Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Can YOU Defend Islaam?

"Qur'an Kareem"
                        Copyright, S. E. Jihad Levine, All Rights Reserved

By now, the majority of the Muslims in the United States, and even abroad, are aware of Rep. Peter King's (NY/R) plan to hold Homeland Security hearings to investigate the American Muslim community.  These hearings begin tomorrow.

Although King claims that he is only seeking to investigate the problem of radicalization in the Muslim community in America, many people accuse him of putting Muslims and Islaam itself on trial.

And Florida pastor, Terry Jones, is at it again.  You may remember him and his followers as the good Christians who had plans to make a bonfire and burn Qur'ans.  This time, it's even crazier.  On March 20, he is planning to put the Qur'an on trial.  He says the public will be judge, jury, and executioner.  If the Qur'an loses its case, it will receive the death penalty.  Perhaps he will burn the Qur'an or even subject it to a firing squad.  He's not sure yet.  He even has a Face Book page for his project.  Will somebody please donate another car to give to this guy so he will relax for awhile?!

Seriously though, how about you?  Could you defend the Qur'an?  What if Pastor Jones or some other non Muslim asked you to explain the following:

"Fight those who do not believe in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which has been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the Religion of Truth (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued."  (9:29)

Keep in mind that the above is quoted from the Yusuf Ali translation, the small paperback gold colored Tahrike version that is most commonly distributed to non Muslims for dawah.  There are no footnotes or explanations in this Qur'an translation.  What is the non Muslim supposed to take away from this ayah?

How about the Noble Qur'an translation, by al-Hilali and Khan.  How does this translation treat this same ayah:

"Fight against those who believe not in Allaah, nor in the Last Day, nor forbid that which has been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger (saw), and those who acknowledge not the religion of truth (Islam) among the people of the Scriptures (Jews and Christians), until they pay the Jizyah with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued."  (9:29)

Is this better?  Does it clear up the confusion?  Before you say that the ayah is taken out of context and does not mean anything intolerant or violent, read the footnotes in this translation.  Yea!  Footnotes!  Surely, they will clear it up!

The footnote for this ayah directs the reader to the footnote for 2:193.  Let's see what that says:

"al-Jihad (holy fighting) in Allah's Cause (with full force of numbers and weaponry) is given the utmost importance in Islam and is one of its pillars (on which it stands).  By Jihad Islam is established, Allah's Word is made superior, and His religion (Islam) is propagated.  By abandoning Jihad Islam is destroyed and the Muslims fall into an inferior position, their honour is lost, their lands are stolen, their rule and authority vanish.  Jihad is an obligatory duty in Islam on every Muslim, and he who tries to escape from this duty, or does not in his innermost heart wish to fulfil this duty, dies with one of the qualities of a hypocrite."

Wow!  Since when is Jihad a pillar of Islaam? 

And the footnote claims that every Muslim must be willing to engage in this type of jihad or at least wish to in his heart.

"Hog wash!" you cry?  Well, you will then be accused of takiyyah which loosely translates into halal lying to non Muslims. 

"No way!" you say.  "Takiyyah is a Sh'ia practice."  To the Islamophobes, there is no difference between a Sunni, Sh'ia, Sufi, or Salafi ... see the problem?

"It's a problem with translating the Qur'an into English," you say.  "Bull!" they respond.  They have Arabs like Brigitte Gabriel telling them that the Arabic version is even worse, not softened up for Western audiences like the Yusuf Ali translation.  "She should know," they cry.  "She was born and raised in the Arab world and can read the Qur'an in Arabic."  Despite her claim that she is only against Islaamic radicals, her public statements about Islaam and Muslims suggest otherwise.

How about Sharia law?  Are you willing, as a Muslim, to assert that you do not believe in or support Sharia law? 

There's a lot of work to be done.  And every Muslim has to do it.  Sorry, but it's true. 

For the most part, America had no problem with Islaam until 9/11 happened. Before 9/11, many people didn't pay much attention to Muslims, and the majority of Americans probably couldn't have told you the first thing about the religion of Islaam even if it were the million dollar question on a game show.  If you really pushed them, maybe they could come up with Nation of Islam, Muhammad Ali, or Malcolm X. 

Oh boy, is it a different story now! The average Islamophobe has read the Qur'an from front to back VERY carefully.  Many non Muslims and Islamophobes (I'm not saying they are the same - not saying that non Muslims are Islamophobes) are intelligent and know how to use research tools.  Not knowing any better, many of them sit at the feet of Sheikh Google or apostates from Islaam who "know".  It's not unusual to hear that many of them own numerous copies of the various translations of the Qur'an which are available.  Many of them can quote surah and ayah where they take issue with our religion, and use the Qur'an to support their view that Islaam is religion of hate, intolerance, and violence.

Allaah t'ala tells us that the Qur'an is His book for ALL of mankind.  He tells us that it is the last revelation.  There will be no more books.  The Qur'an was revealed in the Arabic language.  Muslims believe it is the word of God Himself.  How does non-Arabic speaking mankind get the message of the Qur'an?

Through you.  Through me.  Through every Muslim.  It's called dawah and it is the responsbility of every Muslim.  If we don't do it, Bin Laden and his like, and other extremists will.

We cannot stick our heads in the sand anymore.  We cannot defend Muslims who speak lies against Islaam.  We cannot defend terrorists or extremists.  We cannot be silent when atrocities are committed in the name of Islaam.  We cannot support conspiracy theories as excuses for haraam actions.  We cannot blame others, especially the Jews, for all of the problems in the Islaamic world.

The refrain "Islaam is a religion of peace" does not work anymore.  Islamophobes are now claiming that Islaam is a relgion of piece - piece by piece.

There is an old saying, "The squeakly wheel gets the grease."  In the case of Islaam of Muslims, it is the extremists and ignorant Muslims who get the grease.  The grease is the media.

There is a famous quote from Anne Frank's diary:

"In spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart."

Most Americans are basically decent people who are good at heart.  But they are afraid.  I can't blame them.  They are uninformed.  Some Americans do make an honest effort to explore Islaam and learn.  Many of them become Muslims as a result, Alhamdulillah!  But other Muslims listen to the nut jobs and believe them.

There is no central authority in Islaam at this time.  There is no caliphate or vatican where people can get "official" answers.

American Muslims cannot squander the opportunity.  It is an opportunity.  And Allaah forbid that something else happens here!  Islaam is definitely at a crossroads in America. 

But we can't defend Islaam if we ourselves do not know our deen.  We must study Qur'an, especially the verses that trouble the non Muslims, and know the tafsir (explanation) of them.  We must ask questions of knowledgeable scholars and teachers.

Allaah t'ala has promised to protect the Qur'an.  We don't have to worry about the Qur'an.  But many Muslims all over the world are being tested, and are suffering under the yoke of governments and societies. 

I believe in the goodness of America.  My family came to America from Eastern Europe for the promises of this country.  I believe they can be fulfilled for Muslims here, too.  Allaah t'ala blessed us to be here. 


truth said...

assalamu alaikum sister.
great post and an eye opener.
i wonder why there is no single comment on this post?.
may allah be with you, bless you and grant you jannah for your sincere effort.

jazakallah khairan.

Anonymous said...

Hello again,
Enjoyed your post and it spurred me on to look into a few things.

I do want to point out that taqiyya is not just allowed lying that Shia do. Taqiyya is Islamic, not just something that is part of one sect. However, it has many names and some people may not know that they are practicing tagiyya because they call it by another name. Most importantly, it is only to be used when you fear for your life. Not for when you feel uncomfortable with parts of the religion that others find offensive.

And, it is not something taken lightly. For the case of Twelver Shia, we can not use this practice unless authorized by our central leadership.

Which is another interesting thing I did want to point out. You mentioned that Muslims do not have a central authority. I beg to differ. While some Muslims do not have a central authority there are those among us that do. I am very proud of this fact. While I do not prefer to make the distinction between different sects of Islam, I choose to follow the guidance and authority of the Ayatollah which millions of Muslims do as well. Anyways, my point being I do think that central guidance is necessary and that religious advice or tafsir beyond my understanding should not come from a man with a 7 year college degree from Sadam's or Mobarak's or any other strangely named Islamic college.

Lastly, I love your boldness in this post. I hope others read it and are awakened.

Safiyyah said...

@ truth - Wa Alaikum Salaam Sis - yeah, right? lol I suspect it is because it is close to the truth and some folks may not know how to respond to the questions I've asked. I may research the answers Insha Allaah and use these posts as resources.

@ Stephi - Salaams and JAK for visiting and leaving your comments, especially about Shia. There is so much misconception about what Shia believe or don't believe. I'm glad you cleared that up. By central authority, I think I was referring to Muslims as a whole not having an authority like a caliph. Kind of like the Catholics have the Pope and the Vatican, etc. And certainly KSA cannot speak for us just because the two Holy Mosques are there. Unfortunately, some people do think they speak for all Muslims, again the source of misconceptions about Islaam. And I agree with you about who should/should not be an imam or the giver of naseehah. Here in America, unfortunately in some Musim communities, any man can be an imam. Some Muslims don't insist on solid qualifications, education, and experience.

Anonymous said...

Salam, again,

After reading your entry yesterday, I have been thinking and thinking and have yet another comment to post.

What you said about "piece by piece" Islam really stood out to me. When I first came to this religion, I was emotionally fraught with concepts new to me and at times I wanted to pick and choose what it was that made me happy.
Thank goodness this phase was short lived, but I fear for many it is long lasting.

Nothing in God's word changed, but my generation has the tendency to be "knowledge experts" just because we read the translated Qur'an from front to back. "I don't feel like that is what Allah meant" (sound familiar?)

All I am saying is, that when confronted with touchy subjects, Muslims should answer truthfully "I am sorry, I am not knowledgeable enough in this topic" or "I choose not to practice that aspect of the faith".

So, when someone asks me about Sharia law, I am obligated to say that I believe in it and try my best to live by it.

When someone asks me about Jihad, I must say that while I do not fully understand this concept of my religion, I know that if the day comes for Jihad, I am obligated to support it.

I can go on and on... My inability to understand the religion is my own fault, not the fault of Islam. Islam is perfect and I am not. May God forgive me.

Safiyyah said...

You sound like one smart sister, Stephi! You are right; we shouldn't hesitate to admit that we don't know. After all, our religion teaches us to "ask the people of knowledge if you do not know."

Anonymous said...

I loved this entry. So eye-opening. You are right, if we do not know about our own religion, how can we even begin to protect it?

Also, I second what sis Stephi said about Shi'a Islam and taqqiyyah. Unfortunately, many people just divert the responsibility of explaining the concept onto those 'Shi'as, who really aren't Muslims' and therefore, the concept doesn't apply to the typical Sunni Muslim. I find that this attitude is very prominent amongst the majority of Muslims, who are Sunni.

Now that you have mentioned it, I have to go do my own research on these verses! JazakAllahu khair for the beautiful reminder.

Anonymous said...

I apologize, I didn't even say salam. lol As salamu alaykum!!!

And I just wanted to share a second thought: we ARE blessed to be here in the United States. I would have not even known what true Islam is were I not given the opportunity to understand that Allah has given us free-will, that he has made education an obligation upon us, and so on. And that only happened by moving to the United States. For all I know, I would have probably been married at 17 and had an abusive husband if I were still living in Pakistan.

Allah has made our situations light for us and granted us mountains of opportunities--how can we abuse this blessing by not using it to portray Islam in a positive light and serve Allah in our every action and intention?

Also, I sometimes feel very hopeless living in the United States. But your words have given me hope that our situation will not turn out to be like that of the Japanese. That we will overcome this and come out a stronger nation and people, inshaAllah. Who knows? Allahu Alim.

DSK said...

Asalamu Aliekum sister! This was quite an moving and eye-opening! You're right more Muslims need to learn about their religion more in order to know how to answer such's not enough to know (as a Muslim) that Islam doesn't ask for killing of innocents, nor terrorism..we need to show this to the people who doubt, and give evidence and answer questions smartly!
I do pray that Allah swt helps me, you and all the Muslims out there to learn how to do that inshaAllah!
Jazaky Allahu Khayran for the great post!

Safiyah said...

Assalaamu aleykum! :)

Very interesting and well-written post, mashaAllah. You are right, islamophobes think they know everything about our religion. I've taken part in some discussions on the net, and if you clear one misunderstanding up, they present you another one, or just refuse to believe you. I've also noticed that they mix a lot of culture with Islam, and if you try to point this out, they say "but look, Muslims are doing it, so it must be Islam!" Very sad. I've read mostly about issues concerning women, and the tafsir and interpretations, but not enough about behavior towards non-Muslims, so barakAllah feeki for this reminder :) Although I also believe that no matter how much you know about Islam, some people just don't want to change their opinion and will just say that you are wrong, or a liar, and they are right. So it's also important to know when to leave a discussion for what it is, because they can get pretty mean and put you down. I've experienced it first hand.
But you are right, it's important to know as much as possible about Islam!