Islam Aptitude Test (IAT): Assignment of the Day Dr. Pasha (Bringing Islam to the World One Concept at a Time. Trying to Take the Qur'an to Every Home and Heart that Needs It --...
The year was 1832, they say. And a child was born in England whose parents named him William. The family name was Quilliam. Evidently, from good British home and all that, the boy grew up and went on to...
Generally speaking, we at www.IslamicSolutions.Com stay away from commenting on news reports. But sometimes it may not be such a bad idea to correct some minor -- and quite probably well-intentioned -- misunderstandings about Islam.
Below is one example of it. A news story on the Net today, a rather nice and quite fair article in fact, said the following, among many things that it did, about the growing and interesting phenomenon of the British -- White and non-White -- converting from non-Islam to Islam.
The story said:
"On one hand, Islam mandates its followers to behave dutifully towards close kin,"
(NO QUESTION. IT IS PART OF THE FAITH) ...
"... and this duty is not cancelled out when those kin are of a different religion."
(ABSOLUTELY NOT. ISLAM'S STAND ON THE ISSUE IS CRYSTAL CLEAR: RELATIVES AT ALL COST AND ABOVE EVERYTHING: TREAT THEM KINDLY AND BE GENEROUS TO THEM. BUT ALWAYS STAND FIRM WITH REGARD TO YOUR OWN ISLAMIC BELIEFS AND BEHAVIOR.)
EVEN YOUR OWN PARENTS, IF THEY PRESSURE YOU TO ABANDON ISLAM, DO NOT OBEY THEM. BUT EVEN THEN DO NOT TREAT THEM HARSHLY OR SPEAK RUDELY TO THEM!)
"But some duties become impossible for a family member who has turned to Islam; he cannot oversee the Hindu cremation, or the Christian burial, of a parent."
(NOT REALLY. WITHOUT LAPSING INTO HARD CORE DEVIATIONS FROM ISLAM'S UNCOMPROMISING TEACHINGS OF ONENESS OF GOD, NOTHING PREVENTS A SON FROM ATTENDING A CHRISTIAN BURIAL, OR PARTICIPATING IN THE CREMATION CEREMONIES OF HIS FATHER.)
(IN FACT, NOT TO DO SO WILL BE TERRIBLY RUDE AND DISRESPECTFUL.)
(VIEWS ON THIS ARE MOSTLY PERSONAL OPINIONS OF SCHOLARS. INDIRECT INFERENCES FROM TEXTS, EXAMPLES AND ANALOGIES. AND THE ROOM FOR DISAGREEMENT AMONG COMPETENT AND QUALIFIED ISLAMIC OPINION-MAKERS IS ENORMOUS.)
(SO, BY ALL MEANS, ATTEND THE FUNERALS OF YOUR RELATIVES AND FRIENDS. DON'T LET THE FACT THAT YOU HAVE JUST EMBRACED ISLAM, AND THEY DIED AS CHRISTIANS OR HINDUS, STOP YOU.)
(IN GENERAL, ACCEPTING ISLAM, COMING FROM A NON-ISLAMIC BACKGROUND, SHOULD ENHANCE YOUR COMMON HUMANITY AND COMPASSION FOR OTHERS, NOT REDUCE OR CONSTRICT THEM IN ANY WAY.)
(WHERE DO YOU THINK SHAKESPEARE GOT IT FROM: SOMETHING ABOUT THE QUALITY OF MERCY NOT BEING STRAINED? IT IS ISLAM, FOLKS! ISLAM!)
(JUST READ WHAT I THINK IS THE FULL QUOTE FROM SHAKESPEARE --MERCHANT OF VENICE MAYBE, DO YOU THINK? -- AND YOU WILL SEE WHAT I MEAN:
"The quality of mercy is not strain'd,
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest:
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes."
(MY MEANING: YOU SIMPLY DO NOT RATION MERCY. LET IT FLOW FREELY ... AND REACH WHERE IT WILL AND ENCOMPASS WHOM IT WOULD.)
(ALLAH SAYS IN THE QUR'AN -- MY PARAPHRASE: ARE THEY GOING TO "STRAIN," "RESTRICT" AND "DIVVY UP" GOD ALMIGHTY'S UNBOUNDED AND EVER-FLOWING MERCY?)
(DON'T FORGET, ALLAH'S NAME IS AR-RAHMAN.)
(AND IN CASE YOU MISSED IT THE FIRST TIME, REMEMBER, HE IS ALSO AR-RAHEEM.)
(BOTH NAMES MEAN JUST ONE SIMPLE THING: MERCY, LOVE, COMPASSION, GIVING, KINDNESS.)
(AND IN A WORD THAT MEANS: ISLAM.)
(THE BRITS, ESPECIALLY BRITISH MUSLIMS, BOTH CONVERTS AND OTHERS, SHOULD FEEL GREAT THAT THE QUOTE ABOVE CAME FROM THEIR LAND AND FROM THEIR CULTURE. AND HOW CLOSELY THIS QUOTE REFLECTS THE SPIRIT OF ISLAM.)
(AND HOW LUCKY ARE THE BRITS THAT ONE OF THEIR GUYS TRANSLATED THE ISLAMIC CONCEPT OF MERCY OR RAHMAH SO BEAUTIFULLY IN ONE OF HIS PLAYS!)
So, the all-caps are our comments on the news item we cited above.
In a very important sense, we are all converts. Every Muslim man and woman worth our salt.
That means we have all given our Islam some serious thought. And we have all -- should I say "thereafter"? -- then made a serious commitment to Allah.
Without such a serious stage of analysis and reflection, and personal decision-making, there is really no Islam. Even though God Almighty's door is open to all.
And even though God Almighty never turns away anyone from his doorstep empty handed.
The Converts Are a-Coming Dr. Pasha (Bringing Islam to the World One Concept at a Time! Taking the Qur'an to Every Home and Heart that Needs It -- And which One Does Not?) The New...
First of all, the word is "converts," not "reverts."
Converts is simple English -- queen's or every English speaker's.
Reverts is mumbo-jumbo and part of new English-speaking Muslim contortionism.
American converts over the past four decades have done their bit, and I will leave it at that. Some of the damage some of them did is, well, irreversible.
But Allah does act in ways that to us mortals may appear mysterious and unfathomable. So, who knows how things will turn out.
For, I don't see America being abandoned by God in a hurry. And that is despite some of the most egregious things America allows herself to do locally and internationally.
In some ways, the good clearly outweighs the bad. But who is to tell.
I am a Muslim and America to me is home. And that is where it stops. So, the options are: pray for America and hope.
And work ceaselessly and tirelessly to help wherever and however one can.
Hope that the good will rise up and shine and inflict crushing defeat after crushing defeat on the bad.
And the damage at least some new Muslim converts did in and to America, and to Islam and Muslims and the world, they did it with full complicity and patronage from the "native" or "heritage" type Muslims, most of them from Indo-Pak region or the Middle East, many of them with an ingrained colonial mindset and inferiority complex.
The UK converts seem to be a lot smarter. Mostly white, with some black faces bringing up relief. Many of them female.
For one, many of them seem to be after Islam, and not Muslims. And many of them seem to come from some kind of a university background.
And many of them seem to have a life outside Islam. A seemingly normal, functioning, productive life that does not seem dependent on sucking up energy, sustenance and resources from Muslims and in the name of Islam.
And many of them seem to have figured out how to navigate the troubled and turbulent waters of British "native" or "heritage" type Muslims.
There was a time I used to worry about them: what Muslims would do to them. Now it seems no one needs to worry. For, the British converts to Islam seem perfectly capable of taking care of themselves.
And also of making an impact on society around them.
Is this a breath of fresh air? It certainly appears to be so.
Does this augur well for Islam, Muslims and the world? Who can tell.
I don't know if Muslims are in the business of keeping their fingers crossed. Or if they are allowed to do that. If you ask me, they certainly must try and err on the side of hope and optimism.
I for one am going to allow myself the luxury of saying:
Thank you brothers and sisters of the UK Muslim community who have made a conscious and rational decision to embrace Islam!
Welcome home and God bless you!
I am going to talk myself into waiting for good and great things to come from where you are.
Being Muslim is no license to abuse the English language.
I am not an English teacher. Nor am I an expert on the English language. But I suppose I have enough sense of the English language to be able to tell – in most cases at least – what sounds and what does not sound right to the ear.
Nor do I believe in handing over the English language to Her Majesty the Queen and waiting around to do her bidding whenever I have to speak it. You know, speaking “Queen’s English”?
The fact is English is my language. I have been speaking it from the time I was little. I am hesitating to call it my Mother Tongue because my mother did not speak it, even though my father did -- may Allah bless them both.
It is also the language my children and my students speak. And I am always on their case, trying to correct them, not that anyone listens to me, if not the way they speak, at the least the way they write.
So, you want to call me, in some ways, a Minder of the English Tongue, be my guest and go right ahead and do it.
So, given all that background, and all those disclaimers and caveats, there are things about the way the English language gets used by some Muslims that I object to. Take, for example, the expression some Muslims use about non-Muslims “Reverting” to Islam.
“Accepting Islam,” sure!
“Embracing Islam,” why not?
“Converting?” Sounds just about right.
“But 'Reverting’ to Islam”? That is where I see a problem.
“Revert” in the English language, I suspect, is returning to a “prior” state of some kind. So, what exactly are you saying when you say that a non-Muslim “reverted” to Islam?
Are you saying that this individual was somehow a “Muslim” before, in some kind of a “previous life,” then fate took him or her and dumped them in the lap of non-Islam, and now, due to God’s infinite mercy, of course, that person has gone back – “reverted” – to his or her original state of being, which, these people seem to say, was Islam.
In other words, that person “returned or 'Reverted’” to the original state of Islam after a bit of a detour. Am I reading that right?
The fact is, this stuff about one’s “previous life” sounds more Hindu to me than Muslim or Islamic. You know, reincarnation and all that.
Islam or not, what this thing is not is English. This is not English, period.
This is a linguistic monstrosity born of who knows what kind of ego-trips on whose part – and for what mysterious reasons. Are people supposed to somehow feel better that they were “Muslim” in some previous state of their existence? And now they have gone back to the way they were once upon an existence?
Applies to Abu Lahab, Abu Jahal, everybody, right?
As for its being Islam, it is more Mumbo-Jumbo of the kind Islam tends to shun and steer people away from than it is Islam.
Bringing in all that stuff about “Every child is born on Fitrah” and God asking the souls “Am I not Your Rabb?” and they all saying, “Of course, you are!” raises more questions than it answers.
I mean in this particular context. I am not questioning the validity of the relevant A-Haadeeth – plural for Hadith.
Ma’adhallah: Heaven Forbid!
So, whatever Islam some of these special Muslims seem to practice or believe in, the English language they need to learn to use is the one that everyone else uses – the Queen and all the rest of us non-Ma'adhallah-royals.
And that common usage would suggest that when people change their “religion” or faith, they are just “converting,” not Mumbo-Jumbo “reverting.”
I have seen these past several decades, people embracing Islam, both in the US as well as the UK. They are men as well as women. And many of them are smart, talented and interesting people.
And what is the first thing many of them seem to do? Hit the Muslim lecture circuit. And, of course, Muslims lap them up as emblematic of the Second Coming of their Religion Islam.
These converts then evolve into some kind of Islamic leaders and Sheikhs, and Muslim conference staples, feeding Muslims a steady diet of their understanding of Islam.
The results, at least in some cases, have been disastrous. [...]