Right to Preach, Fast Car, How to Differ
Issue 689 » June 8, 2012 - Rajab 18, 1433
Right to Preach
Yunus (Jonah) - Chapter 10: Verse 99 (partial)
It has been the right of the members of all civilized societies to profess a faith of their choice and to preach it in a peaceful manner. Freedom of faith is logically linked with the right to preach. What one likes is preached by him for others. This right is universally recognized. However, this right is subject to the condition that no compulsion, temptation or financial incentive be there in calling people to embrace a particular faith.
For preaching and warning Allah prescribed the ruling for the Prophet (peace be upon him) that it should only be for conveying the message and for communication and understanding. Peaceful preaching was the golden principle of the mission of all the Messengers. As the main preacher of Islam the Prophet's mode was always peaceful, natural, flexible and based on proper communication. To this was added the excellence of his conduct. He stood out for his sincerity, his seeking good for everyone, his selfless devotion to Islam, his unfailing efforts in this cause and his readiness to sacrifice anything. He did so out of overflowing love.
"The Prophet Muhammad : A Role Model for Muslim Minorities" - Yasin Mazhar Siddiqi, pp. 30, 31
If the life of this world is an illusion, the period of greatest illusion occurs during youth. It is a period of high energy and great enthusiasm, coupled with an air of invincibility and perpetuity. Like the driver of a fast car, one may also develop a disdain for the slower cars on the highway of life. It is difficult to imagine that the car will run out of fuel and that one day the engine will wear out.
For the moment though the car is fast and it can go places!
For this reason there are special warnings for the youth and glad tidings for the person who uses this energy wisely. A famous saying of the Prophet, peace be upon him, tells us that on the Day of Judgment no man will be able to move from his place until he answers five questions. "How did he spend his life? How did he utilize his youth? How did he earn his wealth? How did he spend it? And, how did he practice what he learnt?" [Sunan al-Tirmidhi]. While the first question asks generally about one's life pattern, the second especially focuses on the period of youth.
On the other hand, the person who devoted his youth in obedience of Allah will be among the selected seven kinds of people [Bukhari, Muslim].
A fast car is dangerous if it does not have strong controls. And that is where Shaitan targets the vulnerable --- by loosening the controls. It has been his time-tested trick to work through temptations and make desires look irresistible. The path of deviation looks good. It is cool. It is fun. It is endlessly entertaining. The only problem is, it leads to assured disaster.
"Youth: On Culture, Religion, and Generation Gap" - Khalid Baig
How to Differ
'The problem with Muslims is that they cannot agree on anything.' We have heard this statement countless times in communities across the Muslim world. This is untrue. Our dilemma is that we do not know how to disagree.
There is a certain spirit of mercy and tolerance that must prevail when Muslims differ. That can only happen when a person begins to understand that the Shariah, which touches all of human activity, is miraculously flexible.
Yet the message that Islam is a comprehensive way of life will be empty if we fail to agree on the mentality that one must come to the Shariah with, and to recognise that understanding is a human quality which can naturally result in varied opinions and conclusions.
We need to have a new attitude and fresh way of thinking about the world of differing. In this direction, it is hoped that we can agree on the following 'heart-set':
1. Whosoever accepts true Tawhid, Allah's Oneness, expressed in the Quran and the Sunnah, is a brother or a sister to every Muslim and must be loved and accorded loyalty and support based on the integrity of that commitment.
2. The principal Muslim references are the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of His messenger. Their interpretation must be based on the principles of the Arabic Language, without contriving meanings.
3. Blind or absolute loyalty to one person or a particular juristic School is not befitting of any Muslim. The Shariah recognises the wisdom of following juristic authorities; learn the basis of their judgements and approach them with an open mind for guidance or correction - even if they differ with one's own bias or juristic affiliation.
4. All that has been reported to us from preceding generations (in harmony with the Book and Sunnah of the Prophet) is accepted with awareness of the context involved. Insult, accusation, and innuendo regarding people of the past are beneath the dignity of a Muslim. (See Quran 2: 134)
Let our position towards fiqhi differences regarding the details of the Shariah go only this far: 'Our opinion is correct, but liable to misjudgements; differing opinions are misjudgements, but plausibly correct.'
Islam: The Way of Revival,"Understanding Juristic Differences" -Ahmad Zaki Hammad, pp. 209-218