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Goat Milk: Death by tweet? How Hamza Kashgari’s fate will shape the face of Islam today

Kashgari

Visitors sometimes ask why we don’t devote more of our articles to criticizing some of the regressive views within the Muslim community.

For one thing, there is already an overwhelming amount of criticism leveled at the Muslim community, which in itself is not a bad thing. However, much of what passes as “criticism” is actually pure and unadulterated hatred, something we highlight daily. The well funded machinery of anti-Muslim Islamophobic hate propaganda is an industry with thousands of websites, growing organizational structure and reach. It takes time and effort to combat this hate, and at the moment we are one of the only sites taking on the misinformation and bigotry emerging from the hatemongers on a daily basis. So of course that is our focus and will remain as such.

Also, loaded words like “moderate,” “liberal,” “reformer” and “critic” are at times code words used by self-proclaimed “Muslim” spokesmen/women who play the role of modern-day Uncle Toms and Sally Hemings, (see: Tarek Fatah, Zuhdi Jasser or Asra “Quranolatry” Nomani, etc.).

Still, the question remains, should one really leave the “criticism” to those who sell out the Muslim community for personal aggrandizement?

The fact is there are many Muslims across the world and in America who “criticize” without being agents of empire and imperialism and who do so not for reasons of personal enrichment. In fact, the most effective “criticism” originates within Muslim communities and it is they who should be seen as leaders in this regard. Interestingly, one of the regular Islamophobic talking points forwards the opposite notion, that Muslims are a monolith who have no critical voice when it comes to regressive forces within their community. Anyone who cares to do a minimal Google search on this topic can quickly dispel that belief.

Regressive views garner widespread attention, and are a public relations bonanza for hatemongers like Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer. In fact, a tiny group of regressive throwbacks in the Muslim community are arguably the best allies for anti-Muslim hatemongers, and for that reason, it makes sense to voice dissent and offer some alternative views from time to time.

This brings us to Saudi writer Hamza Kashgari, whose tweets on the occasion of the Prophet Muhammad’s birthday landed him in the midst of a controversy and a possible “death sentence.”

All Muslims are indicted in the public imagination, even if a majority find the case frivolous and absurd. However, there are voices of thoughtful opposition, criticizing the persecution of Kashgari. Adeel Ahmed’s article, published on Goat Milk, discusses the case and its implications, arguing it will either lead the Muslim community a step forward–or several steps back.

Death by tweet?: How Hamza Kashgari’s fate will shape the face of Islam today

by Adeel Ahmed, Goat Milk

On the occasion of Mawlid, the birth of the Prophet Muhammad, a young 23-year-old former columnist for Saudi Arabia’s Al-Bilad newspaper tweeted a conversation he imagined he would have if he were to meet the Prophet Muhammad.

-On your birthday, I will say that I have loved the rebel in you, that you’ve always been a source of inspiration to me, and that I do not like the halos of divinity around you. I shall not pray for you.

-On your birthday, I find you wherever I turn. I will say that I have loved aspects of you, hated others, and could not understand many more.

-On your birthday, I shall not bow to you. I shall not kiss your hand. Rather, I shall shake it as equals do, and smile at you as you smile at me. I shall speak to you as a friend, no more.

Almost immediately after the posts he was running for his life. He hopped a plane in Jeddah hoping to reach New Zealand. In Malaysia, where he had to change planes, he was stopped and held until a private plane arrived to take him back home to Saudi Arabia. Now, he sits in a Saudi jail awaiting a possible death sentence.

Yes, death.

Saudi cleric Nasser al-Omar called for Kashgari to be tried for apostasy. Outrageous, I first thought, living here in the Western world. Although I don’t believe that the tweets validate in labeling Kahsgari as an apostate even if he did insult the Prophet Muhammad, let’s just agree with al-Omar’s point of view. If Kashgari is an apostate like al-Omar says, we must look into what Islam says about capital punishment, apostasy and those two linked together.

The Qur’an states: “…Take not life, which God has made sacred, except by way of justice and law. Thus does He command you, so that you may learn wisdom” (6:151). Key words here are “by way of justice and law.” It is clear that capital punishment can be applied by a court as long as it is justifiable and lawful, which fall under two crimes: intentional murder and Fasad fil-ardh, or spreading mischief in the land. The term “spreading mischief in the land” is generally interpreted as crimes that affect a community as a whole and destabilize society. These include treason/apostasy, terrorism, land, sea and air piracy, rape and adultery.

That being said, it must mean that al-Omar’s argument to punish Kashgari with the death sentence for apostasy is valid, correct? No. What al-Omar fails to realize is how that ruling originated and under which circumstances.

During the time of war, if one were to abandon his Muslims by committing treason and declaring himself as an apostate and then fight against Muslims, it would be valid to punish the individual with the death sentence. However, Kashgari is not fighting against his home country, and as a result, is not committing treason. The problem rests in that al-Omar, along with many others, tie apostasy to treason instead of realizing that apostasy is not always linked to war and treason, especially not in this day and age. So, if he is an apostate, should the death sentence apply? Is speaking ill of the Prophet Muhammad considered an act of mischief large enough to punish Kashgari with capital punishment, given that he is considered an apostate?  This is where I searched further to see what Islam says about punishments for the act of apostasy on its own, without being linked to treason.

In Surah 4: 137, the Qur’an reads, “Behold, as for those who come to believe, and then deny the truth, and again come to believe and again deny the truth and thereafter, grow stubborn in their denial of the truth, God will not forgive them, nor will He guide them in any way.” With this passage it’s evident that even after rejecting Islam twice, no punishment is prescribed for the apostate.

Furthermore, Dr. Maher Hathout, a leading American Muslim spokesperson, underscores in his recent book “In Pursuit of Justice: The Jurisprudence of Human Rights in Islam” that while apostasy may be a sin in the eyes of God, it is not considered criminal behavior.

Subhi Mahmassani, an Islam scholar and jurist from Lebanon, has observed that the death penalty was meant to apply not to simple acts of apostasy from Islam, but when apostasy was linked to an act of political betrayal of the community. The Prophet never killed anyone solely for apostasy. This being the case, the death penalty was not meant to apply to a simple change of faith but to punish acts such as treason, joining forces with the enemy and sedition. [Arkan Huquq al-Insan fi l-Islam (Bases of Human Rights in Islam), Beirut: Dar al-‘Ilm li-l-Malayin, 1979, cited in Kamali, as above]

Executing a person because of conversion to another faith or out of faith clearly contradicts the Qur’an, the ultimate source of Islamic law. Without the apostasy being linked to treason that leads to a matter of national security or security of a Muslim community, capital punishment cannot be permitted.

The question now remains, if Islamic law prohibits capital punishment for apostasy, where did Muslims get the idea that it is valid? In Josef Van Ess’s book “The Flowering of Muslim Theology” he observes this issue and the first execution of someone who spoke ill of the Prophet Muhammad. Dating back to the 8th Century, Syrian scholar Muhammad Ibn Said Al-Urdunni was executed for statements he made about the Prophet Muhammad. Al-Urdunni stated that, although Prophet Muhammad was the last prophet, if Allah wanted, He would and could create another Muhammad. He simply was stating that Allah, the Almighty, has the ability to do whatever he wants, which includes creating another Muhammad. It is as unknown as to whom exactly made the final decision to charge Al-Urdunni with apostasy, but the Syrian government issued the death sentence for disrespecting the Prophet Muhammad by even imagining that there could be another prophet after him. The intentions behind the Syrian government are unknown, however, one is to assume that they could have been trying to set an example for Muslim citizens—if Al-Urdunni is executed, people will not dare to speak ill of the Prophet. It seems that al-Omar is using the same philosophy of the 8th Century government in Syria. But we sit here now, in the 21st Century with the same problem that Syrians tried to squash in the 8th Century. So, does al-Omar really believe that the death sentence will in fact put fear in citizens from talking badly about the Prophet?

It is unfortunate that Muslim scholars don’t stand together to stop al-Omar and the Saudi government from this to move forward. Apostasy is not the equivalent of treason. Kashagri wasn’t out to destroy a Muslim community. There should not even be a trial. Under Islamic law, people of other faiths and people who leave Islam are not to be harmed.

The problem is that Saudi Arabia strives to both move forward in the world of high technology while they govern strict limitations and boundaries upontheir citizens. Their strong and strict Wahabbi interpretation of Islamic law will be a crutch for Muslims all over the world, especially the Western world, where Muslims constantly try to prove that Islam is a religion of peace and forgiveness and that Muslims can coexist in a world with other religions. The decision on Hamza Kahsgari’s case will leave a mark. It can either be a huge step in the right direction or send Muslims back another ten.

Adeel Ahmed is an actor and writer. His work has been featured at Sundance and SXSW. Credits include Law & Order CI, Saturday Night Live, Domestic Crusaders. He will next be seen on Hum TV’s drama series Hum Tho Huay Pardesi as well as Rangoon on Theatre Row in New York City. 

Read the original here: http://goatmilkblog.com/2012/03/07/death-by-tweet-how-hamza-kashgaris-fate-will-shape-the-face-of-islam-today-adeel-ahmed/

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  • http://www.youtube.com/user/GargamelGold?feature=mhee CriticalDragon1177

    @Jeff

    No Loon is not synonymous with critic of Islam. I’ve come across a few rational critics of Islam who Loon Watch would never call Loons.

  • Jeff

    This article goes a long way to establish some credibility for me for the Loon Watch website. I get forwarded a lot of features from the site from family members, but I kind of thought “loon” was synonymous with “critic of Islam.” I appreciate this article and the balance it provides… I will reconsider my opinion of Loon Watch.

  • Usman

    @ibnAbuTalib

    Imam al-Daraqutni was not the only Muhaddith of that era to do so; there were a few others as well. However, it was a scholarly argument amongst scholars, and like many other ‘shaadh’ opinions put forth by many scholars, it did not gain acceptance. This is no different from the many debates scholars of past had and where the weaker argument died out. The ‘Ijmaa of Muslims remained that the Sahihayn were authentic. Imam al-Daraqutni’s argument in no way resembles the iconoclasm and desire for ‘reform’ that many of those proposing the Sahih as inauthentic today stand for: there is no continuity there.

    The Salafiyyah, on the other hand, actually made weakening some of the Sahih of Imam Bukhari part of their iconoclastic ideology and out forth their new Muhaddith, al-Albani, as a symbol of this and their idea of purification. Thus we have Ahadith reported by Imam al-Bukhari, but when quoted by some of them, stating ‘Sahhahu al-Albani’.

    While it goes against the ‘Ijmaa, believing any of these Hadith weak doesn’t make anyone a non-believer and is very much subordinate to the greater cause of unity among Muslims.

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  • IbnAbuTalib

    usman: The Salfis with their new Muhaddith, Albani, were the first to actually call any Sahih Hadith in the Sahih weak because Albani said so

    This is absolutely false. Al Daraqtuni (306-385 A.H.) was among the earliest scholars to have cast doubt on some of the hadith contained in Bukhari.

  • Géji

    @Ilisha, great article, thank you for taking at heart our request that you guys from time to time also expose the hypocrisy of radical, Muslim loons. So thanks for posting this article that exposes exactly said hypocrisy we were talking about, and the ludicrousness of this situation.

    So apparently the despicably fanatic Muslim loons are willing to persecute and even kill a human being over few personal thoughts he decided to put in few written sentences? Wow! — So are those radicals on top of their crap, now telling the rest of us Muslims that they’re willing to bring and pursue their taste at persecuting those that looses faith, even over to Twitter???, I swear by Allah, if the situation wasn’t so serious, I would’ve laughed.

    But seriously, when I first heard this story, I couldn’t believe that a 23 year old kid has been chased around like “criminal” in two major countries, simply over few sentences he wrote, it CANNOT get loonier than that. — But I still can’t understand what really the beef of radicals is all about, other than one single sentence that the loons may see it “out of line”, which is when he typed the word “hate” in his tweet, I cannot see how the rest would bother anyone. True, the kid seem a bit confused, is he objecting to Mawlid-al-Nabi? ‘Cause I thought that it was actually the radical Muslims who’ve always opposed to people that celebrate Mawlid. In fact, some radicals even went as far as trying to ban it in some Maghrebi/North Africa countries, like Algeria for example. Though not all Muslims celebrate Mawlid, the Muslims that I know never did, but nonetheless, I thought most supporters of the celebration were actually the more moderate Muslims, and not the other way around, so then if the kid was criticizing Mawlid, then what’s the beef with Saudi fanatics since they’ve also always criticized it anyway?? — Whatever it is, it’s apparent that the radicals, supported by the despot regime of Saudi Arabia and it’s ilks, have lost touch with 21st century realities long ago.

  • Usman

    @Isa

    Assalamu’alaikum (sorry about that)

    1. Anyone reading what you have to say about Salafiyyah would pretty much conclude that you have a very harsh view of them at best, and hatred at worst.

    If you don’t intend that, you should moderate your language by moderating your true feelings for them. I don’t say this condescendingly; I used to myself allow my passion for wrong the Salafiyyah were (are, undoubtedly, in so many ways) to become hatred and it took 9/11 for me to see how wrong I was to focus on petty differences.

    2. al-Bukhari’s Sahih hasn’t been considered infallible by anyone. The early Muslims calling themselves people of Hadith and people of the Sunnah did so to differentiate from the Shiah, Qadiriyyah, Khawaarij, Mu’taziliyyah, and other assorted groups that removed the primacy of the Qur’an or Sunnah or introduced a new authority.

    I would really not use the actions of layman Salafis to represent their Minhaj. Read their scholars. Even ibn Baz, reluctantly as he had to, had to agree with the traditional scholarship in a layman needing to Taqlid.

    Interestingly, it’s actually Salafis who first, really, called any Hadith in it ‘weak’. The Ummah’s general consensus until the Salafiyyah was that because the Sahih included only Hadith that were verified accordign to most stringent standards, it was entirely authentic. The Salfis with their new Muhaddith, Albani, were the first to actually call any Sahih Hadith in the Sahih weak because Albani said so. And considering their hatred for any sort of ‘blind following’, they definitely don’t consider Sahih Bukhari infallible.

    3. As for these stupid people you’ve mentioned. Man, believe me, you will find them everywhere. The things I have heard Muslims call other Muslims from every single group I can possibly think of – it’s so sad. I am sorry you experienced these people with these horrible attitudes because I am sorry I have to see them so often as well.

    I’m sorry again I failed to return your salam (not out of any negativity, I assure you!). You are my brother as is any Salafi or whatever and I love you as I love them above and beyond any disagreement I have with any of your or their ideology.

    Wassalamu’alaikum.

  • Sabhanak Yarabi

    @Usman: I see, I was reading fa’il as فعل instead of فاعل. Thanks! One of the best things to me about this site is the occasional free Arabic lessons. Sadly, I haven’t seen anything from Dawud in a while.

  • Isa

    Edit: I meant, Dar-us-Salam Publications, not Dar ul Islam. It’s been a while since I’ve been to said website.

  • Isa

    @Usman “Disingenuous. The Salafiyyah call themselves that. You can wrangle about them stealing it, but it is what they call themselves. ‘Wahhabi’ is a derogatory term used by those who see themselves as the enemy of Salafiyyah. (Very often, it is a pejorative used to include people accused of hating the Ahlul Bayt (as Nur Alia often does) or not celebrating the Mawlid – so even people like Hamza Yusuf and Deobandi scholars have it applied to them. It is a pejorative, nothing less.)”

    Salam Aleykum. I didn’t say they “stole” the term; I said they appropriated it. There’s a difference. The liberal Salafi movement of the 19th century largely puttered out a few decades after it started, but the modern-day Salafis do have some connection to the liberal Salafis of that era, through Rashid Rida, who was one of the 19th century Salafi reformers. So it is not simply that they use the same term. There is a link between the two, and a change of orientation took place because the modern-day Salafis were/are inspired by the people who you don’t like to be called Wahabbis, so I guess I’ll call them Muslims who follow Muhammad ibn Abdul Wahabb’s interpretation of Islam.

    “You can post more lengthy diatribes. They won’t change the fact that in civil discourse we have the courtesy to call any group what they call themselves.”

    Okay. I assume you also say the same thing to the Muslims whom some people refer to as “Wahabbis” if they say other Muslims are heretics, unbelievers, hypocrites, etc? If I call them “the Monotheists”, doesn’t that give credence to the view that I am a “non-Monotheist” if I don’t subscribe to their philosophy?

    “The rest of your paragraph is more demonizing of all Salafiyyah. ‘They this, they that’. You know, this is simple, one track-minded, dehumanization.”

    Not really. My view of Islam allows room for Salafis and “Wahabbis” to be Muslims too. I’ve never said that they weren’t Muslims, or that they were “bad Muslims.” Indeed my criticism of the movement has been pretty consistent so far, and that is that I don’t appreciate the view that many of them have (i.e. all other Muslims are misguided, traditional Islam is corrupt, Sufis (or those who try to practice Tasawwuf), Shi’ites are heretical, etc. I would *never* tell a “Wahabbi” or Salafi that they weren’t Muslims.

    “Can you honestly claim that Salafiyyah really always attack other Muslims as ‘dirty, filthy, hypocrite’? Man, that is just so false. I have Salafi friends and I know so many of them. I have read their scholars and their nuanced opinions on Taqlid, Takfir, and so on. I really don’t like their ideology but I accept them as my brothers on the basis of my acceptance for plurality of Minhaj among Muslims. It is a reality and always has been.”

    No, not always. That’s unreasonable to expect. There will always be people who adopt a very conservative religious path because it is what they need and believe, personally, but leave judgment up to God. But in my research, experience, and the experience of close personal friends, the Salafi movement lends itself to extremist, ahistorical, and literalist interpretations of Islam that stifle the intellect, emotions, and spirituality of individuals, and also create a strict division between the “saved” and the “unsaved.”

    I’m sure you know this, because you write like you have been studying Islam for longer than me, but in the early period of Islam, there was a movement called the “Ahl al-Hadith” (the People of the Hadith), who strictly read what was in the Hadith collection, and accepted it as “Gospel” because Bukhari could not make a mistake in collecting the sayings and deeds of the Prophet. Throughout history, the phrase was used as a pejorative because of its simplistic methodology of simply reading what is in the book, and assuming that there can be no room for commentary on what the tradition actually means or refers to, etc.

    Perhaps things have changed, but when I first embraced Islam, the Salafis and “Wahabbis” who wanted to teach me, fit this description very well. I was told early on that if I rejected a single hadith from the Bukhari collection, I would immediately become an “apostate.” Another esteemed person from this persuasion cornered me in a Mosque when I was praying alone, and told me that I need to dissociate from my non-Muslim family because they will “make you like themselves”, and told me not to read books by Khaled Abou El Fadl and Fazlur Rahman, because they weren’t “true” scholars (but the scholars for Dar ul Islam press were.) This same person at a later time feigned love and affection for Jews, Christians, and Baha’is at an interfaith gathering, but later on remarked that he was uncomfortable being surrounded by so many “disbelievers.” He also told me to get rid of my prayer beads, because they were an “innovation” in Islam, and all innovations are bad.

    Another Muslim of this persuasion and Mosque, once remarked that he was furious because his next door neighbor was a Buddhist, and he felt dirty for living next to a “polytheist”, and wanted to destroy the man’s statue because it’s “what the Prophet would have done.” The only thing that stopped him was his wife’s disapproval. When I asked him if he truly hated his neighbor for practicing a different religion than him, or if he was just angry, he paused for a moment but said that it is a duty for a Muslim to “hate what/who God hates”, evidently Buddhists.

    I soon began to notice that very few Muslims who practiced traditional Sunni Islam at another Mosque, acted this way. They may have shared some tenets with these Salafis, but they carried themselves differently, like they had a wealth of extra information that these other guys didn’t.

    “You aren’t ‘showing a bit of teeth’, you are demonizing them wholesale. That’s what labeling an entire group of people, claiming they all call you ‘dirty filthy hypocrite’, and using ‘they they they’, is. We all have much learning to do, and I hope you strengthen yourself on this. What you are showing is just hatred, and hatred is almost never logical.”

    No, what I am saying is that I don’t like it when other Muslims are demonized by some (not all) people of this persuasion, for practicing Islam a little differently than what a literal reading of the Qur’an and Hadith allows. I now realize that my rhetoric was over the top in saying it.

    “(PS: About the term ‘Sufi’, people following Tasawwuf have never used it for themselves. It has been used historically as a term of awe for the religiosity of another, never to describe oneself or group.”

    I already agreed with you on this. The term, “Sufi” is often used in English to denote someone or a group who practices Tasawwuf. I am used to that term, even though I am sure there are better terms to say it in Arabic. But I am using the term that most English speaking people who are familiar with Islam, will most readily understand. If I were speaking Arabic, I would probably use the words that you have described. I noticed that you didn’t return my Salaams (I said it twice in the first post, four counting this post), once in the beginning and once in the end.) Regardless of how much of an ass you must think I am right now, is it not befitting that a Muslim return the Salaams of a fellow Muslim, no matter how brash he/she may be?

    Salam Aleykum.

  • Usman

    @ Sabhanak Yarabi

    al-Tasawwuf is the masdar (root); tasawwaf(a) the fi’l; and mutasawwif (un/een) the fa’il.

  • Sabhanak Yarabi

    @Usman: “The fa’il of ‘Tasawwuf’ is, naturally, ‘Mutasawifeen’.”

    I agree, that is better than Sufi. Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t “tasawwaf” the fa’il and “mutasawifeen” the Ism al-Fa’il (اسم الفعل)?

  • Sabhanak Yarabi

    @Real Truth Seeker: You’re a big part of the problem. What you said there instigates fear and uncertainty of Islam in the west. Basically, your blaming the victim fo the crime. The crime is that this man is being put on trial for speaking his mind.

  • Usman

    Also re: Your comment about me not calling them “Abdul Wahhabis” confuses me. Why would that be necessary? Do people call Christians, “Jesus Christians”, or simply “Christians?”

    Wahhab is Allah’s name. By adding the ‘ya’ of nisbah to the end of a name, you attribute to that name. Thus, grammatically, ‘Wahhabi’ means ‘person of al-Wahhab (Allah)’.

    Using ‘Wahhabi’ as a pejorative thus does not even make grammatical sense.

    Abdul Wahhab is a person’s name. Following what I just said, if we want to attribute a person to him (ie as a follower), we would say ‘Abdul Wahhabi’, clumsy as it is.

  • Usman

    @ Isa

    Disingenuous. The Salafiyyah call themselves that. You can wrangle about them stealing it, but it is what they call themselves. ‘Wahhabi’ is a derogatory term used by those who see themselves as the enemy of Salafiyyah. (Very often, it is a pejorative used to include people accused of hating the Ahlul Bayt (as Nur Alia often does) or not celebrating the Mawlid – so even people like Hamza Yusuf and Deobandi scholars have it applied to them. It is a pejorative, nothing less.)

    You can post more lengthy diatribes. They won’t change the fact that in civil discourse we have the courtesy to call any group what they call themselves.

    The rest of your paragraph is more demonizing of all Salafiyyah. ‘They this, they that’. You know, this is simple, one track-minded, dehumanization.

    Can you honestly claim that Salafiyyah really always attack other Muslims as ‘dirty, filthy, hypocrite’? Man, that is just so false. I have Salafi friends and I know so many of them. I have read their scholars and their nuanced opinions on Taqlid, Takfir, and so on. I really don’t like their ideology but I accept them as my brothers on the basis of my acceptance for plurality of Minhaj among Muslims. It is a reality and always has been.

    You aren’t ‘showing a bit of teeth’, you are demonizing them wholesale. That’s what labeling an entire group of people, claiming they all call you ‘dirty filthy hypocrite’, and using ‘they they they’, is. We all have much learning to do, and I hope you strengthen yourself on this. What you are showing is just hatred, and hatred is almost never logical.

    (PS: About the term ‘Sufi’, people following Tasawwuf have never used it for themselves. It has been used historically as a term of awe for the religiosity of another, never to describe oneself or group.

    The fa’il of ‘Tasawwuf’ is, naturally, ‘Mutasawifeen’. If some sort of descriptor was ever used for people adhering to Tasawwuf, it was this. ‘Sufi’ is not the fa’il of Tasawwuf and is an aggrandizing term; self-aggrandizing being ugly and distasteful, it has never been used by actual Mutasawifeen.)

  • Isa

    @Usman, Salam Aleykum. How is calling them, “Wahhabis” an “insult” to them? It’s just a label that describes their loyalties; faithfulness to Muhammad ibn Abdul Wahhab’s interpretations of Islam. No one said that the name, “Wahhab” was “bad.” Should we address them the way they wish to be addressed (i.e. “the Only True Muslims on Earth?”) I choose not to do so, not out of disrespect for them, but out of respect for all other Muslims who don’t subscribe to their belief structure.

    They believe that they are the only true Muslims. It’s all in their writings and speeches, and it comes directly from the founder of their movement, Muhammad ibn Abdul Wahhab – who taught his original followers that it was good and wholesome to kill Sufis, Shi’ites, Sunnis, and all other “heretics” because they were “apostates”, which therefore meant (in his view) that their property and possessions were for the taking by the “true believers.”

    Modern day Wahhabis call themselves Salafis, although Salafism was originally a 19th century liberal reform movement within Islam. Wahhabis appropriated the name, much like free-market right-wingers appropriated the term, “libertarian”, whereas it used to mean left-wing anarchism, or “anti-authoritarian left.” Words change meaning in a social sense. So just because Wahhab is one of Allah’s Greatest Names, that doesn’t mean it can’t be used to justify evil.

    “Salfis are men, women, children. They are our fellow Muslims. If you want to do takfir of them and call them non-Muslim- fine, but they are human. You’d do well to remember that.”

    I never said they weren’t Muslims. I’m not a takfiri, unlike many from this movement who profess takfir on people like me.

    “(PS – Using the term ‘Sufis’ shows you’re relying on the bombastic soundbites of a post 9/11 era. No one who followed Tasawwuf in all the history of Islam had the gall to call themselves a ‘Sufi’.)”

    So no one used the term, “Sufi” before 9/11? Do you have a source for that? I never said that those people *called themselves* Sufis, but descriptors are good for shortening sentences. If we wrote the way you suggest, a sentence would turn into a paragraph. So, would it be nicer if I said, “those who sincerely tried to practice Tasawwuf, but didn’t have the arrogance to call themselves Sufis”? Can you see how much longer that makes things?

    “And if that doesn’t convince you either, consider you arr using a name of Allah as a descriptor for a group you clearly despise. (Yes, Allah’s name. You are not calling them ‘Abdul Wahhabis’).”

    I only “despise” them because they despise me and other people who don’t see things their way. I don’t agree with moral equivalencies, “there are wrong on both sides”, “50/50, let’s call it even” attitudes. If one person or group starts out by saying, “you’re an unbeliever, filthy, hypocrite”, am I supposed to say, “yes, brother. I agree with you. I AM a piece of garbage. Thank you for enlightening me with Your Wisdom”? And if I dare to show my teeth a little bit *in response* to that unprovoked aggression, that makes me “just as bad as them”? I’ve never agreed with that attitude. It’s completely unreasonable.

    In this context, it’s a minor example of the “debate” between Israel and the Palestinians. Many people try to depict the conflict as if it is “equal.” “Well, you know, both sides hurt each other. It’s complicated”, while ignoring the fact that the casualties Israel creates is far larger than that of the Palestinians, and is often unprovoked, whereas Palestinian attacks on Israelis are often *in response* to unprovoked attacks against them, even though they are already suffering a horrible life.

    So on a theoretical level, I guess the right thing to do would to be “mature”, and never call an opponent a name, ever, and just let them make takfir on me and everyone else, and just smile, nod, and agree with the vitriol they spew, thereby giving people the impression that they are indeed the “true Muslims” because “the other Muslims aren’t saying anything in response, so they MUST be the True Muslims.”

    Your comment about me not calling them “Abdul Wahhabis” confuses me. Why would that be necessary? Do people call Christians, “Jesus Christians”, or simply “Christians?”

    Salam Aleykum

  • Usman

    @ Isa

    Civil discourse precludes using insulting and derogatory terms for anyone. It is uncivil and thus, outside the decency of what civil discourse is; fin.

    If that doesn’t convince you, try to bear in mind you are using one of Allah’s names as an insult.

    And if that doesn’t convince you either, consider you arr using a name of Allah as a descriptor for a group you clearly despise. (Yes, Allah’s name. You are not calling them ‘Abdul Wahhabis’).

    Yes, the followers of Muhammad bin Abdul Wahhab were extremists and murderers of innocents. They upended society. They exposed and made Muslims weaker to the colonizing nations of the West.

    Well, so too did Catholics butcher millions of fellow Christians in their time. Other Christians don’t condemn them and allow them no humanity the way you are proposing with the Salafiyyah.

    Salfis are men, women, children. They are our fellow Muslims. If you want to do takfir of them and call them non-Muslim- fine, but they are human. You’d do well to remember that.

    (PS – Using the term ‘Sufis’ shows you’re relying on the bombastic soundbites of a post 9/11 era. No one who followed Tasawwuf in all the history of Islam had the gall to call themselves a ‘Sufi’.)

    @ Sulayman

    Hoping I ‘see the right way’ and suggesting I am an extremist (without realizing it!) puts you in the same camp as the Salafi extremists you hate so much.

    Can we at least please stop saying ‘Wahhabi’, really? It’s Allah’s name. Why use it as an insult? Why are you using it to describe people you don’t like? I mean, grammatically it means person of Allah!

    Your paragraph there is full of ‘they this, they that’, and I immediately tune out. Any ‘they’ talk that demonizes people en masse sounds too much to me like Spencer/Gellar rhetoric.

    Peace.

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/GargamelGold?feature=mhee CriticalDragon1177

    @Webdawah

    Thanks. I’m glad it was.

  • http://webdawah.blogspot.com/ Webdawah

    @ CriticalDragon,

    You are right, that’s a typo.

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