As Salaam Alaykum, Dr. Shabbir,
Ramadan Mubarak. My name is Mike, I converted to Islam eight years ago from non-denominational, non-practicing Christian. I am the first and only (so far) in my family and it's the best thing that ever happened to me. I have been reading your books for a couple of years, after someone shared with me the link to the Criminals of Islam. It was actually another Doctor (MD), I guess there are a few of us who are having some issues with hadith, which we don't really share publicly. Anyway your literature and some others has been great with helping me through some of usual issues, Aisha's age, the sword verses, most recently I had to suffer through researching the "satanic verses" and that was ridiculous, I can't believe the awful things they say about Prophet (pbuh). Your work has been key to helping me with these type of things of course there are very few others I can find online. I can look up the 'great Narrators' on wikipedia as well, which I have been doing.
So I had reached this comfortable stage where I accept hadith as long as it doesn't go against Quran I accepted. Now I'm having more difficulty in accepting any of hadith, I have been through this with Christianity, with things being changed whether intentionally or unintentionally.
I am supposed to go to Hajj but I am really worried about all the rituals, and how much people talk about hadith. What should I do?
There is another issue, I like listening to Joel Osteen, a Christian evangelical preacher, and 50% motivational speaker, I guess you could say. It's a positive message that gets me thinking about God's greatness because otherwise I probably would just listen to the news or something else, on the way to work, going to lunch, etc. My wife, a very pious, born Muslim, wonderful woman, but she says it's not good to listen and insinuated maybe it's shirkh there is a part at the end where I always turn it off before they say associate Jesus with Allah and I know that's wrong but up until that part I find very rewarding. Other than the last 30 seconds it doesn't conflict with Islam. So were there ever any "evangelical/motivational" Islam Imams or speakers? Preaching the positive side of life, and the afterlife, and blessings from Allah?
Sorry for the long email. Thank you for the work you have done for those seeking the true word of God, the Holy Quran, and only He knows best.
Mike Dennis, US