A news broke on Twitter that reminded me that we need to talk about this. It was about a high profile Nigerian pastor allegedly having affairs with some of his congregation.
Whether that news is true or not, is not the point of this post. That story is just to give a little context to my point, which is that there is a need for us as Muslims to learn how to separate the bad things that Muslims do, away from Islam as a whole.
In the history of sexual abuse in the Catholic church, you’ll hardly find Christians (or even non-Christians) condemning Christianity as a whole. Look around at any other religion and see if the whole religion gets bashed for the actions of its followers.
You know why that hardly ever happens? Because unlike us, when a non-Muslim does something bad, people don’t bring the whole religion into it.
When someone shares their experience about being sexually assualted, we reply with “it happens in the Ka’bah too”
When a child is molested, we reply with “and these men claim to pray 5 times a day”,
When popular Sheikhs are outed as alleged assaulters, we reply with “oh so much hypocrisy. And they act like they’re not sinners”
Every single time a Muslim does something, we drag the deen of Allah (تعالى) into it.
You know what happens when we do this? We belittle the deen of Allah, and we teach non-Muslims how to talk about Islam.
We give people the leverage to attribute so many negative things to Islam, and we turn around and wonder why the world sees us in a negative light.
Evil deeds are not religion specific. There is nothing bad that a Muslim has done, that someone from a different faith has not done.
But what separates us from non-Muslims is how we react to these issues by parking our whole deen under the bus.
The rights and rites of Allah (تعالى), and His deen, are far above the actions or inactions of humans, whether positive or negative. And we need to start judging people based on what they did, without bringing the deen into it.
We can make the argument that some people commit atrocities using the deen as a cover. But does this make the deen faulty? Or does it make that person a human who finds excuses for their evil deeds?
The deen of Allah (تعالى) is perfect, humans are not. Let’s not give people a reason to label the deen using the actions of humans, except when those actions are positive.
As my Yoruba people will say “ti onigba ba se pe igba, ni won se ma ba pe”, which loosely translates to “the way you honour your thing, is how other people honour it for you”.