“Who was Muhammad? By Non Muslims.”

Listening to this left me feeling ambivalent. In fact, maybe even somewhat saddened by the fact that through all the texts that I read by Islamic scholars, lectures that I heard from our local Imams, and discussions with so many practising Muslims, none of them have imbued an appreciation of the magnanimity of the achievements of Rasulullah (SAW) the way these non-Muslim scholars have.

What strikes me most powerfully in this video clipping is the simple context within which they present the enormity of the personality and the relevance to the time within which this all took place. It feels as if, as Muslims, we’re taught so much to revere, that we’ve lost the true appreciation of exactly how amazing a personality our Prophet (SAW) was. Appreciation, respect and admiration of a man first, and then a prophet of Allah (SAW). We’ve taken respect to the extreme and lost the true essence of the life lessons by cloaking it all in terms of ‘Sunnah’ and ‘Shari’ah’. 

I’m not discounting the importance of understanding, appreciating and practising the Sunnah, or living within the confines of the Shari’ah, but there is something about the way in which it is taught in Islamic institutions that somehow robs it of its true value. This has left me with so many conflicting thoughts, but the strongest of which is a reaffirmation of the fact that Islam in its practised form has degenerated into a cult for the most part. 

We seem to live as Muslims independent of our real lives. We’ve separated Islam from life, but apply the rules of Islam to life. How can it be different, especially if we always profess it to be a way of life??? Almost like the Christian Monks, we see a normal life as being separate from a religious one. This is all so confusing and even more difficult to express, but it’s somehow embedded at the core of this very same struggle that I’m trying so hard to articulate in the hope that it would make sense and allow me to rationalise it to a point where it ceases to be a struggle and instead becomes a purposeful endeavour. 

I see and feel the beauty of Islam beyond the pulpits, beyond the veil and certainly beyond the rhetoric and dress code that seems to be mandatory if you’re to be accepted in the scholarly circles. And the views presented in this video flies in the face of that rigid intolerance. I can’t help but feel like we’ve taken the Sunnah and contaminated it with our excessive interpretations and personal implementations to the point where it’s so difficult to tell what is optional and what is compulsory any more. 

The simple beauty of Islam…it’s a rare sight these days. 


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