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Isn’t it embarrassing that we argue over certain things in Islam?

Isn’t it embarrassing that we argue over certain things in Islam?


I loved your response to that Anon, but don’t you think it’s kind of embarrassing that we even have to argue about whether or not our religion allows women to be judges and that most don’t seem to think so. It’s beyond depressing. Sometimes I wonder if God is face-palming so hard at how we’ve managed to distort the Quran into something that can support, to any extent, the notion that women are in any way inferior to men. Still, many people do, and they play the “equity not equality” card. Sigh.

Salaam alykum,

It’s only embarrassing if you look at it this way, because when you look at the history of The Islamic Tradition there was really nothing that they did not debate.

The earliest Islamic Scholars debated whether the Sunnah should be part of Islamic Law. Yes, you read that right, they debated over the Sunnah. The early schools that did not utilize the Sunnah lost the argument, with the four most widely known Sunni Schools being those of Imam Abu Hanifa, Imam Malik, Imam Shafi’i, and Imam Hanbal, while Imam Jaafar’s School, which people primarily associate exclusively with Shia, is taught especially among institutions which are Hanafi or Maliki, as the three giants worked together.

There is also the Mutazila, which saw a resurgence in the mid 1800’s, or the Zahiriyah who seem to be constant reference point in many scholastic works, or the Zaydi school for the Zaidiyyah Shia, and so on and so forth.

Why do I mention all these? Because in the Islamic Tradition they took nothing for granted. They debated the very nature of God, the most foundational assumptions of their religion, and to me, that is a far more rigorous and honest methodology to use, not just academically, but in one’s life.

We need to constantly explore why we do things, to understand those reasons affirms our faith, allows us to reconsider what we might believe in error. We live in a society that is polarized, not out of sincere belief, but due to belief in unsubstantiated positions. We only allow nuance to appear in our views when things directly effect us.

Also, even if it may be embarrassing that we must debate these issues, I’m not sure how perceptions that you or I may disagree with will change without these debates. We do not have the luxury to dismiss positions simply because we do not agree with them, and we do not have the right to complain if we do nothing.

So if God is “face-palming,” which is a human expression and God is beyond all human understanding, but I understand your point, then I think if anything, the disappointment is that we simply are contented with the belief that we have the “correct” or “true” opinions and lament those who do not, and that we do nothing to either explore whether we are actually correct and do nothing to change those we disagree with, or worse, ignore them completely.

Also, nothing is beyond distortion, even The Qur’an, which is acknowledged by The Qur’an itself: “Now those whose hearts are given to swerving from the truth go after that part of the divine writ which has been expressed in allegory, seeking out [what is bound to create] confusion, and seeking [to arrive at] its final meaning [in an arbitrary manner]; but none save God knows its final meaning.” [3:7] (Muhammad Asad) So let’s not continue to pretend that there is anything that humanity cannot distort or misuse, that’s our test in life: how we choose to handle what is available to us.

This is not a criticism of you, rather please think of it as a challenge. Find proof for your positions, understand them, reconsider the most basic assumptions you have, and realize that those who might hold abhorrent positions to you are still your brothers or sisters in Islam, their opinions don’t change that.

I am tired of seeing people cite The Prophet’s unyielding patience and understanding only in regards to their positions or positions they deem acceptable. That’s easy to do, try being patient and understanding to that which you find unacceptable, because that’s what The Prophet did.

We need to stop swirling in a world where we simply listen to what we already agree with, that we show “tolerance” only to that which we deem tolerable, instead, we must push for change, not just in our hearts, or with our tongues, but with our actions, and that we work towards change rather than just mentioning the need for it.

We have no other choice, we are Muslims, and that is our responsibility as those who claim that we have submitted to The Almighty.

I pray this reaches you and your families in the best of health and Iman, insha Allah.

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