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Response to Nazir

Reader comment on item: Christianity Dying in Its Birthplace
in response to reader comment: On Sira and On Actions Speaking Louder than Words

Submitted by Shazia Khanum, Sep 20, 2005 at 17:46

Nazir, are you willing to accept the following, which I believe in and adhere to?

A person has the right to believe and practice his/her religious or non-religious path so long as he/she does not harm anyone, does not make any demands, does so within the boundaries of the laws of the land and with the utmost courtesy towards his/her fellow human beings.

Nazir, do you understand the difference between absolute and relative? Do you understand that it is humanly possible for two people to review the same text and come up with two different understandings, because the two people used two different approaches/ methodologies to derive their understandings?

You stated: "Your response is very contradictory. Your acceptance of Mohammed as a prophet of God even after knowing ... based on all indications in Quran , and confirmed by most authentic and accepted sahih hadiths by Bukhari, Muslim, Dawood, Tirmizi, Nisai and Majah, and only available original siras By Ishaq, Tabari and Waqqidi, shows that you are a blind faith wahabi type muslim."

First of all, I don't understand this statement. Please elaborate.

Second of all, do you know that not all Muslims consider Bukhari, Muslim, Dawood, Tirmizi, Nisai and Majah (and add mau'tta of Imam Ahmad to this list) to be 100% authentic? Even Bukhari did not feel that he had collected all authentic ahadith or that all ahadith in his collection were authentic. He lived many moons after Muhammad and was faced with a gazillion fake ahadith during the time when people were faking ahadith left and right for their own sake. Many Muslims of today are still naive to consider these collections to be error-free, but many are providing their critical analyses that shed many doubts on them, collectively speaking.

Do you know that there are levels of authenticity established by the Hadith collectors? That not all ahadith (plural of hadith) are at the same level.

Do you know that there is a methodology to interpreting ahadith as there is with the Qur`an in deriving at principles and rulings?

Do you, Nazir, realize that taking a verse of the Qur`an here and there or taking a few ahadith here and there does not provide a complete the picture? As a matter of fact, it distorts it.

Do you know that there are other books of ahadith? For example, there are ahadith that the Shi'as accept.

Do you also know that there is "knowledge" (as opposed to information) about Muhammad that has been passed on from one Sufi master to another in an unbroken chain? From one reflective heart to another. And this provides another source.

Do you know that the Sufis and the Wahhabis are on the two opposite sides of the spectrum?

And, by the way, you may wish to find out when the first book of hadith and the first book of sira were written, as Muhammad never authorized a biography of his life.

You then state: "Then your doubting sahih hadiths and trusting shady, little known chronicles make you a heretic."

Heretic in whose eyes? If in the eyes of the Salafis, the Wahhabis and the bin Ladens, then I am glad.

You state: "But then your considering Mohammed as a light and mercy for all make you a devout muslim ,but your your secular, conciliatory and humanist approach of trying to accept and understand apostates and infidels like me disqualifies you as a muslim because you are going against quran and sunna which say: ..."

I see no contradiction in it, whatsoever!

You may wish to read this thoroughly:

http://www.islamicpluralism.org/texts/apostasy.htm

Nazir, as I have stated before, it's not about me trying to convince me of something or you trying to convince me of something. It's about accepting our differences and co-existing peacefully respecting each other.

What surprises you is that it is coming from a Sufi Muslim, for it does not fit your pre-conceived image of a Muslim. To you, a peaceful and peaceloving Muslim cannot be a Muslim. She must be a heretic or full of contradictions.

Well, Nazir, get used to it.

Because we are no longer going to sit quietly and let the evildoers within us represent Islam.

We are not Islamists and we won't let the Islamists go without being challenged any longer.

You can hide your head in the sand and continue to believe that the bin Ladens of the world are the true Muslims. That's your choice. There is nothing I can do about it.

Or, you can recognize the reality that there do exist those who call themselves Muslims and are respectful of other faiths and non-faiths, compassionate towards fellow human beings, believe in pluralism, and are striving to shed hatred, arrogance, pride, self-ego, etc., from their hearts.

It's your choice.

The verses of the Qur`an you have quoted out of context, they all have been explained by scholars. It's your choice if you wish to research their work or continue to believe what you believe their interpretations to be.

You quoted 2:193 like this: "And fight them until religion is for Allah."

Nazir, kindly read the entire verse and the verses before and after to get a clearer picture of what is it that they are referring to.

The entire verse 193 reads like this:

"Fight them until there is no more persecution, and [your] worship is devoted to God. If they cease hostilities, there can be no [further] hostility, except towards aggressors."

[The word your has to be intrapolate to match the Qur`anic style in Arabic]

Even without reading the verses before and after 193 one can easily determine that it's talking about persecution and aggression against those who are devoted to God, that is, those who had accepted Muhammad as their Prophet in his lifetime.

The Qur`an itself sheds enough light on the historical background and the human situation this verse is specific to.

It deals with a human situation in which a people is facing aggression and persecution and is not allowed to practice their faith; and it is directly addressed to that group of people. It gives them permission to fight back.

Moreover, it's clearly directing those who are being persecuted to stop fighting as soon as hostility ceases.

So, Nazir, quoting partial verses in order to paint a negative picture does not work. The Qur`an provides guidelines for fighting and it only allows it in self-defence, regardless of what you may hear otherwise, and it prohibits the killing of innocent non-combatants.

Even when some evildoer Muslims quote these verses to justify their evil actions, one can easily see how they have succumbed to the lower aspects of their self and are misusing and misinterpreting the Qur`an for their own selfish end.

There are many true Muslims who are just the opposite of those you have mentioned.

Look carefully and you will see the contrast between them.

It's your choice, Nazir.

Should you wish to do more research on these verses, you may want to pick up a copy of "Understanding the Qur`an -- Themes and Styles" by Muhammad Abdel Haleem.

The following is from http://www.abc.se/~m9783/k/dcmm_e.html

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If someone says: "What about the verse of the Qur`an which says 'kill the unbelievers wherever you find them' and the Sahih Hadith which says 'I have been ordered to fight against the people until they testify ... '?"

It is well known among scholars that the following verse, "kill the idolaters wherever you find them (9:5) is in reference to a historical episode: those among the Meccan Confederates who breached the Treaty of Hudaybiyya which led to the Conquest of Mecca, and that therefore, no legal rulings, or in other words, no practical or particular implications can be derived from this Verse on its own.

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