Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
There are all sorts of messed up modernists running around . They are saying all sorts of messed up things about Islam, about the Shariat, about the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), about how we understand the Quran . So, how do we deal with them?
In the Name of Allah, Most Merciful and Compassionate.
May Allah’s blessings and peace be on His Messenger Muhammad, and his folk, companions, and followers.
We have to understand, first, that all Muslims share a wide common groundregardless of methodology and understanding. We all believe in Allah and His Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him). We all accept the guidance the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) came with for our worship and life, and see it as being the right way.
Then, we differ.
As individuals, we should leave matters of discussion and disputation to scholars, and concern ourselves with action rather than mere talk. On the Day of Judgment, mere talk will be of little benefit. The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) told us, “It is from the excellence of one’s Islam to leave that which doesn’t concern one. [Related by Tirmidhi; Nawawi confirmed that it is sound (hasan)]
How to differ
When we differ, we should do so in light of the example of the Beloved Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace). He personified gentleness, mercy, and being positive. He emphasized the common ground in matters of difference and disagreement, and looked at the bigger picture. His Lord praised him for this:
“It is from the mercy of Allah that you were gentle with them. Had you been harsh and hard with them, they would surely have turned away from you. So overlook their errors; seek forgiveness for them; and consult them in your affairs. And when you decide, place your trust in Allah, for Allah loves those who place their trust in Him.” [Qur’an, 3.159]
Thus, if we engage people who differ with us in this manner, we will find that our differences will diminish, and they will be forced to acknowledge that our stance is at least reasonable. Eventually, they may even accept our way as true, because of what they see of the light of Prophetic example in our conduct. Allah promises in the Qur’an that,
“Good and bad are not alike. Repel the bad with what is better and, if there is enmity between you and someone else, he will become like a close friend. None will be granted this but those who are truly steadfast, and none will be granted this save those who have great good fortune.” [Qur’an, 41:33-34]
The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) told us that,
“Allah is gentle and loves gentleness in all matters.” [Bukhari and Muslim, on the authority of A’isha (Allah be pleased with her)]
And he also said (peace and blessings be upon him),
“Allah is gentle and loves gentleness. He gives for gentleness what He does not give for harshness, nor anything else.” [Muslim, also on the authority of A’isha (Allah be pleased with her)]
And he told us (Allah bless him and give him peace) that,
“Whenever gentleness is in a thing it adorns it. Whenever gentleness is removed from anything, it disfigures it.” [Muslim, on the authority of A’isha (Allah be pleased with her)]
At the same time, it is imperative that we have methodological clarity. We should know the way of truth, and follow it. We should know when something is divergent from sound Islamic understanding, and turn awayour concern for that which benefits’ entails turning away from that which doesn’t benefit.
For this methodological clarity, the articles by Shaykh Nuh Keller, Shaykh Hamza Yusuf, and Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad on the way of Sunni Islam are necessary reading in this confused times:
Why Muslims follow Madhhabs – Shaykh Nuh
Shaykh Murabtal Haaj’s Fatwa on Following Madhhabs Shaykh Hamza
Understanding the Four Madhhabs Shaykh Abdal Hakim
Studying hadith on one’s own Shaykh Nuh
Islamic Spirituality The Forgotten Revolution Shaykh Abdal Hakim
The place of Tasawwuf in the Traditional Sciences – Shaykh Nuh
And Allah alone gives success.