Monday, November 17, 2008

Keeping out of the line of Fire

I'd been really good for a while. I'd stayed away from reading forums and sites that made me upset. Nothing lasts forever!

Recently I got an email newsletter from a forum that prompted me to go back and take a look at what had been going on in a thread I'd posted in. Big mistake on my part. All it did was cause me to feel attacked and I retaliated. The only way I can explain how I feel about these things is that I am very passionate about them, but that might seem like the wrong term to use. I am very serious about my deen. I don't want to even take a chance in compromising it, and that is what happens when I read these forums. I get upset and worried that people are being misguided by 'well meaning' people just trying to make Islam something it is not.

First of all, I'm so tired of people telling me that Allah Subhanahu wa ta'ala has made Islam easy for us, as an excuse to do anything and everything in this Dunya. All of the Ayat and hadith that talk about Islam being easy do not refer to twisting things to suit your needs. They talk about how once you have submitted to Allah and his messenger that things become easy because you understand. They also refer to the mercies that Allah Subhanahu wa ta'ala has given us, such as combining prayers when traveling and not having to fast when you are ill.

Secondly, I'm tired of trying to explain what a scholar is to people. I have my own theory on it I guess, but I think its pretty sound. A scholar is someone who has studied intensively his whole life under someone else who has done the same. That means spending 20+ years with a teacher. Until you reach that goal you are just a student of knowledge. This is not to undermine anyone of knowledge, but when it comes to serious issues I'm not going to take rulings from someone who has spent a few years here and there and calls himself a Sheikh.

Third, why oh why do non Muslims try to tell me about my religion? Yes, sometimes its a perfect opportunity for dawah, but there are those who find themselves so clever and intriguing they can't take a moment to ask themselves what are they obsessed with? Perhaps they need to validate themselves as human beings, I don't know, but I wish they would do that by taking up needlepoint or something... and leave Islam to those who love and care about it.

Fourth, and I've said this before somewhere else in this blog o mine, Islam does not need to be Americanized!!! We don't need to slap a logo on it and do some marketing. We need to stick to what Islam really is. A faith that has not changed its basic tenets in over 1400 years. So lets stop calling ourselves 'American Muslims' and saying we need to refer to 'American Scholars' (which I don't know if there are any). We are Muslims, first and foremost. We don't need to tack anything else on the front of that. We don't need to be a black Muslims, or white Muslims, or purple Muslims... we need to be.... MUSLIMS. United on the path that our Prophet, Salla Allahu alaihi Wa Sallam, and his companions were upon.

Fifth. Stop telling me that when I give you some information about Islam and its rulings that its my opinion. It's not. It's the opinion of true and learned scholars of Islam (the ones I talked about in rant #2 above). I guess that if you tried hard enough, you could find a ruling or fatwah that would allow just about anything in Islam. That is why we have to be so careful. Just because someone did some studying somewhere for a while, does not make them qualified to tell us what is right and wrong. Everyone makes mistakes, but if you go back to Quran and Sunnah (interpreted by true scholars) you can't go wrong insha'Allah.

So now to the point. A friend of mine told me to stop putting myself in the line of fire..... and it made sense. This same friend also said, that I go out of the house protected, covered from head to toe, but when it comes to things like this, I just leap in and put myself in harms way. At one time I thought that I needed to go to these places and do these things so that people would not be misguided. But I can't change that. Only Allah Subhanahu wa ta'ala guides who he wills. So I will stick to my own forum, and try to help people see the truth of Islam. Come and join me if you like!


Umm Travis said...


I too had to stop going into many forums, or Yahoo chat groups, and most of the time I just join certain ones for information not to chat anymore. I stay only with the Salafi ones too because otherwise I end up in those same situations!

On my blog too, I try to be really firm about my opinions of such conversations, but it is impossible, I tell ya!

I just love this post really, cuz it has been how I felt for the past year living here in Cairo, so many of the reverts think like that, and it has caused me many aggravations.

In shaa Allah it is best to stay away from such ppl, if you "happen" to encounter them, try your best to guide them, but as for forums and such, it really is too much a fitnah, I think, Allahu alim..

May Allah reward you sis for your efforts, ameen

Anonymous said...

Not everyone is going to view scholars the same as you do or take your opinions to be the truth. Some reverts tend to worship their scholars and hold them out as heroes. The deen is simple to practice once you have submitted yourself to Allah, whether its performing prayer or paying Zakah. Take your friend's advice and concentrate on YOU.

Jamilah said...

Well Anonymous

I think you missed one point that the 'opinions' are not mine, they are that of scholars. Some reverts may follow scholars closely, true, but that can also mean that they worship the wrong kind of 'scholar'. Allah knows best.

In any case, focusing on just ME as you put it, is selfish and not what we are supposed to do as Muslims. I am going to stay away from things that only cause issues but by no means am I going to stop trying to help my brothers and sisters to the right path.

Mina said...

I have the same problem, though I know what im doing im just really interested but end up getting depressed altogether.

Great post and advice sis, really enjoyed reading that:)

hannah said...

salam alaikum

you are right sis jamilah, sometimes our efforts to help other muslims are not welcome and we are only given insults and anger as a response. Some just dont want to hear about rulings that conflict with their lifestyles so they attack as a response. The best thing is to leave them and let them learn on their own Inshallah, and hope that they dont stray away from those who are dedicated to Islam in favor of those who prefer to make their own rules.


Anonymous said...

Well the quran and the sunnah is what matters, not the scholars. If they take a different point of view and thus feel its supported by their madhab or scholar, then they are entitled to their opinion. If they are doing something unislamic, then maybe their iman is weak.

Jamilah said...


Yes the Quran and Sunnah matter the most. And we need to have good qualified scholars to help us understand. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but if that opinion is based on their own desires, and not that of the message of Allah, then its not good.

Anonymous said...


It's not always what you say, but how you say it. That is what causes problems. If we remember that, and have some sort of respect, then there should be no problems.


Jamilah said...

Wa salam

How who says it? Do I know you Mr or Ms Anonymous?

Muslim Apple said...

I understand and agree with many of the points raised here but I disagree with the point about Islam in the American context. I think there are certain immutable qualities within Islam, which remain the same in all contexts but there are many other issues, which can vary based on the cultural context and milieu. Examples: The pillars of Islam and articles of faith do not change.
Fiqhi opinions can vary: I once heard a student of knowledge that I greatly respect say that women's hair must be at least shoulder-length otherwise it would be an imitation of men. This opinion is clearly culturally motivated, for I, as a descendant of West Africans will never have naturally-occurring shoulder-length hair unless I use all sorts of chemicals to straighten it. And I have heard the exact opposite opinion from another student of knowledge that I respect greatly, that there is no restriction on the length of a woman's hair. Women cannot drive in Saudi because this is their culture, this same ruling has little or no applicability in a western country simply because the cultural context is vastly different. And I think it is this sense, in these small issues that are open to interpretation that we speak of American Islam or Saudi Islam or Indonesian Islam, and that indigenous scholars innately familiar with the cultural context of a nation are better equipped to answer questions relating to these issues.

Jamilah said...

Asalamu Alaikum Muslim Apple

Thanks for commenting.

When it comes to cultural rulings I don't really agree. You used the example of women driving in Saudi. That is not Islam.... or Saudi Islam or any kind of Islam. What I am talking about with American Islam is that things should not be compromised to fit into this society. There is no need for it. My only issue with a lot of the indigenous 'scholars' is that they don't refer back to scholars out of this country for things. They have almost started their own sect, insisting that we need a American Muslim identity... that to me is causing separation rather than unity (which some of them seem so adamant about with their unity pledge)

I'd be interested to know who gave the ruling on the length of hair. That sounds more like an quickly said opinion than any kind of ruling.

May Allah guide us all to the straight path.

Naimah Umm Khadijah said...

Assalamu 'alaykum, I just found a link to your blog through Umm Travis' blog, masha'Allaah good post sis.

Muslim Apple said...

Asalamu alaykum,

I hear you and I believe culture plays an important role in many fiqh rulings. The oft-cited women driving issue is more than cultural because they use Islamic precepts and fiqhi principles to coat that ruling.

Abdulbary Yahya, a graduate of Madinah University and an AlMaghrib Institute instructor gave us the opinion that a woman should have at least shoulder-length hair and Yasir Qadhi, also a graduate of Madinah and AlMaghrib instructor gave the opinion that there was no restriction on the length of hair for a woman.

Both instructors have a high regard for the scholars of our religion and have studied under some of the most respected scholars of our time.

Jamilah said...

Asalamu Alaikum MA

The law in KSA about driving may be based on their interpretation of Islam, but there is nothing in Islam that actually supports it. The modes of transport available at the time of the prophet saws were ridden by men and women.

As for the hair length ruling... yes they are both very good students of Knowledge. But neither of them know what its like to have hair like yours, so they may have not thought about that when saying what they said. Perhaps they meant that women should not purposely cut their hair shorter than shoulder length as it would appear to be too much like that of a man. If it bothers you, you should write to them and ask.

May Allah guide us all...

Muslim Apple said...

I don't have a problem with either opinion. I was reviewing my notes and we asked Abdulbary about hair length for men and women and dreds and in mentioning hair he related it to not imitating the opposite sex, which is clearly a cultural precept. What is perceived as feminine or masculine in one culture may be the opposite in another, hence culture plays an important role in Islamic rulings. Alhamdulillah, our religion is vast.

We once studied in a fiqh seminar that the scholars in Saudi base the impermissibilty of women driving on a shariah principle roughly translated into closing the doors to something that may be permissible in order to prevent a greater harm. The ruling is directly based in Islamic principles flavored by their culture.

Wa salaam

And Allah knows best.

Jamilah said...

Asalamu Alaikum Muslim apple

Its not that they didn't base the law about driving on culture, but that there is no such thing as Islamic rulings (true ones) being based on culture. So the fact is that a law about women not driving is not from Islam. They might think it is, but its not.

By the way, are you the anonymous poster from before? Do I know you from somewhere? Do you have a blog?