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Category: Religion - Islam
Forum Name: Islamic INTRAfaith Dialogue
Forum Discription: Matters/topics, related to various sects, are discussed where only Muslims who may or may not belong to a sect take part.
Printed Date: 21 May 2018 at 7:18pm
Software Version: Web Wiz Forums 8.04 -

Topic: I&D&T&S
Posted By: Suleyman
Subject: I&D&T&S
Date Posted: 17 April 2005 at 11:08am

Es_Selam'un Aleykum ve Rahmetullahi ve Berakatuh,

Here is an good advice for all brothers and sisters in the board for taking their cares while arguing between to each others....Wa Salaam...


Ikhtilaf: Difference And Tafrika: Separation

Ikhtilaf (difference) has many meanings in the Arabic dictionary such as, to stay behind, to turn ones back, to follow a leader, to oppose, to leave one behind. It also has relations with the words successor and succession in Arabic.

On the eyes of many, ikhtilaf (difference) is a condemned concept. Thus, this concept in Istilah is always used for negative meanings. This word reminds arguments, disagreements and snatchings to many people.

For that reason, some individuals have targeted "ikhtilaf: difference" and waged a merciless war against it. However, they were fighting against to an imaginary enemy just like Don Kishot. Other than the serious consequences of the negative meanings of the word ikhtilaf in minds, the mentality that considers all kinds of ikhtilaf (difference) negative and harmful, this time considers every opposition as its enemy and tries to destroy it. Those who can not bear the differences in life, of course can not also bear any opposition.

There are two kinds of ikhtilaf:

1- Positive ikhtilaf such as, difference, diversity, democracy, and richness.

2- Negative ikhtilaf such as, faction, dispersion, and argument.

First of all, the positive ikhtilaf is part of the human nature. The Qur'an names these kinds of ikhtilaf (differences) as "verses" of Allah. The difference/ikhtilaf of the night and the day, (2/164; 3/190, 23/80) the differences/ikhtilaf of the languages and colors, (30/22) the difference of date and grain (6/141) are all among the verses of Allah. And of course, the difference of human beings, peculiarity of the clans and tribes, the difference of personalities, natures, and capacities are also among the verses of Allah.

Trying to eradicate these kinds of differences/ikhtilaf is like trying to abolish or cancel the verses of Allah.

The attempt of making people indistinguishable, like timbers which comes out from the carpenter's plane, to make their thoughts, feelings, behaviors, and reactions identical is to interfere with Allah's creation. In history, those who tried to do this were not prophets, but they were tyrants and despots instead. The last and most horrible examples of this situation have been lived in Russia of Lenin and Stalin, China of Mao, and Turkey of Kemalists.

It is not difficult for Allah to make people identical in feeling, thought, action, appearance, color, language, and religion. However, Allah did not will such identicalness. That is in accordance with the wisdom of creation. Those who comprehend this wisdom never pass their limits by trying to do what Allah did not.

At this point, it will be appropriate to pay attention to one of the styles of the Qur'an. That is, some events were related in the Qur'an without names and numbers such as; the number of the companions of Kahf, the number of the years they slept in the cave, the name of the righteous slave of Allah who accompanied Moses during his journey on the sea, etc...This means, the Qur'an finds different/ mukhtelif interpretations permissible, even necessary for some issues. There is a lesson to be taken here. That is, although, Allah knows everything in detail with His absolute knowledge, by leaving the interpretations of such matters to man, He advices His slaves to learn the differentiation, to get the blessings of different versions, and not to block the ways of intelligence. But, if an individual forces his own interpretation and stops differentiation, tries to close the parenthesis opened by Allah, then he becomes guilty of shifting ikhtilaf: difference to tafrika: separation.

The negative meaning of ikhtilaf is conflict which causes divisions in the whole that supposed to stay as whole. The most important example for this kind of ikhtilaf is being in conflict with the Qur'an, with the truth it brought, and with the religion.(2/176, 213,253; 8/42; 41/45; 78/3.)

To find out if an ikhtilaf is negative or positive, we have to understand its source.
If this ikhtilaf springs forth from the nature of the life and the object, then this ikhtilaf is not negative. On the contrary, it will cause a positive competition and will catalyze the advancement of the Muslims and mankind. Characters, professions, family relations, schools of thought, sects, groups that are established in the frame of differences in methods are all from this kind. This kind of grouping is not against the unity of the Islamic nation as long as it does not take an element out from the whole of the religion and declare this element as its own, accepts the constants of the religion as a whole, and does not threaten the unity of the Islamic belief and the Islamic nation.

But, if this grouping breaks up the constants, fixes the variations, explains its existence with the verses that are open for interpretation, separates the elements which form the religion and define itself only with one of these elements, then this grouping is against the unity in belief and in the Islamic nation. Now, that is called tafrika.

The decrees of the Qur'an, meaning the basic elements of the religion can be classified as follows: a) Belief, b) Ethics, c) Rituals, d) Transactions/ Politics
Religion which takes form by these four elements can also be defined as a system of values. It addresses the four dimensions of man at once. a) Hearing / believing, b) thinking/ knowing, c) acting, d) explaining. First one corresponds to "faith", second one to "knowledge", third one to "action", and forth one to "declaration".

The most striking example of how men, the walking verse, get separated once the revelation, the written verse, is being separated can be observed in the alike adventures of the children of Israel and the nation of Muhammad. Anyway, the scholars of jurisprudence among the companions of Muhammad pointed to the Jews and those who follow their foot steps among the Muslims as the reason for the revelation of the following verse: "Those who break their religion into pieces and separate themselves into factions, you have no business with them..."

Separation of the religion caused separations in mankind. While one faction aims man's thoughts and ignores his feelings and actions, the other faction brings forth only feelings of man and neglects his thoughts. Parallel to this, factions in accordance with their preference either sacrificed the society and brought forth the individual, or sacrificed the individual, brought forth the society...And the duration of separation which started with the revelation and continued with man, naturally reflected itself to the other areas of life...

Of course, they did not stop at the separation of the religion. All the factions who carry this sin, tried to define the part of the religion they held as the religion itself, they all showed the part of the religion they held and said "This is the religion." Those who consider the religion as a set of ethical values defended the idea of "If there was no ethics, there would be no religion." of course, right after this, comes the claim of "If it wasn't for us, there would be no religion."

Finally, whosoever held a part from the religion joined to the race of considering self as a mercy to the worlds, and boasted others who held the other parts of the religion with what he held in his hand. Just like the Qur'an said:

"Of those who split up their religion, and became sects. Each sect rejoicing in that which is with it." (30/32)


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