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The Misunderstanding of Islam by Many of The Cultured

     Despite the spread of the Islamic Awakening among many of the cultured youth, many of them are still ignorant about Islam, or the Islamic knowledge they have is incomplete, distorted or vague as a result of the aftereffects of the ages of backwardness or the impact of the new distorting influences of ideological invasion. Some of them, though university ­educated, still believe in superstitions, follow charlatans, allow polytheism to interfere with their faith, let heresy mingle with their worship and permit haphazardness to impose itself on their conduct, while they think at heart that they are truly religious. Some of the cultured still make turns around the shrines of saints as if these shrines were other Ka'bas. They seek the help of the defunct, wear amulets, believe in evocation of spirits, swear by names other than Allah, promise offerings to dead, not to Allah, and slaughter corbans for (dead) people, not to Allah. Although these are relatively few as a result of the sweeping materialistic wave and the Western ideological invasion, they still have presence because of the influence of the deviated sufism, which can still wield some power in most Muslim countries, and are supported, both overtly and covertly, by official authorities for reasons that an intelligent person cannot miss! Those cultured individuals should know the fundamentals of proper belief and creed and learn the ways of worship approved and accepted by Allah. 

Many of the educated are still ignorant of the elements of immortality and the aspects of power and greatness in Islam. They hardly know anything about the characteristics or principles of Islam. They take their knowledge of Islam from orientalists and missionaries, or from the current state of affairs of Muslims, thinking that the situation of people around them is what Islam is about, and therefore attribute people's backwardness, corruption and ignorance to Islam, while Islam is innocent of all of that. The cultured ought to know where to learn their Islam and what sources will provide them with the proper Islamic teaching. They should know that Islam is an evidence against (untrue) Muslims, but Muslims are not an evidence against Islam. Some of the cultured people still believe that they can be truly religious Muslims while they agree to be ruled by a law It is the duty of those to realize that Islam is a creed and a system of laws and that Allah has not sent down His Book so that it may be recited for the dead but that it may rule the living (We have sent down to you the Book in truth, so that you might judge between people as guided by Allah) [Surat Al­Nisa', 105]. They should also realize that he who does not judge by what Allah has sent down falls under the bad descriptions of unbelief, injustice or wickedness, or all of them put together. Some of the cultured still imagine that Islam is a form of Christianity, and Christianity agrees to the division of man and the splitting of life between God and Caesar (Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's) [Matthew: 22:21]. This way, they confine Islam to the relationship between man and Allah as a special relation whose only place is man's conscience. If that relationship goes beyond the conscience, then the only place it will go to is the mosque, but nowhere else.

As for life and its order, culture and its trends, education and its curricula, economics and its applications and law and its punishments, what has Islam got to do with such things? [they wonder]. What is worse is that some of them claim to be Muslims, may even boast of being Muslims, and pray and make umra or pilgrimage, and at the same time advocate secularism, absolutely prefer nationalist ties to Islamist ties and adopt a purely Western line of thinking without carefully selecting or even testing what they follow: they adopt Darwin's theory of evolution, Freud's theory of psychoanalysis, Marx' theory of materialistic interpretation of history and Durkheim's theory of how religions evolved; but they do not see any part in all that for Islam. One of them even said once, "I am a Muslim Marxist"! I do not know how the two could be present in one person! And from where does he get his inspiration then: from the Quran, or from "capital" and "the Communist Manifesto"? And whenever a dispute arises, who is his example and judge: Mohammad or Marx? Would it be acceptable from any person to say, "I am a Muslim Budhist" or I am a Muslim Christian"? If not, then how could he say, "I am a Muslim Marxist"? Is it because Marxism is not a religion, but fiqhts all religions and regards religion as the opium of peoples? If so, then this should make it more imperative to reject Marxism, for if Islam does not agree to combine with another religion, even though a scriptural one, then how would it agree to combine with a doctrine that rejects all religions? However, Marxism, although denying all religions, has the nature of a religion that demands absolute devotion from its followers and would not have itself combined with any other religion or belief by any follower. Marxism is a dominating totalitarianist philosophy that, by its very nature, does not leave room for Islam or any other religion, except, under conditions of leniency and necessity, when such religion is allowed to take the place of the tail, not the head, and act as a follower, not a leader. 

Some of the cultured still believe that the political weakness, military defeats, cultural backwardness and modest scientificand technological capabilities of Muslims are caused by Islam, and that the victories and progress of the West are due to its freedom from the stranglehold of religion and to its adoption of secularism which separates the State from religion. They would be taught the real facts of religion as these should be learned from their original sources: the Holy Quran and the Prophet's Sunna (tradition), just as the best generation of our Nation (the Prophet's companions and followers) learned them. Then they will find that the facts of Islam, if learned properly and followed conscientiously, would bear only the best fruit. There is nothing in the facts of Islam but what frees the mind; purifies the soul; solidifies the will; strengthens the body; builds families on the most formidable of foundations; leads societies to progress on the basis of science, faith, mutual dependence and ethics; establishes governments on pillars of justice, shura [consultation] and ruling by what Allah has sent down; and guides all mankind to what is most proper.

They should also be told that he who studies the history of Islam and examines Islam's ups and downs, victories and defeats, flourishes and setbacks, strengths and weaknesses, will certainly find that the ups, victories, flourishes and strengths come about only when Muslims become close to Islam and its values and teachings, under the leadership of a Caliph, a commander, a scholar or a movement, as happened in the era of the rightly guided Caliphs before the dissent was unleashed on them, or during the reigns of Omar IbnAbdAI-Aziz, Abu Jafar Al-Mansoor, Haroon Al-Rashed, Noor Eddin Mahmood Al-Shaheed, Saladdin Al-Ayubi and others. But defeats, setbacks and periods of weakness and decline come only when Muslims stray away from the truth of Islam, and the farther they stray, the graver their calamity. Some of the cultured are still ignorant of things that are taken for granted in Islam: we have seen writers dealing with the crucifixion of Christ as an established fact, while Islam categorically refuses all allegations that Jesus was crucified. Some others speak of how Eve had lured Adam into eating from the Forbidden Tree and had thus brought about his expulsion from the Garden, and consequently the misery and suffering of mankind on this earth.

This idea is derived from the Torah and the Books of the Old Testament, but they have no grounds in Islam. For it was Adam who ate, and it was Adam who disobeyed Allah (We had already, beforehand, taken the covenant of Adam, but he forgot, and We found on his part no firm resolve) [Surat Taha: 115],

(Thus Adam disobeyed his Lord, and fell into eror. But his Lord chose him tfor His Grace]: He turned to him, and gave him guidance) [Surat Taha: 121­122].

Adam was the one who bore the prime responsibility, and his wife only followed suit in eating. Many of the cultured still look at culture from a Western perspective. To them, dancing comes at the forefront of the elements of culture, and a people that does not dance is a people that is not cultured! Tell them that we have dancing with swords and clubs, and without them; tell them that we have club - fen and dabka [a Lebanese folk dance], and other forms of folk dancing like those of any country which people perform on joyous occasions such as weddings and feasts - tell them that and you will be a target for their mockery because you do not grasp the one and only meaning of dancing: that a woman dances with a strange man, and a man dances with a strange woman, their bodies touching and their hearts moving to the music. But do not ever allow your mind to think of evil, because they are not humans, like me and you, that have instincts and lusts: they are above suspicion and lust, they are even angels walking on earth! As for the concept of halal and harem [what is lawful and what is forbidden], which prescribes that a Muslim is not free to do what he likes, but has to act within the inviolable limits set for him by Allah (He who transgresses the limits set by Allah verily wrongs himself) [Surat Al­Talaq: 1], it is a strange concept that is not accepted by those cultured people.

Source: Priorities of the Islamic Movement in the Coming Phase; by Dr. Yousuf  Al-Qaradawi 

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