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Stop Labelling People

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  • Stop Labelling People

    Stop Labelling People
    By Altaf Husain, MSW**
    Nov 30, 2005





    Warning
    www.islamonline.net. If you do have knowledge of such labels, then please do not leave this Web page before reading the entire article so that you can refrain from branding and labeling other Muslims in the wrong manner. Proceed with caution.
    panch wakth namazi



    What just happened? It happens all the time these days. No longer are Muslims, and especially people of other faith, comfortable with referring to a Muslim person as just a Muslim. It seems almost a commonplace these days to add a descriptor, a qualifier, a label, to precede the word Muslim. What are some of the labels that you use?

    In the true story above, in a brief, less than three minute encounter, this young man had measured me against his own preconceived notions on two points: First, that having stayed in America, an immigrant has to look American, and this young man believed clearly that with my NehruobligatoryUrdu a panch wakth namazi

    [O ye who believe! Let not a folk deride a folk who may be better than they (are), not let women (deride) women who may be better than they are; neither defame one another, nor insult one another by nicknames. Bad is the name of lewdness after faith. And whoso turneth not in repentance, such are evil-doers](Al-Hujuraat 49:11).






    Let us take for example the common notion of referring to Muslims by the particular madhabmadhab of the respective scholars so that one can appreciate better the basis of his or her reasoning on a particular issue of fiqh. When you and I engage in labeling people by madhab we ought to be careful that we are not doing so to put them down, to make fun of them, or to consider ourselves better than them.



    tafsirconservative and ibn Abbas was liberal
    Finally, think twice before resorting to the use of a label to refer to family members, friends, community leaders, scholars, etc. What does it mean to be a Muslim? As we noted at the outset, that question is simple and straightforward to answer. It is you and I who complicate our religion and trivialize and marginalize legitimate differences within the rich and deep-rooted Islamic tradition. When we use labels such as some of those mentioned in this essay, we risk hurting people and displeasing Allah. Stop using labels and fight the temptation to make fun of others, to put down others, to humiliate others, to marginalize others and worst of all to think of oneself as better than others. Remember that scholars use certain labels but also remember that a true scholar fears Allah and thus would never use a label in the same manner as a person who is not a scholar. Stop branding and labeling people, since we know that a Muslim is a Muslim


    ** Altaf Husain is a licensed social worker in the United States and has been a contributing writer to IslamOnline since its inception. He can be contacted at



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