Bidaah vs. Innovation

July 27, 2008

Mutawaa – Form “vs” Substance

Filed under: The "Magic" Kingdom — Tags: , , , , — bidaah @ 6:35 pm

Over at Naeem’s blog, brother Naeem has an excellent post about the Mutawaa “Choosing Form over substance.” The implementation of the so-called religious police in the Magic Kingdom is not what Islam has prescribed but rather its more in line with a Fascist state. Those who advocate the implementation of the religious police should ponder the fact that so many Saudis actually have the opposite reaction to the state sanctioned sanctions. Islam lies in the heart not in the stick. The following excerpt from the post is a very enlightening.

And even if the Mutawwa were to succeed in covering every woman and forcing every man to pray, then what? Would that magically transform Saudi society into an Islamic utopia? All this obsession with the outer forms while ignoring the internal states is pure folly and doomed to failure.

The Prophet (saw) was sent with the primary mission to perfect akhlaq (moral character, etiquettes) – a lofty goal that can never be accomplished with superficial tactics of forcing people to pray and cover. The proper way is to focus on the hearts and attract people to the balanced teachings of our beloved Prophet (saw).


July 6, 2008

South Asian Muslims in America and the Wahabi Homogenizing Tendencies

Although it is a three months old, I came across this wonderful piece by brother Yursil who blogs about Sufism and traditional Islam. The article also recounts how the Wahabi influence within the South Asian Muslims in USA can effect the pluralistic nature of Islam from South Asia. One can even view the Wahabi tendencies of demanding a homogenized interpretation of Islam as a form of cultural imperialism.

The lack of textual information about Islam in South Asia certainly did not help. Modern South Asians were brought up appreciating the written word much more than that spoken word, a side effect of making education the largest priority in their lives (a means to escape poverty of the homeland). The idea of following a way of life which couldn’t be immediately checked, verified, and looked up for confirmation led most to the path of various forms of Wahabism.

Of course, most of groups eschewed the name ‘Wahabi’ itself, preferring to claim the title ‘Muslim’ for themselves. Interestingly enough their use of ‘Muslim’ was to the exclusion of their ‘grave worshipping’ ancestors or family members, which they considered to be misguided and confused. Most likely, however, the situation was actually tragically reversed, with modernized South Asians being extremely confused about their faith and the ‘ignorant’ visitors of graves seeing with a spiritual clarity.

Many South Asian parents had not bought into their own intellectual superiority, and hence many had not adopted the Wahabi ideal in order to critique the problems ‘back home’. These parents were quiet on the subjects of question (saints, graves, intercession, etc), and very few had the ability to respond back to the arguments presented by Wahabi philosophies from their children. Growing up their entire lives in that society, it was difficult for parents to forsake that which they had learned was de-facto Islam, an Islam which had run their lives and so many loved-ones lives could not easily be discarded… Saints, Milad, Naats, Qawaali, and all. Largely, they kept their distance from argument and supported the now adjusting faith of their children.

Interestingly enough, this comfortable nature of the different Islam between father and son, mother and daughter, in matters of practice of faith was a direct consequence of the open nature of the parents Islamic faith. It is this same South Asian pluralism which had created large periods of relative peace between Hindus and Muslims over a span of centuries, which now allowed children to look, dress, and act radically different from their parents, with hardly more than a word spoken.

This is not to say that parents did not fear the children would become ‘Christian’ in the West, indeed such fears existed and were a large part of growing up South Asian in the West. However, I would argue the fear towards Christianization was much more focused on the change in culture, and what that would mean for marriage, dress and social standings than what it meant to their soul. The pluralistic values of South Asia centered around a common culture, where often the weddings of the Muslim were not so dissimilar from that of the Hindu, in terms of dress and celebration. Exiting this culture was much more profound an issue than disagreements over details of faith.

July 5, 2008

Bidaah vs. Innovation is back!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — bidaah @ 2:56 pm

I started this blog a little over two year ago but after a couple of months or so I stopped blogging. There were a number of reasons for this. The salafi tide seemed to recede in USA and things seemed to be getting better and I also got busy with other projects etc. In recent months events in the real and the virtual world have prompted me to come back to the blogging scene and so I am announcing my return to the blogging scene. Insha’Allah the news posts will be very innovative. 🙂 There are also new bloggers since last year who have discussed this issue – The story of Salafi Burnout comes to mind. As always Tariq Nelson‘s post have been enlightening on this subject. One of the things that I like about brother Tariq is that his posts are about the real world and they discuss real problems. The funny and yet sad thing is that wackos out there who think that we should not help other people in need.

P.S: I am also thinking about a new catchier name for the blog. Do people have any suggestions?

August 5, 2006

Neo-Salafi Ideology and its effect

Filed under: Everything is Haraam, Uncategorized — bidaah @ 3:38 pm

S. Parvez Manzoor reflects upon the Muslim world and the effects if salafi-ideology in the American Muslim.

In earlier issues, our contributors examined the nature of the Neo-Salafi ideology and its consequences for the Muslim societies. They came to the conclusion that its militant politics, informed by a rigid theology and distinguished by a rabidly antiintellectual disposition, terminates in the heartless land of fanaticism and terror. It represents a betrayal of our tradition, a debasement of out morality, indeed a disfigurement of our humanity.

In this issue, these insights have been extended to the realm of culture. The neo- Salafi politics of purity, it is further demonstrated by our authors, is scornful of all human achievements. It is as destructive of the artistic heritage of the past, as it is inimical to the cultural life of the present. In seeking a moment of authenticity in a mythical past, it rejects all history and tradition. By so doing, it acts as an agent of sedition and disharmony We on our part seek to demonstrate that our civilization is heir to a rich artistic tradition in which spirituality triumphs over puritanical emptiness and in which beauty is regarded as a means to approaching God, at par with prayer! Similarly, our faith demands an ethical revolution in the soul and prescribes righteousness as the measure of man. This we believe is the ultimate antidote against all the poisonous ideologies of self-worship.

July 20, 2006

The Salafi Hierarchy?

Filed under: Everything is Haraam, Uncategorized — bidaah @ 10:27 am

I was mostly busy in other stuff so I could not post for a week or so but I am back now. Anyway the topic that I would like to highlight today is the idea of a Salafi hierarchy i.e., although some Salafis claim that they only follow the first three generations but the way they act shows the existence of the following hierarchy. The Salaf, IT – Ibn Tayimmah, Abdul Wahab, Ibn Baz, Albani, Madina School, (pick you favorite local) Sheikh. Admittedly the Salafi mindset cannot retain this dichotomy in theory and practice for long and thus the result is that the movement fragments, mainly because of the following line of reasoning.

Person A: My Sheikh is on the correct Manhaj and aqeeda while yours is not since it is obvious from clear proofs that there is only one meaning of these statements. Your Sheikh is clearly on error.
Person B: No, my Sheikh is on the correct Maanhaj and aqeedah while yours is not since it is obvious from clear proofs that there is only one meaning of these statements. Your Sheikh is leading you to Bidaah.
Person A: No, No, my Sheikh is on the correct Maanhaaj and aaqeedaah while yours is not since it is obvious from clear proofs that there is only one meaaning of these statements. Your Sheikh is aan imposter.

July 10, 2006

An admission by you know who

Filed under: The "Magic" Kingdom, Uncategorized — bidaah @ 7:07 pm

Here is another excerpt from the Washington Times articles that I had referenced earlier. The text appears to be what amount to an admission by kingdom. The good thing is that at least they have realized their mistake.

A 2004 Saudi royal study group recognized the need for reform after finding that the kingdom’s religious studies curriculum “encourages violence toward others, and misguides the pupils into believing that in order to safeguard their own religion, they must violently repress and even physically eliminate the ‘other.’ ” Since then, the Saudi government has claimed repeatedly that it has revised its educational texts.

A year ago, an embassy spokesman declared: “We have reviewed our educational curriculums. We have removed materials that are inciteful or intolerant towards people of other faiths.” The embassy is also distributing a 74-page review on curriculum reform to show that the textbooks have been moderated.

July 9, 2006

Dispatch from the Textbooks

Filed under: Hate Speech?, Uncategorized — bidaah @ 10:15 pm

Here is another excerpt from the Fourth Grade text book from KSA, according to The Washington Post, May 21, 2006. Notice that there is difference between hating the person’s beliefs and hating the person. So the following is hate speech, and people ask why do people do violent acts?

“True belief means . . . that you hate the polytheists and infidels but do not treat them unjustly.”

July 5, 2006

If this is not Anti-semiticism then what is?

Filed under: Hate Speech?, Uncategorized — bidaah @ 5:51 pm

The following is an excerpt from an eight grade Saudi Text book according to the The Washington Post (May 21, 2006) Read and decide for yourself what is going on here.

“Some of the people of the Sabbath  ….. were made to worship the devil, and not God, through consecration, sacrifice, prayer, appeals for help, and other types of worship. Some of the Jews worship the devil. Likewise, some members of this nation worship the devil, and not God.”

July 4, 2006

On the non-Arab Makrooh Issue

Filed under: Everything is Haraam, To be Fair, Uncategorized — bidaah @ 9:03 am

One commentor posted what amounted to a clarification on the issue of being non-Arab and being Makrooh. The commentor points a link to a blog. To be fair, the person has made a good point but I do not think that it goes far enough. I shall summerize and comment on the link. The person rightfully points out that whenever we look at or evaluate statements from another time and era we must take into account the cultural mileau in which the statement was made. We must evaluate Ibn Tayimmah’s statement based on this reasoning. Well said but this is precisely the point that most of the Salafis fail to see. On the other hand their are certain things like the fundamentals of religion which are to be taken as eternal and non-changing. Also there is a limit to the hermaneutics of any text. While one can apply the “being like non-Arab is Makrooh” statement being set in a historical and cultural context and exculpate Ibn Tayimmah, it still leave us with the even bigger problem of contemporary Saudi scholars making similar statements and a large number of Muslims believing in this statement without taking the cultural context into account. This is one of the main dangers of the “cut and paste Islam.”

The problem with many of the Salafis is that they apply only one type of hermaneutics and declare it as the only valid type of hermeneutics. In some instances people do not even call it hermaneutics and declare that what they are saying is the meaning and not an interpretation.

June 25, 2006

Language of the disbelievers?

Filed under: Everything is Haraam, Uncategorized — bidaah @ 6:39 pm

If you thought that there can be no such thing since all of humanity belongs to Allah and also their languages then you might pause and think about the following which is taken from a khutbah delivered by Shaykh Saalih bin Fawzaan al-Fawzaan.

Another example of imitating the disbelievers is speaking in their languages unnecessarily;


being accustomed to speak in any language other than Arabic is Makrooh

Now just to be fair, here is the complete paragraph from which the quote is taken from.

Another example of imitating the disbelievers is speaking in their languages unnecessarily; this happens even among the native Arabs in their own countries. The reason why this is so disliked is that when a person speaks a foreign language, he becomes accustomed to this practice and deserts the Arabic tongue which is the symbol of Islaam. In fact, the language spoken is among the greatest of the symbols that define the culture and practices of any given group of people. Therefore, the majority of Islamic jurists are of the view that offering Du’aa’, or supplication, within Salaah, or prayers; and saying Dhikr, or the mentioning of Allaah’s names, in a language other than Arabic is Makrooh, or not recommended.Allaah has glorified the Arabic language, revealed His Book in it and made it the native language of Muhammad (sall-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam), the last of His Prophets. So, being accustomed to speak in any language other than Arabic is Makrooh – if a person knows Arabic – for it leads to resembling non-Muslims, deserting the Arabic language, and replacing it by another language.

Notice how legitimate and not so legitimate arguments are intertwined so that a person not looking carefully enough might miss the illogic behind these arguments. Notice that the conclusion of non-Arabic languages being Makrooh does not follow from the premises. Even the idea of speaking a non-Arabic lanuage leading one to being similar to non-believers borders on imperialism since this would imply that there is only one nationality in Islam, namely being an Arab. Now in the West, Muslims from almost all backgrounds are surprised that many non-Muslims tend to think that most or even all Muslims are Arabs. In the light of such fatwas this not be surprising at all.

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