Jul 21, 2009 - islam op-eds    6 Comments

Response to the usual criticisms

I was all set to write a new blog on a certain topic, but then I received the following comment on a previous blog and thought responding to it would make an excellent blog post!!!

Here it is:

i read your blog (cant believe i did) but seriously some points are good while others are just opinions…next time try referencing from QURAN, what that says about how men and women should behave.. wow anyways your opinions are way too westernized… and it comes under the banner of “Islam of Convenience”

OK so first of all you “can’t believe you read the blog”.  I can’t believe you did either. Not sure what that means. If you didn’t want to read it, you shouldn’t have. Next time do me and yourself the favor of not reading something you obviously have issues with.

As for the blog, this whole blog is an OPINION. I don’t know if you didn’t realize this but:

Main Entry: blog           Listen to the pronunciation of blog
Pronunciation: \blohg, \bläg\
Function: noun
Etymology: short for Weblog
Date: 1999:

a Web site that contains an online personal journal with reflections, comments, and often hyperlinks provided by the writer ; also : the contents of such a site

About referencing the Quran, you’ll notice that throughout all my posts I will mention points of Islamic reference.  These are not Islamic articles where I’m going to quote Quran and Hadith chapter and verse, although I very well could and I HAVE written many such articles. But my point with the blog is to write about everyday contemporary, maybe controversial topics that affect the average Muslim and myself from an Islamic perspective. Including things about Islam and making Islamic points without using the Khutbah style. Sometimes with all the Quran verse 3: surah 4: Hadith Bukhari #2893 the message can get lost. Do people really want to be reading Quran and Hadith every other sentence in a blog and then debate about the authenticity and tafseer and chapter and verse? I’m sure some do and that’s why we have polemic blogs and forums and websites spreading dogma and debate over issues none of those people are qualified to debate.

Not sure why I’m explaining my Dawah method to you but since you asked there it is! :) Interestingly, there is one blog here that talks about a scene in a movie and the entire blog is actually a condensed version of a discourse by Ibn al Qayyim given by a scholar. Now I could certainly have written Ibn al Qayyim said …kazza wa kazza and listed the Quran and Hadith but it certainly wouldn’t reach as many people as bringing out the points in a way people can understand.

[I also tried this experiment where I wrote an Islamic article that had a lot of detailed Arabic fiqhi technical terms and many references; then I rewrote it completely in English translating things like tazkiyah to purification and salah to prayer and tawbah to repentance. What a difference! I guarantee you there would be people out there who would read the second article and call it 'Bid'ah' or some such thing!!]

Anyway since you talked about opinions, it seems your opinion is that the best Dawah method is through listing verses of the Quran, but this certainly isn’t mine. Yes certain things are my opinion and are clearly stated as such. If you want to read an article about Gender Relations in the Quran you should open up the Quran. Or if you want scholarly fatwas on a particular subject you should go to your local Imam so that he can find out your exact circumstances and conditions and give a ruling.

Lastly you talked about how “westernized” my opinions were and implied that I must be practicing an “Islam of Convenience”. I can understand how people overseas think that. They’ve just never seen Islam except in the way they practice it (or are told to practice it). Anything else is wrong, even though many times they are confusing their own opinions and culture with Islam, just as they accuse us “Westernized Muslims” of doing so. As for those Muslims that live in the West and think Muslims are too “westernized”; I believe what they are really saying is, “My interpretation and way of practicing Islam is the right one and everyone else’s is wrong” (despite even scholars and fiqh that says it’s Islamically OK). This is just a poor and uneducated way of accusing someone of doing something wrong. And to that I would say why don’t you just come out and discuss the issue with a real scholar instead of going around calling people “westernized”. Why do you think your opinion is not “westernized”?

I’ll leave my defence of my “Islam of Convenience” at that. I don’t know you and you certainly don’t know me, but I will say that 99% of the time someone calls me not a good Muslim or practicing an “Islam of Convenience” (or worse names) is because they don’t like what I’ve written because they know it’s right :)

Take care and thanks for the material for this blog post!!



  • as-salaamu `alaykum. Don’t even bother! Click “delete”! You will get sooooooo many of these kinds of stupid letters (and worse) that they will take over your life, just like the cartoon. You can’t respond to everyone. Concentrate on doing what you do best to help and support others, and don’t bother defending yourself.

  • salams

    There are some Islamic principles and / or customs that are presumed to be elementary, thus nullifying the need for tedious, and sometimes redundant, references of chapter or verse.

    But much more important than that, is that fact that there is a huge paradigm shift that is taking place today, and often many people don’t realize its significance. Islam was revealed for the entire world, and is applicable for all time. But historical demographics have meant that the vast majority of Islamic practices are always applied through an “Eastern” lens.

    Never before in the history of humanity have so many Muslims been living in non-Muslim, Western states. These Muslims will naturally develop heretofore unheard-of social norms and practices. And although Islam has already provided the broad guidelines and parameters by which these norms will be trimmed and adjusted, the fact remains that these new customs and mores are – at first blush – alien to the age old practices of the Muslim majorities living in Africa, the Mideast, and Asia.

    In other words, its a cultural conflict more than it is any kind of conflict within (or with) the established schools of thought. Ethnocentrism does not equal a better practice of Islam.

    Just as the Muslim countries have their own established and distinctly identifiable cultures, as time goes on, over several generations, Western Muslims will also come to have their own distinctly identifiable cultures and customs.

    Last but not least:

    Some shyoukh have said that many of the signs of Yaumul Qiyamah will have double occurrences. One of these examples is the Sun rising from the West – it will happen literally, but prior to that, it is said that the sun of Islam will rise from the West, just as it had previously risen from the Eastern lands. The Muslims in the West may bring back the spirit and attractiveness of Islam just as their Eastern ancestors had done over a millenium ago.

  • walaikum salaam,

    TJC I’ve deleted so many in my life and much worse. The worst is when supposed good brothers “upholding the sunnah and establishing the deen singlehandedly” start to get personal or start swearing at me! Ahhh way to go following the way of our prophet(s)! He’d really swear and call a sister names if he didn’t agree with her?! Anyway, just thought I’d finally post about it.

    Maverick good points. To some people however everything must have a reference, a daleel. Remember back when ppl would be like “Whats your daleel!” well they’re still around even though they don’t even know the requirements of a daleel and how to evaluate or compare them in fiqh! I know some people just say stuff and you’re like How is that Islamic? but really, not everything a person says out of experience or knowledge or wisdom is going to be a Quran verse.

    That’s a very interesting analysis of the paradigm shift. And I agree it is happening. Perhaps this is the ‘clash of civilizations’ that is really going on. The ‘sun rising from the west’ amazing reflection and interpretation!!
    jazaks for writing.


  • Well, another option could be to write as you please, and don’t bother with including verses or riwayaat / ahaadith in the article itself.

    Instead, just include them as appropriate, in the footnotes. So if anyone really does want to examine the foundation of your argument, they can still get what they’re looking for, but the flow of the article isn’t interrupted.

  • The footnotes are a good idea bro, of course it takes up much more time and effort. And even then I’m sure people will argue about the authenticity and tafseer and this scholar said this etc etc. I don’t know. I just feel like there are two types of articles out there… one with heavy Islamic references of Quran and Hadith written by someone very knowledgeable and scholarly and the other just a contemporary type of blog writing. The odd thing is the two might say the same thing but they totally attract a different audience!

    I just want this blog to be more relaxed and fun and interesting for people esp the younguns to read. Maybe they can learn someone and I from them. It’s just never meant to be an Islamic fatwa site because I’m only a student of knowledge and I assume everyone who reads it is as well.

  • Oh for sure, I agree with the 2nd option as well.