Fitrah 

If you’re trying to determine what kind of Muslim I am, you won’t find an answer, because I’m not interested in that nonsense. We’re not asked to use any of the labels which seem to occupy so many Muslims nowadays. What we’re called to is quite simple.

And who is better in speech than one who invites to God and does righteousness and says, “Indeed, I am of the Muslims” ?

Qur’an 41:33

I have no interest in declaring the faith of my fellow believers faulty, simply for following the wrong scholars, or wearing the wrong colour turban, or for having been raised in one tradition or another, or for belonging to an ethnic group largely associated with one particular sect. None of that is any of my business. Each of us will be judged individually according to our own deeds and intentions. Surely God is most just.

Turn in repentance to Him, and fear Him and establish prayer and do not be of those who associate others with God. Or of those who have divided their religion and become sects, every faction rejoicing in what it has.

Qur’an 30:31-33

There is nothing religious about sectarianism: it’s just politics. Go back to the origins of each schism and you will see this clearly. Why waste your time with it when it is clearly condemned by the One to whom we will all return?

Indeed, those who have divided their religion and become sects — you are not with them in anything. Their affair is with God; then He will inform them about what they used to do.

Qur’an 6:159

What does it matter what kind of Muslim I am? Why is it important that you define me before you decide whether to treat me with respect or not? That too is censured in the strongest possible terms by the One who will judge us fairly.

And hold firmly to the rope of God all together and do not become divided. And remember the favour of God upon you — when you were enemies and He brought your hearts together and you became, by His favour, brothers. And you were on the edge of a pit of the Fire, and He saved you from it. Thus does God make clear to you His verses that you may be guided.

Qur’an 3:103

From the very first moment I took up this path, many of my fellow believers have devoted themselves to declaring my faith suspect. One group due to the friends who took me under their wing in those early days. Later, some of those early friends due to me gravitating towards other understandings. In recent years, another group for refusing to identify with one label, or one school of thought. It goes on like this.

I don’t care about any of that nonsense, and neither should you. That’s not the path we are called to. Stop trying to find out who my sheikhs are, or who I associate with. None of that stuff matters. We’re simply asked to live good lives, performing righteous deeds: to feed the poor, to look after widows and orphans, to be fair in trade, to free slaves, to give people their due, to speak the truth and uphold justice.

Our job is not to pronounce on the faith of others; that is between them and their Lord. If I am to be condemned, let it be for my sins, not for a club you believe I must belong to. We were enemies and God brought our hearts together, and we became by His favour brethren. Thus the only words you will find on my tongue remain: “Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah!”

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