What was written last Saturday in the first part of this article was an introduction to presenting a text of Sheikh Ibn Taimiyah, who influenced Sunni thought to the point that no scholar could resist his influence, especially contemporary Islamic movements which turned his scholarly views into a system and work methodology.
This “Ibn Taimiyah text” tackles a problematic issue that has contemporarily been source for increasing tension because of the changeable world we live in. This issue is the loyalty and enmity principle which application has led the Muslim individual into a number of problems.
In contemporary Islamic thought, loyalty and enmity is a clear recognized fact which the Muslim individual must apply. One way of application is that a Muslim should always contradict from non-Muslims in appearance and religion. The growing contact between Muslims and non-Muslims through media, communication and direct contact has been giving rise to different problems because of the contradiction principle. Nevertheless, the mainstream religious culture has not changed; everybody is talking about distinction as a rigid fact that is uncompromisable under any circumstances. Furthermore, questioning the idea in different religious forums raises many queries about you, your background and your agenda which is, then, rejected even before you present it.
The “Ibn Taimiyah text” seems to be more modern and compatible with our age than most of contemporary views of the loyalty, enmity and contradiction principles. These views emerge from isolated environments where people can neither understand the difficulties facing practical application of these principles in real life nor the psychological problems encountered by the contemporary individual. Such psychological problems are considered a luxury and sign of weak belief by religious schools of thought.
Now Mr. Najeeb, I will leave you with Ibn Taimiyah’s text, in which he stresses the obligation of abandoning contradiction in specific situations of which we can find plenty in our age. Ibn Taimiyah, who is characterized with his rigid approach, is giving a 'fatwa' that contradiction from non-Muslims must be abandoned. It is only in our culture that the past goes ahead of the future and completely supersedes it.
Dear Mr. Najeeb, here is the wording of Ibn Taimiyah’s opinion on the distinction issue:
“Distinction “from them” is only applicable when Islam is prevailing and prominent. Whereas Muslims in the early days of Islam were weak, they were not ordered to contradict. When Islam became prevailing and prominent, they were ordered to do so. The same is applicable to our time. If the Muslim is living in an enemy or non-Muslim country, he is not obliged to contradict from the prima facie traditions of the people of such country to avoid harm. Rather, he should preferably participate in such prima facie traditions if this entails a religious benefit”.
I leave you now to contemplate over these words!
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