Friday , September 25 2020
enfaps

Principled, not tit-for-tat attitude

Department: Orientation and Facilitation Centre

Course: Comparative Religion (مقارنة الادیان)

Lesson: Principled, not tit-for-tat attitude

Date: August 16th, 2020

We saw in our last lesson that the Islamic approach is to preserve others’ places of worship for the people who worship there, not to take these places of worship over for the Muslims. We cited the example of Umar, who refused to pray in the Church of the Sepulchre in Jerusalem, on the invitation of the Patriarch Sophronius. Umar’s reluctance was based on the fear that Muslims would then consider the church sacred for them, since Umar had prayed there.

There is another basic point to be kept in mind here. Some of those who justify the recent conversion of the Hagia Sophia cathedral in Istanbul into a mosque say that Christians turned the Mosque of Cordoba into a church. So why should Muslims not turn the Hagia Sophia cathedral into a mosque?

It may have been turned into a cathedral, but the Mosque of Cordoba still looks like a mosque 

The reason is that a Muslims’ action should not be on a tit-for-tat basis. A Muslim is expected to act on the basis of firm Islamic principles, rather than basing his actions on what others have done to him. 

‘Christians turned the Mosque of Cordoba into a Church, so we are also justified in turning the cathedral of Hagia Sophia into a mosque’ – this is a tit-for-tat mentality. It does not befit a Muslim. It means he is forsaking Islamic principles, and adopting the principles of other religions, of other communities.

Here also, we need to look no further than a quotation of Umar’al-Farooq:

ما عاقبت  من عصی الله فیك بمثل ان تطیع الله فیه

There is no better retribution towards one who has disobeyed Allah with regard to you, than that you should obey Allah, in his regard.

(Umar ibn’al-Khattab, quoted in Tafseer Ibn Kathir)

Where does this mentality come from, whether it is Mughals invading India or Ottomans setting up their empire in Constantinople (Istanbul), they appear more interested in taking over other religions’ places of worship than winning the hearts and minds of their non-Muslim subjects.

This approach comes from lack of dawa mentality: a lack of resolve to work for the elevation of the Word of Allah. Creating such a mentality, as the name of our institute – Mahad’ad-Dawa – implies, is the central aim of MDI. We will look at some examples, of this crying need of the Muslim ummah, in our next dars, Inshallah.

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