Final Version No Doubt

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Final Version No Doubt
 Qabeelat Wasat No Doubt: God, Religion, & Politics in the Modern World Student Notes INTRODUCTION Some questions about Islam deal with issues that even qualified scholars have not studied. In the Islamic world, we are not taught issues of modernity. We are not taught about liberalism, secularism, and feminism. Rather, we study the same curriculum that was taught hundreds of years ago. Therefore, the scholars who study in the East sometimes ignore the questions of today. This class does not deal with the classical controversies of Islamic Law but rather with modern theological issues. THE 5 MODULES OF THE CLASS 1. The Quest for ‘Real’ Islam We will focus more on the effects of the controversies. How do practicing Muslims deal with other practicing Muslims, especially when they don’t see eye to eye? How do we overcome the tension between faithful Muslims? Individuals who want to be faithful have to choose their interpretation of faithfulness. They choose a specific paradigm, e.g. Salafi, Sufi, Jam’at al Islamy, etc. Muslims must choose a specific curriculum, each with its own paradigm. How do you treat other Muslims who chose a different group? There has been intra-­‐Muslim hostility and controversies within the Muslim community concerning this issue. 2. Faith and Reason Includes many sub-­‐modules such as atheism, role of intellect, and Darwinism. How do we understand the proofs of atheists? How do we present Islam to atheists? What is the role of intellect (‘aql), reason, and rationality? Must everything be reasonable or rational? Are certain things beyond reason? 3. Islam and “The Other” Islam’s historic notion of exclusive salvation: Muslims alone are going to Jannah and everyone else is going to Jahanam. We meet other people of other faiths who are very kind, generous, and sincere. Why would they be punished just because they belong to a different faith? For example, one lives a whole life feeding the poor, but she is not Muslim; would she go to Hell? What about the brutal Muslim dictator who murdered millions of people; would he go to Jannah? This leaves doubt in our minds. How do we deal with “The Other”? How do we deal with non-­‐Muslims and hostile Muslims? There are versions of Islam that very clearly preach hatred. This group will quote a single ayah from Quran to base their ideology while ignoring other ayahs and ahadith. 2 4. Feminism Is there such a thing as Islamic feminism? Are men and women really equal? Issues of sexuality, LGBT, and same sex-­‐union will be discusses. How do I deal with my gay coworker who supports Muslim rights and Palestine? Liberalism as a political and social construct: do we use liberalism to our advantage because we truly believe in it, or do we use it in a hypocritical manner? For example, women say, “I have a right to dress how I want.” We use this to support hijab but not for woman who wear very little clothing. 5. Divine Law and modern governance Which takes precedence? Loyalty to the Ummah or loyalty to the nation state? What if we live in a country that is opposed to Islamic countries both socially and militarily? ISIS may argue that it is haram to be a Muslim and an American. Some will even say it is kufr if we are part of the system. How do we respond? DISCLAIMERS TO THE CLASS Topics are condensed Each one of these topics could be taught in much more time. There are entire courses about Islamic feminism. Every module will be condensed and over-­‐simplified. Not meant to plant doubt This class is not meant to plant doubts in you mind that you did not initially have before you entered this class. This knowledge can either increase your faith or actually decrease your faith. So, Sheikh Yasir will not be going into excessive detail. He will try to simplify the topics to reduce doubt, zoom over the opposing issues, and then offer an Islamic solution. 3 INTRODUCTION How do we as Muslims deal with differing groups within the tradition? How fanatical must we be to our own tradition? We must draw a line somewhere. 1.1 | A CHRONOLOGICAL OVERVIEW OF ISLAMIC THEOLOGY KEY TERMS: IMAN, KUFR, & ISLAM Iblis technically believes in Allah (swt), the Day of Judgment, and the Prophets. But he is obviously not a Muslim. Why not? What is the difference between the 3 terms above? Does Iman go up and down or is it stagnant? When does a Muslim become a Kaafir? Look at ISIS, al-­‐Qaida, etc. They are killing other Muslims in the name of Islam, claiming they are not Muslim. NATURE OF THE DIVINE (TAWHID AL-­‐RUBUBIYYA & TAWID AL-­‐ASMA WA-­‐L-­‐SIFAT) Tawhid al-­‐Rububiyya: The oneness of Allah. Tawhid al-­‐Asma wa-­‐l-­‐sifat: what are His names and attributes? There has been much controversy over His Attributes. What does it mean when Allah says, “I rose over the throne,” or “Go to Firaun (O Musa) because you are in My Eyes”, or “I created Adam with My own Hands”. How do we interpret the Qur’an as the speech of Allah (swt)? Do we need to prove the existence of Allah (swt)? Is Allah’s existence engrained in us? How? Why? WORSHIPPING ALLAH (TAWHID AL-­‐ULUHIYYA) What is shirk? What does “la illaha illa Allah” really mean? What are the conditions of the kalima? What constitutes ibadah? What are the categories of ibadah? PREDESTINATION (QADR) Qadr has existed in the past, currently exists, and will continue to exist until the Day of Judgment. It is one of the mysteries that the human mind is so interested in; but we can never truly understand it. If everything is predetermined, do we have free will? Qadr goes back to Adam and Iblis. Adam blamed himself, while Iblis blamed Allah and Qadr. Iblis argued that if everything is predetermined, then it’s not my fault. Sunnis believe in Qadr, as it is one of the 6 pillars of faith. There are other Muslim groups who do not believe in Qadr. PILLARS OF IMAN Non-­‐Sunni groups don’t believe in 6 pillars of Iman. What are the rights of the Prophets over us? What is the difference between Prophets and Messengers? How do we know the characteristics of Prophets? How many books were revealed? How do we view the other 4 books that have been distorted? Can we read their books? Do Heaven and Hell exist right now? These are all classical controversies. COMPANIONS AND RIGHTEOUS PEOPLE Sahabah The most righteous of the righteous are the Sahaba, according to the Sunni Doctrine. Non-­‐
Sunnis don’t necessarily believe this; some will even call some Sahabah non-­‐Muslims. What is the definition of a Sahabi? What are the levels? What are their rights? Awliya Saliheen How do we understand the concept of awliya and walis? What are there rights? Some mystical groups really emphasize this point and the importance of having a relationship with a wali. They believe a wali can work miracles. Some consider the wali the only means of salvation while other groups scoff at this idea. LEADERSHIP IN ISLAM Goes back to the day when the Prophet (SAW) died. To this day, we deal with this controversy, especially after the Arab Spring. What is the role of the Khalifah? Is he humanly or divinely appointed? What is his authority? Is he fallible or infallible? What obedience is required to the leaders? Is it a theological obligation to obey? Mainstream Sunni scholars say that Muslims should obey the rulers based on the evidence of hadith. This is used in our world to tell Muslims not to rebel against their rulers. Some scholars will justify fighting the rulers, quoting other ahadith. INNOVATIONS (BID’AH) What is an innovation? How do we define bid’ah? What are the categories and types of innovations? Who gest to define what is an innovation? LOYALTY TO MUSLIMS AND ITS OPPOSITE (AL-­‐WALA’ WAL-­‐BARA’) What does it mean to be loyal to the Ummah? What about bara’ to those who oppose the Ummah? This concept is very prevalent in radical Islam. 1.2 | THE CLASSICAL GROUPS There were hundreds of different theologies that sprang forth over the last fourteen centuries. Only a few of those remain in some fashion or form. KHAWARIJ This group considered all obligations to be a necessary part of Islam. Therefore, all major sins negate one’s faith (i.e. one major sin = non-­‐Muslim). You are considered a kaffir if you commit even one major sin. This group was very militant and fanatical, constantly rebelling against the Kaliphas while harassing and killing other Muslims. Existing group today is the Ibadiyya, which is present in Oman and parts of Algeria. They are more pacifistic than the classical khawarij. Their population is roughly 1.5 million people. 5 MU’TAZILA: This group has a unique definition of Tawheed. A major sinner is neither Muslim nor non-­‐
Muslim (station in between the two). God’s justice entailed complete free-­‐will (Does Allah not know? Or does He know but not control?). No forgiveness for a major sinner who dies without repenting. This group was very popular in the 3rd century; the Khalipha at the time belonged to this group and made it the official state religion. This group more or less disappeared, but continues to influence other strands of Islam. It doesn’t exists as a separate group, but most key doctrines have been absorbed by the Zaydis, Ibadis, and Twelver Shi’ites. ZAYDIS (FIVER): These are the “Fiver” branch of Shi’ism. They are in between Sunnis and Shi’ites in their beliefs. It remains the only group in the entire Ummah in which Sunnis consider them to be Shi’ite, and Shi’ites considered those people to be Sunni. They believed that any righteous son of the “Family of the Prophet” can be an Imam; but no supernatural powers were given to him. They were respectful of the Companions, including Abu Bakr and Umar. It only exits in specific tribes and locations of Yemen. Their population is roughly 9.5 million. Houthi rebels are Zaydis. TWELVER SHI’ISM: Belief in the necessity of twelve divinely appointed infallible (ma’sum) Imams. Final Imam is in occultation. Companions who are deemed to have opposed Ali are not given theological respect. Existing all over the Muslim world, with large concentrations in Iran, Iraq, India, and Pakistan. Population is estimated to be 150 million, comprising roughly 15% of Ummah. ISMA’ILISM: Considered the “Sevener” branch of Shi’ism. This group rejects Islamic law. They do not have haram and halal, do not have the ritual of the 5 prayers, no fasting in Ramadan, no Hajj. Most of the Muslim world would consider them non-­‐Muslim, but people who follow this branch consider themselves to be Muslim. Many branches of this group exist, primarily the Nizari Aga Khanis and the Musta’li Bohris. Population is 15 million and 1 million, respectively. SUNNI: Characterized by six pillars of faith (in particular: Qadr), respect for the Companions of the Prophet (SAW), and affirming the legal status and preservation of hadith. From the classical developments within Sunnism, three are considered to be three in existence: Athari, Ash’ari, and Maturidi. Major points of difference are understanding the 6 Divine Attributes, the specifics of Qadr (all affirm Allah’s predestination of events), and miscellaneous issues. From these three, various trends have emerged that deal with politics (or lack thereof), spirituality, theology, and legal codes. 1.3 | CAUSES FOR THEOLOGICAL CONTROVERSIES 1.) NEGLECTING PARTS OF THE SACRED TEXTS (E.G. HADITH) Certain groups only read one verse or one hadith and ignore the others. This issue existed in the past and still exists today. Relying only Quran, while ignoring hadith, can give you a significantly different understanding of Islam. For example, the hadith is very explicit about Qadr. You cannot believe in hadith and reject Qadr at the same time. We are called Sunni because we believe in the Sunnah. We must reject hadith if we say that men are women are equal in all aspects. This mentality can only be championed if we radically re-­‐interpret hadith or flat out reject hadith. 2.) MISUNDERSTANDING OF THE SACRED TEXTS What is the proper methodology of understanding Qur’an and Sunnah? Anybody who wants to offer an interpretation to assert a claim can do so if they try hard enough. For example, one can interpret the same ayah in the Quran to either accept or reject Qadr. So, how do we interpret it? “While Allah has created you and that which you do?” Surah As-­‐
Saffat, 37:96. 3.) RELYING ON SOURCES OTHER THAN SHARI’AH FOR SACRED KNOWLEDGE. The Mu’tazila relied on Aristotelian Cosmology (aspects of Aristotle’s writings) to understand the Attributes of Allah (swt). They viewed this as a fundamental ideology to interpret the Qur’an. We think, how ridiculous! But we can all sometimes fall into this same trap. We accept certain things because our culture and society endorses it, not because that is what our religion actually states. We hear and believe what we want to hear and believe instead of truly following Qur’an. We fit Islam into what we want; we don’t fit our whims to Qur’an. For example, how many young Muslims assert that Islam does not have blasphemy laws? 4.) POLITICAL STRIFE Assassination of Uthman (R) opened the door to religion fanaticism. The failed coup against the Umayyad’s opened the door to a pacifistic deterministic sect that believed “whatever happens is the will of Allah”. This resulted in extreme determinisms, the idea that one does not have any control or free will. In our times, we have to think critically about why ISIS and radical Islam exist. ISIS exists not because its followers read Qur’an and went crazy. It was because of political circumstances, bombs upon thousands of bombs, a three-­‐time invasion, and a puppet dictator that betrayed the people. This chaos breeds only more chaos; terror was inflicted on them, so now they are casting terror on others. ISIS is political not theological. 7 But can we be just as critical of our own selves? Can we analyze our own theology and separate it from our own influences? Are we so certain that our own interpretations are valid? 5.) IMPORTING EXTERNAL THEOLOGICAL CONTROVERSIES INTO ISLAM Classical Controversies The Christian controversy in Syria raised questions about the relationship of Jesus to God. Logos refers to “the word”, and it is the title given to Jesus by Christians. Is “the word” God? Is Logos the Creator or the creation? Logos translated into Kalam in Arabic. We believe the Qur’an is the speech of Allah (swt). So, is the Kalam/Qur’an created? This debate was debate was imported from Christianity. Women Leading Prayer Women leading Salah in congregation is another imported controversy. When people of other faiths argue about an issue, the argument will eventually trickle down to us. It is not a coincidence that these discussions are happening now in our Ummah. Judaism and Christianity opened up the door to such an issue recently, and now we are attempting to follow in their footsteps. The Rasul (SAW) told us that we will follow the ways of those before us, so much so, that if they entered into a lizard’s hole, we will enter into the lizard’s hole as well. LGBTQ Issues For the very first time in human history, the Abrahamic religions are agreeing to re-­‐
negotiate on same-­‐sex issues. Homosexuality existed since the beginning of time, but Jews, Christians and Muslims did not support it. Never would a man of God publicly announce that he has such urges and then justify it. But now they publicize it, while considering themselves to be religious and spiritual. Imams who are publicly homosexual are now running mosques. The issues that are being debated in outer Western Society is now being imported into Islam. 6.) ARGUMENTATION Excessive debates by people who are not qualified can cause great harm. Argumentation has been viewed primarily in a negative manner in the Quran and Sunnah. Allah (swt) slightly praises argumentation when He says: “And do not argue with the People of the Scripture except in a way that is best, except for those who commit injustice among them, and say, "We believe in that which has been revealed to us and revealed to you. And our God and your God is one; and we are Muslims [in submission] to Him." (29:46) Argumentation, in person or online, can lead to doubts and serious conflicts. It is not befitting of Muslims to engage in argumentation, especially if they are not qualified and/or the one whom they are arguing with is not interested in the truth. The Rasul (SAW) stated, “Never has a nation gone astray, after have been guided, except that they were prone to excessive argumentation.” (al-­‐Tirmidhi) 8 7.) GEOGRAPHICAL CLIMATE This refers to the dominant ideas, trends, etc. that form the intellectual climate of a region. Classical Islam For example, in classical Islam, Kufa was always anti-­‐Umayyad due to tribal and ethnic reasons. Therefore, it is not a coincidence that Shi’ism arose and was centered in Kufa, as it provided a theological reason to oppose the Umayyad dynasty. Bassra is known for their remnants of previous civilizations, such as mysticism and asceticism. This provided the basis for Sufism. It is not a coincidence that Sufism arose from a mystical society and thrived among a people of story-­‐tellers. In Baghdad, the Abbasis became involved with scientific works of Plato and Aristotle, viewing themselves as “intellectual”. Therefore, it is logical that Mu’tazlism arose from Baghdad. Modern Day It is not a coincidence that Islamic feminism, same sex marriage, etc. are primarily Western phenomenon. We are susceptible to absorbing the influences of the culture around us. 1.4 | HADITH OF 73 VARIOUS NARRATIONS Every Muslim has heard of this hadith. It is not in Bukhari or Muslim (not at that level of authenticity), but it is still considered authentic and found in other collections of hadith. It is also reported by over 10 different Sahaba with various wording. 1.) Version Of Abu Hurayra: Abu Hurayra narrates the Rasul (SAW) said that the ummah will be divided into 73 groups, but nothing about ‘guided’ or ‘misguided’. [al-­‐Tirmidhi, Abu Dawud, and Ahmad). 2.) Version Of Mu’awiya B. Abi Sufyan [Abu Dawud] & Awf B. Malik [Ibn Majah] & Anas B. Malik [Ibn Majah] The ummah will be divided into 73 groups: 72 will go to Hell, and one to Heaven, which is ‘the group’ (al-­‐jama’ah). 3. Version of Abdullah b. Amr When the Prophet (SAW) is asked which group, he replies, “What I am upon, and my Companions” [al-­‐Tirmidhi] WHAT COMBINES ALL OF THESE OTHER GROUPS? Firstly, they are all Muslim! Maybe we do not correctly understand the intent of the hadith. The very first word that the Prophet (SAW) said is “Ummatee” (My Ummah). Therefore, each and every one of those 73 groups is part of the Ummah and is therefore Muslim by the testimony of the Prophet 9 (SAW). Anyone who says they are kaffir is rejecting what the Prophet (SAW) said as he very clearly established a connection with all of those people. All 73 groups of Muslims and all of these individuals have rights over us: e.g. returning the salaam, visiting the sick, attending funerals, accepting invitations, saying yarhamuka Allah to the one who sneezes, etc. Secondly, although they are Muslim, they have done something that has made them different from the ‘one’ group. Historically, people have understood this to mean a major difference of theology. For example, someone who denies Qadr would be in a different group and someone who says the Sahabah are not righteous would comprise a different group, etc. Thirdly, scholars have elaborated on what exactly constitutes iftiraq. In other words, what makes a sect a sect, and what differences of opinions can be tolerated? Minor disagreements do not make a different firqah. The Sahaba themselves had a different understanding of haram and halal. The Sahabah had different opinions on various issues. For example, did the Prophet (SAW) see Allah (swt)? The Sahaba did not consider those who held a different opinion to be kaffir. Differences in legal schools/fiqh were tolerated and did not create a different group. Minor differences of a theological nature were also tolerated and did not create a different group either. HOW DO WE UNDERSTAND THIS HADITH? This hadith is used to cause contentions and division. It is used by each and every sect to promote itself and exclude the other sects. Every sect asserts that their members are the rightly guided people and that the other 72 groups are the misguided ones. They have yaqeen in their hearts that they are correct, but all the other groups have this same belief. Some scholars say the hadith is weak in order to avoid the argumentation and doubt. However, other scholars certainly believe in its authenticity because there are so many collections and narrators that narrate this hadith. Is the majority of the ummah misguided? No. Many people misunderstand this hadith to mean that the majority of this ummah will go to Jahannam, which is not an unreasonable assumption. However, this is a huge misunderstanding. This hadith does not necessarily mean that 72 out of 73 Muslims will be misguided but rather 72 out of 73 groups. Each group differs in size; some groups have millions of followers while some may only have ten. Perhaps the 72 misguided groups are in reality a small fraction in comparison to the 1 rightly guided group. This is the historical reality of our faith. One trend of Islam has been the dominant/majority trend in which the followers worship Allah (swt) and believe in His Messenger, affirm the 5 pillars of faith, respect the 10 Sahabah, etc. The differences are trivial. All other movements comprise roughly 10-­‐15% of Muslims. The bulk of the Ummah is rightly guided and not misguided, blessed and not cursed. This is the logical conclusion. It is a necessary corollary to the principle that Muhammad (SAW) is the final messenger. The notion that the majority of the Muslims are misguided would necessitate a new Prophet. However, Prophet Muhammad (SAW) is the last messenger. The bulk of Ummah has been and always will be rightly guided (in terms of belief and Islamic concepts) and will go to Jannah. If you think the majority of the ummah is misguided, then you are misguided. So, is everyone else other than our group going to Hell? The Prophet (SAW) hoped that his ummah would be 2/3 of Jannah. “I was shown the nations, and some Prophets passed by with a few followers, and some Prophets passed by with no followers. Then I was shown a great multitude, and I said, ‘What is this? Is this my ummah?’ It was said, ‘No, this is Musa and his people.’ It was said, ‘Look at the horizon.’ There I saw a huge multitude filling the horizon. And it was said, ‘Look there, and there, on the horizons of the sky.’ There was a multitude filling the horizons. It was said, ‘This is your ummah, and of these, seventy thousand will enter Paradise without being brought to account.” [Bukhari]. All Muslims of the Ummah will be dealt with mercy and justice by Allah (swt). These other 72 groups have a theology that is incorrect enough to potentially send them to Hell. However, even if they go to Hell, because they are Muslim, they will eventually enter Jannah. Secondly, this sin of deviation is a problem of theology and will be put on the left side of the scale. However, there will probably be good deeds to be placed on the right side of the scale. It is possible that these individuals of the “other” sects have enough good deeds to dissolve the bad deeds and their problem of theology. It is not necessarily true that each and every member of those other groups is going to Hell. Rather, the Rasul (SAW) could be speaking in a general manner. For example, when the Prophet said that whoever drinks alcohol will have Allah’s curse on him, one has to take into account that this person could repent, and Allah can forgive this person. Maybe these other sects will be forgiven due to their ignorance. These people may genuinely believe that Allah (swt) and His Messenger (SAW) want them to believe and behave in the way that they do; they may genuinely love Allah and His Messenger. Do not equate these people with individuals who never wanted to obey and worship Allah in the first place. Believing in the ‘correct creed’ is what it’s all about then? Instead of being full of hatred and anger, let Allah be the judge. We have the right to kindly correct and oppose, but ultimately, Allah is the ultimate judge who judges actions based on the intention. It is not befitting that any two people who love the Prophet (SAW) to hate each other so much, regardless of their differences. Also, we must never assume that we are better than another Muslim. This arrogance is a great sin. What if we have other deficiencies in our religion, whether it is in our theology, ibadaat (ritual worship), and 11 akhlaaq (character) that are more severe in the Eyes of Allah (Swt)? Therefore, we can never judge another’s person. If you think you are better than another Muslim, then automatically, you are not better than that Muslim. 1.5 | RELEVANCE OF CLASSICAL DIVISIONS CERTAINTY VERSUS RELEVANCE Every theological school has its own spectrum of opinions Every theological opinion has the potential to change over time. For example, even the Qur’anic interpretations can change and be fine-­‐tuned. For example, Allah (swt) says that man was created from alaq. Almost all classical tafseers translated alaq to be a clot of blood. Modern science has told us that there is no clotting of blood involved in the development of humans. However, we cannot change meaning of the word. The original meaning of alaq was to hang something; mu’alaq is something that is suspended. A fetus/embryo is indeed suspended in the womb. Context dictates relevance What context will change theology? When saving a drowning person, the individual’s aqeedah is not relevant. It is necessary to save the human life. However, if you find out that the person leading Salah curses the Sahabah, you would not pray behind him anymore. It is not in the best interest of the Ummah that we hate other groups of Muslims or constantly break into different masajid based on tiny differences (e.g. praying 8 versus 20 rakahs in Taraweeh, mawlid celebrations, etc.). Books are not people/Modern lines being redrawn… Sects are being redrawn. The modern Ummah no longer concerned about Allah’s attributes as societies now have different priorities. Questions arise about the LGBTQ movement, allowing your daughters to leave the house without hijab, premarital relationships, etc. Society has already divided us, so it does not make sense to further divide our ummah based on small distinctions. Therefore, context plays a major role in sectarian issues. CIRCLE OF COOPERATION
Fighting Islamaphobia Building Masajids/Schools Teaching Theology 12 Looking at the American context in modern times, we need to understand the different circles of cooperation. How open or how restrictive our circle of cooperation is depends on the context. The smallest circle would be for something like teaching theology to our children. We have every right to be particular in this aspect since we want orthodoxy and the true Sunnah of the Prophet (SAW). We are not going to compromise on these principles because we want our children to learn the deen correctly. However, it would be best to expand this circle when it comes to building a masjid or school. We cannot prevent someone from another group from praying in a certain masjid because ultimately the masjid belongs to Allah. We should allow for healthy differences of opinions even if we do not agree with them. For larger issues, such as fighting Islamaphobia, standing with Palestine, etc., it is appropriate to expand our circle of cooperation even further. We can (and should) work with Muslims of different aqeedah or even non-­‐Muslims on these issues. Just because we cooperate with an individual on one issue does not mean we agree with that person on every matter. 13 2.1 | ATHEISM INTRODUCTION TO ATHEISM The first clear-­‐cut atheist dates back to the 17th century. Even some Greek philosophers questioned the fables of Greek gods while others put forth philosophies that did not take into consideration any Divine Powers. With the rise of the Reformation, the power of the Church declined as Enlightenment philosophers removed religion and God from the public sphere. The belief in science and pure rationality began to spread, especially with the scientific discoveries of Newton and Galileo. These individuals tried to understand the world’s phenomena without linking them to God. When science was proven right, the church was proven wrong, serving as a precursor to atheism and agnosticism. Atheism is the flat out rejection of God while agnosticism is skepticism in God. In the Muslims world, we never had a problem explaining natural phenomena because Allah (swt) created them. Muslims never burned physicists at the stake because the religious scholars understood their role and scientists understood their role. THINKERS THAT POPULARIZED ATHEISM The most important thinkers that popularized atheism were: David Hume (d. 1776), Voltaire (d. 1778), Immanuel Kant (d. 1804), and Thomas Paine (d. 1809). Voltaire Voltaire criticized religion as he wrote a play mocking Islam and the Rasul (SAW). In reality, he was actually mocking Christianity; people who watched the play fully understood that it was mocking the Church and the Ministry, not Islam. Christians opposed Voltaire’s work, but he said that he was merely mocking Islam. Thomas Paine Thomas Paine believed himself to be neither a Christian nor a Jew nor a Turk (Turk is referring to Muslim). He states that his mind is his own church. The notion of “I am spiritual but not religious” and “I believe in God but not organized religion” goes back to people like Paine. Only the western world took the path of atheism and agnosticism. These mentalities came about during the post reformation and post renaissance period in Europe. If atheism is present in any eastern land, it is generally a small phenomenon and is usually imported by individuals who studied in the west. Percy Shelley Percy Shelley (d. 1822) wrote the first English work on atheism entitled The Necessity of Atheism. This book was so scandalous that Shelley was expelled from Oxford University. Considering that this occurred barely 200 years ago, one realizes how much has changed in terms of social customs and morality in the western world. Percy was the husband of Mary Shelley who authored Frankenstein. 14 Ludwig Feuerbach The German philosopher Ludwig Feuerbach (d. 1872) argued that “theology was anthropology”. Theology is the study of God while anthropology is the study of culture and man. So, he argued that the study of God is the study of man. That is, if you study what any society says about its God, you will understand that society more than you understand that God. Feuerbach influenced an entire generation of atheists such as Karl Marx, Schopenhauer, and Friedrich Nietzsche. Nietzsche Nietzsche wrote one of the most blasphemous texts of his time, saying that God is dead. The story, entitled The Gay Science (The Enlightened Science), portrays a mad man who enters a town with a torch looking for God. Everyone gathers around him and mocks him, telling him to go find God. The story in reality portrays the mad man as the sane individual and the rejecters of God as the lunatics. Nietzsche conveys the message that by destroying God, you have destroyed yourselves. The crime of killing God is so great that there is no forgiveness for it. What is left of reality? Who will tell you what is the truth? What is morality? There is no purpose of existence if you eliminate God from your paradigm. Nietzsche eventually went mad himself, and men in white coats took to an asylum where he died. Karl Marx Political philosophers had their own ideas, arguing for systems of governance that don’t have any morality. Karl Marx, the founder of communism, argued that no one should own anything. He believed that you should not have any property and that everything should be shared between everyone. Such a system would even endorse sharing your wife! Such a life would be worse than the life of an animal since even animals have property and fight for their mates. It is impossible to be human and live a Marxist life. LATER MOVEMENTS Later philosophers toned down this mentality and made their own version of political systems based on pseudo-­‐Marxism. These systems took over large areas of the world like Russia and China, giving rise to atheism. New Atheism New atheism argues that society shouldn’t tolerate religion and that it should try its best to eliminate religion as a whole. This strand has taken over as the most dominant strand of atheism. The fundamental atheist militia is just as bigoted and just as dangerous as the groups whom they claim to oppose. 3 most prominent figures of this movement: 1.) Christopher Hedges 2.) Sam Harris 3.) Richard Dawkins New atheism claims that religion is the most potent and sinister evil of mankind. The presumption of western dominance and superiority is quite evident in new atheism. They believe that anyone who wants to be successful needs to get rid of religion. 15 MAIN ARGUMENTS OF NEW ATHEISTS 1.) The “Evils” of religion They argue that when analyzing history, one realizes that the worst events in human history have always been due to religion. Sam Harris wrote a book entitled “The End of Faith” in which he begins with a detailed account of the 9/11 suicide bomber’s last day. This is a very a cheap emotional shot in a supposedly academic book about atheism. Harris also discusses the Spanish Inquisition, the Salem witch trials, and the Holocaust, all carried out in the “name of religion”. He is so antagonistic to religion that he writes, “some propositions are so dangers that it may even be ethical to kill people for believing in them”. Does he not see the irony of what he has just said? He proposes a notion that would involve even more cold-­‐blooded killings, similar to the ones that occurred in previous events. Harris uses the existence of evil to appeal to emotions. How can any God exist when that child died of cancer or that tsunami killed those people? Such individuals believe that the existence of God is negated due to the existence of pain and suffering. However, to believe that education and science will save us from evil is to be utterly naïve to the reality of human existence. The greatest massacres have not occurred because of religion, but because of human greed and by science, which has allowed such massive weapons to commit destruction. The arms industry harms people, and some of top scientists in world are actually working on bigger and better bombs to kill people. Is this what science leads to? Is this in the best interest of mankind? Massacres are motivated by paychecks, natural oil, political dominance, and greed. This is what the angels predicted about mankind, but they didn’t blame religion. The existence of evil Christopher Hedges wrote a book entitled “I Don’t Believe In Atheists” in which he says “those who insist that we are morally advancing as a species are deluding themselves.” He argues that hope is more reassuring than reality and that all the signs in our present world point to the coming of anarchy and massive dislocation of populations. Factors such as climate change, pollution, overpopulation, and wars depict that humanity is actually in regression. Some of the most enlightened thinkers are the most backward and inhumane. For example, Immanuel Kant, one of the greatest minds in Europe, argued that Africans are inherently predisposed to slavery. Such people assume they are intellectuals, but one realizes they are more bigoted and fanatic than some Muslim extremists. Sam Harris justifies torture saying that people with “Muslim-­‐like appearances” should be profiled. However, Islam is the most ethnically diverse population. He also argues that when Muslim countries get nuclear weapons, the U.S. will be on the brink of destruction. The only way to ensure our own survival is to attack those countries with nuclear weapons first. He goes on to say that it would be an unthinkable crime, but it may be the only course 16 of action available to us considering what those Islamists believe. We step back and ask ourselves, how is this rational? The worldview of New Atheists remains racists and delusional as they stereotype others in modern language. They must preserve their way of life by subjugating the Muslim world. Their great great grandfathers would justify colonialism based on skin color, arguing that because they have white skin, they can oppress non-­‐whites. It is the same mentality but in different language. Instead of “white superiority”, they talk about “modernity”. Instead of “Christian”, it is “democracy”. Because we are the most advanced and democratic, we can bomb others and force democracy down their throats. Theodicy Theodicy attempts to justify the existence of evil even though God exists. Scholars have talked about this issue for thousands of years. As Muslims who follow the Qur’an and Sunnah, we believe there can be several reasons behind the existence of pain and suffering: 1. To combat them with mercy and compassion • You need some suffering to bring about compassion. You need some evil to bring about good. • If there is no hunger, how can there be generosity? • If there is no pain, how can there be compassion? • If there were no poor people, how can you give sadaqah? 2. To reconnect us with Allah (swt) as we come to understand our own reality of existence • “Then why, when Our punishment came to them, did they not humble themselves? But their hearts became hardened, and Satan made attractive to them that which they were doing.” Surah Al-­‐An’am, 6: 43. • Pain and suffering revives our spirituality and renews our faith. • The joy of rediscovering Allah is more important than the hardship. 3. To raise our ranks, a concept that atheism and agnosticism never take into account • We don’t know the end result of the child who died. • On the Day of Judgment, the ones who endured hardship with patience will see their reward, and they will wish they had more calamities in the dunya. • The Rasul (SAW) said that when Allah (swt) loves a person, He tests them. Such tests ultimately elevate our status. 4. Many times, certain evils can give rise to immense barakah • In the story of Musa and Khidr in Surah Al-­‐Kahf, Allah (swt) mentions 3 stories. • In each story, some kind of calamity occurs (i.e. the boat is destroyed, the child is killed, and the discovery of gold is delayed). However, the end results clarify why such evil happened. • We sometimes don’t understand the wisdom of evil until later, emphasizing why we need to trust Allah (swt) and His Divine Decree 17 5. Allah (swt) can put us through pain and suffering to test our faith • People who question the wisdom of suffering want this world to be Jannah, and the main premise of the atheist is, “why isn’t this world a Jannah?” • We need to understand that this world is a stepping-­‐stone to Jannah • “Do people think that they will be left alone because they say: "We believe," and will not be tested?” Surah Al-­‐‘Ankabut, 29:2 6. Evil can show us our own mortality, the existence of a higher being, and how God is above us • Pain and suffering are disciplinary reminders that we are mortals. • Allah (swt) created life and death in order to test us in terms of our deeds. • We are not gods, but rather, we are at the mercy of the Creator. 7. The result of our own sins • Evil is not ascribed to Allah. In a hadith in Sahih Bukhari, the Rasul (SAW) said, “Evil is not ascribed to You (Allah)”. • “Evil has appeared on land and sea because of what the hands of men have earned (by oppression and evil deeds, etc.), that Allah may make them taste a part of that which they have done, in order that they may return (by repenting to Allah, and begging His Pardon).” Surah Ar-­‐Rum, 30:41 8. Opportunity for moral growth and spiritual fulfillment • In the process, you become pure by combatting evil and coming closer to Allah and achieving the land of no evil, a place of Dar-­‐u-­‐Salam. When prominent atheists deny the existence of God based on the existence of evil, there remains a huge logical fallacy. The existence of evil has absolutely nothing to do with the existence of God. Rather, it deals with an attribute of God and trying to understand how God deals with His creation. If we don’t understand an attribute of God, that does not deny His existence. 2.) Lack of Empirical Proof Dawkins remains a staunch advocate of this argument. Such individuals say they want a scientific experiment proving the existence of God. Just like you can’t prove the existence of Zeus, you can’t prove the existence of the God of Abraham. Carl Sagan gave the example of an invisible dragon that lives in your attic but leaves no trace. When asked to prove its existence, the response would be similar to, “But the dragon is invisible, its noise is a wave that we can’t understand, and we can’t feel its warmth because it’s a special kind of fire”. 18 2.2 | PRIMARY ARGUMENTS OF WESTERN THEISTS ARGUMENT FROM DESIGN (OR “TELEOLOGICAL”) This is the most obvious and self-­‐evident argument. Both Socrates and Plato had versions of this argument in addition to St. Thomas Aquinas. The Scottish philosopher William Paley in “Watchmaker’s Argument” made this theory most famous. He states that if one is walking on the beach and comes across a clock (in those times, clocks were very big with many gears and pulleys), one would logically conclude there must be a watchmaker. Even if one does not see any footprints, the existence of the watch automatically necessitates the existence of the watchmaker. This kind of argument was resurrected with the ‘Fine-­‐Tuned Universe’ argument, stating that because we exist, God exists. The beauty of the creation and the existence of creation is enough proof that there is a Creator. Stephen Hawking, an atheist, says that the laws of science contain many fundamental numbers and that the value of these numbers seems to be very finely adjusted to allow for the development of life. For example, there are constants in the fields of chemistry, biology, and physics. We don’t know why the numbers are so precise and why certain ratios are always the same. Factors such as the weak force, strong force, entropy, density, and gravity allow for complete harmony in our universe. Life could not exist without this perfect combination. As Muslims, we believe that nothing happens by itself, conveyed by “la hawla walaa quwata illa billah” (There is no change nor might/power to execute change except when Allah wills). If you come home and find your furniture is rearranged, you logically conclude that someone moved the furniture. You don’t say, oh, that just happened by chance! The proofs of the existence of a Higher Being are so numerous and varied that it is illogical and nonsensical to say there is no God. Some people may use the argument of “I think, therefore I am”, but we as Muslims say, “I think, therefore, God exists”. ARGUMENT FROM MORALITY Immanuel Kant argued that the existence of morality indicates there must be some kind of higher being as well. Morality is universal; for example, lying, cheating, stealing, and rape are all considered evil. Even a professional thief does not want his own property to be stolen, indicating that his own morality still exists. Why does mankind agree on these principles? C.S. Lewis was a very devout Christian, and his entire Chronicles of Narnia series is an introduction to the teachings of Christianity to brainwash children. The beliefs of Christianity are strongly echoed by Aslan being the son of a great king who is killed by evil witches and later resurrected. Redemption is also very prevalent in this series. C.S. Lewis also argued in his work Mere Christianity, “…conscience reveals to us a moral law whose source cannot be found in the natural world, thus pointing to a supernatural Lawgiver”. 19 ARGUMENT FROM CONSCIOUSNESS There is no ‘natural’ reason for humans to have a consciousness greater than animals. The very fact that we are the only species that has a level of awareness and consciousness at a completely different level than animals indicates the existence of a Higher Being. We cannot explain why our level of consciousness is different from that of animals. The only explanation is that Allah (swt) implanted this in us. ARGUMENT FROM HIGHER PURPOSE (OR ‘DESIRE’ OR ‘TRANSCENDENCE’) All humans desire something higher than mere existence, even when all the natural and sensual needs are satisfied. Once you reach beyond age of 19, you may realize that you’re not happy with just sensual desire, and that you want a higher purpose. Man wants something more than just mere existence. Reinhold Niebuhr explains how nothing worth doing is truly completed in our lifetime; therefore, we are saved by hope, faith, love, and forgiveness. He argues that because we want a purpose in life, there must be a Higher Being who implanted that desire in us. The pleasure and joy you experience by helping others is more beneficial than the actual help you offered, ultimately imbuing your life with meaning. ARGUMENTS FROM BEAUTY The world is full of beauty, and we as humans recognize beauty and appreciate it. But why? If pure biology explained everything, why would we care about beauty like the sunset and the stars? Such an appreciation for beauty indicates the existence of a Creator who not only created the world in a beautiful manner, but also gave us the tools to appreciate that beauty. How can we recognize beauty if we were conglomerates of chance? Plotinus considered God to be the ultimate perfection of ‘Good’ and ‘Beauty’. Augustine of Hippo said, “Who made these beautiful changeable things, if not one who is beautiful and unchangeable?” Richard Swinburne explains that God has a reason to create a beautiful world rather than an ugly one. The fact that the world is beautiful is evidence for God’s existence. The Rasul (SAW) said in a hadith, “Verily, Allah is Beautiful and He loves beauty.” OTHER ARGUMENTS: The Ontological Argument Pascal’s wager (The Pragmatic Argument): the only loss would be to disbelieve in God. The only win would be to believe in God. The Cosmological argument recently resurrected by William Kenneth The Existence of Miracles: As Muslims, we can agree with this argument. People who deny existence of God will deny the existence of miracles. 20 2.3 | PRIMARY QURANIC ARGUMENTS 1.) THE CREATION ITSELF This is the most obvious. “Were they created from nothing? Or are they themselves the creators?” Surah Al–Tur, 52:35 Allah explicitly asks us, where do you think you came from? Are they themselves the creators of themselves? There are only three logical arguments to our existence: 1.) We came from nothing 2.) We came from ourselves 3.) We came from someone higher and more powerful than ourselves. The notion that we came from nothing was so nonsensical and illogical for the bulk of human history, that Allah asks the question and does not even answer it. It is the height of arrogance to think you came from nothing. This is the fundamental pillar of atheism. “This is the creation of Allah! So then show me…what have those besides Him created?” Surah Luqman, 31:11 This verse was aimed towards the polytheists, but it can also be applied to atheists. “So take a good look! Do you find any flaw? Then look again, and again…and your eyes will become tired…” Surah Al-­‐Mulk, 67:3-­‐4 21 Allah (swt) challenges us to look at any imperfection in His creation. We see that everything is in harmony, and that there are no flaws in His creation. 2.) THE PROPHETS AND REVELATIONS AND MIRACLES The Prophets lived and existed and preached their messages. The message of the Rasul (SAW) is truly an amazing message. It doesn’t make any sense for an illiterate shepherd in Mecca to come forth with the teachings that he came with. In the middle of desert, he preached to his people not to worship idols and that lineages are irrelevant (considering that he was the grandson of the most prestigious noble Arab man, it was an amazing message). Every society felt that it was the best (e.g the Greeks, Chinese, Indians, and Europeans). However, the Rasul (SAW) said that all of you are from Adam. The amazing success of the early Muslims and the collapse of the Persian Empire are truly miracles. It was the superpower that Rome itself was fighting for hundreds of years. Kisra tore the Rasul’s (SAW) letter; the Rasul said, just as he tore my letter up, Allah will tear up his kingdom. And thus, one of the greatest civilizations disappeared between a morning and an evening. By whom? Illiterate Bedouin Arabs who did not have the weapons, mechanisms, or armies to take on such a force. Allah gave them victory. Their success spread to Damascus, Jerusalem, and Egypt; the quick expansion of Islam was a gift from Allah to the Sahhaba. 4000 people entered Egypt and conquered it in the span of a few weeks. There was one victory after another even though this generation of Muslims was not really technologically advanced. Usually, when an army conquers a land, the invaded people will hate the ways of their conquerors, preferring the ways of their ancestors instead. Islam is the only exception. It is one of Allah’s miracles that the invaded people prefer the religion of its Muslim conquerors. In addition, the Qur’an itself is a living miracle. Simply listening to Qur’an soothes our hearts even though we may not understand it. Such beautiful words cannot be the speech of an uneducated illiterate Bedouin in Arabia. Even non-­‐Arabs can understand how powerful the message is when listening to Qur’an. The preservation of Qur’an is also a miracle in addition to the ease of memorizing it. 3.) THE FITRA “This is the fitra that Allah created mankind upon” Surah Al-­‐Rum, 30:30 22 What is the role of the fitra according to the Qur’an and Sunnah? Allah (swt) tells us that He created mankind upon fitra. The Rasul (SAW) said, “Every child is born upon the fitra. Then, his parents covert him into a Christian, Jew, or Sabian.” [Muttafaq ‘alayh]. Ibn Taymiyyah felt that the fitra in another faculty that can be just as important, if not more, than the intellect. Just like vision and hearing, the fitra is another faculty that Allah has blessed us with and embedded inside every human being. Fitrah gives us a kind of conscious, intuition, and spirituality. We naturally feel guilty when we commit a sin or harm another human. Fitrah is a very key notion in our religion and plays a very important role in the existence of Allah (swt). The fitrah tells us very clearly that there is a Higher Being who is worthy of being worshipped. So, the proof that Allah exists is already embodied in the child. The ‘aql has a limited role, and we cannot extrapolate the mind’s understanding to everything. Atheists took reason and rational to be the solution for every problem; however, this mentality is incorrect because we also need love, truth, mercy, and emotion to solve certain problems. No society in any history embraced atheism. Even the most primitive religions and tribes in the middle of the jungle believed in God. So, why does mankind feel the need to worship, even if it be at an altar? Because the fitrah directs us to believe in God. The one who rejects Allah has chosen to destroy his fitrah (the Arabic word kafara means to cover, just like the disbeliever covers up his fitra). With a covered fitra, you destroy the spiritual heart that recognizes the signs around you. So, trying to argue with an atheist or agnostic is like arguing with someone who does not have the faculties or means to understand the evidence and proofs. It’s like trying to explain Newton’s laws to a lunatic or arguing with someone about the existence of the sun. You tell them the sun exists while it is shining brightly in the sky, but he or she will still reject the sun. The existence of Allah is brighter than the shining sun. The atheist and agnostic may argue that there is no evidence to prove the existence of God; we respond by saying there is no evidence that will satisfy YOU. They only pretend that there is proof that will satisfy them. Bani Israel told Musa (AS), “We shall never believe in you till we see Allah plainly. But you were seized with a thunderbolt (lightning) while you were looking.” Surah Al-­‐Baqarah, 2: 55. Allah (swt) says in Surah Al-­‐Furqan, 25:21, “And those who expect not for a Meeting with Us say: ‘Why are not the angels sent down to us, or why do we not see our Lord?’ Indeed they think too highly of themselves, and are scornful with great pride.” Who do you think you are to demand something from Allah? Atheists have arrogance inside of them, and they have gone very far astray. 23 Surah Al-­‐Hijr, 14-­‐15, “And even if We opened to them a gate from the heaven and they were to continue ascending thereto, they would surely say: Our eyes have been dazzled. Nay, we are a people bewitched”. Even if they see the clear ayat, they would reject them due to their arrogance. An atheist was asked, suppose you were to see God, would you then believe? He replied that he still wouldn’t believe. Rather, he would think he is delusional and merely imagining. This is exactly what Allah (swt) says in Surah al-­‐Hijr. There is no evidence that will satisfy these skeptics. Surah Yusf, 12:105, “And how many a sign in the heavens and the earth they pass by, while they are averse therefrom.” The one who has pure fitrah will understand the signs around him/her while the one who has a dead fitrah cannot understand the signs properly. This same concept can also apply to the sate of the hypocrites and atheists. Atheists are hypocrites because they demand proof that will not satisfy them anyway. The hypocrites will ask on the Day of Judgment: Surah Al-­‐Hadid, 57:14, "Were we not with you?" The believers will reply: "Yes! But you led yourselves into temptations, you looked forward for our destruction; you doubted (in Faith); and you were deceived by false desires, till the Command of Allah came to pass. And the chief deceiver (Satan) deceived you in respect of Allah." Deep down inside, the atheists and hypocrites knew that they were deluding themselves. 2.4 | THE ROLE OF INTELLECT IN ISLAM THE QUR’AN ASKS US TO ‘THINK’, ‘PONDER’, AND ‘REFLECT’. IN WHAT CONTEXT? One of the hallmarks of western civilization from the beginning has been obsession with the human mind. This is a uniquely western notion, not an eastern one. The western world always emphasized rationality and thought, claiming that the mind is supreme and can solve any problem. Muslims practice their faith more than other faiths. Other faiths will never be at peace if they are in sync with the fitrah. Muslims believe (in the Athari / Taymiyya strand) that Allah indeed does praise intellect but for limited roles and capacities. It is not praised unconditionally; rather, the intellect has a use and limited function just like every other faculty such as vision and hearing. The eyes can see a certain distance if there is light, but people are foolish to think they can see in the dark. One may have the strength to lift an object, but he or she does not have the strength to lift mountains. Our faculties have limits, so trying to go beyond such limits is foolish. So why do we assume the mind does not have a limit? The Qur’an and Sunnah praise the ‘aql conditionally, not unconditionally! 24 ROLE OF INTELLECT IN ISLAM There are four main categories concerning the role of intellect in Islam: 1.) To rationally prove that there is One All-­‐Powerful Creator who alone is worthy of worship. (la illaha illa Allah) The atheist will be challenged to believe in the existence of God while the polytheists will be challenged to believe in One God. “Do they not contemplate within themselves? Allah has not created the heavens and the earth and what is between them except in truth and for a specified term. And indeed, many of the people, in [the matter of] the meeting with their Lord, are disbelievers.” Surah Al-­‐Rum, 30:8 “Uff to you and to what you worship instead of Allah . Then will you not use reason?" Surah Al-­‐Anbiya, 21:67 2.) To rationally examine the life and teachings of the Prophet (SAW). (Muhammadan rasoolullah) This involves thinking about the life and times of Prophet (SAW) in order to prove that he was truly inspired by Allah (swt). “Then do they not give thought? There is in their companion [Muhammad] no madness. He is not but a clear warner.” Surah Al-­‐A’raf, 7:184 25 “Say, "I only advise you of one [thing] -­‐ that you stand for Allah, [seeking truth] in pairs and individually, and then give thought." There is not in your companion any madness. He is only a warner to you before a severe punishment.” Surah Saba’, 34:46. In this ayah, Allah says that he want us to stand up for His sake either singly or in pairs. So, we either act individually or in groups to be sincere to Allah. When we study Seerah, we realize the Prophet (SAW) was indeed a sincere man. “Say, "If Allah had willed, I would not have recited it to you, nor would He have made it known to you, for I had remained among you a lifetime before it. Then will you not reason?" Surah Yunus, 10:16. Once you rationally accept the shahada, it becomes blind submission and faith. One of the beginning ayahs in Quran is “those who believe in the Unseen”. 3.) To ponder over the creation and marvel at Allah’s power. We think and reflect over the creation of Allah in order to increase our Iman, khusoo’, and taqwa. 26 “Who remember Allah while standing or sitting or [lying] on their sides and give thought to the creation of the heavens and the earth, [saying], "Our Lord, You did not create this aimlessly; exalted are You [above such a thing]; then protect us from the punishment of the Fire.” Surah Ali-­‐Imran, 3:191 4.) To ponder over the Revelation and understand it. We use our ‘aql to understand Allah’s revelation of Qur’an and Sunnah relazing that Islam will never contradict rationality. “Indeed, We have sent it down as an Arabic Qur'an that you might understand.” Surah Yusuf, 12:2 DANGERS OF CONSIDERING AN AMBIGUOUS RATIONAL OPINION OVER EXPLICIT SCRIPTURE: 1.) An actual clash can never occur between true reason and explicit Scripture. If there is a clash, then we have misunderstood something. 2.) ‘Rationality’ does not have a precise definition, or a consistent methodology, or an external verification mechanism. In fact, experience shows that much of what is deemed ‘rational’ is subjective and faulty. Philosophers don’t necessarily agree with one another. They would never have become famous if they had agreed with other philosophers. 3.) Opposes the reality of ‘submission’ (Islam) to Allah Even if something is suprarational, we must submit. There is no such thing as an ‘irrational’ command in Islam. Ibn Taymiyyah gives an example of a man who goes to town asking for the mufti. A guide takes him to the mufti in order to ask a question. The mufti answers him from the Qur’an and Sunnah. Then the guide tells the outsider to listen to him instead because he was the one who guided him to the Mufti and is therefore superior. The Mufti represents the Qur’an and Sunnah while the guide represents the mind. Is the mind superior because it leads you to Qur’an? No, just because the mind has acknowledged the Qur’an and Sunnah, it doesn’t make it more knowledgeable. The fact that you are going to the mufti indicates that you are not more knowledgeable than the mufti. 2.5 | Muslims and Evolution The theory of evolution is considered to be lacking in authority as any other mainstream scientific theory. It is considered to be as close to a fact amongst the scientific community. Dissenting voices such as Denton all point out various flaws in the specific points. We as Muslims need to understand that the only voices that dismiss the entire concepts of evolution are faith-­‐based communities. Any valid scientist does not oppose evolution. 27 COMPATABILITY WITH THE QURAN The theory of evolution is mostly compatible with Qur’an. Except for one concept: Homo sapiens. Allah (swt) created us, and He created Adam. Adam and Eve are our ancestors. But why can’t we say it is merely a symbolic story to teach us morals? If we challenge the story of Adam, then we challenge the whole Qur’an. To say that the story of Adam and Eve is a fable is ultimately accusing Allah (swt) of intentionally lying. And Allah says, “Who is more true in statement than Allah?” [4:87] and “These are the verses of Allah which We recite to you in truth” [45:6]. To accuse of Him of lying is kufr. Opening this door would destroy the Qur’an and submission to the Book. The Qur’an would just become a book of fables in which everything becomes symbolic: Jannah, Jahannam, etc. WHAT SHOULD MUSLIMS’ RESPONSE BE TO EVOLUTION? As Muslims, our response to evolution is to understand that it is not the job of a sheikh to preach biology. This is for biologists and Muslim scientists to discuss and determine plausible explanations. It is a mistake going to sheikh thinking he will tell you about evolution. Perhaps one can say it makes sense that Adam’s DNA fits the DNA of the entire creation because Adam must also function within the creation itself. As life developed and continues to develop, it is possible to have a species similar to a Homo sapiens. Thinking in terms of a domino analogy, the final domino may not have necessarily been toppled over by previous one. Rather, a higher authority may have placed the final domino in that specific place. It is possible that Adam (AS) is an exceptional miracle to the valid theory of evolution. WHAT DOES NOT MAKE SENSE FROM A DARWINISTIC PERSPECTIVE There are concepts of human existence that does not make sense from the perspective of Darwinism: 1.) Language: No one can explain our adaptation of language. The Qur’an explains how Allah (swt) taught Adam the names of everything. 2.) Meta-­‐cognition: Our knowledge exceeds the knowledge of other creatures. 3.) Civilization: Arts, poetry, and history are not biological. We have culture and beauty in our societies while other creatures don’t have this. They are uniquely human characteristics that don’t fit into Darwinism evolution. 4.) Consciousness and awareness: This goes back to the fitrah. CONCLUSION Anybody who believes in miracles would not have problem in believing the creation of Adam. The Rasul (SAW) split the moon by Allah’s will. Jesus was born a virgin birth who would have proper DNA and chromosomes. Allah links Jesus to Adam saying that the creation of Jesus is like that of Adam. We as Muslims have no problem that all life originated from one source. 28 3.1 | ARE GOOD NON-­‐MUSLIMS GOING TO BE “SAVED”? If we become excessively involved in trying to rationalize the judgment of Allah, we become guilty of judging Allah. He says in the Qur’an, “He cannot be questioned as to what He does, while they will be questioned.” Surah Al-­‐Anbiya, 21:23. The Raul (SAW) said that my Ummah will remain in good standing as long as they do not argue about Qadr and the fate of the children of the pagans. Such discussions have no practical implications in our lives as it does not change our ibada. 1.) THE FATE OF THOSE WHO HAVE NEVER HEARD OF ISLAM This includes most of Europe in the medieval times. The Mu’tazilite and Maturidite position Even before a Divine Message reaches a person, he or she should be a monotheist and ethically upright (e.g. no stealing, lying). They say that a person must believe in monotheism because the human intellect should lead to it. However, if a person is a polytheist and/or leads an immoral life, he or she will go to Jahannam. The Ash’arites Position: Imam al-­‐Ghazali famously categorized non-­‐Muslims into three categories: i.
Those who have never heard of Islam, such as the Romans. Such people are automatically forgiven and saved. ii.
Those who have a distorted understanding of Islam such as viewers of Fox news. These people are all forgiven. iii.
Those who know Islam and have mixed with Muslims but reject Islam. They will not be forgiven. Some scholars say this category (the Ash’arites) is a rather unreasonable position. If non-­‐
Muslims are automatically saved while Muslims are struggling, then it would be better to be non-­‐Muslim! If you come across a non-­‐Muslim, it would technically be safer not to deliver the message of Islam in case the person rejects the message. If you leave him or her in ignorant bliss, it would be better for them. The Ath-­‐hari position They shall be tested on the Day of Judgment with a special test. “There are four (who will protest) to Allah on the Day of Resurrection: the deaf man who never heard anything, the insane man, the senile man, and the man who died during the fatrah (the gap between ‘Isa(AS) and the time of Muhammad (SAW). The deaf man will say, ‘O Lord, Islam came but I never heard anything.’ The insane man will say, ‘O Lord, Islam came but the children ran after me and threw stones at me.’ The senile man will say, ‘O Lord, Islam came but I did not understand anything.’ The man who died during the fatrah will say, ‘O Lord, no Messenger from You came to me.’ He will accept their promises of obedience, then word will be sent to them to enter the Fire. By the One in Whose hand is the soul of Muhammad, if they enter it, it will be cool and safe for them.” [Ibn Hanbal in his Musnad]. 29 Allah will send the non-­‐Muslims an angel on the Day of Judgment who will tell them that he is a Prophet. The angel tells them to jump into the fire. If they obey and submit, they will be saved. If they refuse, they have disobeyed and they will go to Jahannam. Their fates will be in the Hands of Allah (swt). This is specifically referring to those who have not heard of Islam. THE FATE OF THOSE WHO KNOWINGLY REJECT ISLAM We don’t know if person X knows the truth about Islam. It is our job to convey the message, and Allah (swt) will judge him or her. Muslims believe (with unanimous consensus) that those who knowingly reject Islam will enter Jahannam and have no hope of entering Jannah. There are hundreds of verses of Qur’an that point to this. The Qur’an and Sunnah, in addition to common sense, reveal that the only way to enter Jannah is through Islam. Verses that indicate that Islam is the only religion acceptable to Allah “And whoever seeks a religion other than Islam, it will never be accepted of him, and in the Hereafter he will be one of the losers.” Surah Ali-­‐Imran, 3:85 “Indeed, the religion in the sight of Allah is Islam” Surah Ali-­‐Imran, 3:19 Verses the criticize those who reject the Prophet/Qur’an “Not one of them but belied the Messengers, therefore My Torment was justified” Surah Sad, 38:14 30 “It almost bursts with rage. Every time a company is thrown into it, its keepers ask them, "Did there not come to you a warner? They will say," Yes, a warner had come to us, but we denied and said, ' Allah has not sent down anything. You are not but in great error.” Surah al-­‐Mulk, 67:8-­‐9 “And whoever opposes the Messenger after guidance has become clear to him and follows other than the way of the believers -­‐ We will give him what he has taken and drive him into Hell, and evil it is as a destination.” Surah Al-­‐Nisa, 4:115 When it says, “…after the guidance has been made clear…”, it means that this person knows the teachings of Islam Verses the criticize Other Theologies and Faiths The Qur’an is very clear in criticism of key Christian beliefs and often involves the use of the verb kafara or a noun derived from it, kufr (unbelief) – the opposite of faith. In the Qur’an 9:31, God’s curse is placed on those who claim that the Messiah is the Son of God. In 5:72-­‐73, “They have blasphemed (kafara) those who say God is the Messiah, son of Mary” and “those who say God is the third of a Trinity”. In 9:31 and 5:116, the Christian deification of Isa is made equal to shirk. “I swear by Him in Whose hand is my soul, there is not a single Jew or Christian who hears of me than dies without believing in that with which I have been sent, but he will be one of the people of Hellfire.” (Reported by Muslim, 218). In terms of unanimous consensus, Dr. Yusuf al-­‐Qaradawi writes that there are dozens of ayahs and dozens of hadith that indicate the kufr of Jews and Christians. However, he does state that God might have mercy on those who did not hear of Islam properly. 31 Searching for the Truth We are obligated to give dawah to non-­‐Muslims, but it is also obligatory upon the non-­‐
Muslim to come ask us about our faith and set out in search of the truth. When buying a car, we test several different cars. When buying a house, we visit many different houses and weigh all our options. So, they need to research the purpose of life as well. Common sense and fitrah led Zayd bin ‘Amr bin Nufail and Waraqa bin Nawfil to the truth of monotheism and the way of Ibrahim (AS). In terms of common sense, not all religions can be correct because some have mutually exclusive beliefs. For example, Christians say the only way to come close to the God is through His son. Muslims say taking ‘Isa as the son takes you further away from God. These two concepts cannot co-­‐exist just as Tawheed and shirk cannot co-­‐exist. We cannot claim that all paths lead to Jannah when each path says it alone leads to Jannah. To claim that all religions are valid negates the purpose of Allah sending more Messengers and Books. Messengers were sent because the message of the previous Prophets was lost, and the people became misguided. No Prophet comes to tell his people, “you don’t have to follow me if you don’t want to”. What’s the purpose if there is no purpose in the prophet/book!? RESPONDING TO MISUNDERSTANDINGS “Indeed, those who believed and those who were Jews or Christians or Sabians [before Prophet Muhammad] -­‐ those [among them] who believed in Allah and the Last Day and did righteousness -­‐ will have their reward with their Lord, and no fear will there be concerning them, nor will they grieve.” Surah al-­‐Baqarah, 2:62 We cannot cut and paste one verse from the Qur’an and ignore all the other ones. The other verses state that the only religion with Allah is Islam, that those who take Isa as the son of God have committed kufr, etc. Verse 62 must be consistent with the rest of the verses of Qur’an. No Islamic scholars in the past have ever said this ayah means that Jews and Christians are entering Jannah with the exception of the Chicago professor Fazlur Rahman. He was the first person to state this. The verse technically can be interpreted in such a manner if you isolate this verse from the other ayahs and ahadith. But when you incorporate the other ayahs and ahadith, it is impossible. 32 There are 2 interpretations: 1. This ayah must be understood in terms of its chronology/time • This ayah was revealed because Salman the Persian asked the Prophet (SAW) about his previous pious monks who were waiting for the coming of the last Prophet (SAW). • These monks told Salman to go to Arabia to find the Last Prophet. Allah (swt) revealed this ayah to address this issue. • Allah is saying that the good Christians, Jews, and Sabians for their time frame who believed in the truth and actually followed their Prophet will all go to Jannah. 2. This ayah may be a reference to those who convert to Islam • Such people will have double reward. Allah (swt) first mentions those who believed and those who were Jews or Christians or Sabians. He then says, “those who believe in Allah and the Last Day”. • To believe in Allah means you believe in the Messengers as well. If those people truly believe in Allah, they will be saved. The Jews and Christians who convert to Islam will have two rewards because they believed in 2 Prophets. HOW CAN ALLAH PUNISH SOMEONE FOREVER EVEN IF THEY LIVED A GOOD LIFE? Know our limits, and the rights of Allah So, how can Allah punish someone for an infinite time for a finite life? We first need to establish the fact that we never judge Allah (swt) because doing so is arrogance and kufr. We have no right to reject the decision and Qadr of Allah. A question can be kufr or Islam depending on the situation. For example, when Ibrahim (AS) asked Allah to show him how He resurrects the dead, it was Islam since he only wanted to reassure his heart. However, when the Quraish asked the same question to the Prophet (SAW), they manifested kufr since they were asking out of arrogance and disbelief. Definition of ‘Good’ Do we define good people or does Allah define good people? In the Qur’an, to be considered ‘good’ you must have Iman and good actions. Having zero theology doesn’t make you a good person. If you discover that a very generous kind person has a pornography addiction, your view of that person will undoubtedly change. How can someone who refuses to bow down to Allah (swt) be a good person? Ultimate goodness is to recognize the purpose of your existence. Recognizing Allah is the most supreme truth while the crime of rejecting Allah deserves a punishment the magnitude of that crime. Gravity of Rejecting the Truth We must also look at the attitude of the person. For example, a mother in a wheelchair asks her son to get her a glass of water. He says, “No! Get it yourself!” No one would say, well, it was just a glass of water. It is still very severe and disrespectful. 33 The Rasul (SAW) says in a hadith that Allah will say to the person in Jahannam on the Day of Judgment, “If you had everything in the world and you owned it, would you give it all to ransom yourself?” The person will say yes. Allah will say, “But I asked you much less than this. I asked you not to commit shirk and worship Me Alone.” This hadith is referring to the mushrik, but it can also be applied to atheists. Justice of Allah (swt) Even the kaafir who does good will be rewarded, but he or she will be rewarded in this world, not the akhira. Perhaps Allah will bless this person with more wealth or a successful career. The kaafir who did good in this world failed to do so for the sake of Allah and in hopes of Jannah. So why would Allah give this person Jannah? This person never wanted Jannah! It is unreasonable to say such a person was deprived of something he or she wanted. “Whoever desires the life of this world and its adornments -­‐ We fully repay them for their deeds therein, and they therein will not be deprived. Those are the ones for whom there is not in the Hereafter but the Fire. And lost is what they did therein, and worthless is what they used to do.” Surah Hud, 11:15-­‐16. Allah mentions that those who want the world of this dunya and its beauty will have the wages of their goods returned to them, but their good deeds will be returned to them in this dunya. Whoever wants this world will get it. Whoever wants the akhira, then Allah will make their striving beneficial. Some discussion about the eternality of Hell There is some discussion about the eternality of Jahannam. Some scholars of Islam do believe that Jahannam will not be forever, and that Jannah will be forever. Those who went to Jahannam will not go to Jannah, but they will cease to exist and Jahannam will cease to exist. However, this is a small opinion. Islam is the only way to achieve salvation, but there are exceptions that Allah grants to individuals who have not been exposed to Islam. Only Allah (swt) knows who knowingly rejected Islam. 34 PART 3.2 | DOES ISLAM PREACH HATRED OF OTHERS? THE ISLAMIC DOCTRINE OF WALA’ The Qur’an and Sunnah clearly preaches us to have a special love for our Muslim brothers and sisters: “And the believing men and the believing women: they are protectors of one another” Surah Al-­‐Tawbah, 9:71 “The example of the believers in their love, and mercy, and compassion, is like that on one body: if even one part of it is in pain, the entire rest of the body joins it in staying awake and feeling ill!” [Muttafaq] It is natural to have special feelings for one’s family, friends, and those who share something similar (e.g. tribes, nations, interest, values etc.). But some strands of Islam argue that the opposite is also true and that we must not have any positive feelings towards those of other faiths. Extremist groups like ISIS interpret it in a manner that makes it impossible for a Muslim to be in America, saying that our Islam requires us to hate non-­‐
Muslims. Every society in the world has ways of showing extra friendship and loyalty to certain individuals. In the U.S., the people are all American and they have a special bond between them. When we meet family members whom we have never met, we feel a strong connection. People of a certain church have a stronger bond with their own people as opposed to those from a different church. If you are traveling in a foreign country where the people don’t speak English, and you find another English-­‐speaking person from Chicago, you have a stronger pull towards that person. This is a type of wala’; it is natural and part of human nature. What better connection to have than with those who have your same deen? It is logical and expected. A wali is one whom you turn to for protection and sanctity. The concept of Wala’ preaches that your ultimate loyalty will be to God and those who believe in God. So, we have extra feelings of love for the Muslims. 35 THE ISLAMIC DOCTRINE OF BARA’A There are specific verses and hadith that be interpreted to suggest that Muslims should unconditionally dissociate from others. “You will not find a people who believe in Allah and the Last Day having affection for those who oppose Allah and His Messenger, even if they were their fathers or their sons or their brothers or their kindred…” Surah Al-­‐Mujadilah, 58:22 Surah Al-­‐Mujadilah is referring to those who have openly showed animosity and hatred to Allah and His Messenger (SAW), those who have waged war against Islam, and the people who would kill Muslims at the time of revelation. “O you who have believed do not take the Jews and the Christians as allies. They are [in fact] allies of one another. And whoever is an ally to them among you -­‐ then indeed, he is [one] of them. Indeed, Allah guides not the wrongdoing people.”-­‐ Surah Al-­‐Ma’idah, 5:51 Islam does not preach hatred of non-­‐Muslims. Awliya is not the same as friends; this is an incorrect translation and is contradicted by the Quran itself. The Prophet (SAW) loved his uncle Abu Talib. The following ayah refers to the incident when he died. “You cannot guide the one whom you love…” Surah Al-­‐Qasas, 28:56 36 The Qur’an affirmed the love that the Prophet (SAW) had for his kaafir uncle. Would we say that the Prophet did not display the concepts of wala’ and bara’? Of course not. Allah (swt) has allowed the marriage of a Muslim man to a Jewish or Christian woman. For any marriage to be successful, there must be love. Asma bint Abu Bakr (RA) said, “My mother came to visit me, and she was still an idol-­‐
worshipper. So I asked the Prophet (SAW) about that, and said, ‘My mother is coming to visit me, and she is eager [to do so]. Can I be good to my mother?’ He replied, ‘Yes! Be good to your mother.’” [Bukhari] The Prophet (SAW) gave her an explicit statement that said she could be kind and respectful to her mother even though she was non-­‐Muslim. In Surah Luqman, Allah (swt) says that if your parents try to force you to commit shirk, don’t listen to them, but be good to them. You will still have love for your parents even if they are non-­‐Muslim. The Prophet (SAW) hired a pagan/non-­‐Muslim as a guide out of Mecca. This was one of his most critical moments in life. Is this protection and wilaya? No, not in that sense. Then what is wilaya? Wilaya teaches us that as Muslims, we should not assume that other faith communities will protect us based on faith. The only truly awliya we have are those who believe in Islam. Islam differentiates between those who reject Islam/fight against it and those who only reject Islam. “And fight back against those who fight you, but do not go beyond that, for Allah does not love those who transgress.” Surah Al Baqarah, 2:190 So, we do not take these people as awliya and we will never love these people. Whom should we dissociate from? We have hatred for those who want to harm or ridicule the Prophet (SAW). Out of our love to the Prophet, we hate those who draw such insulting cartoons. Bara’ linguistically refers to dissociation. So, we dissociate ourselves from those who hate Islam as a faith. We do not associate with such people. But we need to keep in mind that people can attacks Muslims for other reasons such as oil and natural resources. 37 “Allah does not forbid you from those who do not fight you because of religion and do not expel you from your homes -­‐ from being righteous toward them and acting justly toward them. Indeed, Allah loves those who act justly. Allah only forbids you from those who fight you because of religion and expel you from your homes and aid in your expulsion -­‐ [forbids] that you make allies of them. And whoever makes allies of them, then it is those who are the wrongdoers.” Surah Al-­‐Mumtahanah, 60:8-­‐9 ALLAH ESTABLISHES 2 CATEGORIES 1. People who persecute believers because they are believers • They do not deserve any wala’ and bara’ must be done of them • How can you genuinely love someone who insulted your mother? 2. People who do not hate you for your faith. • These people give you the freedom to be a Muslim and practice your faith. • The mainstream of the west will not really ban Islam. • There is a spectrum that can apply to such individuals. The bare minimum is to be just and the highest is the height of goodness (birr). • Birr in Arabic is most commonly associated with treatment of parents; birr al-­‐walidayn is one of the highest honors. To be just (qist) is one of the lower levels of honor and is mere reciprocation of treatment. • Birr and qist are on the opposite ends of the spectrum. You can decide where on the spectrum you want to treat them. There is no prohibition in the Qur’an or Sunnah of taking non-­‐Muslims as friends. The Seerah clearly contradicts such a notion. Islam does not preach a general, unconditional hatred of ‘the other’. There are explicit evidences to demonstrate the opposite. What Islam does preach is that people who persecute believers and hate the religion cannot be taken as confidants and allies. 38 4.1 | FEMINISM Definition “Feminism constitutes the political expression of the concerns and interests of women from different regions, classes, nationalities and backgrounds…There is and must be a diversity of feminisms, responsive to the different needs and concerns of different women, and defined by them for themselves.” [One of the 3 UN conferences on women’s issues (Mexico City, Copenhagen, Naibroi)] The context from which feminisms appeared includes the religious, legal, and social impediments on European women in the pre-­‐modern period. Feminism can be considered a movement, doctrine, or belief system in which women want to reclaim or guarantee their certain rights. History Even before the first wave of feminism, the Christians viewed European women very differently than the way Muslims viewed women. For example, the Old Testament depicts Eve as the root of evil and the one blameworthy for sin. God cursed her as a punishment with childbirth pangs of pain. However, in Islam, she is not considered solely blameworthy for the sin as both Adam and Eve ask for forgiveness. The New Testament forbids a woman from opening her mouth in the church. They would have to go somewhere private to do so. Women also need to cover their hair when going to the church. In Europe, many women were accused of being witches, and they were burned in the Salem witch trials. Legally, in Europe, a married woman lost all of her rights. In essence, she was the property of her husband, which is why she changed her last name. Her body and property belonged to her husband, and she was not allowed to own property. Married men were even excused legally for adultery, but the same law did not apply for women. In French law, a man could legally inflict pain and possibly kill his wife if he caught her committing adultery. In addition, women were not deemed fit for education as all universities in Europe were exclusively male domains. THERE WERE THREE MAJOR WAVES OF FEMINISM: 1. First wave: 1850-­‐1915 The primary issue was the right of married women to vote (suffrage) and have economic independence. Once women have the right to vote, they have the right to change laws, one of the major impetus for change. The ability to vote gives women power. Throughout the western world, women protested in front of parliament, and they did so dressed in the most modest and elegant manner. They were fully covered, wearing caps/headscarves and impeccable white clothing in order to demonstrate modesty, cleanliness, and home values. In 1925, every western country basically gave women the right to vote. During WWII, western society encouraged women to work because men were at war. This also occurred during WWI, but it was especially prevalent during WWII. 39 So, women started going to the factories, and fliers were seen of a woman flexing her muscles, saying, “We can do it”. Such a flier depicted how women were eliminating their femininity and becoming more masculine. 2. Second wave of feminism: 1960s-­‐1980s This emphasized women’s sexual freedom in addition to equal access to education and pay. This was the era of hippies, and women wanted to control their own bodies and sexuality. The landmark trial of Roe vs. Wade in 1973 legalized abortion as women argued that their body belongs to them, and therefore, they can do what they want with it. Also, the clause of ‘no discrimination’ extended to the workplace and university during this wave. 3. Third wave? 1990s-­‐current This wave deals with modern feminism in which women demand their presence in each and every sphere of society simply because there are no women present. Violence against women will no longer be tolerated, and women who are victimized will no longer stay silent. For example, many women are starting to speak out against Bill Cosby. College campuses are implementing policies in order to protect women and give them rights. Some women will champion prostitution and pornography, saying it is their right and their rightful pay. They will argue that they should have the same respect as any other person, and that there is no shame in such acts. Another group of feminists will argue just as passionately against such a belief, saying it objectifies and demeans the body of women. This wave also presents with reproductive rights as well as issues dealing with family, work, and education. Feminism is the product of a certain time and place. It has certain principles, which we can agree with, as well as some principles we disagree with. The first wave movement is very Islamic; women were given these rights in Shariah Law. Other feminist movements are completely un-­‐Islamic, such as the promotion of prostitution and pornography. ISLAMIC FEMINISM The main premise is to achieve equality between men and women in all/most areas of life based on Qur’anic principles. Famous names: • Fatima Mernissi • Amina Wadud • Asma Barlas • Kecia Ali • Activists: Asra Nomani, Raheel Raza These authors are a failed enterprise indeed. There is no doubt about it. 40 If you read their writings, you will realize they are very intellectually shallow and devoid of merit from the Islamic paradigm. WHAT DOES THEIR METHODOLOGY RELY ON? 1. A new reading of the Quran • This reading is sometimes completely unprecedented and frequently linguistically untenable. 2. Typically, a rejection of hadith • One cannot legally claim men and women are equal while believing in hadith. All progressives in this case reject hadith. 3. Using ‘universal’ Qur’anic paradigms to reinterpret or eliminate other verses/hadith • They claim they themselves have, for the first time ever, come to the true/real understanding of the verse. • They appeal to emotions rather than intellect. 4. Claiming the God’s mercy/love/justice (or even Tawheed) could not allow for a particular interpretation • Amina Wadud says that to claim women are subservient to men is a kind of shirk and goes against Tawheed because Tawheed says that women are subservient to Allah Alone. • However, a man must obey the legitimate ruler, and the son must obey his mother. These are not kinds of shirk. 5. Emotional appeals to (many times legitimate) plight of women around the world 4.2 | Gender Roles in Islam What does Islam say about men and women? It is narrated in At-­‐Tirmidhi, that Umma Salama asked the Prophet (SAW), “O messenger of Allah! Allah has mentioned men in the Qur’an and praised their emigration, but how about women?” This is a type of feminism; so, when brothers deride such questions that Umm Salama asked, it is implicitly insulting the Mother of the Believers and the Prophet (SAW). 41 To answer her question, Allah (swt) revealed the following verse in Surah Ali-­‐Imran, 3:195 “And their Lord responded to them, "Never will I allow to be lost the work of [any] worker among you, whether male or female; you are of one another. So those who emigrated or were evicted from their homes or were harmed in My cause or fought or were killed -­‐ I will surely remove from them their misdeeds, and I will surely admit them to gardens beneath which rivers flow as reward from Allah, and Allah has with Him the best reward." Men and women are equal spiritually in the Eyes of Allah, and this is based on the Qur’an. The worth of a man is equal to the worth of a woman. A woman is not inferior in the Eyes of Allah merely because she is a woman. Both have equal access to Jannah, but what is required of them to enter Jannah may be different. “Whoever does an evil deed will not be recompensed except by the like thereof; but whoever does righteousness, whether male or female, while he is a believer -­‐ those will enter Paradise, being given provision therein without account.” Surah Ghafir, 40:40 42 “Whoever does righteousness, whether male or female, while he is a believer -­‐ We will surely cause him to live a good life, and We will surely give them their reward [in the Hereafter] according to the best of what they used to do.” Surah Al-­‐Nahl, 16:97 “Indeed, the Muslim men and Muslim women, the believing men and believing women, the obedient men and obedient women, the truthful men and truthful women, the patient men and patient women, the humble men and humble women, the charitable men and charitable women, the fasting men and fasting women, the men who guard their private parts and the women who do so, and the men who remember Allah often and the women who do so -­‐ for them Allah has prepared forgiveness and a great reward.” Surah Al-­‐Ahzab, 33:35 43 “The believing men and believing women are allies of one another. They enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong and establish prayer and give zakah and obey Allah and His Messenger. Those -­‐ Allah will have mercy upon them. Indeed, Allah is Exalted in Might and Wise.” Surah Al-­‐Tawbah, 9:71 In pre-­‐Islamic society, there were very few women’s rights. Islam empowered them with rights such as the right to inherit and own property. In the farewell khutbah, the Prophet (SAW) emphasized that women need to be treated well. This khutbah was only 5 paragraphs, and the Prophet (SAW) dedicated an entire paragraph for women. He told us to fear Allah with regards to your women, and that you made them halal by the Name of Allah, and Allah will ask you how you treated them. The Prophet (SAW) also stated in a hadith that the best of you are those who are good to their families, and I am the best to my family. He is telling us to follow his example. Yet, there are differences! Each gender has certain emotions, powers, and intellectual abilities. Therefore, it is illogical to assume that men and women have the exact same responsibilities. The faculties they are blessed with are different. In feminism, there is competition between the genders as women try to reach the benchmark of man. However, in Islam, there is no competition as the husband and wife are both on the same team. The fundamental concept of feminism argues that men and women are the same. However, there are differences, and Allah (swt) tells us in the Qur’an that the man is not like the woman. 44 “For men is a share of what the parents and close relatives leave, and for women is a share of what the parents and close relatives leave, be it little or much -­‐ an obligatory share.” Surah Al-­‐Nisa, 4:7 “And the male is not like the female.” Surah Ali-­‐Imran, 3:36 Perhaps the most explicit verse is: “”Men are in charge of women by [right of] what Allah has given one over the other and what they spend [for maintenance] from their wealth.” Surah An-­‐Nisa, 4:34 Men are qawwam over women The Arabic word qawwam is the plural of qa’im. The root of this word is from the verb ‘to stand’ (qaama). So, if men are standing and women are sitting, the husband is protecting, maintaining, and providing for her in front of Allah. Qa’im is the one in charge; therefore, the man has certain rights. How? Because Allah has preferred/blessed one (the man) over the other. For example Allah has blessed man with physical strength, the patience to toil in the fields, and height. The one who is stronger will be in charge. Men have to pay for rent and groceries while women do not. Women technically never have to earn a penny to take care of her needs because her father will take care of her initially. If the father dies, then her brother will take care of her. When she gets married, her husband will take care of her. 45 The Arabic word bima can have one of two meanings (or both meanings): 1) Some interpreted it to mean that the category of ‘men’ has certain privileges and blessings, and that the category of ‘women’ don’t (not individual men/women). According to this interpretation, the distinction and preference is inherent and natural (i.e. decreed by Allah through nature). It is a natural fact that can never change. Men are in charge of women because Allah blessed them with certain physical things that women don’t have. 2) Others claimed that the distinction was because Allah had mandated that a man should take the responsibility of providing for his wife, and that she is required to obey him in domestic matters. According to this interpretation, the distinction and preference is religious and mandated by Allah through Scripture. So, Allah has preferred men over women in terms of legal status due to religious reasons. Both opinions are plausible linguistically, textually, and rationally. “And upon women are also due rights, similar to the rights that are due by them [unto men], according to righteousness; and men have a degree (daraja) over them.” Surah Al-­‐Baqarah, verse 228 Bil ma’roof means that an issue is culturally determined. Men have one daraja over women (not spiritual, but legally). From an obedience perspective, you cannot have two people driving the same car. So, the men have a little bit more privilege over women, but they are not considered to be superior to them. The Shariah has ideals, but those ideals are not wajib. It is allowed on a case-­‐by-­‐case basis to renegotiate these ideals. Men and women’s roles in the Shariah are broadly defined – yet the Shariah allows for flexibility and overlap if the need arises. 46 Changing contexts and times do necessitate fine-­‐tuning the laws within the spectrum of permissibility. • Specifics of hijab o Fiqh of hijab: Shariah did not come with specific rules but rather with guidelines. The Shariah allows for many different types of hijab. Even in different societies there are different versions of hijab. For example, women wear the hijab one way in Saudi Arabia while women in Malaysia wear the hijab another way. It is not appropriate to claim that one type/style of hijab is the only correct one. Allah (swt) did not specify the texture or material of hijab, but rather He left it open and flexible while explaining what parts of the body need to be covered with loose clothing. • Specifics of gender interactions o Shariah did not specify how men and women should interact publicly. In Saudi Arabia, there are very strict prohibitions as all schools and public institutions are segregated. There are banks for men and banks for women. This is not haram, but it is not wajib. We cannot import that here in the U.S because it is impossible to completely segregate genders in the west, even in the masjid. The Shariah allows for different kinds of gender interaction. • Specifics of roles/responsibilities of husband and wife o Every couple can renegotiate what they want to do. If the woman is the breadwinner of the house, it does not abrogate the verse “men are qawwamun of women”. But psychologically, the man’s authority may diminish. • Fine-­‐tuning divorce laws o Shariah is explicit about inheritance laws; we cannot change these laws. Shariah allows for some flexibility in divorce law. For example, some divorces take place that leave the woman stranded with no monetary payment. In Shariah, the husband would agree to the mahr and she would return to her tribe, which would then take care of her. At those times, the women could always return to their tribe. o In 2015, there is no tribal system. Say a husband is married to his wife in India for 20 years. He says he wants to divorce her and find someone better, but he pays her only 1000 rupee of the mahr (which is about two and half bucks). The wife opposes, but the man says it is in accordance to the Shariah and that Allah will curse you if you go against the Laws of Allah! Sheikh Yasir Qadhi says we can fine tune this law and implement a culture that has a pre-­‐
nuptial agreement. It should be the cultural norm to include a pre-­‐nuptial agreement in the marriage contract. Fiqh means that we adopt to change. 47 •
Women’s active participation in society (masjid boards for example) o There are movements that discourage women from going to the masjid. In this society, telling a woman to stay at home instead of going to masjid is not practical nor is it beneficial. In the western society, they should attend the masjid because it is the best environment for them to be in and will protect their deen. Having a woman on the board helps the other board members understand issues from the sisters’ perspective. Shariah does not prevent a woman from serving on the board, and technically, a woman can even be the president of the masjid. However, most communities would not be very supportive of such a notion as it may cause problems. Conclusion: While it is clear that men and women are spiritually equal, there are gender-­‐
specific roles that men and women have been assigned in Islam. We must also realize that there is a spectrum of permissibility that individuals, couples, and society can agree upon and that the religion allows. Remember: Paradise lies under the feet of the mother, not the one who leads the Friday prayer! 4.3 | IS THERE SPACE FOR THE LGBTQ COMMUNITY IN ISLAM? LGBTQ: LESBIAN, GAY, BIGENDER, TRANSGENDER, QUEER History of modern LGBTQ movement: • Officially began in the Stonewall riots of 1969 in which New York police invaded a gay bar. This event created a counter lash in which gays wanted their own rights. • Formation of specific groups dedicated to the championing of LGBT acceptance. • Publication (in 1989) of After the Ball: How America Will Conquer Its Fear and Hatred of Gays in the 1990s. In this book, a six-­‐point plan of action was outlined: 1) Talk about gays and gayness as loudly and as often possible • Don’t hide, be proud to be gay and tell everyone you’re gay! 2) Portrays gays as victims, not aggressive challenger • Tell people you are the victims who being persecuted. 3) Give homosexual protectors a ‘just’ cause • Those who want to protect us are fighting for our freedoms because we are oppressed. It is a just cause and the protectors are heroes fighting against discrimination. 4) Make gays look good • All the time. Have them in movies playing the hero and cool characters. 48 5) Make the victimizers look bad • Made them look foolish, like bigots, people who are backward. 6) Solicit funds – get major donors/corporations to help financially support the above All of these 6 points have materialized. In the 1980s, there was public hostility to homosexuality. Key figures like Marguerite Thatcher spoke out against it, and she was applauded for it. In 2015, no politician can say such a thing. The Hayes code of 1930 made it illegal for Hollywood to show any nudity, licentiousness, or violence. It was in effect until the late 1960s, and it helped protect family values. • 1973: the American Psychiatric Association changed its views on same-­‐sex attractions, in a very controversial manner… o This book is like the Bible of worldwide psychiatry, and it is the standard book to diagnose mental diseases. Up until 1973, this book listed homosexuality as a mental disorder. In 1973, it no longer listed homosexuality as a mental disorder. o During the previous years, psychiatrists who were gay or being lobbied by gays started mailing pamphlets to all member of APA in an attempt to convince people to join the gay movement. The gay community to put pressure on the board of APA to remove homosexuality from its book. o The board decided that they would ask its members to vote whether they think homosexuality is a mental disorder or not. Since when is science conducted via a poll in which the majority vote decides? So, the vote was cast and around 60% voted that homosexuality should be removed. 40% said it is a mental disease. So, by a small margin, the APA removed homosexuality from its book. o This decision made it unethical and illegal for a psychiatric counselor to tell a homosexual that he has a problem. Such a person will lose his job. In America, licensed psychiatrists cannot tell a homosexual that he needs to find help/treatment for his disease. • 1986: first university department dedicated to Queer Studies is formed in NY o In the educational system, colleges started offering programs and classes about queer studies. Some professors will teach an entire curriculum about LGBT issues. • 1990s: mainstream TV shows promote homosexuality (e.g. Friends, Will and Grace, etc.) o These TV shows depict the gay characters as the coolest character. Anybody who opposes them is a fundamental bigot with foolish notions. 49 •
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o This greatly contrasts the era of the 50s and 60s in which homosexuals were always portrayed as evil perverts. They were never portrayed in a positive manner. And in general, sitcoms were much more modest in those times. In the I Love Lucy series, the two main characters are actually married in real life. Nevertheless, the sitcom never showed them in the same bed together even though they were fully clothed. 1993: “don’t ask don’t tell” policy was adopted for gays in the military. 2009: Harvard dedicates a permanent faculty position o Harvard, Princeton, and Yale were supposed to raise men of God so they could become ministers. If the male students were found with a woman off campus, they would be expelled. Times have changed so much that some colleges have an entire week dedicated to fahisha. Muslims and Same-­‐sex Issues As other faiths attempted to legitimize same sex unions, this influenced some Muslims as well. Some Muslims will try to justify homosexuality from the Qur’an. It is completely unprecedented. In 1987, in America, Al-­‐Fatiha was formed. It was a student group of Muslim homosexuals. In the mid 90s, they opened up the first queer masjid in New York. There are now 4-­‐5 masajid in America that publicly promotes the LGBT community. Scott Kugle’s Homosexuality in Islam Has anyone ever argued that same-­‐sex relations are halal? Surprisingly, quite a few have done so. The most famous is Scott Kugle in his Homosexuality in Islam (Oxford: Oneworld Press, 2010). Kugle tries to justify homosexuality by distorting the story of Lut (AS) in the Qur’an. For the Qur’anic story, Kugle says, “…Lot condemned his tribe for rape and aggression that happened to be male on male…the essential issue is aggressive use of sex as a weapon to reject the teachings of the Prophets, and express infidelity towards God (p. 72).” So, he argues that the Qur’an condemns the rape of homosexuals, not consensual loving sex. He bases this on the fact that the people came to Lut’s house and told him to hand over the angels in order to rape them. Kugle fails to take into account the verses in which describe Lut (AS) criticizes his people for consensual same sex, asking them, do you approach men with lust instead of women? For the hadith evidences, Kugle says, “As gay, lesbian and transgender Muslims assess the authenticity of hadith that are used against them, they raise a wider theological question, one that is key to Islamic reform around any issue. Are Muslims bound by their faith to accept hadith?...Of course, it is a difficult issue that confronts the reason, trust and 50 conscience of each Muslim to decide which particular reports to believe…(p. 126).” So, Kugle is saying that a hadith is authentic if your consciousness tells you it is correct. However, there is no Islam without hadith. Claiming that a hadith is authentic if your consciousness tells you it is correct is not the science of hadith. For the books of fiqh and laws of the Shariah, Kugle says, “If Muslims do not adapt to new circumstances by changing some rulings of the Shariah, then increasingly many will opt for secular solutions. They may hold that the Shariah need not be followed outside of the field of ritual norms of worship, or they may leave Islam altogether in frustration…[The] Islamic root of a doctrine of inalienable human rights allows Muslims in democratic states to argue that the secular human rights doctrine is not foreign to the Islamic tradition (p. 185).” So, Kugle is saying that the homosexual Muslims need to be accommodated for because they have inalienable Muslim rights. He is saying to forget the Shariah because secular laws are permissible and can replace Islamic laws. How about the argument that specific Arabic poems and incidents in history present an alternative picture? Since when does popular culture represent laws and moral norms? There is even more literature and history with regards to wine and drinking – does that mean it was considered morally acceptable? No one is denying that such people existed. In fact, in some societies, these people were tolerated more so than in current day Muslim countries. In some cultures, it is known and somewhat tolerated that men take on younger boys. Just because it exists in some cultures, it does not legalize it Islamically. Rulers may have tolerated it, but Islam does not. And since when has poetry become the benchmark of Islamic law? But why should we care what two people do in the privacy of their bedrooms? 1) In some sense, you are right, we don’t legally care… • If the act is done in private, it is between them and Allah (swt). In a non-­‐
Muslim land, we can’t really prevent such a thing. 2) Neither are we as a Muslim minority calling for laws that represent our point of view 3) Morally, however, we as Muslims believe certain acts are spiritually, and maybe even physically harmful. Therefore, society as a whole suffers if its individuals suffer… • Morally, we believe this act is sinful and immoral. Even this society does not allow you to take drugs behind closed doors, and such a person will go to jail. Drugs are not allowed because we have physical proof that drugs harm your body. When you take drugs and end up in the hospital, society must pay the bill. So, in order to avoid this fee, we put them in jail. • Likewise, same-­‐sex relations do indeed harm you. 51 Still, it’s just two people who consent to have a very intimate moment between them. Their feelings are different than yours. Don’t they have a right to act upon them? 1) Once again, let’s differentiate between legal prohibitions and ethical disapproval… • We are talking about ethics, not laws. Is the only criterion consent? So, would incest be considered legal if a brother and sister consent? Why is it illegal in society? It’s not about consent. 2) Logical conclusion: incest would be valid • In Germany, they allowed a daughter and father to cohabit and have relations with one another. The law decided that because it was consensual, it is acceptable. Is this where we are going? 3) Are all feelings justified in being expressed? (Adultery/infidelity, public nudity/sexuality, etc.) • Is it permissible to act upon every single urge? We don’t even allow children to do that as we prevent them from having candy all day. Law ethics control the desires and urges. If someone wants to publicly masturbate, will you allow it? What about stealing and burning? Obviously not because those urge needs to be curbed. The argument of ‘I have a right to act upon my urges’ becomes very hypocritical. Are you homophobic? Because homophobia is the new racism of our era. 1) Terms such as ‘homophobia’ need to be defined 2) One cannot compare sexuality with race • Being gay cannot be compared to being black or a minority since being gay is not predetermined by ones genes. You cannot hide your ethnicity, but you can hide your sexuality. 3) What if one was to substitute same-­‐sex feelings for other feelings? 4) One can feel ethical qualms about an action and still treat people nicely (e.g. people who drink alcohol) 5) Perhaps the opposite question should also be asked. Is it morally acceptable in your eyes to not approve of ‘alternative lifestyles’? Some may argue that certain people may have a biological inclination to being gay. But does genetic disposition to dictatorship justify brutal murder and massacre? Of course not. So, we cannot use this argument to justify homosexuality. The decisive factor in all of this is very simple: where do you derive morality and laws? Modern culture? This would preach that we derive our morality and laws from society. So, morality would change based on the majority whims. 52 “And if you obey most of those upon the earth, they will mislead you from the way of Allah. They follow not except assumption, and they are not but falsifying.” Surah Al-­‐
An’am, 6:116 “So to that [religion of Allah ] invite, [O Muhammad], and remain on a right course as you are commanded and do not follow their inclinations but say, "I have believed in what Allah has revealed of the Qur'an, and I have been commanded to do justice among you. Allah is our Lord and your Lord. For us are our deeds, and for you your deeds. There is no [need for] argument between us and you. Allah will bring us together, and to Him is the [final] destination." Surah Al-­‐Shura, 42:15 Morality is not dictated by the majority. If the majority of people think something is right or wrong, it does not truly make it right or wrong. In the 1800s, the majority of people thought black people should be slaves. Or do we derive our morality and laws from religion? Yes, from the text we believe to be Divine. So, morality comes from the One who knows what is best for us, the One who created us. 53 “Should not He Who has created know? And He is the Most Kind and Courteous (to His slaves) All-­‐Aware (of everything).” Surah Al-­‐Mulk, 67:14 Is there space for Muslims who are homosexuals in the masjid? In the last 20-­‐30 years, we have been extra harsh on brothers and sisters who have been struggling with same sex attraction. We don’t take their problems seriously even though their struggles are real. We cannot turn them away or be mean to them just because Allah is testing them. For them to feel a same-­‐sex attraction is not haram. It might be atypical and against the norms, but it is not sinful. Acting upon that attraction is a major sin, but it is not kufr. So, a homosexual can still be a Muslim. These individuals should not publicize the act but rather keep it private. Justifying the sin could potentially be kufr. 4.4 | LIBERALISM There is no agreed upon definition of liberalism, but one can say that it is a political philosophy that is founded on specific notions of individual liberty and equality. • It is individualistic o It prefers the individual over the majority/community • It aims to be egalitarian o Everyone is equal • It is universalist o It can apply everywhere • It presupposes meliorism o Human effort can make the world better Liberalism is currently the dominant political ideology of the Western World. FACTORS THAT CONTRIBUTED TO THE RISE OF LIBERALISM: 1) Decline of the European Feudal Order • Hereditary privileges were done away with. You are no longer locked in place based on your father’s position. Hereditary privileges held that if your father was king, then you become the king later. • Diving Right of Kings: Europe believed it was the Law of God that certain noble families could rule. Even if they wanted to have a coup, you would need to find another noble family to rule. 2) Weakening of the Catholic Church and the rise of Protestantism • Dozens of intra-­‐Christian wars and rising intolerance. o Religious values became civil wars, giving rise to secularism and liberalism. o The Muslim world never needed secularism because Islam teaches tolerance; even non-­‐Muslims can freely practice their faith. 54 •
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Questioning the role of Church in state affairs Religion was too messy and bloody Reformation movement effectively removed the power of religion from the public sphere o The Reformation was from a group of religious fanatics, which ironically lead to secularism. 3) Renaissance and the Scientific Revolution • Questioning age-­‐old religious concepts o Church no longer holds the sanctity that it used to • Darwin proposes theories that eliminates God from the picture o Eliminated the role of religion from the public sphere o We as Muslims never had this problem because we never clashed between religion and science. • Rise of Biblical Criticism • Role of religion becomes secondary All of these circumstances in addition to others allowed some key thinkers of that time period to challenge the status quo and put forth alternative ideas of government. Individuals such as Thomas Hobbes, John Locke (consider the ‘founder’ of liberalism), Montesquieu, Jean Jacques Rousseau, Adam Smith (considered the ‘founder’ of capitalism), John Stuart Mill, and others all helped shaped these notions. People enacted their own version of liberalism. For example, the French notion of liberalism was based on the Laissez Faire principle. In America, liberalism was based on the teachings of John Locke, which served as the foundation for the founding fathers. Just because liberalism worked for Europe, it doesn’t make it the best way for all people in the world. Some modern academics theorize that modern secularism and modern liberalism can be viewed as one sect of Christianity since it is based on Christian values. Liberalism and secularism are inventions of medieval Europe that depend on the values of the particular time and place in which they were born. They are based on a European Christian heritage. Asking if Islam is liberal or secular is just as illogical as asking, “Is Islam Christianity?”. They have their values, and Muslims have their own values. HYPOCRITICAL ASPECTS OF LIBERALISM Each and every point that liberalism claims to champion is hotly debated and contested. Each and every pillar of liberalism is hypocritical in all of its premises. The classical example is the freedom of religion and freedom of speech. We all know how hypocritical the west is in terms of these two aspects. For example, look at the blatant bigotry of Ben Carson. Because of the Bill of Rights, we as Muslims are protected religiously. In the U.S., they cannot ban the hijab or niqab. However, the same cannot be said in Europe. 55 The freedom of speech is also a hypocritical notion. In 13 countries of Europe including Denmark, Sweden, Germany, and Poland, you will go to jail if you mock the Holocaust, doubt its existence, or even say that less than 6 million died. David Irving was sent to jail for 1 1/2 years for a book in which he said the 6 million figure was inflated. Where is his freedom of speech? So you can’t mock the Holocaust, but you can mock the Prophet (SAW)? Such mocking is legal and is championed as freedom of speech. Even socially, we cannot say certain things or else we will be fired. Militia groups of the right wing (e.g. KKK) have literature and rhetoric that is blatantly militant. They have training camps in order to practice killing. In the Detroit area, a group of militia was arrested because they had pamphlets explaining how to kill FBI and how to defend themselves against the government. The judge threw out the case, defending their freedom of speech and rebuking the FBI. This contrasts some AlMaghrib students who were arrested for certain things they said online. There is a clear double standard when it comes to white militia and jihadi sympathetic kids. POSITIVES AND NEGATIVES OF LIBERALISM Liberalism is a philosophy that is a byproduct of the social, political, and religious milieu of late medieval Europe. While it has its positives, to assume that it and it alone is the only way to achieve a successful society is just as fundamentalist and intolerant as the previous systems that it claimed to oppose. Liberalism is not as liberalistic as it claims to be because its values are not consistent. The positives of liberalism for a Western Muslim 1) Typically offers more religious freedom than other lands. • At times, it offers more religious freedom than some Muslim lands. We can practice our faith as we see fit here it the west. 2) Religiosity in such environments is more genuine; not by habit. • Muslims living in the west can be very Islamically active. You feel like a better Muslim at times in a liberal environment when compared to a Muslim environment. In a Muslim environment, people pray and fast by habit. But in America, the only people who pray, fast, and come to the mosque are those who want to. Some would say that a religious Muslim is better here in the U.S. than in the Islamic countries that suffer from racism and xenophobia. We should not discredit the positives of liberalism. We have true brotherhood and sisterhood amongst ourselves in the west because we choose to be in Islamic environments such as the MSA at school or AlMaghrib seminars. 3) Possible to be a part of the system and influence it to some extent (be a part of the broader narrative instead of creating your own; allows society to accept you). • Liberalism can allow us to retain our identity since society allows differences. It allows you to be who you are. 56 But there are negatives as well: 1) Freedom for you means freedom for those very different than you! • For example, if gays support you as a Muslim, then why don’t you support them? 2) Some would argue there is religious compromise 3) Moral deterioration is inevitable • Living in this land, we become more desensitized to the fahisha, negatively impacting our own akhlaaq and family lives. When nudity becomes a standard in this society, intimacy in the bedroom changes. 4) Charge of ‘hypocrisy’ if we only use it for our own advantage and when we need to • Why are you using liberalism to defend your hijab but not nudity? 5) Ultimate change can never come from such a system • You can never promote modesty as a society from liberal values since such values allow you as an individual to decide what is modesty. You may be able to defend individuals who want to be modesty, but you cannot defend a society that wants to be modest. Liberalism favors individuals over societies. 6) Muslims’ own understanding of Islam and Islamic values will be ‘liberal’ • To what extent can we allow change to occur? Who will you take be your religious authority? Islamic values will become more ‘liberal’ (e.g. women leading Salah, gay masajid, etc.) 4.5 | CLASSIFYING MUSLIM RESPONSES WELCOME TO THE UNITED STATES OF VEGANOPOLIS – USV!!! It is an entire culture that accepts veganism as a necessary part of being ‘civilized’, and where the notion of slaughtering an animal or its meat is universally acknowledged to be something from the past. In the USV, eating meat is cruel, barbaric, medieval, and unethical. The people consider themselves to be superior to every other civilization because they don’t eat meat. They are the most progressive and modern civilization in mankind because they are vegan. The foreign policy of the USV is based on whether a country eats meat or not. The countries that eat meat are the backward nations. The USV will impose sanctions on them, invade them, and force veganism on them. Muslims immigrated to USV and secretly ate meat. Their children had to balance between the veganism that society upholds and their cultural ways of eating meat. How will the second generation of Muslims react? 57 PEOPLE WILL RESPOND IN DIFFERENT WAYS: 1) Rejection of Islam • Meet Salman! He says, “Islam cannot be the truth, because it clearly allows and even encourages the slaughter of animals!”. • The young man Salman is so convinced of the veganism of his land and the backward uncivilized mentality of eating meat that he simply cannot remain a Muslim anymore. • He publicly renounces his faith and writes a book mocking Islam. In his speeches, he will say that when he studied the Qur’an and Sunnah, he decided he simply couldn’t remain loyal to such a backward and barbaric way of life that permits the slaughter and eating of all cattle. • Salman will express his disgust, explaining how the Qur’an commands its followers to line up the animals and slaughter them after mentioning the name of God. He will then explain how the most authentic book of Sahih Bukhari narrates that the Prophet’s (SAW – which he does not say) favorite dish was the shoulder of a lamb and that the Prophet (SAW) used to command them to regularly slaughter animals. In fact, one their Holy days is the day of sacrificing animals. • He will then explain the books of Shariah and how some of their schools of law even allow the eating of coyotes and foxes. Some allow the eating of cats and dogs. • How can a religion that comes from God be so barbaric? How can a Prophet who is supposed to be the best man like to eat meat? Salman rejects Islam and becomes a multi-­‐billionaire. 2) Progressive Radical Reinterpretation of Islam • Meet Yasmin! “Well, Islam tolerated eating meat but its goal was indeed the eventual banning of animal slaughter. The “maqasid Shari’ah” (goals of the Shari’ah) clearly show that eating meat does not conform to the spirit of Islam”. • Yasmin and her group decide to remain Muslim, but they acquiesce to the dominant culture and come to the conclusion that eating meat is unethical. How can you remain faithful to Islam when it allows the eating of meat? Veganism is the way forward and eating meat is backward! • Yasmin becomes one of the leaders of progressive radical Islam to impose her own ideology onto the Qur’an while rejecting Sunnah completely. Yasmin says that she is proud to be Muslim. As for you people who claim that Islam allows the eating of meat, you are all wrong, and you have taken the Qur’an out of context. • She will argue that since the Qur’an was reveled for all times and all places, it can be re-­‐interpreted in a completely different manner! You can’t adopt the opinion from 1000 years earlier and implement it in our current times. Yasmin will explain how during the time of Qur’anic revelation, people were drinking the blood of animals and eating dead carcasses! The Qur’an came to 58 •
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limit such acts and ultimately turn people into vegans! This is the “maqasid Shari’ah” (she throws in an Arabic word without knowing its meaning). Yasmin goes on to explain how the hadith that “Moslems” say cannot be authenticated. We don’t even know if they are true! The Prophet (SAW – which she does not say) was a vegan himself for most of his life. She will quote the hadith that she likes and finds advantageous for her argument, a hadith in the most authentic book. (Yasmin will reject this book, but she happens to accept this one particular hadith). In this hadith, the wife of the Prophet (SAW) stated that SIX MONTHS would pass without the fire being lit. CLEARLY, the bulk of his cuisine was vegan! (When there is a will there is a way). Yasmin then finds the opinions that somewhat support her. She states that the Hanafi school was very restrictive and didn’t allow for any meat except 2-­‐
3 kinds. She will take the Hanafi opinion and extrapolate it to such an extent that it is practically one step away from veganism. She will than explain how the hadith tradition supports veganism. In their most authentic books (which she rejects), the Prophet (SAW) commanded the kind treatment of animals. He soothed the animal that was crying and asked what was wrong. The animal said that its owner abuses and beats him. The Prophet (SAW) disapproved of these actions, so how can he possibly allow for the killing and eating of animals!? 3) Traditionalist Conservatism • Meet Abdullah! He says, “Eating biryani (or kebabs) is an established part of Islam and in order to be Muslims we must preserve it”. • Abdullah loves meat, especially biryani. He loves it too much to let it go. He wanted to preserve the meat-­‐eating heritage of his forefathers, and he disdained the USV even though his grades and level of education was superior to those of the people of USV. • His rebellious nature made him look down upon the USV. He took the cultural tradition of his family and culture as an act of worship itself. • His friend Ahmed wants rice and lamb instead of biryani while others want couscous and chicken. While the different meat-­‐eating groups tolerated one another, they did not tolerate bean-­‐eating burrito groups because that is what the kuffaar eat! The Sunnah of the Indians in 1850 is the real Sunnah! • Abdullah becomes a counter reaction to popular culture. What was considered pure culture (e.g. eating biryani) becomes Islam itself. So, anyone who does not eat biryani becomes a progressive modernist and therefore a threat to the Ummah. It is MY way and the way of my forefathers; otherwise, you don’t belong with me. • Abdullah has some isolationist ideologies of migrating to meat-­‐eating only lands. Other people like Abdullah want to make biryani a national food item. Others became enraged radicals who destroy and burn vegetable farms; they also sacrifice animals in public and then run away. 59 4) Moderate Reform • Meet Ali! He says, “Eating meat is not a necessary part of Islam; and there is no doubt that elements of our culture should be modified (e.g. humane treatment, methods of slaughtering, etc.). It is also undeniable that consuming more fruits and vegetables is indeed healthy. So, we should try to take the good of USV culture and modify some elements of our ancestral culture, while remaining true to the Scriptures of Islam”. • This group attempts to historize both the dominant culture of USV and the conservatism of Abdullah’s group. In other words, rather than just agree that veganism is the only correct lifestyle (“Rejection of Islam” and “Progressive Radical Reinterpretation of Islam” group) or flat out reject veganism (“Traditional Conservatism” group), this group contextualizes veganism. • They understand that even though veganism did not exist in pre-­‐modernity, not everything about it is haram. They raise questions such as: Is it possible to be vegan and a Muslim at the same time? Are there any valid points behind veganism? • They try to eliminate the emotional aspect of the argument while explaining that eating meat is not a fundamental aspect of Islam. It is possible to have sincerity and taqwa while abstaining from the eating of meat. You can still follow the laws of the land while remaining a loyal Muslim. • Ali and others in this group tell the Muslims that if the USV merely frowns upon eating meat, they should sacrifice the animals in private and eat the meat in private. But if the USV has officially made such acts illegal, then maybe the Muslims should just give it up since eating meat is not an obligation is Islam. • This group will argue that veganism has some positive aspects such as leading a healthier lifestyle and pointing out the cruel slaughterhouses. Therefore, we should not be so dismissive of the entire concept. Just because my father did not eat a bean-­‐burrito (the staple food of USV), it doesn’t mean I can’t. • This group is critical of both the modern culture and the Islamic culture of the parents. They look back at their books to find the true teachings of Islam in order to analyze the possible compatibility with the dominant culture of USV. • The groups listed above will always criticize Ali’s group. In this hypothetical scenario, veganism represents the current issues we face: feminism, gender equality, gender roles, and LGBT. 60 5.1 | INTRODUCING THE NATION STATE AND CITIZENSHIP Nationalism and the division of the world into nation-­‐states is a relatively modern phenomenon. In fact, it could only have emerged in a modern world, where: • Languages become more predominant in a region because of print and paper o Languages were standardized by printing press • Unified authority becomes easier to manage larger groups o Governments are controlling larger and large groups • Industrial changes breaks class structure o E.g. Railroads The beginning of fixed and static borders is typically dated to the Treaty of Westphalia of 1648 in which European entities agreed upon specific boundaries. Before this time, solid borders did not exist since the status quo was more or less war. In the Western world, both the American and French Revolutions helped popularize the idea of ‘nation’. You were loyal to the country and dynasty. The British anthem is “God save the Queen”, not “God save the Country”. King Louis XVI was executed by revolutionaries under the motto “Vive la Republique!”. Even the king’s sanctity was lost in order to protect the country. Ironically, in the Eastern world, such theories generally arose from within an anti-­‐colonial context (e.g. ‘Indian’ uprisings against the British – but there was not a concept of a unified ‘India’ before the British!). One extreme of Muslims will say that nationalism is haram and ask questions like, how can you say you are proud to be Pakistani? The other extreme of Muslims will say, I am Pakistani first and Muslim second. This level of nationalism, also referred to as jingoism, is a level of nationalism that borders on paranoia. The loyalty to the nation becomes a type of religion in which you can never criticize the nation. Both World Wars solidified the birth of modern nation states since the Ottomans lost, and the allied forces took over the Middle East. Nation states are relatively modern phenomena, and even now, change is continual. Trivia: What is the ‘newest’ country in the world? And how old is it? The newest country in world is South Sudan, which was formed in 2011. How can you be nationalistic about your country when you yourself are older than the country? 61 There are many types of nationalism • Ethnic nationalism (Germany in the 1930s) o You had to be of Aryan race from the particular Nordic stock to be considered a proper German. This mentality led to Nazism. • Integral nationalism (Italy under fascist rule) • Religious nationalism (Israel) o If you are a Jew, you can automatically apply for Israeli citizenship. • Civic nationalism (America) o Diverse communities come together, and they all agree on the betterment of their civil society. But there is always overlap between these types of nationalism. You never have a pure form of nationalism – the Tea Party of America is an example. Even thought nationalism is the status quo of the entire world, it does have its critics. One of the most famous critics is Benedict Anderson who wrote his classic Imagine Communities (published 1983). He argues that the nation state is an imaginary political community; a nation must falsely have the notion that it is unique and different from other nations. Such a nation will draw imaginary boundaries on humanly drawn maps to establish its legitimacy. (We realize that stepping from America to Canada is merely stepping over an imaginary line that doesn’t actually exist. It was purchased/negotiated through the Louisiana treaty). Benedict states that people simply agree they are part of an imaginary country and that the concept of “nation state” is merely a figment of imagination. When we analyze the term “American Values”, we find it strikingly similar to “Canadian Values”. Both set of values emphasize hard work, civic duty, and honesty. Do we think any other country upholds slavery and corruption? Even North Korea shouts out freedom, civic duty, and loyalty. It is the interpretation of freedom that differs from one country to another. Comparison between various other philosophies of rule: 1) Tribes a. Definition • A social system based on blood relationship in which all members of the tribe share a common ancestor. • For example, Malik ibn Nathar is the forefather of the Quraish. b. Origins (when and how did it begin?) • Tribalism is the most common and earliest form of society that we know of. It is the oldest form of political rule. We know it very well because it was upheld in the times of Jahilliyah. • It was the standard way of defining unity in Islamic history, and recently, it has fallen into misuse. 62 c. Founding Myths/Conception (who made it ‘sacred’ and how are they viewed?) • The one who founded a certain tribe was made into a legendary hero. Stories exaggerated the truth about his bravery. • For example, the Quraish were always praised as the ones who conquered. Their stories greatly emphasized the miracles of Abdul Muttaleb since he discovered the Zamzam well. • The tribe and the hierarchy of the tribe are sacred. d. The honor of serving and dying for… • Men were encouraged (through propaganda) to fight for their tribe and defend its honor. Bravery was rewarded, as men could become the leader/chief of the tribe. If they died in battle, they would be immortalized in poetry. e. What is common between members? • Blood, sometimes language and culture f. How do you treat ‘the other’? • The Quraish would fully adopt a child and say that the child was their biological child. At-­‐tabanni is the Arabic word for adoption. • Mawla refers to those with second-­‐class status because they are not a Quraishi; therefore, such an individual would never have power or authority. • Abdullah bin Mas’ood was not a Quraishi and thus lived as a second-­‐class citizen. This was a kind of discrimination. g. The punishment for ‘breaking away’ • In the Jahilliyah society, leaving the tribe was almost impossible because the individual had no where to find refuge. In very rare occurrences when a person left the tribe, he would be considered a traitor with no value to his life. • The Prophet (SAW) was criticized because he preached against the Arab tribal hierarchy since destroying the stability of the tribe was considered treason. h. Who is in charge? What system is used to judge? • The oldest and bravest people. • For example, Abdul Muttaleb was in charge of the Quraish tribe. 63 2) Nation-­‐state a. Definition • A system in which all the people belong to the same geographic area. b. Origins (when and how did it begin?) • It is a very recent phenomenon that was greatly pronounced just 100-­‐130 years ago. • The Europeans, especially the Germans, were the first to preach their superiority because they belonged to a certain state in the pre-­‐WWI era. This also occurred in Italy with the rise of Fascism. c. Founding Myths/Conception (who made it ‘sacred’ and how are they viewed?) • People who founded the nation state were given sacred status. We are taught their biographies, which are half-­‐myth, half-­‐truth. • The scandalous and dishonorable acts are conveniently swept under the rug concerning these figures. For examples, the fact that some of the founding fathers raped their slave women is ignored as we focus more on their contribution to forming the nation state. • Myths depict them as “super human”, but in reality, they are similar to the masses of people who have negative qualities. d. The honor of serving and dying for… • Uncle Sam wants you to join the army and the marines. Advertisements depict serving the nation state as glamorous since you get to jump off helicopters and become a real man. • Don’t ever dare to ridicule the troops. They are “sacred” and beyond ridicule. • It is kufr to the nation state if you mock the army personnel. You can never question them. • If the troops die in battle, their caskets are draped in a special flag, flown in special plane, and taken to special ceremonies. The deceased soldier receives medal after medal as he is buried with a 21-­‐gun salute and has his name engraved in a marble wall. What good will these things do for the person who has died? e. What is common between members? • Passport • One realizes that the language can differ. For example, in Switzerland, there are natives that only speak French, German, or Swiss. Also, India has about 25 different languages. • Culture can also differ between members, as does ethnicity. • At times, geography doesn’t even combine them. 64 f. How do you treat ‘the other’? • You don’t become a member of the nation state. Rather, it depends on where your mother gave birth to you. • If you are born in the nation state, you have achieved the highest level. • The second level is for the immigrants who took the oath ceremony. However, they are always afraid their citizenship will be revoked due to an error in the application. • Those who obtain a visa or green card achieve the third level. These people pay taxes but can’t vote. • There remains some discrimination to ‘the other’. For example, an American may be subtly discriminated against in England if he/she s forced to wait in line for an event while those from the European Union get to skip the line. g. The punishment for ‘breaking away’ • Betrayal and treason are some of the worst crimes imaginable, and the nation state will kill you for such acts. • For example, the Rosenbergs were caught stealing documents and selling them to the Soviets. The judge at the trial told them that they have committed a crime worst than murder. Selling pieces of paper for money is worst than murder? Look at how sacred the nation state has become. h. Who is in charge? What system is used to judge? • A group of human beings whose self interest, greed, and corruption will always clash with the interest of the nation. • Politicians are always vacillating between fattening their own pockets and helping their country. • Money purchases the loyalty of politicians 3) Ummah a. Definition • A system in which we all belong to Islam. b. Origins (when and how did it begin?) • It is the earliest form of political rule because every Prophet had a form of dominance/rule. • However, we will say that it goes back to Prophet Muhammad (SAW). Allah (swt) tells us that He sent the Rasul as a mercy to the world (rahmatan lil alameen). c. Founding Myths/Conception (who made it ‘sacred’ and how are they viewed?) • There are no myths in this system. Rather, it is all fact. And we praise Allah (swt) for this. 65 d. The honor of serving and dying for… • This refers to legitimate jihad fi sabeel illah. • We are saved from the fitnah and torment of the grave. • We have the honor of entering Jannah ghaira hisaab (without account). • The ultimate honor and reward is from Allah (swt). e. What is common between members? • Members believe in the same God, Prophet, Book, religion, Law of code, sacred language of Qur’an, history of actual glory, heritage, Qiblah, and ritual of Hajj. • We don’t share the same ethnicity or common language. f. How do you treat ‘the other’? • Muslims are first-­‐class. • The People of the Book are second-­‐class. They have to pay more taxes, and they have less political rights. • However, the free upgrade is available at anytime to whosoever pleases to move up to first-­‐class. • Each person has a free will in regards to accepting or rejecting the shahada. It is each person’s personal decision whether he or she is part of the system or not. g. The punishment for ‘breaking away’ • Treason and blasphemy have the same exact law as treason and blasphemy in the nation state. • The murtadd (apostate) suffers the death penalty. h. Who is in charge? What system is used to judge? • The Khalifah. However, there is a basic rubric to establish the legitimacy of the Khalifah depending on how faithful he is to the Law of Allah. • You have a right to eliminate the Khalifah when he goes against Shariah In essence, the Islamic notions of wala’ make more logical and rational sense than either tribalism or loyalties to the nation state. From a purely Islamic point of view, being a member of a nation state is halal. The Prophet (SAW) was a member of the Quraish, but he didn’t make the Quraish tribe his primary identity. Rather, his primary identity was Muslim. After you establish your primary identity as Muslim, you can be Quraishi, Pakistani, etc. To say that being a member of a nation state is wajib is extreme nationalism, and this is haram. But to completely dismiss the notion of belonging to a nation state is unreasonable. 66 Out ultimate loyalty is always to Allah (swt). Our nation state identity should never compromise our deen. America is not a god. So, loyalty to America is not loyalty to a god. It is halal to be an American. 5.2 | THE AMERICAN MUSLIM EXPERIENCE MUSLIMS LIVING AS MINORITIES IN KAAFIR LANDS Historically, Muslims have had a few opportunities to live as minorities in kaafir majority lands. Depending on those experiences, people’s fatwas have changed. Let us analyze 3 examples: 1. Muslims of Andalucia after recapture (al-­‐Wansharisi’s harsh fatwa) a. After the Reconquista (recapture) of Andalusia, the Spaniards treated the Muslims as second-­‐class citizens. The rulers initially promised them freedom, but Muslims were later told they cannot pray or practice their religion, and that they must convert. b. Some Muslims fled to North Africa while hundreds of thousands of Muslims decided to convert to Christianity because leaving was too difficult. A large percentage of them pretended to convert, but they were truly Muslim at heart. c. Muslims requested fatwas from the leading Moroccan scholars. One of the greatest scholars of that time was Alwan Shareesy who followed the Maliki madh-­‐hab. His position was crystal clear in which he says that the Muslims cannot stay and must leave. Even for the one who wanted to stay in order to gain Islamic knowledge could not stay. d. Alwan was correct in his prediction that times would change and the Spaniard’s promises would prove false. He was correct because later on, the Muslims lost their Islam. Groups like ISIS say Muslims must leave a kaafir country, quoting the fatwa of Alwan. However, the context dictates the opinion. 2. Muslims of India after the collapse of the Mughals in 1857 a. Mughals massacred entire villages of Muslims. They would find a man on the street and pull down his pants to see if he was circumcised. If he were circumcised, they would kill him. b. British troops surrounded the palace of the last Mughal Emperor and arrested him for treason to their Queen. So, he was forced to abdicate. c. When the last of the Mughals died in Nepal, the British took over India. The Muslims of India asked the scholars around the Muslim world what they should do. Must we immigrate? The British have promised us Shariah courts and Muslim judges. d. The British promised them religious freedom under the condition of loyal to the Queen. The majority of the scholars said that it is permissible for the 67 Muslims to stay in India under these conditions. Hardly any Indian Muslims migrated. 3. Muslims of Algeria after the French invasion of 1830 a. When Napoleon’s success spread, the French decided they had a right to colonize the Muslim world. So, they invaded Algeria and ruled over it from 1830-­‐1961, French ruled over Algeria. b. The French were very brutal and callous when they invaded as they massacred people and tried to suppress the Muslims. They were extremely greedy and imposed heavy taxes on them. The Muslims of Algeria asked the scholars for direction. It was not very black and white since it was their land. c. One camp of the pragmatics declared that since the French won and because they are stronger, the Muslims cannot fight them. Rather, the Muslims must compromise with them to guarantee their religious rights, working within the system to cooperate with French officials. d. The other camp of idealists said they would never live under the French even if they all die fighting, even if they killed them all. Omar Al-­‐Mukhtar followed this opinion; he and his followers fought until the end, and they were all killed. e. So, there was a difference of opinion. We cannot say one is right and one is wrong. Both had its pros and cons. The division of lands was something various madh-­‐habs did differently, taking their socio-­‐
political world into account. Simplistic schemes of world divisions need to be updated. Perhaps even new categories need to be found. No one has the ultimate solution for Muslims living in America. We will have to navigate through our Muslim American landscape in a unique manner in an attempt to find the best option. The vast majority of scholars in our times say that it is permissible for Muslims to live in a western democracy with following conditions. THE STORY OF FUDAYK Fudayk accepted Islam during the time of the Prophet (SAW), but his entire tribe remained non-­‐Muslim. Someone told him that he had to make hijrah to Medinah in order to be a ‘real’ Muslim. He was so troubled, that he travelled all the way to Medinah to ask the Prophet (SAW) directly about the issue. He said, “O messenger of Allah! There are people claiming that whoever does not emigrate will come to ruin.” The Prophet (SAW) replied, “O Fudayk, establish the prayer, avoid bad deeds, and live with your people wherever you like.” [Sahih Ibn Hibban (4861), Sunan of al-­‐Bayhaqi, and others]. This hadith clearly demonstrates that if people are able to establish the basics of Islam, it is permissible for them to live wherever they want in the world. Given the modern dynamics 68 of our world, this hadith is especially applicable. There is no land that will absorb all the Muslims. It is un-­‐Islamic and naïve to say all Muslims must migrate to a Muslim land. So, the claim of ISIS that all Muslims must migrate to a Muslim land is incorrect. THE STORY OF HUDHAYFAH B. AL-­‐YAMAN Hudhayfah and his father were both Ansari and therefore Madani (not Mecci). They were in Mecca doing Umrah when the Prophet (SAW) began the Battle of Badr. The Quraish captured and imprisoned both Hudhayfah and his father, saying they would not be set free because they would fight against us with the other Muslims. Yaman and his son promised that they only want to go back to Madinah. They both promised not to fight them, taking a solemn oath in front of the Ka’bah. Upon returning to Medinah, they explained the situation to the Prophet (SAW) who then commanded them to fulfill their promise. So, he forbade them from fighting in the Battle of Badr, saying, “We shall fulfill their treaties with you, and rely on Allah against them!”. From this hadith, we learn that it is permissible to have a treaty /promise /covenant /passport, which gives you certain rights and restrictions even if it is at the expense of other aspects. The visa is a contract, and you are not allowed to break an oath or a promise; it is un-­‐Islamic to be treacherous. It is haram to be an American citizen or obtain a visa and then go against that visa because that is false promise and a violation of the oath. If you feel so passionately about the situation, then you should go live in another land and take its citizenship. Hudhayfah made a visa with Quraish, and the Prophet (SAW) told him not to fight in the Battle of Badr. Any Muslim who is given protection by another non-­‐Muslim country must respect the conditions of that protection. If he does violate the conditions (e.g. stealing, plunder, etc.), the ideal Khalifah must return the renegade to the land of the kuffar. A criminal is a criminal. “And if they (another group of Muslims) ask you for help, in the name of the religion, then you must help them, unless it be against a group with whom you have a treaty in place.” Surah al-­‐Anfal, 8:72. Mainstream clerics have, therefore, permitted the living of Muslims in non-­‐Muslim lands and under non-­‐Muslim rule, provided they have the freedom to practice their faith. 69 Muslims can make the niyyah that their taxes are going to roads or schools, not for the military. SO HOW DO MUSLIMS NAVIGATE ‘THE SYSTEM’? Andrew March (a non-­‐Muslim) is an expert on Muslim minorities, and he has given several models that are in use: 1. The Thin Social Contract Model • Standard position of most clerics (Qaradawi, Bin Bayyah, etc.) • The Muslims views themselves as being loyal alien resident of the governing system. They are legally obliged to uphold its laws because Shariah says we must honor our promises. • So, if they have a passport or visa, they must remain loyal and avoid treachery. The Muslims must abide by the law to the greatest extent possible. 2. The Internal Retreat Model • Popular amongst ultra-­‐conservative groups • Subset of the first model with the caveat that you withdraw, cut off ties with the community, and form your own bubble. These steps help to maximize your own system and spread your own ethics and values. • Prevalent amongst the Amish in addition to the Mormons who left for Utah • Due to the insular nature, life becomes extremely difficult. No matter how insular you are, there must be connections with the broader community. o E.g. Bubble of masjid: but parents and kids still go to work and school. Therefore, they can import certain concepts into the masjid. • Many people practice this model at the family level 3. The Self-­‐Governance Model • Not possible in America; practical in one or two countries • Each community governs itself in accordance to which laws the government allows it to delegate: family law, inheritance law, marriage issues, etc. • This model is actually an Islamic ideal. • British India perfected this model, and modern India is almost acting upon such ideals too. • This model can be seen in modern Israel in which the self-­‐governance is the law of the land 4. The Temporary Modus Vivendi Model • Typically espoused by extremely political and/or radical groups • They agree to disagree • Radical groups such as Hizb at-­‐Tahri argue they are only temporarily living in a non-­‐Muslim land, and they will soon take over when the Khalifah gains power • Never in Islamic history has a Muslim minority become a majority through force. This has only happened through peaceful conversion 70 o E.g. Indonesia and Malaysia: armies did not invade these countries. Islam became established voluntarily 5. The Thicker Social Contract Model • Most Muslims active in politics /media or sympathetic to those who are • Revised version of the Thin Social Contract Model • Religious constituents agree that the existing government is not divine; however, it remains just in most aspects and therefore can be fully endorsed o For example, suppose a Muslim is murdered. Islamically, the one who committed the crime is executed. Here in the U.S., most murder cases do not reach execution. o So, should the Muslim family sue in the secular court and try to get the maximum jail time for the criminal? o Or, should they just forget about it since the Shariah is not going to be established? o Even though the American government does not enforce Shariah, the family will feel passionate about its system in an attempt to achieve the closest thing to justice and maximum jail time. CONCLUSION Feeling doubts is natural, and each one of us feels doubt at some times. If kept within control, it can turn into faith. Story of Ibrahim Ibrahim (AS) asked Allah (swt) to show him how He resurrects the dead. Ibrahim was not asking out of doubt or rejection but rather to reassure his faith. The Prophet (SAW) said that we have more right to have doubt than Ibrahim. Umar b. al-­‐Khattab and Hudaybiyya Umar (RA) overreacted in this moment. He asked the Prophet (SAW), aren’t you the Prophet? The Prophet (SAW) replied, yes. Umar then asked, aren’t we upon truth? He replied, yes. Umar asked, aren’t they upon falsehood? He replied, yes. Umar asked, then why are we humiliating ourselves in front of them? Umar himself was feeling a kind of a doubt. He was not rejecting the truth, but he wanted to understand the situation better. Someone once said to the Prophet (SAW), O messenger of Allah! Sometimes thoughts come to my mind. Were I to be shredded into bits, it would be more beloved to me than to say those thoughts, and I am so angry and ashamed of myself that I would rather be cut into pieces than say them. The Prophet (SAW) then said, that is the ESSENCE of Iman!! How? The Prophet (SAW) was not referring to the thoughts themselves but rather feeling guilty about those thoughts. To feel that bad about thoughts of kufr is the essence of Iman! Shaytan throws thoughts/waswas into our minds. We all have these waswas about sins, desires, sensual pleasure, drugs, alcohol, women, etc. Sometimes those waswas are about 71 Allah and His messenger (SAW), Islam, and the Qur’an. They are not from our heart but from Shaytan. If we feel guilty, that is the essence of faith. WHAT TO DO? Understand the overlapping roles of the intellect, and spirituality, and belief. Basic premise of Islam: every part of your being (logic, rational intellect, fitrah, Prophets, Qu’ran)…all of it, causes you to believe that the message is true. But the message also has matters that are supra ration (soul, angels, Heaven, Hell, afterlife, etc.) or of ambiguous rationality (Islamic laws), or, in very rare instance, of dubious rationality (Theory of Evolution). Sometimes even qualified scholars don’t understand certain aspects of Islam. But they believe in Allah’s knowledge, mercy, and wisdom. They believe in Muhammad (SAW) and the Qur’an. Given that everything else makes sense, and that the alternatives are nonsensical and illogical, belief in Islam therefore, at times, requires a logical and spiritually fulfilling ‘leap of faith’, and that is the iman bi’l-­‐ghayb that is always praised in the Qur’an. Western culture thinks rationality will solve all the world’s problems. However, logic and reason is only valid in one sphere. There are other spheres like common sense, emotion, and fitrah which can overlap with logic/reason to guide one to Islam. We cannot rationalize each and every matter because there are things beyond the realm of reason. The soul, ghayb, and angels cannot be proven scientifically because science has a limited role. THE HADITH OF DOUBTS: The Prophet (SAW) said: “The people will keep on questioning until it will be asked, ‘This was created by Allah, but who created Allah?’ Whoever experiences any of that, let him say, ‘I believe in Allah and His Messengers.’ And let him seek refuge with Allah and stop [this line of reasoning].” Narrated by Muslim in his Sahih. Benefits from this hadith: • The notion that ‘more rational inquiry is always better’ is not itself rational, nor do those who claim to champion it consistently follow it. o You don’t question each and every aspect of your life since you take things for granted. The same holds for religion. Once you know it is true, take it for granted. • Questions should be useful and pertinent and asked of those who know. o Too many questions can be harmful o Not every question has a logical answer 72 Seek affirmation through what you know (‘I believe in Allah and His Messengers’) for what you don’t know o So, when you come across something you don’t understand, refer it to something you DO understand. o You affirm what you know (Allah and His Messenger) to counter that which you don’t know • Rationality has its limits, and delving beyond those limits will lead to irrational answers (‘…and stop!’). o We need to stop thinking about issues that will bring doubt to us and ultimately harm us. o We need to busy ourselves with Qur’an, dhikr, and du’a. • The power of du’a (‘…let him seek refuge in Allah’) o When we find ourselves in doubt, we need to immediately turn to Allah (swt) and seek His refuge o The Prophet (SAW) would say more than 50 times everyday, “Guide us to the Straight Path” in his Salah Surah Yunus, an early Makkah revelation, concludes its powerful message as follows: •
73 “Say, [O Muhammad], "O mankind! If you are in doubt as to my religion -­‐ then I do not worship those which you worship besides Allah. Rather, I worship the One who shall cause you to die! And I have been commanded to be of the believers. So direct your face toward the religion, inclining to truth, and never be of those who associate others with Allah…Say, "O mankind, the truth has come to you from your Lord, so whoever is guided is only guided for the benefit of his soul, and whoever goes astray only goes astray in violation against it. And I am not placed in charge over you! And follow what has been revealed to you, and be patient until the Decree of Allah comes. And He is the best of all judges.” Surah Yunus, 10:104-­‐105, 108-­‐109 This Surah was an early Meccan Surah that discusses the message of the Prophet (SAW), which admonished the Quraish. The end is very simple and clear as Allah (swt) says that a true Muslim will believe and act upon Tawheed even if others of mankind have doubts about Islam. The doubts mankind harbors about Islam will never shake the Iman of the true believers or cause them to deviate from the Straight Path. When people raise so many questions about Islam, we need to simple ask ourselves one question: what will happen to me when I die? We realize that we must believe in Allah (swt) because He is the one who will cause us to die. The Prophet (SAW) is saying in the above ayahs, I worship the One who will take your soul! When Allah (swt) says, “So direct your face to the true religion”, He is telling us to busy ourselves in acts of ibadah because it remains one of the best ways to eliminate doubt. When we immerse ourselves in the pleasure of worshipping Allah, He will dispel these doubts from our mind. The surah concludes “O mankind! Verily, the truth has come to you from you Lord. So whoever is guided is only guided for the benefit of his soul, and whoever goes astray only goes astray in violation against it”. So, when these atheists and agnostics argue with you, it is truly their choice if they want to be guided. If they are misguided, they only harm themselves, not you. “And I am not placed in charge over you!” means that it is not my business to protect you. That is only your own business. A Muslim must be patient until the decree of Allah comes and remember that Allah is the most just of the judges. 74 

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