Our Beacon Forum

RELIGIOUS DISCUSSION
By:Ebrahim Rashid, Kuwait
Date: Friday, 14 August 2020, 3:11 pm

RELIGIOUS DISCUSSION

Salamun Alaikum

“Invite (all) to the Way of your Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching; and argue with them in the ways that are best and most gracious: for your Lord knows best, who have strayed from His Path, and who receive guidance.” [Holy Qur’an 16:125]

Religious discussion is a very delicate and a sensitive issue. We have to be extremely careful with our words and expression so as not to hurt anyone's feelings or undermine anyone's beliefs and practices.

It is equally very important to be open-minded and allow people of other faiths to have their say before jumping into any kind of conclusion.

How often are people brainwashed and led astray. How often people become victims of misunderstanding and misconceptions!

Before discussing religion, one must be fairly aware of their own beliefs and also of the beliefs of those with whom they want to discuss. There must be authentic and reliable references ready to produce as and when needed.

When faced with the truth, one must accept it no matter how bitter it may sound.

The beauty of discussing religion is when the evidence is produced in the light of the holy Qur'an, the ahadith of the holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him and his immaculate progeny), logic and commonsense. The most interesting part is when the evidence is produced from the books of the other parties, in support of your argument.

The worst part is when people become abusive, intolerant and biased. No matter how hard you try, they are hell-bent to ignore you and take no notice of what you say.

Quite often misconceptions can be eradicated by asking constructive questions.

Please read the attachments provided, ponder over the points discussed and bearing Allah as your witness, draw your own conclusion.

Please rest assured that the attachments are not to criticize or attack or undermine anyone's beliefs. But at the same time it is extremely important to address such issues to get to the bottom of the whole matter. We cannot shy away from addressing such important issues and remain in doubt forever.

I am sure you must have heard of Jehovah’s Witnesses. It’s a group of people who call themselves Christians and they go out knocking people’s door to propagate their religion.

The biggest problem with these people is that they are badly brainwashed. If you ask them for example what do they know about Islam, they’ll tell you they know very little. If you ask them the source of their information on Islam, they’ll tell you that they have read books written by their own church! You offer them a small piece of literature on Islam and ask them to take it away, read it and come back to have a dialogue, you will find them very hesitant to do so.

Sometimes, this is also the case with us Muslims. They are brainwashed into believing that the Shi’as have a different Qur’an. The Shi’a sect was founded by a Jew called Abdullah bin Saba. The Shi’as are the actual murderers of Imam Husein (a.s.). The Shi’as have a different kalema. They are disrespectful to the sahabas. Shi’as are kafir. Shi’as are Rafidhis. The list of such propaganda is endless.

Is it not a duty of every Muslim to carry out their own independent research and find out for themselves how much truth is in there and how much falsehood?

THE THREE CATEGORIES OF PEOPLE

There are three categories of people in this world.

There are some who are genuinely interested in Islam. They ask questions to acquire knowledge and to understand what Islam is all about. It is entirely up to a Muslim who is dealing with the inquirers to satisfy them with the correct answers.

The second category is those who ask questions about Islam but not to learn anything or increase their knowledge. Sometimes they may be knowing better than many Muslims.

Their purpose of discussing Islam is to win converts. They have been trained to do missionary work and they implement their skill on Muslims. To some extent the Muslims can keep aloof and guard themselves against such people.

The third and the last category are of the hypocrites. They pretend to learn about Islam but their whole and sole purpose is to sow seeds of doubts in the minds and hearts of the Muslims. They are neither interested in learning anything about Islam nor are they interested in converting you into anything. But to ask you some questions to which you have no answers and are too embarrassed to ask anyone.

For example, someone asks me if how many gods do I believe in. I say One. What is the proof that there’s only One God? I don’t know the answer because neither this question ever crossed my mind nor did anyone mention about this.

The hypocrite will make a capital gain out of my ignorance and will say, “Go and enjoy yourself mate! Your mullahs, maulvis and maulanas survive on such types of preaching, it’s their bread and butter. “You will find out when you get there, meaning in the hereafter.”

So for example, a person who is in his fifties or sixties is too embarrassed to ask this question to anyone. He may carry on praying, fasting, etc. but he will remain in constant doubt as to what he has been led to believe in, is this truth or not.

When we discuss for example religion with a Christian for instance, we show them contradictions and inaccuracies in their Bible. We also show things in the Bible which are in our favour. And then finally, we show them verses from the holy Qur’an to back up our argument.

Any fair minded person searching for truth and guidance will study all the information provided to him/her, ponder over it, do their own research and come towards the Right Path, Siratul Mustaqeem.

We will find many ignorant people making comments such as, “ah, but you see you (Muslims) are misquoting/misinterpreting the verses from the Bible.”

Others may say, “Excuse me but you are undermining my beliefs/practice, insulting my religion…”

Sometimes people can be abusive or aggressive and insult you. These are some of the signs of their weaknesses that when they are cornered and have no answers.

The same can be the case with many Muslims. There are people who talk about religion or would like to do so but unfortunately they lack basic knowledge about their own beliefs or are unaware of simple historical facts. When such facts are presented to them, they take offence rather than an eye opener or ‘food for thought’.

Religious discussion should be one of the means to enlighten oneself and eliminate misconceptions that may exist. New facts brought into light must be seen as an eye opener rather than threat or attack.

Alhamdulillah, Islam is such a unique religion whose foundation is based on logic and commonsense. A person has freedom to ask questions about his fundamental beliefs until s/he is fully satisfied. No one has the right to silence them or call them kafirs for questioning their fundamental beliefs.

A person whose fundamental beliefs are strong and firm will never waver from the Right Path. His virtuous acts will call for more and better rewards. Islam does not encourage blind belief or dogmatism.

A different angle

You can learn many things from those who agree with you. You can often learn even more from those with whom you disagree.

Your own perspective is important, for it enables you to make sense of the world. Always keep in mind, though, that yours is not the only perspective.

You can listen to others, learn from them, and successfully work with them even though you may not agree with them on all issues. If everyone held the exact same opinion on every subject, then knowledge and wisdom would become stagnant and outdated.

Your own perspective will grow stronger and more useful when you regularly allow it to be challenged. When people respectfully agree to disagree, everyone benefits from the diversity of opinion.

Living a life of success and fulfillment does not depend on always proving that you're right and that others are wrong.

To make real progress you must let go of the assumption that you already have all the answers.

Stay true to the values you treasure, while thoughtfully considering the different perspectives of others. Look at life from a different angle, and you'll always find new richness.

May Allah (s.w.t.) grant us knowledge, wisdom, understanding and tawfiq to find out what true Islam is, as taught by the holy Prophet and his immaculate progeny (peace and blessings of Allah be upon them) and follow it without any kind of fear from anyone. Ameen.

A young couple moves into a new neighbourhood.

The next morning, while they are eating breakfast, the young woman sees her neighbour hanging the wash outside.

That laundry is not very clean, she said. She doesn't know how to wash correctly. Perhaps she needs better laundry soap.

Her husband looked on, but remained silent. Every time her neighbour would hang her wash to dry, the young woman would make the same comments.

About one month later, the woman was surprised to see a nice clean wash on the line and said to her husband: Look, she has learned how to wash correctly. I wonder who taught her this.

The husband said, I got up early this morning and cleaned our windows.

What Controls You?

By Jane Powell

“Who’s in control, you or your emotions?”

When you allow your emotions to enter into discussions over conflicting opinions or positions, you cloud the issues and detract from your argument.

Even if you have a valid point of view, it becomes cloaked in feelings, which reduce its connection to rational thought. You risk losing the other person’s respect. When you’re emotional you end up handing control to those who are in charge of their emotions.

Next time conflict arises, stay calm. Bite your tongue, silently count to ten, take a deep breath and state your position in an objective and unemotional manner.

Remember, there is a time and a place for showing your emotions. And, powerful people keep their feelings undercover until the time is right.

POINTS TO PONDER

What do you expect to find in a book written by a Zionist on Islam and Muslims?

What do you expect to hear from a Christian evangelist preaching about Islam and Muslims to his congregation in his own church?

Would you expect any person in the right frame of his mind to learn about Christianity by studying a book written on Christianity by a Hindu author?

Would you expect any person in the right frame of his mind to sit down with a Rabbi to find out what Christianity is all about?

Would you go to a church to learn about Buddhism?

If you really and truly want to know about any faith or school of thought, you will read their authentic books, sit down with their scholars as well as visit their places of worship. It is equally important to study academically, with an open mind and free of prejudice.

What do you expect to hear about Shi’as and Shi’ism from Wahhabis/Salafis/Takfiris/Jihadists and the bloodthirsty, killing anyone and everyone who do not subscribe to their interpretation of Islam? People who blow themselves up in places of worship, marketplaces and shrines, killing the innocents and the defenceless. What kind of Islam (if it’s worth it) are they going to portray to the world?

Ebrahim