Tahriym, or the process of making something haram (forbidden) is so common amongst Muslims these days. Especially with the brothers, I should clarify. As with the aforementioned article, Sunnah, Bid’ah and What Lies Therein, we have seen that we have a plethora of people speaking out the side of their necks with no knowledge or authority to do so. While this may or may not be a new phenomenon, it is none the less causing some serious problems, as well as real bid’ah (see the article to get an idea on the definition of bid’ah).
First, we should look at examples of what is and isn’t haram and how we have gotten to that ruling. Here are some examples from the Qur’an
- “Forbidden for you are carrion, blood and the flesh of swine” [5:2]
- “And he encourages them to good deeds and forbids for them evil ones” [7:157]
These are just a few plain examples. The verb, harrama (to forbid something – 2nd baab) is used in its passive voice, hurrima. So, it’s plain to see and there’s no argument. The first example is God relating that He has forbidden for us carrion, blood and the flesh of swine. The second example is God talking about the Prophet Muhammad and how he taught the Message to the people. One outlined by God, the other by the Prophet . Both divine commandments. We are also told to not go near zinah, or fornication. Again, pretty simple stuff. Now, on to the fuzzy part (or the not-so-fuzzy part, really).
First, let’s just say that by someone coming out and forbidding something without strong, justifiable cause, without sufficient knowledge and background, in opposition to something that we know happened in the Prophet’s presence (meaning he allowed it) and giving that commandment the ruling (and I do mean ruling in the jurisprudence voice here) of haram is bid’ah. Because once again, you are saying you have a better way of doing something than the Prophet did. Which we all know, isn’t possible. So now that we’ve all had a review let’s go to my case-in-point: Non-Muslims in the mosque.
This past weekend I had some friends in from out of town. During their stay I thought I’d swing them by the mosque so that they could see what it is I do and why I’ve been so excited to be here in Philadelphia (that excitement is waning as we speak). I brought them inside for the maghrib prayer (the evening prayer). I quickly noticed the error of my judgment because the reaction of the Muslims in the mosque was so negative, so uninviting that as soon as the prayer finished, I hustled them both out into the street and took off, post haste. What was it that I had done wrong to elicit such a response out of my mosque, my community? It would seem that the ghost of Salafi-Past still haunts these barrows (and the ghost of Nation-Past, too).
The next day I had a flood of complaints leveled at me (to understand the gravity of this more, I have been granted the status of Assistant by the imam of the mosque) claiming that I broke the adab or etiquette of the mosque. That I defiled the sanctity of the mosque by bring “unbelievers” into the mosque and that it was haram to bring non-Muslims into the mosque and it was haram for one of them to be a woman especially (no special mention was made of the man).
After talking this incident over with the imam as well as several other of my friends and colleagues, we could find no validation for the reaction (actually, all found it to be quite embarrassing on part of the mosque). Nor was any proof uncovered to support the ruling of haram for bringing non-Muslims into the mosque. To be quite honest, the problem was that they were two white people in a predominantly all-Black mosque. And all of the complaints were leveled at the woman, although she was covered from head to foot (she wore an over-sized sweatshirt with the hood pulled up to imitate hijab as well as baggy trousers). The man, who was dressed in shorts that did not cover his knees (they barely covered all of his thighs) received none of the scorn. How sick is this. This was a monumentally embarrassing moment for me and it completely squandered a wonderful opportunity for da’wah (giving information on what the religion is like/about). My name was slandered behind my back and my character was called into question. Is this the religion of Muhammad ? I say not, though you’d be hard pressed these days to find otherwise.
Until these kinds of social sicknesses are cured I see a troubled, dark time ahead for Muslims here. We must, must, find a way to leave behind all of this senseless bickering, backbiting and most of all, street corner fatwahs that do no one any good.