Man vs message

The defenders of the activist aristocracy tell us:

Stop treating celebrity faith leaders as if they’re infallible… instead, focus on the messages / ideas they present.

Yes, they tell us, we must separate the character of the man from the value of his work. And so they insist:

Muslims are not perfect. Some don’t fast. Some don’t pray. Some have pre-marital sex. Some gamble. Some drink. We all sin differently. But we will all be judged equally. Stop the “good Muslim” vs. “bad Muslim” narrative. Accept that being Muslim means to be a work in progress.

And finally:

This case can be utilised as a learning process for our community to learn how to overlook people’s faults, the way the Prophet (PBUH) used to do.

Comforting platitudes, to be sure, but are these really the teachings of our religion? Rather, the Qur’an speaks perpetually of justice, of fulfilling obligations, of avoiding sins big and small, of following what has been revealed rather than vain desires.

Yet seldom are the words of the Qur’an recalled. Contrary to the claims of those intent on absolving men accused of wrongdoing of their sins, the equality of judgement is expounded by the Qur’an in terms such as these:

“Indeed, the Muslim men and Muslim women, the believing men and believing women, the obedient men and obedient women, the truthful men and truthful women, the patient men and patient women, the humble men and humble women, the charitable men and charitable women, the fasting men and fasting women, the men who guard their private parts and the women who do so, and the men who remember God often and the women who do so — for them God has prepared forgiveness and a great reward.” — Qur’an 33:35

Yes, being a Muslim means being a work in progress, but those of us caught in the grip of sin do not convince ourselves that such as state is acceptable in the eyes of our Lord. Of course, we pray and hope for His forgiveness, but nevertheless acknowledge that righteousness is the state we aspire to.

Our advocacy for the activist aristocracy conveniently forgets these words attributed to the Prophet himself:

“The people before you were destroyed because they used to inflict the legal punishments on the poor and forgive the rich…”

A different message to the one promulgated by our very fallible celebrity leaders and their supporters.

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