Arguments on History, Race, Politics, and Religion…

As much as I like to argue…I’m going to stop having them. Period. What is the point? I may want to be the know it all, but when someone feels strongly about something the conversation can go down south easily. I think if I stop getting into arguments with people on the net and in real life, I’ll have much more time to do other things like study Arabic, read, and write. In fact, I’m going to refrain from arguments in blogistan, and especially here on my blog. I have spent hours and hours carefully writing retorts to wack statements. Although I’ll avoid arguments in daily life, I’m going to speak my mind freely here in my blog. Fine, if you don’t agree. But once I make a statement, I’m not going to have a lot of time to argue with you. If anyone is a scholar of Islam and the African Diaspora, please email me so that I could have a cordial and scholarly exchange. I miss that. I miss the classroom, who would think that I’d miss 3 hour seminars and boring scholarly conferences? I’d like feedback on my work and in exchange, I’d read and give comments any work you’d send me.

I’m still passionate about what I do. I have built my life around research and writing the history of religion, politics, and race. But I am really disliking discussing either history, race, politics, and religion for fun. It makes bad dinner conversation and it’s really bad for the digestion. I have to quit discussing three subjects most contentious subject in my spare time in order to preserve my sanity, manage my time and maintain respectful relationships. I am not saying that my conversations won’t be deep. I’m just not going to argue or push my point of view. That’s all….

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6 thoughts on “Arguments on History, Race, Politics, and Religion…

  1. Reading this, I’m moved to ask: what is dialogue, and who is interested in it? Dialogue requires much more from us than argument, so I’m with you about dropping wasted time in arguments. The real cordiality, AKA adab and ahlaq, is a prerequisite for dialogue, isn’t it? Entering a discussion with a judgmental attitude, or any “attitude” whatsoever, destroys the possibility of the kind of dialogue I’m talking about.

    Yunus Emre said, “I became tired of twoness / So I ate at the table of oneness. I drank the wine of suffering / Let all my remedies be thrown out.”

    Despair comes up when we see–at least this is my experience–how rare are friends who seek dialogue, but useless argument is everywhere. Maybe the suffering of the absence of dialogue opens up space for something else to occur, spontaneously.

    Yunus said, “Light has filled the ruins of this heart. / Let this universe of mine be shattered.”

    Salaams!

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  2. Wasalaam Moishe,
    I like this Yusun Emre. First time I have read his work.
    I think of all the hours that I spent talking AT someone and not WITH them. It makes me kind of sad, but I’m grateful that someone had the patience to hear me out during those selfish times. I think of all those hours when I was more concerned about what I wanted to say, rather than listening, sharing, and growing. I’ve come to a point where I want to change myself because I’m sick of those old patterns. For me, dialogue is about learning and understanding. I want to walk away from a conversation away feeling more at peace or with increased knowledge, and not with a sense that I either won or lost a match. I look at every important change in my life, and it all came from a dialogue, whether through conversation or through a book. I didn’t change because someone beat me down with a point. I don’t like how it feels when someone is talking AT me, but even worse I don’t like how I feel when I realize I’ve been talking AT someone.

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  3. Wasalam,

    I hope this does not come back to haunt me but Kafaa in AFro/Arab culture is concept I have come to understand means Suitability….A Scholar does not debate a Student of Knowledge nor a Student of knoweldge the ignorant. Prophet Muhammad has been reported to have said in my own words…TReat/Communicate with people according to their stature/or position. I understand your frustration and appreciate your critically thought and tempered response.

    Salam…

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  4. Dear Sinhaji, yes, I am familiar with this hadith. To further our contemplation of it, I would ask, how do we know the other person’s inner condition? How can we know we’re “above” them in knowledge?

    If the issue at hand is very concrete, like how to fix an automobile, or how to perform surgery, or where to plant a palm tree, maybe it will be obvious who is the “higher” knower.

    But much of the time it seems to me that what we act on are our assumptions about others, not the reality of the other–I’m reminded of the story of Musa and Khidr.

    Since I am on Yunus Emre this week, here’s more:

    “Those who learned to be truly human / found everything in being humble
    While those who looked proudly from above / were pushed down the stairs.
    A heart that must always feel superior / will one day lose its way.
    What should be within, leaks out…

    Whatever you think of yourself / think the same of others.
    This is the meaning of the Four Books / if they have one.
    May Yunus not stray from the path / nor get on his high horse.
    May the grave and the Qiyamah be no concern / if what he loves is the face of God.”

    Salaams

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  5. Margari,

    I understand the need to say away from the toxicity. I began to explore the world of blogs about a year ago and the way that they can affect your mood, and, sometimes your feelings towards your fellow woman/man can be quite depressing. I find many of the comments to be creepy on the blogs and have decided to really take a step back from engaging with people on the internet.

    I also think that many bloggers are sensationalist and trite using his/her blog to incite controversy and needless bickering. My advisor’s next books is on the place of the essay form in African-American literature. Over lunch recently she asked me if the blog has a space similar to the essay in both form, rigor and “literariness”. My answer was no for a variety of reasons. The issues that you discuss above are important to why I said no.

    I look forward to continue reading your blog as it will be one OF THE FEW that I will continue to read insha’Allah. Keep pressing on, sis!

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  6. Salaams, one and all…

    Margari, a very thoughtful post, and a conclusion I have come to myself in recent tiimes. It gets very tiring pouring yourslef into a position you feel you have to defend.

    Thank you Moishe for the quotes from Yunus Emre. Allah! A superb and profound poet. Allah bless him and his secret.

    For Margari, Yunus Emre is a 12th or 13th century Sufi poet from what is now Turkey. His poetry is extremely influential in Turkish culture.

    Insha Allah, all is well with you.

    Abdur RAhman

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