A Convert Asks Us:
"How Can I Answer
Attacks On Islam?
ISLAM NEWSROOM UPDATE: "ANSWERS TO HARSH QUESTIONS"
New Muslims (and old Muslims too) are concerned about "harsh questions" and attacks against Islam, Quran, Allah and our prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him.
What should the response be to these inuendos? How can we deal with them? What should we say (or not say)?
These are the questions we want to answer (end of this article).
But first, read one of many letters coming to us from young Muslims and converts to Islam.
How do we deal with insults and harsh questions?"
Dear Sheikh, salam alaykum,
I want to tell you something - but please don't use my name. OK?
I must admit that I did something recently that I am ashamed of; I lost my temper due to the constant goading and provoking of some evangelical/islamophobic people in a discussion.
I got so angry from the constant barrage of random hadith and stories portraying the Prophet (s) as a sadistic and calculated murderer that I did something I shouldn’t have:
I questioned their right to have a legitimate concern about Islam.
I actually stated something like “what right do you have to even begin to tell me about what Islam is and isn’t?”
After all, I am the convert right?
Plus many more rash things, which was my first mistake.
Thanks to my brother, Mohamed for pointing it out to me.
The truth is, I was hurt. Hurt and worried in a way. Except I chose to hide my concern behind my ego.
I was hurt that people could find my religion, the religion I decided to adopt due to it’s inherent egalitarian and moral nature, to be evil. I was worried too that at the end of the day, maybe I was wrong about this whole thing. But how could I be? I’m the guy who has read hundreds of books and articles on Islam, the guy who has studied with Shuyukh and discussed things with PhD graduates, and much more!
It was actually a type of comfort blanket, to try and cover the real issue: some Muslims believe that the punishment for apostacy is death; usually by beheading or some other equally heinous thing. Afghanistan has a heritage from the classical tradition, regardless of what we think of the Taliban etc. What’s even worse though - they are Hanafi - like me! So by brushing these valid concerns about killing someone aside, I was merely covering over the situation for my own needs, to protect my own self.
Then I thought about it a bit, until now.
Let’s get this straight from the outset: their concern may be valid, and is valid. It’s a human rights issue after all. Their reason for it, however, is not. It’s clear that regardless of what Islam actually “is” and isn’t, regardless of who explains what, they already have an irrational xenophobic hate against Islam and Muslims. They are convinced that Islam is not only fake, but is a type of supreme evil, and that Muhammad (s) was a pedophile and brigand.
We Muslims can still take some good from this though. It is sometimes good to be able to view the concerns of an outsider, to kick start our internal critique mechanism (which is sorely lacking!)
Forgetting the bias exposed above, it is the issue that is important, not who is asking it. Unfortunately, I let my ego get the better of me, so missed a good opportunity to discuss some real issues. The first and main thing, however, is to stay true to our heritage.
We could be like some and just deny the applicability of hadith altogether. “Islam is based on the Qur’an, and the Qur’an does not teach the killing of apostates.” Simple. How many times have we heard this? I mean, don’t get me wrong, I believe that the second part of the sentence is true. I feel proud that those who believe this have found some way to keep their faith intact while dealing with these issues; but it denies the greater part of the Islamic tradition, while actually completely avoidign the issue.
“If any hadith contradicts the Qur’an, then it is not valid.” Another popular response. While this in some sense may be true, it also avoids the issue and sweeps everything under the carpet.
These, I think, are symptoms of the plight us “Western Muslims” face today; lack of access to our religious heritage, and those that have that knowledge are not fulfilling their roles in the community properly, or simply do not understand their community altogether.
For me, I have to be brutally honest, for my own self and for anyone who is reading this: it is a well known part of the classical legal tradition. We cannot deny that generally, the 4 madhhabs (legal guilds) have upheld death as a punishment for leaving Islam.
To deny this would be to deny the Islamic heritage itself.
But does this mean that what is most likely going to happen in Afghanistan is necessarily “right”? As far as I am concerned, not necessarily. A number of thoughts began to grow in my mind:
Perhaps even more important than these:
How can people (Muslim and non-Muslim) point to an issue and state “this is REAL Islam”, simply dismissing the opinions and ideas from others, especially other Muslims?
I am rambling a bit now, but these are some of the questions that have been raised in my mind, with this particular issue as a catalyst. I will attempt to flesh these issues out and explain my current thoughts on them over the next few weeks Inshallah.
What does Islam (not just a scholar or imam) say about such a thing as "murted" (leaving Islam)?
Thank you and salam alaykum,
A New Brother to Islam.
Islam Newsroom provides up to date solutions and answers for today's many questions and concerns about Islam in simple, English terms.
Go to www.IslamNewsrom.com and then type in the keyword you are looking for in the serach box in the upper left hand corner.
For example in general, "Answers to Harsh Questions"
First visit our research site at: www.SearchForIslam.com and then type in the words "harsh" and "question"
Then the search engine will take over and provide you with articies on many topics including how to present your reply and response to these harsh attacks against Islam.