The Sharing Group Discussion on Convert Issues

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

The following are three threads on The Sharing Group on convert issues.

The following was posted on The Sharing Group by myself on the 22nd November, 2014: “When I first converted to Islam, what drew me what its theology and spirituality.  What enchanted me what its spirit of searching and discovery.  When I first said my shahadah, I was alone, at the Church of St. Alphonsus at 0300h.  I had the Bible in one hand, and a copy of the Qur’an in another.  It had taken years of reading, and realisation.  And that was how I was as a Muslim for two years.  And then, I discovered the Muslims.  Undoubtedly, I have met many wonderful Muslims.  In my time at a certain convert organisation, in various capacities, I have had the distinct pleasure to sit with and converse with, amongst others, Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad, Shaykh Nuh Ha Mim Keller, Shaykh Mustafa Ceric, Shaykh Khaled Abou El Fadl, and so many, many more.  I have also met people like Zakir Naik, and many of the Wahhabis.

I had the privilege of being part of the team that organised more than 30 major public talks, 3 international level da’wah and cross-cultural conferences, 2 interfaith conferences, and 2 taswawwuf conferences.  I was Blessed to have learnt from two major shuyukh, and several other major scholars.  Many of them, privately.  One of them, was my teacher for eight years.  We have had policy dialogues with the ambassadors and leaders of Muslim countries, non-Muslim countries, the intelligence community, major policy makers, academic, the religious establishment of Islam, Christianity and others.  I have been in meetings with many major figures and organisations of the Muslim establishment, both regional and local.

And yet, as a Muslim, I feel the sense of frustration, that the Muslim community is, in many cases, insular, bigoted, self-righteous with a victimhood mindset.  We have major issues within the community, and severe challenges.  And yet, after all these years, a decade and half, we are still circling the drain around the same peripheral issues.

In terms of ‘aqidah, most Muslims do not know their tawhid well enough.  They do not even understand what they are supposed to believe in.  They are permissive where they are not supposed to be.  In terms of taswawwuf, it has become a name without a reality.  There is a cult of celebrity around scholars that is a desecration of scholarship.  In terms of fiqh, they do not understand the Divine Intent, and thus are strict in some areas, and absolutely permissive in others.

There are, indeed days, when I do wonder, is it worth identifying myself as a Muslim?  I have never met people as self-indulgent as some Muslims.  And I have never met some people as racist as some Arabs, Indians and Malays; and yet they cloak their prejudice in scripture.  Were it not for the fact that I know that the kalimah shahadatayn is true, I would have left this religion behind.  We have a high apostasy rate.  I know because I deal with many of these cases personally.  And in the vast majority of them, we cannot blame the people for leaving Islam.  The Muslims drive them away.

When people bring up issues, some Muslims can do nothing more than spam verses of the Qur’an and ahadits, throw in a fatwa or two, and say, “Have faith,” as if that magically fixes everything.  It does not.  There is no attempt to understand, but there is a lot of Judgement.  Who made them gods alongside God to decide?  So perhaps, we should look into the mirror and ask ourselves, if we have made a difference to someone today, especially ourselves.  Because if we cannot look out for our fellows, then do not lie and claim to look out for God.

Sister Sukaynah-Jenny Weiskopf: Brother, this is so well written, and you have spoken exactly what is within my mind and heart.  This is the biggest issue I am dealing with right now in my life - the state of the Muslim community.  I am a convert, and have been Muslim for 14 years now.  I understand and can relate to everything you have written about.  I have been active inside the communities in our city, and have tried speaking with other Muslims about these issues, and tried being patient and non-judgmental about their understanding of Islam and their behaviour, but honestly I am at my wits end.

We all long for a sense of community where we learn, share and grow together; but I honestly have not been able to find that.  Of course, I experienced some benefits from being involved in our Islamic community, but it seems that the cons are now beginning to far outweigh the pros.  Do not get me wrong; my issue has nothing to do with Islam itself, but rather, the people and how they understand their religion, what they put their focus on as far as the teachings go, and most importantly, how they view and behave with Muslims and non-Muslims alike.  One might argue that I am judging them by saying these things, but it is more a matter of trying to preserve my own faith at this point in time, because all of this negativity, judgment, self-righteousness, inability to look at their own flaws, and worst of all finding a way to justify their own misbehaviours through the religious texts and teachings, has brought me to a point at which I no longer want to be a part of these communities.

I have been patient and tried to be accepting of these things for so long, telling myself that everyone is at a different place on their journeys and levels of understanding; but I just cannot take it anymore.  It is starting to have a very negative impact on me and weakening my iman.  Image that for a moment, that by spending time around your brothers and sisters in faith is actually weakening your connection with God, as opposed to strengthening it!  This is so sad if you ask me.  I have actually been considering joining a non-denominational spiritual church in order to connect with more like minded people.  That in no way, shape or form means I wish to leave Islam, but it means that I feel I can find people who behave more like a Muslim should, outside the religion.  And of course when people ask why I have chosen to leave to mosque to join a church, instead of looking objectively at themselves, and the community and possible problem areas within both, I will be branded kafir, or munafiq.

I have four children who I want to be learning about their faith in a house of God with other community members, and I have no place to take them!  This, to me, is a tragic situation.  Please, can someone tell me why Muslims have these problems?  Perhaps if I could understand why, it would become easier for me to not pass judgment or allow myself to be effected by it.  I firmly believe that it is not my place to judge anyone, yet this situation has pushed me to this point.

And also, this did not take place within one community, or one small group.  I live in a big metropolitan city containing many different Muslim communities and mosques.  I taught for over four years in an Islamic day school, I have taught for 7 years at an Islamic Sunday school and was also the principal of this same school for 2 of those years - completely different schools and communities.  I have organised and helped in countless Islamic community projects.  My point, being that I have been very involved in many of these communities during these years, and unfortunately, you see the same problems within all of them.

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: It would be difficult to say.  We began this group because we have many converts who have had similar experiences.  But I confess, that there is a struggle to address these issues.  I have had more than a few converts say as you have, that they do not want to leave Islam, but they do want to leave the Muslims.  I emphatise and understand that.  In a sense, we are exiles of sorts for the community.

We keep this group different, meaning, we make it our oasis, and remove any person who would bring their sermons, their judgements, and their fake platitudes here.  There are innumerable groups and platforms out there for them to masturbate their collective self-righteousness.  But if we lose this space, we lose many Muslims.  A cursory look at the threads here and elsewhere makes apparent the divide between the convert, here referring also to born-Muslims struggling to come back into the fold; and the born-Muslims, who have imbibed of their culture and the jurisprudence, but there is a failure to connect that with the deeper well of spirituality that is Islam.  As Brother Colin Turner says, and I fully subscribe to: Islam is in the books and the Muslims are in the graves.

So can we be good Muslims without Islam, as Sister Rachel Pan Yijun and Brother Fahim Ferdous Promi, and to a lesser extent, Sister Nico Le have asked, I would now turn it around and say, not only that, but sometimes, we can be better Muslims without the ummah and the tyranny of its uniform banality.

Sister Sukaynah-Jenny Weiskopf: I have to tell you that this group has been a God-Send for me.  It is comprised of so many knowledgeable, open-minded, intelligent and understanding people who seem to have connected with the deeper meaning of what it means to be a Muslim.  I am honoured to be a part of this group.  I only began checking in and following the posts a few weeks ago and I cannot tell you what a difference it has made for me spiritually.  And I am sure I am not alone in that.  You are providing a wonderful service, and by opening this forum you have undoubtedly made a difference in the lives of many people.  May Allah Reward you for that and may He also Reward all of the brothers and sisters who come here to share and foster an environment of acceptance and growth.  Masha’Allah.

Sister Samra Hussain: Sister Sukaynah-Jenny, I find your comment really interesting about wanting to join or meet up with non-denominational church groups in order to feel like you have a genuine Islamic experience with others.  I feel the same way and I was born into Islam.  Trust me, when I say that our community is in such bad shape that even people born into Islam whose families have been Muslim for generations are either abandoning it due to rife hypocrisy and harshness they encounter in religious matters, or they are being creative and forming other Islamic social groups through social media and university campuses instead of being involved in mosques.

Brother Fahim Ferdous Promi: I am seen as a naive pacifist and a munafiq in many circles and I have witnessed a neighbourhood of Muslims where I used to spend days of my childhood playing basketball get turned into a community of terrorist sympathisers.  Trying to reason with them, I have been called many names, many things, condemned in various ways which have in turn made me quite bitter about the Muslim community at large.  We shift the blame onto others using a plethora of rhetorical trickery but the reality is that the largest threats to peace today are groups like ISIS and al-Qaeda who are doing what they're doing in the name of Islam.  Why Islam instead of any other religion?  Why have we become so malleable to be turned into monsters so easily in the name of faith?

Sister Nico Le: We could see it from the positive side.  Working with Muslims is an anger management programme.  After 2 and a half years in my MSA, I do not think much can shock me anymore.  No matter what job I will once work in, it cannot get worse than working for a Muslim organisation.  Working with Muslims, you learn patience, tolerance, improvisation and much more.  And you learn to deal with people who are totally immune to sarcasm.  If you work with Muslims, just have zero expectations.  Usually, they will not be worse than that.

On a more serious note, I really sometimes wonder how some Muslims see themselves.  Like for example, we have a dialogue project with the Bible group at the university, and the Bible group is mixed denomination.  Anyway, they are perfectly organised; we are not.  And every time after a meeting, when we leave one, brother says the following: “Look at them, no unity.  We definitely have the better religion.  I wonder how long it'll be until they convert.”  And I always wish to bang my head.  On different theological issues, they politely disagree with each other.  We, on the other hand, all seem like crazy fanatics who are constantly late.  They show us a lot of respect, and we are like, “Oh look at those crazy kuffar.”

Another thing is the hypocrisy.  We use the prayer room from the Christians and they are happy to welcome us.  Now, someone complained about the Muslims misbehaving there.  I had to talk to those responsible and apologise and inform the others about the decision.  The next day, an angry brother said, “How dare those Christians tell us how to behave!”  Now, we are about to lose the room.  We were discussing this issue and I posed the question, if we had he room, would we allow the Christians to use it?  And, of course, all said no.  And that, ladies and gentlemen, is hypocrisy: we demand they let us use their room on our conditions but we would never ever do the same.

Brother Ishaq Mohammed: I cannot stop crying after reading this.  This is exactly how I feel.  Brother Terence, you have spoken from the heart what many of us feel, born and converted.  There is not a mistake in this feeling and it is a sadness that it exist.  Why do many of us feel exactly what you wrote?  Is this not a shame and a travesty upon our beautiful Diyn?

Brother Hajj Ahmad: I put this on Living in Islam, Brother Terence.  It is very good.

Sister Vivi YZ: It is humanity as a whole that is in crisis.  Look at the levels of spirituality and morality around us.  It is not only Muslims who face negative issues.  All the negative qualities of Muslims mentioned exist in people of other religions.  My Hindu friends have given me an inkling of what they are unhappy about in their community.  I have worked in a Muslim organisation before so I know the extreme frustrations mentioned by some here.  Non-Muslim friends tell me it is the same in other ethnic-based organisations.

As for new Muslims who leave because Muslims drive them away, I believe Allah (s.w.t.) Guides those whom He Wills in spite of the state of the ummah.  There are verses in the Qur’an foretelling the division of the ummah at the end of days, of hypocrites among Muslims.  Is this all not a test, the sad state of the ummah?  The test of Muslims who live in this day and age?  Was there anyone sadder than Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) when he foresaw what would befall his ummah?

In the meantime, Allah (s.w.t.) Said in the Qur’an:

So lose not heart, nor fall into despair: for ye must gain mastery if ye are true in faith. (Surah Ali ‘Imran:139)

Brother Hajj Ahmad: Muslims expect more from their Diyn as it is the fullest expression of spirituality available to mankind.  When we convert, we are often highly disappointed if we do not have a group of people who are truly living the Diyn to help us learn and acclimate to real Islam.  As the saying goes, “Islam is in the books, and the Muslims are in the graves.”  Obviously this is not the case for everyone.

Sister San Yee: It is good to know that I am not alone in feeling this way.  I often have to remind myself of why I became a Muslim but it just started to get too ridiculous to keep doing it.  I feel a deep spiritual void from the Muslim community here in the UK who are mainly concerned about getting their Muslim rights from the ‘kaffir’, making no attempt to get along with each other and their cousins in faith and are mainly concerned about playing dress- ups and hitting each other on the head with ahadits and Qur’anic verses.

I wonder if my children will maintain their belief in God.  They do have a deep sense of right and wrong and some understanding of Islam but that is thanks to the efforts of their father.  The Qur’an schools here in the Northwest of the country are literally like Taliban madaris, where the children are threatened, slapped and shouted at if they cannot remember a du’a.  My son and his friend would purposely fall asleep in Qur’an class so that they would not be called up to recite the Qur’an.  We had to pull them out before they developed a deep hate for Islam and the Muslim community.  It might be too late as they love watching episodes of Citizen Khan and comparing it to Muslims they know.

I never go to the mosque anymore since coming to the UK because women are forbidden to do so here in the Northwest and my boys do not go for Friday Prayers because what is the point?  The khuthbah would be in Arabic and Urdu to a population that speaks Gujarati and English.  I use to support many Muslims with mental health issues in the community as part of my job.  I worked closely with them in their homes and with their families.  I have seen how their rigid practice of Islam and constant Qur’an bashing have destroyed lives and turned some of my clients to drink, drugs and suicide.  Muslims want to live the ‘sunnah’, but instead are living a life that is not practical and relevant for today's world.  I see the Muslim community falling apart with deep social problems such as high divorce rates, infidelity, mental health issues and issues of child grooming.  But what are the Muslims doing about it?  Nothing.  Women who seek marriage advice from the imam are told to go away as it is a family matter.  The lucky ones are told to obey their husbands.  Some Muslim women have even sort advice from priest to help save their marriages.

The recent cases of child grooming among Muslim men are passed off as conspiracies by non-Muslims trying to destroy the Muslim community or that they are picking on us because non-Muslims are racist.  There is no effort in even trying to fix the problems they have.  I have left the fold of Islam by definition and am holding on to my faith with just my consciousness of God.  I feel like I have rebooted myself after having participated in this group, reinstalling each essential software with baby steps until I have to come across a well-meaning Quran basher again, who assumes I know nothing or what I know is wrong or that I am currently being tempted by Satan.

Brother Haydar Gallaghan: Shay’un gharib.  Islam originated as a strange thing, and then it will again become something strange, so blessed are the ghuraba.  This is from our beloved Prophet (s.a.w.).

Sister Fatimah Osman-Ahmad: This is how I feel.  I am born into a somewhat secular Muslim family.  My family never prayed but we conduct the tahlil at home, we keep a Qur’an at home but never open it.  I rediscovered my religion a few years ago.  I pray regularly, study the Qur’an but there are many issues that I have to deal with here with my fellow Malay Muslims.  It is a rocky road but I am comforted by the fact that my faith is between Allah and me and that He is Leading me on the right path.

Brother Said Allan Bak: I agree with a lot of what was written in the original post and I think many converts feel like that.  The question is what to do about it.  If one believes, as I am sure most of us still do, that Islam is the Truth from our Lord, then leaving the religion is not really an option.  So what is the way forward for the frustrated converts?

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: Leaving God is not an option since He is everywhere.  But leaving the poisonous community aside to find a better one is possible sometimes.  Perhaps here, we have a place to stand up for ourselves, and give each other the support we need.  Islam began as a stranger, and we are the strangers.  And in many places, the big bad world of the ummah is more dangerous than the company of the supposed infidel.

Brother Joel Troxell: A very tough thing for me was that the intellectual and spiritual process that led me to question the faith I was born with and eventually became a Muslim was not respected once I became a Muslim.  People liked hearing about the theological and textual reasons for my conversion to Islam, but beyond that I was told that those kinds of ‘tools’ for determining what to believe were not really welcome in Islam.  It seemed to say that using reason and critical thinking are okay to get you to the door of Islam, but once you step through you have to turn them off.  And that was a very tough thing to hear.

Brother Paul Salahuddin Armstrong: Shaykh Terence, thank you for sharing; there is much wisdom and good advice in your words.

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: Thank you, Brother Paul Salahuddin Armstrong.

Brother Joel Troxell, we often hear from many Muslims that too much questioning will lead to ‘confusion in the ummah’.  This is ridiculous.  If their iman is so weak that some questions will lead to confusion, then there is no iman.  They have reduced Islam to a superstition.  The truth is, many Muslims do not know what they believe in, and they do not like their ignorance highlighted.  They follow like the very cattle the Qur’an told us not to be.  These people are poison and we stay away from them.

Brother Paul Salahuddin Armstrong: Brother Joel, the number of times I have encountered this sort of thing...  Only a couple of weeks ago, an Egyptian brother was speaking to me like I was an ignoramus.  I listened, diplomatically, but strongly made my point, and when he continued repeating “...but everyone in the Middle East, in Egypt and Saudi Arabia...” I said, we should agree to disagree.  Insha’Allah, one day, he will reflect and be Granted deeper insights into the Diyn.  But hey, what would an English man like me know, eh?

The best thing is to keep good company, people with a spiritual or good philosophical outlook on life and good hearts.  If Muslims like this, al-Hamdulillah.  But the main thing is that they possess these qualities.  People who put you down, make you feel ill and such are not good company, and should be kept at a distance.  Even when a person learns to transmute their negativity, it is hard work and tiring, and they need a safe place to recuperate.  Such people do not make good company, and spending too much time in bad company is detrimental.

The following was posted by Brother Ishaq Mohammed on the 24th November, 2015, on The Sharing Group.  He said, “So something I was curious about, and I experience online and also in here to a thankfully limited degree.  Do the people who go about telling others that this and that is halal or haram; are they doing it for a genuine concern of the other person’s spiritual well-being or is it actually a form of jealousy?

It is an odd thing I have experienced mostly in Islam and perhaps only the most extreme of Fundamentalist Christianity.  I have seen or been in conversations where a person commenting on someone will declare something haram and quote a verse or two and 100 ahadits to back up it is ‘haramness’ and if someone disagrees or does not change their mind, a bunch of ‘Fear Allah!’ comments or more ahadits and verses come flying about.  Our discussion about music ventured into that territory and there have been a few more.  Is it about the level of resistance given?”

Brother Edge H. He: Thanks for asking this question, brother.  I can only speak from my experience, as this is what I know.  I think the reasons for this are all across the board.  There might be some generally with a well-intentioned heart, and I try my best to give others the benefit of the doubt.  I get this a lot; from Muslims, Christians, and even atheists.

Truth is this, short and sweet.  Life is too short to be wasting bickering with cats on the net.  I give them a pleasant heads up that I appreciate the thought, and if I have questions, I will ask them.  Otherwise, that is that.  As for the fanatics, there was a time when I took them seriously.  Not anymore.  I just chuckle and move on with my day 

Brother Ishaq Mohammed: I am slowly leaning toward that myself.  It took me long enough though.  There are 7 billion people and almost a billion Muslims and if no two snowflakes are alike and they are but frozen water, how much more is humankind?  It is inevitable that we will have disagreements, but sometimes I see adab going out the window.  Even let us say, if I knew a Muslim that ate pork, I would not feel the need to declare him a non-Muslim and condemn them to Hell.  If they consider themselves truly a Muslim yet they eat it, it is between them and Allah.  It is not for me personally.

But let us use the music example.  I still listen to it; not the same stuff anymore because I do not like swearing and such now, but I see music as a Gift from Allah.  And it is not explicitly forbidden in Qur’an.  Many who claim it is use the verse about idle talk, but that same verse would also apply to things like movies, games and social media as well, if we really think about it.  And yet, people will bounce up and down like a trampoline with anger because I still listen to music.  At times, I wonder if they are protesting too much because they wish that they could also listen to music and still feel confident in their relationship with Allah.

Sister Khadija Leona Burdett: I used to worry in the beginning about others; their opinions and rightness or wrongness, but now only give an explanation of my take and not push it so hard.  I think the haram and halal thing with converts or Arab followers is learning the Wahhabi take on things without really realising one way or another that some things are not so clear and scholars have differing opinions through time.  We are each responsible for our own intent and understanding and only are responsible to His Judgement.  We should not argue.  We have enough errors ourselves that we cannot think we know everything either.  Self reflection is good for us.

Sister Brenda Murphy: Someone said on a converts’ group that the Qur’an says if we do not advise someone we see committing a sin, we will get punished for their sin as well.  When I hear things like that, I think of what they think of God?  God is, to some people, a petty, vindictive tyrant just looking for any excuse to burn people.

Brother Ishaq Mohammed: I agree, Sister Brenda Murphy.  I wonder the same thing.  Are they serving Allah or are they serving their version of Allah?  And the Qur’an is clear about who goes to the Hellfire.  It is those who reject faith, those who refuse to worship the Creator.  It says over and over, those who reject faith in God.  The Bible echoes this as well.  But for some, it is unbelievable to think Allah would Forgive me the same as He would Forgive them.

Speaking of the Bible, Sister Brenda Murphy, in relation to the advising about sin, this is also a Biblical thing as well.  One that comes to mind is the famous Watchtower verses of Ezekiel (a.s.), Allah Tells Ezekiel that He has Made him a watchtower and a warner for the Israelites.  If he does not warn a person committing sin and that person dies, then Ezekiel (a.s.) is to be held accountable.  But if he warns them and they do not turn away, then he is free from guilt.

Habakkuk 2:1
1 What message, then, is entrusted to me?  What answer shall I make when I am Called to account?  Here on the watchtower, my post shall be; stand I on the battlements, and await His Signal.

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: It is very difficult to make blanket statement on what to do.  However, the very first thing to do before giving naswihah, is to check the intent.  This is muhasabah.  Thereafter, we have to consider how to give it, if it is needed.  Advice should always be given in private, if possible.  When you see a Muslim eating pork, for example, we know that it is almost certain that they know it is haram.  In such a case, there is often no need to say anything.  They know they are in error.  Pretend you do not know, or move away.  Insha’llah, they will come around.  The same applies to the consumption of alcohol and such like.  Consider the example of Hasan ibn ‘Ali (r.a.) and Husayn ibn ‘Ali (r.a.).  They saw a man performing wudhu incorrectly.  They did not want to embarrass him so one of them pretended not to know, and the other demonstrated.  That is wisdom.

Brother Ishaq Mohammed: This is good advice, Brother Terence.  But on things not so clear what say you?  I suppose my question is twofold.  The first is about those who proclaim something haram that is not specifically haram, and if they do it because they truly wish to be helpful or if they do it out of jealously.  You yourself experience this a lot.  The second part is more asking about how to defend ourselves from such attacks.

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: In such a case, we wish them peace and leave them be.  And if they persist in their foolishness, consider blocking them.

Sister Nadia Yadumi: Actually, I worry a lot about not doing the right thing.  When I decided to be a Muslim, nothing I did seemed good enough.  Until now, I still feel uncertain, particularly about music.  I have searched but am still worried.  I cannot convince myself and let my daughter learn to play a musical instrument.  Can anyone enlighten me on this topic?  I wish I could search this forum based on keywords.

Brother Ishaq Mohammed: Sister Nadia Yadumi, Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis has written a few excellent blogs on the subject of music.  You can refer to his blog.  Before my conversion, I was a worship leader in Christian ministry and still love music.  When I converted, I was told music was haram and bid’a.  But I also read the Qur’an in full and saw nothing about music being haram in there.

Brother Arvind Ashaari Parhar: I personally find myself utterly deficient in whatever I tell someone else to do or not to do and sometimes doing so may be out of sincere concern over that person falling into that same deficiency that I am in myself.  But, perhaps, there are some that are appointed to guide others and do it in intriguingly modest ways, like the example of our Beloved Prophet’s (s.a.w.) grandsons that Brother Terence mentioned; while others simply appoint themselves thinking they are the ultimate spokesperson of what they follow.

The following was posted on The Sharing Group by Brother Jon Beatty on the 25th November 2014.  He said, “Is it just me or is there some kind of indirect jealousy towards converts who study the Diyn formally, from born Muslims.  I have had a few unintended conflicts in the last couple of days; one being a self-proclaimed Hanafi from the subcontinent who studied for 7 years and was telling me about the weak ahadits he studied and when I pointed out this was inconsistent with Hanafi muswthalah, he turned very vicious.  Is this common with some of you more learned than me?”

Brother Ishaq Mohammed: I suppose it is the other side of that jealousy coin I was asking about the other day.

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: There are people who need that image of being pious and knowledgeable.  They do not like to be corrected because it hurts their ego.  Leave these sorts and stay far from them.

Brother James Harris: I recently got into some lively discussions with someone who is studying the Diyn after he made some criticisms on issues due to being influenced by Salafi teaching; nowhere is untouched, it seems.  It was very easy in fact to refute his points.  It turned out that the intense study the young man is doing is mostly Qur’an memorisation.

A lot of young Sunni students nowadays seem to know nothing about their own scholarly heritage.  I had one young man telling me that they laugh at those who follow the old Sufi tradition, but they themselves know little about the schools of fiqh and ‘aqidah, and their principles.  For example, I was told that all Sunni schools are in agreement that Allah (s.w.t.) literally has a hand.  It is a real disaster.  Study means memorisation of ahadits and Qur’an, punctuated by Salafi points of dogma.  Well, I was very disappointed to learn that a shaykh with years of study at a reputable institution in the Arab world was teaching his student otherwise.  This is why having a balanced and open approach is important.


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