And the deadly sins of sheikhs continue:
1- Placing too much emphasis on rituals and jurisprudence
Rituals of worships are important of course. But what I’ve noticed is that as a community it has become easy for many individuals to become bogged down by the details of jurisprudence and miss the bigger picture. What is this bigger picture?
How about spirituality? closeness to God? ethics?
We’re losing touch with the spirit of Islam and this is largely due to the disproportionate focus by sheikhs on the details of how to perform rituals correctly as opposed to engaging with deeper theological subjects. The result is that we are producing generations with very superficial understandings of Islam. People with weak grasps of ethics who are easily swayed towards radicalism or abandoning religion all together. This links to the following point:
2- Being out of touch with Western/competing ideologies
There are many sheikhs out there who don’t seem to understand the importance of engaging with Western secular ideologies. They have this mentality of wanting to shield the masses from the ‘corrupting influence’ of atheists or any other ‘non-Islamic’ way of thinking. But the fact of the matter is that we’re living in a globalized 21st century and exposure to other ideologies is part of life (unless you’re living under a rock, which I don’t recommend).
These individuals understand very little about the attraction of liberal ways of thinking and even at times look down on forward thinking scholars who choose to enter into important discussions with Western thought.
What is happening now is that many young men and women are turning their backs on Islam because these sheikhs are too ignorant of the opposing arguments to be able to address their concerns effectively. Answering questions about the existence of God and good and evil are disregarded for petty discussions on the meaning of purity and correct ablution (I really wish I was joking here). Lots of Muslims unfortunately have no real foundation for their beliefs because they have not been taught the essentials needed to hold together the belief system of any monotheist. It takes one book by Richard Dawkins and everything they ever believed in crumbles to dust.
3- Not practicing what they preach
Sheikhs are human, so naturally they make mistakes. But if you’re selling something to someone, you should believe in your own product. Why would anyone buy what you’re saying when all they can see is corruption, scandals, bad language and backward behavior? I truly believe that one of the most damaging things to Islam is waking up to see those practicing it oppress others, lie and backbite. If Islam hasn’t made you a better, kinder, more tolerant, merciful person, then why the hell do you expect anyone to listen to you when you’re throwing a fit over a woman exposing her hair or ankles?
4-Not getting their priorities in order
The quickest way to have someone shoot themselves in the head is to have them read these awful preaching whatsapp messages that go around.
Astaghfurulla, women these day don’t wear socks.
Astaghfurulla, look at these flashy abayas.
Breaking new! Have you been sitting on your butt like diagrams one and three? If so then you prayers are invalid.
Watch sheikh bla bla talk about the ten things you’ve been eating that are actually haram.
The next time someone complains about the ‘immodesty’ of my feet, I may just walk out my house in a bikini. (that was a joke, everyone take a deep breath)
These sheikhs know nothing about the struggles of being a Muslim woman- but this is a post for another day.
Point is- get your priorities in order. Maybe focus on how a lot of men don’t give a damn about any of the ACTUAL five pillars of Islam. How they don’t pray, fornicate freely and basically do whatever they like without fear of social rejection. Then we can discuss ankles, exposed wrists and all that other rubbish people like to obsess over.