Friday, March 07, 2008

Just like the Christian Reform???

Firstly apologies for the long lag in enteries... Alhamdulillah Allah (SWT) blessed us with a baby girl a couple of months ago and I have been serving Allah (SWT) by adjusting to parenthood. May Allah (SWT) bless us all with children and teach them the true Islam.

It is this, the "true Islam" that I am wishing to discuss today. Recently my inbox has been plagued with emails articles from various media sources and "Islamic" organizations that seem to highlight what "Islam really is and isn't". Be it that it seems to be in the eyes of the media which should essentially reduce all credibility, however I have become more and more anguished as I see the repeated theme seem to seep into communities... our Muslim communities and become acceptable to some. So acceptable that religious organizations are willing to publish such articles and send them out to those on the mailing list. Granted they do have a disclaimer on the top stating "we at ________ do not necessarily agree with the opinions posed in this article" yet I never see any articles from "fundamentalist" (as most Westerns seem to call the group of Muslims who refuse to abandon their shariah) sent out for mass read.
Ideas like "Islam is a personal relationship between you and God and it doesn't matter if you cover or not, or pray on time or not..." My question is have these people read the Qur'an?? Initially I was so filled with rage after I read ever article, I could hardly contain myself, but that anger has since turned to sadness.
Such explanation of Islam and "change from the extremist view" (i.e. the Shariah) has been described as the equivalent to the Christian Reform in numerous of these articles. The Christian Reform eh?? One of the reasons I was so drawn to Islam was due to its consistancy and strong rootedness in the Quran. That the religion doesn't change, that it doesn't abandon teachings and values just to "fit in" and be more "easily accepted" by the mainstream.

We as Muslims need to ask ourselves why this "reform" is happening. We need to sit back and evaluate ourselves and the environment we are living in. We need to acknowledge there are outside pressures contaminating our beliefs. We need to read and re-read the Quran and Hadith and figure out what the relgion really expects of its followers. We can't take pride in the fact that the Quran has been unchanged for 1400 years and speak of that with confidence and pride to others but then go and change how we are to act as Muslims.
I am telling you, true Islam, Iman... Ihsan is in the heart. It is conciousness of Allah all of the time-- it does NOT mean a "relationship that is between me and Him and as long as I know He exsists the rest doesn't matter." Being Muslim has the five pillars of faith and the 6 articles of belief... one of which is the acceptance of the Quran. It tells us all we need to know about prayer, covering, behaviour, mingling with the opposite sex, alchohal.... the list goes on. By abandoning the instructions of Allah, we abandon the words of the Quran.... think about it.

I hear lots of Muslims complaining about living in the West amongst so many that stray from the path of Islam... how it is so angering/discouraging and that they want to move to a Muslim country. Although I am in agreement that yes, it is angering and discouraging, we need to remember that Allah (SWT) put us where we are for a reason. The Prophet (SAW) was also considered strange in his time. He faced struggles and persecution as well. The difference is he didn't change for the sake of "fitting in"... he never abandoned his principles. And I believe -- quoting a friend of mine, that "if we as Muslims are abandoning aspects of our faith by living in this country, then it is time to make hijra" but if we are those that can see the difference, then we have a duty to be here and help establish the truth.

And of course, Allah (SWT) knows best.


Anonymous said...

Assalamu Alaikum sister Jenny,

You said it best in the following phrase:

"Such explanation of Islam and "change from the extremist view" (i.e. the Shariah) has been described as the equivalent to the Christian Reform in numerous of these articles. The Christian Reform eh?? One of the reasons I was so drawn to Islam was due to its consistancy and strong rootedness in the Quran. That the religion doesn't change, that it doesn't abandon teachings and values just to "fit in" and be more "easily accepted" by the mainstream."

I'd like to mention a book that deals specifically with this issue, sister Jenny. It was written by a Canadian revert to Islam; Haneef Oliver. Here are some details of this book:

Title: Sacred Freedom: Western Liberalist Ideologies in the Light of Islam.
Publisher: WestPoint Publishing
ISBN: 0977699609

The following is from the introduction of this book [pages 1 and 2]:

"On a daily basis, we are being inundated with different kinds of manmade liberalist ideologies in the mainstream media. Because of the sheer volume and almost monotone voice of many media outlets, people are given the impression that these ideologies must be accepted by every living individual and society in the world today, and that the validity of these ideologies is not open to question.

At present, Westerners and liberalists in general are intrigued as to why people are still turning to Islaam for enlightenment in this modern age. This is particularly intriguing for those who are convinced that Islaam is something that impedes progress, and that Islaamic civilization has proven to be inferior to other civilizations as a result of its adherence to Islaam. This subject has been addressed in this book as a response to Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's remark that Islaamic civilization is "stuck where it was 1400 years ago" 1.

I have also analyzed the two main reference points in Western humanist thinking throughout the book. The first of these is the belief that people are free and responsible for deciding their own actions, and therefore, that God should only have a personal, marginal place in their lives. The other important point of reference for Western policy and societal orientation is the belief that the opinion of the majority should act as mankind's principle criterion in shaping human behavior and legislation.

One of the major points of contention that liberalists have with Islaam is the reluctance the Muslim world has shown in embracing these two principles. Some liberalists take a more militant approach in trying to spread these two principles in the Muslim world, while others censure these tactics, hoping that more temperate policies will win the Muslims over to contemporary humanist values. Whatever the method, the message remains the same: Muslims must change their beliefs and eventually conform to this ever-changing series of humanist values.

After reading this book, the reader will be able to judge whether the devotion that people have towards these two principles is deserved, and whether there is any basis for people's opposition to the principles of Islaam."

1 Berlusconi: The West must conquer Islam, Associated Press: Salon, September 26, 2001."

There was one review [which was written by someone who's not a professional reviewer] that really made a big impact on me:

"Thank you Haneef Oliver!
By datepalms6/5/2006


This book is the very opportunity for those of us who have been spoon fed to realize what we have been digesting may have never even tasted good...

In Sacred Freedom, Democracy is put in a practical petri dish. I realized while reading it how much of my little white western existence I have come to accept as good and true without knowledge of its origin or without questioning its validity. This is truly an encouraging work; one that supports those who want to re-evalute not WHAT they stand for but what they WANT to stand for. As the author illustrates, it is more than possible we have bought into a system that is consistently flawed, despite the fact we call it "freedom."

Another distinctive point Oliver makes is that any one of us who believes in God as the All Encompasing Creator has to come to terms with the fact that not one of us created beings can come up with a better solution or legislation for mankind than the one who created us. After all, who knows better: a man who forgets or the All Knowing One?

When will we (and I mean westerners) understand that just because our parents, our teachers, our brothers, our sisters, our relatives, our neighbors, our close friends, our founding fathers, our ancestors, our clergy men, our service men, our reporters, our newscasters, our baby sitters, our bus drivers, our congressmen, and our country did it, said it, saw it, lived it, wrote it, shared it, learned it, reported it, supported it, lobbied it, passed it, controlled it, conspired it, conceived it, acheived it, exemplified it, extorted it, and exported it DOES NOT MAKE IT RIGHT!!!

And especially in the case of Silvio Berlusconi; if he said it, then well... you'll have to read the book.

This has actually turned out to be another pro- After finishing the book I was forced to reconcile what I thought was a Christian upbringing with a truly Godless subsistence.

There is a lot of this book that Muslims can appreciate, though it appeals to a much wider audience of non Muslims.
"Who hears the Verses of Allâh (being) recited to him, yet persists with pride as if he heard them not...." (Al-Jathiyah - 45:8)"


You should also watch this lecture by brother Adur Raheem Green entitled "Islam and Democracy":


Your anonymous brother in Islam

Anonymous said...

Sister Jenny,
Before I make a comment on you thought provoking blog, could I ask you to maybe post some of the articles you were talking about? Or at least provide a link? I would be very interested in seeing what exactly is being criculated in the community.
Jazaki Allah Khair.

Anonymous said...


I am wondering if you could discuss motherhood or married life in Islam related to your experience as a convert.