Living Islam Today
A Magazine for Muslim Americans
Vol. 1 Issue 1                Spring 1420/ 2000

Feature

IFNA

page 3

     They reject the history of the Muslim world and all of its achievements in the arts, sciences, political philosophies, literature, and other areas. They literally tell us that we must reject our own heritage!  
     I have actually had conversations with people who look at the whole period of Muslim civilization from Mu'awiya until the fall of the Ottomans as one big Bid'a, or evil innovation. They see nothing good in it. They reject every achievement and accept only an occasional scholar here and there and nothing more.  
     This attempt at puritanical revision has cut off Muslims from their heritage just as much as the Christians cut us off from our religious knowledge during the period of Colonialism. And now, instead of being able to say that it's outsiders who are trying to destroy our identity, we are being destroyed from within.     
    
     Everyone always talks about how non-Muslim culture is invading the Muslim world.  Shouldn't we really be asking why Muslim culture isn't currently strong enough to repel unIslamic ideas? 
     If we asked why we are powerless today in the face of non-Muslim art, culture and ideas, it's because many people in our so-called Islamic movements are giving a hand to the non-Muslims by helping them to bury Muslim culture and values as well!  They call any Muslims who engage in halal cultural activities as deviant or weak minded or whatever new labels they've cooked up and thus, although we tell the non-Muslims about what a great culture and civilization we had, today we have none. 
     Most of the arts and cultural activities taking place in the Muslim world are now being done by wrong-doers who disbelieve in Allah because the extremists are suppressing good halal artistic expression. These so called "Reformers" are no better than the people Allah mentions in Suraat al Baqara who are really causing trouble in the Earth although they think they are doing good. "Wa idha qee la lahum la tufsidu fil ardi qawlu inama nahnu muslihun. Ala inahum hum al mufsidun wa lakin la yashurun."

 

     These "reject everything" Muslims apply hadiths selectively and usually with a distorted interpretation. They argue against anything and everything having to do with a balanced way of life and they use misquoted verses from the Qur'an to drive their skewed positions forward.  
     They cause dissension and doubt among Muslims even to the point of disrupting gatherings, shouting during Jummah and attempting to break up circles of Muslims through deceit, politics and intrigue. These self-styled reformers often treat other Muslims harshly, calling them kuffar and other bad names to their faces, and you and I have both seen these kinds of sad happenings.


     

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      And the first thing that struck me was the tone of his writing. He was not writing as if he had to defend Islam from the constant attacks of a dominant non-Muslim society. He wasn't writing as if he had to prove Islam was true.  It was amazing to me to read because he was writing in a relaxed manner. 
     He was telling jokes, writing humorous stories, philosophizing about life. He was writing at a time when Islam was dominant!  When people took it for granted that Islam was right and that Muslims were on top of the world.  My God!
     To have such a perspective that we can only dream of!  Imagine waking up and
not even having to think about defending Islam from the attacks of everyone around you. Imagine hearing the adhan and not having to worry about government soldiers watching you as you went in the Masjid and taking down your name.
  Imagine being able to carry on your life and family and business with no worry that the kuffar lifestyle was going to take you or your family away!
     As I read other Muslim authors such as Al Ghazali and Ibn Hazim and poets such as Hafiz and Rumi, I realized how far from a balanced way of life we really are!  Those people who want to reject all of this are also rejecting that invaluable treasure which we call the Muslim mind.  You can't have a program that rejects the very thing you want to achieve: the stable growth and maintenance of a Taqwa-oriented community that serves Allah.  You can't say, "We must make Islam dominant in the Earth" if you don't know how to govern and maintain a healthy Muslim community after dominance has been achieved. This is what the civilization of Islam for the last 1400 years can teach us. This is where we can draw our lessons. 
     I mean just look at it, the Qur'an declares that Muslims are supposed to be soft with each other and firm against the kuffar, but many of these so-called reformers are so harsh with Muslims, whom they consider to be less than "correct," that they drive them away from the Masjid.  
     Sometimes they drive them away from Islam, rather than forgiving shortcomings, overlooking faults and giving words of wisdom and kindness like the Qur'an commands.   
     You know, I started reading a book by Al Jahiz, a famous Muslim author from about a thousand years ago.
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