Strong Opinions & Characters

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ 

Sometimes, Muslims live in some sort of fairy-tale where they imagine that to be a good Muslim, we all have to be pushovers.  I understand that we must be kind, and loving and compassionate - to an extent.  But I also believe that we sometimes have to be harsh, and firm and unswerving.  We are not shrinking violets.  If some of these “religious” Muslims were to read the sirah, the tarikh or any manaqib, their hair would stand.  And it is obvious that most Muslims do not know their religion or their history. 

The companions were not one big loving family.  They were people.  Sayyidatina ‘Aishah bint Abu Bakr (r.a.) and Sayyidina ‘Ali ibn Abu Thalib (k.w.) had a fight.  Sayyidina Abu Sulayman Khalid ibn al-Walid (r.a.) incurred the ire of Sayyidina Abu Hafsw ‘Umar ibn al-Khaththab al-Faruq (r.a.).  Sayyidina ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar (r.a.) disagreed with his father.  Sayyidina Hudzayfah ibn al-Yaman (r.a.) argued with Sayyidina ‘Umar (r.a.).  Sayyidina ‘Ali (k.w.) and Mu’awiyah ibn Abu Sufyan, Sayyidina ‘Amr ibn al-‘Aasw (r.a.) and Sayyidina ‘Ali (k.w.), Sayyidina Abu Hurayrah ‘Abd ar-Rahman ibn Sakhr ad-Dawsi az-Zahrani al-Azdi (r.a.) and Sayyidatina ‘Aishah (r.a.) ...  The list goes on and on and on. 

Imam Abu ‘Abd ar-Rahman ‘Abdullah ibn al-Mubarak (r.a.) clashed with Imam Abu Hanifah Nu’man ibn Tsabit (r.a.), even though they were once best friends.  Imam Abu Hanifah (r.a.) disagreed vehemently with Imam Abu ‘Abdullah Malik ibn Anas (r.a.).  Imam Abu ‘Abdullah Muhammad ibn Idris ash-Shafi’i (r.a.) had a huge disagreement with Imam Abu ‘Abdullah Muhammad ibn al-Hasan ash-Shaybani (r.a.).  Imam Abu Hamid Muhammad ibn Muhammad al-Ghazali (r.a.) and Imam Abu al-Walid Muhammad ibn Ahmad ibn Rushd (r.a.) were far from friendly with each other.  There were so many more.  They burned each other’s books, threw them into the river, made takfir, even fought duels. 

There were rivalries between madzahib and regions, and major disagreements with methodology.  Imam Abu ‘Abdullah Muhammad ibn Isma’il al-Bukhari (r.a.) famously disparaged Imam Abu Hanifah (r.a.) in his writings.  Imam Abu Manswur Muhammad ibn Muhammad al-Maturidi (r.a.) and the Hanafi madzhab discounted dozens of ahadits in Swahih al-Bukhari as ridiculous.  The Maliki madzhab disapproved of the speculative fiqh of the Hanafi madzhab.  The Hanafi madzhab criticised the Shafi’i madzhab’s “slavish” adherence to gharib ahadits over reason.  The Atsari creed of the Hanbali madzhab criticised the Ash’ari approach to kalam, especially that of Imam al-Ghazali (r.a.).  The Hanbali madzhab made takfir of the entire Jariri madzhab of Imam Abu Ja’far Muhammad ibn Jarir ath-Thabari (r.a.), and drove it to extinction. 

There is nothing wrong with having strong opinions and characters.  Our religion was built on strong characters.  Now, we are an ummah of sheep lead by sheep pretending to be lions.  We should be lenient with our fiqh but strict with our ‘aqidah, and we should not be afraid to fight fiercely for what we believe in.  And if something is out of line, then we must speak out, and not hide.  There is no place for cowards in Jannah.


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