With the Name of Allah, All-Merciful, Most Merciful
QUESTIONS FOR A FITNAH-MONGER
AN OPEN LETTER TO “ABU ABDULLAH” OF THE SO-CALLED “SAVE MASJID TAWHID” PETITION
To Abu Abdullah,
I have the following comments and questions for you, in response to your foolish petition. I will also publish this letter on my blog (https://unity1.wordpress.com). Please note that any reply from you may also be published there, since you have made this a public matter.
- Who are you? What is your real name, and do you worship at MT? Did anyone else help you write the petition and set up the website? If so, who? Real men and women do not hide behind pseudonyms and kunyahs, except when absolutely necessary.
- Your petition is despicable and rejected because it is based on a pack of lies, as detailed below, and upon a hasty and ill-advised fatwa from an overseas-based sheikh who had not listened to the other side of the debate, and furthermore appears to have no grounding in modern science, a prerequisite for anyone giving a fatwa on the subject. (For example, Imam Ibn al-Qayyim establishes in his I’lam al-Muwaqqi’in that anyone giving a fatwa on a subject must be grounded in that subject matter as well as in the foundations of Islam.) As I have already mentioned on my blog, my father has sent a five-page handwritten letter to Sheikh Sadlan, politely demanding that he reconsider his fatwa. Personally, I do not care whether he retracts it or not, for he had no right to give it in the first place, and I shall continue to ignore it.
- It does not matter how many people sign your petition: these signatures will not strengthen your argument, since its foundation is based upon a collection of falsehoods. Your petition is like a fabricated hadith that remains fabricated, no matter how many isnads are provided for it.
- You and the petition-signers do not represent the “community of MT” as you falsely claim: another lie. Evidence for this is the fact that the petition has been circulated by email and texts around the UK and overseas, as I know from people who have received it. One person who has been living abroad for years emailed me to say that he had signed it, illustrating that it has very little to do with the community, but more to do with ignorant fanatics and extremists. Further evidence for this is the fact that the petition has been promoted by the notorious, extremist website so-called “Islamic Awakening,” run by someone who is accurately described by a fellow neo-kharijite of his as “the tantrum-throwing takfiri toddler from Tooting.”
- Were you involved with procuring similar fatwas in the past from sheikhs in Madinah and Kuwait? We heard rumours about such things. Sheikh Haitham al-Haddad told me that he heard alleged fatwas from some sheikhs about me but ignored them since he knows me. Were you involved in circulating the false rumour for over a year that Sheikh Ahmad Owais the Somali had given a similar fatwa? When my father eventually asked him about it, he said that he had said no such thing. Congratulations on obtaining your fatwa finally from Sheikh Sadlan, after two years of failed efforts with lesser sheikhs. But this will backfire on you, as you will see insha’Allah.
- Another huge lie and massive slander is that you accused me of denying the Qur’anic account of the creation of Adam a.s. As I made clear in my Guardian CIF article and BBC Radio 4 “Thought for the Day” on the subject, the theory of evolution agrees with the Qur’an in that the creation of humanity began from water, earth, clay and dust. Evolution, as a scientific theory, describes the kayfiyyah of this creation, i.e. how water, earth, clay and dust eventually became moulded into the human form. Therefore, I have been reconciling the scientific theory with the Qur’an, something that you have failed to understand and therefore fallen into circulating serious lies.
- I imagine you are well-intentioned in attempting to prevent disrespect to Prophet Adam a.s. But do not you, I and all Muslims believe that all of the great Prophets and Messengers of Allah, except Adam and Jesus Christ, peace be upon them, were created from a human sperm and ovum, the “despised fluid” (ma’ mahin) mentioned in the Qur’an? Believing in the humble origins of humanity that we can see for ourselves is not the same as insulting or disrespecting the Prophets!
- Are you aware that it was Muslim thinkers that produced many of the ingredients of Darwin’s theory, and that some researchers believe that Darwin was influenced by these Muslim writings? Ibn Miskwayh, Ikhwan al-Safa, Jahiz, Ibn Tufayl, Rumi, Ibn Khaldun, etc. And if you say that they are unorthodox, then you must disown all of the glorious history of “Islamic science” as unorthodox, and never again quote the scientific achievements of Muslim civilisation in your da’wah. Evolution is essentially a Muslim theory – Darwin’s genius lay in synthesising the strands and collecting overwhelming evidence for it from the Galapagos Islands and elsewhere.
- The new Muslim Marriage Contract was written by Mufti Barkatullah, who is also associated with the Islamic Sharia Council. It is thus a matter of disagreement amongst Muslim scholars and jurists, and I advise you not to poke your nose into matters that are beyond you.
- About veiling, you have again lied by misrepresenting my view. Are you aware that Sheikh Abdullah bin Bayyah, in his book Sina’ah al-Fatwa (“The Crafting of Fatwas”), under the section, “The Issue of Veiling in the West,” goes out of his way to quote Ibn ‘Ashur’s statement in his tafsir that the ‘awrah of women possibly does not include the head? A minority opinion admittedly, but nevertheless there, and probably worthy of being magnified in the West. Veiling is a cultural and religious practice, and I have tried to raise the level of debate about it in Western societies, for Islam has always manifested itself according to different cultural contexts. i.e. I am asking the simple question, “How should the Eastern and Islamic practice of veiling be manifested in the West?”
- Are you aware that many muftis of the recent past and present have a similar view to mine about veiling? These include Zaki Badawi and Javaid Ghamidi. I am also told that the Azhari Sheikhs Tantawi and Sha’rawi had a similar view, but have not been able to confirm this yet.
- Are you aware of the numerous cases of extra-marital sex involving bearded Muslim men and headscarf-wearing Muslim women? Of bearded, practising Muslim men being addicted to porn? Of women wearing a headscarf along with revealing and provocative clothing for the rest of the body? In one case, a niqab-wearing sister left her husband and ran away with another man (who was not Muslim btw). In other cases, young men who serve as imams and khatibs committed adultery (Alhamdulillah, I was not one of them), as did headscarf-wearing Muslim women. Do you think these problems could be related to my point that the noble Qur’anic concept of hijab, which at its zenith refers to the reality that creation is veiled from God, is usually reduced to a headscarf, with an unhealthy obsession with how women dress? Would you agree that we need to move beyond an obsession with headscarves and niqabs, and focus on the values of modesty, chastity and spirituality that can help to solve these problems?
- Have you discussed any of these matters with me over the past few years? A number of decent, honest and courageous young men have come to me after Friday prayers to discuss these matters, rather than engaging in cowardly backbiting and gossiping.
- Are you aware that my father asked me to translate for Sheikh Sadlan at MT, but that I was unavailable?
- You refer to my father as “our sheikh” more than once. How is he your sheikh? How long have you been studying, serving and/or accompanying him? Alhamdulillah, I have been doing these things for over 30 years. For a start, did you consult him about any of these matters or before launching your petition? If not, what kind of a student are you?
- What formal knowledge or tarbiyah have you gained from my father? In terms of the latter, it is very little, evidently. In terms of the former, I doubt that it is very much – besides, it would be useless without your learning any tarbiyah from him.
- Are you aware that my father has suffered from serious loss of sleep since you began your campaign via Sheikh Sadlan and then the petition? That one person forwarded your petition to Sheikh Manwar Ali of JIMAS (who, like many others not with you, has done far more for MT by the grace of Allah than you and your supporters could ever dream of doing) along with an insult directed at my father? All of this proves that my father is not your sheikh, and your claims otherwise constitute another enormous lie.
- There are many other matters that I could address, but I shall stop here due to a lack of time. Thank you for complimenting me, at least in the past.
- If you are a man of courage, you will identify yourself to me next time you see me. We can then have a civilised discussion about these matters.
- I advise you to withdraw the petition, for your own good in this life and the Hereafter. Beware of the Divine Promise, “Whoever shows enmity to My friends, I declare war on him.”
May Allah forgive me and you.
London, 11th January 2011.