The result of Internet fame and fan groupies can strike at the morally upright hearts of all men if they are reluctant to leave aside ego-centric motives and stick to the essence of what they originally set out to do; teach the masses on Islamic principles. In recent weeks the UK has seen what was a naive attempt to settle a dispute on scholastic issue between two individual now flare into an outright vine-style clips of condemnation and accusation from both claimants of the argument.
Members from each of the pro and anti Mawlid camps are now accusing the other side of apostasy and blasphemy. Whilst in the meantime critics from both sides continue to stroke further tensions between the protagonists of the dispute. With both protagonists being in their early years of adulthood it is not had to see how these two have been easily manipulated by their own fan followings seeking entertainment which no Eastenders or Emerdale episode can provide. In what essentially has become the grudge match between two increasingly rattled individuals; Imam Muhammad Asim Hussain and Imran ibn Mansur, the dispute has now spiralled into including other known public debaters Asrar Rashid and Abdul Rahman Hassan.
The matter of dispute initially began with the controversial topic of Mawlid; should Muslims world wide celebrate such an occasion? Typically in such debates both camps claim to have the overwhelming and conclusive evidence to shut down the opposing side and close the centuries old argument once and for all. In light of the stance on either side of the divide what is most unsettling is the power in which the swivel chair warriors can weld to swing the opposite side into a response.
The disappointment in this fiasco is the power welded by people who in their normal lives would not think twice about Islam or any issues relating to it. Neither do they practice the faith whole heartedly or even observe the minimum essentials of the faith. Many comments on the short accusing videos put up by the protagonists of the argument are from people who look more like R n B artists and female pop singers than an average Muslim. With their glossed up clean cut photoshopped profile pictures hardly any concern for maintaining the hijab or the Islamic recommended beard like that of the Prophet Sallahu alihi wasallam. Yet, in this instance they have become the mouth pieces of classical Islamic jurisprudence speaking on issues they hardly understand.
This is one of the fall backs of leading a national debate on social media, where the normal Joe’s on the streets become the authentic sources of Islamic thought and expression. People who dont even know the obligatory aspects of Islam find themselves almost overnight thrown into the limelight of uncontrolled and limitless example of fame. In extension to this, this is how the newly practicing Muslims also get drawn into non essential futile side tracks and subtle deceptions which ultimately robs them of time and effort being put in to learning and practicing their newly found faith.
Ultimately, what the Mawlid debate demonstrates is not who is right and wrong, but the common image of the inability of Muslims to live with differences of opinions, to live with those who disagree. This quality is admiringly well illustrated in the West where the concept of freedom of expression has given room for people to express themselves and therefore a fertile ground to make the lives of people more peaceful. Yet on the other side of the world, in the middle east and North African countries for example, the reality is completely different; death, murder and rape are rampant. Each group is claiming to hold the mantle of truth and everyone else is condemned to hell and therefore eligible either to be treated as sub humans where torture and imprisonment is the norm or face the death sentence by a firing squad. The so called self-described Islamic state of Iraq and Syria or more commonly known as ISIS is a perfect example of this. A barbaric medieval death cult hell-bent on killing anyone and anything which stands in their way. This is done in the most literal sense of the word. For example, a mother living with her son in ISIS stronghold city of Raqqa, tried to dissuade her son from joining the cult and instead to turn his back on them resulted with her death in the most unusual way; her own son put a bullet through the back of her heard! Read the full story here.
What the Mawlid debate instigators have failed to reassure people is the unique teaching of the Islamic faith, which is how it allows differences and people to live with others who may not see eye to eye, to have the freedom of expression and the right to have a secure life. Instead both Asim Hussain and Imran ibn Mansur have continued to fuel both sides of the argument in the typical way in which Muslims do “business” these days; through the means of ridicule, character assassination, threats and heated disputes. This is a problem not only in the Mawlid debate but flows through almost every group within the differing fractions of the Islamic faith, from the West to the far east, where ever Muslims may be, the inability to live and let live is a long extinct quality of Muslim communities. Yet traditional Muslim communities were the beacons of this quality where foreign nations would admiringly come and try to learn, take back with them and try to implement in their communities. Islamic Alhambra in Cordoba Spain is a prime example this essential fabric working within Muslim society. Despite the differences, there was no degree of discontent or Muslims did not go around chopping the heads of anyone who disagreed with them like ISIS or the fans of Asim Hussain and Imran ibn Mansur may be threatening to carry out on each other.