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My Encounter with Western Islam (Modernism)

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#1 [Permalink] Posted on 14th August 2014 17:25
I don't know if it was my first encounter as we also have Modernists here (who due to our local Salafi stronghold are very weak and silent), but even when Nouman Ali Khan came (which was a big deal) I never attended their programs/gatherings/conferences or remember having any debates with them (if you exclude HT and their modern tendencies).

So, a few days ago I had a tweet by Muslim Matters in my timeline with a link to a live panel discussion on YouTube. It made me curious, so I followed the link. I'm not sure if this "live show" was organized or merely promoted by MM. Anyway, when I reached there I was first astonished what you can do with YT nowadays. They had a panel of course consisting political correct out of 2 female and 2 male Muslims - to the heck with Islamical correctness, right? - infront of their homely webcams. I guess two of them were not born as Muslims. Alhamdulillah that there was no webcam image of me: My clear violation of the dress code (tie, dicky and fancy colours) would probably have earned me many uncomfortable stares. Anyway, after the first shock was gone I decided to not judge the book simply by it's cover and listened to what they had to say. They were basically ranting (of course in a very civilized manner) about how elders and centers of the community adhere to a very cultural Islam and for the survival of Islam in America it has to be freed from these cultural customs alien to the spirit of Islam. Fine, but I wanted to know more. So, I asked in the chatbox next to the video stream if they could give some examples. I realized now that the speakers were not really paying attention the discussions going on in the chat and they had a set of questions themselves to answer. I decided to engage with the users in the chat and wrote something along the line of: "Just as parts of the older generation are practising a very cultural Islam, many youngsters in the West practise Islam influenced by American culture. How else do you explain the "Happy Muslims" video?" I was immediately asked if I was referring to the one done by Pharrel Williams or by brother and sisters. I replied: "The Muslim one." They didn't see anything Islamically wrong with that video clip. "So, there's nothing wrong with music, dancing, gender mixing etc in Islam?", I asked. At which I was educated that there is nothing wrong with these things in itself. I realized that I was totally out of place and left shortly after that. Well, to be fair at least there was one user agreeing to my original statement.

I feel very sorry especially for the majority of new Muslims who fall prey to this version of Islam, as it seems easier and without too many drastic changes. Just compare Yusuf Islam's old interviews when he just converted to those now, it hurts so much to listen to his views and ideas now. When you tell these Modernists something is wrong and not Islamic, they respond that their relationship with Allah is of a very personal and private nature and no one is to tell them what to do and what not! No Mullah can judge me, only Allah can! All these rethorical slogans serve to follow their own fancies and whims, which defeats the core purpose of Islam, which is to submit to Allah's will.

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#2 [Permalink] Posted on 14th August 2014 22:06
True Life wrote:
"Just as parts of the older generation are practising a very cultural Islam, many youngsters in the West practise Islam influenced by American culture..."


This is precisely the point that modernists don't understand. They consider the traditional version of Islaam (the one that considers the orders of Allaahu Ta`aalaa and Rasulullaah صلى الله عليه وسلم authoritative and binding) to be influenced by Arab/Indian-Subcontinental/etc. culture and politics while they feign ignorance of their own (western) culture and politics influencing their interpretations of Islaam.

For anyone who is sincere, it's enough to ask: would you rather follow an interpretation of Islaam spawned less than 100 years ago by western-minded so-called "intellectuals" (or even the new "Fiqh" spawned by Shaykh al-Albaani رحمة الله عليه), or that pristine version of Islaam, of Ahlus Sunnah w'al-Jamaa`ah, which refers to the classical scholars and those Imaams of the Deen which have been referred to and considered authentic by the consensus of the Ummah for over 1000 years?

May Allaah allow us to rid of our cultural biases as well and see, judge, and act upon everything through the lens of the Qur'aan and Sunnah.
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#3 [Permalink] Posted on 14th August 2014 22:42
Allah said, "On this day, I have PERFECTED your Deen......"

This means, EVERY THING is perfect. If we follow the Quran and the Sunnah of Rasullulah (saw) we will have perfection!

Any kind of modernism is definitely going to be IMPERFECT since it will not be divine.

End of discussion with those modernists.


Surah Maa'idah Verse 3 (partially)
Quote:
This day I have perfected for you your religion and completed My favor upon you and have approved for you Islam as religion.


So by editing/modifying/modernising the Deen, these guys are reversing the favour of their Lord.

How pathetic
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#4 [Permalink] Posted on 15th August 2014 00:44
"Islamic Modernism" in its true meaning is like saying "Crash Landing"

If it's a crash, it's not a landing. If it's a landing then it's not a crash. If it's landing with a crash then it's a "minor crash" but as you clearly know, "crash landing" is now a genuine "phrase" just like "Islamic Modernism"

When "white" is kept cool and untainted, it remains white. Expose the colour to severe heat (debates and arguments) or mix it with another completely different colour (Modernism) and you get from off-white to a totally different colour. It no longer remains true white just like true Islam is barely to be found now and still deteriorating daily.

Shaytaan works in many ways and this is without a doubt another scheme which is working. The amount some Muslims try to integrate in the name of "Islam" is pathetic to say the least. Integrate as people, as humans, as communities but to integrate as a religion into systems which are contrary to Shariah is not only never going to work but it'll lead many people astray as is evident even in today's "Muslim Celebrities"

Know the difference, don't try to answer a question which is technically, academically and religiously invalid to start with. Your quote that I quoted in the quotable quotes thread is simply brilliant.

Quote:
"Just as parts of the older generation are practising a very cultural Islam, many youngsters in the West practise Islam influenced by American culture. How else do you explain the "Happy Muslims" video?"
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#5 [Permalink] Posted on 16th August 2014 08:49
salaams, are there any 'scholars' that tend to back modernists views??
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#6 [Permalink] Posted on 16th August 2014 14:49
Anonymous wrote:
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What kind of scholars are you exactly looking for? Nowadays, you can find anything you like with the label of a scholar.
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#7 [Permalink] Posted on 16th August 2014 15:47
Such well trained so called modern and progressive Muslims appear to be the well designed-product of orientalists' research to divert the mind of new generation of ummah.
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#8 [Permalink] Posted on 16th August 2014 16:36
brother arfat, recently i heard from a brother that many of the students who study islam in either oxford or cambridge are non muslim, then it hit me that the enemies of islam need to learn about islam first in order to infiltrate and destroy. Now the thaught is coming to my mind that these same students probably end up with influential jobs or atleast with major corporations. walk into any muslim household even those who are deemed religious and picturs are everywhere (on products) music is playing (ringtones, kids toys) food is doubtful. the roohaaniat is being destroyed! and we don't even realise
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#9 [Permalink] Posted on 7th September 2014 20:38
The simplistic naivety of the comments would be hilarious, if it wasn't for the seriousness of the topic.

What Oxford and Cambridge teach you in their Islamic courses, is critical thinking skills. something that is lacking in our madrasahs and is badly needed as someone said you can find anyone with the label of scholar and unfortunately has caused the rise of terrorism in Islam as the youth aren't taught to critically appraise what "scholars" are preaching. This isn't a modern thing, what made all the sahih hadeeths sahih is that people like Hazrat Bukhari critically appraised the information he was presented with. Now as our youth are developing appraisal skills from university in courses like law, medicine and history which deal with finding facts, they are beginning to challenge the beliefs they hold in other aspects of their lives such as religion and this has given rise to modern Islam. This is recent because even in secular teaching they didn't have critical thinking 30-50yrs ago, you just accepted what your professor said.

The issue "modern Islam" isn't trying to integrate Islam into the western way of life. The issue is how do we carry out the teachings of the Quran and sunnah in a world which is vastly different from the time of the Prophet SAW. We are living in a world where the notion of a tribe system doesn't exist anymore and the patriarchal family dynamic has vanished in the "modern world" yet majority of the interpretations of the teachings by the great historical scholars lived in a world, where the social context was same as 1500yrs ago and you can see it in their texts. It's only been in the last 50yrs that it's changed and the internet has made the change happen exponentially faster. .

The sad fact is you'll never see people who disagree with modernist give up their cars and travel on a camel or reject modern medical treatment for ancient almost torture like treatment.

My personal belief is, if you have a choice between living a way of life that either causes disagreements and argument or a way of life the works to avoid disagreements within an Islamic framework, then you chose the latter as I think it is more closer to the path of being a Muslim. When the Prophet SAW entered medina he didn't force conversions or made people accept his way of life. He respected them and let them go about their business with no interference he said just ask them to be aware they are Jews/Christians and also part of the community of medina, not what Muslims are doing today in non-Muslim lands, forming ghettos which in no way represents the perfect religion. The ghettos like tower hamlets are full of poverty, crime and illiteracy yet they have high practising Muslim populations.

The biggest shame to Muslim countries is that the policies of non-Muslim countries in Europe are more closer to the teachings of the Prophet SAW than Muslim countries in the Middle East or indo-pak. So denouncing them as just "west" is the height of stupidity as they are examples of how an ideal Islamic country should function, with universal healthcare for the old and sick, a welfare state for the less fortunate and a system to maintain safety to its citizens against violence and corruption of powerful people.

PS- The so called 'modern Muslims' is a wrong name for the Muslims the OP mentioned. the correct term is liberal Muslims.
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#10 [Permalink] Posted on 7th September 2014 23:10
Your post is simply deceiving. What gives you the right to make an assumption, that our Madaris are devoid of "critical thinking skills"? Eventhough the quality can not keep up with the quantity that these institutes are producing, the fact remains that there are still today giant scholars attached to these "backward Madaris", who will surpass anything Oxford or Cambridge can produce on an intellectual and spiritual level. I was just preparing for myself a list of the departements of jurisprudence (Darul Iftaas) all around the world and their respective Head Muftis. It made me realize that we have a lot of research scholars of high calibre amongst us. And this is only in Fiqh, there is also those giants devoted to Hadith and other Islamic sciences.

The only thing is, that these scholars are not ready to throw those principles, that the Ummah sticked to for more than 1400 years all of the sudden over the board. No matter if you live in America or on the moon. When Sahabah went all over the world, they also interacted with civilizations different to what they were familair with, so why did they not assimilated themselves? When Muslims ruled Spain/Andalus did an European Islam emerge? When there was no need for that back then, why now? Please don't try to deceive laymen by sounding intellectual and branding orthodox Islam as backwards.
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#11 [Permalink] Posted on 8th September 2014 08:03
Abcxf wrote:
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What critical thinking lead you to this mis-informed and disproportionate conclusion?

Oxford and Cambridge were founded 800 years ago. They are the two oldest and largest universities in England. 97.6% of the students accepted at Oxford achieved grades of A*AA (in their best 3 subjects). Madaaris and Darul Uloom do not discriminate in this manner and gives equal opportunity based on "Will to acquire Islamic knowledge and earn the hereafter by distinguishing Halal from Haram and how to identify it in modern societies, culture and changes".

Your assessment of the lack of critical thinking is just more modernist lies. Have you studied Usool? Have you studied Meeraath? Have you studied Mantiq? The latter two itself would blow many university minds.

This is besides the fact that many students in Madaaris (Darul Ulooms) are the weak that parents found more suitable for Islamic studies instead of a PHD. Once you realise that modernism creates "Hubbud Dunya Wa Karahiyatul Mawt" as seen in majority of Muslims in UK be it a Hafiz, a Daa'ee, a graduate of an Islamic school. The only ones who do not fall for worldly pleasures which you call "Modern Islam" are the true scholars which are few and we don't hide from this fact.

Quote:
The issue "modern Islam" isn't trying to integrate Islam into the western way of life.[/quote]
This is exactly what modern Islam is. Have you even spoken to a modernist "Muslim"? You are delusional if you think it's to do with progress rather than changing the Deen.

Quote:
and is badly needed as someone said you can find anyone with the label of scholar and unfortunately has caused the rise of terrorism in Islam as the youth aren't taught to critically appraise what "scholars" are preaching.[/quote]

That's the problem. Not lack of modern integration. Anyone is accepted as a scholar by arrogant and aggressive groups. Taqwah is ignored, Isnaad has no value to Salafis for example unless it ends with Imam Bukhari, people are becoming Scholars at the University of Google. Also you have a typo, it's not terrorism "in" Islam.. It's terrorism "on" Islam. The fact that you defend the very people who want to remove all Islamic values from private schools, individuals and targeting our Children is a clear notion towards your lack of interest or care for Islamic values.

Quote:
This is recent because even in secular teaching they didn't have critical thinking 30-50yrs ago, you just accepted what your professor said. [/quote]

You keep referring to "Critical Thinking" like it's the answer to the mysteries of the universe. Every post on this forum is in one way or another a result of critical thinking. In fact, all "mistakes" are results of critical thinking too. If it's a fact then it doesn't involve any critical thinking. Science requires critical thinking to unlock answers beyond the general scope of the human perspective. How would "All praises are for Allah" require critical thinking?

Then we reach verses with differences of opinions (as well as Ahadeeth) which have research and studies of critical thinking and deep analysis from the most powerful scholars and masters in the field from the true Salaf-as-Saliheen. So I cannot understand your obsession with critical thinking.

Quote:
The issue is how do we carry out the teachings of the Quran and sunnah in a world which is vastly different from the time of the Prophet SAW.[/quote]

Simple, Loading Qur'aan Verse

And hold fast, all of you together, to the Rope of Allah (i.e. this Quran), and be not divided among yourselves, and remember Allah's Favour on you, for you were enemies one to another but He joined your hearts together, so that, by His Grace, you became brethren (in Islamic Faith), and you were on the brink of a pit of Fire, and He saved you from it. Thus Allah makes His Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.,) clear to you, that you may be guided.

[quote]We are living in a world where the notion of a tribe system doesn't exist anymore and the patriarchal family dynamic has vanished in the "modern world" yet majority of the interpretations of the teachings by the great historical scholars lived in a world, where the social context was same as 1500yrs ago and you can see it in their texts. It's only been in the last 50yrs that it's changed and the internet has made the change happen exponentially faster. .

The sad fact is you'll never see people who disagree with modernist give up their cars and travel on a camel or reject modern medical treatment for ancient almost torture like treatment.


This is biggest mis-representation of progressive scholars and Muslims. Will I choose to travel in a car or a camel? A car. Will I choose a car or a skate board? A car. Will I choose a car or plane to travel 2000 miles? A plane. So I chose a plane over the car, does that make me a modernist or practical?

Will I choose to keep my bottoms above the ankle or below if wearing a blazer at a business meeting? I will not compromise my Deen. Modernists have made Musical instruments "Halal", they have made the Hijab "optional", some Arabs have made certain types of Alcohol like Beer permissible with "critical thinking" arguments.

[quote="Imam of Haram Shaikh Saud Al-Shuraim"]Brethren in Islaam! Non-Muslims shall never be pleased with Muslims until they abandon their religion and their Divine Law or at least make a lot of compromise that will leave nothing left of Islaam but its name only. ‘Umar came to the Messenger of Allaah with a book he got from some people of the Scripture and started reading it. The Messenger of Allaah got annoyed and said,

"I have brought unto you a pure and clean religion. Do not ask people of the Book anything lest they tell you the truth which you may deny and tell you a lie which you may believe. By Him in Whose hand is my soul, if (Prophet) Moosa were to be alive now, he would have no option but to follow me."


And then there's modernist who reject the Qur'aan as "outdated"

[quote]The biggest shame to Muslim countries is that the policies of non-Muslim countries in Europe are more closer to the teachings of the Prophet SAW than Muslim countries in the Middle East or indo-pak. So denouncing them as just "west" is the height of stupidity as they are examples of how an ideal Islamic country should function, with universal healthcare for the old and sick, a welfare state for the less fortunate and a system to maintain safety to its citizens against violence and corruption of powerful people.


Brother you need serious educating, understanding and maybe travelling. In what way is the west closer to the teachings of Islam? Were you serious or are you just really angry and frustrated at someone? I honestly can't believe a person would genuinely believe this to be true and if you're serious then I pray you recover from whatever you are suffering from.

[quote]PS- The so called 'modern Muslims' is a wrong name for the Muslims the OP mentioned. the correct term is liberal Muslims.


Do you even know what liberal means? Your entire post is anything but liberal in both senses of the word.

It's as if I was to finish with "PS. I agree with 100% of the words in your post except for all the sentences"
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#12 [Permalink] Posted on 8th September 2014 10:58
@Abcxf, as Salaam alaii kumm, I'd like to address a certain point but I request that you register on the forum.
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#13 [Permalink] Posted on 8th September 2014 20:44
I know about oxford, I'm an alumni of St Catz and did my direct entry into Imperial and then my PhD at Cambridge and my work has led me to travel the globe, which is why I'm disgusted by the hypocrisy of islamic countries and how it amazes me that secular, immoral, western lands have the welfare state for all its residents that was started by Hazrat Umar RA and carried on by the Ummayd caliphates, yet its absent in the muslim countries and it isn't due to lack of money. Forget the superficial things like Azaans for salah, friday holidays for jumma and lotas in toilets in islamic countries. If you look at the policies themselves, of these nations many of them aren't that different from the islamic shariah rulings, they just don't do it in the context of religion. When the Prophet SAW settled in medina he promoted religious pluralism, today you can forget about religions in Muslim countries they can't even stand more than one madhab.

In terms of my islamic teaching, I was in darul uloom bury till i was 15, when i left to do my GCSEs at my local school. So I'm talking as someone who has been to the very best deeni and dunya schools. I agreed with Shaikh Yusuf Motala on quite a lot and I still hold a lot of respect for him, but where we disagreed was the way we were being taught, we weren't allowed to challenge what was being taught, just accept as fact. I come from a long line of academics, religious and scientific. My personal leaning is more towards scientific, evidence based or logic derived reasoning, like the great mu'tazilah scholars, islam's great scientists, Ghazali, ibn Sinna and ibn Haytham. The way we were taught, there was no intellectual scrutiny of what was being taught to us, you were punished for even entertaining the notion of 'what if this is just nonsense?' because thats 'kuffar', somehow we all just happily had to accept what was written by the great scholars 1400yrs ago whenever there was a discussion, they kept forgetting that the teaching of a 'Real' present day Alim, sheikh, scholar would technically hold as much value as any of the 4 imams, where the earliest one was born nearly 70yrs after the death of the Prophet SAW. That being said I want to make clear I'm against the making permissible of absolute forbidden things in Islam such as Alcohol, homosexuality,zina, gambling, interest etc as what the liberal apologetic muslims are doing.


The issue I have with the way islam is being practiced now. the mis-held beliefs have been held for so long, you can't even challenge them. The beard for example, the purpose was to differentiate muslims from the non muslims, today you have sikhs, jews, bahai's and hindus with full beards like the 'muslim beard' so we're not differentiating ourselves anymore, we can trim it to the fist length as according to the tradition of Hazrat Umar and Uthman RA but its makrooh/ haraam according to muftisays, yes you can trim the moustache but that isn't enough to differentiate from a far, as was the purpose during the time of the Prophet SAW.

The other issues are the rights of the women. the Prophet SAW, Hazrat Umar RA and countless caliphs and even the Quran talks about the women earning a living, The Prophet SAW made women, including his wives teachers, surgeons and nurses, Hazrat Umar RA made women market inspectors, all intimate jobs and the Quran says in Surah Nisa "Unto men a fortune from that which they have earned, and unto women a fortune from that which they have earned" so women were allowed to leave the home and work within the hudud of Allah but it wasn't until the adoption of Byzantine and Persian customs, that women became less involved in society and became hidden in their home. Then there is the issue with divorce where the indo-pak version of islam has adopted the hindu- Sikh status of women and their abhorrence to divorce whereas in Hazrat Aisha's hadeeth (Sahih Al Bukhari [the Book on Wedlock / Nikah] -Volume 7, Book 62, Number 117:) talks about a gathering of 11 women in the presence of the Prophet SAW, and Hazrat Abu Zar's wife mentions how he divorced her when he went out to get milk and 'he saw a woman who had two sons like two leopards playing with her two breasts' that he divorced his wife and married her. The hadeeth doesn't mention the Prophet SAW stating he was against the actions of Hazrat Abu Zar RA, it says the Prophet said to Aisha RA I am like Abu Zar. If you read the hadeeth, it is a long hadeeth, it paints a picture of what medina was like during the time of the prophet, the trivial reasons for divorce, the lack of purdah in the streets of medinah and the topics of gatherings by women in the house of Aisha RA. yet the customs that have been adopted and have been practised for 100s of years are unlikely to change the status quo, as the ayah goes 'Rather, we shall follow what we found our forefathers following'.

And to answer the point of islam in europe, it has never had a strong foot hold in europe, it was stopped as it did in india, africa and russia, it was halted in vienna and never flourished in spain. After Tariq ibn Ziyad's conquest of spain what was left was in-fighting between the berbers and the arabs that remained, so islam couldn't become established. Then Ummayd's went to spain as refugees after they were overthrown by the abbasids after the 3rd fitna, and due to its distance from the capital of the caliphate in baghdad it became a safe haven for artists, musicians and intellectuals as mentioned in the accounts of the reconquista by the spanish, which sort of explains the large amount of historical sufi orders in southern spain. there is obvious signs of assimilation seen in historical artefacts for example the great xian mosque built in 742ad has dragons and gargoyles on the walls in the oldest parts of the mosque.

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#14 [Permalink] Posted on 8th September 2014 21:35
A today's scholar technically holds the same weight as the 4 great Imams? Brother, just your views on the beard shows how deviant your ideas are. Why did the scholars before us like Imam Ghazali, Ibn Sina and Ibn Haytham, whos heritage you are so proud of leaning towards, never come up with these conclusions? Did Sikhs, Jews, Bahais and Hindus not exist at their time? And even if we accept this concept for the sake of argument, then I assume you live in the UK and in the UK amongst non-Muslims growing a beard is definitely not the norm! So, according to your own principle you would still be obliged to grow a beard in your circumstance. You claim due to "logical reasoning" keeping a beard was because of prevailing circumstances, we are saying it is regardless of circumstances an obligation derived from authentic sources (Qur'an & Sunnah etc.). So you keep following Islam stipulated by reason and circumstances, we prefer to stick to the Islam stipulated by Qur'an and Sunnah as those two are the real benchmarks certified by our Holy Prophet (sallallahu 'alayhi wasallam).

Islamic Spain, Andalus, has despite all the conditions that you mentioned produced some great Muhaddithin. They also never advocated any type of this modernistic revival. If we were to agree with you, we would have to disown all scholars of the passed 1400 years (as they never saw the need for such contortions) and their academical achievements to safeguard this Deen throughout centuries... so that we today can even call ourselves Muslims. Placing yourself on the pedestal of your "critical thinking skills" is equal to declaring all those classical scholars as too stupid to figure out this brainwave, that Cambridge blessed you with.
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#15 [Permalink] Posted on 8th September 2014 21:39
Quote:
In terms of my islamic teaching, I was in darul uloom bury till i was 15, when i left to do my GCSEs at my local school. So I'm talking as someone who has been to the very best deeni and dunya schools.



This is another statement which can be misconstrued to thinking that you studied muntiq, usool al-fiqh and all the other necessary islamic sciences to do critical thinking on matters related to islamic law.

Majority of Madaris teach these in depth subjects towards the end of a student's studies or when a teacher feels a student is grounded in the basics first.

You left the madrasah barely after you became pubescent. You expect people here to entertain the notion that you got the best islamic education in the field of critical thinking....?

Please, brother...
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