Saturday, August 20, 2016

Exclusivist is a disturbing term with harmful implications

In the Name of Allah the Most Gracious Most Merciful,
Peace and blessings be upon the Messenger of Allah, Muhammad, the Seal of Prophethood and upon his family, companions and true followers.

Dear readers,
Recently, a new term or name calling has emerged: "exclusivist". A "label" used by some to call Muslim preachers who, as they claimed, spread exclusivist preachings and are dangerous to a multi-religious society.

However, as a muslim, this term in itself is a harmful term if not properly and carefully defined. 

The word exclusivist is not found in some online dictionaries. Nevertheless some explain it's meaning as:
"Exclusivism is the practice of being exclusive; mentality characterized by the disregard for opinions and ideas other than one's own, or the practice of organizing entities into groups by excluding those entities which possess certain traits. "

Religious exclusivism asserts that one religion is true and that all others are in error.

In brief, this may imply that;
1. if a  muslim preacher teaches you, as a muslim, you should worship Allaah alone, the only God who has the right to be worshipped and all other deities are false, he is an exclusivist, a danger to religious harmony. Yet, this is the very essential condition to be a muslim, as one is not a muslim until he/she testifies: "أشهد أن لا إله إلا الله - there is no God who has the right to be worshipped except Allaah". Claiming that one who preaches this as an exclusivist preaching a dangerous teaching, is like saying one is dangerous if he teaches ISLAM.

2. If you, as a muslim, abstain yourself from eating and drinking non halal food and beverages, you are being an exclusivist, if all other people sitting at your table are eating and drinking what are not halal (non halal means impermissible) to you. (Yet our PM Lee said about his NDP reception, that halal "Soto Babat" for the muslims will be provided). 

On a side note, we as muslims are not true muslims and our faith will not be accepted by Allaah, until we do testify (apart from Allaah is the only true God) that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allaah. The one being appointed by Allaah to convey His message. We are to believe in him, obey him, revere and honour him, love him more than anyone else among mankind and to uphold his teachings and spread his message to all of mankind. These are the prerequisites of true faith/imaan of a muslim. Our beloved Prophet said:
" من كان يؤمن بالله واليوم الآخر فلا يجلس على مائدة يدار عليها بالخمر. رواه الترمذي وحسنه، وأحمد. "
Meaning: "Whoever believes in Allaah and the Hereafter, let him not sit at a table where liqour/intoxicant is served" Narrated by Ahmad and at-Tirmidzi who graded it Hasan.

3. If a muslim girl/woman covers herself with the veil "tudung" and her non-muslim colleagues do not, she is being an exclusivist. Or any muslim preacher who would teach that, would be considered as teaching an exclusivist's teaching of Islam. (Yet, I doubt that this is intended as in Singapore Parliament, we have a muslim woman as the Speaker, one who adorns the tudung, as well as another Member of Parliament).

Having pointed out these examples, it is worrying as well that some among the muslim preachers, who hold on to some form of fanaticism towards certain teachings, are exclusivists among muslims. Some would regard their fellow muslims as deviators and heretics just because. For example

1. Not doing qunoot in Fajr prayer, or not making their "bismillah" audible prior to recitation of al-Fatihah in audible prayers and other disputed issues, claiming that Madzhab Ash-Shafi'ie is the only true Madzhab and the rightly to be followed. By right every muslim is to be taught to respect and honour all the true scholars of Islam, regardless of whether they represent a particular Madzhab or not. Yet as Muslims, their belief and attitude would be that none is to be obeyed more than the Prophet.

2. Not following their sect of Sufism, whether Tijaniyah, Naqshabandiah, Qadiriyah etc. As Muslims we are to adhere to the actual, original teachings of Islam -this is not an exclusivist teaching. Following the one true path of Prophet Muhammad and not to cause division among muslims into sects.Muslims are muslims under the Prophet's banner of adhering to the teachings of Quran and Sunnah and the Prophet's Companions and their followers.

Wallaahu a'lam.

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