Generalisation and its resulting problems.

Its always good to begin with a definition when using somewhat ambiguous terms such as the one in the title.  
Generalise - generalize: draw from specific cases for more general cases
Generalisation in a practical sense means to take a single action of a single person and to presume all people act that way, it is usually done in the context of a group within society whether that be a political, a religious or even a racial group. Such examples include all Jews are Zionists or all Muslims are terrorists.

In the post 911 world that we live in many people generalise about Muslims often and its usually at our expense. People see Muslims as a whole backwards as immigrants as terrorists as uncivilised and tribal. Many leaders of Muslim communities have spoken out against this kind of generalisation, and I agree with that, the Muslim community as a whole is seen in a negative way because of the generalisation of the media. 

But there is hypocrisy in such condemnations because I think we as Muslims generalise too often also, we generalise against groups in our own community, we say such a group do this and such a group do that when in fact the only time we have actually seen anybody do what we claim was on YouTube or on TV and even then it was a single or person or a few people. Yet we claim that everybody within this group or that group do such a thing, we say Brailvi's do this and Wahhabi's do that, Shia do this and Sufi's do that yet we really have no idea what they do because of the way we have divided ourselves, we see something on TV or on the internet and assume and proclaim they all do it. 

There's an old saying which goes: Divide and Conqueror, you can decide for yourselves who the conquerors are but we as a community have divided ourselves. I live in the UK and the UK has vast number of mosques, this is something we should be proud of and be grateful for as Muslims. But such is our condition (and its our own fault) that we refuse to go that mosque because apparently they do this or that mosque because apparently the imam does so and so and that mosque because apparently they fast in accordance with such a country. 

We must remember that the Islam the prophet (pbuh) taught was a simple religion and as Islam spread differences of opinion regarding newer issues began to develop, the religion remained one but there was diversity in it, there were varying but valid interpretations within it. This is still true today and even more so with the rise of many differing Islamic movements in the 19th century, but it was in this century that politics began to mix with the religion, different groups began opposing one another and fought over the control of mosques. Now with the idea of terrorism and extremism groups are once again fighting over control of mosques groups that want to condemn terrorism and others that do not, those that wish to reach out to the youth and those that want to remain traditionalists. 

This is driving people away from the mosques they don't want to attend meetings at the mosque where all that happens is that people argue with each other or there is some kind of drama every other salah or a confrontation every Friday. This plus the fact people are worried about being radicalised at the mosque or their children being radicalised by certain teachers. We need to end the generalisation and the division and things may get better as a result inshallah. w'Salaam ~ Peace


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