Sometimes I feel as if one of the biggest problems of the ummah is when we play semantic games. I think a solution would be to always define exactly what we are talking about. The worst comes out with the names salafi, sufi, wahhabi, etc. These terms no longer mean anything to me unless they are defined in a specific context. I’ve met and interacted with many kinds of Muslim wal7amdulilah, and if they’ve taken on one of these labels, they’ve all defined it differently. There are people who call themselves salafi who reject the madhab system. There are people who call themselves salafi that madhab system. There are wahhabis say that they follow the Hanbali madhab and they don’t like to be called as such.
I know some people that consider themselves salasufi because they are caught between traditionalism and salafism and don’t seem to gravitate towards one more than the other but oops they got traditionalism mixed up with Sufism.
Now even though I think that we can’t rid ourselves of labels, whenever people introduce a “controversial” term without properly defining it that’s when a heated discussion starts. Then people start arguing without even knowing exactly why. They might agree with each other but just be arguing because they are using a different definition of a term!
Non-Muslims seem to make it even worse as a lot of them have it in their head that salafis and wahhabis are to blame for terrorism which is not true. We all know that wahhabi ulema have denounced terrorism: Look at MR’s post.
But if Muslims can’t even agree on what these terms mean, how do we expect them to know?
Another problematic term is “moderate.”
Non-muslims say they want to hear “moderate Muslims.” Well good luck on that, everyone thinks they are moderate. 🙂
Naturally, every Muslim will think their path is the true moderate path, no matter what their level of practice is.
That’s why I don’t even like to use the term anymore.
In a facebook group, there was a group called Moderate Muslims and in the group photos I saw a picture of Haifa Wahbe. Haifa is a popular Sunni Lebanese singer that wears very racy clothes and makes very racy music videos and makes songs like leik el wawa (look at my boo-boo). That’s great. I know that a lot of Muslims wouldn’t even want to be associated with the term moderate if it was defined by people like Haifa.
For everybody, the moderates are going to be different. For me, it’s the likes of Imam Zaid Shakir, Imam Siraj Wahhaj, Dr. Jackson, Shaykh Hamza, Hadia Mubarak etc.
So basically, if terms are going to continue being used, we should define what we’re talking about.