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What is a Moderate Muslim? 14 August 2006

Posted by MOZAFFAR in MOZAFFAR, Politics, Theology.
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I’m sick of this question.

The answer is simple. A “Moderate” Muslim is a Muslim who does one of two things, and only one of two things.

1. S/he supports the policies of his/her state’s government.
2. S/he is silent.

That’s supposedly a Moderate Muslim.

So, if you do not support a war in which the main casualties are innocent individuals, you are not a Moderate Muslim. If you do not support an increased centralization of government that is happening right now, you are not a Moderate Muslim. If you do not support a government in which the law is applied selectively, then you are not a Moderate Muslim.

Mind you, these nonsensical categorizations are nothing new. Anyone who stands for justice will rarely be labeled by his/her government as a “moderate.” Any common administration will define its own appropriate citizen. In some cases, it is a matter of theology. In most cases, however, it is a matter of loyalty.

In the case of the Caliph al-Ma’mun (813-833 CE), the equivalent of a “Moderate” Muslim was one who supported one particular theological doctrine. And, according to that particular definition, some scholars — most notably Imam Ahmad b. Hanbal (may Allah be pleased with him) — were arrested and persecuted because their statements did not conform to the Caliph’s construction of what we would today call a “Moderate” Muslim. Meaning, Imam Ahmad b. Hanbal stated that the Qur’an was the word of God. And, as a result he was sent to prison.

How interesting is it that in the state-sponsored version of Islam that we find in Saudi Arabia, we find common reference to a narration attributed to the Prophet -p- that if you have the ability to pray, you must obey your political leader? It’s the same strategy discussed above: you must support the policies of your ruling authority. How interesting is it that among certain Muslim groups, whose leaders also have interesting ties to political leaders, we see similar narrations.

The real issue, though, regards whether or not the political authority is a “Moderate” authority. Meaning, will your strict adherence to your own principles — when they run counter to those of the federal authority — send you to jail. More than that, will your adherence to your principles guarantee you torture.

Thus, is my home — the United States of America — today a “Moderate” government? More than most. Less than it believes itself to be. Less than it can be.

May God bless you.

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Comments»

1. Abu Sahajj - 16 August 2006

Asalaamu alaikum,

Well said… great post.

wasalaam.

2. Celal - 17 August 2006

I would have thought a good definition of a Moderate Muslim is one who does not believe in and/or practice Jihad.

3. talib - 18 August 2006

the usage of the directive, emerging from ahadith, to obey the political leader is not one innovated by saudi scholars. today we selectively recall the Ahmad ibn Hambals and ibn Taymiyyahs, but we cannot deny that the vast majority of our scholars throughout the centuries were simultaneously living both under the rule of corrupt and even heretical leaders and not in prison. were they insincere with their quoting of certain ahadith as justification? any more or less than our scholars around the world today? or are all these inheritors of the prophets ‘moderate’ muslims?

the freedom to teach Islam to the masses by word or example comes at a price, and alhamdulillah, a price that can be paid in many different ways as is best demonstrated and sanctioned by the seerah.

we should not take for granted our freedom in this country (the usa) to be other than what they call ‘moderate’. it’s easy to call others sell-outs from where we’re standing. these others have not had the option to be other than ‘moderate’. and i think we can agree that they’re in good company. regardless, who is more deserving of 70 excuses than our own scholars, whether in saudi, pakistan, sudan, or china?


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