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Tuesday, February 27, 2007

{Quick Reflections 9} Way of Life

Posted by Badeea at 10:12 AM
I witnessed the following event more than a month ago. It is a discussion between a 50 year old Western nurse (N) who is single and a 30 years old Eastern Muslim physician (A) who had recently got engaged.

N: How come you got engaged so fast, you never told us you had a girl friend!!
A: I never had a girl friend, I was just introduced to this young lady and after talking to her for around a month we decided we suite each other for marriage.
N: !!!
A: What is wrong?!
N: Is that an arranged marriage?
A: No, no. Both of us had the total freedom of choice.
N (really amazed): How can you judge that and take such a decision in such a short time and with minimal interaction!! I have been dating (which in the West is like a full marital relationship) my boy friend for 2 years now and I am still not sure if he suites me in marriage or not. (Prior to him she had another boy friend with whom she had a relationship for more than 10 years but they never got married!!!)
A (really amazed): !!!

The conversation was over and both parties thought the other one was absolutely crazy.
A was thinking how someone can literally live with another one for 2 years and not know if they are compatible or not.
N was thinking how someone can talk to and observe another one for 1 month and decide that they are compatible.

Now I was left bewildered after that conversation thinking there is a major missing link here. After more than half an hour of confusion I realized a basic and crucial fact that i have been taking for granted all my life.

As Muslims we have the Qur'aan and Sunnah that provide us with the "ideal standards" for every single detail for our "way of life". We have a scale and a reference point against which we can measure each human behavior and attitude and hence be able to pinpoint where each of us stands in this life. This makes our lives much easier and less confusing.

On the other hand non-Muslims have no such clear cut "standards" to refer to when evaluating where any other human stands and whether he/she is compatible with them or not. That makes them confused and unable to see clearly or judge easily.

Similarly Muslims who disregard that Divine guide gifted to them by their Creator Who knows them best and knows what suites them and what doesn't, suffer from the same social diseases the West suffers from.

I love the following example which will be very clear to engineers:
When navigating in space or the sky there is the x:y:z coordinate point of 0:0:0 to which everything is refered. This way one moves around freely in space but can recognize one's and other's exact position and x:y:z coordinates by referring to point 0:0:0.

On the other hand when you do not have an x:y:z reference system you end up lost in space with inability to determine your and the other's exact position due to lack of a logical constant and reference system.

However, such an important and crucial fact that Muslims take for granted is not realized by most non-Muslims and even Muslims. I believe that this is the main reason behind the lack of understanding between Muslims and non-Muslims. When one wants to preach Islaam, one must use terms that others would understand. We should focus in our da`wah (call for ALLAAH's path) on the following main themes:

1. Islaam is a way of life in which there are ideal standards put forward for Muslims to do their best to reach. This is the main frame we should use when talking about Islaam instead of indulging into details that confuse both parties. First we lay down the foundation that it is a whole way of life rather than some scattered rituals and orders.
2. Islaam is also a belief in the Oneness of ALLAAH.
3. Both the belief and way of life are inseperable.

Below is part of a discussion that we have been through 3 months ago regarding the issue of "deen" and "diyanah".

1. An available translation of the Qur'aan translates aayah (verse) 19 in Soorat Aala `Imraan as, "Surely the religion in the Providence of Allah is Islam" (TMQ,3:19) The word that "religion" here translates is originally in Arabic "deen". So it is "deen" that we are talking about here; the meaning of which goes beyond "religion" per se. The question that follows then is what "deen" is. In al-Mu`jam al-Muheet (a reference for Arabic lexicon)it means "anything that refers to a habit".
2. On the other hand the word "diyaanah" (the Arabic reciprocal for "religion") in al-Mu'jam al-Ghaniyy (another reference for Arabic lexicon) it means "a doctrine or religion that one believes in".
3. Accordingly there is a big difference between "deen" and "diyaanah". For a "diyaanah" there can be Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus and so on because it is something concerning an individual's belief. On the other hand, Islaam is distinctive in that it constitutes a "way of life" or a "habit" and thus it is the only "Deen" in addition to being a belief in itself.
4. Now when we translate from Arabic, a most beautiful and comprehensive language, to any other language we will face a lot of problems due to the possible deficiency in the receptive language. Accordingly, we have to agree on a very important concept before translating any "word" from Arabic to English or any other language. We are translating "meanings" and "concepts" and not merely "words". Accordingly in many instances we will need to use "phrases" rather than single words to convey the intended "meanings".
5. Based on the above facts we can conclude that in order to convey both Arabic meanings when talking about Islaam, that it is both a "religion" and a "way of life" at the same time, we should opt for using the expression "Islaam the religion and way of life".

1 comments on "{Quick Reflections 9} Way of Life"

Rasha on March 13, 2007 at 8:39 PM said...

Thank you very much for this very interesting, and logical indeed, analysis. I am a Muslim and I live in the West. My son asked me how come Muslims marry without dating and how they know about each other if they do not "live together" like it is the case in the West sometimes. I found the answer here and forwarded it to him. I know he will find the scientific and logical approach here very appealing; and it certainly does not in anyway seem like the preaching he would get from elsewhere.

Thank you again.
A grateful mother

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"Do they not then meditate on the Qur'an? And if it were from any other than God, they would have found in it many a discrepancy" (Qur'an, 4:82)

2009 THEME: Islam in the West and Our Children (Discussion & Resources regularly updated)

There is increasing concern that second and third generation Muslims in the West are mostly no longer Muslims so they actually end up adding to the Christian or Atheist population of the West, albeit racially from a non-Western origin. Accordingly, the ratios mentioned in the video ( would be correct in regards to race or ethnicity but not necessarily to religion.

It is a grave danger facing our children and grand children from a real life stand point as statistically only 1/5 of the second generation stay really Muslims when they grow up and are independent and almost non from the third generation are Muslims. And that is why the Western authorities are still permitting the immigration of Muslims inspite of the figures provided in the above video. They know that on the long term the descendants of Muslims in the West leave Islam because their parents raised them up with an Eastern mentality in a Western society instead of an Islamic mentality that encompasses all cultures.

You can see more about that by Jeffrey Lang; an ex-atheist American Mathematics University Professor who reverted to Islam in 1982. He has also written 3 books that I highly recommend; "Struggling to Surrender", "Even Angels Ask" and "Losing my Religion; A Call for Help".
Now I will leave you to enjoy 2 short excerpts from one of his lectures followed by links to his most important full presentation regarding our children.

Here is a solution that is yet to be implemented.

Raising children here is not an easy task ofcourse but if we do it the right way they will be true Muslims in shaa Allaah who are "Informed Muslims" rather than "Muslims by inheritance" like their counterparts in the East. Hopefully they will then be a much better generation than ours.

Quickly, I do believe that the best 4 authors (for example, there are many others but these are my favorite) who could guide us through this difficult process are Yahiya Emerick, Jeffrey Lang, Jamal Badawi and Dalia Mogahed.

Here are some links for future reference and for an ongoing learning process that I have started collecting slowly.
Please spread the below information to all your Muslim contacts in the West.

Jeffrey Lang: I highly recommend the lecture titled "The Purpose of Life". It has true meanings that I have not come across in any Arabic literature.

Yahiya Emerick:
Articles: I highly recommend reading and spreading the last article in this link by the name of "The Confusion of the Scholars"
Books: There are only 14 books, about half for adults and the other half for kids. The extra are just repetitions.

Jamal Badawi:
Many products including books, articles and lectures mostly for adults. You can find them by searching his name online. My favorite is;

Dalia Mogahed: (Obama's adviser)
Has one book so far but has a great potential. "Who Speaks for Islam".
You can watch her debate with Irshad Manji (an openly Lesbian Canadian Muslim who is distorting the picture of Islam in the name of "Progressive Islam")

Finally here is a website for a store that sells lots of Islamic products including Islamic cartoon DVDs in English and Arabic for kids.

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