Friday, January 8, 2010

Labels and definitions

We use words to communicate and these words need to have a meaning associated to them, or else they'd just be babble. BUT, not every word is so very clear and easy to define. I made a post a while ago about what a Muslim is. Some would say it's anyone who wants to call himself a Muslim who is a Muslim (for example someone from a Muslim family who does not necessarily practice or believe, but holds onto that label because it's part of them somehow). Others think it's anyone who believes in the Qur'an and Muhammad. Others feel it's anyone who submits to what they believe to be the will of God. Others think it's a person who believes and follows a very specific interpretation of the Qur'an and Hadiths (and that a different interpretation makes a person no longer be Muslim).

It's infuriating when people don't understand that there are different views by different people. And it's frustrating when people argue, knowing that they are not even working with the same definitions! Of course you will never agree, you are talking about two different things! I think at that point, it's always best to stop right there. I try to understand the person's point of view, tell them that I understand, but that I disagree and that that's that!

BTW, this post is also for myself. It can be hard to just agree to disagree when you feel there's a chance the person will change their definition to your/my (superior*, lol) definition.

*Of course I think I'm right or else I wouldn't think it. I'm always open to other ideas though and I often have high respect for other opinions that are different than mine. But sometimes I just don't and that's where it gets frustrating.

7 Comentários:

Stacy aka Fahiima said...

I know what you mean. I am firmly planted in the camp of a person who is a Muslim in the sense that I am submitted to God, however I cannot believe that the Quran is the perfectly preserved word of God. Can I still learn truth from Islam and the Quran? Yes.
At the same time though, someone who is a Muslim, but also follows the Torah and teaching of Jesus isn't a Muslim according to most. In the end you have to know that you have a relationship with, and are right with God.

Hubby said...

Very interesting diverse interpretations of being a Muslim. To me, a Muslim would have to believe the words of the Quran were the words of God exactly, but my wife sees it more like Fahima already commented and also as you appear to. It is hard for me to understand this perspective (probably a fault of mine) as it seems to undermine the faiths basis that the Torah and Bible were corrupted by human interference so the Truth was supposedly sent through Muhammad. But, I guess since my wife is also in your interpretation and she is a very smart woman, I have to believe it is feasable to have faith that way.

Susanne said...

Nicely stated! :)

Candice said...

Stacy: I would agree that a person who considers himself a Muslim but who follows and believes in the Torah and teachings of Jesus as written in the Bible wouldn't be considered a Muslim by most. And I'd be part of those that wouldn't consider him a Muslim. But I think even Muslims can learn from Christian teachings. Even Buddhist teachings or anything else! But they can't believe in something that contradicts the Qur'an. To me, that is the basis of what being a Muslim is. Believing in the Qur'an as the word of God. So if they believe the Bible is the word of God too (uncorrupted), then they are not holding a very basic Muslim belief and they wouldn't fit into my definition of Muslim.

But that's only my definition. And if they explain that they just have Muslim parents and use the label on themselves just for that, I'd understand that when they say they are Muslims, it really means (to me) that they are saying they come from a Muslim background.

Hubby: I actually would agree with you that the basic Muslim belief is to believe in the Qur'an as the word of God. From a previous comment you made, it sounded as though your wife mostly believes in interpretations of the Qur'an that are not "traditional". But of course you know her better than me (I actually don't know her at all! Does she have a blog too?)

Anonymous said...

If everyone thought alike---it would be boring---the Quran says that diversity was created so we would learn tolerance, compassion and patience.

There is no "right" God or "wrong" God--Because there is only ONE God---there are right actions and wrong actions. There is a correct or incorrect way to understand our place and purpose in the Universe.

God is beyond "Labels" so, to understand this "truth", we sometimes have to look beyond the limitations of "labels" such as "Muslim", "Non-Muslim" and see humanity as a whole.

Candice said...

Anon: Yes, God is beyond labels. Labels are nothing more than something humans need to (attempt to) understand. So I will never see people's labels as what they really are, because even people are beyond what they are labeled as (but admittedly closer to them than God!).

Hubby said...


My wife is Jaytoo ( I believe she follows your blog.

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