Intolerance for differing opinions

I have been a regular contributor to an Islamic discussion board, but decided to leave them. The forum has been invaded by people who have no tolerance for opposing views. Someone can’t even ask what time it is without there being posted a dozen hadiths talking about how to build your own watch, followed by half a dozen saying time is bid’ah (novelty). Yet the original question remains largely unanswered.

LOL! I know what you mean and you summarized the situation well.

One thing that has kept me away though is how differences of opinion are NOT ALLOWED on that forum. If we do not agree with you, you’re wrong. Period. No ifs, ands, or buts. We do not care if you have hadith backing your point. It does not match ours. So – you are wrong. No, there is no discussion. You are wrong. Period!

Compare that to this story about Imaam Ahmad ibn Hanbal, may God bless his soul. Is-haaq ibn Bahlool wrote a book about differences of opinion and brought it to Ibn Hanbal. He said to him, “I’m going to call it the Book of Disagreement.” The Imaam replied, “No. Call it the Book of Wideness!” The wise Imaam knew that differences in opinion and interpretation are a blessing, because they multiply the possibilities. But, no, many Muslims want one narrow view to prevail. Theirs!

My humble advice is: Don’t stay away. Be patient and continue to contribute. Fundamentalism flourishes only when it is not opposed. It is easy to defeat because the evidence against it is overwhelming, but it requires resolute debaters.

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