Muslim Introspection and the Information Age

Category: Faith & Spirituality, Featured, Life & Society Topics: Islam Views: 8210
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Just how introspective are we as Muslims willing to be in honestly addressing our problems? So far, unbridled phobia towards critical self-analysis has stifled real discussion about many deep-seated Muslim ailments. Forty years ago, the Roman Catholic Church sidestepped any qualitative discussion about the presence of pedophiles in the catholic clergy. Though not the only cause of the decline in membership and influence of the catholic diocese over the last forty years, it is certainly a mitigating factor. The point is that in this new age of mega discovery, the disgraceful secret of the church could no longer endure obscurity. It came out and it came out big. Now the church is dealing with it and rhetorically, better of because of it.

Welcome to the modern information age. Today a few keystrokes will get you a name, phone number, address, credit history, criminal background, marital history, or just about anything you want. This information phenomenon has opened up an era of mega discovery, where people's assertions can be checked, verified, analyzed or rebutted in an instant. Years ago, a person could falsify a resume and claim a list of bogus degrees and no one would be the wiser. Now with a few taps on a computer, information can be checked and verified. DNA testing has afforded forensic criminologists the ability to link a person to a crime scene by a single strand of hair. Psychologists have developed the means to resuscitate persons episodic memory in order to detail previously buried atrocities. With a little digging, journalists can render your long lost secrets into succulently scandalous dinner entertainment in time for the six o'clock news.

This new information phenomenon has tasked many people, religious groups included with the daunting and often petrifying assignment of confronting their deepest hidden discretions. For Muslims, the new information age should not be seen so much as an opportunity to explore new age redress to social inadequacies, but as an impetus to retuning to the concept of muhaasabatul nafs (self accounting). The no-nonsense and illustrious companion of the prophet, Umar ibn al-Khattaab said: haasiboo unfusakum qabla un tuhaasaboo (call yourselves into account before you are called into account). Spousal and child abuse, racism, unwarranted Muslim on Muslim violence, inner city landscapes dotted with Muslim owned liquor stores, corruption, religious extremism, green card marriages, and honor killings are among the litany of issues that we have hesitated to grapple. These and similar issues have risen more than an eyebrow as they are surfacing with increased frequency and steadily becoming fodder for Muslim antagonists.

After the September 11th World Trade Center and Pentagon bombings of 2001, sincere Muslim apologists came forward to elucidate how Islam is a peaceful religion and that the meaning of jihad is "inner struggle". No doubt at the time, some spin on the tragedy of 9/11 was necessary in order to diffuse anti-Muslim sentiment. Yet in light of the atrocity of those bombings and the catalytic effect it had on the world, especially the Muslim world, we still have not adequately dealt with the issue of Muslim extremism and violence against the innocent or even Muslim on Muslim violence for that matter. Furthermore, some of us have taken an opposite extreme and totally disavow that Jihad also embodies the connotation of armed struggle to defend one's self and property and uphold the word of God, a principle found in every major religion. Any first year student of classical exegesis would uncover that, as many have, furthering our discredit.

The Muslim body is obliged to stand up for the truth even if it is against our selves. "Oh you who believe be upholders of the truth, and witnesses for God even if it be against your own selves" [Quran 4:135] The early message of Islam not only addressed idol worship, it spoke to personal and social injustices that although not perpetrated by the masses, were sanctioned by them. Furthermore, not only did that message address atrocities committed by outsiders against the Muslim peoples, it also dealt with the self-inflicted injustices that people committed against their own selves. Some of these injustices were of a strictly spiritual nature such as negligence of prayer and others were social injustices that also affected spiritual well being such as indifference to the orphan and to the poor. In either case prophetic teachings necessitate that such issues are not left un-addressed. 

Certainly, there are wrongs and atrocities committed against Muslims whether it be those committed by Israel against the Palestinians or those committed by American troops against innocent civilians or supposed civil wrongs committed against Muslims such as the French government's ban of religious symbols in public. However, we should not let our victim status whether perceived or actual distract us from the reality that that the pathetic state of the Muslim world and many of it's people has lot to do with our own infractions. For example, Muslim on Muslim violence and intolerance, a malady that has produced untold casualties from northern Iraq to Tajikistan, still goes on largely un-addressed. When a non-Muslim kills a Muslim, the din of rage is uproarious however when we kill each other whether through suicide killings or pursuant to a political vendetta, or puritan religious agenda, it is business as usual. Another issue is violence and injustices committed against Muslim women by Muslim men. Nobody organizes any demonstrations against that. And what about the thousands of Muslim owned liquor stores in the United States? This certainly affects our civic status in the community notwithstanding the spiritual affect of allowing the widespread purveyance of intoxicants by members of our community. Yet we are curiously silent on the issue. 

The prophet never failed to address errant attitudes or practices that he was aware of. There is a principle in usul al-fiqh (jurisprudence foundation) called iqraar of the Prophet , which holds that the prophet's silence on an issue was in fact acquiescence to its legitimacy. Silence on agreed upon religious aberrations is not permissible when one is able to address it because it insinuates legitimacy. Which is why the prophet said: "whomever of you sees that which is detestable, he should change it with his hands, and if he is unable then he should (change it) with his tongue and if he is unable then he should (change it) with his heart, and that is the weakest of faith". Thus, our continued silence regarding some of our more embarrassing un-Islamic practices, and injustices can be interpreted as our collective acceptance of these practices.

Everything that is hidden eventually comes out either in the dunya (this world) or the aakhirah (afterlife) or both. Personal indiscretions that are hidden need to remain secreted and a person has to repent for them as there is no confession in Islam as it is in Catholicism. Collective actions on the other hand, self-manifest and need no publicity. They become distinguishable traits of the group whether or not all individuals in the group are culpable. Consequentially, when people respond to actions from within their group with wholesale silence or acquiescence, the group itself is stigmatized, and becomes the object of wholesale condemnation as in the case of the people of Musa who resorted to worshipping the calf in his absence. Everyone did not worship the calf, however, there was no mass condemnation of the act, so as a group, they were all culpable, which is why God said to them; "Then you took the calf (as an idol) after him (Moosa) and you were transgressors". Likewise, when people as a group condemn an act, it limits culpability to the few who are aberrant from the norm. For example, the collective Muslim condemnation and rejection of homosexuality effectually separates most mainstream Muslims in many people's eyes from the few Muslims who promote it. Even though the organization Queer Jihad estimates that there are about 50 million gay and lesbian Muslims in the world (about 5% of the Muslim population).

On the other hand, Muslim on Muslim violence, whose participants are probably less than those who participate in homosexuality or lesbianism, carries more broad-brush stigmatization than homosexuality because as a group we do not condemn it or raise it as an issue. The same goes for suicide bombings and general Muslim intolerance and extremism. The number of suicide bombers in the Muslim world is exceedingly low when compared with the number of Muslims in the world. Most Muslims would not even consider blowing themselves up, for any cause. However, because Muslims are generally silent about it, and are growing to accept it as permissible practice, suicide bombings are slowly being regarded as part of our overall culture. As for general Muslim on Muslim violence in the Muslim world, even Muslims consider it a normal part of the Muslim modality as disunity amongst Muslims has become a given, not an anomaly.

In the past, professed lofty ideals of Islamic morality and justice have insulated Muslims from public charges of Muslim social dysfunctionality and corruption. People used to say; "I know you don't drink because you are a Muslim" or I know that you don't beat your wife because you are a Muslim", or "I know that you are just because you are a Muslim". We never even used to imagine that in a city like Karachi, or Cairo there would be heroin addicts. However, now that the police incident reports of Muslim spousal abuse have started to stack up, and now that Muslims are starting to show up at Narcotics Anonymous meetings in larger numbers, and now that international headlines glaringly report widespread municipal corruption in the Muslim world from the lowest to the highest levels, the notion of an Islamic high moral ground has been effectively defenestrated. Whatever moral capital the Muslim peoples possessed that would have elevated us as spiritual beacons leading the way to righteousness, has been wasted. In earlier times, we were considered holier than thou, now we are earning the distinction as unholy. It seems that the days of pontificating are over. Even the neutral inquisitor about our faith senses the growing dichotomy between Islam and Muslims.

Thus the task before Muslims now is to clean our own shambled house. Moral excellence is not defined by title it is defined by example. Practicing Muslims have an obligation to address the manifestations of immorality and social-religious disorder in the global as well as local Muslim community. And if we still consider ourselves as the inheritors of the true faith of God, we mustn't forget our obligation to provide religious and spiritual direction to the humanity. What can we say about racism when we ourselves practice it? What can we say about just treatment for women when we ourselves mistreat our women? What can we say about honesty when we practice dishonesty? Sure, many Muslims are honest, fair, righteous and moral. However, are we adequately addressing the lack if these traits in our communities? 

The Islamic mandate towards recrimination is to direct it at the self first. Discussions abound about what other people are doing to the Muslims and admittedly there is a lot. However, curiously little is said about what we do, or are doing to ourselves. Historically, the Muslim contribution to civilization has been tremendous in the areas of science, medicine, education, scholarship, and sociology. In these times, the world could use some positive Muslim contribution to the betterment of the human condition. Our greatest asset is Islam in all of its manifestations. However we are so engrossed in performing the role of the perpetual victim and on a governmental level, the ever-willing corrupt lackey, we cannot even fathom for a moment that we have many of the answers right in our own scripture. On the world stage perhaps we are victims. Still a plausible argument can be made that our principle enemy just might be our selves. It was the prophet who said: "We seek refuge in God from the evil of our own selves and the outcome of our misdeeds". Now might be a good time for us to retreat into a temporary introspective hibernation while we set about fixing ourselves. It is ironic that while we rant (we are good at ranting) about how the French government banned the hijab, very little energy is expended in preserving the God given rights of Muslim women in the Muslim world. You can't criticize one without addressing the other. Parenthetically, this is not about hijab, nor an attempt to in anyway trivialize external deprivation of Muslim rights or liberties. It's about changing our hopeless attitudes of victimization and addressing deep-rooted issues of faith and spirituality that have left us aimlessly analyzing the symptoms and not the root causes of our condition.

Theologically, an individual is not always responsible for the actions of the collective, as in the verse: wa laa taziru waaziratun wizre ukhraa (the doer of a sin shall not carry the sin of another) [Quran 6:154]. However when the corruption and abandonment of religious principles becomes widespread, even the individual who exhibits righteousness becomes a casualty of punishment. When only a few stand up for the truth, the whole may be punished, including the few who stood up. as a group, we may suffer the effects of the sins of others: wataqoo fitnatan lan tuseebanna latheena thalamoo minkum khaassa (And be careful of the fitna (affliction and trial), that will affect not only the wrongdoers from amongst you only) [Quran 8:25], especially when we remain conspicuously silent.

As an essentially religious people, we cannot afford to continually shelve our internal problems without attempting to apply practical and viable solutions. Nor should we leave the task of addressing what's wrong with the Muslims to the John Ashcrofts, the Bernard Lewis's or the Irshad Manjis. Religiously grounded Muslim imams, scholars, activists, sociologists and intellectuals need to step up to the task in greater numbers. Muslims living in the west, the United States in particular have become an increasingly affluent and socially stable community. We still enjoy the relative freedoms that allow public introspection and dialogue. Now is the time to use our new found freedom, wealth, and relative security to address some of what's wrong with Muslims. I am not naive enough to assume that we can simply snap our fingers and things will change. However we can increase our adherence to Islamic principles such as remembering God (spirituality), fairness, social justice, steadfastness in worship, service to humanity, and other things that will enhance our standing as people in the sight of Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala. We should discard our trepidation about addressing problems in our communities because we fear we will look bad to the outside world. We already look bad to the outside world. Muslims who have emigrated to the west need to sever the umbilical yoke to the old country that prevents them from critical assessment. The principle of change in Islam is that God does not change the condition of a people until they change their own condition. That principle still applies.

Perhaps our overall condition as Muslims is a testament of our collective inner state. The state of the body often serves as a mirror to the status of the inner being as the prophet said: "Verily in the body is a piece of flesh, if that piece of flesh is whole the body is whole and when it is diseased, the body is diseased, and is not that piece of flesh the heart?" Islam inspires change through truth, it motions us to confront our realities and not ignore them, to turn inward first before outward. Indeed we are entering into a new stage in history where much of what used to be hidden, now is coming to light. Perhaps this is God's way of getting our attention. "Corruption has appeared on land and sea because of what people's hand s have wrought to give them a taste of some of what they have sown, to perhaps they may return (to God)" We need to begin our own healing process by adopting open attitudes about our own illnesses and aptly addressing them. Such a discussion can only be assiduously embarked upon in religious terms because religion is our anchor and serves the very basis for our ethos. This will be difficult and may require Solomon like wisdom and a total behavior modification. Furthermore, Muslims living in the west may be burdened with this task more than others. However now that the proverbial cat has been let out the bag, open and unobtrusive soul-searching and discussion may be an appropriate way for Muslims to take on this new information age. Otherwise we might as well return to the desert. Not just to admire the sand dunes, but to place our collective heads in the sand.

Imam Abu Laith Luqman Ahmad is a writer, lecturer and an Imam of a Northern California Masjid (www.masjidibrahim.com) He can be contacted at [email protected].


  Category: Faith & Spirituality, Featured, Life & Society
  Topics: Islam
Views: 8210

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Older Comments:
LAURIE BURGESS FROM AUSTRALIA said:
A very good and thought provoking article. Although I am not of the faith I agree with the thrust of the authors article. To me, the authors is 100% correct when he states that God will only help us change when we begin to change ourselves. Mass spiritual change will far exceed mass superficial protestations of infinite victimhood.
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UMM MUHAMMAD FROM UNITED STATES OF AMERICA said:
Hmmm interesting article, and so much of it needs to be said. The main thing being that Muslims should not think of themselves as victims. It seems in this aspect we have become the new African-Americans. If you let people make you a victim this takes away your power.
Then again I'm kind of tired of hearing about all the ills of the Muslim world and the call to discuss,discuss, discuss.
There are many positive things going on in our communities, with people actually taking positive action instead of just complaining.
Again it has to be said, that the farther you get away from Islam the more problems and misery you will have in life. I notice this in my own life.
You can be happy with your life but not at peace, like something is missing. There is no peace like practising Islam it can't be described.
If the Muslim world would open their Holy Quran, sharpen their nafs, and give their heart over to Allah(swt) they would see. But it is hard except for those that are humble. Shaytan is always working.
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JAMIE FROM INDISCHE said:
i gree i with the aticles OK!
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SHARAAZ KHAN QADRI FROM USA said:
Assalam Alaikum,

Quite a thought-provoking article by Imam Luqman! Until and unless we don't look within our selves for the causes of the pathetic state we find ourselves in, we will continue to spiral into the this web of naivety and self-justification. Our Beloved Prophet (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him and his family) once said that there is a piece of flesh in the body, if corrupt, the entire body is corrupt, and if whole, the entire body is whole. This can be exoterically and esoterically viewed in that if we have a diseased heart, we barely can function physically, and worse, if it is diseased with spiritual sicknesses, as those mentioned by Imam Luqman, the entire body suffers from the rotten fruit that it produces. The Muslim Ummah has more than often been likened to the human body, and the heart of this Ummah is the Best of Creation (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him and his family). If we are to remove this shining example of humanity (an example that no one could ever outshine) from our lives with respect to his example AND his character, we will be left with a body without a heart. And a body without a heart is a body devoid of life and movement. May Allah awaken our hearts with the love for the Prophet of Humanity (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him and his family) and bless and honor the Imam for this article - Ameen!

Truly,

Sharaaz K. Qadri
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SHAKIR EBRAHIM FROM INDIA said:
Wife-beating, alcoholism, gays have been in Islam from time immemorial, it is only now that it is becoming open, so it should come as no surprise. However, more and more people are now questioning the practice of the faith and certain principals.

The hadith mentioned about changing things either with hand, tongue or thoughts conjoined with the "prevention of vice" and "promotion of virtue" concepts are the base cause of Muslim on Muslim killings. These concepts are used to poke noses into other peoples' businesses.

We need to rethink these basic principals in today's age
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AHMED ASGHER FROM BAHRAIN said:
A very timely article. My sentiments entirely. We must look inwardly at all times yet this does not mean opposing what is wrong and directed at us collectively. A true muslim speaks the truth even it be against him/herself.

However, there are lies, and more lies and then there are statistics, as they say. How did they arrive at 50 million homosexuals amongst muslims. No one asked me if I am this or that? or many of my Muslims friends??

What utter nonesense. Sadly, Americans reduce everything to numbers and polls, so they are dressed in sceintific ligitimacy. It really gets up my goat!
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YAHYA BERGUM FROM USA said:
Assalamo alaikum (peace be unto each of you). I have mixed emotions about even acknowledging the existence of homosexuality among Muslims -- but to some extent even among non-Muslims as well.

On the one hand, when I am kissing another man at the mosque or when I notice two women in hijab walking hand-in-hand, I don't think about homosexuality. In truth, I suppose that at least on occasion I am perhaps simply refusing to think about it.

On the other hand, I am wondering, if non-Muslims were to compare estimated percentages of homosexuality and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) in both Muslim and non-Muslim populations, would non-Muslims pause to consider what the reasons might be for any apparent "relative dissimilarities" regarding such percentages. For one thing, it might appear to be the case that discretion and self-restraint can be mitigating circumstances in matters pertaining to our own sexually-related misconduct (and may Allah be merciful unto us all). For another thing, the Sodomites would appear to have been destroyed on account of their willingness to commit and/or to condone (or at least to tolerate) sexual assault -- and the general mistreatment of travelers -- as much as, if not more than, on account of their choice of victims.

Wassalam (and peace).
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MASOUD FROM USA said:
ASSALAMO ALAKE BROTHERS AND SISTERS:
I have been thinking about our faith for the last few years, perhaps mostly post sep. 11, as our image to the wolrld and even amongst ourserlf is changed. we are no longer as humble and reasnable as a moslem should be.I realize with so many injustice in the world moslems having trouble to difference between good and bad, wrong and right. Unfortunatly our faith is becoming a religion that even main stream moslems don't want to deal with any more and as far as they are concern religion is between them and thier own god and we should not try act as god on Earth and try to solve the world's problem by blowing our self and killing inicent people just because we like to go to heaven. Of course we have to stand with loud voice against injustice, but not with killing inicent people.I personally think Islam has too many voices, Moftis, mollas, ayatollahs and so on, too many humans as religios leaders confusing the mass and the only voice we really need is "Quran" and that's it. We need to start from basic and take a good look at ourselves before trying to change the world. Start from our own family, if we create a loving, caring family, we have done alot. We should try to go back to basic again and redefine ourselves and stop for awhile listening to these mollas and moftis who are just thinking about power till this fog clears up(have you ever seen any religious leader go and blow themselves up, but no thier blood worth moor and instead they send young inicent kids to do that for them). We need to rethink and rebuild our thoughts and our enviroment, clear the air off hate and distrust and replace them by love and trust, god willing with help of Quran will be impowered. god bless you all.....
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RASHID IBN QUADIR SALAAM FROM UNITED STATES said:
As Salaam Alaikum,

I thought the article was insightfull, challending, bold, and extremely truthful. Much of what Imam Luqman spoke about was the honest truth. We, as Muslims, are very fortunate that Allah has blessed us to even be Muslim. Needless to say, this is the perfect religion. However, it is the human element that can sometimes take away from this level of perfection. As he was pointing out, we need to take a long hard look at ourselves and our communities. After this, we must stand for the truth and vocalize our view....in a respectful manner of course. I commend the brother for being honest and encourage all Muslims to heed the advice and wisdom shown in the article.

Salaam
Rashid
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TONY S. FROM USA said:
Salamu Alaikum,

You have composed a brilliant article. It is quite pithy and cogent. I do agree that Muslims have no time to waste to regain their senses and lead in exemplary behavior and morality. As a matter of fact, all of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam need to put hand in hand in order to lead the world to peace and prosperity in these contemporary tribulations and unstable periods in history. As we all do know, God created us on earth to get to know one another (Koran). Many call themselves Muslims when in fact they are far from being as such. The Muslim World in general is at a loss, and no one seems to know how society should lead itself anymore. There is so much division, so much envy, so much jealousy, so much confusion, so much animosity, etc. I do not know if there is any Muslim state anymore. Islam has been perverted and warped by the so called "Islamic" leaders. On one hand, they pretend that they are working with the democratic nations of the world; on the other, they stimulate hate and bigotry against these very same democratic nations. They do this in ways to cling to power and abuse the peoples' resources. The Muslim World will not wean itself off of corruption and despotism until the likes of Saddam Hussein are all gone. If the Muslims cannot do it, many of us support the US to free them up and work with them to embark upon a path of concordance, civility, accountability, and justice.
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FATIMA FARAH FROM CANADA said:
I thank and respect the person who wrote this article. As a Muslim I am ashamed on what we are doing to each other and am against it. It's about time that someone spoke to the Muslim population and showed them what it is that they are doing wrong instead of blaming all their problems on the non- Muslims. We will not progress or be taken seriously by the non-Muslim community if we don't respect and treat each other with dignity first. Many of the activities that are carried by our fellow Muslims out there are wrong and haraam, may God bless the person who wrote this article for being brave enough for addressing this issue.

Jazakallahu-khayr
Assalamu-alaikum
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MIRANDA FROM BARBADOS said:
As salaam Alaikum wa ramatullah wa barakatuhu

Alhamdullilah, I am pleased that finally someone has come out and said something that needs saying! I recently took shahada and my husband, who is not a muslim, has been attacking Islam on the very same issues raised by the brother. Why does no-one come out and say we condone terrorism and violence, why are we selling alcohol and other forbidden things just to make a dollar? I would like to see muslims holding firm to the teachings of our Deen and speaking out about the things that do not uphold Islam. As the younger generation would say, we need to "check ourselves before we wreck ourselves".
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DIN FROM MALAYSIA said:
This is an example of a voice from a true muslim heart, alhamdulillah .......

Understanding Islam from a clear faculties of knowledge, wisdom and sincerity .....

We have long been trapped with arrogant and ignorant talking how great we muslim WERE....but who are we now to the world?

Why?
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FALAK FROM SINGAPORE said:
A though-provoking, insightful article. I am ALL for it.
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KABIR FROM USA said:
Alhamdulilah. May Allah bless you Br. Ahmad and those who agree with this article. The article highlights something very scary indeed. That we are all part of the problem and therefore all part of the solution. On the Day of J, how will we answer to ALlah when he asks us "what did you do about the wrong doings in your Ummah?" If we look at all these wrong doings that we all know exists and then ask ourselves "what am I doing", then we will all come to the conclusion that we are all responsible for these wrong doings in some way. Our Ummah is diseased, but we cannot lay down and die. We must "fight the good fight" and speak out. Yes, that burden does lie mostly with the Muslims in the West, but what an honour it is that Allah has given us this opportunity to raise ourselves in rank. This is how Allah puts us through trials.

May the Humbler humble us and the Provider provide us with knowledge, wisdom and patience so that we can be part of the positive change that cures the disease of the Ummah and not the symptoms, and to bring Muslis back as viceregents and bring true peace to all humanity.

For true peace can only come from Islam, true peace can only come from Islam, true peace can only come from Islam.

May Allah save us from the companions of Silence.
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TAUSEEF KAZI FROM USA said:
I am disappointed by Islamicity for posting an article like this which is meant to please the common ignorant Muslims of today. Mostly all points in the article have no basis, some of them I will list below:

1. Comparison of Christian Clergy with Islam: There is no concept of clergy or bishops or diceses in Islam. Each individual is rosponsible for his/her acts. I cannot blame my wrong doing on any one other then myself even if my wrong doing is based on a fatwa by imam-e-kaba.

2. Modern information age: What is so special about todays age. If we look around at the archeological sites, read history or just read Quran, we will realize that we are no better or modern then people who lived 1000's of years before us. For exmaple a few verses from Quran reveal that Suleman(AAS)'s time was far more advanced then us today. Not just in terms of information but the actual physical transportation was far far advanced:

021.081 And unto Solomon (We subdued) the wind in its raging. It set by his command toward the land which We had blessed. And of everything We are Aware.
027.016: And Solomon was David's heir. And he said: O mankind! Lo! we have been taught the language of birds, and have been given (abundance) of all things. This surely is evident favour.
027.017: And there were gathered together unto Solomon his armies of the jinn and humankind, and of the birds, and they were set in battle order.
027.039: A stalwart of the jinn said: I will bring it thee before thou canst rise from thy place. Lo! I verily am strong and trusty for such work. One with whom was knowledge of the Scripture said: I will bring it thee before thy gaze returneth unto thee..............

Same could be said about Aad, Thamood, Firon, etc.

3. Meaning of Jehad: If Jehad means strugle then I must remind you then Salat means suplication, Islam means piece, Hajj means to convince, etc, etc.

Want to write more but reaching max limit for this message.
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KHALID W. SHAHEED FROM USA said:
Agreed. That article makes is paramount for American born muslims to promote its practice and understanding of Islam because our understanding is void of these false concepts/practices that are imbedded in the culture of mid eastern brothers and sisters.
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SABRINA FROM USA said:
This article is inspiring and quite honest. I agreed with everything in it and hope that it creates within the Islamic community as a whole an impetus to change. Thank you for this wonderful article.
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SHAIK SADIQUDDIN FROM SAUDI ARABIA said:
I fully agree with imam ahmed for self introspection by muslim themselves for their present miserable plight, but would like to add that the betterment of muslims is two fold. one is self introspection and other equally important is to be vigilant of enemies of muslims and islam.
Dear brothers please know we have our weaknesses and also know we have our enemies.

If we strictly guard agaisnt the misdeed of our own selves and our enemies we will be surely inshaallah succesful in both the worlds.

Sadiq.
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SIRAJ FROM SINGAPORE said:
An excellent article. I agree the Muslims in the West must take the lead in condeming un-Muslim practises like ill treating women as second class persons and so on. It's a humongous task since some un Islamic practises in these Muslim coutries are more cultural than religous. Because of their cultural limitations, Muslims outside the West has never been found to be liberating Islam from the clutches of narro minded Mullahs!

Pardon me but what I have found from my experiences is that Western educated Muslims has a more balanced view of Islam as a tolerent religion than those uneducated Muslims
esp in the third world countries. The educated Muslims shoud lead the way rather than allowing the bearded Mullahs engulf and confused in their own cultural baggage, to speak for Muslims.
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ALASSANE ABEIDY DIAKITE FROM ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF MAURITANIA said:
Dear Sir/Madam,

I just wanted to say that I am sorry to have posted my comment before seeing page 2 of the essay. It brought a complement to understanding of the article. Therefore, my comments should be considered as an agreement with the author in general with a nuance with it comes how much decisiveness Muslims should display when sensitive issues of our age are discussed.

Regards,

Alassane
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ALASSANE ABEIDY DIAKITE FROM ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF MAURITANIA said:
I appreciate the genuine efforts made by the author to remind us of our responsibilities and accountability.

I live in an Islamic republic. I am a Muslim. Yet, I am baffled by the injustices that occur day in and day out in my country, reminiscent of what the author refers to as "Muslin on Muslim violence."

I believe as a Muslim that our Umma is facing serious issues ranging from widespread social injustices to homosexuality, passing by vestiges of slavery and discrimination. I am challenged by these issues and do not yet feel comfortable -or even agree with the way they are being addressed.

I believe that so far as we have not embodied our principles and lived by them, our community will still be perceived for a large body of worshippers focused on a glorious past but unable to offer its members any practical, respected and respectable guidance in this age. Of course, by guidance, I do not mean all the simple answers hammered on us by extremists, scholars who care more about earthly food than beholding the Almighty.

Best regards,

Alassane Diakite
Nouakchott,
Mauritania
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DAVID FROM CHINA said:
Can we find an explanation for the great universe? Is there any convincing interpretation of the secret of its existence? We realize that no family can function properly without a responsible head, that no city can prosperously exist without sound administration, and that no state can survive without a leader of some kind. We also realize that nothing comes into being on its own.

Moreover, we observe that the universe exists and functions in the most orderly manner, and that it has survived perhaps billions of years. Can we, then, say that all this is accidental and haphazard? Can we attribute the existence of man and the whole world to a mere chance? Man represents only a very small portion of the great universe, and if he can make plans and appreciate the merits of planning, then his own existence and the survival of the universe must also be based on a planned policy.

This means that there is a designing will behind our material existence, and that there is an extraordinary power to bring things into being and keep them moving in order. In the world there must be a great force in action to keep everything in order. In the beautiful nature there must be a Great Creator who makes these great pieces of art and produces everything for a special purpose in life.

The deeply enlightened people recognize this Creator and call Him Allah. He is not a man because no man can create or make another man. He is not an animal, nor is He a plant. He is neither an idol nor is He a statue of any kind, because none of these things can make itself or create anything else. He is different from all these things, because He is the Maker and Keeper of them all. The maker of anything must be different and greater than the things that he makes.

There are various ways to know Allah and there are many things to tell about Him. The great wonders and impressive marvels of the world are like open books in which we can read about Him.
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ASLAM FROM USA said:
An excellent article, long overdue. May Allah reward you Br. Luqman.

I wish Muslims read this article in large numbers and take it in a positive spirit. I request all, who happens to read this comment, to print this article and post on mosque notice boards and distribute eletronic or paper version.

Br. Luqman has captured many facets of Muslim hypocrisy about Islamic tenets: Muslims' silence about intolerance of religious tenets and symbols in Muslims countries (Turkey, Some north African countries, central Asian countries), Sunnie-Shia violence in Pakistan...yet we make a din about ban of Hijab in France!

I would like to capture two causes and a corrective action which are fundamental sociological principles.

Prophet said:
"We seek refuge in God from the evil of our own selves and the outcome of our misdeeds"

Allah Says in the Quran:
"Corruption has appeared on land and sea because of what people's hand s have wrought to give them a taste of some of what they have sown, to perhaps they may return (to God)"

Our current state is a manifestation of the above verses, which are permanant divine laws for human societies. Our and forefather's past deeds have taken us to our current state of affairs.

"The principle of change in Islam is that God does not change the condition of a people until they change their own condition."

This is again a fundamental sociological law that defines the human conditions as a result of human activities, as Ibn Khuldun elaborated extensively. In this statement, prophet has clearly indicated one of the generic principle that will lead us to salvation in this world and in the hereafter.

"whomever of you sees that which is detestable, he should change it with his hands, and if he is unable then he should (change it) with his tongue and if he is unable then he should (change it) with his heart, and that is the weakest of faith".

This gives details of the individual action required to cha
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OMAR FROM USA said:
I couldn't agree more. Now, more than ever we Muslims must look within for our failings and stop blaming the rest of the world for them. A very timely article, I think ....
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MUHAMMAD FROM U.K. said:
I agree with the Imam on all issues. He has succinctly pointed out all the ills of the ummah.
However, becuase the rot has gone on for so long and the effects are so deep rooted, ordinary muslims like myself do not know where to begin to correct the problems. People, all people love superficiality. Finding muslims to demonstrate against books written against Islam is easy but finding muslims to effect change in muslim society is near impossible. Self flagellation as individuals has very little effect but we do not have a focal point for collective action. We need a point plan of action to redress the problems and give us a direction. Private self purification is only the first step but our strength lies in community action. We are no longer a people who enjoin good and forbid evil.
Muslims did not only migrate to the west to escape economic stagnation and tryrants. We migrated to escape from fellow muslims as well!
It was not Saddam and only his family who persecuted muslims but also fellow muslims who readily become henchmen of the tyrants.
As far as the issue of muslims killing other muslims goes, the USA mercilessly bombed and murdered tens of thousands of muslims in Afghanistan and Iraq. Are we then as muslims supposed to look upon those who collaborate with the Americans to prolong their occupation of these countries as fellow muslims to be treated with respect and love? We who live comfortably in the west (for the present at least) can only conjecture as to why a palestinian blows himself up in bus. We do not live through the reality that they have to endure. The prophet (PBUH) had practical solutions to everyday problems. We have a lot of searching to do so that we too can come up with practical solutions to our present dilema.
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ANWAR IBRAHIM FROM AUSTRALIA said:
After being conned by numerous articles on Islam and Islamic principles I am very impressed with the article by Imam Luqman Ahmad.
It is very easy to read and clearly states our present state. Most Muslims look back on the Hadith by Bukhari, Muslim etc and quote, sometimes out of context, blindly and without any idea of their own faults. They blame others without first attempting to blame and correct themselves.
I have read the aticle twice and intend to read it again before I discuss it with my friends.
Incidentaly I am a strict adherent of the Quran and support only one Hadith - the Quran.
I will now arrange to subscribe to the Islamicity in the hope of seeing more aticles of this nature.

Peace Anwar






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K.R. RABBANI FROM CANADA said:
On the issue of self accounting, like to add the following:

Last week in Arabe News (Saudi Daily) it was reported that some young men drove through a group of female in Medina city killing two. The editor also wrote about his own experience of Saudi youth's disregard for decency towards women.

In my last Jummah prayer, the Imam talked about Hijab ban in France and pointed at France's double standard for blocking the freedom of muslimas to wear hijab. He then brought referenec to Quran and insisted that Allah commands women to cover head and bring down to cover chest - no room for interpretation.

This Imam represents our present Islamic establishment, and conveniently misses Allah's command to the Male Muslims - of self discipline, tolerance, respect for others.

Is it not a double standard of our religious establishment - just because it is dominated by men.

I think our Prophet (sm) demonstrated a balanced life between men and women, between rich and poor, between young and adults. His life was a walking Quran, and these days we find more of talking Quran that brought the present sorry state that we are all experiencing.

May ALLAH open our heart and mind and enable us to use HIS guidance. It is not a matter of asking ALLAH to guide us. The guidance is there, we have to make the choice and struggle to take it and implement in our life.

I find your parallet with the Church very relevent for teh muslim community where silence and secrecy prevails over reason and introspection.
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RAYHAAN FROM UAE said:
It's an Awesome article.We as muslim should have plans to implement practical ideas to promote good deeds in the ummah.
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NICK CAMERON FROM UNITED STATES said:
It is refreshing to see that at least this learned Muslim understands that not all problems can be laid at the doorstep of others. The greatest danger to the Muslim world comes not from America or Israel, but from the corruption within its own ranks. If Muslims clean up their own backyard, then maybe one day the "Ummah" can build a lasting "khilafah".
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NO FROM FORGOTTEN said:
With great respect, please, you be the first to come clean
and "lay it all out on the table." Certainly I fear my Lord in
public, but most of all I fear Him in secret. Why should all
of our private moral failures be publically manifest for a
merciless monolithic media to devour us with? Can we not
ask for forgiveness from God and not repeat the error?

If one's stomach is growling with hunger, and one's home
is being demolished, it might change one's perception of
the timing of your article and whether its precepts should
be put into action at once.

If a Palestinian is facing Armageddon, the lines of the
Geneva Convention become less legible. You obviously
haven't faced impending death at the hands of a ruthless
enemy.

I depore my own sins. I deplore homosexuality. I deplore
the "illegality" to which some individuals have been driven.
Yet I still feel that you're catering to an American audience
and unconsciously an apologist yourself. And you have a
Pakistani_American mindset that is so obvious in your
article....a suicide bombing of a military target is perfectly
acceptable. The Americans did it in Normandy and during
the Doolittle raids, as the Aussies did in Gallipoli. And with
economic sanctions against any country, the black market
becomes the only option. Your stomach is full. You have
your own car. You have access to clean drinking water.

Obviously opium and and
homosexuality are why the Taliban have been temporarily
punished by God and removed, but when they come back,
they'll be cleaner and wiser. Mullah Omer specifically
banned the cultivation of poppy seeds and homosexuality.

Yet I still am for your article.. It should be propagated in
mosques and its issues addressed in Khutbas.
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IFTIKHAR SHEIKH FROM CANADA said:
An excellent analysis of our problems. We Muslims in the west has added responsibility and all the facilities to address our problems for correction. Allah has given us the oppertunity to learn, practice and introduce Islam in the west.
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ADAMU IBRAHIM MUHAMMAD FROM NIGERIA said:
This article and few others like it should be Islamicity's priority. My contribution to this article is this ayah:

"Ya ayyuhal ladhina amanu-duhulu fi-ssilmi kaffah.." Oh you who believe enter Islam compeletely..." Allah continue to warn us in the verse to keep up satanic ways. But what do we have today, "Muslims" who advocate Islam-with-Democracy or Islam with out stoning etc etc.

The irony is that this group is either the largest or the most intellectual so what do we do. Yes self check is the key. And I hope we go a little further to start thinking of a true Islamic Union as the famous Islamic scholar Harun Yahya suggest in his site; Harunyahya.com.

May Allah continue to bless the Muslim Ummah, Ameen.
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K. SULUKI FROM US said:
May Allah bless you, Imam Ahmad. It is leaders like you and Imam Warith Deen Mohammed of the US who are striving hard to uphold the "true Islam". We only have ourselves to blame for our faults and problems. When we go before our Creator He will not accept excuses about what others have done. he will want to know, "What did you do with what I gave you?" Let us not let what He has given all of us move on to another people because we do not have the integrity and fortitude to protect Al-Islam>
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KASHIF SHAIKH FROM CANADA said:
Assalamua'alaikum,
The Gay issues should be discussed. However, much more prominant issues would be prevalent Incest and Wife Abuse in many closed Muslim cultures that are heavily men dominated(Islam provided equality, they are pick and choosing with their version of Islam)in countries like Pakistan, Afghanistan, Saudia Arabia, Egypt etc...
Fake hypocritical modesty and piousness compiled with many of leaders attitudes of see, hear, do no evil compount the issue and turn many of our younger generations away from Islam in total. The impotence of our leaders when 50,000 Muslim sisters(age 3 to 97) were raped and slaughtered gruesomely has help lead to creation of Al-Queda and reactionary pyche.

Basic 101, 'Iqra' some statistics effectively put the Muslim world population at 70-80% illiterate. Female no literacy is effective female no rights or avenues to improvement or self-empowerment. The women are our foundation, without them we are nothing. Let us be men and focus on protecting empowering them, an issue far more important and immediate than many others we enjoy distracting ourselves with.
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ENLIGHTENED_MUSLIM said:
Excellent article! It accurately sums up the woes which we have inflicted on ourselves and boldly addresses the need for change, both inner and outwardly. I am proud that within our Ummah we have brilliant and honest thinkers/speakers such as this Imam of Northern California.

The Reality is unambiguous: We must meet the challenges posed to us head-on (whether civic, religious, social, etc..) and not falter even though much adversity will surely lie in our paths (yes! not all of us are to walk the same road, every Muslim has a unique role to play, if we are to be successful) on the way to the Truth.

I have personally been motivated by the words of this writer, which only goes to show how important every action of every person is.

May Allah again give us the reasoning and strength to reach that towering place that the Prophet Muhammad, Sahaba and the Muslims of that time once occupied. Ameen.
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NERMIN FROM AU said:
assalam alaikum

with all respect, we live not in information age.
our age is the plastic age, age of plastic credit cards keyboards we are typing on now plastic money.

plastic age of deception and miss-information

the only time a moslem lived in a information age is when he/she read the noble book of Allah swt
when he/she read and practised the way of our dear prophet Muhamed saws.
when we understood the greatness of mirage and the salat and the oportunities it brings
that is to be in direct contact with the creator Allah swt, the All-Informed(All-Knowing)
that is information age
age when information was pursued entirely for the sake of our dear most Mercifull.
such is the information age.
imams only mention of the gay and lesbian statistics will cause disquist in some while promote homosexualism among the ummah.
your language cliche rich talk is rather cheap and while it gives you maybe personal satisfaction on how good at it you are. to a reading moslem who has been brainwashed by the same media you are promoting for self assesment it doesnt bring any insight an little solution.

may Allah have mercy on us all and make us better so we become deserving of better imams and state leaders
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