This is a burning question that is often posed by the West to the Muslim Communities residing in the West. So immediately, we are going to face a problem. Here, the West wants us to say that the Muslims residing in Western lands are “mainstream Muslims” that follow “mainstream Islam.” In other words, they want us to forget that their is a powerful voice in the Middle East and South Asia, and instead, fill our heads with air making us think and feel that we are the superior part of the Ummah because we have an education and have more money and can speak English well. If they were to ask “mainstream Muslims in the West,” then this would have never ever become an issue.
The idea of “mainstream Islam” is where the trap is placed. So the Muslims turn to media savvy people like Hamza Yusuf or so-called intellectuals like Tariq Ramadan. This trap is so well-placed and hidden that almost the majority of the Muslims in the West don’t see it. For those who do see it, they stay quiet on the issue. Why is this?
When a Muslim in the West is asked who represents “mainstream Islam,” he doesn’t realize that the West is playing their role of divide and conquer. This is their strategy. So the Muslims will look to those that “make Islam look bad” to Kuffaar – as if Islam is obsessed with its image in the eyes of the disbelievers – such as the Mujaahideen, the Mujaahideen Shuyookh such as Shaykh Abu ‘Aasim Muhammad al-Maqdisi, and the staunch Mujaahideen supporters such as Abu ‘Izzadeen and they (the ones who worry) will openly display a type of Baraa’ah against these brothers by calling them “extremists” and “radicals” etc. even though our role as Muslims is to unite – not on the basis of how the non-Muslims would see us – but on the basis of belief and activism.
Brother Anjem Choudhury, for instance, is labeled an extremist by many Muslims and Muslim groups in the West even though he never said anything which is considered Fisq, Kufr or Shirk. Forget that, he didn’t even say anything which is considered Makrooh! So what is holding us back from uniting with him and his likes? It is nothing except the obsession with the “image of Islam” (which is another issue) towards the Kuffaar. Some might ask, “So… what is the problem with that? Is that not considered Da’wah?” In some cases it is and in some cases it is not. The problem comes when we try to apply one principal (such as the old woman who threw her trash on the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wassallam) every time he passed by) to all situations. There is a context and timing for everything and it is time for us to loosen up on the aspect of becoming fearful of what the Kuffaar might say or will say since failing to do so will make us feel stupid when reading the aayah,
وَلَنْ تَرْضَى عَنْكَ الْيَهُودُ وَلا النَّصَارَى حَتَّى تَتَّبِعَ مِلَّتَهُمْ
Never will the Jews or the Christians be pleased with you unless you follow their Millah (path/religion/lifestyle). (2:120)
And every time we do read it, we find ourselves ignoring tafakkur (reflection) upon this noble verse. Is it due to the clarity in the statement of Allah Ta’aala? I believe so.
Another thing is that we get fooled easily by those Muslims and Muslim Scholars who say, “We are living in hot times… this is dangerous times… so we need to be a lot less confrontational…” And the reality behind such a statement – and volumes can be written about it – is that it explodes with both ignorance on the subject as well as weakness in foresight. These “hot times” – as they call it – is exactly what we need and we need to make it hotter so that the ground splits us apart from the people of Baatil. Take the invasion of ‘Iraaq for example. Besides its apparent evil, a lot of good has come out of it. It has split the American Society from its Government. The American Society says no to the war and the Government says yes. This allowed the politicians to gain advantage of their political race. Of course, in no way are we supporting or speaking in favor of voting. So if it weren’t for the invasion, it would have taken a lot longer to get the American public to realize that there are crooks running their Country. Of course, we are in no way supporting the invasion or speaking in favor of it. Hence, this “splitting” between the people of truth and the people of falsehood – and it is necessary to do it now because the fight started a long time ago and every Muslim in the world needs to play their role in order to advance the victories of the Muslims – is not only important, but absolutely necessary if we want to see any fruits in the Ummah later down the line.
On Muslimmatters, they posted the following regarding this issue of “mainstream Islam,”
Who represents mainstream Muslims then?
Many. Find someone at CAIR, ISNA, ICNA, MAS, TDC. I think the media has gotten it right a few times with Hamza Yusuf, Zaid Shakir. But we need more of Ingrid Mattsons too. More of Siraj Wahhajs. More of Yasir Qadhis, Johari Maliks. More of Yasser Fazaqas, more of Suhaib Webbs, more of Usama Hasans, more of Mohamed AlShareefs, more of any of the Sunni Shayookh, the Shayookh of deobandis, tablighis, ahl-hadith, ikhwanis, more of any of the signatories of the Sunni Pledge and even beyond. Why? Because most Muslims are confident that these scholars have two important foundations, even if everyone doesn’t agree on ALL their opinions: (1) a firm understanding of the religion and (2) more or less in line with the mainstream Sunni opinions.
Here are a few problems they will run into with such an opinion:
1. By what measuring tape are they using to measure the Islamic movements they mentioned? Some of them, if not all, endorse voting – which is Kufr – and many of them, if not all of them, openly show their Baraa’ah to the Mujaahideen and are too embarrassed – by the words and actions of the Kuffaar of course – to support them at all. So how can these groups be following “mainstream Islam” when there is a major apparent contradiction in their words and deeds and the Qur’aan and Sunnah?
I hope they realized by now that social activism (i.e., soup kitchens, protests, rallies, sport tournaments etc.) is not what properly measures “mainstream Islam.” Rather, it will be those who resemble all of the qualities of at-Taa’ifah al-Mansoorah or the Victorious Group which the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wassallam) described. Anyone who strays from this model laid down by Allah and His Messenger – and they have laid it down for a good reason – has indeed strayed from the Manhaj of the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wassallam) and the Sahaabah.
2. Another problem is the lack of defining “mainstream Islam.” What is it? Is it simply “Sunni Islam?” What is Sunni Islam? Is it a mix of Sufism and extreme Irjaa’ like the teachings of Hamza Yusuf? Or is it an Islam which allows participating in the councils of Shirk like the actions of the Ikhwaani’s? Or is it an Islam which is limited to the four corners of the Masjid like the Tableeghi’s? Or is it an Islam that destroys ones ‘Aqeedah, especially ones al-Walaa’ wal Baraa’ah, such as the “Sunni Pledge” and “Muslim Code of Honor” and “Amman Message”? How can all of these things be combined and be labeled “Islam”? It’s simply not Islam. They only want to make it appear as Islam so that we look “united” on all fronts, even though the Tawaagheet and those Kuffaar with intelligence already know our condition. And if they claim that it is for the Da’wah and strengthening it, then can you imagine the confusion of the Kuffaar when they see all these deviants put together into one box whilst reading the Qur’aan? So who are they fooling?
3. Finally, how will such a “mainstream Islam” absent of Jihaad fe Sabeelillaah, al-Walaa’ for Allah, His Messenger, and the Believers (including the Mujaahideen) and Baraa’ah against al-Kuffaar, and al-Munaafiqeen be considered acceptable to Islamic texts when Allah, ‘Azza wa Jall, has already clarified to us the qualities that the mainstream Islam is supposed to have and maintain till the Day of Judgment?
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا مَنْ يَرْتَدَّ مِنْكُمْ عَنْ دِينِهِ فَسَوْفَ يَأْتِي اللَّهُ بِقَوْمٍ يُحِبُّهُمْ وَيُحِبُّونَهُ أَذِلَّةٍ عَلَى الْمُؤْمِنِينَ أَعِزَّةٍ عَلَى الْكَافِرِينَ يُجَاهِدُونَ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ وَلا يَخَافُونَ لَوْمَةَ لائِمٍ ذَلِكَ فَضْلُ اللَّهِ يُؤْتِيهِ مَنْ يَشَاءُ وَاللَّهُ وَاسِعٌ عَلِيمٌ
O ye who believe! If any from among you turn back from his Faith, soon will Allah produce a people whom He will love as they will love Him,- lowly with the believers, stern against the disbelievers, fighting in the way of Allah, and never afraid of the reproaches of such as find fault. That is the grace of Allah, which He will bestow on whom He pleaseth. And Allah encompasseth all, and He knoweth all things. (5:54)
It is as if we are devising another Islam other than the one revealed to us.