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Make that the new ONE TRUE Religion.

A Compass That Can Clash With Modern Life

Keeping in mind the caveat that one must always be careful with stories of this nature, since it almost certainly involves someone translating what was really said into English, and we all know how accurate and unbiased the MSM has been on that account. Did some of the 19′ers get interviewed for this? See the comment on the ahadîth, ya’ani, b/c of course we Moslems don’t have the methodology, the education, the history to classify and verify our own religious sources. Do you know why? Because we need modernity. We need Western academic techniques. Anything else is not reliable. Our way of Isnad is outdated because (a) it’s an ancient thing and (b) it didn’t originate in Cambridge (either one).

“Modernity” (whatever that is), Universalism, Evolution, Science — these are the new One True Ways, the West the new Holy Lands. I don’t mind when Christians or Muslims say “One True Way.” I don’t mind when Universalists or any one advocating the above mentioned say it either. What I do mind is that Christians, Muslims, and others are denigrated, mocked, and despised (oddly, in the name of “tolerance”) when they say it, but people who engage in “One Way and Only One Way” rhetoric in the name of Universalism or whatever are encouraged and praised. It has been my personal experience that people tend to be True Believers in something. If it isn’t deity and religion, it’s science, or politics, or even something like the Goth subculture or music or film or NASCAR or whatever. Have you ever met a True Believer in music? These guys can be more intolerant and fanatic than most so-called “religious fundamentalists.”

In any case, my guiding philosophy on these sorts of debates is “lakum diynakum wa liya diyn.” To you your way, to me mine. I think if more people — of any stripe — adopted this attitude, things might go a lot easier.

They say Islam must adapt to modernity. They say that Islam must answer the “challenge of modernity.” I personally think this is nonsense. It is “modernity” that must answer the challenge of Islam. Islam has posed the challenge, not our times. The challenge is for all people in all lands in all times. Answer it or don’t. Rather, answer it today or answer it in the future, but eventually, according to the Qur’an, we will all answer.

In any case, it would be helpful to know what we’re calling modern and what we’re calling something else. I don’t see much conflict in being a practicing, even “Traditional Muslim” in today’s world. My own long-running website is called Modern Muslima. There are obstacles to overcome, personal challenges, but if you can find me anyone of any religion or persuasion that doesn’t have obstacles to overcome and challenges to negotiate in today’s world (or yesterday’s, or tomorrow’s), I’d like to hear about it. I think that’s called life. Honestly, I’m not even sure where this article is showing that there is a “clash” between these Fatawa and modern life, unless by “modern” they are referring to some of the modernist methodologies for deducing rulings that have popped up in the Ummah in the last century. But somehow I doubt that. I think by “clash” they mean it simply doesn’t sound palatable to the modern Western ear. A “clash” is not illustrated by something like that now notorious breastfeeding fatwa — particularly when some of the strongest critics were “Traditional” ‘ulema. Nor is it illustrated by Sheikh ‘Ali’s statements in a book on the urine of the Prophet (aleihi salaatu wa salaam) — no matter how uncomfortable it made some journalist somewhere.

In any case, it is also helpful to define what we mean by “Islam.” When some people say “Islam” and the “challenge of modernity” they mean Arab culture or Pakistani culture. Others mean Shari’ah. When I say that Islam is the challenger, not the challenged, I mean Islam in it’s most basic, fundamental (eek) form. The challenge is Tawhid and Messengership, and what those two things entail. The challenge is given in al Qur’an.

There is only one God. There is nothing worthy of being worshipped except that One God. He is Allah. He is God. El es Dios. He has no partners. He begets not nor is He begotten. He is the Eternal, Everliving, Creator of the Universe and all its marvelous secrets. This is the challenge: do you accept or not?

God sends Messengers to humanity for guidance and nourishment. Among them are Adam, Abraham, Moses, David, Jesus, and John. May God bless them all and give them peace. His Last Messenger was Muhammad Ibn Abdullah, a trader from Arabia. He gave this Messenger His Last and Perfect Revelation, the Qur’an, as a Message for all humanity. He gave us this Messenger as an example how to live the Qur’an. His teachings are preserved, no matter what some Times reporter tells you. May God bless him and give him peace. This is the challenge: do you accept it or not?

If you do not, to you your way, to me mine. If you do, welcome. Either way, we can all live together as human beings, the “brotherhood of man.” Everything else falls into place or it doesn’t. Sometimes not right away, and sometimes not ever. The rope is accepting this challenge. Hold fast to this rope, and hold fast to those among you who have accepted this challenge. We may be the largest self-help support group in the world. We will support and encourage one another to make this journey, even if we have our own issues to deal with. The people who don’t support and encourage you with this challenge are only the ones who are most in need of our support and encouragement.

I’m not a perfect Muslim by any standard. I wouldn’t even call myself a good Muslim. And this isn’t false modesty or some idea that I must denigrate myself in order to be perceived as humble. It just is what it is. But I have begun to answer the challenge, in whatever weak and feeble way. If I have accepted this challenge and moved beyond it towards implementing other things that result from it, then anyone can. Saying, “Yes, I believe there is only one God and Muhammad is His Final Messenger” doesn’t mean you want to live the lifestyle of 7th century Arabia. Keep your electricity, your computer, your car, your supermarket. Nothing in the challenge of Islam says that you have to give up your society and culture or the time you live in. Just give up what God dislikes or has forbidden, and keep what is good. In every time and in every place, including the Prophetic era, people had to do this. THAT is the challenge. Do you believe in Him and listen to Him or don’t you? Do you believe in Him and want, in your heart, to listen to Him, but find it difficult? Okay, that is the nature of this world. That is the nature of your humanity. Welcome.

I will tell you, you do not have to be ready to wear hijab or give up music or do anything else but pray in order to answer this challenge. And if you answer it, if you accept this challenge, and you’re still not ready to prostrate yourself before your Creator, well, welcome and let’s work on it together. This is the challenge of Islam: to modernity, post-modernity, and every other era or epoch in the history of humankind. The challenge of Islam is not confined to a particular culture or period in time, no matter how some Muslims may behave.

Stripped down to the core, the challenge of Islam is Tawhid and Messengership. It is not hijabs and polygyny and la riba. Millions of people, including Muslims, are showing themselves unable to get past these things, thinking that hijab, polygyny, and la riba are the essence and the fundamentals. But what is hijab without Tawhid and Messengership? It is a piece of cloth on your head and arms and you lowering your gaze. It has no meaning beyond that if it isn’t rooted in Tawhid and Messengership.

Anyway… I think this might be my last post for however long. I could post tomorrow or I could not. I’m leaving in a little more than 24 hours. I slacked off on getting the house ready to close and now I’m'a payin’ fer it. I’m sorry if this is rambly brambly. I was waiting on some phone calls and now it’s veddy late but I saw this and wanted to share it and then I started riffing and … now I must go. :: waving ::


This entry was posted on 15 June 2007 CE | 00 Jumada al-Thani 1428 AH at 8:30 pm and is filed under Diyn Reflections, The Ummah.



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