Accountability is a lighthouse when the fog of life sets in
By: Suhaib Webb
These days are hard. From Gaza, Ferguson and ISIS, it is difficult to have insight into where the world is today. That question is important. But of more importance is asking where it is now! After all, the answer to that question, is the answer to the first. However, there are times when the fog of the future blinds us from seeing the demands of today.
I woke up the other day and decided to skim through my body of work over the last few years. Boy was I surprised at some of my posts and talks – the tone and the demonization of others – I compared ISIS to Ebola!
While I don’t agree with ISIS, al-Qāida, certain progressives and others, I ‘ve decided to apologize to anyone that I have spoken ill towards or demonized. I ask Allah to forgive me and to guide me to observe better character in the future. I asked myself, “Suhaib did you forget the 49th chapter of the Qur’an, Surah al-Hujurāt?”
Moving forward, I promise myself to address ideas instead of people, to be critical of thoughts instead of personalities and to commit to ethics as best I can. That will create a better climate to unpack and examine current trends in our community, but ensure that I recognize other’s humanity and worth. Sometimes, I find myself forgetting humility, blinded by my own shine.
Please, Allah, forgive me and raise me by making me humble!
Once a scholar requested another scholar for a debate.
The latter responded –
“I will agree under the following conditions:
1. Our aim is the truth not our ambitions
2. We do not make fun of each other or label each other with evil nicknames
3. We address ideas and not each other
4. We do not laugh at, or cause others, to laugh at us
5. We do not try and evoke anger in each other
6. If we say something that offends the other party, we assume the best. If our assumption grows, we ask for clarification
7. We maintain our humanity
8. We do not address others while debating
9. We begin and end with salam
10. If we assume the other person has said something outside of orthodoxy, we assume the best about them until we have clarification
If you agree to that, I will debate you.”
Recently, I’ve noticed a trend in our communities to demonize those we don’t agree (Coconuts (racial term) Fanboys (Insensitive and demonizing). I understand the need to distance ourselves from some personalities and groups, but demonizing them could have the opposite effect – it could create sympathy to their cause. God knows why that happens, but sincerity exists in ethics and unpacking ideas. Not dressing others down.
Once Imām Shāfi’i and his student got in a heated argument. Such, that the student stood up and stomped off in anger. Imam al-Shāf’i ran after him and said something that we should all ponder:
“Don’t forget our brotherhood!”
I ask Allah (swt) to bless me and protect me from my evil. I ask him to give me insight in foggy times and to forgive me for my shortcomings.
Posted on September 28, 2014, in ARTICLES and tagged accountability, accountability is a lighthouse when the fog of life sets in, agree, al qaida, Allah, chapter, conditions, fog, fog of life, future, God, guidance, in, isis, islam, islamic article, knowledge, learn, lighthouse, quran, scholar, sets, suhaib, suhaib webb, surah al hujurat, webb, wisdom. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.
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