I'm sorry for the long delay in posting anything. I started a new job last week that's sucked up more time than I expected, and I've been rather tired and occasionally ill from fasting this Ramadan. However, as some of you may have seen, I've continued to visit other blogs and made the occasional comment here and there. Yesterday, I made a comment at Safia Speaks, a blog I was unfamiliar with as it doesn't appear on many, if any(?), of the blogrolls of people whom I visit. Anyway, Safia wrote about a recent "conference" in Denmark in "honor" of the one-year anniversary of the Danish cartoons that defamed the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). Irshad Manji and Wafa Sultan were attendees, and some of Safia's post and the comments were with regard to these two women (in addition to Danish MP Naser Khader, who was born in Syria and seems to be a bird of the feather).
In the comments, a certain "Ignoramus" (seriously, that's his/her nick) wrote, "Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't being Muslim a matter of conviction ?" His/her thought was, "I'm a member of the People's Church of Denmark (like most everyone else) if I declare myself a Christian, who in the world has the right to say I'm not, no matter what I do or don't ? ... I can call myself a Christian and not celebrate Xmas, never go to church etc. It's an inner thing y'know. Belief in Allah and His Prophet are convictions. Salad , zakat and hajj are actions: you can do these w/out conviction. ... If he says he's a Muslim I'll take his word for it, when you say _you're_ a Muslim, I'll take _your_ word for it."
My response to his initial comment was:
No; you're wrong. Islam, as a word, means "Submission," submission to the Will of Allah (swt) as expressed through the Qur'an and the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). To submit to the Will of Allah (swt) means to practice your faith; for example, by following the five pillars of Islam and avoiding those things in life that are haram (forbidden). To merely express the "conviction," to say "I'm a Muslim," is the least form of faith. For the likes of Irshad, Naser, et al, to claim they are Muslim (if they really do), then not to follow the precepts of Islam, merely exposes them as hypocrites (and Allah (swt) has said that they will face their own punishments in the hereafter). We know that people slip into and out of a state of Islam throughout their lives and, insha'allah, people like Irshad, Naser, et al, may realize the errors of their ways before it is too late. But to act in the matter of a hypocrite as many of these people do will not impress the Muslim community one bit. Non-Muslims love the likes of Irshad because of her hypocrisy; this is what they want Muslims to be. Muslims know better.
I think this is a problem for many non-Muslims: their knowledge of Islam and Muslim personalities is so limited that they have little to no understanding of whom many of these people are or what they stand for. You and I, the knowledgeable Muslims, know that the likes of Manji and Sultan have severely warped understandings of Islam, let alone whether they are really Muslims (something not my right to decide). But I feel it is our duty - not merely our right, but a duty - to take away their voice as representatives of Islam. Not literally, of course. I'm not saying these people should be physically assaulted in any way; however, with airtime on radio and TV as limited as it is, we Muslims need to be the ones whom the media approaches for information, not the likes of Manji, Sultan, et al, whom the West adores because they don't know any better.
On a completely separate note, I also want to add that Danya has written an excellent post: Thoughts on Hijab: Post-Kharabsheh. Check it out.