May 11, 2008

Straight Talk About Islam: Who's a Muslim, and Who Isn't

When I started this series, I hadn't really thought that this topic would need any discussion, but some recent comments over at Racialicious made me think that a blog post is in order. Apparently, some people feel that just by declaring yourself to be a Muslim that you are one. This is not the case.

Being a Muslim means meeting minimum requirements. As Abu Sinan pointed out in the comments, to be a Muslim the absolute minimum requirement is to recite the shahadah publicly with the intention (niyyat) of submitting your will to Allah (swt) (see the hadith of Usaamah here). That's the absolute minimum. Then, as Aaminah also pointed out in her recent post, to be a Muslim requires an acceptance of the five pillars of Islam and a belief in the six articles of faith. Reject any of those and you're not a Muslim, insha'allah. This is the problem for the Ahmadiyya, the Submitters, the NOI, the Five Percenters, and perhaps a few other groups. They have all stepped outside the boundaries of Islam. (As for people like the clowns at "Muslims Against Sharia," only the completely gullible would think they're Muslim in any way, shape or form.)

There aren't any "cultural Muslims." The term "cultural Muslim," like "secular Muslim," is a contradiction. You're either in a state of Islam (a Muslim) or you're not. You may come from a Muslim culture, but if you're not in a state of Islam that doesn't make you a "cultural Muslim." That just makes you a non-Muslim, like all the others. A Muslim is a person who's in a state of Islam, nothing less.

Islam isn't a cafeteria religion. Muslims don't pick and choose which parts of Islam they're willing to follow. We're not like the adherants of other religions who play that sort of game. If you're a Muslim, then you believe in all of the Qur'an - "We believe in the Book; the whole of it is from our Lord" (3:7). Moreover, a Muslim does not reject the ahadith, recognizing that in this time the way Muslims obey the Messenger (pbuh) (3:32, 3:132, 4:13, 4:59, etc.) is through the Sunnah of the Prophet (pbuh), which is made up primarily of the sahih ahadith collections. Don't like it? Then maybe you're not ready to be a Muslim yet.

To be continued, insha'allah.

11 comments:

wasalaam said...

BismillaharRahmanirRahim

asalaamu 'alaykum! JDsg, who are you talking to?

-Saifuddin

JDsg said...

Wa 'alaikum salaam.

No one in particular; anyone who's listening. ;) I'm commenting in reaction to the Racialicious post (see the link in the post).

Khalid said...
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JDsg said...
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Anonymous said...
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JDsg said...
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Khalid said...
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JDsg said...

You want to accuse me of fitna? Fine; all comments (including my own) are deleted.

Dana Seilhan said...

I've been Neopagan since about 1993 and in recent years have felt myself falling away, not the least of which because there's not much to fall away from. Despite the efforts of Isaac Bonewits and other Neopagan polytheologians to define exactly what makes a Pagan Pagan, the rank and file seem to think it's a fancy Latin term for "nothing in particular"; if you say you're Pagan then you're Pagan, because if you weren't considered Pagan it would hurt your feelings. That pretty much sums it up.

Needless to say I'm fairly repelled by the whole affair. It's not that I don't think tolerance and inclusion are good values, but if you look at sociology and anthropology even from a layman's point of view (which I have to, as I'm not a scholar), every single human social group has rules for who belongs in it and who doesn't. That's simply part of being a human being. It's ironic that Neopaganism claims to take people back to Nature and to help people be real human beings while at the same time demanding that we go completely against the grain of who we are, otherwise we're "intolerant."

And Muslims have the right to define who belongs and who doesn't. And furthermore, we're not even talking about oral tradition here about which there could be lots of room for argument. Yours is a written tradition which anyone can learn to read, in its original language or in a translation. There's not much room for error there.

Just trying to say I feel for ya. If people don't want to behave like they're part of a certain social group, I wonder that they want to be considered part of that social group at all. Why not simply join another one? Islam is not compulsory in any case, regardless of any governments that think they can make it so.

sumiq8 said...

Assalamu Alaikom Bro,

So true!

Hey, I was wondering if you might feature this on yoour blog for all you female readers? Insha'Allah

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