“Islamophobia” makes it’s way into the mainstream, or at least one of those loud and annoying frantic fringes of society, just loud enough to be mistaken for mainstream. We’ll go ahead and guess that most of society isn’t too decided on what to think of the topic…
There are some people who simply don’t like Islam. Maybe they are even aware that Islam is not a monolith and maybe they have read actual mainstream books detailing how we, as Muslims are to practice and understand our faith. It is possible that someone understands Islam, yet has chosen to be among those who decide it is not for them and they may even plot to spread lies about the religion while they are aware that they are lying. These people cannot be helped except that Allah changes their hearts. A refutation of these people cannot be done properly except by God, because it is often a highly individualized situation as to their reasons for acting as they do.
I present now however an easy and simple refutation for those who are not lying (at least consciously), who are maybe actually confused, yet acting arrogantly out of ignorance or in following a trend. They may adopt popular slogans, “Islam is not a religion of peace”, “Muslims kill each other in the middle east – this is your religion”, “Islam is violent”.
There is something to differentiate here now, which is opinion and objective facts. The quotes above cannot be more than a calculated opinion, even when “backed up” by the latest study or video of a Muslim woman insulting and saying, “death to the kuffar”. I myself am not of the opinion that opinions towards Islam need to be regulated such that everyone in the world openly professes a positive opinion of my religion. As the Surah al-Kaafirun says, my religion is my own religion and yours is your own; you have yours and I have mine. If you just don’t like the religion, maybe for instance I might say you might find another approach to Islam better,but if you’ve just decided you don’t like it then so be it, as I’ve decided not to hold onto another religion. We as Muslims also do not need to be convinced that everything from our religion will simply be appealing to others and we do not need to feel the urge to change the religion either, simply to suit another varying circumstance – most Muslims understand this quite well.
The simple refutation for those spreading ignorance and not conscious lies is to ask, What do the Muslim mainstream books say regarding their religion? Have you read any? Which ones have you read?
If the answer is, “The Quran”:
You haven’t read the Quran because the Quran is in Arabic. Secondly, you have not yet made it into the Muslim mainstream to only rely on the Quran or even a few other sources such as hadith books. This is because the Muslim tradition relies on teachers for explanations of the meanings and contexts for the Quran and hadith. Most Muslims in history actually considered it incorrect to simply read a verse of the Quran or a hadith and implement the verse or hadith according to their own intellect. There are certain qualifications that are recieved by scholars of the Quran in order to make an interpretation of the Quran or to derive a ruling or point of theology from it. So, reading an english verse from the “Quran” has next to no validity in determining what proper practice of Islam is. Let us consider how one is to pray according to Islam. If we read only the Quran and some hadiths, we will likely never come to a real conclusion on how a Muslim is actually expected to pray- it is simply not there. To have a glimpse into the world of the Quran and to try to know what Islam is all about however, reading the Quran, even if only an English interpretation, may surely be of benefit and of real guidance unlike anything else.
If the answer is, “I don’t need to read anything, just look at the Middle East”:
Well, the person answering the question has actually refuted himself, though he may not realize it. Some people may even almost hint that Muslims outside of the Middle East are just as responsible for the actions of ISIS as ISIS themselves. “Well, you have the same religion”, well that is not an argument. Where does ISIS get it’s information from? (Ask this). Where do I get my information from? Are they the same, no. Are they my teachers? If you met my teachers, read my books, even all of them, would you find that they were all the same? No. Will you find some similarities between the language of ISIS and the language of the books that I use to help me learn my religion? Maybe on some things, because they do use sources from the Islamic tradition every once in a while. They may use texts of Islam to justify evil actions, but this doesn’t make them my teachers. We, traditional Muslims would call their use of Islamic texts as an abuse of these texts. By simply reading the positions that we, traditional Muslims take and contrasting these with any other group that comes along, there can be more honest discussion and debate.