Religious Sensitivity and Indifference (Part 1)

What is Right After All?

Religious Sensitivity and Indifference (Part 1)

Mufti Muhammad Qasim Attari

What is Religious Sensitivity?

Religious sensitivity is the name given to adhering to Islam, teaching society about correct Islamic beliefs, and opposing deviant beliefs and immoral actions. Conversely, acting upon the shariah whilst allowing others to indulge in sin despite having the capability to prevent them, is indifference. To do so is a reprehensible act and the abandonment of an Islamic duty. One of the harmful evils of the previous nations was that they did not forbid others from committing evil, as stated in the Quran:

کَانُوۡا لَا یَتَنَاہَوۡنَ عَنۡ مُّنۡکَرٍ فَعَلُوۡہُ ؕ لَبِئۡسَ مَا کَانُوۡا یَفۡعَلُوۡنَ )۷۹(

“They would not prevent each other from any evil which they themselves would commit; they definitely used to commit extremely evil actions.”[1]

Preventing others from evil is a means of preventing yourself from engaging in that evil. The one who stops others is saved, but the one who remains silent amidst the evils spreading in society will be involved in them one day. The Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم explained this by stating that when Bani Israel fell into sins, the scholars reprimanded them at first, but when they did not desist, the scholars joined them in their evil. As a result of their disobedience, Allah cursed them through the words of Prophet Dāwūd عَلَیْہِ السَّلَام and Prophet Īsā عَلَیْہِ السَّلَام.[2]

Allah has granted us ease as it is not necessary to eradicate evil by force, rather it can be eliminated through words, and if neither of these are applicable, it must be deemed evil in the heart. However, this does not entail that you become a victim of secularism and only worry about yourself, leaving others to do what they wish. This is not Islam; this is a different religion. The Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم provided us with clear guidance on this matter by saying: “Whoever amongst you sees something abominable should rectify it with his hand. If he does not have the strength to do this, he should rectify it with his tongue, and if he is not capable of this, he should abhor it in his heart, and this is the weakest of faith.”[3]

It is not from the teachings of Islam to be a practising Muslim and simultaneously adopt the lowest form of faith as a way of relinquishing responsibility. The first response to evil is to combat it by force, which is the responsibility of the government and authorities. Then it is to oppose evil through speech; this is the role of the scholars and others who are capable. Then comes the level of knowing it to be evil in the heart, which belongs to the weak and helpless. Unfortunately, those who prefer secularism to Islam are teaching Muslims that it is better to be in seclusion and leave others to do as they please.   

Practical, verbal and written efforts in matters pertaining to religious sensitivity have been banned in some educational and secular institutes. Labelling these actions as extremism is an attempt to remove the honour and sanctity of Islam from people, whilst allowing the enemies of Islam to spread immorality.

[1] Al-Quran, 5:79, Al-Māˈidah, Translation from Kanz al-Īmān

[2] Jāmiʿ al-Tirmidhī: 3058

[3] aī Muslim: 49




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