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Greetings - Possible Appointment as Imam
« on: January 16, 2013, 01:11:53 AM »
Assalam alaykum

I read your articles and pdf and i am amazed at the positions you have put forth. If i may explain my intentions.

I have been muslim for about 1 year now and have been taught many different ahadith and fiqh etc. Now I have recently embarked on a a quest of truth and looking to study the quran since it the criterion. Also being appointed by the imaam of my local masjid to assist him and take over from him when he leaves the country. I am also in a few days going to enroll in a madrasah to finish memorization of the entire quran and learn arabic and hadith etc. I find myself doubting a lot the hadith and interpreations of the quran and the associated fiqh derived from it. My emphasis of my study is the practical implementations of the quran to our lives and society as well as transformation of ourselves and characters etc. What i am trying to say is I feel conflicted in continuing with my studies to be a traditional "shaykh or alim" and the imaam or assistant imaam of the masjid because of my doubts. In otherwords, how can I teach and advise people when I am not even sure about what I am actually going to learn.

Hopefully I have made myself clear and I look forward to any guidance or advise you may be willing to offer.

I pray Allah keeps you firm and forgives your sins and rectify your affairs. Ameen

Offline Joseph Islam

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Re: Greetings - Possible Appointment as Imam
« Reply #1 on: January 16, 2013, 10:43:43 PM »
May peace be with you.

Studying the traditional position will give one a deeper understanding as to how traditional thought has developed. Of course from an academic perspective, it would also be imperative to balance that with critical scholarship which challenges the traditional precepts. Learning Arabic and memorising the Quran is an invaluable feat. I always encourage my readers to make use of any opportunity to do both.

Your doubts are natural and in light of verse 17:36 you have been granted clear support not to blindly accept whatever anyone puts forth as truth, especially the faithful of a particular ideology. The Quran is indeed the criterion and you can continue to discern thought from the lens of scripture.

In the end, what you believe is a matter between you and God and you do not have to prove to your local imam or anyone else where you are on this journey of ascertaining truth.

Furthermore, what might be worth considering is the position or platform that you are privileged to have at a mosque to liaise with the faithful with wisdom. If only you can use such a platform to instil the Quran's beauty and its correct place as criterion into the hearts and minds of the faithful with wisdom, you would I humbly feel, have achieved a noble result and reached out to many.

In much of my writings, I have oft shared that I am not adverse to people following traditions which do not conflict with the Quran's overarching guidance. Traditions should be respected, after all in many ways, they identify a people and God has created us and placed us in diverse communities. However, to claim that traditions are ‘religiously binding’ is another matter entirely which has no warrant from a Quran’s perspective.

I humbly feel that it is not the purpose of the Quran to strip a people of their traditions. However, the Quran does position itself as a criterion to discern and this position must be upheld by believers.

With regards teaching others, I am sure you will understand the need to exercise judgment with wisdom. People have lifetimes of deeply held convictions and I find the best approach is allowing one to think in their own time by presenting truth gradually. The Quran, the paragon of truth was not revealed to a people at one time. It was a gradual process which had the effect of ridding a system of practices and beliefs that were incongruent with Islam, the true religion of old.  It often takes a long time to unlearn the things that one has taken for granted. This must be appreciated as I am sure you will.

You have a platform coupled with your own thoughts and your own journey. I am sure you will put your trust in God and God willing He will show you a way.

I hope that helps in some small way, God willing.

Your brother in faith,
'During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act' 
George Orwell