Posted by: Dawud Israel | January 17, 2011

An Ummah of Parrots?

Here begins a rant…

I contend that if Allah transformed Muslims into parrots, there would be little to no change in our intellects.

Why is there so much copy-pasting hadith spun off as wisdom, verbose insincere Islamic articles about half-twisted, half-imagined religious emotion, fake sentimentality catering to sheltered middle class mentality and overall so much inconsequential and meaningless kitsch-Islamic spam? Why do we venerate and applaud all this?

Write and think like you mean it dammit!

If your heart isn’t solidly behind your religious-speak, then you are a liar. People can tell when your words sound like a lie because you are talking about religion in terms of hypothetical things, not experienced straight from the heart. Islam comes truly only from a heart that has Islam in it, not a heart that only likes to talk about the idea of having a real Islam or has Islam ‘on the side.’ Its the difference between hearing Malcolm X talk and hearing someone talk about Malcolm X. Its the difference between a venal, fantasized Islam somewhere ‘out there,’ and having your heart ready to face up to the punishments of the Shariah, should you mess up.

How often do you hear Muslims talking about Muftis as opposed to a random shaykh so-and-so? And how often are doctors and engineers spun off as shaykhs and their (lack of) credentials overlooked? If they are of any benefit, does that automatically mean that there is also no harm?

This is not to demean the simple Muslim, but just to say, don’t pretend to be something you aren’t. If you feel it- express it, if you don’t, then don’t. God didn’t ask us to be a posers.

So many Muslims are becoming accustomed and conditioned to an airbrushed image of Islam, not Islam itself. “I like these articles and speakers because they make me believe that I believe in Islam.” They like this ‘fluffy’ Islam and so when a real bonafide scholar comes along they will get intimidated by real knowledge, because they’ve only seen parrots, not minds, not aql, not true raw inspiration from Allah. And that is how Islamic knowledge is most likely to die- when parrots are venerated because they are economical with our neurons, keep us cozy in our boxes, and become our daddy figures that make us finally feel valued.

If you find this all ridiculous, then just wait until you feel despondent, desperate and finally angry and betrayed as to why this ‘fluff’ Islam has not gotten you anywhere. Then you’ll realize this is all true and then you will drop your prejudices and search for real ideas, real ilm.


  1. A bit harsh, no? MUSLIM HIPSTERS UNITE

  2. But don’t you think that our current methodology of studying Islam is one that freely endorses this type of behavior? Many Muslims are afraid to ‘think’ about what they read from the classics, all they have been told to do is memorize and regurgitate the same old info. Maybe if our teachers encouraged us to think critically and learn analytically we’d stop being parrots and start speaking our minds.

    • Well you have to learn…if you don’t, what you have to say is just fluff. No body can just go and talk about Islam without at least having teachers. The best writers often read the most.

      Some people speak before thinking…and others think before learning, and therefore their thoughts can sound like mad paranoia. What I’m trying to get at is conviction in what you say and believe is important, and its hard to for example say to call someone who is profiting massively from insulting Islam to say they have conviction…are there other interests?

      We are encouraged to REFLECT. I mean, each of us is in a relationship with Allah so, isn’t that something worth reflecting on and talking about and sharing? Many articles I come across, start out listing 10 sinful things people do, maybe exaggerate a little, and then just throw in a hadith and say “subhanallah!” for good measure. That can be very artificial, especially when its just for shock-value. The hadith is the cure, but its not simply a magical formula, there is a whole spiritual chemistry that happens…you have to talk about how it affected you? How did it hit your heart? What did it make you think? How did that transformation happen? That testimony and explanation is a dialogue…its where the conversation with Allah happens, and that is what makes for good writing about Islam, you know? Its the same reason why convert stories are so popular among Muslims, because they explain HOW they were transformed…

      I don’t know if that helps. :s

  3. “That testimony and explanation is a dialogue…its where the conversation with Allah happens, and that is what makes for good writing about Islam, you know?”

    Yes, I do. I wasn’t disagreeing with you by the way. :). I am just saying that there are some teachers out there who don’t encourage this type of dialogue with one’s self. And there should be more of that no doubt.

  4. If a Muslim remembers and fears the termite called “RIYA” which eats away good deeds, I think parrots can be transformed to Ashraful Maqluqaat – who know the real purpose of their creation.

    “A person who has even an atom’s weight of pride in his/her heart will not be allowed to enter Jannah” – Prophet Muhammed (SAWS)

  5. I was just about to forward that then I realised…aaiiishhh I’m doing exactly what you’re ranting about. lol. Its only because I agree.


    Ahh. Bought a smile to my face none the less.

    I think if we had less of the airbrushing of Islam we’d probably accept people’s humanity and tendancy to make a mistakes, and then we’d be more forgiving and then maybe they’d be less divisions….and arguments. Just generally we’d be wiser people and we’l maybe LEARN from our mistakes.


  6. A very thought provoking article, mashAllah.

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