scholars who you respect, it is the only way.
2. There are too many discussions, debates and arguments that never reach closure or get resolved. It is important to follow up with each other on proofs and facts to bring things to closure, otherwise our deen will slowly be reduced to a swath of grey areas. Alhamdulillah, I now know enough about this subject to provide a 360 degree view and can share this with others. It is critical to bring these discussions to a close whether the result is for you or against you.
3. Many times we have a very pessimistic and half hearted view towards access to information. When I was calling the dealerships from Canada in the US, part of me said: Why would these guys give me the information? But if you say Bismillah and have your intentions in the right place Allah makes the path easy. One of the sales managers said “I can see you’re calling from Toronto, are you sure you have the right place?” I replied, “I need the information and if you can’t give it to me I don’t mind hanging up.” He was nice enough to provide me with the detailed process and paperwork that goes into leasing a car.
Finally, I haven’t mentioned any names in this opinion and I want to make clear that I am not doubting the intentions of those who I spoke to; I still respect and admire them greatly in their other works. We have to be able to separate individual cases and actions from the overall person.
May Allah guide us to the truth and rid of us any weaknesses or arrogance during the process.
Ed’s Note: The writer is not a religious scholar and is offering his opinion based on his research on leasing contracts in North America.
Shaykh Abdallah Bin Bayyah: A Genuine Muslim Voice for Peace
By Mufti Mustafa Ceric, Ph.D,
Grand Mufti Emeritus of Bosnia
The essence of the faith of Islam comes from two primary sources: the Qur’an, which is God’s revelation, and the Sunnah, which is the teachings, traditions, and attributes of the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him. But the nature of Muslims come from their many peoples and tribes:
“O men, God has created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes so that you may know one another. But, indeed, the most noble of you is the most morally correct among you. God knows and is well informed about everything.” (Qur’an, 49:13).
Thus, the experience of the faith of Muslims is as diverse as the nature of their national and tribal backgrounds. Therefore, both a specific God-given nature and a specific societal experience of Muslims must be recognized and appreciated within a global Islamic civilization, as long as the principle of tawḥīd (oneness of God), as is expressed in Lā il ā ha illa Allah, and the principle of an ultimate nubuwwah (prophethood of Muhammad, peace be upon him) are properly upheld. This diversity in the unity of the faith of Islam is a blessing for our ummah. Hence, Muslims must see the various natures and experiences of their fellow Muslims as a blessing from God that enriches an overall Islamic culture and civilization in the world.
Inspired by the reality of this blessing, I would like to share with you my perspective which stems from my God-given nature, my war and peace experience as a Muslim in Bosnia and a genocide survivor in Europe, and how I also see myself as belonging to the universal Muslim community today. Indeed, I would like to tell you why I believe that the Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies in Abu Dhabi, UAE, led by the esteemed Muslim scholar Shaykh Abdallah Bin Bayyah, is a right path of Islam and a good program of peace for Muslims around the world.
My testimony is based on my personal nature and my own first-hand experience of war and peace in Bosnia without a need of apology to anyone. It starts from the fact that, during the war and postwar time in Bosnia, it was hard to find a peace initiative from a credible Muslim group or institution to help me engage in dialogue and trust building with others. All the peace initiatives were coming from Christian groups or institutions that, by this very fact, had an advantage in presenting their case. So, when a major Muslim peace initiative was introduced by Sheikh Bin Bayyah in 2014 in Abu Dhabi, I was delighted to be invited to join it. Indeed, I was praying for its success and continuity because rarely do genuine Muslim ideas survive the tremendous pressure of staunch opponents who oppose such initiatives if they are not in— if it’s not their own idea. Fortunately, it seemed that the Forum for Promoting Peace in Abu Dhabi was spared this destiny—until the last, and in my opinion, the best of all Forums so far—the Fifth Forum of 2018. We know from the Qur’an and Sunnah that right and constructive critique is an important aspect of the nature of Islam, but the recent hate-speech and false accusations against the Forum are not in accordance with the nature of Islam and as such are not of an Islamicʼ adab (ethics) and ʼakhlāq (morality).
Let me say that neither the esteemed Shaykh Abdallah Bin Bayyah nor Shaykh Hamza Yusuf is in need of my defense. They are capable and upright people; their lifelong dedication to Islamic work speaks for itself. I feel the need to raise my voice clearly and loudly in defense of the importance of promoting peace, and the work of both esteemed scholars towards that goal. I humbly claim to be aligned with them in this purpose. And we should be grateful to the government of the UAE for supporting this project that has already engaged prominent religious, academic, cultural, and political leaders from around the world and earned their respect and commitment to this cause of peace.
First, no one has a monopoly on peace, but everyone has a duty to promote peace in their own way because, by its very definition, “Islam” is the concept of peace, and thus a “Muslim” is also by definition a peaceful man or woman. Therefore, the Forum for Promoting Peace is an application of this unique and powerful concept of Islam, namely the concept of peace.
Second, no one has a monopoly on tolerance, but everyone has an obligation to learn and teach tolerance in his or her neighborhood and surroundings because Islam is the faith of tolerance, made clear in the Qur’anic injunction: “there is no compulsion in religion” ( lā ikrā h a fī l-dī n) .
Third, no one has a monopoly on dignity, but everyone is entitled to enjoy the right of life (al-nafs), faith (al-dī n), freedom (al-ʿaql), property (al-māl), and dignity (al-ʿirḍ) because Muslim scholars defined these peace-oriented principles, and they did this long before the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. These principles are based on the letter and spirit of the Qur’an and the Sunnah as an amānah (trust) of the entire Muslim ummah, not just a part of it.
Fourth, no one has a monopoly on alliance, but everyone has the right to seek alliance with peace-loving persons and nations based on the example of the Prophet Muhammad , who participated in an alliance prior to Islam, known as the ḥilf al-fu ḍūl (the Alliance of Virtues) that he also approved in Islam.
Fifth, no one has a monopoly on democracy, but everyone has the right to speak about democracy, even if they believe it can sometimes lead to tyranny. The Greek philosopher Socrates had that right as well. He used to say that oligarchies become democracies for predictable reasons: “Democracy comes into power,” Socrates says, “when the poor are the victors, killing some and exiling some, and giving equal shares in the government to all the rest.” It’s an “agreeable form of anarchy,” Socrates tells us and adds that “the insatiable desire for freedom occasions a demand for tyranny.”
Sixth, no one has a monopoly on moral preaching, but everyone has a duty to improve his own morality before preaching to others. Islam teaches us that a right moral praxis is better than empty preaching.
And finally, no one has a monopoly on Islam, but everyone has the duty of farḍ ʿayn (personal responsibility) and far ḍkif ā yah (collective responsibility) to behave in such a way that does not corrupt the moral teachings of Islam and does not compromise the right image of Islam and Muslims in the world for the sake of personal gains. The work of Shaykh Abdallah Bin Bayyah and Shaykh Hamza Yusuf is their due of farḍ ʿayn and farḍ kifāyah for repairing a damaged picture of Islam and Muslims in the world, due to some irresponsible and militant groups who have claimed to act on behalf of Islam. Those who don’t understand the importance of the message of these scholars are out of touch with reality, and thus, cannot claim to be the right guide for the Muslims, especially in the West. Those among the Muslims, wherever they are, who still support a catastrophic regicide that has happened recently in some major Muslim countries ought to be advised that suicide, individual or collective, is not part of the nature of Islam. Indeed, Islam has never been a religion of destruction. Islam has always been a religion of constructive and inclusive culture and civilization.
Let me say that no Muslim with a good heart and sound mind can be indifferent to what is happening in Yemen, Libya, Syria, Myanmar (Burma), and elsewhere, where our Muslim brothers and sisters suffer. But this pain will not be removed by additional destructive ideas that would cripple the rest of the Muslim countries just because some others are in an internal or external conflict. On the contrary, our duty is to do whatever we can to prevent further destruction of the Muslim states and societies. The Muslims today don’t need more Palestines. They need more hearts and minds like Shaykh Abdallah Bin Bayyah and Shaykh Hamza Yusuf. Indeed, they need more countries and societies like the UAE to support the promotion of peace and security among Muslim societies and others in the world.
And my final note to my Muslim brothers and sisters in the West is not to make a hasty judgment that is instigated by some people (and institutions) who do not have sympathy for Muslims who are suffering. If you cannot help the plight of Muslims today, then at least don’t make the Muslim situation worse than it is. Those who have not tasted the bitterness of war cannot fully appreciate the sweet taste of peace. I have tasted both. Therefore, my dear Muslim brothers, sisters, and friends, wherever you are, pray for peace and support those who work for peace, whoever they may be.
Mustafa Ceric, Ph.D.
Grand Mufti Emeritus of Bosnia