Concerns About Blind Obedience

QAs-salam-allaikum brother Ayub Hamid, Jazak'Allah Khair for your informative article. I completely agree with you that we MUSLIMS must completely obey the commandments of Allah(swt) without questioning any commands of Allah(swt)…

But in this world, there are NON-MUSLIMS too. So how do we convince them that Quran is the commandments of Allah (swt) and we need to follow it without any reasoning or questioning.

What do we explain to them when they ask?
  • Why Muslims don't eat pork?
  • Why polygomy is allowed is Islam, where as polyandry is not allowed?
  • Why interest is haram in islam?
  • Why do Muslims fast in the month of Ramadhan?
  • Why Muslim women are degraded by keeping them behind the veil
  • Why a Muslim doesn’t eat any other meat other than zabiha meat?
  • etc...

So there can be many questions that a non-Muslim may ask a Muslim before he could embrace Islam. If a Muslim just says, those are commandments of God and we just need to follow them, do you think a non-Muslim will get convinced by that answer? Do you think he will accept Islam with that short explanation? I really doubt…

Jazak'Allah Khair

AI am glad that you have raised this question. Perhaps you know that I am a long time resident of Canada. I have always openly and proudly talked about Islam, have extensive interaction with educated, intelligent non-Muslims and Allaah SWT has used me to revert some people to Islam.

The only appropriate answer to all of these questions you have listed in your email is that we observe these practices because our Lord has commanded us to do so. Every other answer will be inappropriate. Why? I will explain it from the perspective of two groups of Muslims:

1. For those of you who get into these discussions with non-Muslims just because they are your friends or colleagues who are curious about your ‘abnormal’ behaviour, perhaps your objective is that they form a good opinion about Islam or they do not think you are weird. If that is the nature and purpose of your discussion, my comment is:

Explain as much as you like about all the reasons you can fathom about why we offer salaah or not eat pork, etc., no explanation of yours will be good enough to really satisfy your non-Muslim listeners. They may be polite and appear to be understanding, but none of your reasons is going to convince them that you are doing the right thing. Some may say it and some may not, but for every reason you give they will have a counter point. They may accept you as you are and understand that you have to do what you have to do, and they may even do special things to help you in your practices, but they will never in their heart be convinced of your reasons.

Hence, instead of giving all those explanations which no one really buys, if you answer, “I do it because my Lord commanded me to do so”; it will be a lot better. It gives them a better message. It tells them that you have great respect for your God, you take your religion seriously and that you are a man of principle. As a follow up to this response, then you can continue with something like: “Obviously Allaah does not command anything unless there is goodness in it for human beings. For example, ta da ta da ta da, but these are just examples. There might be a zillion other reasons which we do not know because we finite human beings cannot know or understand everything in the infinite knowledge and wisdom of Allaah.” Not only such a statement is more accurate from Islamic perspective, but also that the listener cannot refute all your reasons (openly or in his heart) because they are so many that are unknown.

Depending on the audience, sometimes you may have add some other points as well. You may want to make a point that one does not have to know the reasons to follow the rule of law and to benefit from it; and then give an example of a local law your audience is familiar with. For example to my neighbour I can say, “I do not know the rhyme or reason why they have set the speed limit on Keatsway to 40KM, but it does not mean that I can disregard it. It also does not mean that I leave everything else aside until I find out why they set this limit why not 30, 50 or 60.” The reality is that we neither need to know the reasons for the rules nor we have the capacity to find all the reasons. When it is true for worldly rules devised by human beings, what about the Infinite God?

2. For those of you who are trying your best to do your job that Allaah has obligated us to do and, thus, are actively involved in da’wah, your objective naturally is to open the heart and mind of the person to Islam so that he becomes a Muslim.

The most important thing for you to remember is that you can never bring a person to Islam by discussing Islamic commands or rules. Commands and rules are for believers. They should never be the centre of any discussion with non-believers. The focus of the discussion with them should always be faith. Faith is the only thing to which we invite other people. Once, they accept faith, then we should start talking about commands and rules. If the Islamic practices come into discussion, they should be very briefly dealt with as described in the previous paragraphs and the discussion should be diverted towards the matters of faith. If the audience expresses some concerns with Islamic practices, the concerns should be allayed briefly and discussion brought back to Allaah and His attributes and rationality of faith etc.

This is the wisdom of da’wah we learn from the Qur-aan and the Sunnah of our Prophet and the Sunnah of previous prophets. Call to Islam is always done on the matters of faith, never on the basis of the commands or rules of the religion. The Prophet invited people to say laa ilaaha illallaah, muhammadurrasoolullaah. He never asked non-believers that come I invite you to pray and fast. He taught his companions to invite people to faith; when they accept faith, then teach them about salaah; when they have learnt it, then teach them about sowm; etc. one step at a time.

We must learn the style of Yousuf, how he converted the discussion about dreams into da’wah towards faith.

The bottom line is that the focus our discussion with non-Muslims must be around faith. If other points come into the discussion, they should be acknowledged, briefly addressed and used as a lever to get back into the discussion of faith and invitation to it.

Someone may say: Even to allay non-Muslims concerns briefly or to give examples of benefits, we need to discuss these things among Muslims and learn them. First of All, usually these points will be such points that any practising Muslim will know from his personal practice and the basic Islamic knowledge of the Qur-aan and Hadeeth. So no special discussion is usually needed on these topics. Secondly, such discussions currently should be discouraged because much of Muslim energies and resources are being wasted on these discussions instead of channelling those energies to the obedience of Allaah SWT. Right now our need is to emphasize and practise: We listen and we obey.
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