Seven Days of Redeeming Islam, Day One - Sufism

As a secular leftist from a family with a long history of socialism, I am not what you’d consider a natural ally of Islam.

Yet recently I feel like the heights of Islamaphobia within mainstream Western discourse has gotten to such that even I cannot sit idly by and make snide remarks at an organised largely conservative religion.

"If Islam is such a beautiful faith, why don’t people condemn the extremists?" goes the common refrain.

The idea that Islam is a homogeneous group, where the mainstream tolerates Salafist, Wahabist and Jihadist schools which have come to represent the worst excesses of the Islamic faith has got to stop.

Why don’t Muslims do anything about their own extremists? The simple answer is that they do. Tens of thousands of Muslims have given up their life in the fight against radical Wahabit, Salafist tendencies.

Therefore I’ve resolved, for the next week, to make a daily post to show the world that Islam, like all faiths, has it’s ugly but also beautiful aspects, from large to small.

Day one: Sufism

Sufism, often known as the “mystics of Islam”, is a denomination of Islam which believes in personal enlightenment in achieving one-ness with God.

They believe that enlightenment transcends religions, and hold that saints from all religions are equal as they have all achieved one-ness with Allah.

Sufism is one of the greatest victims of fundamentalist Islam. All across the world hardline Islamists have smashed Sufist mosques, terrorised and killed Sufists. In Mali the extreme Wahabists’ earliest act upon conquering northern Mali was to smash Sufist tombs and monuments.

Yet despite all the constant terror in their lives, the Sufists keep enduring, the Sufists keep praying, and the Sufists keep dancing.

wa alaikum assalam brothers and sisters

(This is a series of photo and text posts called “Seven Days of Redeeming Islam”, please follow me on http://perfect-payload.tumblr.com/ for more posts)

Check out and share Shahla Khan Salter’s recent blog piece in Huffington Post Canada: “Ordinary Muslims Part 1: There Is No Islam In ISIS”. 

Here’s an excerpt:

"Recent news that several young Canadian men, including two Calgary brothers, died fighting for ISIS has shocked Canada’s Muslim community — the vast majority of whom scoff at the notion that the terrorists who have overrun Syria and Iraq are acting upon authentic Islamic teachings, much less a compose a “caliphate.”

Yet no matter how it much it makes us Muslims cringe upon hearing the words “Islamic State” whenever we watch the news, some pundits maintain that the atrocities committed by ISIS and other terrorist organizations are correctly rooted in Islam.

So where are all the moderate Muslims? Not far if you care to hear them. Folks from all schools of thought from inside Muslim communities are shouting out their condemnation of ISIS. As progressive Muslims argue the wahabist ideology of ISIS is hardly Islamic, having extinguished all mercy and humanitarian compassion from Islamic tenets, conservative Muslims, whom some would term wahabists, are quick to emphasize that their own strict reading of Muslim scriptures and laws clearly prohibit the criminal behaviour of ISIS.

The internet is rife with speculation in respect to ISIS’ origins. That said, most would agree that in a region ruled by dictators who promote the world wide proliferation of intolerant wahabism, and whose rule is legitimized by western interests — any conflict that is not suppressed and extinguished immediately, has the potential to create a catastrophe. And though it comes as no surprise, ISIS is the region’s greatest catastrophe of our time.”

For the rest of the article click here: http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/shahla-khan-salter/isis-islam_b_5749110.html

Photo from here: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/hundreds-of-calgary-muslims-protest-isis-violence-in-iraq-1.2683589

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