A message unheard

I’m pro-madhab and adhere to one as much as I am able. Even so, I’m tired of the trouncing absolutism of Traditionalists who attack anyone who questions a ruling that a scholar of the past arrived at, however questionable or absurd.

Clearly I am an ignoramus, a nobody and a fool, so lambast away. But many of those written off as mischievous reformers are in fact learned travellers of the path, schooled in fiqh and the Qur’an, with ijazahs in the transmission of hadith. They have a right to speak and be heard.

Surely literalist Traditionalists have a problem when it comes to some of the events of the day. How often do we hear individuals blaming Wahhabis for one extreme or another, quite oblivious to the fact that supporting rulings exist in the school of fiqh they so rigidly claim to adhere to?

Perhaps ignorance is a legitimate defence, but in that case don’t castigate those who do know for deriving a different conclusion from their deep and considered study of the Qur’an.

It is one thing to criticize a fool like me, troubled by the notion held by scholars that a clear Qur’anic ruling was abrogated by a forgotten ayah with suspect wording lost from the mushaf when it was eaten by a goat.

It is quite another to criticize those who have dedicated their lives to the pursuit of sacred knowledge, who have mastered the qirat of the Qur’an, who have travelled the world to sit with scholars, who have ijazahs most of us could only dream of. Some humility might be in order.

But of course the attacks will continue. My friends will now denounce me for writing this. We will continue to put the Qur’an on the side and make it subservient to tradition, politics and the honour of great men. The learned will defend their own absolutism and speak of Progressives, Modernists and Liberals, while the unlearned will continue to blame the Wahhabis for every ill that befalls us.

For it is easier to call people names than to consider what they are saying and engage their heartfelt, thoughtful arguments.

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