This article was first Published on Wednesday, April 23, 2008 at – :
A few articles and comments below;
Ahmadiyya Muslims, what next?
The real issue is not about who is a Muslim, but it is about how the majorities treat their minorities.
Should the bad decisions of a few in the name of Islam, reflect on the Muslim community at large? Now, Indonesia is planning to ban the “heretical” Muslim sect, should that reflect on Islam? The least we can do is to speak up against the tyranny of one group of people against the other.
The easy option is to do nothing and let the world believe that it is Islam, and if we did that, we would lose our right to complain that it is not us, well it is us. The actions are not the work of a Looney brigade or some fringe groups; it is the government of Indonesia succumbing to please the few among them.
In the movie “A Bug’s life”, it just took one gutsy Flik to fend off the terrorizing grasshoppers, it takes two boys or two girls to stand up to the class room bully to end the tyranny. It would take a few passionate Muslims to speak out and persuade the establishment. I suggest every one to watch this movie to understand how our Neocons (extremist Christians, Muslims, Jews, Hindus and others – Jews claim Zionists are not extremists, and I take their word for it) work and how us, the silent majority should act.
The real question that we need to address is should we let a majority determine what one believes, wears or eats? Can the Majority in the United States do that? Can the majority in Indonesia do that? Should that work in India? Can the Sunni Majority in Saudi Arabia harass the Shia? Can the Shia Majority in Iran harass the Sunnis? We have to catch up with our own integrity. Those who were a majority elsewhere are a minority somewhere else.
God is about justice and he wants us to live in peace and harmony, after all, each one of us is his creation, and he will not discriminate any one of us. Qur’aan – 49:13 “O men! Behold, we have created you all out of a male and a female, and have made you into nations and tribes, so that you might come to know one another. Verily, the noblest of you in the sight of God is the one who is most deeply conscious of Him. Behold, God is all-knowing, all-aware.”
A majority of Muslims understand that Islam is a religion of peace, a religion of freedom and justice, and a religion that does not force people to behave. Indeed, if we start looking at ourselves, Alhamdu Lillah, Praise the Lord, the majority of us get along with all and live a life of peace and co-existence.
Every now and then, a “few” among us cross that line, when we let Governments, in the name of Islam start judging people’s faith; we are making a gross error defying the very God we purport to follow. Don’t practicing Muslims recite this at least 50 times a day? Qur’aan, Sura “1:4 Lord of the Day of Judgment!” And “1:5 you alone do we worship; and unto Thee alone do we turn for aid.”
Is it up to God or the Government of Indonesia? When we object the Neocons to pre-empt God and bring the Armageddon as soon as possible and justify their ruthlessness in the name of God, then we must object any one taking over God’s decisions in the name of Islam.
When Hazrat Bakr was agreed upon to be the Caliph, the consensus was with him and the few who disagreed dropped their opposition and followed the leader in the same manner as Republicans and democrats who fight within until a candidate is nominated, then every one rallies around the selected one.
The problem with us or any majority of people is we do not give our consensus; we do not exercise our rights and by default give others, the right to govern us.
Not the Pakistani people, but the dictator in-charge, to appease a few, enacted the laws declaring Ahmadiyya group of people as non-Muslims, but then the Pakistani people start believing and legitimizing it. Americans are no different, if the President thinks Russia is evil, we jump with him and when he turns around and befriends China, and in a heartbeat we change our minds too. If he declares Islam is the danger… thank God, Americans are getting away from blindly following government and exercising independent judgment.
It is time for Muslims to stand up and speak out.
Remember the Good Samaritan American women during 9/11? They wore Hijab to show solidarity with Muslim women, the time is coming, when a whole mass of population will declare themselves Muslim to show solidarity with the Ahmadiyya, what are you going to do?
What prevents one from incorporating their group with the name Muslim or Islam? There are a lot of websites with the words Muslim and Islam, but they are actually anti-Islam. What are you going to do about it?
It is time for Muslims to wake up and act righteous and speak out.
Would you join me in writing to the Indonesian government to consider this ill-adivised proposal?
# # Additional appeal #1:
I am a Muslim, a Sunni if it makes a difference in building goodwill.
I do not believe in getting pushed into a box. I realize that it will take a while for all of us to get to that point. On the other hand there is nothing wrong in accepting the diversity among us, it is not the difference, it is our attitude towards the difference that needs to be evaluated.
First of all, please note that our forum or any other forum must values every opinion, I believe God has created us all equal, what we make out of it is our effort and God knows everything we do.
This is the reason you will find legitimate criticism of issues (not individuals) is published on this forum. As a publisher and moderator of this group, I can simply delete the criticism leveled against me every now and then, but I don’t. You should not be surprised that Brother Iftekhar Alvis’s criticism is published here, as Muslims we have to engage in dialogue, listen to different point of views and not be judgmental, we have to respectfully disagree, but not deny each others’ point of view. We cannot expect the good things to happen, if we do not pave the way for a dialogue and debate.
Several Imams, scholars and heads of organizations have expressed the need for the Muslim community to put our difference aside and come together for the common good of Muslims and the world. What is good for us has got to be good for others for it to sustain.
Ahmadiyya no doubt differ from the Sunni thought, but Sunnis also differ from Shia in the interpretation of Ahl-e-bait. But we have lived all along for over 14 centuries. Some of us have issues with the newer group in the family of Muslims and are eager to deny them a sense of belonging based on hearsay, fact or fiction. Politically they are not comfortable either as some of us are not. But most of us would like to embrace every one who calls himself/herself a Muslim, just as we boast that Prophet Essa, Musa, Ibrahim and others were Muslims because they believe in a God and the accountability day.
Islam is about Justice and when we deny some one the same rights as we have, then we cannot call it Justice. Our moral standing and Eemaan (faith) will be strong when we truly believe that Justice is not for our own kind, but for every human being, Muslim or not.
We have to take a position and embrace every Muslim and not do the hair splitting. If you give the Danda (stick) to orthodox Wahhabi, Shia, Sunni, Ismaili, Bohra, Ahmadiyya, Kurd or other group to lash out, they would declare every one to be a non-Muslim other than themselves and perhaps give each one of us at least one lash. Isn’t this the reason we have Islam where a rich or poor, Alim (scholar) or Jahil (ignorant) can stand in the same line in presence of God Almighty as equals? After all, if we die, each one of us will be buried on equal terms. Only Allah knows and he reserves the right to judge one’s Emaan, and one’s Niyyah and not any one else. This is our God given freedom.
If we need to have the moral strength, we have to consider dropping the barriers for greater good. We have to work for it, we have to do the Jihaad within, we have to fight the “desire” to compel others to be like us, isn’t this Jihad a legitimate Jihaad?
There is quite a lot of raw, civil and good expressions included in the comments sections http://worldmuslimcongress.blogspot.com/2008/04/ahmadiyya-muslims-what-next.html .
Jazak Allah Khair
# # # Additional appeal #2:
I am not an Ahmadiyya, but as a Muslim, I will stand up for their right to practice their version of the faith as it works for them. We do not have to subscribe to their version, nor do we have to become obsessed in judging their Eeman (faith). You and I do not own ISLAM, Islam is not anyone’ property to claim exclusive rights to it. Just as you subscribe to it, others do too, let every one subscribe in their own way. If God wanted us to be a homogenous beings, he would have made us Farishtas (angels), he wanted us to be unique.
May God bless you and cause you to become a part of the mainstream Islam, where every one is honored with their differences and accept every one as a Muslim, as long as they believe in God and his prophet and the day of judgment.
# # # Additional appeal #3:
I am speaking from a Majoritarianism V. Minoriatarianism perspective. The civility of a group is determined by how it treats its weak, its children, its women, it older folks.
A few of us claim that Islam has been around from Ibrahim’s time and our explanation is that Islam means submission to the will of God, hence Musa was Muslim, and Essa was a Muslim. Yet, we do not want the same definition to be used by others.
Shahadah is the door that opens every one to be called a Muslim. In fact, that is the first thing required of any one to be a Muslim. As Muslims we have to strive for Justice – and Justice is negation of oppression.
Learning about others is critical and I have been to the Ahmadiyya Mosque, and at least the Qur’aan I picked from the Mehraab (book shelf), walking around the Masjid was the same, as I glance through many of the Sarah’s. www.Alislam.org is their website.
Sunnis declaring Shia as non Muslim and vice-versa (Mecca’s Mufti) is an endless loop. We have to leave the judgment to Allah and accept the diversity within Islam. Our fight should be focused on dismantling the false propaganda against Muslims – The Ahmadiyya are doing a good job in sharing about Islam, and I have been in their company a few times in the interfaith meetings. I did not hear anything contrary, at least in the public.
Alhamdu Lillah, Indonesian government is not going to pass the laws. However, this issue will not go away. The politics in us has to manufacture an enemy, and for a few among us, Ahmadiyya are the easy prey. We don’t need to eat from the same plate, but let’s do our jihad against this hostility.
A few of my friends suggest me not to take up these issues, I disagree, God has DNA’d each one of us to do a few things in life. Some of us are volunteers and serve others and some don’t. Some day more and more Muslims will see the wisdom of Sura Hujurat, verse 49.
My role model is Prophet Muhammad, and I would like to emulate as much as I can, as most of the Muslims do. One of his roles was to speak up and stand up for justice, it did not matter to him if Khadija and Ali were the only two followers, then later on with 313 followers he stood up against the ooo’s. He stood his ground despite the persecution. There is a lot we can learn from this.
# # # Additional appeal #4:.In the previous posting a clarification was made that we have the right to judge one’s deviant social behavior as to theft, fornication, cheating etc, where as one’s faith, an inner matter will be judged by God on the Day of Judgment, only God knows and is aware of our intentions.
To me Prophet Muhammad was the last prophet. Ahmadiyya interpretation works for them, as they believe in it. Neither Shia, Sunni, Ahmadi, Wahhabi have to accept each other’s point of view, we do differ on different issues. Each set has its own peculiarities that the others do not share, that is given, and we have to live with it, as we cannot compel any one to believe what he or she does not.
The choices are: i) compel them to change their belief ii) deny them their right to believe in Islam in their own way iii) and deny them the right to call themselves Muslims. This assumes that we don’t need to consult and that when consulted and if the majority agrees to impose all the three choices, we have to go by the majority. None of this can be good for all times.
What if the whole nation of Indonesia becomes Ahmadiyya or powerful, can they reverse the above choices made by Sunni Muslims? Would that be legitimate? The Criminal Ferdinand has done that in 1492, Criminal Hitler has done that around 1940, in both instances the world stood by doing nothing.
Most Muslims believe that Islam is for all times, it is big enough to accommodate and live with the whole diverse universe without conflicts and without compelling others to be subservient, and letting every one who he or she is remain who they want to be. God’s model of diversity is impeccable with the matter, the Sun, the planets, and the whole universe obeys God, meaning they do what they were created for. He wants us to know each other and the best among us is the one who is best in conduct, Allah is aware.
Mohammed Irtaza quotes Qur’aan below “those who take heed and lead a righteous life, will have nothing to fear, nor will they grieve.”
I am grateful to almighty that I am not obligated to any one but God. I do not fear any one but God. Thanks God I do not intend to please anyone at the cost of pleasing the creator. Speak the truth as I know and understand. Thanks God again, no Imam, no Muslim scholar, No Muslim has ever pushed me to compromise, we debate, we argue, but no one has ever compelled me. The Public should know that Muslims debate and discuss issues, and they agree and disagree. They are as democratic as anyone can get. For every three Muslims, we can find five opinions.
My sincere request to my Muslim brothers and sisters is to resist the temptations to deny Ahmadiyya to call themselves Muslims. In the long haul, it is the good thing do for Muslims and all. Let people live the way they want to, that is God’s intention. God would have made the whole world Christians, Muslims, Hindus or Jews, he could have done that, but like his cosmos is diverse, he expects us to be different and maintain that uniqueness. He wants us to learn about each other so we can live in Harmony. Quraan, 49:17http://www.foundationforpluralism.com/WorldMuslimCongress/Articles/Mission-Statement.asp
Jazak Allah Khair
# # #
Mike Ghouse is a Speaker, Thinker, Writer and a Moderator. He is a frequent guest on talk radio and local television network discussing Pluralism, politics, Islam, Religion, Terrorism, India and civic issues. He is the founder of the World Muslim Congress, a group committed to building bridges and nurturing a world of co-existence. He also heads the foundation for pluralism, an organization committed to studying religious pluralism and pluralistic governance. His personal website is http://www.mikeghouse.net/ and his writings are on the above websites as well as several of the ancillary Blogs listed on the sites.
# # # # #