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Offline Naeem Xapha

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Are we overdue for a period of Islamic renaissance?
« on: July 30, 2023, 10:05:25 PM »
Peace be upon you, brothers and sisters.

I was in a conversation this week with a close friend; a casual chat triggered by this year's Muharram events around the world. I suggested to him that what we are seeing here - such zealous demonstrations of lament- are the result of a political offshoot of Islam based on hearsay and questionable written/oral transmissions; that these highly emotive public marches seem to have no obvious support from the Quran. I further suggested that by not observing these particular annual practices, it would not detract one from being a Muslim; they were unnecessary. My friend disagreed with me wholeheartedly. He may even be wondering whether I have become an infidel.

My post here is not really about the events associated with the traditions surrounding the first Islamic month, but more about how we seem to be moving further and further away from what Allah requires of us. I am troubled by the evolutionary dilution of our faith over time; I am frustrated by having to keep silent when listening to stories being told by our mass-produced clergy during mosque sermons; and by the ranks of self-appointed scholars who plague YouTube... and who appear to enjoy a substantial following. Their talks seem to be based almost entirely on non- Quranic sources, although told with great conviction and evangelical passion. Their ever-popular version of Islam is further propagated elsewhere online and on religious TV shows.

Closer to home, my two young sons have started to accompany their friends to local mosques, where "enlightened speakers" come to give talks on various matters. The boys sometimes come away doubting whether they are committing haram. For example, by listening to music- even instrumental music. Not being learned enough to deal with such controversies, I simply say to them: If the Quran is silent on a matter, use your own judgement and discretion.

Once, one of their (generally polite and respectable) friends asked me: "Uncle, do you believe in the moon being split by the Prophet?".

My reply to him was something along the lines of: If it did happen then it would be entirely through Allah's power, but as there seems to be no independently recorded event of this being observed elsewhere in the world, I would have to say that it may not have occurred in the way most Muslims believe. He was quite upset upon hearing this and asked me if I knew more than the scholars did? Flippantly, I said "Yes. Because I prefer Allah's evidence over that compiled by men". I may have dented what little credibility I may have had with the young man.

(If you are confused about this post and wondering what on earth is he going on about, please try to question almost anyone whether it is necessary to follow our hadith, in order to be a believer... in my experience, even questioning this labels you as a non-Muslim!)

I think that here I am simply sharing my thoughts with a wider audience in the hope that others may have experienced similar occasions of frustration, and to determine whether they also feel that so many of us have become little more than what the Orientalists used to call us: "Mohamedans".