Islam Given by Allah or Islam Invented by Mullah?
By Dr Aslam Abdullah
Las Vegas, Nevada
Which Islam do we follow in general? An Islam that was revealed by Allah and lived and practiced by the Prophet or an Islam that was invented by those who claimed to be gatekeepers of Islam? Which Islam would we prefer? An Islam introduced to us by Allah and His messenger or an Islam imposed by those whom we call clerics or clergy, realizing fully well that Islam does not recognize this category of people? Which Islam is genuine? An Islam that establishes the supremacy of Allah or an Islam that turns a scholar a spokesperson of Allah? Who would determine what Islam is genuine and what Islam is not? The only way to answer this and other related questions is to have some objective criteria that do not reflect personal choices or opinions. Otherwise, each would answer the question according to his or her own subjective interpretations of Islam. Moreover, the subjective opinion be based on the school of thought that each one answering these questions represent. Hanbali, Hanafi, Ibadis,Maliki, Sufis, Jafaris, Shafais and their sub sects or Tablighi, Ikhwan, Hizb Tahrir or Jamatis would answer it according to what their ideologues or religious leaders tell them. In fact, if we look at the way Muslims have defined and practiced Islam, one can easily notice the subjectivity in their approach of understanding Islam. Most of the approaches that we Muslims have been following are based on personal loyalties to individuals, parties, sects as well as traditions handed down to us by our families. We are sunnis because we are born in a sunni family. We are hanbali or hanafis because we are born in these sects. We join parties because we are mesmerized by the leadership who appealed us most in its understanding of Islam. The fact of the matter is that we follow our own subjective understanding in deciding what Islam we live. If we are following an Islam that is determined by the clergy and clerics, or the groups or parties then what is wrong in inventing an Islam on our own? So we need an objective criteria. For Muslims this criterion is the Qur'an and the way the Prophet lived the Qur'an in his life time. We are certain about the accuracy of the Qur'an because, the one who ensured that each and every word of the Qur'an is preserved in its original form was none other than the one who was chosen by the Creator as His messenger. But we cannot be hundred percent sure about the preservation and the effectiveness of the methods adopted by scholars after the death of the Prophet till the fourth centuries to determine what is attributed to him especially when nothing that is related to him was ever verified or approved by him. In this situation, one has to refer to the basic source, the Qur'an, to determine the accuracy of what is attributed to the Prophet regardless who is reporting it or how many have been reporting it. The divine guidance cannot be determined on chance. It has to be clear, concise, precise, certain and definite. Based on the criteria, it should become apparent to even a beginner in Islam that there exist two Islams. One that is given by Allah and one that is invented by the gatekeepers or in popular terms Mullah. The Islam that is dominant and in control of Muslim mind is the Islam that is invented by the Mullah. Even though each school of thought and every party and group and leader makes the argument that his Islam is the one that is given by Allah, yet in reality, it is his or her Islam and not the Islam given by Allah or introduced by the Prophet. The masses follow the invented Islam because they are unaware of the criterion to determine what is real and what is concocted. In their ignorance, they are dependent on the clerics that we sometime define by different names. Unless the masses become well versed in the Qur'an, true Islam cannot make its impact upon Muslims or in the world in general. The invented Islam would continue to dominate the world of Muslims leading to more conflicts, and violence. To understand the differences between two Islams, let us just focus on a few simple facts. In the Islam given by Allah, guidance comes from Allah only. In the Islam invented by the clerics or gatekeepers, the Qur'an as the source of guidance is not sufficient. It needs the statements attributed to the Prophet, scholarly opinions, the consensus of scholars and blind following or in the case of some subjective reasoning. Allah says in the Qur'an: Indeed the guidance of Allah is the real guidance. In the Islam of the Mullah, the guidance invented by his or her class over centuries is the guidance. The Qur'an says that Allah has made the Qur'an easy for people to understand. The Mullah says that the Qur'an cannot be understood by average Muslims. They would need the services of a Mullah to teach them the Qur'an. The Qur'an says that when the words of Allah are revealed, the believers reflect upon them and understand them before jumping to any conclusions. The Mullah says that there is no need to reflect on the Qur'an as there is no place of intellect in the comprehension of the divine guidance. The Qur'an says that the guidance is for people to organize their lives on its basis. The Mullah says the words are for only recitation. The Qur'an says it is a book for action. The Mullah says that it is a book of getting blessing. The Qur'an introduces itself as a practical guide for people. The Mullah introduces the Qur'an as a book of magic and charms. The Qur'an asks the believers to read it for the purpose of understanding, reflecting and acting on its contents. The Mullah says that book has to be recited and sung in a particular way. The Qur'an says that its contents are for people in general. The Mullah says that only those who have purifying ablution can touch it. Look at the books of fiqh, look at the rulings on most issues and you would find the Mullah taking a position that often contradicts the Qur'an. What is evident from the above discussion is that the Islam invented by the Mullah is different than the Islam presented to humanity by Allah. In order for us to relate to Islam given by Allah, we have to relate to His book first, understand it, and then live it without the intervention of the Mullah. We can go to teachers to understand some of the things that due to our poor knowledge of history or language or human psychology or physiology or anatomy, we are unable to fully grasp. But ultimately, when we connect with the Qur'an on our own, can we relate with the Islam of Allah. Until then, we are at the mercy of the Mullah for our understanding of Islam. (The writer is the editor of the Muslim Observer and director of the Islamic Society of Nevada)