Culture vs. Islam. That subject went under the microscope during an April 15 event at Georgia State University hosted by the school’s Muslim Students Association.
MSA President Faraz Ahmad took the stage at the start of the event, welcoming the audience and introducing the guest speakers, Mufti Hussain Kamani and Mufti Samir Wahid.
“[The issue] creates an identity crisis because of the imbalance between Islamic law and culture,” Mufti Kamani said. “People are literally at a crossroad when confronted with the two. We fail to realize that culture actually plays a significant role in Islamic legislature.”
U’rf, the idea that people making Islamic decisions must take into consideration any circumstances regarding time and place, came up during the discussion. This concept, the speakers said, is where religion ties into culture and societal norms rather than simply rejecting them.
Mufti Kamani also gave examples of four types of people of faith in Islam. The first are those who base their actions on personal convenience and desire. The second are dedicated more to their culture than religion. The third group focuses on legality, whether an act is permissible or forbidden, neglecting any circumstances associated with it. The final group is considered to be true Muslims, those who follow the traditions, or sunnah, of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him).
“Culture is manmade and like anything manmade, it is flawed,” Mufti Kamani said. “People feel everything in the West is bad and everything in the East is good. This isn’t true.”
Mufti Kamani urged the audience to learn to focus on what is allowed in Islam, appreciate the good, and avoid looking at life with a glass half-empty perspective.
The audience was also asked “Are your loyalties with revelation, or with culture? If they are with the latter, is it because of ignorance or arrogance?”
An organizer and secretary of the MSA, Bara Ahmad, encouraged the audience to voice any concerns or opinions in a question and answer session after the discussion.
The evening concluded with a dinner catered in by Mediterranean Grill.
Check out the photo gallery of the event below:
The MSA at GSU's final event of the semester, Divergent: Cultural Practices vs. Islamic Law, featuring guest speakers...Posted by MSA at GSU on Thursday, April 16, 2015
For more information on the Muslim Students Association at Georgia State University, visit their website at www.msaatgsu.com.
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