New contributor Adil has produced a beautiful piece which is a real eye-opener. Agree or disagree, he is a fantastic essayist and a pleasure to read. I really hope to see more from him, as will you…
Recent years have seen an increasing number of Muslims, particularly younger ones, performing Dawah (sharing Islam with others) by means of philosophical argumentation in the public arena, often in the form of debates, whether formal or on the street. Whilst most people from any faith would agree that faith should not solely hinge on philosophical argumentation, using philosophical arguments is not inherently problematic; I certainly believe that a robust understanding of philosophy can strongly augment ones faith and address claims against it. Unfortunately, many Muslim popularisers of this style of argumentation continue to use methods of proselytisation which I, and other Muslims find problematic. The approach which I speak of can be crudely summarized as:
A hard line Salafi interpretation of Islam argued for with liberal use of scientific and only partially understood philosophical arguments which are conveyed in a point scoring style of argumentation
Whilst this description is inapplicable to most Islamic spokespeople, it holds true for a significant minority of Dawah-givers who have become very popular amongst young Muslims who are enamoured with their confident rhetoric. One organisation which embodies the above description is The Islamic Education and Research Academy (iERA) whose stated goal is ‘To present Islam to wider society’; a laudable cause which needs to be done more and done well. However, I have great concerns about the methodology and ethos of the organisation (at least the UK branch), and some of their imitators who set up various Dawah stalls around University campuses and other areas. Prominent speakers from or affiliated with iERA whose views and/or methodology I find troubling include Hamza Tzortzis, Imran Ibn Mansur AKA ”Dawahman”, Abduraheem Green and Adnan Rashid. To learn more of the history and emergence of this style of Dawah, I recommend a truly excellent and eloquent article named ‘Dawah Carriers Are Destroying Your Faith….And Having A Good Time In The Process’
While I have reservations about critiquing the methods of people who have indeed successfully brought others to Islam, I believe it that most of those people came to Islam in spite of the shortcomings which I discuss below, and that there are better methods to convey Islam then this style of apologia. Without further ado here are my top 10 issues with the Dawah carriers I have mentioned, though this critique is not limited to them.
1.) Their arguments have been Shamelessly Plagiarised
It is now common knowledge that Hamza Tzortzis and ‘Dawahman’ have copied most of their philosophical arguments from popular American evangelist William Lane Craig. Tzortzis fans typically respond by pointing out that Craig got his arguments from medieval Muslim theologians (which holds true for the famous Kalaam cosmological argument, as Craig candidly admits). There is nothing wrong with borrowing ideas; but as every University student knows, if you want to use someone else’s ideas, at least take the time to shuffle the wording a little and swap a few words for some appropriate synonyms even if to avoid the plagiarism software! The fact that Dawahman, Tzortzis et al did not invent their arguments does not diminish their credence. The fact that they blatantly copied William Lane Craig does. True, this does not invalidate their conclusions (nor does the fact that fellow Salafis typically detest Kalaam arguments), but it is perfectly natural to lose trust in an argument when it has been borrowed verbatim from someone else, particularly an exclusivist Christian evangelist who also criticises Islam. But who knows? Perhaps, to borrow an argument from our atheist friends; we live in an infinite multiverse where some universes will yield Muslim and Christian apologists who at the same time and same place will generate almost word for word identical arguments? But I thought we were above that logic? Read some quotes from Hamza Tzortzis and Dawahman and some from Bill Craig and decide what is most plausible.
These quotes are taken from Hamza Tzortis’ article responding to Richard Dawkins The God Delusion alongside quotes from an article by William Lane Craig entitled ‘does God exist’
Hamza Tzortzis: “The existence of a life permitting universe is due to conditions that must have been fined-tuned to a degree that is literally incalculable. Take the following examples:”
William Lane Craig: “The existence of intelligent life depends upon a conspiracy of initial conditions which must be fine-tuned to a degree that is literally incomprehensible and incalculable.”
Hamza Tzortzis: “The Strength of Gravity & the Atomic Weak Force: Physicist P. C. W. Davies has calculated that a change in the strength of gravity or of the atomic weak force by only one part in 10100 would have prevented a life permitting universe.”
William Lane Craig: “For example, the physicist P. C. W. Davies has calculated that a change in the strength of gravity or of the atomic weak force by only one part in 10100 would have prevented a life-permitting universe.”
Hamza Tzortzis: “Big Bang’s Low Entropy Condition: Roger Penrose of Oxford University has calculated that the odds of the Big Bang’s low entropy condition existing by chance are on the order of one out of 1010. Penrose comments, “I cannot even recall seeing anything else in physics whose accuracy is known to approach, even remotely, a figure like one part in 1010.”“
William Lane Craig: “Roger Penrose of Oxford University has calculated that the odds of the Big Bang’s low entropy condition existing by chance are on the order of one out of 1010^(123). Penrose comments, “I cannot even recall seeing anything else in physics whose accuracy is known to approach, even remotely, a figure like one part in 1010^(123).”“
Note that Craig quotes Penrose Directly while Hamza accidently drops ^123, leaving Penrose describing the more modest figure of ten billion!
And finally, from Hamza alone:
Hamza Tzortzis: According to Penrose the volume of the phase space would be 1/10 to the power of X which is 10123. This is smaller than the ratio of a Proton! This precision is much, much greater than the precision that would be required to hit an individual proton if the entire universe were a dartboard!
It is clearly up to the reader to decide what the ratio of a proton is! Doesn’t a ratio have to entail at least two entities? Did he mean radius? Who knows?
*Note: I believe Hamza has updated his article since and given proper references to the Christian apologists where he got his arguments from. Firsthand evidence of blatantly copying Bill Craig can be seen in some of his lectures and debates on the existence of God.
As for the Dawahman, read this transcript from the beginning of a video featuring him entitled: 10 Ways The Dawkins Delusion Proves That Allah Exists!
Science cannot account for mathmatical and logical truths. Science pressuposes logical and mathmathical truths so for science to try to explain it would be tantamount to science going around in circles. Science cannot account for metaphysical truths, the self, the conscious, if this external world is in fact a reality, it is rational that we can but scientifically we cannot show that. Science nor does it tell us anything about moral truths it cant account for whether the nazis in the concentration camps were evil which of course objectively with objective morality we can say yes they were evil but science doesnt comment on whether it was evil whether it was not evil. The same way science cannot account for aesthetic truths for example if you see your wife and she looks beautiful as you say in the UK she looks real nice with make up and everything. ”Babe you look *something* (I think he says ‘banging baby’ or some sort of back ally slang) today Mashallah” SubhanAllah. Thats an aesthetic truth. Science cannot comment on your perception of beauty right? And finally, most surprisingly, science cannot comment on, cannot account for science itself because for you to say that science is the means to absolute truth how do you scientifically show that to be true? You cant scientifically show that statement to be truth its self refuting. And science actually …it …. many scientific theories for example the erm, Einsteins theory of specific, no special relatively sorry it hinges on the assumption that when light travels from point A to point B it travels at a constant speed but you can’t prove that, you have to assume that so science is based on faith to some degree.
Smart stuff right? Even with the gangster speech. How does it compare to William Lane Craig describing rational notions which science cannot prove to Peter Atkins during a debate:
Logical and mathematical truths cannot be proven by science. Science presupposes logic and math so that to try to prove them by science would be arguing in a circle, metaphysical truths, like there are other minds other then my own or that the external world is real or that the past was not created 5 minutes ago with the appearance of age are rational beliefs which cannot be scientifically proven. Ethical beliefs about statements of value are not accessible by the scientific method. You can’t show by science whether the nazi scientists in the camps did anything evil as opposed to the scientists in Western Democracy. Aesthetic judgements number four cannot be accessed by the scientific method, because the beautiful, like the good cannot be scientifically proven; and finally, most remarkably would be science itself. Science cannot be justified by the scientific method. Science is permeated with ah unproveable assumptions for example in the special theory of relativity the whole theory hinges on the assumption that the speed of light is constant in a one way direction between any two points A and B but that strictly cannot be proven. We simply have to assume that in order to hold to the theory.
Even with Dawahman adding the gangster talk in the middle I doubt this would even pass a plagiarism check!
The sad thing is, I believe these arguments themselves are pretty strong. Clearly, there are some rational notions which science cannot account for, and the Kalaam cosmological argument for me, robustly defends the need for a cause of the Universe. The plagiarism however, is blatant and simply undermines the arguments, given that they have been pretty much copied verbatim from someone else. Also are Salafis meant to be ‘imitating kuffar’ like this? I will leave the author to fathom some of the problems entailed by hardline Salafis copying the overwhelming majority of their religious apologia from a hard-line Christian evangelist who strongly criticises Islam, but they are fairly obvious. Where is Abduraheem Green to slap down his buddies for copying Bill Craig so blatantly? Given Mr Greens paranoia about ‘imitating Kuffar’ he is a walking definition of the term ‘slippery slope’; is he not worried that if his colleagues are copying everything else Bill Craig says maybe they might start worshipping Jesus soon?
2.) They are unwilling to criticise extremism….and unwilling not to embody it either
This concept differs from the common scenario created by Islamophobes when a Muslim does so much as sneeze on someone and a demand goes out to Muslims worldwide to ‘condemn’ the guilty parties, pretty much to clear their name, as if Muslims bear some sort of collective responsibility by default.
This is different. This is an unwillingness to whole heartedly criticise brutal practices which practitioners justify (or try to reconcile) using Islam; and with the same vigour as they do unto their more preferred opponents i.e. non Muslims and non Salafi Muslims (The extent to which they view differences between the two is debateable). This is particularly applicable to people they share platforms with (or have been tutored by), such as the preacher Haitham al Haddad who regards Osama Bin Laden as a martyr and recommends female circumcision. Other then saying that killing civilians is not Islamic, which granted, even hard-line groups such as iERA and Hizb ut-Tahrir will do, harsh critique seldom if ever happens; one pertinent reason being that several prominent Dawah popularisers are themselves extremists. Yes, extremism is a promiscuously used term and often one given to Muslims who consistently practice or have the ‘audacity’ to apply Islamic principles anywhere beyond their own homes. However just because Islamophobic neo con stooges (i.e. Maajid Nawaaz) overuse the term does not render its use redundant in all circumstances. By extremism I mean comments like this:
The purpose of the jizya is to make the Jew and the Christian know that they are inferior and subjugated to Islam, OK?
Even by some statement that you can make. For example, slandering and attacking the Muslims unjustly, such as you find many Muslims have done this about the Taliban. Slandering them and attacking them and reviling them based upon news that has come from the disbelieving media, helping the kuffar against the Muslims.
You know guys, I’ll tell you something right? I’ll probably, someone at least is probably going to want to assassinate me after what I’m going to say here but you know, I don’t really get very sad when, you know, a non-believer dies
I was staying with my parents and my dad came down and told me, you know, early in the morning, you know, that Lady Diana had died, you know…hamdulillah…hamdulillah” (laughter).
…if you find the Jew or a Christian walking down the street, push them to the side *makes pushing gesture*. It is well-known from what Umar ibn al-Khattab and the khulafa ar rashidin used to implement, that the Jew and Christian was not allowed to ride on a horse when the Muslim is riding on a horse. They would have to walk”
”Here we need to concentrate on our immediate problem and that is kuffar, we’re surrounded by them”
Who are these comments from? Some random Dawah guy off the street who doesn’t really represent anyone? Is this a strawman? This is Abduraheem Green, the CHAIRMAN of iERA, described as a ‘warm and engaging character,’ on their website! To my knowledge, he has not retracted any of these statements nor have Hamza Tzortzis, Yusuf Chambers or any of his other colleagues condemned or criticised his statements. Yes, things can be taken out of context, even statements which might appear damning. I would not, for instance claim Hamza Tzortzis to be extreme based on his infamous comment ‘as Muslims we reject the idea of freedom of speech or even freedom.’ Perhaps he would go on to articulate the implications of unregulated freedom of speech or the philosophical incoherence of absolute freedom, I have my doubts, but who knows? The furious and incoherent statements from Mr Green (and many many more), however are on YouTube for all to hear and only sound viler when heard in their full context. Green, being a very knowledgeable follower of Islam must surely remember that according to Muhammad (pbuh), a violent speaker (which Green certainly can be) will not enter paradise. Or perhaps that was not meant to be set in stone? Are you a modernist Mr Green?
3.) They are often rude and intrusive
One would think representatives of a system which makes politeness and dignity incumbent, would be zealous paragons of good manners. Whilst most Islamic speakers do embody such virtues; for iERA speakers like Hamza Tzortzis and Dawahman, maintaining dignity seems optional at times. Whilst they may not surpass the obnoxiousness of the subjects of their clashes (Richard Dawkins, Laurence Krauss et al) it is not unreasonable to hold them to a much higher standard. Some gems from Mr Tzortzis include:
-The following jab during a debate with Professor Pervez Hoodboy: ”Its abit of a culture clash. In Britain people tend to be more nuanced. Maybe because you’re a product of the Muslim world which you hate so much” (Which lead the Professor to storm out)
-Comparing Professor Graham Thompson to a baby during a debate about the existence of God
-Asking a debating opponent in Ian Bryce ”if you can even read.” (Bryce was a particularly crude and vitriolic opponent in the debate; but was this not an opportunity to showcase ‘reasoning with what is best’ as the Qur’an demands?)
-Jabs and low blows throughout his infamous debate with Professor Laurence Krauss. Granted, Krauss, as usual debated in an insulting and arrogant manner; but so what Hamza? Were you trying to ‘imitate the kuffar’ or something? Brother Green won’t be happy about this.
-On TV: ”I call him Richard DORKins.” Admittedly, I have called Richard Dawkins worse at some point. But I am not publically representing Islam on TV, and would know better than to be so childish if I was. Surely someone so interested in salvation would know better than to alienate someone for your own petty pleasure by insulting their surname on TV? This is as puerile as an Islamophobe making a stupid quip about the HAM in Hamza!
For all of the above and more; Tzortzis remains a bastion of etiquette compared to his more shrill compatriot; the Dawahman. For those unaware, Dawahman is a young proselytiser who amalgamates Islam with back alley slang, and (according to him) ‘swaggah’ with nice dress which is done purely for the pleasure of Allah (I never realised Allah was so interested in fashion; no doubt were Dawahman stuck on a desert island with no hope of rescue, he would put equal effort in retaining his ‘swaggah.’ I always imagined that the beauty being eluded to in this beautiful saying related more to the beauty of the Universe, and animals and the natural world but perhaps mine is a silly modernist interpretation or something). My qualms with Dawahman however are not limited to my impression of his image and mannerisms, which are not to my taste but admittedly subjective. Less subjective is his rudeness and social ineptitude. Perhaps Dawahman has forgotten Qur’an 6:108: (”And do not insult those they invoke other than Allah , lest they insult Allah in enmity without knowledge” ) if the following of his antics are anything to go by:
-A cringe worthy sung adaptation of Merry Christmas: ”Merry Shirkmas.” (Shirk: Ascribing partners to God)
– (To a random passer-by on the street straight after ascertaining that he had a girlfriend) ”If she breaks your heart which she most likely will or you’ll do the same, you’re not going to get married trust me” And later telling him to remove an earring and throw it away in front of him because ‘it was gay.’
-A myriad of jabs and insults against Richard Dawkins (this can be found in a video ’10 Ways The Dawkins Delusion Proves That Allah Exists!’) including a mocking: ”You fail” after each point of refutation against Dawkins, ”This is why I call you a DORK” ”What an idiot” ”Richard Dawkins is a pratt.”
All of these immaturities however, pale compared to the utterly embarrassing scene consisting of Dawahman harassing Laurence Krauss following his debate with Hamza Tzortzis, yelling that he had a question and was ‘oppressed’ because he was initially ignored. Picture a shrill and hyperactive adolescent asking you to define a word chanting ‘answer my question answer my question’ several times; putting a microphone in front of your mouth for a split second and then laughing at you shouting down the microphone ‘FROM HIS OWN MOUTH, he couldn’t explain what empiricism is’ whilst jumping up and down. You now have a impression of what followed; though even were I an adept writer I would not be able to articulate just how cringe-worthy and embarrassing the scene was. Unsurprisingly a video of this scene now features on many Islamophobic channels where Dawahmans behaviour is used as an excuse to bash Islam and Muslims wholesale.
Unfortunately, while many street Dawah speakers are polite and dignified, the approach of others resembles a bullying nature; threatening people with the promise of hell, pressuring interested persons to take the Shahada on the spot, and seldom genuinely engaging with the other view but nodding and say ‘yep’ and maybe ‘I appreciate that’ once or twice before interrupting them; sure, much of this anecdotal; such that I am willing to concede that maybe I have just been unlucky and heard of a disproportionate amount of bad cases by chance; I certainly hope so.
4.) They are disingenuous
There is a fine line between vindicating your views and point scoring, and invariably even the people with the best of intentions will probably cross it at some point. For many Dawah warriors however, that line is far on the horizon…behind them.
The first and only time I witnessed Hamza Tzortzis in the flesh was at a talk titled ‘Multiculturalism and Islam’ which I eagerly anticipated, expecting a scholarly discussion on how Islam tackles with the issues posed by multiculturalism; perhaps how using such principles would help us today; but how did Hamza start? By announcing that he would phrase the title of the talk as ”Why Islam.” He then proceeded to talk about anything but multiculturalism (which was not discussed at all) and trotted out his arguments pinched straight from Bill Craig! Disingenuous to say the least as are some of his arguments in practice (Not to deny the intrinsic merit of the arguments themselves).
When arguing whether God exists, Hamza typically uses William Lane Craigs arguments: Kalaam cosmological argument, fine tuning, objective morality, and then the inimitably of the Qur’an (instead of Craigs Resurrection of Jesus argument). Seasoned debaters like atheists Dan Barker and Ed Buckner knew what the name of the game was and tried to refute Craigs, I mean, Hamzas arguments, and Hamza responded to their rebuttals and so forth. Fine. Other academics were not fully aware of the nature of this type of debate were clearly unprepared and not aware of the nature of the debate (Professors Graham Thompson and Pervez Hoodboy who Hamza Tzortzis debated being two such examples). A suitable response from the Muslim speaker in the rebuttal session would be to address the fact that there is obviously some misunderstanding about what the debate is supposed to entail, and that the different approaches need to be reconciled and perhaps requesting the other speaker to consider the arguments themselves and their relevance. But in practice the following usually happens; ”The Professor was unable to refute this contention, that contention, this contention and that contention,” Strictly speaking this may be true, but beating someone ‘on points’ because they had not knowingly signed up for this does not even help the cause because neither speakers are properly engaging with the others arguments. Point scoring and poor debate etiquette (which I know many atheist debaters show, which is why the Muslim debater should argue his case even with the ‘handicap’ of excellent debate etiquette and not by point scoring) only preaches to the converted.
I also take issue with the argument based on the ”inimitably of the Qur’an when presented as one of several arguments for the existence of God; while its conclusion may be true; it is simply a disingenuous and unfalsifiable argument when used in a debate format. Typically the speaker will assert that the Qur’an is outside the productive capacity of the Arabic language, the best Arab poets and writers cannot match it, and it has an unimaginably high ratio of rhetorical devices per sentence. This is a pretty good argument if you want to score points, because no one can even attempt to falsify it in the space of a few short minutes. What is the opponent supposed to do; learn Arabic and then try to make a sentence crammed with more rhetorical devices? According to the those who put forth this argument ”It doesn’t matter if you don’t know Arabic because this is objective and everyone in the world who studied the Qur’an knows this.” One might as well say ‘it is a miracle. Just trust me.’ At no point am I contesting the conclusion of this argument; I would expect a revelation to be written in a unique linguistic manner but instead of just asserting this to score in an argument; one would get far more respect by saying along the lines of: ‘This isn’t an argument that I’m trying to win the debate with but I urge you, as a seeker of truth to look at the Qur’an in your own time and the opinions of various academics and so forth about it etcetera’ In a debate format this argument could be made about pretty much any other holy books, even if the claims were false, and it would still be impossible to falsify within the format of a short debate!
Finally, Kalaam (dialectics or speculative philosophy in theology) is completely at odds with the Salafi ideology of groups like iERA. Does Hamza Tzortzis realise that his use of the Kalaam cosmological argument would be considered a despised and heretical innovation to Salafi scholars? Does he realise that not only is the principle of his using the argument inconsistent, but the argument itself it is incompatible with the anthropomorphic conception of God which his beloved Ibn Taymiyya had? A God which an actual face and actual body parts? Salafis using the Kalaam Cosmological argument are risking a catastrophic rebuttal from atheists when they realise that Salafis believe in tajseem (anthropomorphism) and would rebutt them along the lines of ‘What is the explanation God?’ as their conception of God actually shares characteristics with contingent entities if he has a face and hands and a body etc.
In conclusion, stealing arguments from ‘Kafir’ (Note: I have no problem with using arguments from non Muslims but unlike the likes of iERA I do not regard non Muslims as kafir by default; and I would also have decency not to shamelessly plagiarise them) which are at inconsistent with their own theology is intellectually dishonest sophistry, and I think their opponents see it.
5.)’‘God is not merciful”
This is a reference to the theology of Zakir Naik, Adnan Rashid, Hamza Tzortzis et al which they staunchly maintain is ”what Islam clearly says.” Two obvious examples include their view that being a non Muslim effectively warrants eternal damnation no matter what (barring a few extreme circumstances such as never hearing the word Islam; though one cannot help but consider the pointlessness of telling people about Islam if most people who hear of it will be automatically damned), and that even non violent apostasy deserves capital punishment.
Regarding the former; the salvation question is a complex and difficult one, (a book I recommend for learn more about this is ‘Islam and the fate of others’ by Professor Mohammad Hassan Khalil) which I cannot comprehensively address here; but merely point out that to many of the greatest Muslim thinkers, the damnationist paradigm which is now propagated was not self evidently ”what Islam clearly says.” Have the Dawah warriors read Al Ghazali who believed that the hereafter would eventually be like this life in that the majority of people will be glad that they exist rendering damnation a fate for a minority? Perhaps the quasi Universalism of Ibn Arabi or the eventual universal salvation which Ibn Qayyim Al-Jawziyya believed was necessary in order to be consistent with absolute mercy; regarding the fire to be an agent of purification? Do they know that Ibn Hazm was unable to reconcile his staunch damnationist stance with the mercy of God and argued that God was actually not gracious nor merciful in a way humans relate to? Do they realise that even ultraconservative Ibn Taymiyya who they love quoting believed that one day the fires of hell would be extinguished? (Some have contested that he held this view; this is addressed in the aforementioned book).
Have modern day Dawahmen read the vast body of scholarship suggesting that the state of ‘Kuffar’ is an active state of covering the truth when it has been made evident and not merely a passive state of not possessing belief? Some scholars go further to say that only people who actually know that Islam is true and then reject it fit the Qur’anic conception of a disbeliever. Are they all deviants? In essence, the salvation theology of Dawahmen is very similar to original sin in practice; if you are not the right religion you are pretty much damned by default; not for wantonly and deliberately turning away from the truth. Whether the Dawahmen have it right or not, is not the sole issue here, rather the disingenuous implication, if not assertion that theirs on this matter is the only remotely viable (some of their followers will even claim ‘non deviant’) view. For the conception of God held by the Dawahmen, statements of God’s mercy are but hollow disclaimers and not befitting the Islam of compassion and mercy and justice in any real sense of the words.
6.) They make outrageous generalisations about other belief systems
While many Islamic apologists aspire to project as accurate a view of different belief systems or political systems as possible, such that even adherents to those systems would be happy with the way they are presented; others prefer to grossly generalise both the ideologies, and their followers in a not too dissimilar fashion to the way Muslims sometimes get smeared across the board by Islamophobes.
Before going a step further; I am not a liberal, nor a feminist (invariably I will get accused of being one; or being ‘pro liberal,’ and even the fact that I have stated I am not liberal nor a feminist may well be used as evidence that I am, something about ‘denial,’ we shall see). I am also very critical of many conceptions of liberalism and feminism, and I also know that the founding fathers of liberalism were far less tolerant of other belief systems then one might assume. Finally, I realise that some generalisations are inevitable and not inherently bad, providing people are aware of exceptions. ‘Christians believe in the divinity of Jesus,’ is a generalisation which does not always hold true, but is not wholly inappropriate. The stereotypes about liberals and feminists which have become a target for several prominent Muslim spokespeople however, are much less frequently applicable to those who call themselves liberals or feminists; who on the whole do not fit, the career orientated, family detesting, religion hating, male hating bigoted persona which is described as what feminism and liberalism entails.
Invariably this gets countered by the claim that there is no standard to hold feminists to account and thus, Femen activists and other extremists are not really violating any feminist principles, whereas a violent Muslim can objectively be shown to violate Islamic ones because the scriptures and so forth condemn such behaviour. They will then come to the heart of the matter and state that Islam is sufficient and feminism and liberalism are Kufr (denial of God/his commandments) and should not be the way you address the world; ergo calling yourself a Muslim feminist is Kufr because feminism is not an Islamic concept. Recently, Tariq Ramadan said that he didn’t mind feminism providing he got to define it. He was scathingly criticised by Abdullah Al Andalusi, from the Muslim Debate Initiative who argued that the same could be said of the word ‘gobbledygook,’ and that the logical conclusion of Tariq’s approach would be that one could call themself a Muslim polytheist but define polytheist as different aspects of God or a Muslim atheist but define atheist as rejecting other Gods and so forth. This fails to recognise that even if a principle like feminism is UnIslamic, common sense dictates that it is at least not as overtly logically contradictory as polytheism, given that the Islamic declaration of faith itself states that there is only one God! Furthermore, it is invariable that we will give ourselves labels in addition to ‘Muslim,’ but providing these do not contradict Islamic principles I cannot see the problem. Is there a problem with a Muslim calling themselves an environmentalist? Or a humanitarian? The above logic would demand that a Muslim couldn’t call him/herself either! Any alleged problems with a not set in stone definition attributed to feminism are equally applicable here! Just as there is nothing in the book of feminism saying do not protest Femen style, there is no rule in environmentalism saying do not murder people who destroy the rainforest; is it Kufr to be a Muslim environmentalist?
I propose the seemingly radical suggestion of using more ‘nuance’ (something Hamza Tzortzis insists his opponents should use) and look at people’s individual views for what they actually are. If a Muslim calls themselves a feminist but by feminism they merely mean that women are intrinsically of the same value as men, then why anathematise them and play the quotation marks game when describing them as Muslim? If a Muslim refers to himself/herself as a feminist and is blatantly an outrageous provocateur (like Mona Eltahaway) and is clearly trying to stigmatise men for instance, then by all means criticise them and I will too.
7.) They liberally make implicit takfir (excommunicating a Muslim as being an apostate)
One might think that groups who constantly bemoan the disunity of the Ummah and how fitna and discord is everywhere would avoid alienation of other Muslims as much as they possibly could; but you would be wrong. Muslims who critique the methods of organisations like iERA, or their doctrines, or live in a manner which is deemed to be too liberal (and believe me, the bar for too liberal is set very very low) can expect to have the validity of their faith challenged. The act of openly declaring a Muslim a non Muslim is a very strong one and a false accusation of Kufr (ingratitude/rejection of God) is a great sin; so explicit takfir is rare. Instead, the offending Muslims will be henceforth referred to as ”Muslims” (and only with inverted commas); or referred to in other scathing terms; clearly implying that their being Muslim is merely a title and not an applicable description of them.
What is interesting not note that this implicit takfir is generally used against Muslims who are too modern and liberal; but seldom if ever towards Muslims who are ultraconservative, even if their ideals and behaviour are completely insane. When was the last time anyone from the Muslim debate initiative or iERA scathingly questioned the ‘Muslimness’ of the Taliban (a group Abduraheem Green said Muslims must not criticise)? True, I have heard one or true remarks that such groups unfortunately have been using some UnIslamic methods (this will sometimes be said in a backhand way i.e. they are copying Western Utilitarian style warfare; which might be true, but surely that warrants even harsher and more frequent criticism!), but the contempt and ‘witheringness’ in the critique of the Muslim groups which truly drag the name of Islam through the mud is conspicuously absent.
8.) ”Aisha WAS 9. You’d better believe it”
While this may not sound top ten problem worthy; some popularisers have made it so, and will not even suffer to respect the view that others have that Aisha was older when she married Muhammad (pbuh) as if this were some sort of a trial to prove ones worthiness. I do not wish to get stuck into the various evidences that Aisha was older then 9; personally I think strong evidences exist, but I do not wish to discuss them here. This issue here is that numerous Dawah personalities anathematise people who do not accept that it is an Aqeeda (belief) issue. One would think, given that their notion of salvation is generally a case of ”Muslims, heaven no matter what, perhaps after a stint in hell; non Muslims, remain in hell no matter what,” they would show some flexibility on this issue. One wonders, if push comes to shove whether they would rather people remain non Muslim and believe Aisha was 9 then be Muslim and believe she was older. Or perhaps they are bound to give certain answers because their funding sources (including donations from Saudi) might dry up were this issue not defended ‘properly.’ One can only speculate.
9.) They encourage Islamophobic activity and alienate people from Islam
How attractive is a soft spoken, well researched and original scholar as a target for a ‘debunking’ video? Comb the internet and you may find one or two if you try hard enough, but not many. Contrast that with a loud, ill mannered, confrontational apologist who has made numerous gaffes, plagiarised many of his arguments and has (barely) closeted extreme views. A phrase involving flies comes to mind. Many popular anti Islam channels and blogs are only as ever present as they are because of popularisers from organisations like iERA; which is observable by the number of videos featuring them; there are about as many anti Islam videos online as there are Islamic videos featuring Hamza Tzortzis! Contrary to what the proud counter-claim might be; this is not indicative of people believing they are right and desperately trying to stop them; in many cases I fear they are looking for easy meat; easy meat which they have found in the form of Dawahman harassing Professor Krauss, Adnan Rashid and Hamza Tzortzis crashing an atheist convention and Abduraheem Green raving like a lunatic about how disgusting non Muslims are amongst other things.
Negative attention may have been positive for Muhammad Ali but it is not positive for the message of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), and I firmly believe that there are Muslim apologists who generate as much negative attention as positive; from their inconsistent methodology to their extreme views. Yes some people have converted to Islam because of them; but how many more people have been scared away from Islam (including those born into it) by their harassment or damnationist theology or refusing to even respect the view that Aisha was anything other than 9 years old when she married the Prophet? What happens when someone who’s faith was affirmed by arguments for the existence of God realises that they were plagiarised almost verbatim from someone else, even if they were actually valid arguments?
Another question to ponder is what is the retention rate of people who convert from street Dawah? Given that many of them go into the conversation knowing next to nothing about Islam and go through a flow chart of questions which ends in them taking the Shahada, can we really be certain that most of them stay Muslim? It would be very easy for some new converts who converted quickly because of being put on the spot to go straight home, sleep on it, and convince themselves they just did it for a laugh almost, much as it hurts to think. Without an intellectually fulfilling, holistic, and relevant framework to live (which cannot be delivered in a 20 minute Dawah session) a convert must be very proactive in order to cope. Certainly, some people who give Dawah also support converts, but is the hardline (which need not mean ‘most authentic’) Islam of the Dawahmen the Islam the convert signed up to? He knew he would have to pray and fast and not drink alcohol but did he realise a beard was obligatory or that all his family are damned almost by default for not being Muslim? Maybe the Salafi paradigm (billed to the convert as the holistic Islamic paradigm) is not so appealing. Of course, not all people who proselytise do teach this; Shabir Ally, the president of the Islamic information and Dawah centre in Toronto for instance would reject both claims; and I think he is a brilliant and wise representative of Islam, but I am not criticising such people.
10.) There are better people out there to listen to
I am not alone in being disillusioned with the style of Dawah which I have described and the views of some of its deliverers. Since becoming disenchanted, I went on a search for academics and spokespeople whose work I felt I could place more trust in (I dare someone from iERA to criticise me for the fact that some of them are non Muslim while keeping a straight face). Fortunately I found many, who I have found far more credible, consistent and intellectually honest. Below, I list a few whose works I have found enlightening and intellectually fulfilling. If you are interested religious and Islamic thought, starting from the big questions like the existence of God, the problem of evil, views on salvation and other important questions in religion I recommend a search for books, podcasts, videos or any other resources with material from the following individuals. For all their superior academic credentials (to my knowledge iERA does not actually have any accredited academics, maybe because Western Universities are indoctrination/disbelief centres according to their chairman) none of them use jargon to intellectually infatuate a philosophically illiterate audience and they are straightforward to follow.
Shabir Ally; The president of the Islamic Information & Dawah Centre International in Toronto, Canada.
Alvin Plantinga; One of the leading analytic philosophers of the 20th and 21st century. Even the aforementioned William Lane Craig looks upto him, though unlike Craig, Plantinga has more inclusive views on other religions and salvation.
Keith Ward; Former Regius professor of divinity at Oxford University and one of the best modern day philosophers I have had the privilege to listen to. Ward has criticised Christian fundamentalism and defended Islam on several occasions.
Paul Bilal Williams; not a scholar but has written many insightful articles on his blog bloggingtheology.org.uk and has participated in numerous insightful debates.
Gai Eaton (now deceased); A British writer and Sufi scholar. There are few things I would not have given to meet this great man before he died.
Timothy Winter; A lecturer of Islamic studies at Cambridge University
Mohammad Hassan Khalil; Associate professor of Religious Studies at Michigan State University
Richard Swinburne: An Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at the University of Oxford and an author of many excellent books
Seyyed Hossein Nasr: A Professor of Islamic studies at George Washington University and a prominent Islamic philosopher
Karen Armstrong: An excellent British author and commentator known for her books on comparative religion
In summary, while spreading information on Islam, for purpose of creating a more harmonious and attracting converts is a noble cause; but as we have seen, this does not mean that everyone who aims to spread Islam can do no wrong. I believe that many of the methods used to spread Dawah do not capture the grace and beauty of Islam, from their delivery, to their theology and lack of substance. Lack of substance? How many converts are shown how to truly live by Islamic principles? Converts are instructed how to pray, fast and perhaps give charity; maybe refrain from gossiping at a push. How many of them are told that if they pick up litter or show kindness to an animal they have done an act of worship? How many of them are told just how much emphasis Islam places on kindness and helpfulness from everyday acts to people you know and people you don’t, to how ethical your lifestyle is? There might be a reference here or there, but the peripheral importance of these notions is generally evident.
Let us picture (and this will take some imagination); a Western country with a minority of Muslims where every Muslim family is the most liked family in their neighbourhood. They mow the lawn for their elderly neighbours; they pick up litter from the street; they are friendly; they have a reputable job but it is common knowledge they give much of their money to good causes, not that they would ever mention it; their kids are the nicest and most hard working in school; they volunteer; they give food to the homeless shelter; and they visited the racist old man who told them to ‘go back home’ when he got sick. How and why can they do all this? Because their religion teaches it. Sounds like an interesting religion; whether ‘true’ or not it certainly has some good things to say. Perhaps there are still (apparent) intellectual problems in the way of embracing this religion for some people. Perhaps some people now do want to hear some proofs in the form of arguments. Consider now how people will consider these arguments. With objectivity; prepared, even hoping to believe that the philosophical foundations are sound; as opposed to when arguments comes from a loud and annoying apologist where the natural and instant reaction to any of their arguments would quite plausibly be ‘This guy is shrill, annoying, socially inept and thinks I should automatically burn in hell because I can’t understand a word game with a language which I dont even understand. How can I establish this world view cannot be true? Maybe google ”Dawahman debunked” and get acquainted with all the channels there and all of their videos. I think I’ll learn about Islam from them instead. Interesting. Says here Islam was started by a paedophile…and all Muslims have a duty to wage jihad…a site called Jihadwatch should clue me up on that…, ‘
Maybe, just maybe, a few more of us could, whilst having a robust knowledge of philosophy, spread Islam by being the best Muslims and the best people (the former should inescapably entail the latter) we can be; and making it clear we do not merely want to behave like this because Islam commands us to but because Islam makes us want to be this way because we are that grateful for the gift of Islam. Maybe this makes me some sort of liberal modernist heretic or something similar but I urge you, as a responsible reader to judge to the best of your ability yourself.
As-Salamu Aleikum, peace be with you and have a wonderful day.
Pingback: 10 Problems With ”Dawahmen” « Blogging theology
This brilliant and timely article should be required reading for all aspiring dawah carriers and seasoned Muslim apologists alike. Here you will read balanced – yet penetrating – critiques of the work of iREA, Hamza Tzortzis, Imran Ibn Mansur AKA ”Dawahman”, Abduraheem Green and Adnan Rashid, Zakir Naik, Abdullah Al Andalusi and myself.
Indeed, a sobering analysis. But there is only one reason: Don’t Treat Islam as an Holy Ideology. I understood when I was 6, “If the Law of the Letter supersedes the Spirit of the Letter, then there is Islam”.
-So this was same dumbass dawhaman that ran after Kruss on to the street ?
– I have studied theoretical physics at a university level; please do not use stupendous astronomical numbers to justify any of your claims if you have not student relativity or quantum mechanics or have not taken a class in calculus.
LOL I meant NO, there is No Islam
Very kind of you to say Paul, thanks 🙂
i do hope you will continue to write – you are needed!
A friend emailed me this:
‘Incidentally, iera (اعارة) in Arabic means ‘borrowing’ or ‘lending’, which perhaps indicates that they intend to be derivative in their argumentation.’
Yes Hyde, Imam Al Ghazzali said the same:
‘I was convinced that a man cannot grasp what is defective in any of the sciences unless he has so complete a grasp of the science in question that he equals the most learned of it’s exponents in the appreciation of it’s fundamental principles, and even goes beyond and surpasses them, probing into the tangles and profundities which even the professors of the science have neglected. Then and only then is it possible that what he has to assert about it’s defects is true.
So far as I could see, none of the doctors of Islam had devoted thought and attention to philosophy. In their writings none of the theologians engaged in polemic against the philosophers, apart from obscure and scattered utterances so plainly erroneous and full of inconsistencies that no person of ordinary intelligence would be likely to be deceived, let alone one well versed in the sciences.
I realised that to refute a system before understanding it and becoming acquainted with it’s depths is to act blindly.’
Al Ghazzali – Deliverance From Error
I have read all of Jester’s blog posts…if you know the gentleman; please tell him to re-start his blog posts.
In this day and age of information diarrhea anybody can become an expert by reading few pop fiction books and I’m not saying it’s wrong, but when you use mathematics and physics, you have to have some actual ‘working’ knowledge of the subject. Even when U. Shabir Ally wrote about the mathematical patterns of the Quran, I was a bit hesitant. Although I do admit I did not fully go through his work, but it seems bit presumptuous to keep having these rather grandiloquent ideas of trying to reconcile modern scientific principles with the Quran. I mean tomorrow modern science will exonerate incest based on genetic formulation, then what?
The Science Delusion by Rupert Sheldrake
The one who wrote this might be an apostate but we do not know for sure. Many things suggest that the person who wrote this negates basic concepts in islam.
Aside from a facepalm I’m not really sure how to address your cowardly takfir (cowardly for adding ‘but we don’t know for sure,’ because you no doubt understand the ramifications of declaring a Muslim an apostate)
You have made un utterly meaningless comment which is indescribably baseless….which basic concepts have been negated? The existence of God, of Prophethood, of the need to do good deeds???? Since when would an apostate say that we should be the best people we possibly can be because we are that grateful for the gift of Islam?!
I have a feeling I just wasted 2-3 minutes of my life
Hang on, are you saying that not agreeing with iERA ISN’T kufr?!??!
I thought IERA=Islam and Islam=IERA?!
This can’t be!!!!!!
The author of this text and in general this blog could be an apostate. I did not make an explicit takfir on him but I only say that there is a possibility for this.
An example for these indications are the criticism of the contract between Umar Ibn Khattab and the people of the book. This is an historical question and should be dealt in this way. It should be checked out if this contract in this form is authentic or not. If not then it is not authentic and if yes you will have to accept it. I personally do not know whether it is authentic or not. But as a believer I have to accept what Umar Ibn Khattab does if he actually has done it.
Another thing that could indicate disbelief is criticizing Haitham Hamdan for calling Osama bin Laden a martyr. Bin Laden was killed by the US who are considered as disbelievers fighting in a war against the believers. Legally Osama is a martyr. Note that disagreeing on all of his acts cannot take him his martyrdom since this is defined as dying on the path of God in a war.
Aishas age is also an historical issue. One should not make it a wahhabist or salafist claim since all the traditional asharite scholars of history have considered that Aisha was 9 years old when she was married.
These issues show some possibilities for causes of apostasy. If for example some classical scholars say that the contract of Umar Ibn Khattab is authentic then the author of this text would have to accept it or at least stop criticizing the ones who use it since someone in the past who was not wahhabist has used it too.
Thank you for allowing me to participate here.
Where in the bleeding hell did he say anything about apostasy ? Please show me the sentence ?
HSATB: you represent everything that is wrong with Muslims – ignorant, pig headed and sly.
Excellent article I must say. Two points however – 1) could you kindly reference your point about iERA getting donations from Saudi (or was it just sarcasm) and 2) regarding the point about converts (correct me if I’m wrong) but I believe iERA do address these issues with their ‘Muslim Now’ department.
As someone who has an interest in the history of Islamic Creed, I noticed one very fascinating point raised in the blog itself. It’s the usage of Kalaam and discursive theology by these Du’aat; most of whom adhere to a Salafi/Athari creed. It is well known throughout History that the Athariyyah would refrain from theological debate, whilst ridiculing the Ashaa’irah for engaging in Kalaam to defend the creed of Ahlus Sunnah and defeat the Philosophers at their own game. I find it amazing that in this day and age, those who adhere to the path which refused Kalaam, have resorted to it. Goes to show that there was a need for Kalaam in the past, and it seems as though there is a need for it today.
Ultimately I feel that one can be Athari in creed, yet at the same time embrace and appreciate the Scholars and Schools who protected and preserved the creed of the Muslims by using ‘Ilmul Kalaam.
JazakAllahu khairan for raising such an interesting point in your blog.
This was a shockingly presumptuous article. It sounded as if a non Muslim anti Islam and anti dawah person wrote this.
May I ask of the author, in which way has he been engaging in inviting non Muslims to Islam? How long has he been a daii?
Have you ever interacted, approached or discussed with Hamza or Abdur Raheem Green or any of the other brothers?
In a world where Atheism is attacking Islam and religions on an intellectual level on an daily basis, rather than advising an organisation on its tactics and stratagem, you are attacking them and mocking them?
Very disappointing article.
MashaAllah, amazing akhlaq. Carry on
Yes, ‘in a world where atheism is attacking Islam’ we should use rubbish arguments borrowed from Islam-hating evangelical Christians. Great way to respond.
Adn you know full well IERA accepts no advice from other than their own sect.
And approaching Hamza is quite hard, unless you are an attractive female.
And only ‘daiis can criticise daiis’, new usool in Islam. You guys are so dumb. Your own site is about on par with the rubbish from Hamza and Co, so no wonder you look up to him. What you call ‘dawah’ is the playground of untalented wastemen like you. Pathetic reply and pathetic ‘site’. Islam deserves better representatives than you.
Plus you don’t even have the testicles to make takfir properly ‘it sounds as if a non-Muslim must have written this’. So anyone who dares to criticise your favourites must authomatically be a kaafir
Blinded by fury and devoid all rational and sensible thinking.
Fear Allah SWT.
The possibility that this was wroten by a muslim is indeed very low.
LOL! Accuses people of being non-Muslim for disagreeing with him and them complains of poor Akhlaq and ‘hatred’!
I know that you are dumb, but most people are not: they can see through your appeals to manners and religion the second you get exposed. But when it’s you trying to imply that people who disagree with you sound like ‘non-Muslims’ it’s no stress at all.
In fact, accusing a Muslim of being a kaafir/like a kaafir is a much worse insult than saying ‘bollocks’: in comparison, even if he cussed out your mum it would be a minor insult compared to that.
Also, telling people not be be presumptions (the meaning of which you do not know) and then going on to make a list of presumptions is dumb.
Takfiri nut-job with no testicles – has to do a masked takfir.
abukhadeeja: you are banned, not for making takfir or going crying when people then insulted you, but for being too spineless to even say what you meant (which Mishima correctly identifies as trying to imply that those who disagree with you are kaafir). And for being just way too stupid for the internet.
Mishima: I see your point but watch it. I’ve allowed you because both of these guys (HSATB and abukhadeejah) are takfiri whack-jobs who from their tone are probably looking forward murdering anyone who disagrees with them like their Taliban comrades and Sheikhs/fatwas they follow. But next time just highlight their comments to have them banned as opposed to lowering yourself to their foul level.
It is funny how some people who have commented on this article praise the author and agree with all the 10 points he mentioned and then fall into the same mistakes the author mentioned …
3.) They are often rude and intrusive
4.) They are disingenuous
6.) They make outrageous generalisations about other belief systems
May Allah guide us … Please admin do not delete this comment … Wassalam
Uh yeah, it’s real funny.
What are the belief systems and what are the generalisations?
Or were you ‘generalising’?
”How many converts are shown how to truly live by Islamic principles? Converts are instructed how to pray, fast and perhaps give charity; maybe refrain from gossiping at a push. How many of them are told that if they pick up litter or show kindness to an animal they have done an act of worship? How many of them are told just how much emphasis Islam places on kindness and helpfulness from everyday acts to people you know and people you don’t, to how ethical your lifestyle is? ”
Am I missing something or does this not sound very anti Muslim/anti Islam?
I think the ‘implied’ takfirs are simply a product of not being able to actually refute any of the points which I made. Even if I have made mistakes and said wrong things, why does this warrant risking your own salvation (by falsely accusing a Muslim of not being a Muslim) for the sake of an article written by a stranger online?! Why can’t I just be honestly mistaken, if you think I am indeed mistaken? You could argue that I’m doing something wrong if that’s what you believe; but to declare this site ‘an apostate site’ shows utter moral and intellectual cowardice and depravity.
There is hate on website but its not coming from the authors.
I am waiting for a SINGLE piece of empirical evidence that
1) Dawah organisations are responsible for significant numbers of conversions to Islam
2) That these people who do convert stay Muslims (in light of evidence that most converts apostate:
I have been involved with the top dawah organisations for five years at the highest levels and did not see a SINGLE person convert due to their ‘efforts’, at an event or afterwards. Most of the famous speakers are actually quite despondent about this. I have seen many at ‘street dawah’ events though, but Adil spoke about that.
What does happen, much like the Midwestern US Evangelical conferences whose methods and theology these guys ape, is that people who are ready to convert anyway or have done so through marriage (the majority it seems) are wheeled out and taken credit for.
Further, since Salafi organisations such as IERA have the most funding and profile (as well as leeway from the government due to Saudi diplomatic intercessions) they are the ones running the courses for new Muslims or at least monopolising them. Most new Muslims fall in with these groups.
Where is the ‘Research’, as IERA’s name suggests, showing us their track record converting or keeping Muslims with the vast sums of public money they use (close to £1 million last year)?
The same is true of the oft repeated claim of such organisations that ‘75% of new converts are women’. This is indeed true according to the Western press at least, as is the claim that Muslims are growing in number. It is however very important to sort out whether this is due to higher birth rates and conversion due to marriage or just plain conversions.
I understand Muslims want to ‘feel good’ that they have lots of converts – but we need to know the truth. Also, the claim of Wahhabi dawah that more women than men are entering Islam is strange – because why has God been unjust and given them a better ‘religious truth sense’ than men? Or even made Islam more attractive to them than men? That’s just as bad as oppressing men isn’t it?
It seems much more likely that the excess conversions are due to marriage: there is plenty of evidence for this and here is something interesting from a ‘kind of HT’ Japanese professor who is just blunt as can be: when asked for conversions to Islam in Japan (a country of some 130,000,000) people, he says that excluding marriage only about 100 people have accepted Islam:
”Mahan Abedin – How many ethnic Japanese have converted to Islam?
Hassan Ko Nakata – Very few, not more than 7,000. And most of them are Japanese women who have married foreign Muslim men. Genuine converts like me are very few in number.
Mahan Abedin – How many are we talking about, several hundred perhaps?
Hassan Ko Nakata – I would say there are less than one hundred”
Anecdotal perhaps. But so is the over-celebration about converts due to Hamza and Co’s efforts.
And Islam is not about converting people by any means or by false means like many Christian missionary groups: the reason one becomes Muslim is important.
some great points. That said I have come across sources which suggest that numbers like ‘75% of Muslim converts in America leave Islam’ are not representative; I think this was in a small region where a (relatively) large number of Iranian men had married women there for convenience marriages (i.e. visas) and many of the women converted to Islam but left it when it became apparent their husbands were not so worthy so to speak. Also on an anecdotal note I’ve met quite a few UK converts (none due to dawah organisations), but no one who has converted to Islam, then left it.
However, your point stands and I agree with it; I don’t think Dawah organisations at the moment are as successful as is often imagined and I suspect that the retention rates of converts would be much lower then converts who are more independent in finding out about Islam.
Muslims need to start leading more by example. Yes, surveys might show Muslims give more to charity then any other group perhaps but sadly it is not *obviously* clear that Muslims on the whole are moral and excellent human beings, head and shoulders above others; and it should be if Islam was followed consistently and holistically! And this is what should be attracting people to at least be curious about Islam….and once they are curious and have feelings of positivity towards Islam then sure if they want to be assured that it is intellectually fulfilling also, then bring out whatever Kalaam proofs you need!
But the TOTAL lack of empirical data by an organisation that makes ‘conversions’ it’s main selling point (‘Pay for a dawah pack! Pay for a Dawah leaflet!’) is illustrative. ‘Islamic Education and Research Academy’. Where is the research about converts? Or anything else?
Like how no smoke often means…no fire.
Also there are some unconformable truths about conversion. Sylviane A Diouf estimates up 15% of slaves trafficked to the New World were Muslims. Some were famous huffaz and scholars. That is some millions of people. But Islam did not survive in the US or even South America and had to be re-introduced (again, her book ‘Servants Of Allah’ is amazing and sympathetic). Many if not most converts in the States are due to the NOI – a heretical, many of whose members become orthodox Muslims.
And where are the Muslim descendants of Yemeni sailors who opened mosques in Liverpool hundred+ years ago? So just as non-Muslims lose their religion and become Muslims when immersed in Muslim neighbourhoods – the same seems to happen to Muslims. It is a complicated dynamic that needs to be properly studied and is very important: will Muslims face the kind of mass apostasy that Jews have in the West. it is easy to say no, but they have been here a lot longer than us. He who does not learn from History…and the Prophet (SAW) said that we would follow the Jews and Christians step by step.
We need proper research – are people living in heavily Muslim areas more likely to convert, the role of marriage etc. A map of distribution of converts etc. None of this is forthcoming.
Bit un-comforting but truthful statement…will our progeny even be Muslim ?
Depends how they are brought up. If they’re prescribed with a vast list of petty do’s and don’ts about the smallest and most insignificant things,(like how not to step in and out of the bathroom and that wishing merry Christmas is basically saying you worship Jesus, and that april fools day makes you a so called imitator of kuffar) and they arent given any good reasons to want to be Muslim then if they do remain Muslim it would be inspite of us. If they are shown how to live *by* their religion in a holistic and fulfilling way instead of being forced to live *with* it in a burdensome way then I would say yes.
There is an article coming about this from one of our contributors guys. It is not pleasant reading.
It is a scary thought. People in general do a ‘cost benefit analysis’ with all things, including religion.
What Gai Eaton called the ‘sterile’ creed of Wahhabism along with the kinds of difficulties Muslims have in simple things like getting a marriage partner will have a biog impact on our kids, along with the guile they are made to feel about studying secular subjects and arts. If Islam cannot provide spiritual or rational answers and yet gets in the way of everything from learning piano to ‘getting laid’, then it is obvious people will choose Liberalism etc.
i suspect the same that happened to Jews, who made their religion ‘Talmudic’ and excessively difficult and now face mass apostasy, will happen to us. As the Prophet predicted.
Regardless of what the Prophet predicted, no one should be fatalistic. We do need to up our game though or you could be right.
Correct, and your new article is a step in the right direction!
Pessimism of the Intellect, Optimism of the Will.
If you consider playing piano OK then you have already apostated and you do not have to fear any mass apostasy of others.
Please note that there is a big difference between real sciences and philosophy and art. You can promote the first one. But promoting the second could easily be disbelief.
If you consider doing takfir of other Muslims on an internet forum, about a matter like playing the piano, I’m afraid the apostate may be yourself 😛
Your understanding of philosophy, art and science is incoherent and childlike at best. There’s little point trying to explain things to you since mmmclmru has pointed out that you’re little more than a crypto-takfiri joker with no substance. You should go hang out with your own type more. Intelligent and informed discussions aren’t really your thing.
Nobody is promoting the piano! Jeez! Look at this way, a 16 year old Muslim girl who has some sort of modicum of interest is classical music is gonna get burned down by the same philistine society that would look the other way when she starts acting out, starts dressing badly, or getting involved with the wrong crowd.
Classical music teaches you discipline, patience, self reflection. I don’t recall Asian pop or Arab pop trash music, which most people don’t have a problem with anyway ?
Yes I know classical music has plenty of hidden satanic/masonic elements. No joking about that. But try listening to Mahelr’s Resurrection and juxtapose to it to Happy Muslim song.
Get it through your head man, Muslim in the west are to stay. No going back, (nor do we want to). Try for a minute thinking what the Muslims will be doing in thirty years from in the West. The more the stifle the young generation, the more they will rebel and eventually leave when they grow up. Liberalism will win if you do not make an attempt to “intellectualize” the young generation.Nobody is saying send your five year old kid to Moody Bible Institute to freshen up on inter faith dialogue, but as I say this with a heavy heart, if you put them through institutional Islamic schooling where they is no impulse on behalf the children themselves to learn, they will never return when they grow up.
My own brother was goody two shows when he was a kid. Did all his catechisms. The first time he brought a rap album, he was so “scared” because it had bad words on it. Now he was half dead with drug abuse and pretty much done with life. He is only 23.
Your choice. Inhibit them today. Or See them leave Islam tomorrow.
Don’t do drugs kids.
This is what happens when you hang around Taliban poppy plantations too long.
This obsession with the Talibans really should stop. Muslims are falling into the myth of juxtaposing everything nefarious to the Talibans in order to sentimentalize their arguments much like in the way in the Western world the Nazis are held to the level of “evil”.
I have studied afghan history for five years now and I can tell you that the Taliban are indigenous to afghan culture and polity. Islam need not be reason they exist not for some of the things they do.
Bedsides the Taliban are ten times stronger now then ever before thanks to “farangi” attacks. Afghans also tend to be selfish when it comes to anything other than themselves but also they do have an allure like nothing else. Their traditions their cultures their way of life is page out of the history books. This war is not against Islam but against tradition itself.
Ironically the Taliban tried to curb poppy production.
Anyway don’t fall into the trap of issuing anti salafi fatwas to al queda or Taliban or anybody else.
Do see another side of the same culture that gave birth to Taliban (just happened to be the last piece I was indulging in)
Click to access sw5_herlihy.pdf
Yeah, we seem to be heading to that path as well.
Especially after the Holocaust, many Jews simply, or rather I should say the progeny of those Jews, left so empty, that naturally god less world was the next avenue.
The Mass apostasy of the Jews though began in the 19th century and once can assert that yes because of the puritanical nature of Talmudic Laws, apostasy was sort of fishing right along.
The eschatological hadiths are all there; weather one heeds them or not is their prerogative ;'(
This man speaks the truth.
Real wisdom in there.
You should start writing articles again. You never know, you might change someone’s life with your advice.
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True speak Hyde, true speak.
Some good points here. Lets give credit though to the Muslims who learn about Islam properly and remain in it despite the disgusting, inhibitory, petty, restrictive, tribal and utterly miserable doctrines shoved down their throats which are allegedly Islamic.
The ‘Islamic’ upbringing of some children is an utter disgrace. There are few viler people in this world then parents who are evidently moral nihilists when it comes to treating their daughter well, business ethics, standing up for justice, avoiding tribalism and so forth, but have the nerve to scorn the ‘Kuffar’ (for them, every non Muslim; forget the fact that Kuffar refers to covering the truth and is clearly an active state of denial/ingratitude/rebellion), and think themselves destined straight for paradise because they play with some beads while driving their black market acquired audi. Its enough to make you sick.
So true: ‘Kufaar’ are just a device to make morally bankrupt people feel good about themselves.
In this, as you say, they are mistaken.
These so called Dawahmen try to explain hadiths which are problematic. This often does not make sense sense but they try it at least. However you just negate any hadith that doesn’t suit you. Many muslims will accept this because they feel better without the hadiths . But non-muslims don’t buy it. They just see you as a revisionist and you will never be successful. Not because non-muslims don’t like your religion. It is because nobody needs your religion. It is similar to the moral values of the West so why add all these exhausting rituals?
‘Moral Values of the West’? ‘Exhausting rituals’?
How about the exhausting ritual of satisfying the moral values of the ‘West’ by Kim Kardashian fellating a guy on camera? I mean being on your knees for that long is tougher than kneeling at a pew in Church on Sunday dude.
Or you just ‘Skeptical’ about stuff you don’t believe in, like everyone else?
Look dude, the world is full of guys like you who would just LOVE it if Wahhabism was the REAL Islam. That’s why Dawahmen keep your mental vagina moist. You think you are SOOOOOOO clever with your weak jive, which amounts to ‘it would suit my ends of demonising Germans if all of them were Nazis. The one’s who aren’t must not be real Germans’.
You want all of those hadith in there as well as the Salafis and the Dawahmen which you WISH were authentic to give you a bigger target for your bile.
‘Rebelling’ against religion only to uncritically accept the Western Monoculture. So unoriginal.
Don’t get too tired while on your knees worshipping your new god.
I approve this message. Many thanks.
Kim Kardashian, sucking it, Nazis…. why do you need to rant? You live in the West and you are obviously influenced by western thinking. You are doing the same as Christians when claiming all the values that the Enlightenment brought us are because of Christianity. In fact it was all due to the emancipation from Christianity. Today Muslims who are raised in the West or enjoined western education are adapting their religion likewise.
I believe that Salafis or Wahhabis have the most original version of Islam. Of course I acknowledge that they may not have original opinions in every aspect but more or less Salafism is Islam. You can change interpretations but you cannot change history. Muhammad was a person that existed. He actually existed and did things!! You cannot change the things he and his Salaf or whatever his followers where called did. It’s part of history. Denying is just misleading youselves.
Religion/Islam disparagers and Puritans/extremists have a conscious symbiotic relationship, known in the US as ‘mutual dick holding’.
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It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.
So we should ignore these guys mistakes because ‘at least they are trying’?
I wonder why they don’t train surgeons that way?
PS You are dumb.
I have posted this on another article but I strongly believe everyone should know this in case they miss it
Not related to the article but Durham University, a WESTERN educational institute, have made Said Nursi’s entire works available online for FREE in PDF format
Please download and read them, you’ll have so many of questions answered insha’Allah
Speaking as a non-Muslim (you can throw in evil Kuffaar if you like!) I’ve got to say some unpleasant things you are not going to want to hear. Most non-Muslims regard Da’wah as a joke. Think about the underlying concept: A white, job secure, Male or female is walking down the street and they have a passing curiosity with Muslims and their faith (this doesn’t mean they want to convert, it is usually merely curiosity.) And they are asked to change their whole lives by a bunch of total strangers who just emigrated from war-racked (even if those wars were caused by the West, which the average westerner may not know) countries which are being torn apart by Islamist groups of one sort or another.
How many Da’wah guys ask themselves: ‘Am I actually offering this person something better than what they already have?’ Most Da’wah guys I know are thoroughly ignorant of western culture (I come from ireland, and one of them said ‘Uh, I know its a christian country, but that’s all I know – right on the steps of the GPO, one of Ireland’s primary historical landmarks). They hang around with their own crowd online and down at the mosque/Halaqah/whatever, looking at feelgood shows like the utterly NOT Islamically educated Zakir Naik, making no effort to find out about the wider community they live in. And they project their own preconceptions of the decadent Kuffaar onto their audience and assume that they are living in endless sin, but never ask what kind of life they have, nor try to empathise in any real way with their audience. They never ask: ‘Well, is there anything good about Western culture that could be said about it?’ They just bang of these silly Salafi mnemonic catchprases which as Ashari’s assemble has pointed out, may work well for the speakers corner crazies or on Ummah / Sunni / wanna be a good bearded thaubi but can’t quite trim it that way/whatever forum, but are useless if it comes anywhere near an educated, informed audience. They expect somebody to change their whole life (usually including cutting off all their ties with friends, famidly, etc.) but don’t ever ask if this is actually any better for their audience. For a critically educated Western audience, this usually sounds utterly stupid. The central stupidity of somebody who emigrated because of superior job opportunities/whatever to the West, and then turns around and says ‘But We’ve got a better way of life, its just not implemented right’ is a ridiculously weak argument which most of the Da’wah guys rarely convincingly get around. The audience look at someone they regard as a third world immigrant (doesn’t matter if he graduated from MIT) and his funny hat/beard and will usually regard him as a strange, weird fanatical little person who is best avoided and usually laughed at in secret. They may not say that to the Da’wah guys face of course, but that is often what they usually think (In Ireland, people rarely say what they think, thanks to political correctness. You have to look at what they actually do though. 🙂 ) .
Lets face it: How many actual people convert because of Dawah? Most conversions happen within the context of marriage (and despite the endlessly quoted figure of ‘20,000 people converting’ in Britain, half usually convert back, and most are usually from minority groups or people who aren’t representative of the wider community) or involve people who are on the outskirts of the community anyway-they usually don’t have enough clout to make wider conversions possible. To make things worse, Muslim communities are increasingly secularising and assimilating into the larger communities. It is happening much slower than in other groups because of dynamics set up by the wars in the middle east, but it is still happening.
So Da’wah is about window dressing: The devout Muslims get to feel better that they are making an effort to expand (or at least preserve) the Ummah acccording to some silly set of ‘austere’ ‘Getting back to basics’ of Islam stuff (AKA Saudi Wahhabi ideology repackaged for wider Muslim audiences who are confused and living at a time of immense social ferment), and win a couple of debates against usually clueless Western debaters (because most Western debaters who know something about Islam usually don’t care enough to engage in debate with Da’wah guys, and correctly don’t regard them as a threat.) The actual situation (if you look into statistics which I am not bothered looking into here) is that in the long term, Muslims will assimilate into the West just like every other ethnic minority that comes here. All Da’wah does is give the Right-wing bastards another rock to fling at Muslims. Right now, the West is becoming ever more racist, more nationalistic, with the likes of Trump coming into power everywhere. There is no chance whatever for mass conversions (look into the book ‘Failure of the Salafi Da’wah in the united states’ if you don’t believe me.) If I may say, The Da’wah guys should probably set their sights more realistically: Be open to true dialogue (where they don’t try to convert people, but genuinely listen to what they have to say). That way, both communities can learn, and come away with something. And hopefully this might ease the tensions betweeen the communities.
Speaking as a non-Muslim ‘native’ Irishman, I am basically happy with my life. I have no interest in conversion: I’ve read the Qur’an, and Bukhari/Sahih Muslim’s hadith, as well as numerous other literatures, and of course the endless ‘Science and the Qur’an’ leaflets (funded by the Saudis, whose scientific research includes researching the temperature in hell – wonderful use of time). I’ve gone to talks, chatted with and gotten to know Muslims. I feel Islam has many truths. It has many things to recommend it like a strong sense of a moral community (not always acted on in principal, just like most non-Muslim ideologies including secularism of course) no alcohol rules and other sensible moral injunctions. The Muslims I know are good neighbours, good workers, respectful and for the most part decent. But I just don’t feel it works for me either on a personal level or a political/scientific/philosophical level. This doesn’t mean I don’t respect it, or am wantonly abu-jahl-like evil, or have been deceived by some grand conspiracy. It just means It is not for me – this doesn’t mean I feel Muslims don’t have the right to worship, I just don’t want to do it myself. If we could all respect each other’s differences and treat each other as true equals, that would be ideal. Sadly, most types of proselytizing (christian proselytizing as well) aren’t really about that. If Muslims are allowed to proselytize here, but Non-Muslims are not generally allowed to proselytize in even nominally ‘Islamic’ states, doesn’t that tell you that maybe there are things to recommend the West after all? Anyway, end of rant.
Just superb points.
I wish this was an article – it would be of huge benefit.
Please consider editing it into an article. I would gladly publish it, and so would many others.
But we have no problems hearing this!
We have been saying this kind of stuff too – including that Muslims will be assimilated into the West – in the article ‘Age of Apostasy’ for example.
I don’t know if you got my earlier emails, but please find my upgraded piece enclosed. As stated, if you have any recommendations on editing that might be made, please get in touch with me.
What Westerners think of Da’wah: the unpleasant truths
As a Non-Muslim, I want to talk about something for which I can give a unique perspective on. I have spent years researching Islam inside and out through academia. I have repeatedly interacted with Da’wah speakers through online forums, events, and plain old street Da’wah. Speaking as a non-Muslim (you can throw in ‘evil Kufaar with the Akhlaq of a worm and the Iman of a greasy wheel’ if you like!), I’ve got to say some unflattering things about Islamic proselytising (and some of the other faiths/ideologies) many may not want to hear. But these are the realities of how most non-Muslims feel about attempts to convert them to Islam. I’m also going to give you some further basic statistics and facts about Da’wah and some productive ideas for the things Daiis can achieve.
Most non-Muslims regard Da’wah as a joke. Think about the underlying concept: A White, job-secure, Female or Male is walking down the street and they have a passing curiosity with Muslims and their faith (this usually doesn’t mean they want to convert, it is mostly mere curiosity on the same level as how to get the cream into cream crackers). They are then asked to change their whole lives by a bunch of total strangers who often just emigrated from war-racked (even if those wars were caused by the West, which the average Westerner may not know or, shamefully, care about) countries which are being torn apart by Islamist groups of one sort or another.
How many Da’wah guys ask themselves: ‘Am I actually offering this person something better than what they already have?’ Most Da’wah guys I know are thoroughly ignorant of Western culture, much like the majority of Westerners are of anything remotely Islamic. I come from Ireland, and one said to me in the midst of a polite discussion ‘Uh, I know its a Christian country … but that’s all I know’ – right on the steps of the GPO, one of Ireland’s primary historical landmarks. They hang around with their own crowd online and down at the Masjid/Halaqah/whatever, looking at feel-good you-trash rants from demagogic yahoos like the utterly NOT Islamically educated Salafo-spielwinder Zakir Naik, making no effort to find out about the wider community they live in. Ultimately their effort to ‘Convert the other’ is the same effort that drives so many other proselytising efforts be they bend to the cross, to Shiva or science. Its about ego, and making the ‘other’ familiar. They project their own preconceptions of the big bad decadent Kufaar onto their audience and assume that they are living in endless sin, and are really unhappy, deep, deep down. But they never ask what kind of life they have, or indeed is the ‘sin’ they accuse Westerners of living in (sex outside marriage, whatever) actually that sinful/negative? And are they actually unhappy with their life and god, or is that wishful thinking really? Nor do they try to empathise in any real, deep way with their audience. They never ask: ‘Well, is there anything good about Western culture that could be said about it?’ ‘And is this replacement I am suggesting actually any better for these people?‘ These are tough questions which they rarely have the self-awareness to deeply, objectively consider, any more so than when the US invaded Iraq, or when Christians or Secularists proselytize to Muslims, Hindus or whatever (not trying to compare Da’wah speakers with the former, just pointing out what this kind of logic can lead to). They just bang off endless slapdash Salafi mnemonic call-centre catchprases and swillbytes which as Ashari’s assemble has pointed out, may work well for the speakers corner crazy-crackers or on Ummah / Sunni / wanna be a good bearded Thaubi but can’t quite trim it that way/whatever forum, but are useless if it comes anywhere near an educated, informed audience, who are the people one really needs to convince.
They expect somebody to change their whole life (in reality, usually including cutting off all/ many of their ties with friends, family, etc. and totally changing their personal day-to-day routines) but don’t ever ask if this is actually any better for their audience in the real world. For a critically educated Western audience, used to and experienced with hardcore religious conversion attempts (ask the Catholic Church here in Ireland, with its favourite hobby of chucking kids bodies down wells) complete with similar soundbytes drawn from the bible, this usually sounds utterly stupid. The central foolishness of somebody who emigrated because of superior job opportunities/education/whatever to the West, and then turns around and says ‘But we’ve got a better way of life, it’s just not implemented right’ is a ridiculously weak argument which most of the Da’wah lads rarely convincingly get around. (No, blaming Western imperialism doesn’t work, no matter how savage, immoral and exploitative it was: the obvious, cold, harsh and logical counter-questions are ‘then why did Muslims come off the true, perfect path so easily? If it expects human beings to live up to rules they really can’t, then doesn’t that mean it ain’t so perfect/can’t work in practice? And why did the West come out on top? What exact point in history did this happen?’ – once again rarely answered effectively, nor can it necessarily be answered effectively, as in so many other faith/secular systems like Communism most obviously.)
The audience look at someone they regard as a third world immigrant (doesn’t matter if he graduated from MIT and owns half a city) and his funny skullcap/beard and will usually think of him as a strange, weird fanatical little person who is best avoided, frequently sympathised with (‘god, that poor silly man’) and often laughed at in secret. They may not say that to the Da’wah guys face of course, but that is often what they usually think (In Ireland and probably much of Europe, people rarely say what they think, thanks to political correctness. You have to look at what they actually do).
Obviously, The West has set up many of these dynamics to begin with, through its own policies, and through interpersonal interactions on the ground. Many Westerners are quietly ostracising Muslims (I know because I have seen it in person and in the workplace as well as its more obvious manifestation in the media/online, whatever), hence why they hang around in their own neighbourhoods, setting up their own Halaqahs and friendship networks.
Faced with this cultural reality of ‘Assimilate or be nobody,’ many Muslims turn to the siren-song of Salafism, with its simple rituals, easy, straightforward logic, and charismatic leaders in the likes of iera and elsewhere. They attempt to ‘change the other’ (just like a filled litter-bin of Western, Hindutva and other ideologies did in the past, and worryingly, present) because they see no middle-ground. Naturally, like any other faith (and most secular ideologies to be honest), they want to believe that in the end, the Ummah, their community, their ideology, will prevail. Sadly, when dreams meet reality – that is when disappointment rears.
The idea seems to be that Westerners ‘Just don’t know’ about how wonderful their particular conception of Islam is, and if they can only get past the media (not saying it isn’t perniciously nasty in its distorting, disproportional pursuit of Muslims at times, or driven by orientalism) and myths (not saying they don’t exist, they most definitely do, and have obvious and often horrific consequences for the Muslim community) they will have a vast army of converts, and some even see a peacefully converted West coming about somehow. Now first off, lets run a thought experiment: How the hell would a converted, Islamic West just come about/work in practice? There would need to be vast, systematic institutional changes before this civilisation even began looking into something like this. Bear in mind that the legal, bureaucratic, media, and even cultural spheres would all be basically hostile to any such eventuality. And there would need to be huge changes, a new world or pan-Muslim caliphal bureaucracy not to mention dozens of new institutions all working together. It took 50 years for the European Union alone to do that, and it hasn’t been that successful. There’d have to be thousands of Fiqh scholars educating literally millions of new Fuqaha. Tens or hundreds of thousands of new mosques. Where are the resources for all this supposed to come from? Generating Islamic institutions originally took centuries back during the Rashidun through Abbassid era and was heavily based around post-conquest booty, and even then the Calipha did basically fall apart. We’re not even in radio distance of any one of these basic prerequisites for large-scale conversions, leaving aside whether resurrecting a medieval system and stapling it onto a modern, technologically driven world with a completely different set of economic, cultural and social factors is really a good idea.
Leaving that aside, lets face it: How many actual people convert because of Da’wah? Many if not most conversions happen within the context of marriage, and despite the endlessly quoted showcurtain soundbyte of ‘20,000 people converting’ in Britain, half usually convert back/become Eid Muslims, and most are usually from minority groups (yes, most of the Females who convert are not White – both sides seem to think the large numbers of Black Females who convert all have the power of invisibility) or people who aren’t representative of the wider community, or involve people who are on the outskirts of society anyway-they usually don’t have enough clout to make wider conversions possible. Get out your calculators: At that rate of conversions, most likely about a third of all Brits (a country with a relatively high conversion rate) will be converted in a thousand years. And can even this present conversion rate keep going? Can the Islamic awakening (the cultural movement which has led to increased Islamisation across most countries which has been going since the 70s) keep throbbing on for another ten centuries? I doubt it. Just like the Arab nationalism of the 1950s and 1960s, as well as so many Western nationalist, religious and cultural (lets take, say, Irish nationalism/ Catholicism in my own country) movements, sooner or later people get older. Energy runs out. The lads want to settle down. Soon their lives become about getting an extension for their house the wife’s been on about and promotions to that sales position everybody’s being yammering for, rather than a bunch of abstract dreams. I know the progression, because I dabbled in Socialism in university – it was fun for the first few years, but eating dishes entirely of rehydrated noodles while your friends move on and grow up gets old real quick – and no amount of determination or temper tantrums about ‘The system’ and ‘manmade laws’ will make up the difference. Soon the revolutionaries have families and get old. They settle down, get anaesthetised, and while they may pretend they still care, like some raddled hipster, their kids DO NOT keep up the fight (or come up with their own, often totally contrary revolution,) and soon Che shirts replace revolution like fashioned-out garish Calvin Klein Hijabs replace a genuine statement. So this massive cultural shift going on for another thousand winters, once the oil money runs out?
In reality, Muslim communities are increasingly secularising and assimilating into larger Western communities. It is happening much slower than in other groups because of dynamics set up by the wars in the Middle East, but it is still happening.
So Da’wah is about window dressing: The devout Muslims get to feel better that they are making an effort to expand (or at least preserve) the Ummah acccording to some silly set of ‘austere,’ ‘Getting back to basics’ of Islam stuff – AKA Saudi oil-faith Wahhabi maid-beating ideology repackaged for wider Muslim audiences who are often at a loss for what to do, living at a time of immense social ferment – and win a couple of debates against usually clueless Western speakers (because most Western debaters who know something about Islam usually don’t care enough to engage in debate with Da’wah guys, and correctly don’t regard them as a threat). The actual situation (if you look into statistics which I am similarly not bothered looking into here) is that in the long term, Muslims will assimilate into the West just like every other ethnic minority that comes here.
All Da’wah does is give the Right-wing bastards another rock to fling at Muslims, and if anything is probably giving the Trump/Brexit/nationalists another leg up. ‘Oh look men of the West, the Caliphate is coming! To arms! I’ll defend you, just like Charles Martel!’ They quietly cooperate with Islamists on this falsehood – it likely boosts their election chances. Right now, the West is becoming ever more racist, more nationalistic, with the likes of Trump coming into power everywhere.
There is no chance whatever for mass conversions. Look into the book The Rise and fall of the ‘Salafi Da’wah’ in America with its endlessly depressing tale of enthusiastic, hardcore, Mr. Smith goes to Washington type proselytizers being ground down by the harsh reality of indifference, ever-increasing Salafo-Spartanism and internecine fighting and being churned into divorced, drug-using cynical wrecks.
On an interpersonal level, I must say many of the Da’wah guys I have met are in my experience, quite decent and sincere (I’m talking about Ireland, where the savage criticism constantly swilled at the community and the counterflow of Saudi-dollared Salafi waffleology in the UK hasn’t caught on yet – though give Rashid/Andalusi/Tortzis etc. and their narcissistic, soundbyte-doping, slavery-advocating ilk time) even if I fundamentally disagree with many of their notions. Daiis in the West are not operating a ‘faith for food’ racket that many Christian outfits operate. (Though in Africa, the supposed vast numbers of reversions and glistening photoshopped meetings we see on via videos seem little different to me.) They want to change the world, for the better. Their search is the search for the perfect society we all look for in our own way.
Yet we should not ignore that the world Da’wah movement is dominated by Salafism, which is dominated heavily by the World Muslim league, the World assembly of Muslim youth and other front organisations for the Mecca-Bulldozing Saudi Monarchy. Even if many Daiis don’t realise it, they are basically working to spread Saudi propaganda – a regime which many of them despise. They don’t realise it because of the multiple front organisations, highly noncentralised, unsupervised and opaque funding pathways which are hard for anybody to navigate. The same organisations can be funding the Gaza war orphans and ISIS at the same time.
If I may say, the Da’wah guys should set their sights more realistically: They need to be open to true dialogue (where they don’t try to convert people, but genuinely listen to what they have to say). That way, they can express their feelings, fears, angers, and ideas, and patiently listen to the other side’s similar notions, even if they disagree with them. Both can mythbust in a balanced and informed way which truly speaks to the ‘other’s’ concerns. Both communities can learn, and come away with something. And hopefully this might ease the tensions between the communities. Many are engaged in charity work which I strongly admire, (I’ve done secular homeless charity myself, and know at times what a thankless job it can be) and these are areas where the Islamic youth can make a real difference. There are causes out there crying out for help from young, determined, talented individuals. Or they can engage with local politicians to push for changes that they want, within the existing political pathways, frustrating and time-consuming as these can be (don’t worry, we ALL feel the same way about that County Councillor as well). Please, don’t waste your youth and energy on a cause which will inevitably dead-end. And I must say – The same applies to so very many Christian evangelist, secular or other proselytisers currently shivering or sweating around countless airports and public buildings across Western cities, using exactly the same methods Da’wah groups use.
The Twitter age is not going to generate some vast civilizational change no matter how much some might want it to – if it didn’t work over the last thousand years, it ain’t going to work now. And this is sadly the reason why non-Muslims don’t convert to Islam and Muslims don’t convert en masse to Christianity or any other ideology/religion: Speaking as a non-Muslim ‘native’ Irishman, I am basically happy with my life. I have no interest in conversion: I’ve read the Qur’an, and Bukhari/Sahih Muslim’s Hadith, as well as numerous other literatures (Ishaq, Shafi, Malik, Tabari, the much-maligned Waqidi, etc., all the lads), and of course the endless ‘Science and the Qur’an’ leaflets (funded by the Saudis, whose scientific research includes researching the temperature in hell – wonderful use of time). I’ve gone to talks, chatted with and gotten to know Muslims, even lived in a Muslim country. I feel Islam has many truths. It has many things to recommend it, like a strong sense of a moral community (not always acted on in principal, just like most non-Muslim ideologies including secularism of course) no alcohol rules and other sensible moral injunctions. The Muslims I know are good neighbours, hard workers, respectful human beings and for the most part thoroughly decent. But I just don’t feel the faith works for me either on a personal level or gels with my political/scientific/philosophical concepts. This doesn’t mean I don’t respect it, or am some wantonly Abu Jahl-like evil character cackling away like Montgomery Burns or have been deceived by some grand conspiracy. I’ve read out verses from the Qur’an in the original Fushah. I’ve heard the call to prayer splashing out from a thousand mosques in Cairo and heard Nasheeds sung. It is sublimely, angelically beautiful, and Islamic texts and culture are rightly regarded as amongst the major contributions and civilisations of mankind, whatever the haters say. It just means it is not for me – this doesn’t mean I feel Muslims don’t have the right to worship, or that their views, identity or spirituality should be dismissed out of hand, I just don’t want to participate in this faith myself. And I don’t feel I should be regarded as some second-class, citizen wallowing in shirk because of that choice. I give to charity, I work hard, and I feel the numinous in my own way. My own path works for me.
That is probably the same calculation many if not most Westerners make when exposed to Islamic culture. The harsh reality is that most westerners Are basically happy if you look up world happiness statistics. These indicate they are basically happier on average than Muslims (mostly due to wealth, not spirituality, where the two cultures work out about even at generating contentment). The notion that Westerners ‘Need’ Salafism is about as wishful thinking as the Middle east ‘needing’ to convert to Christianity and Mecca being turned into a wallmart. It is wishful thinking and self-projection. The shift in Westerner’s lives, and the basic package the Da’wah guys offer is too much cost for too little gain, and no cut-‘n’-paste slogans, dismissive waffle (‘You’re a racist/Islamophobic- but you can’t proselytize in my country because our religion is right and you’re wrong and Western men can’t marry Muslim women, even if I can marry/have a little Mu’ta with a Kufaar now and then,’ etc.) or shift in marketing will make up the difference.
I am not sure how Da’wah people might feel reading this, but I would be frustrated. It is never easy hearing one’s own ‘path,’ one’s own identity, being rejected. And I am aware that many Da’wah proselytizers do not subscribe to Salafism, despite its dominance in the trade. But that is the reality. At the end of the day, successful societies are based on the ability to take that tacit rejection and still get on with each other, applying the same rules to each human, in practice, not as some vague principles which are contradicted in the same breath. Otherwise it is a nasty free-for-all as in India 1948, Germany 1933-45, and so on, where very few people end up dominating everybody else. If we could all respect each other’s differences and choices, and treat each other as true equals (no Burka bans, Jizayah taxes or Bumiputera policies here thanks), that would be ideal.
Sadly, most types of proselytizing (Christian/Secular proselytizing included) aren’t really about that. It is about converting the ‘Other’ into something more familiar, a pale reflection of oneself. It is, sadly, an extension of the ego. It is not about serving the actual needs of the person one is trying to convert. It is not about asking that tough question: ‘do I actually offer that person something which will work for her/him? And is this actually a better way of life?’ If Muslims are allowed to proselytize here, but Non-Muslims are not generally allowed to proselytize in even nominally ‘Islamic’ states, doesn’t that tell us that maybe there are things to feel good about the West after all such as an open faith/ideas market? At the end of the day, Muslims emigrated to Western countries, not usually the other way round. Assuming every last Muslim who came here wasn’t some media-zombied sheep, I think we can safely say that the West has some good things to recommend itself, not ignoring its flaws. Lets all please listen to the ‘Other’, rather than trying to convert
Oh wow, I had no idea you had turned it into an article! Thank you so much!
Good thing you posted here – I didn’t get your emails! Did you email email@example.com?
I did indeed fire it on to your Hotmail address (I’m CCing it with this message as well), but there wasn’t any reply (probably fell foul of spam detectors?) Anyhoo, I do hope this article is of some help. Sure have a read when you have time and see what you think. If it is not balanced enough, isn’t edited well enough, or has some problem, sure do let me know.
And I would very much like if it could be sent on to others if they will use it! Thanks,
Wow! Finally a true Freethinker who lives up to his name! Glad to have you aboard, and your essay was really eye opening!
On an unrelated note if its not too much trouble, since you seem to have familiarity with the Quran, and Islam how do you view the linguistic/imitability claim such as made in this article: https://ismailignosis.com/2016/12/08/proof-of-prophecy-a-logical-argument-for-muhammads-prophethood/#AppendixA. It seems tight to me but I’m not sure if it’s because I WANT it to be true or if it actually is, and your essay made me think you’d be an unbiased source to investigate this claim further.
Well today I found out Tzortzis is getting popular with people at my university and were in Canada(he even had a talk at one of my campus’s). I really want to set these people straight, but I’m not sure if I’m 100 % ready to refute Tzortzis yet.