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  • thabet 5:11 pm on July 3, 2010 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , marketplace of religions, , polemics, ,   

    Following the Church of England’s declaration that is ‘right to convert unbelievers’ (pdf) to their faith, The Grauniad set up a new series on whether religions should compete with one another.

    Mehdi Hasan argues that Muslims should not compete in the ‘marketplace of religions':

    We are not missionaries. The role of a Muslim is not to convert the rest of the world to Islam. We should instead focus on becoming the best possible Muslims, and leading the best possible lives, that we can. If the rest of the world then chooses to follow our lead, so much the better.

    • Shams al-Nahar 5:23 pm on July 3, 2010 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      yes dawa by example.
      da is poison, dawa is the cure.
      i<3 thabet….for the moment.

      • thabet 5:27 pm on July 3, 2010 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        I was pretty much always taught “God guides whom He wills”.

        That’s why ‘evangelizing’ and ‘missionary’ (and modern ‘dawa‘) type of work seems alien to me.

        • Shams al-Nahar 5:30 pm on July 3, 2010 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          Sufis don’t proselytize. it is forbidden.
          Neither do jews.
          Is that why we are both so hated?

          • thabet 5:35 pm on July 3, 2010 Permalink | Log in to Reply

            Beyond a few fringe fanatics, I don’t think people really ‘hate’ Sufis. Even ‘Wahhabis’ will now recognise bit and pieces of Sufi works and texts, especially of the conservative sufi ulama.

            (Sadly, I do know a lot of pathetic people who hate Jews.)

            • Shams al-Nahar 5:39 pm on July 3, 2010 Permalink

              The Taliban hate us. Historically conservative fundamentalist muslims have always burned sufi schools. I think the Taliban are like american conservatives. you just know the teabaggers would kill intellectuals and liberal elites and burn down liberal universities if they could.

            • abunoor 1:20 am on July 4, 2010 Permalink

              Shams, the term “sufi” is too broad in meaning to make this discussion really make sense. Many of the Taliban are sufis, maybe not sufis like you but sufis. Also, many sufis are conservative fundamentalist musims.

            • thabet 4:41 am on July 4, 2010 Permalink

              Shams, what Abu Noor says is very true.

            • shams 7:52 am on July 4, 2010 Permalink

              but….calling themselves sufi is like al-Q killers calling themselves muslim.
              they simply aren’t.
              what does it mean to be Sufi then?
              how can one be a conservative fundamentalist and follow the Caravan, or murder innocents and host the garden amid the flames?
              not possible.
              callin’ oneself a sufi does not mean one is a sufi.

              Common people repent from sin, the sufi repent from ignorance.

            • shams 7:58 am on July 4, 2010 Permalink

              and the Taliban proselytize by the sword.
              they cannot even a one of them be a sufi.

            • thabet 9:41 am on July 4, 2010 Permalink

              There are loads of conservative sufis, Shams, all over the Middle East, the Subcontinent and SE Asia.

            • aziz 10:27 am on July 4, 2010 Permalink

              exactly. the word “sufi” is a broad term. The Taliban have many naqshabandi among them, for example.

              saying someone isnt sufi because they dont conform to your idealized vision of sufism is not that removed from salafist declaratiuons that shia arent muslim. A matter of degree.

              ultimately what makes a sufi is a desire to be closer to god – and varying sufi sects take that to varying degrees, from meditative to th ephysical (the dervishes).

              the ultimate symbol of Sufism is the circle with a dot at teh center. Sufism is the search for the radial line. the dot is Allah, the circle is human existence; can we bridge the gap? In generic sufism, the key to doing so is love. it sounds cliche but there is a reason there are many tales of unrequited love told by sufis – these are metaphors for the human and divine.

              some sufis bear arms and others drink wine. Its not for any of them to judge another.

            • shams 11:20 am on July 4, 2010 Permalink

              But how can someone declare themselves a sufi without embracing the garden amid the flames and wahdat al wujud?
              the love of Allah MUST extend to all creation.
              conservative sufi or taliban sufi is an oxymoron.
              it cannot be.

            • shams 1:36 pm on July 4, 2010 Permalink

              And one meaning of Sufi is seeker….how can a fundamentalist or a conservative be a seeker?

            • aziz 9:58 am on July 5, 2010 Permalink

              these “how can..?” questions are reductive and simplistic. Faith is defined by axioms, not intuition.

            • shams 1:51 pm on July 5, 2010 Permalink

              im like the Elephant’s Child of this blog.
              when i ax questions you all scold me.

              salafist declarations that shia arent muslim are not supportable.
              shia practice islam. by definition they are muslim.
              “a desire to be closer to god” or a “balanced life” are not definitions.
              How can one get closer to Allah by slaughtering innocents? Did Rabi’a al-Adiwyya live a balanced life?

              im going to go ax the Crocodile what he has dinner now.

            • thabet 2:08 pm on July 5, 2010 Permalink

              conservative sufi or taliban sufi is an oxymoron.

              You’d need to take that up with all those Sufis who take seriously the need for their fiqh and aqidah to be grounded within the tradition.

            • shams 9:53 pm on July 5, 2010 Permalink

              i think we must have different operational definitions of “conservative” and “taliban” brother thatbet.

            • thabet 1:24 pm on July 6, 2010 Permalink

              I agree, it looks like!

            • shams 3:09 pm on July 6, 2010 Permalink

              For conservative, im goin’ wid teh biology.

              Researchers at UofT have shown that the psychological concern for compassion and equality is associated with a liberal mindset, while the concern for order and respect of social norms is associated with a conservative mindset.
              “Conservatives tend to be higher in a personality trait called orderliness and lower in openness. This means that they’re more concerned about a sense of order and tradition, expressing a deep psychological motive to preserve the current social structure,” says Jacob Hirsh, a post-doctoral psychology student at UofT and lead author of the study.
              The study, which appears in this month’s Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, may even lend some legitimacy to the term, ‘bleeding-heart-liberal.’
              “Our data shows that liberalism is more often associated with the underlying motives for compassion, empathy and equality,” says Hirsh.

              The Taliban are definitely conservatives.

        • abunoor 1:26 am on July 4, 2010 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          Thabet, the concept that God guides whom he wills does not negate doing da’wah. In fact, the implications of such a notion would be quite serious. The fact that Allah is in control of results (not just in da’wah but in everything) is supposed to give us comfort in our hearts after we make the best effort we can, it is not to make us say, well it is in Allah’s hands so we don’t make effort…this is the cartoonish negative stereotype of the muslim fatalist.

          I think the discussion around this issue is confused by semantic issues. It is clear in the texts that da’wah is an obligation…but the means of da’wah are not narrowly specified and there is room for people to do da’wah in different ways.

          • thabet 4:38 am on July 4, 2010 Permalink | Log in to Reply

            I am not saying it negates it, only that I did not grow up with the attitude of ‘aggressively’ preaching to the unconverted and that this was something which not part of Islam as taught to me and my peers — and we all grew up stereotypical strict and conservative Muslim households.

            • abunoor 6:40 am on July 4, 2010 Permalink

              Did you grow up in UK? Anyways, it is clear that the Prophet (saw) preached the message quite frequently (‘aggressive’) is hard to pin down here.

              Obviously many of the techniques that some modern groups that say they are doing da’wah seem modelled on Christians or others…which is my point I think Islamically it is clear that da’wah is an obligation but the methodology is open to different views and ideas.

              But what happens to be the prevailing view among most people in most muslim communties is probably more a function of other factors about the community and the society around it then about Islamic teaching.

              Allah knows best.

            • thabet 7:19 am on July 4, 2010 Permalink

              But what happens to be the prevailing view among most people in most muslim communties is probably more a function of other factors about the community and the society around it then about Islamic teaching.

              Quite, but I don’t think the two are so easily separated.

              Yes, I grew up in the UK. I only encountered people proselytizing for the faith at university. I don’t think I’ve ever seen this sort of thing in a Muslim country I’ve worked in, but then I concede I wasn’t looking (and religion is also controlled by the state).

            • shams 7:56 am on July 4, 2010 Permalink

              but….if muslims proselytize….what exactly are they proselytizing?
              Don’t the people of the Book have the exact same Allah?
              i guess muslims could proselytize to atheists or pagans….
              are muslims supposed to proselytize AGAINST the Jesus godhead?

            • Abu Noor 9:27 am on July 5, 2010 Permalink

              Shams, again not sure what you mean by proselytize..it is a word with a negative connotation, perhaps deservedly so. But yes, Muslims should invite people to worship the one God and Muslims should attempt to convince people that shirk is wrong. There are many many verses in the Qur’an where the command is given by Allah Say: and a message/invitation is given to the people.

              People should be invited to accept the Qur’an and the Prophet (saw). He (saw) was a prophet for all of humanity. The Qur’an was a revelation for all of humanity.

              Again, specific techniques are not ordered so one does not have to engage in behavior that is counterproductive or will create resentment but one should “invite to the way of your Lord with wisdom and beautiful admonition/preaching” and “who could be better in speech than the one who invites to Allah and says I am one of the Muslims”

            • shams 1:54 pm on July 5, 2010 Permalink

              But Abu how can you invite someone to Allah when they already believe in the same Allah? Don’t the People of Book have the same Allah we do?

          • AA 12:34 pm on July 4, 2010 Permalink | Log in to Reply

            It is clear in the texts that da’wah is an obligation…

            Isn’t this as same as saying Americans have rights to own firearm? Well, where is the context in this debate? The right to hold guns does not work in city like Chicago because apparently it is more injurious than it is satisfying the clause in constitution. So no, it is not obligatory if there is no context.

            • Abu Noor 9:32 am on July 5, 2010 Permalink

              AA, I have stated repeatedly that I agree da’wah should be done in the best of ways and that will vary by context. But I think people are quick to wave away the requirement without thinking seriousl about the context. Was the open, public invitation to the message in Makkah by the Prophet (saw) welcomed by the powers that be? Did everyone love it? Or did it in fact make some people angry? Did people want him (as) to shut up ?

              I am just saying the mere fact that public preaching will not be accepted by everyone or will not be liked by everyone does not automaticall mean it does not have a role to play.

              We have to think more seriously and intelligently about such issues, rather than just hand out pamphlets on the street corner as if that is the only “da’wah” or never once communicate the teachings of Islam to those who may not know them because that is more comfortable for us.

            • AA 1:58 pm on July 5, 2010 Permalink

              Abu Noor, I can respect your opinions; however, I am of the opinion that in current times and age, the dawah by action is more appropriate than dawah by words. One can be a best Muslim with his/her actions and deeds and you won’t even need a personal intention to convert anyone or preach. The best of action and deeds is the Muslim dawah.

    • plimfix 9:26 pm on July 3, 2010 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      If Muslims want to do dawa, then it’s up to them – after all, if you think Islam is objectively the ultimate truth, surely you’d want people to be part of that? And don’t people get individualist materialist consumerism dawa-ed down their throat? – we should endeavour to compete with that nonsense if nothing else. Personally, I agree with Terry Pratchett who apparently once said the best way to educate people is to build a library and then open the doors. Just make sure some decent books about Islam are on the shelves. And on schools’ bookshelves, too.

      • thabet 4:47 am on July 4, 2010 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Nothing wrong with preaching if that’s your thing. Not only religious groups preach, of course: many leftists are quite good at it too :) I stuck up the link to get some discussion going on here.

        Even Hasan doesn’t say no to ‘dawa': he seems to be arguing for a different kind of dawa, one of practice, rather than pamphlets and stalls.

    • Lawrence of Arabia 8:41 pm on July 4, 2010 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      the whole discussion reminds me of St. Francis’ famous dictum:

      “Preach the Gospel always; if necessary, use words.”

    • Abu Noor 9:36 am on July 5, 2010 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Excellent advice. By the way, I have never once in my life gone up to a stranger or even a friend or family member and started telling them about Islam unsolicited. This is just to say I understand the concerns about what people usually think of as da’wah.

      Alhamdulillah, being someone who is visibly Muslim, and a convert and who speaks in various interfaith or other educational programs, people will often ask me questions which allow me to talk about Islam.

  • thabet 11:22 pm on August 2, 2009 Permalink
    Tags: , , polemics,   

    Johann Hari writes a polemic against Andrew Roberts, the “extremely right-wing” historian and champion of the British Empire.

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