Chapter “with Omar Noureldin”

Satan’s Model Is the Appeal of Extremism


Omar Noureldin, a Special Projects Fellow with the Muslim Public Affairs Council and a Research Fellow at the University of Southern California Law School, reflects on Dr. Maher Hathout’s Friday sermon (khutbah) on extremism. Omar asks if we are truly free and what freedom means from an Islamic context.

Dr. Hathout boils down the answer to Adam’s disobedience to God.

“Freedom is a divine concept for humanity since inception, since Adam dared to disobey and since God Almighty decided to forgive him. Our life on Earth is the result of this action and on the idea of being able to choose freely. Disobedience tests the boundaries of freedom.”

The two further explore how extremism and a culture of compulsion exists despite such strong evidence in the Quran to the contrary. Dr. Hathout shares that regardless of evidence, psyche and ego blind people and allows them to supersede the Quran.

“Say, ‘Shall I tell you who the worst losers are? They are the ones whose works in this life are totally astray, but they think that they are doing good.’” [13: 103-104]

After all, it was Satan who was the original extremist when he stood against God and declared of Adam, “I am better than he.”


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