Monday, June 9, 2008

Submission vs Surrender

To me, submission & surrender meant the same thing. I guess I was wrong (enjoy this rare occasion cause you might never hear me say so again. EVER). So I always accepted the translation of "Islam" to "Submission", that is, until I read Amina Wadud's Inside the Gender Jihad.

Wadud writes: "We often translate this word as "one who submits"; however, the concept is pro-active, spiritually ripe and dynamic and might be better translated as 'engaged surrender'. Engaged surrender involves an active, consciousness participation in our social lives, family lives, economic lives, community lives, political lives, by the heart which is always open to the will of Allah and which always gives precedence to Allah’s will. The concept we have been inclined towards – submission – sometimes gives the idea that there is no will; but the one who willfully submits to the will of Allah is engaged in surrender."

The name Amina Wadud should ring a bell if you follow controversy among Muslims. She is the first Muslim women to lead mixed Friday prayers. More than 100 men and women attended the service and sermon given by Wadud, professor of Islamic studies at Virginia Commonwealth University. The location was moved to an Anglican Church building in New York after mosques refused to host the event. The service has been criticized by a number of Muslim leaders, who say it goes against Islamic doctrine.

As much as I love arguing, I have no argument with Wadud. Neither about her understanding of the word Islam, nor about her leading the Friday prayers.

To watch & listed to Wadud, click here.

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