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Islamic Studies

Take a Quiz

Asalamu alaykum,

Let’s take a quiz! One can only wonder at the large number of debates and discussions that take place on the net between Muslims. One of my teachers told me, “The Western Muslims need adab more than knowledge. Knowledge will only increase their arrogance and sense of self importance.” Telling words indeed from a great teacher and sheikh.

The Exam:

“What are the rules for debating and argumenting in Islam?”

There are 10 answers. Try it out, wait for the answers to be posted and see how you did. Anyone under 70% should consider their carrier as an internet Mujadid as over, humble themselves, learn and keep quiet. After all, as the scholars mentioned, being silent and ignorant is much safer than being loud and foolish.

Suhaib

About the author

Suhaib Webb

Suhaib Webb is a contemporary American-Muslim educator, activist, and lecturer. His work bridges classical and contemporary Islamic thought, addressing issues of cultural, social and political relevance to Muslims in the West. After converting to Islam in 1992, Webb left his career in the music industry to pursue his passion in education. He earned a Bachelor’s in Education from the University of Central Oklahoma and received intensive private training in the Islamic Sciences under a renowned Muslim Scholar of Senegalese descent. Webb was hired as the Imam at the Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City, where he gave khutbas (sermons), taught religious classes, and provided counselling to families and young people; he also served as an Imam and resident scholar in communities across the U.S.

From 2004-2010, Suhaib Webb studied at the world’s preeminent Islamic institution of learning, Al-Azhar University, in the College of Shari`ah. During this time, after several years of studying the Arabic Language and the Islamic legal tradition, he also served as the head of the English Translation Department at Dar al-Ifta al-Misriyyah.

Outside of his studies at Al-Azhar, Suhaib Webb completed the memorization of the Quran in the city of Makkah, Saudi Arabia. He has been granted numerous traditional teaching licenses (ijazat), adhering to centuries-old Islamic scholarly practice of ensuring the highest standards of scholarship.

Webb was named one of the 500 Most Influential Muslims in the World by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Center in 2010 and his website, www.SuhaibWebb.com, was voted the best “Blog of the Year” by the 2009 Brass Crescent awards.

Suhaib Webb has lectured extensively around the world including in the Middle East, East Asia, Europe, North Africa and North America. Upon returning from his studies in Egypt, Webb lived in the Bay Area, California, where he worked with the Muslim American Society from Fall 2010 to Winter 2011. He currently serves as the Imam of the Islamic Society of Boston’s Cultural Center (ISBCC).

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  • perhaps…

    -If you don’t know, admit that you don’t know.

    -Don’t argue for the sake of arguing/for your own nafs

    -When debating people of other religions, don’t offend their religion/what they worship.

    -Things are by default halal. If someone says a thing is haram, they must bring proof (not the other way around).

  • Imam Ash-Shafi’is method contains quite a few rules, here are the ones I can remember:

    – Do not argue for the sake of proving your point, but rather for the truth to be known, whether it is on your tongue or the person you are discussing with.

    – Before you start a discussion/debate, think that although you believe your opinion to be correct, it could be otherwise… and that although you believe your ‘opponent’s’ argument to be wrong, it could be the truth.

    -General adab of politeness and courtesy “…and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious…” (Surat An-Nahl, 125)

    – Do not assume that there is only one answer; remember that it is a mercy from Allah that there are differences of opinion. You may incline towards one or believe it to be best, but this does not mean that the other person is wrong. That said, if someone is arguing something like “drinking alcohol is halal”, be firm and use reason and clear evidence from the Qur’an, sunna and valid scholarly opinions :)

    – Do not get angry!

    – If you do not know, try not to get into these debates to begin with.

    That’s all I could think of!

  • If you are narrating then we need to check authenticity and if you claiming then it needs to be backed up by proof

    There is no ordering and forbidding in matters where there is no consensus on

    We criticise opinions but maintain utmost respect for scholars and schools who are not infallible but are our pride and joy as Muslims

  • I had to add this one

    “as the scholars mentioned, being silent and ignorant is much safer than being loud and foolish” must be one of them

    :D

  • As’salaamu ‘alaykum,

    I hope this applies, I dont remember the hadith exactly:
    Prophet (pbuh) said: “Allah guaranteed jannah for three people, one of them was the one who gave up argumentation even though he is upon truth…” Don’t remember the rest inshaAllah will find it, I remember it was in one of the footnotes in the Noble Quran.

    -MT

  • Found the hadith alhamdullilah,

    “I guarantee a house in Jannah (Paradise) for one who gives up arguing, even if he is in the right; and I guarantee a house in the middle of Jannah for one who abandons lying even when joking / for the sake of fun; and I guarantee a house in the highest part of Jannah for one who has good manners.” [Prophet Muhammad (صلي الله عليه وسلم) – reported by Imam Abu Dawud]

  • perspective is something that is shaped by the unique experiences in ones life, factored by the environment, mores and morality one holds as real. the epistemology of truth could not known in a post-structuralist world whereas the post-modernist finds proof of ‘constructedness’ in any form of knowledge. there are many sides to an argument, a socratic reasoning is seeking aesthetic value while avicenian reasoning weighs the intention behind that argument. one may not hold a certain argument because one is married to it, quite on the contrary an argument often draws sides because human beings need perspective

  • This is a great task- Jazak Allah khayr Shayk for bringing this issue to light. It happens in the UK a lot too, where people talk about things they have no knowledge about.

    Well I must say that I have no idea what the 10 ruling are and will look into it :)

  • Assalaamu Alaykum Sheikh Suheib,

    Ok I’ve scribbled some thoughts down on a piece of paper.

    Would you like us to post our ideas or would you like us to wait for your posts and then study our ideas? (as some of my thoughts on your question and my answer about the pre-requistes of enlightened discussion may be comppppletely wrong as they’re not based on anything other than my life experiences)

    Jazak Allahu khair
    bint Ali

  • Honestly, I think everyone who considers arguing should memorize the rules and put his/her priority into implementing them. I recently came across a blog which completely and utterly shocked me. This person obviously has a love for Islam, but the way in which he was arguing would make anyone want to turn away from his message whether it is right or wrong. May Allah guide him and us all.

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