Learn your tradition first!

Learn your tradition first!

Rejecting the practice of the religion of what you are already upon without studying it in detail in favour of more [seemingly] “convincing” arguments is crass stupidity. I am concerned that a lot of youth, without taking the time to study their religion properly [according to their Madhhab], leave the tradition that they were on by default in favour of [blindly] following someone [a non-Madhhabi] who quotes Quran and hadith and makes a “convincing” argument. It is easy to “convince” someone who doesn’t really know much in the first place and thus our youth fall prey to misguidance.

When some young people rediscover their faith they end up rejecting their default religious practices as inherited by them through their parents. Whilst many non-Islamic cultural practices may have crept in, the foundations of what they were already upon are solid and established,  rooted in the Quran and Sunnah and should not be dismissed out of hand without serious study and contemplation.

My advice to the youth who rediscover their faith is LEARN YOUR OWN TRADITION PROPERLY before you decide to jump ship. As with most things, appearances can be deceiving and none more so than in religion where you think you are going to something more “authentic” and “true” when in fact it is something with a veneer of authenticity based upon a faulty understanding of the religion.

They should also know that the Madhhabs are based on solid foundations and have stood the test of time and all those people from the élite of this Umma down to the commonfolk have all adhered to one of the four Sunni Madhhabs. The call against following a Madhhab is a new one, a bida that has appeared and which has grown more vocal over the last 100/150 years.

One of the root causes of this phenomenon is that most mosques and local religious authorities do not offer any foundational Islamic education nor do they have any concept of pastoral care. Many kids do not enjoy the mosque experience when they are sent as small children to learn the Quran by rote. Often times they are verbally and physically abused and once completing the Quran they leave the mosque with a negative association. Additionally, many youth are alienated from their local mosques and imams because the mosque is usually run by narrow-minded  individuals and imams who have little or no command of the English language and who have no empathy or any idea of what the needs of such young people are. Faced with this, these young people go looking for religious instruction and pretty soon they will come across people who will show them “Quran” and “Sunnah” and quote “sahih” hadith and give them “authentic” aqida and all the while they are feeding them a slow poison that is turning them against their families and communities.  We can’t blame these kids, after all, they have reached a stage in their lives where they have concern for their akhira and ultimately this is their driving their motivation and they are sincere, the tragedy is that they are looking in the wrong places for guidance because the right places are barren.

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5 thoughts on “Learn your tradition first!

  1. This was very much my experience when I was a teenager. It was only when I discovered Shaykh Hamza and Shaykh Murad I discovered my masjid was actually more orthodox than the other sources of Islamic knowledge that were available. It’s a shame most of us discover this fact about our own mosques from scholars miles away from us rather than the our own local Imams.

    Slowly I think the tide is changing as more people born and raised in the UK who have a strong grounding in both tradition and modernity are having more of a say in the running of their local mosques. But a conscience effort has to be made by more of us to take part and change the way they’re run. Moving away from catering for an ethnic minority to catering for a growing multicultural community. Of course that is a lot more easier said than done.

  2. MashAllah, this says it all in am eloquent and simple manner! Many unknowingly fall into a trap, and I do feel that it is a trap.

    When I first became Muslim (Alhamdulilah, 10 years ago), I was tricked by the “Quran and Sunnah” crowd. They were particularly sneaky when dealing with me, because I already knew to watch out for people who deemed the four madhabib as being haram, and following them a bidah that will for certain lead you to the hellfire. They found ways around this, and made certain to never bash any madhab when talking to me. I thought that I was gaining sound, Islamic knowledge. Years later, I am still discovering things that they “taught” me.

    Thanks to your blog, Shaykh Nuh Ha Mim Keller, Sheikh Faraz Rabbani, Imam Zaid Shakir, and Sheikh Hamza Yusuf (once I got over the poisonous things they had told me about him!), I was able to find out the truths, which always confirmed what I had felt in my heart when I accepted Islam. This is a religion of beauty, peace, light, and love. It strengthens our ties with everyone around us. Be they Muslims following a different madhab, or even Christians or Jews, we are to be kind to all. And we are to know that Allah is full of mercy, and kindness, and forgives often, just as the Quran says again and again!

    It is imperative that every Muslim read Quran with understanding. If you don’t speak Arabic, then find a good translation of the meaning in a language that you do speak (just please don’t read the Hilali/Khan English translation!!). When people can know what the Quran says, then they can know what Islam truly is. The “preachers” cannot prey upon those who are educated.

  3. Salam, this is a topic that’s very close to my heart. So far I have spent half my life in my parent’s home country and the other half in US. Growing up as a muslim child in the US means accepting several madhhab and different ways to practice islam. One comes to attain that each madhhab ought to be respected and at least one be practiced per choice or parental traditions. Yet, after being simultaneously immersed into the cultures of all 4 schools, it starts to makes little difference of how our small acts of ibadaa r being conducted. So the emphasis is more so on the act itself, the niyaa, and the output. Gradually, Eid is just Eid and not Eid accordingly to hanafi madhhab. At the latter stages of being a mumin, one starts to see only another mumin – a brother or sister – in islam. At this point, the kabah and the harem are the calling… I dare to say, traditions cease to exist. I’m not a sufi or against the traditions or stating that fiqh and usul are not needed. But I’m only saying, that for the common muslim man in a mixed culture society, they don’t play much role in the daily life of simple ibadaa. Let’s not forget that while one is to obtain education from cradle to death which guides the muslim, practicing the 5 pillars of islam is sufficient to attain entrance through at least 1 gate of jennah. Other than this, one’s amaal ought to be good, and its up to Allah to accept the mumin’s ibadaa.

  4. Your advice to youth? Well since they all hang out here they must be taking notes. lol
    The bottom line is that salafis get out everywhere to spread their message. They spend of their time, money, energy and alot more because they believe in their principles. Where as the so called ‘traditional’ camp wont step out of their comfort zones believing God will bring the people to them( and their blogs) because of their sanctimoniousness. By the way, these ‘yoofs’ would you like them to reconnect to their Brailwi roots and tradition? In which case they need to go and speak to Asrar Rashid and gang, the bastions of tolerance, progress and moderate traditional Islam.

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