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Best Sunnah for Sunni, Shia, Ahmadiyya and Other Muslims to Follow: Beware Of Calling Others Kafir


By Mike Ghouse for New Age Islam

12 July 2012

May God empower your thinking with peace?

This column is in response to correspondence about Muslims judging other Muslims about their faith, and yet invoking the same Islam. 

The word Kaffir simply means someone who hides or denies the truth. However, the usage of the word has been derogatory.  It’s like the “N” word.   You have your preference and mine is not to use the word at all in general conversation without this understanding. 

The Prophet did not use it as a derogatory word, but simply meant that those people who did not agree with his version of the truth as an identifier. (Refer to Sura Kafirun - Prophet’s language should be taught as course in civil dialogue)

The Ahmadiyya are Muslims, as they believe in the God, like every other Muslim believes; furthermore, their pledge of allegiance, the Shahadah is same as all other Muslims - La Ilaha Illal Lahu, Muhammad ar Rasool Allah. We should be minding our own business rather than worrying about others.

No one is responsible for others burden, you stand alone on the day of accountability of your actions. No one will be there for you; you have to take the responsibility for your actions. Let each one of our tribes, and other faiths from the family of faiths do their best. The best ones among all of us would be the ones who care for neighbours, and respect God’s creation and those who work towards restoring harmony, just as God had created the world to be.

Division is natural among all people, there is a magical number beyond which all groups split, and Islam is no different. First it was Shia and Sunni, then among Shia there are many, and Sunni also got split into numerous groups beyond our imagination. Then Ahmadiyya has three or four divisions and as we grow in size, each one of our groups will further split… now we have progressive Muslim group in the last few years, there will be more.

Prophet Muhammad prophesized about the division, it is a natural phenomenon (fitra) and he used the number 72/73 tribe, this number is not a real number, and it’s a number to mean multiplicity.  Imagine the class room where the teacher urges every on to be the best, and there will be only one first rank and most others pass in varying degrees and one or two may fail. A few Ulema have interpreted this to mean only one tribe will go to Jannah and others to hell and shamefully this has been perpetuated without questioning it. How wrong can we be? We have to learn to respect the otherness of other without having to agree.

Let Sunnis, Shias, Ahmadi and their branches all practice Islam as they are taught, let’s not become God and judge others, instead we need to judge ourselves  and be the best human we can. But for God’s sake let’s not call each other with disrespect, would that be a Muslim thing to do?

What can we judge? We can judge the acts that affect our social life - like lying, stealing, robbing, hurting family members or breaking the contracts and messing with social cohesiveness (a dynamic value).

What can we not Judge? One’s faith, period! It is between God and the individual. Only God will judge how much of a Muslim you were in your heart. When God says he is closer to than our jugular vein, it means he knows everything we do, think and discard. No one bears others burden, Islam is about individual responsibility and free will. There is no compulsion in matters of faith.

The first word Prophet Muhammad received was Iqra, the broader meaning of which is read to understand, understand to think and think to create a better world for you and for others around you.

If you would like me to speak about the Prophet and his role in creating a better world, I will be happy to do that.  It is nothing new; it is from the existing 15 stories that we talk about in every Mosque and probably every Muslim will tell those little and big stories. What we need to do is Iqra it, think about his examples from a pluralistic perspective. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and every prophet were committed to create cohesive societies where people got along with each other and lived without the apprehension or fear of the other.

What is our role in the world? Isn’t it to mitigate conflicts and nurture goodwill and give back to God, what he created; a perfect world in harmony? Isn’t that what serving God means?

Remember the first model of the prophet? He was called Amin, the trustworthy, the truth seeker and the honest. Guess who honoured him that title? It was not Muslims.  It’s a model for us to follow. Let you and I become like him, earn the respect of every human on the earth, with malice towards none, and with love for all of God’s creation.

Would you want to be the Amin? To be Amin, we have to use the civil language and earn the trust of all Muslims, and all other people on the earth.  When people see a Muslim, their first response ought to be - here comes a Muslim, I can trust this man or woman, he/she will tell the truth, is trust worth and everything he or she will do is for every one’s good.

Isn’t that the best Sunnah to follow?

Jazak Allah Khair

Mike Ghouse is a speaker, writer and a thinker nurturing the pluralistic values of Islam. More at: