Secondary discussions and the lamentable ignorance of Muslims

بِسْمِ اللَّـهِ الرَّحْمَـٰنِ الرَّحِيم

When I see the huge amount of discussions about the actions of this or that Muslim, or about the specifics of this or that Islamic rule, I feel bad that most of the discussions are being carried out on matters of secondary or even tertiary importance as far as Islam is concerned. Sometimes, one might go on for pages at a time on some Islamic discussion boards without there being even one matter being discussed with a non-Muslim that is tied to a central aspect of the Islamic faith.

As a rule of efficiency, we should only discuss the main issues, establish them with certainty, then whatever certainty is reached there, take that as a definite basis for talking about everything else. I think that most Muslims have unfortunately just lost this broad picture, and the truth is that it comes down to the ignorance of what constitutes an “indubitable proof” versus “secondary evidence”. And lamentably, I see this ignorance only getting worse with each passing day. 

Yes, it is true that this is the apparent result of the chokehold that the current world order – with its emphasis on the temporal world, embodied in allegiance to the country and temporal material happiness – has on the upbringing and subsequent lives of people; in the current scenario, the desire to formally study Islam is surprisingly relegated to the liberal arts faculties of non-Muslim institutions. Definitely, Madrasahs do exist and they do offer good traditional education, but this is generally looked down upon even in the Muslim communities; and in today’s climate of fear about Islam, the simple mentioning of the term “Madrasah” will send chills down the spines of many Muslims.

But even so, the Muslim cannot remain ignorant of the Usool (fundamentals) of the religion and the proofs upon which Islam is based (for example, the proof of the Existence of Allah, the proof of the miraculous nature of the Qur’an, the different types of rational and narrated textual evidence and how they combine to establish the faith). Alhamdulillah, the classical Islamic texts are still available, their commentaries are there, and most importantly, traditional scholars are still in our midst who can teach us based on the texts. So it is imperative for the Muslims to act based on what is still available to us, for otherwise, we cannot blame anyone but ourselves when secondary discussions with non-Muslims are carried out on their terms and with their prerequisites.

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