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Interview (24 May 2018 NewAgeIslam.Com)


Questioning and Exploring are True Tenets of Islam: Sufi Imam Soharwardy


By Scott Douglas Jacobsen

May 22, 2018

 








Prof. Imam Soharwardy is a Sunni scholar and a Shaykh of the Suhrawardi Sufi order, as well as the chairman of the Al-Madinah Calgary Islamic Assembly, founder of Muslims Against Terrorism (MAT), and the founder and president of the Islamic Supreme Council of Canada.

“However, the steps to those make sense in intellectual discussion, not simply blind following or blind beliefs because I was born into a Muslim family. It is because it is a natural, normal, and common sense religion,” Soharwardy stated, “Our boys and girls have lots of questions. I never say, “You cannot question.””...

Prof. Imam Soharwardy is a Sunni scholar and a Shaykh of the Suhrawardi Sufi order, as well as the chairman of the Al-Madinah Calgary Islamic Assembly, founder of Muslims Against Terrorism (MAT), and the founder and president of the Islamic Supreme Council of Canada. He founded MAT in Calgary in January 1998. He is also the founder of Islamic Supreme Council of Canada (ISCC).

Imam Soharwardy is the founder of the first ever Dar-ul-Uloom in Calgary, Alberta where he teaches Islamic studies. Prof. Soharwardy is the Head Imam at the Al Madinah Calgary Islamic Centre.

Imam Soharwardy is a strong advocate of Islamic Tasawwuf (Sufism), and believes that the world will be a better place for everyone if we follow what the Prophet of Islam, Muhammad (Peace be upon him) has said, “You will not have faith unless you like for others what you like for yourself.” He believes that spiritual weakness in humans causes all kinds of problems.

Imam Soharwardy took the time for an interview with me. We talked the young. In particular, the young non-religious and religious.  Those who may believe in humanism.  Those who may believe in Islam.

Humanists, mostly, coincide with the beliefs as atheists. Others, like super-minorities, may be theists in some modified definitions, deists, and even pantheists.

Their emphasis is humanistic valued. I wanted to focus on dialogue between communities. I find some sects in Islam and communities of the non-religious do not respect freedom of religion and freedom of belief for others.

In some sects of Islam, as seems pointed to, often, the tendency seems a desire to eliminate atheists, the non-religious, the infidels, and to, in secular terminology, disregard freedom of belief and freedom of religion, which includes other metaphysical propositions such as atheism.

Same with some sub-communities of the mob-religious. The tendency to want to eliminate or destroy religion. The desire to “free” the world of superstition through deletion of religious belief, which disregards freedom of religion and freedom of belief in some ways and not in others.

At the end of the day, as some say, people hold beliefs, which differ from the beliefs. However, the rights to the various freedoms amount to consensus-based abstract principles for everyone, not some, to hold rather than live in a Platonic vacuum.

In fact, a test may emerge from permission for those one most disagrees within these areas to hold the religious/non-religious beliefs. Not an agreement with the beliefs, per se, but the agreement in the right of the person to hold the beliefs.

Anyhow, Soharwardy took time to talk with me. He pointed to the youth in the congregation, saying “If you attend my congregation, especially the youth groups, you will see the lively discussion that I have with our students.”

He mentioned having a son and a daughter. Both, he noted, have been raised with the ideas that they should not believe in Islam because of them as the parents but, rather, because they want to through their own consciences.

Soharwardy talked about his religious text, “Being a Muslim and following the holy book, the Quran, in almost every volume of the holy Quran, it says, “Why don’t you ponder? Why don’t you think? Why don’t you explore?” It says, “Why don’t you explore the world?””

The emphasis being on questioning rather than blindly following. He believes, whether humanist, Muslim, or another belief system, that the point is to not be a “blind follower.”

“However, the steps to those make sense in intellectual discussion, not simply blind following or blind beliefs because I was born into a Muslim family. It is because it is a natural, normal, and common sense religion,” Soharwardy stated, “Our boys and girls have lots of questions. I never say, “You cannot question.””

He never discourages questioning from a youth: every symbol and figure in the Islamic texts should be questioned. “What happens, Scott, you talk to someone who does not understand his or her own religion. When the person him or herself is confused, somebody goes and asks the question, but the person cannot explain properly,” Soharwardy opined.

I noted the trends in some Canadian households, or homes, with the lack of questioning allowed because the parents, for the best of intentions, do not want to lose the child.

The two dominant faiths in Canada are Roman Catholicism and Protestantism. I suspected similar phenomena with Sunni Islam and Shia Islam. The parents not wanting the questioning of the faith for fear of losing their children to non-belief in heir brand of religion.

The parents disallow the questioning. The parents prevent the child from developing the critical capacities, and so on.

Soharwardy replied, “I completely agree with you. There will be families in the Muslim community who do not allow their children to question the faith. Some of the people and families are rigid. They have been told some things and simply follow it.”

He considers this against Islam to not question, seek, and explore. “To be a blind follower, that person loses the spirit of Islam,” Soharwardy said, “Some families, they do not allow thinking. It causes a serious harm to the boys and girl who have been forced to follow a belief system. Their heart is not in it.”

He went on to say that it is a requirement of the Islam faith to practice from the heart. If a good deed is done, while not an act from the heart, then Allah or God will not accept the good deed. The acceptance by their God of the actions depends not only on the goodness or righteousness of the actions but also the intentions behind the actions.

Soharwardy bluntly stated, “If my intention is not to pray 5 times a day, but I have been forced to pray five times per day, that person should know, according to Islam, their prayers are not accepted. Nobody should be forced to pray five times per day or fast during the month of Ramadan.”

Compulsion in the faith, in other words, does not practicing the faith. If one is forced, then they do not count as one of the faithful. In this interpretation, the people without the heart in the acts could be considered infidels or heretics by the proper faithful who have their hearts in the acts of prayer of fasting during Ramadan as two examples.

“I always say that it bothers me, sometimes, when the newspapers talk about these terrorist groups. They are forcing people to convert to Islam,” Soharwardy said, “If people are forcing people to follow Islam, and if there is no compulsion in religion, then Islam does not recognize that person as a Muslim.”

Source: goodmenproject.com/featured-content/imam-soharwardy-sjbn/

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/interview/scott-douglas-jacobsen/questioning-and-exploring-are-true-tenets-of-islam--sufi-imam-soharwardy/d/115341

 




TOTAL COMMENTS:-   1


  • Good to know that Islam discourages blind adherence to faith.

    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin - 5/24/2018 1:56:12 PM



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