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Which Aqeedah to follow? – the most useless debate of our time

the most useless debate of our timeI was flicking through tv channels whilst sipping my tea and paused at the ‘Ummah Channel” to hear someone go on and on about Istighatha  along with ruthless criticism of his opponents as if his discussion holds the solution to humanity’s problems.

Aqeedah wars are obviously not new, rather something we inherited when Muslims met philosophy around the 8th and 9th Century. When translating and answering complex theological questions influenced by the Greek Philosophy, Muslim scholars took several different positions as proponents and exponents of philosophy.

First came the Muslim philosophers who gave birth to various schools of thought Qadariyyah, Jabriyyah, Jahmiyah (all extinct now). In their refutation came the Mu’tazilah, who despite being valiant defenders also flopped paving the way for the Mutakallimoun (Muslim theologians) mainly the Ash’aris and Maturidis.

These remaining schools of Aqeedah (Ash’ari and Maturdi) were founded to counter the erroneous methodology of the Mu’tazilah gaining acceptance and popularity due to the growing interest in philosophy. The people were asking questions never asked before, about God, and the Muslim theologians presented carefully constructed arguments which were rational yet having textual (kitab and Sunnah) basis. Although they were the Islamic defenders of their time against the onslaught of deviant sects and the influence of foreign philosophies, they too, along with all other sects became problematic and ended up contributing towards the decline of Islamic thought.

Aside from the decline in thought, one of the problems they left Muslims with was the unnecessary Aqeedah debate and the consequent codification of Aqeedah leaving Muslims with a text book version of the very basis of their belief.  A text book Aqeedah, with text book proofs, occupying Muslim minds in a fruitless debate over various interpretations rather than forming an independent intellectual belief based on definitive rational and textual proofs.

The Asharis and Maturdis came in response to the Mu’tazila. We don’t have Mu’tazila anymore, so when we don’t have the problem why debate over the solution? Why not return to the basic teachings of the Sahabah, tabi’een and the salaf as-Saliheen who taught pure Islam free from the influence of philosophy and kalam?

Why not return to the true representatives of Ahlasunnah wal Jammah; Imam Abu Hanifah, Malik, Shafi’ , Ahmed ibn Hambal, Laith ibn Sa’ad, al-Awzaee, Sufyan al-Thawri (may Allah ta’ala be pleased with them all) away from the Brelawis, Deobandis, Wahabbis, and the Sufis who are full of blind hatred and can’t see that the Mu’tazili problem is long gone, but there are new problems like secularism, modernism, and host of socio-political problems faced by Muslims throughout the world.

Perhaps it’s time to re-focus attention to more pressing matters instead of idle useless debates which only breed hatred and intolerance.

Useless Anti Terror Fatwa launches in London

Tahir-ul Qadri, the leader of Minhaj al-Quran will be launching a 600 page fatwa tomorrow prohibiting terrorism and suicide bombing at a press conference in Westminster, London. The fatwa will be aimed at suicide bombers, condemning them to hell-fire.

Shahid Mursaleen, spokesman for Minhaj ul Quran’s British wing, described the fatwa as an attempt to sow doubt in the minds of wannabe extremists.

“[Shaikh Dr Qadri] has hit hard on the terrorists as it prevents Islamists from considering suicide bombers as ‘martyrs’. This fatwa injects doubt into the minds of potential suicide bombers. Extremist groups based in Britain recruit the youth by brainwashing them that they will ‘with certainty’ be rewarded in the next life and Dr Qadri’s Fatwa has removed this key intellectual factor from their minds.”

The Quilliam Foundation, an anti-extremist think thank comprised of former Islamists, described it as a “significant step” in countering Saudi and extremist rhetoric.

“Fatwas by Wahabi-influenced clerics and Islamist ideologues initiated modern terrorism against civilians,” a spokesperson said. “Terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda continue to justify their mass killings with self-serving readings of religious scripture. Fatwas that demolish and expose such theological innovations will consign Islamist terrorism to the dustbin of history.”

Source: The Independent

So much controversy over nothing. How hard is to write a 600 page thesis on prohibition of killing innocent people? Common sense really. And what are the chances of any so called ‘extremist’, ‘Islamist’ type Muslims giving Tahir-ul Qadri the time of day especially when he’s being praised by menaces like the Quilliam Foundation? We all know what Quilliam Foundation is but here is a glimpse of Tahirul Qadri being entertained by his followers (which also goes to show the kind of followers he has).

Youtube Video : Watch the very last minute to see this individual break all rules of Sufism – money thrown at him, he throws money at singers, walks over a man with complete public display of arrogance and extravangance.

Who will take this individual and his crazy followers seriously?? Giving Tahirul Qadri this kind of platform is a complete waste of time and resources.

Search for the Truth or Tooth?

The Muslim Sufi channel on Sky called Noor TV run by Pir Alauddin Siddqui from Birmingham features an interesting debate show on Sunday Evening called Search for the Truth. The format of the show consists of an incredibly biased individual who “chairs” the debate, along with a seemingly keen learner who is there to extrapolate convincing arguments from each debatee of which there are two.

The first of the debating panel is a sister of Salafi orientation with the typical characteristics of harshness, being dismissive and zealous. The other is our Sufi sister, probably a die hard Mureed of the Pir saab, with the typical Sufi persona. Together, they debate the most controversial issues ranging from Shirk, grave worshipping to kissing the feet of pious people. We have been watching this show for a while and the conclusion is almost always predictably in favour of the Sufis at the expense of the Salafi sister’s shortcomings and inability to formulate a convincing argument – at least not to her panelist, the channel or the audience mainly beause they are all sufis.

The show almost always typically ends with the Salafi sister left to say, ‘I will go back to my Shaykha and come back on this’ only they never continue with the same topic again, not that she would anyway. The arguments are convincing although surprisingly the notes of the presenter, the keen learner and the debater are all somehow synchorised and often gang up on the Salafi sister.

The last debate was on kissing the feet of the Pious, the sufi sister quoted a Hadith in favour of it which was denied by the Salafi sister as it did not exist in her version of Adab al-Mufrad of Imam Bukhari compiled by her Shaykh Al-Bani. The response which followed from all three Sufi panelists was not based on a discussion on strength of hadith neither the classfication, rather an attack was launched on Al-Bani, accusing him of tempering with the original texts – a debate the Salafi sister could not win. She failed to mention that Al-Bani was a Muhadith well qualified in sciences of Hadith possessing the necessary skills to scruitanise and reclassify hadith, a process of Renewal (tajdid) which is far from corrupting or tempering, but rather is a process of purification and preservation.

Anyway, week in week out they are debating complex issues using references which are literally read out from pieces of paper. There is lots of arguing and every effort is made to show the weakness in Salafi methodology in favour of an Islam which revolves around Shrines, Peers, kissing the hands and feet of the ‘pious’, Khatm, yarween sharif and such. Don’t get me wrong, I am not Salafi or anything but I certainly do not take any of these practices seriously.

As for the show, I think its a complete sham and a setup. If the Salafi sister was sincerely there to propogate the Salafi manhaj, she would do her “research” and present her arguments more convincingly and soundly rather than by ranting “and you should stop doing xyz, seriously-its bida’h” or “Memona can never break this argument, I say we finish the show here!” and expecting them to agree. The sufiesque sister on the other hand regularly goes off topic and begins to link random points to her arguments to make them seem more lofty, tolerant and inclusive, using the “impressionable keen learner” to acquiese with her point much to the chair’s satisfaction who often also sides with her and regularly joins the debate.

Makes for good Sunday night entertainment as long as you are not Salafi!

Sufi Pir on UK tour to fight extremism with dance moves.

Hisham Kabbani the Sufi deciple of Nazim Haqqani and the founder of Sufi Muslim Council is on a UK tour to teach moderation and ‘challenge extremist agendas’.

The tour will see Shaykh Hisham visit mosques in Peckham in south London, Ilford in Essex, Rochdale, Sheffield, Manchester, Bury and Birmingham as well as East Lancashire.

Speaking to the Lancashire Telegraph today, Shaykh Hisham, who is based in the USA but was born in Beruit, said preaching moderation was important because there was a “real concern” that extremists were targeting mosques.

He said: “There are too many violent ideas and anti-Western thoughts being spread to young people in communities in Lancashire.

“There is a radical minority but they must be shunned and ignored.

“The real Islam isn’t bombing and terror but we must discuss the problems so we can avoid them.”

Lancashire Telegraph

Below is the ‘Real Islam’ show Hisham Kabbani and his Sufi Muslim council put up in Burnley in 2007. In this video they are teaching the ‘Real Islam’ to UK police and a local Mayor, no doubt such shows will be put on again with the help of funding from UK tax payers… all in the name of fighting extremism.

Enjoy!!

Miracles of Sufis?

sufi-witch-doctor I was thinking of not turning this blog into a broken record of constant banter about Sufism, instead I could try to seriously evaluate Sufism and some of its key concepts. One of the things which I could never get my head around is the idea of Sufis performing miracles (karamat), flying carpets, destroying armies, healing the sick, eating a chicken and then bringing it back to life by joining the bones and so on. I dismiss all of that due to lack of authenticity behind these reports as they are reported in form of folklore and tales rather than traditional Islamic method with verifiable Isnaad. These stories also contradict reality and before I am accused of heresy I would like to add that to believe in Sufis performing miracles is not part of Islamic belief (Imaan)… so rejecting these have no grave danger attached or at least not as much as believing in them.

However the question is, if they really did perform miracles what does that mean to us? It means nothing. There is some deep inner esoteric knowledge of the world which people of all religions and non-religious people are able to access allowing them to perform illusions and other paranormal acts against the universal law, which no doubt involves deception and trickery in some form or the other. I am not accusing our pious Sufis of the past of this, some of them are attributed sainthood (Wilaaya) and did great service to the Islamic cause but those who deviated from the path of Islam, neglected the Shariah and were responsible for introducing heretical practices and condemnable innovations.

As we see Sufism today promoting itself with full financial backings of various governments, we see generations being raised with a selective understanding of Islam. The great Awliya and Sufia who struggled to protect Islam as statesmen, theologians, politicians, economists, social scientists, jurists, historians and warriors are mentioned in these circles as mere Sufis with tales of their miracles and spiritual discourses glorified and turning blind eye to their great works of real significance to us.