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Dr. Shabir Ally addresses this question in the video below:
Safiyyah Ally: OK, Brother Shabir, here’s a question about finding the right mosque. And the person is asking, how do you determine which mosque promotes moderate teaching.
Dr. Shabir Ally: Well, you can ask the question and, of course, everyone will say they are moderate.
But the specific questions you should be asking, or are listening for in khutbas and sermons and in the general demeanor of the way things are conducted in the mosque–is that look at who the speakers are.
Are the speakers known for their involvement in civic activity? Are they part of the community? Or they are isolationist?
The preachings themselves–are they encouraging people to get involved with their neighborhoods, to be very much of the landscape, to be involved in the politics of the land, for example?
Or are the preachings isolationist? Are the preaching, saying like it’s us versus them? Everything that they have is wrong and everything that we have is right. Or is it integrative? And saying that there’s a lot of good there in this society. And whatever good is there in this society that’s Islamic as well.
We should embrace it, welcome it, and we should recognize that to be Islam. So, we can see this kind of tone in a moderate preaching that is encouraging people to be very much a part of their landscape as opposed to a radical type of ideology that says it’s us versus them.
They are very different, very wrong, and we’ve got to fix them. So, if that is the mindset, well then, that will make Muslims feel out of place. It may make Muslims feel very uncomfortable in their environment.
And less likely to assimilate or integrate in a harmonious fashion, leading to peace and longevity of the Muslim society within the various environments.
Safiyyah Ally: Is there anything internally that one would feel as part of the congregation, in terms of the message given to Muslims themselves about how they should behave or how they should dress or whatever, that would make it obvious that, you know, this isn’t a moderate mosque?
Dr. Shabir Ally: Well, the moderate sort of outlook would stress the use of reason, of doing things in a reasonable way that looks good and feels good and feels right. Whereas the radical types of ideology would more tend to say, no, reason is a bad thing: don’t think about it.
You just look at the prescriptions the way they are. You look at the text where it says literally and just simply follow that, regardless of whether it seems to make sense or not. So, that is one demarcation between the moderate view and the radical view.
Safiyyah Ally: I think this is a very important question because many people are coming to Islam. And they’re not quite, you know, they might be getting to know what Islam is about. And they come to a mosque, they’re not quite sure how to judge it. So, it’s great that you’ve provided these guidelines.
Dr. Shabir Ally: Yes, and of course, one needs to keep one’s eyes open and listen for conversations. And try to observe where a certain teaching is heading, and asking is this teaching heading towards, helping Muslims especially youth to feel good about where they live and about the country that their citizens of.
Or is this teaching really causing the youth to feel that they’re like fish out of water? That this is a very strange and difficult environment. And we’ve got to fix it in some way.
I hope this helps answer your question. Please keep in touch.
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