Muslims and the art of disagreement

A lot of Muslims have a tough time agreeing to disagree, writes Roshan Muhammed Salih.

I’ve learned that from my interactions with people on social media over the years. Often if you don’t agree with their viewpoint they question your motives and intentions rather than tackling your argument. Sometimes it can end up in abuse or worse … takfir.

And unfortunately it’s rare to have a debate with someone who doesn’t share your viewpoint which is polite and civilised.

I’ve also noticed that on this website many Muslims have a hard time accepting things they disagree with. Instead they expect 5Pillarz to reinforce their pre-conceived ideas and opinions and to support Muslims in every circumstance, come what may.

In response to that I would say the following:

Firstly, it’s impossible to present one unique “Muslim” opinion because the British Muslim community is diverse and there is no consensus on a variety of issues. Syria and the Arab Spring in general are glaring examples of this.

Secondly, right from the start we have said that this website exists to challenge Muslims, to hold a mirror up to them and to occasionally jolt them out of their comfort zone by exposing them to contrary opinions.

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After all, how can any of us grow as individuals if we just listen to voices which reinforce our thinking? Are we not supposed to seek knowledge and reflect as the Quran commands?

So while we can reassure our readers that we are here to serve them and the Muslim community in general, we also consider it our job to test and challenge conventional Muslim thinking from time to time.

We understand that as a community we are under attack and therefore Muslims expect loyalty from a Muslim organisation. And we will deliver that loyalty.

But we also believe that civilised, rational debate free of emotion, abuse and character assassination has always been part of the Islamic tradtion.

So let’s agree to disagree and let’s do it with open-mindeness, with manners and with an acknowledgement that we may be wrong.

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