A very interesting Fox News interview…
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“Recognized as perhaps the greatest mystical poet of Islam, Mevlana Jalaluddin Rumi (1207-1273) communicated something through his writing that has attracted spiritual seekers from almost every religion in the world, for hundreds of years. Primarily famous for his poetry, Rumi has also left another manuscript that is not so well known – the collection of discourses given at the gatherings with his students.
It Is What It Is (Fihi ma Fihi) is considered by some scholars to be an abbreviated prose companion to his far more famous six volume work, the Masnavi. ?It is,? meaning his collected discourses, ?what it is,? meaning, evidently, the Masnavi.
This present book is edited and rewritten by Doug Marman from A. J. Arberry?s original English translation, published in 1961 as Discourses of Rumi. Arberry himself admitted that his scholastic, literal, work ?is not an easy book to read…and the original is by no means easy always to understand.? According to more recent studies of the original manuscript (Chittick and Shah, for example,) Arberry?s translation also has some technical errors, and better understandings of Rumi?s subtle spiritual teachings have come to light.”
Shaykh Yasir Qadhi was another person at the MLT conference in Denmark that I met. He is an intelligent and articulate young man and contributed quite positively to the event. I had never heard of him or his institute “al-Maghrib Institute” before, but it was apparent that he was a Salafi. There is a much touted discussion between him and Mona Eltahawi (journalist and commentator) that took place on the way to the MLT in Copenhagen, Denmark. It describes how they went to the same school in Saudi Arabia and have turned out poles apart, one being a hardcore Salafi (Yasir) and the other an ultra liberal (Mona), both extremists in the broad spectrum that is Islam. But are they really that different?
Both don’t have a problem with dispensing with traditional Islamic scholarship and a return to re-interpreting the Primary Sources of the deen and believe everyone is or should be personally responsible to draw conclusions from the Primary Sources. In Yasir’s case, if you come up with something other than the Salafist ideology (whatever that means with regards to the constantly mutating and sub-dividing nature of this sect!) then you are misguided/mushrik/mubtadi/kafir (take your pick!) depending on your conclusions, in Mona’s case you can do what you want, even an atheist can be a Muslim if s/he calls him/herself one, essentially, for her Islam is just a culture, is the impression I got when speaking to her. In fact I believe them to be two sides of the same coin, that of ideological/intellectual extremism.
Here is an excellent piece from another blog Contemplating Chisti, in fact a Deobandi Chisti. The piece in question warns fellow Deobandis to not be enamoured and taken by Salafi approaches of “Unity” with their “sugar coated speech” and to steer clear. I raised this very point in a discussion on Tablighi Jamat on DeenPort with regards to how Tablighi Jamat (and by extension Deobandis) always align themselves with Salafis/Wahhabis on university campuses and local communities. It is a strange and odd espousal as they are the oddest of bedfellows. I think that the Salafis insidiously take advantage of the Tablighi naivety for their own purposes. Salafis hate everyone, including the Deobandis (and each other as well!)
Whilst reading through this, I was thinking that many Barelwis would heartily agree with these positions and some Deobandis would be concerned to find that these are in fact Deobandi aqida positions. This is borne out by the comments section which has some irate Deobandis questioning some of the positions and the Deobandism of the author!
The article goes onto list many ideological and aqida differences between traditional Deobandism and Salafism and it is an uncloseable chasm between them. Yasir’s odious and slanderours comments about some of our Shayukh, such as Sayyid Maliki al-Makki, Shaykh Nuh Keller, Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad and others are well known. At the conference he even suggested to me that some of the articles on my site should be removed for “the sake of unity”, a laughable suggestion when every other Salafist bookshop and website has books that rant on about madhhabs, Asharees and Soofees. I think may be Shaykh Yasir should start by cleansing his bookshops and websites of these unity threatening works, cleaning your own house first is a good idea before noticing the dirt in others otherwise it could be construed as hypocrisy.
Alex Andalus’s Blog has some things to say on the matter as well.