By Imam Vernon M. Fareed
In an attempt to put our finger on the culprit for the malicious acts committed in the name of the religion of Al-Islam, it’s important that we be fair and honest in our quest. Additionally, there are numerous foreign ideas and concepts that Muslims have embraced that lead to misunderstandings about the faith. Some of these things are not that glaring and obvious, so they don’t jump out at you, and neither do they seem to be of great importance.
However, the acceptance of any foreign idea, ritual or symbol impacts the purity of the religion and consequently the image and intent of it is distorted. So it is important that we let the chips fall where they may! It would be great if the Muslim world would join together in rejecting these foreign concepts that have been embraced by so many among us. It would represent a universal rejection of the schemes of those who want to advance the wrong image of Al-Islam. In light of this, “we openly appeal to Muslims around the world to reject the following ideas, symbols and rituals, and declare that they do not represent our faith.”
One of the most important ideas that Muslims should universally reject is the name attributed to our religion. The proper name of our religion (based upon evidence in the Qur’an) is Al-Islam and not Islam! We don’t have the time or space to expound on the importance of this, but just based on this being a fact should be good enough for the believers. The Qur’an says it, and this should be sufficient. Using “Islam” as the name for the religion does not carry the same meaning as saying, “Al-Islam!” We therefore appeal to Muslims worldwide to begin using the proper name for our religion.
Muslims should also reject the use of the following terms in reference to the faith of Al-Islam; (1) sunni Muslim (2) orthodox Islam (3) shi’ah Muslim (4) moderate Muslim (5) radical Islam, etc. These are all misnomers and oxymorons; they only serve those interested in dividing Muslims and distorting the true religion. The truth of the matter is that the Qur’an and Allah’s Messenger (Muhammad ppbuh), never used any of these terms to refer to the religion of Al-Islam nor to its following. We are hearing more and more Muslims use these terms, and I don’t believe that many of them realize the harmful implications it has! What does the phrase i.e., “orthodox Islam” imply? It implies “that which is accepted as true and correct by most people.” The faith for Muslims is not based upon what is “accepted to be true and correct by most people,” it is established upon what is true and correct based on the Revelation of the Qur’an and the life example and teachings of Muhammad the Prophet (ppbuh). Our appeal therefore is that Muslims (worldwide) will cease using any of these foreign terms!
Often we see the star and crescent promoted as the symbol representing the religion of Al-Islam, and this truly hurts the image of our faith. During the crusades the Christians raised the cross as a symbol (of war), and those misguided Muslims raised the star and crescent. So if we really understand it, the star and the crescent (in this con text) are symbols of war and our religion is one of peace! Despite some so-called Muslims countries using these symbols, they cannot represent the faith of Al-Islam! I ask you to tell me, “what symbol did Muhammad the Prophet tell us to use?” I believe you know the answer to that question! Imam W. Deen Mohammed (may Allah have Mercy on him and grant him Paradise) once said, “the best picture to show of Muslims is when they are in sajdah (prostrate in prayer).” Muslims should universally reject this symbol (star and crescent) as representing the religion of Al-Islam.
The use of the greeting, “salaam alaikum” instead of “As Salaamu Alaikum” has meant that Muslims have accepted a lesser greeting for the more appropriate one! This is laziness and rebellion on the part of Muslims, and once they understand the different meanings that these two convey, they should want to express the better greeting. Muslims universally should use the greeting that implies, “may the Peace of Allah (G-d) be upon you.”
There are many more ideas, rituals and symbols that Muslims should reject, but we don’t have the space and time to bring them to your attention. However, we hereby openly appeal to Muslims worldwide, to reject these foreign matters that have infiltrated our religion, and to take a formal, open and united stand declaring such! We stand ready to join those who want to represent the purity of our faith as espoused in the Revelation of the Quran, and in the life example and teachings of Muhammad the Prophet (the prayers and the peace be upon him). Let us (Muslims) not add to the confusion and misrepresentation of Al-Islam by embracing foreign concepts!