Myth busted!

A recent “fatwa” by a Canadian Muslim scholar Sheikh Ahmad Kutty reveals, contrary to popular belief, it is not the ideal of Islam to convert everyone to become Muslim or under Islamic law known as shariah.

Muslims’ duty is not to convert the world to Islam; rather it is limited to witnessing the truth of Islam. This is best done by living Islam in word, deed, and behavior. Once Muslims have thus witnessed the truth of Islam, they have fulfilled their mandate. Allah says, [And thus We have made you a medium (just) nation that you may be the bearers of witness to the people and (that) the Messenger [Muhammad] may be a bearer of witness to you] (Al-Baqarah 2:143).

Muslims are not allowed to go beyond the above to coerce people to embrace Islam. To do so is clearly contrary to the Qur’anic imperative that states,
[There is no compulsion in religion; truly the right way has become clearly distinct from error; therefore, whoever disbelieves in satan and believes in Allah, he indeed has laid hold on the firmest handle, which shall not break off, and Allah is All-Hearing, All-Knowing] (Al-Baqarah 2:256).

Furthermore, we are also told time and again that people are free to choose to believe or disbelieve, and that each one is ultimately responsible for the choice he or she has made. It further adds that it is up to Allah to guide people. The Qur’an goes on to state clearly,
[Yet no faith will the greater part of mankind have, however ardently You [Muhammad] does desire it] (Yusuf 12:103).

Muslims are, therefore, to confine themselves to serve as witnesses of truth by observing the methodology as enunciated by the Qur’an,

[Call (all mankind) unto your Lord’s way with wisdom and goodly exhortation, and argue with them in the most kindly manner: for, behold, your Lord knows best as to who stray from His path, and best knows He as to who are the right-guided] (An-Nahl 16:125).

Kutty, for those who don’t remember or know, was one of several Muslims detained by American officials in 2003 while on a trip to Florida to speak at an Islamic conference.  It goes without saying, he didn’t make it, but coming so quickly after the 911 attacks this writer wonders why would authorities seek to silence the voice of one who makes the types of proclamations quoted above? Kutty asks an even more pointed question.

“Some Muslims used to call me a paid agent of America because I stood up for their ideals of freedom and dignity … These are the kinds of values that we want to teach, the universal values, instead of the cultural baggage that so many immigrants bring with them from India or the Middle East …

“But if the American immigration officials can go after me and Hamid who are well-known for preaching moderation, what happens to ordinary Muslims?”

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