By Shaikh Yasir Qadhi
These days there is a group of Islamically active duat who always emphasize certain topics, but ignore others. The topics they emphasize, while still not popular in all circles, are actually extremely popular in some circles. Hence, these activists have a large fan base cheering them on, because these ARE important topics that good people genuinely care about. Examples of such topics are: battling racism, fighting against discrimination, speaking out against poverty, criticizing police brutality, and other such topics. And I do not at all imply that there is anything wrong in that - these are all necessary topics, and I myself speak about them regularly..
What is problematic, though, is when topics that are just as important or even more important are never addressed. Certain topics are almost universally unpopular, and to bring them up will generate zero or little support, and cause immense controversy. A person who wishes to follow in the footsteps of the Prophet (salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam) must preach the entire religion of Islam: that which is popular and that which is unpopular.
In our times, I would venture the top three topics that are unpopular, from a theological, legal, and political angle, are the following:
Theologically, one of the most uncomfortable and politically incorrect doctrines that the Quran explicitly preaches is salvational exclusivity. 'Truly, the religion in the eyes of Allah is only Islam', 'And whoever seeks a religion other than Islam, it shall not be accepted of him.' It is awkward for many activists to preach this, and that is why some people are now openly promoting the notion that all faiths are equally valid and that every religion has the potential to be equally rewarded in the Afterlife.
Legally and morally, one of the most uncomfortable doctrines of Islam in today's world for those with an inferiority complex is its overall view of decency and morality (i.e., the concept of 'haya'). This includes dress codes, male/female interaction, restricting intimacy to marriage, speaking out against promiscuity of all types, and considering any type of union outside of marriage, and in particular same-sex unions, as being unacceptable from a moral perspective. Again, many people shy away from speaking on this topic, while others buckle under the pressure and start preaching that Islam tolerates matters that the Scriptures clearly say it does not.
And politically, one of the most awkward matters is the reality that Muslim radicalism and terrorist groups are a direct, causal reaction to Western policies, and that these groups have nothing to do with theology, and everything to do with politics. To preach truth to power, and to point out the hypocrisy of Western powers (e.g., how can you ignore or support Bashar al-Assad, and consider ISIS to be a greater threat to world peace?!) is a rare trait in today's climate. You can get rich and famous taking the route of Quilliam or Tarek Fatah or others, but it is difficult and unpopular to speak out against the policies of the superpowers of the world.
One of the duas narrated from the first generation, which all of us should constantly make, is the following: "O Allah! Allow us to recognize the truth as the truth, and grant us the ability to follow it, and allow us to recognize falsehood as falsehood, and grant us the ability to avoid it." Ameen