Accommodating Diverse Opinions Within A Masjid – Ask Shaykh YQ #246
Channel: Yasir Qadhi
Series: Yasir Qadhi - Ask Shaykh YQ
File Size: 16.94MB
Brother Murad from a community in North America that shall remain unnamed and you will see why emails with a very difficult question. Both of our questions today were extremely awkward and difficult. And he says and I summarize,
we have one Masjid in our town which he has mentioned the town which we built after many years of fundraisers and difficulties and Alhamdulillah we have regular Juma regular salah, but no full time Imam because we cannot afford one at this stage. However, of recent we have had a dispute that threatens to break our community apart, we have had back and forth and arguments and we have agreed to email you and ask you and abide by what you say about this issue. What is the issue? The issue is how much difference of opinion can we tolerate in the actions that are done in our Masjid? So he mentions some things. For example, one group of people of our Masjid community wish to do certain
practices that the other group considers are innovations and haram such as Quran harneys and hadham Quran such as Molad such as other things, and each group is saying that, you know, they want to do this or the other group saying they should not do that. And this has caused so much tension that it is threatening to break up this one community. And they are now emailing me that to what level can these different practices be tolerated within the Masjid?
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So this is a very sensitive question. I appreciate the fact that the community has tried to resolve this amicably and has agreed to arbitration in this regard. And of course, as I have said all the time that whenever I speak in this q&a, I am not speaking directly to one community, I'm giving generic advice. And so unless you invite me or I caught my spirit, you know, Botez or whatnot, I will give generic advice. And then if you feel that my advice is applicable in your situation, both sides feel this then and Hamdulillah. That's fine. My generic advice is the following that, obviously, from a legal standpoint, in the American context, it is the Board of Directors along with
the lead religious leadership that is responsible to answer this question, technically, to what level of differences of opinion to what level of activities which interpretation of Islam should be allowed, and which should not be allowed. And the fact that different boards have different answers for different times in different places, is not in and of itself problematic. I say this loudly and clearly. And unfortunately, we are always between the two extremes of ultra fanaticism and Ultra, you know, liberalism, ultra conservative and Ultra, we're always between this. And again, you know, on a personal anecdote, I have done a lot of research about Islam in America about the history of
Islam, especially my own community. And, you know, my father tells me anecdotes, my father came to this land in 1962, one of the first Muslims to migrate and that timeframe. And the first founder of the first masjid, in Houston, Texas. And I have many stories, and many even memories of the 70s or whatnot. And one thing that he mentioned, which surprised me at the time when I first heard it, but it is not surprising at all, that he mentioned that when we first opened that masjid, you know, in the first Masjid of Houston, the is GH is called the salami side of Greater Houston, that we were only, you know, 10 families and maybe, you know, 1015 students, you know, so 20 people, Max were
coming. And there were that were the only Muslims in the whole massive city of Houston, literally, you know, 1015, they could afford to give some money and the 10 of them were students or whatnot. And at that stage, he goes, we didn't care what the background was the fact that we needed a place to pray, and that we're all coming together and donating money. We didn't care whether they were Sunni or Shia at that stage. We didn't care what your background was, there was no Joomla and there was no place to pray and whoever wanted to pray Juma, we welcome them. And we had that and in fact, the very first board of that masjid, which my father sat on, he tells me that there were Sunni and
they were shear and they were this and there were that it was too it was a Nason to new community. And it would have been ludicrous again for somebody some young kid 20 years old now saying how on bid I should cover for him too.
Think that back in 1963, his version of Islam could have you know, been successful. Well, then clearly it shows why he is such a, you know, a young child not understanding the reality of the faith. That's not how the world works. So you're asking me a specific question. And I say the answer to your question might very well vary from time to place to community, and the fact that overall, you're in new community, definitely, then you should err on the side of open mindedness and on the side of tolerance, if you even think it is an error. So we have to think about what are the repercussions for being hard minded for being narrow minded for being intolerant? Here's the
question to you. You said, you have one Juma and one community after many years, you fundraise so many years, you finally built one center, do you really think that you should, why their party should be so strict against the other, that the community is divided? And then you are faced with the potential of another Masjid being built another long series of fundraisers? Frankly, is it even possible for that to happen? And I recall, I visited a community where this exactly was about to happen, what you are mentioning here, this was exactly about to happen that, you know, there was a one community again, I'm not going to mention the city's name. But I visited that community, it was
an hour and a half away from a major city. And this community had Alhamdulillah, a good, you know, small population, they built a beautiful masjid, and they even built a school for the primary kids, then a dispute happened between the elders over a theological issue within Sunni Islam. It was the theological issue similar to what you are saying. And the community became so vicious between each other that the fundraising stopped, and the community school was on hiatus, and I was visiting the area. And I gave them a lecture that was a bit harsh, and I said to them, you elders are fighting amongst each other. And because of your fight, your own children are not able to go to school
together. And I got very frustrated at this. And I said, You elders don't understand this issue, you're not going to solve it. It's been being debated for 1000 years, and you think in this community, you will solve it. What is better that your children hear the other than and pray five times a day and come to this, you know, center, and even with this dispute, or that because of your internal anger and some abstract theological issue, your children therefore do not even have an Islamic school, and therefore they're not even praying together or hearing the done together. And I'd heard that I heard after that, that they made some sort of hand they built the school but I say
now the same thing to you. Allah azza wa jal reminds us in the Quran, hold on to the rope of Allah together and do not divide up and realize that it is okay to tolerate an opinion that is within a mainstream view. It is authentically narrated that even Mr. Guardiola one, he held an opinion about combining the head and acid while doing Hajj and Earthman Rhodiola. Juan did something else. And even Masaru didn't like that. But he's still followed along. And he said, breaking away is worse than following this opinion. Okay, I don't agree with the opinion. But breaking away is worse than following this opinion. And so we have to understand a simple rule of thumb, you're not experts, you
are you said you're a lay person, you don't have a scholar. And frankly, by the way, even if you did, some scholars are very intolerant and very narrow minded in their tracks. And I understand that because 25 years ago, I was the same type of person, you know, but at hamdulillah experience and age has changed me along the way. And I say that a community such as yours, should tolerate what historically our respected Allama have differed and disagreed amongst themselves over reputable authorities of our past. If they have disagreed, then you as well should allow that disagreement and acknowledge the legitimacy of the disagreement, this is a very, very difficult thing to do literally
announce whoever feels that this is wrong, they have a valid point. And we will respect and honor that it is wrong that you have this position and whoever feels that it is has precedent and whatnot, you also have a precedent and you have that so allow with respect both parties to make their case and allow with respect these differences to exist. And then if it means that one group will do something in the masjid, okay, the other group doesn't have to attend as long as it is something that is acknowledged by
mainstream scholars of the past and if one side is quoting even Taymiyah on the other side is quoting Ibn hedger or a No way. Well, then Subhanallah if one side is quoting the Mufti of Saudi Arabia, and the other side is quoting the Mufti of Egypt, then Subhanallah Yanni neither can the Mufti of Saudi Arabia enforce his view on the Mufti of Egypt. Nor can the Mufti of Egypt enforce his view on the Mufti of Saudi Arabia. So my dear brother in Islam, why do you think your small little community in any
any town USA in small Ville USA is going to all of a sudden do what even saw that even Egypt cannot do against each other? Why? Why do you think your community is able to implement only its version of Islam, when large countries are not able to implement only their scholars versions of Islam with utmost respect, every single large Muslim country in the world, these debates go on. And certain countries openly celebrated the Molad and do hotton for arms and other groups amongst them saying, we're not going to do it, and they don't do it. And certain countries say they should not be done. And even in those countries that say it should not be done, it is done and it is done. Everybody
knows it is done. They cannot stop it on community levels or hiring a halt or whatnot. They cannot stop it and what not. So my dear brother and sister, my dear community members, do you think that you are going to form a type of utopia that doesn't even exist anywhere else in the Muslim world, please flutter back to reality. You are not responsible for your small community to become in your version, a small little paradise because it is not paradise for other people in your attempts to create this utopia, frankly, just like any you know, type of you know, fascist government or whatnot, in your attempt to create your version, you are trampling over the rights of other people.
So you've come to me for advice. I say as loudly and clearly as I can agree to disagree over the issues that our scholars have shown that it is okay to agree to disagree, hold your opinion with a sense of firmness and pride and allow the other opinion to exist. Just like every single Muslim country in the world has the same issue is going on one group holds an opinion the other groups holds an opinion. And then so be it. If one group is doing the practice that is mainstream, that is backed by the scholar Do you could tradition led to those who oppose it not attend that practice, and let them if they want issue, a simple, polite, respectful statement without inciting hatred
without boycotting and banning and simply say, this is our belief based upon x, y and z. And let the other group respectfully say this is our belief based upon a, b and c. And then in the end of the day, those who were a part of these massages, those who fundraise on all sides, right? Their goal was to create a space to worship Allah subhanho wa taala. No one group has the right to enforce their worldview on the other lead those who think it is an innovation say in a polite manner in a manner that is risk with respect say this is our belief and we know there's an alternative view and they have the right to say that and let those who are saying that it is not an innovation. And they
are doing this let them also have this because in the end of the day, these are differences that should transcend a small community. As I said, when you have grand mufti is of mainstream Muslim worlds and communities different over these issues. Well, then who exactly are you and I to try to enforce our one version and in the end, the Masjid does not belong to one faction to the other. It belongs to Allah subhanho wa Taala or unknown Messiah Judah lillahi Falletta, Ramallah Haida and therefore if the masjid belongs to Allah subhanho wa taala. Then Who amongst you can claim to represent Allah azza wa jal and his Deen on earth Who amongst you can say yes, this is Allah's Verda
biller with a biller, you believe your version is correct. The other group believes his version is correct. Okay, agree to disagree. You don't have to participate in the other activities. And you may even make as I said, a an academic and a general you know, statement that this is why we believe this is not permissible. But hey, you know, you also fundraise for the masjid, we also fundraise for the masjid and we're only going to you know, come we're only going to allow this committee to flourish if we are willing to come together for the greater good don't we pray Jumar behind one another, don't read the same Fatiha don't we do the same such that so then why break up a community
over tertiary issues that exist across the Muslim gold globe? Now, obviously, if somebody comes in wants to do something that has no scholarly precedent that is completely haram? Well, then obviously, we're not talking about that. And and if they find some obscure footwear somewhere, we're not talking about that. You know, if the masjid has a hall, and you know, in the hall, there's going to be a dance party or they're going to have shut operas, I would have been. Nobody's saying that. If you find some obscure footway, I know mainstream reputable chef is going to allow you know, the hall of the masjid to be used in such a fashion. Obviously, we draw the lines over there. But what
I'm saying is that when you have reputable authorities, who clearly have disagreed about these things, well then as a lay community, you do not have the right to enforce your position on the other school and live and let live in this regard. And realize that and know that the GEMA the coming together of the Muslim community is more important and more beloved to Allah subhanho wa Taala
then to enforce these issues amongst one another, you believe something is better. That is your opinion, to break up the GEMA is haram by all scholars of Islam and to cause Muslims to want to break away from you and to form another Masjid because you're not allowing them to worship Allah in the way that their scholarly tradition has precedence. That is a worse issue, then, in your opinion, thinking that what they're doing is benign haram. And by the way, I say this, to be very clear, as somebody who myself has not once participated in a moded and not once has organized the Quran, honey, or been active in the Quran, honey, you can listen to my lectures, it is my personal view,
but I allow the view, and I actually respect the aroma who say it and I understand the reasons why they're saying it and understand that that is a legitimate worldview, even as I respectfully have my own worldview. And this issue did rise up in a previous community I used to live in, and I said the exact same thing in that community. And I was in charge of that community. And I said to them, even though I'm in charge, and I have the right to ban such and such, I will not, you know, I will be let go there because who am I to enforce my position on the entire community, knowing that there's color the difference of opinion, and I know there are great Ranima who have held other views. So this is
my position, with with you asked me, you know, to to give you a type of arbitration and verdict. And I say if the situation is as you have described, and I assuming it is because multiple people have signed on to this letter, if the situation is as you have described, then allow each community to respectfully without any anger and hatred, make its case and then live and let live. Those who do these practices should be allowed access to do them. And those who don't agree should not they don't have to attend and they may make their case as well, you know, known in a polite manner that this is something we're not going to attend because we believe xy and z and this is the best way forward and
Allah azza wa jal will place Baraka insha Allah with data if you're able to do that, I asked Allah subhanho wa Taala to guide all of us to that which he loves and is pleased with and inshallah we'll continue this q&a Next week just below head set Ahmadi comm Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh