‘Izzah: The Iman Stimulus Package

turbo-boost

Let’s return to ‘Umar’s statement to Abu ‘Ubaydah about ‘Izzah – that ‘Izzah is earned through Islam, and that without Islam, there is no ‘Izzah – instead, there is humiliation. No matter how many political organizations we establish, no matter how many protests we hold, no matter what apparent material and social success we achieve, and no matter what vision we have for Muslims in the West, all of it will be for naught without a proper foundation in Islam.

The vast majority of Muslims are considered “moderate” because they don’t practice Islam in its entirety, they simply identify themselves as Muslims. Allah has already warned us in the Qur’aan through the examples of Bani Israel as to what happens to the community of believers when they collectively turn away from worshiping and pleasing Allah – trials and punishment. It’s ironic because we know that those who neglect the lessons of history are doomed to repeat it, and here we are, not reading our Qur’aan for guidance, and doing precisely that – forgetting history and repeating it.

The 80/20 Rule to solving our Ummah’s problems is:

  1. Target raising the Islamic knowledge and iman of this sort-of/kind-of “moderate” Muslim majority.
  2. Train da’ees from within specific communities to reach out to their own and bring them in.
  3. Harness everyone else’s talents to enable knowledge-focused programs.

1. Target raising the Islamic knowledge and iman of the Muslim majority.

The time has come for those of us who have some knowledge, for those of us who are practicing, to turn back to the community and start teaching and advancing knowledge that raises the Iman of the community. No, not the beat down approach that many of us 2nd geners experienced – do this, and do that, and not knowing why. I’m talking about what Aisha talked about when she discussed the Prophet’s daw’ah – starting with a Makkan approach of focusing on Eman, then evaluating the students and seeing if they’re ready for the next level, keeping the fiqhi do’s and don’ts to the required minimum until the people have reached a certain level of education and spiritual closeness with Allah that they can transition to a Madinan level.

Some of you may disagree with this and say, “Why not do it all at once?” The Prophetic manner came with priorities – it started with Iman and then moved into more difficult fiqh issues. Our current approach starts with both easy and difficult fiqh issues (no sense of priority) and assumes that declaring one is a Muslim is enough to motivate them to do good or realize when they are doing wrong. I disagree with this – as I wrote in the Lessons from Ignorance series, not everyone is at the same level of Islamic knowledge, nor are they at the same level of Iman.

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On a broader scale, the priority of daw’ah takes higher precedence over political involvement, secular education, and financial success as a means of raising the ‘Izzah of the Muslims. It’s the same thing as enforcing fiqh without first developing the person’s foundation on Iman – you’ll wear the clothes and appearance of success, but in truth, you’ll have no ‘Izzah.

2. Train Da’ees from within Specific Communities to Reach Out to Their Own

A fascinating trend I observed while working for AlMaghrib Institute in Chicago was that the vast majority of Muslims either don’t know or don’t care for the hyper-partisan bickering among salafis, sufis, ikhwaanis, deobandis, ash’aris, hanafis, shafi’ees, hanbalis (I realize there’s some overlap there), and so on. Most don’t know the theological or fiqh differences between one popular speaker and the next – all they care about is that said popular speaker enlightens, inspires, and perhaps entertains the masses with their ability to speak to spiritual issues in a manner they can relate to.

We need trainers (read: advanced students of knowledge) to teach our up-and-coming da’ees to not be neo-hyper-partisan on- and off-line refutniks. Our new training programs need to account for the “arrogance” learning period and help new da’ees overcome that curve quickly. They have to be trained, tested, and certified to teach the basics of Islam in a manner that doesn’t just consist of reciting and memorizing facts, but to encourage, motivate, and inspire their own students with a love of Allah that demands proof of love through action, motivated by one’s internal iman supply. This means they not only need Islamic knowledge, they need to learn and practice techniques of communication that will allow them to break through the walls of skepticism they’ll encounter along the way. Too often, I have watched sincere da’ees who have knowledge, yet no communication ability. They don’t understand how to see the world through the eyes of any but their own, and they address issues in a way that only they and people like themselves can appreciate and understand.

The da’ees themselves need to specialize in a particular cross-section of the community, just as the Prophets themselves were sent to their own communities. Let me be clear – I’m not a segregationist! What I am saying is that each of us has a niche within the community that we are better equipped to address, through our ethnicity, through our social upbringing, and through our life experiences – let’s exploit those natural connections in order to accelerate our daw’ah’s success. And again, I mean this only for the grassroots ground-level community da’ees, not our advanced students of knowledge (although it certainly doesn’t hurt here either).

3. Harness the Talents of Everyone Else to Enable Knowledge-Focused Programs

Not everyone is an advanced student of knowledge, and not everyone can or will be a da’ee (in the sense of teaching knowledge), nor should they be. But everyone has talents and skills that will enable the realization of this vision. You may have organizational experience, connections within the community, writing ability, money, and so on – whatever you’ve got, bring it to the table.

Even those of you involved in other spheres of life, such as the political organizations – if you want to fight for something, fight for our right to teach Islamic history and fiqh unabashedly, without ten levels of politically spun verbiage to sanitize our religious beliefs. If you plan on climbing the corporate or academic ladder, no problem – just remember that today’s average Muslim is impressed by your titles, so come back down to them, and use it for their benefit by actively supporting and enabling such programs. A really great example of this is Dr. Isam Rajab. He’s completed his PhD in Islamic Studies (bachelor’s from Madinah University, and other qualifications) from the University of California and his program, Arees Institute, is well-structured and accredited. His students are everyday people who want to learn Islam and spread it out to others. We need more programs like this built up locally and supported by our communities with their time and money.

I know there is always hope that going after leaders will yield larger results, and that thinking has its place in certain contexts, but bear in mind that a part of recognizing contemporary reality is that converting a leader today doesn’t result in converting the masses as well.

What We Don’t Need…Excuses

Excuses for what, you might ask? here are a few (this is by no means comprehensive):

1. Your Lack of Time

If you can’t manage your time, it’s time to start learning. The Muslim world is falling apart around our ears, and we all have to do our part to prevent further chaos, if not now, then for future generations. Start planning your work now, and then work your plan. No one wants to hear that your auntie and uncle parties take priority when the repercussions of inaction are worldwide genocide. Living your daily life and hoping that by not rocking the boat you’re doing daw’ah by example is not enough. We need more from everyone.

2. The Weakness of the Masses

The weakness of the masses is a self-fulfilling prophecy – keep telling people they are weak, and they will act weak. Keep making excuses for weakness, and you become the enabler of such weaknesses. Mercy is not in what you tell people to do, it’s in how you tell them to do it. We have many differences in day-to-day values with our North American nonMuslim counterparts, differences which today embarass us. Rather than telling Muslims to acquiesce because, “it seems impractical”, let’s train Muslims to handle these issues intelligently and professionally (this is called tying your camel, folks), and then, after doing our best, leaving to Allah the rest.

Let’s raise our standards, and let’s take some pride in being Muslim, in practicing Islam, in pleasing our Lord. I love the following video by our brother Malcolm X, may Allah have mercy on him:

[youtube znQe9nUKzvQ House Negro vs Field Negro]

Our situation today is vastly different (this isn’t slavery, after all), but the spirit of the message is the same – respect doesn’t come from weakness and kowtowing – it comes from firm resolve and conviction. It comes from standing up for what is right, even when the world around you says you’re wrong. THAT is the example of the Prophets and the Messengers.

The masses of Muslims can handle being the best of mankind, but they need strong examples to follow – be an example, not an enabler.

3. Starbucks, McDonald’s, AIPAC, the Saudi Government, the Neo-Cons, the Rand Corporation, etc

No one did it to us – we did it to us and THAT’s why our opponents (some real, some imagined) have been given authority to take advantage of us. The problem is not out there – it’s right here, in you, me, and the rest of us. Focus on yourself, and what is within your own power to accomplish. Figure out how you can proactively solve the problems we face, not jump reactively to every monster that rears its ugly head at us.

It All Starts With You…

Usually, after being given the, “we have to return to Islam” speech, eyes roll, mouths yawn, and the inevitable question presents itself – alright, so now what? We know the result that must happen collectively, but what do I personally do? Here are some suggestions I’ve found beneficial (there’s plenty more that can be added):

1. Humility: Results-oriented thinking will tell you if the actions you’re performing are not getting you the result you want, it’s time to change your strategy. The Ghazzah Massacre was a most salient demonstration of 1.6 billion Muslims collectively wringing their hands and having no solutions. It’s time we finally say to Allah in our du’aas that we do not know what our best role is in serving this ummah, but please, guide us to it. We have to realize that we might not like the answer, but whatever it is that Allah wants from us, we will submit to it humbly, whatever it may be.

2. Outreach: Those of you who have knowledge, those of you who are da’ees, please don’t prioritize the government, academic, and corporate types over the masses. The lessons of ‘Abasa and the Makkan period teach us clearly enough that when you are at your weakest, the strong want little to do with you, and often look down on you. My sincere and humble advice to all of you is to re-focus your efforts back on the masses of Muslims who need you to return to the grassroots level, to fill their hearts with the blazing glory of Iman, and captivate their minds with the Guidance of the Qur’aan and the wisdom that is the Sunnah. You have been endowed with the Prophet’s Inheritance, so please, spread the wealth as far and as wide as is possible.

3. Self-Reflection: We often quote Malaysia as a land that came to Islam through daw’ah of trustworthy merchants exemplifying Islam, walking the walk. Are you an example of trustworthiness, or are you a smaller scale reflection of our international Muslim leadership? Is your tongue free from the blood of your brother’s non-zabiha back meat? Did you really earn your degree without cheating, or is your B.S. really BS? When you engage in transactions, are they honest, or do you cut corners for convenience and saving money? It’s time to take stock of your personal shortcomings and create a plan to remove the debt of sin round your neck that collectively holds all of us down.

4. Find Your Calling: Take stock of your talents, and the contribution that can make to an Islamic revival – what can you do to bring Islam back to the hearts of the people? Take some time to think about what you can give, and then give all you can and more – you are needed, so don’t underestimate your potential contribution. Maybe you’re a writer, a graphic artist, a computer programmer, an excellent speaker – whatever you got, bring it.

The Ball is in Your Court…

Of course, I could be wrong (I often am) ;) So my challenge to all of you – what practical steps do you think we should take to bring the masses of Muslims back to Islam? No pie in the sky theory here folks – you can quote ayaat and / or ahadeeth, but what are we going to do with it after that? How are we to implement it into a practical program of revival?

And secondly, how do you see yourself contributing, or do you even see yourself contributing?

Let’s hear it :D

49 / View Comments

49 responses to “‘Izzah: The Iman Stimulus Package”

  1. ALGEBRA says:

    Aslamu-alaikum:

    “Of course, I could be wrong (I often am) ;)”

    Actually this was a good post…………..surprisingly…
    salam

  2. Indian Muslimah says:

    Jazakallahu Khair, brother. Your article is truly an eye opener, maasha Allah.

  3. ibnkhalil says:

    mashAllah very beneficial. JazakAllah khair

    On a completely different tangent…….the picture reminds me of Knightrider…..lolzzzz….

  4. bismillah was salamu alaykum. no excuses: El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz (Arabic: الحاجّ مالك الشباز ‎) RahimAllah, was an American Muslim hero, mashaAllah. may Allah accept all his good deeds, forgive him his errors, and grant him Jannat. ameen.

  5. Brother says:

    Assalam aleykum,

    Masha’Allah, really really good article, honestly.

    Instead of just repeating what you said and commenting “yes it’s true, masha’Allah”, let’s give one practical and easy thing to organize and that really has an impact:

    Organise with another brother in the same mindset a dinner once a month at your home:

    invite 5-10 brothers, not necessarily strong practicing, not necessarily involved in the community, just brothers that love their religion but don’t know a lot about it, that are “culturally Muslims” but want to know more.

    You do a programme like (of course it can be adapted):

    7pm: welcome people + al maghrib prayer (for instance)

    7.30: start with a short recitation of Quran, and then a ta’aruf (if you don’t know each other)

    7.45: short reminder on a “Mekkan” topic, like Iman, our responsibility, the meaning of prayer, the Prophet Muhammad (S)’s life…no fiqh, no too academic stuff, no debates, no complicated, irrelevant speech, but concrete, practical, relevant, simply said.

    8.15: question + discussion

    8.30: dinner

    9.30: conclusion with du’a for instance

    Do this during 6 months, inshaAllah it will be VERY benefitial, and you will see people coming and wanting to know more about the deen inshaAllah, starting practicing…

    If you have several rooms and enough space, bring your wives and/or sisters, they go on their side, you go on your own with brothers.

    In Ramadan, you can go to once a week.

    The atmosphere should be relaxed, people free to ask whatever questions they feel important to them, don’t judge anyone. Make them feel at ease.

    After a while, you can go for one week-end retreat to a brother in the countryside :)

    Then, you replicate the scheme. The ones who were invited at the beginning and know are involved in the community replicate the scheme with other “culturally Muslim” brothers, and so on.

    Wa Allahu a’lam

    wassalam

  6. Abu Yunus says:

    As salaamu alaykum,

    I am tired of writers putting “Salafis” along with deviant sects like ikhwanis, sufis, etc. Do we seem to forget that there is precedence for this term in the Qur’an and Sunnah and early scholars, whereas there is no precedence for the other terms. Barring those individuals who ascribe themselves to Salafiyyah but have turned it into a cult-like hizb, we need to stay clear of using this term alongside with the other groups. That is because it gives the impression that Salafiyyah is not different from the other man-made groups. In fact, all the other groups within the ummah has this common trait of it being something which came later on and has no predecence from the Prophet (S). Hence, it is a form of injustice to include the term with these other sects or groups. That is because Salafis is synonymous with Ahlus-Sunnah,Ahlul-Hadeeth, Ahlul-Athar, all of these terms have precedence from the statements of the Companions of the Prophet (s) as they used these terms. It is basically like putting the term Ahlus-Sunnah along with Sufis, ikhwanis, tablighees, etc.

    Just because some people who ascribe themselves to Salafiyyah and who are far away from it in many respects, we need not censure this term in this fashion. And let me make this clear, in contrast to what the article implies, “The Rise and Fall of Salafiyyah in the West”. The correct term for that article should’ve been, “The Rise and Fall of Claimants to Salafiyyah.” As Salafiyyah is a constant that does not falll and it is not a property of any particular individual or group. The Salafi Da’wah has already been attacked by the ignoramus due to the irresponsible and foolish actions of some youth who have not understood Salafiyyah properly. They have taken general principles and applied them to specific situations causing unspeakable fitnah. At any rate, we need to purify the da’wah from the contamination of irresponsible hizbees who have expelled many Salafee scholars from the da’wah. We need to educate these false claimants or at least poing out that their actions are not from Salafiyyah. In other words, we don’t throw the baby with the bathwater, we just get rid of the dirty water.

    We need to clarify to the Muslims that it is obligatory to the follow the Salaf, whether one calls himself or herself Salafi or not is irrelevant, as that is dictated by wisdom. It has to be made clear that Salafiyyah is merely a manhaj (methodology) of understanding the deen and its primary sources (Qur’an and Hadeeth). As for those come up with the argument, “I am only a Muslim, no more no less.” I would retort by saying, “Yes, no one disagrees that you are a Muslim. However, the term “Muslim” is by way of religion and the term “Salafi” is by way of manhaj. These two terms are not mutually exclusive per se. A distinction has to be made. The example of this person is like someone who says, ‘I am only a Muslim, I am not an Indian/Pakistani,Palestinian…” Again, the term “Muslim” is by way of religion and term like “Indian” is by way of nationality or ethnicity. There is no contradiction.

    As for those who say that we don’t break ourselve into sects by calling ourselves Salafis. Well, sects are not created by merely labels. And neither is it obligatory to call oneself by this epithet as some circumstances warrant one thing and another circumstance warrants another. In other words, the nisbah (ascription) Salafiyyah falls under all five ahkaam of the Sharee’ah. So, it can even be haraam to call yourself Salafi under particular circumstances. So, it is not a matter of calling yourself this or that per se, but it is a matter of being a Salafi, following the Salaf as-Saliheen (Righteous Predecessors: Companions, and the next two generations who were upon righteousness).

    Lastly, the Prophet (S) did say that there will be sect which will be saved, so it is a sect, but is not limited to one particular name or a particular faction. Whoever has these attributes of following the Salaf falls in this sect irrespective of whether they call themselves Salafis or not. Also a point to note, no one criticizes the term ‘Sunni” as it is known it is used to distinguish from “Shi’ah”. Likewise, the term “Salafi” is used to distinguish oneself from the deviant groups within “Sunnism”. If there weren’t these groups, there would be no need to distinguish oneself as Shaykh al-Albaanee (r) had stated time and again.

    Allaah knows best!

    Abu Yunus

  7. ibnabeeomar says:

    abu yunus, as you said:

    We need to clarify to the Muslims that it is obligatory to the follow the Salaf, whether one calls himself or herself Salafi or not is irrelevant

    so then why the essay about it? :)

  8. Siraaj says:

    Salaam alaykum everyone,

    @ Algebra, IndianMuslimah, and ibnKhalil: Glad you enjoyed the article, make sure you come back and post what you’ll be doing to implement it ;)

    @ Tariq: I think generally speaking, our tone in daw’ah should reflect the tone that brother Malcolm used (relating to how we project ourselves when we’re attacked and need a media response).

    @ unconventionally traditional: a research group that writes recommendations to different bodies looking for their advice. they have a few famous research papers that are publically available detailing the political differences among various muslim groups, how liiberal or conservative they are, and who to align with in order to divide and conquer practicing Muslims.

    @ Brother: Dude, this is awesome. At a masjid I used to attend, we had a saturday morning fajr program where we’d have breakfast and listen to an audio CD for a half hour in the masjid – we started with Shaykh Muhammad’s series on the four imams (amazing series) and then moved on to others. It was an awesome program, very similar to what you proposed, and it soon had people looking for bigger projects.

    @ Abu Yunus: I think when you put a group of people together in a list, the context matters. For example, if I were to put all the groups together mentioned and said, “These are all human beings,” then yes, they all have the characteristic of being human beings, irrespective of whether they are correct in what they follow or not.

    Likewise, the context of their grouping is not that to assign a designation of deviant or guided – the context is the behavior of these groups among themselves and their effect on the everyday Muslim populace. There are human characteristics and group dynamics common to all these groups, and my point is the majority of people who are somewhat Muslim or Muslim in name don’t know or don’t care about this. Inviting to a group is not the way to bring these people in – inviting to Islam, to the worship of Allah, and so on, is.

    Of course, your return response will be, but this is what we are, whether we are called salafi or not. The ikhwaani will say the same, the sufi will say the same, all of you will say the same. My point is, forget group membership and affiliation, it’s too confusing for the masses, no matter which group you are, and that all the fighting and bickering among groups, whether it is the saved sect or not, is not bringing people to Islam. On the contrary, it’s pushing people away.

    Siraaj

  9. ibnabeeomar says:

    jazakallahu khayr for this excellent article. one of the projects we started (with imam nasir) is the Qalam Institute project.

    This project essentially holds 1 day seminars every 6-8 weeks, maintaining a Quran/Tafseer focus that hits on essential lessons everyone needs. Alhamdulillah it has become really popular with both the youth and the elders in the community as well (you know – uncles/aunties).

    A couple of things we have done that sets it apart from other projects is actually more or less what you mentioned:

    1. Target raising the Islamic knowledge and iman of this sort-of/kind-of “moderate” Muslim majority.
    2. Train da’ees from within specific communities to reach out to their own and bring them in.
    3. Harness everyone else’s talents to enable knowledge-focused programs.

    To reach the wide audience, it is essential to utilize your local masaajid, and more importantly, the local imams in the community. What I have personally noticed is that many communities have imams with a good level of scholarship and capability, but they are often stuck with the general day to day masjid duties and aren’t able to actually do programs that reach a larger segment.

    Moreover, whenever communities do try to plan a bigger event, they usually invite an outside speaker. Thus the community never hears anything from their own imam outside a juma khutbah. Your more active community members obviously do benefit from the classes at the masjid and things of that nature, but the mass audience is missing.

    Involving your Imams helps to quell a lot of the partisanship that gets associated with guest speakers, and it also creates more buy-in and ownership for the whole community. Everyone feels they have a vested interest to help this project survive and progress, and I believe that is one way you start encouraging people who are not the imams to begin utilizing their talents and pitch in for these programs.

    Plus, as mentioned, the communities we have really are lacking in a basic level of tarbiyyah. We do need to go back over the basics that are taught in the Quran/Sunnah to learn, on a holistic level, how to be practicing Muslims (esp in this society). it goes without saying that the imams of the communities know them best, and are most adept at creating the grassroots change necessary to transform the community – it is our job as (inshallah) activists to create that vehicle.

    http://qalam.colleyvillemasjid.org

  10. Abu Yunus says:

    ibnabeeomar, the “essay” is not about calling yourself this or that, it was about not listing the praiseworthy nisbah of Salafi along with the other groups.

    Siraaj, what you are saying has been proved wrong through my response. So what if ikhwani are saying the same thing, does that make it true? The Christians believe their religion is the truth, does that make it true? Also, if the masses don’t care about particular thing, does not mean we shouldn’t educate them about it, should we give it up altogether. The masses do not care about many good things and realities. You said “Inviting to a group is not the way to bring these people in – inviting to Islam, to the worship of Allah, and so on, is.” Yes, but the shiahs will also call these people to their particular distortion of Islam. Likewise, will Sufis, Tablighees, Ikhwanees, etc. So, are you saying it doesn’t matter if these people call to their particular “version” of Islam? Isn’t it important that we don’t just call people to what is believed to be Islam, but we call them to the correct Islam. After all, Imaam Barbahaaree said, ‘Islam is the Sunnah and the Sunnah is Islam, one of them cannot be established without the other.” Likewise, another scholar said, “Thank Allah for not just guiding you to Islam, but for guiding you to Islam and the Sunnah.” In short, shouldn’t we call them to the sunnah as we call them to Islam? Isn’t proper understanding of Islam crucial? As for you last comment, I had already mentioned that the hizbee elements have to be removed from Salafiyyah, so you are merely repeating what I stated. Again, don’t throw away the baby with the bathwater. I see a lot of writers on this forum becoming lax/modernist Salafees. Let’s avoid the two extremes, The harsh throw-off-the-manhaj Salafis [or claimants] and the lax/modernist Salafis [or claimants]. Let’s return to the original Salafiyyah wasatiyyah (moderate Salafism). Also, if any of you want to continue with the condescending tone like calling my response “essay” then it upon you. I call Allah to witness that I have clarified the matter to the best of my ability and what the readers do with it is upon them.

    Abu Yunus

    • Amad says:

      Abu Yunus,
      “do we have any precedence for what we are saying from any scholar of Ahus-Sunnah, past and present?”

      From deen al-wasatiyyah, we have gone to salafiyya wasatiyyah, from there will we jump to the wasatiyyah within the wasatiyyah of the deen al-wasatiyyah?

      So, please provide precedence for the “moderate salafism” strain of salafism? Which scholars of the past (forget the present) have called to salafiyya wasatiyyah. Look forward to hearing your thoughts.

      And thank you for ignoring 99% of Siraaj’s post :)

      wasalam

  11. MR says:

    Man, Siraaj did u become a Sufi?! jk

    MashaAllah excellent article.

  12. Siraaj says:

    Salaam alaykum Akhi Abu Yunus,

    Your last comment simply exemplifies my point – after you destroy each group, which salafi daw’ah is now the “correct” manhaj? New battles will come out of it. Then, after you destroy them, you can rest assured that saved sect within the saved sect will continue to divide and destroy until there is nothing left.

    So in response to your question, my answer is no, we should not be destroying or calling down those groups. Those groups never expose the more exotic ideas particular to the masses upfront – no one ever does. And the masses don’t have the inclination to get into them either, no matter their best arguments. If we can start with just belief and salaah, that would be monumental.

    Siraaj

  13. Abu Yunus says:

    wa alaykum salaam,

    One last comment and all of us should ponder upon it: do we have any precedence for what we are saying from any scholar of Ahus-Sunnah, past and present? As for what I have stated [meaning the nisbah (ascription) to Salafiyyah is legitimate], then there is precedence from many scholars, e.g. Imaam Awzaa’ee, Imaam Abu Haneefah, Imaam Daraqutnee, Ibn Taymeeyah … and from the contemporary Imaam al-Albaanee (may Allaah have mercy upon them all). And who among the groups is focusing on belief/aqeedah more than the [true] Ahlus-Sunnah/Ahlul-Hadeeth/Ahlul-Athar? I don’t intend to argue back and forth, so I will stop here.

    Abu Yunus

  14. Siraaj says:

    Salaam alaykum Abu Yunus,

    Jazakallaah khayr for participating and offering your input.

    There is no one that doesn’t say they call to the way of the Salaf (in theory) from among the Muslim groups, nor will they disagree with it. What they will disagree with is how one goes about doing it. So rather than using this as a jumping point to refute and rebut other groups, I would simply use the point to go back to what has been said and taught by them, and what other scholars of the past have said about this.

    As you mentioned earlier, if this is the case, that it is in line with the salafi daw’ah, then what I’ve proposed is not a problem at all, and doesn’t even conflict with what you’ve requested. But if its not only this, but, “By the way, we’re the salafis, and we’re not like the deviant hizbee salafis, or the soofees, or the ikhwaanis, or…” in practical terms, this is more than anyone can handle.

    If you wish to look at the example of the Prophet sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, then look at how he treated the major Companions when they asked him for advice vs how he advised the bedouins who came and asked him about practice. Different people require different levels of knowledge, and with each person you deal with, you must know their limits and not push them beyond their present capacity. In time, it may grow, and perhaps then you can speak to them about advanced issues.

    Siraaj

  15. ibnabeeomar says:

    i think the degeneration of comments is proof enough of how much we need the action items in the original post. until we move past the petty debates (such as this debate over the semantics of salafism), the longer our ummah will remain in this state. and the longer we spend our time battling people over the usage of particular labels, while failing to actually call to the lofty aims of those labels, then our dawah will ultimately fail.

    in fact, it is precisely these types of disputes – “dont you know how noble the term salafi is” – that prevent reaching a mass audience with dawah. most people simply don’t care. i as well don’t care what label you use to describe yourself, i want to see what dawah you are calling to and what that dawah has to offer to me in terms of increasing my iman and bringing me closer to Allah (swt).

    how many of our ‘salaf’ began inviting people to the way of Allah by teaching them about nisbah or engaging in lengthy arguments about it? abu bakr as-salafi? umar as-salafi? uthmaan al-atharee? ali al-atharee? maybe hasan al-basri al-salafi? abu dawud al-salafi? or was it the baab of nisbah in saheeh al-bukhari of muhammad ibn isma’il al-salafi?

    the reason i am being so tough is because i have seen with my own eyes, time and time again, people who are hung up about nisbah and labels (whether it be salafi or any other group such as those who are particular about calling themselves ashari/shafi/naqshbandi and so on and so forth) never have a dawah that is successful on a large scale.

    if your true goal is dawah, education, and reform, then you need to open your eyes to the reality around you. If the use of your particular label is causing division and hatred and partisanship, as opposed to cooperation upon birr/taqwa, then the use of that label needs to be re-evaluated. if we desire guidance upon the straight path for our fellow brethren, then we need to ‘walk the walk’ as siraaj’s post says, and do so in the best manner possible, and trying to bring as much benefit to as many people as possible.

    teaching people aqeedah will not come through the triumph of salafis/ahlul-ather/ahlul-100 other names over asharis/sufis/whatever – the proper aqeedah will reign triumphant when a muslim is taught the principles of aqeedah with hikmah, good manners, and taught aqeedah in a way that benefits him/her and increases their emaan. the proper aqeedah will settle in a person’s heart when they come to learn of Allah’s Names and Attributes and His Mercy and Majesty, and feel closeness to Him. but for this to happen it must be taught. True Aqeedah is learning about Nuzool academically, and acting upon it by praying tahajjud. It will *not* be learned when it is reduced to an academic exercise used to prove the superiority and “haqq” of one nisbah or sect over another.

  16. […] ibnabeeomar: "i think the degeneration of co…" […]

  17. […] ibnabeeomar: "i think the degeneration of co…" […]

  18. AnonyMouse says:

    A great, solid post, alHamdulillaah.

    SubhanAllah, I cannot tell you enough the neccessity of grassroots activism within the community to build up it’s emaan and ‘ilm base. No amount of conferences or even every-few-months-courses can do for a community what solid, regular (i.e. weekly), love-for-the-sake-of-Allah interaction and education can do. And what amazing changes can be brought about, in a small yet steady and wonderful manner, by the Grace and Mercy of Allah… the key is PATIENCE, PERSEVERENCE, and WISDOM.

    Much of the time, communities don’t know what gems they have in their imaams and shuyookh because they’re too hung up complaining about what their leaders are not doing for them or comparing them to the “Da’wah Superstars.” I urge each and every one of you, go back to your local Masjid and attend the weekly duroos and halaqaat and focus within yourself and your community. Take all the good that you can, implement it in your life, and then give back twice as much.
    It is from these small and steady actions that our strength as individuals, as local communities, and finally, as a massive Ummah, will grow. And with that strength of emaan and Islaam, will come our ‘izzah.

  19. ibnabeeomar says:

    i’d also like to see more discussion on this issue:

    Harness everyone else’s talents to enable knowledge-focused programs.

    what are the ways people can get involved? there’s the obvious ones such as:
    Event planning/organizing
    Marketing
    Flyer/poster design
    audio/video recording

    What other skills can be utilized to help set up grassroots programs to help promote knowledge? what else can people do to be part of such programs and contribute their talents? i’ve listed 5, what else do we have? :)

  20. Abu Yunus says:

    “So, please provide precedence for the “moderate salafism” strain of salafism? Which scholars of the past (forget the present) have called to salafiyya wasatiyyah. Look forward to hearing your thoughts.”

    Amad, In case you didn’t understand, the adjective “wasatiyyah” was merely provisional. The da’wah by its very nature is wasat. It was only needed to add that adjective in order to distinguish it from what has been attributed to the da’wah in terms of extremism. So, it is not a new term at all, it is merely meant to clarify that Salafiyyah IS wasatiyyah by its very nature.

    ibnabeeomar, as for what you have said, “how many of our ’salaf’ began inviting people to the way of Allah by teaching them about nisbah or engaging in lengthy arguments about it? abu bakr as-salafi? umar as-salafi? uthmaan al-atharee? ali al-atharee? maybe hasan al-basri al-salafi? abu dawud al-salafi? or was it the baab of nisbah in saheeh al-bukhari of muhammad ibn isma’il al-salafi? ”

    This is a silly case of anachronism. Why would the Salaf attribute to themselves the following of the Salaf, which, in essence, means following themselves. They WERE the Salaf, there was no need for such a nisbah. At any rate, we have to clarify one issue at time, just because I am proving the legitimacy of the nisbah, doesn’t mean that it is be-all end-all. No one said that one should preoccupy oneself with a single issue and that’s all. BUT, we have to deal with ONE issue at a time.

    As for Siraaj, I keep my promise that I have nothing to respond as I believe that you do agree with me and I do agree with the last comment you made. Thank you for being the best in akhlaaq among all who have responded to me. I have tried my best to maintain a good akhlaaq despite condescending and belittling tones of the other posters. It is sad that many “authors” don’t even have a basic knowledge of the the Salafee manhaj and what it means and entails, saying things like Umar as-Salafi, which is nothing short of hilarious. Anyway, ibnabeeomar, the term Muslim is also label, don’t care if anyone calls himself a Muslim, just care what he calls to.

    • Amad says:

      Abu Yunus, I am sorry if my comment offended you, however:

      “I have tried my best to maintain a good akhlaaq despite condescending and belittling tones of the other posters.”

      And

      “It is sad that many “authors” don’t even have a basic knowledge of the the Salafee manhaj and what it means and entails”

      Don’t go too well.

  21. Siraaj says:

    1. Writing
    2. Finance and accounting (handling budgets)
    3. Web Design
    4. Hosting (homes, venue setup)
    5. Media dev (ppts, pdfs, surveys for feedback).
    6. Lawyers
    7. Babysitters

    Siraaj

    • Amad says:

      1. Writing
      2. Finance and accounting (handling budgets)
      3. Web Design
      4. Hosting (homes, venue setup)
      5. Media dev (ppts, pdfs, surveys for feedback).
      6. Lawyers
      7. Babysitters
      8. Event planning/organizing
      9. Marketing
      10. Flyer/poster design
      11. audio/video recording

      12. Public Relations (professional)
      13. Public Relations (tablighi style) with other Muslims in the community.

  22. ibnabeeomar says:

    abu yunus-

    we have to deal with ONE issue at a time.

    my only argument is, should these issues be dealt with in some level of priority where more important issues take precedence over others? if so, where do you feel the nisbah issue falls on the priority scale? in context of siraaj’s post (which i think summarizes things in an excellent manner) i feel that it is a low priority issue.

    you may find my examples laughable (they are hyperbole after all, and not literal as you may have taken them), but they are there to prove a point: dawah needs to be done in a way that is constructive, and with proper aims. i feel that the nisbah argument you have carried out goes against that. as i said in my post, if the use of the label causes division/hatred, then you need to re-evaluate its use. this is a basic concept of enjoining the good and forbidding the evil that is expounded upon by ibn taymiyyah al-salafi.

  23. Sr. Zainab, you missed linking to this old article of yours…
    http://muslimmatters.org/2007/09/27/a-tribute-to-my-father-and-grassroots-activism/

    I thought of it but forgot about posting it! Thanks for doing it for me :)

    what are the ways people can get involved?

    This is one thing which we are trying to encourage in our community. Shockingly, there is a large amount of people – youth and ‘adults’ alike – who honestly don’t realize their own potential and don’t know what they’re ‘good’ at.

    Perhaps one of the first steps is making people aware of how much they truly have to offer. A lot of people come in not too sure about where they ‘fit’ in the community (especially if they’re just starting to practice the Deen and learn more about it), so a key step is to welcome them and make them a part of the family. Encourage them to develop and share their skill sets, discover what they love to do, and help them channel their inspiration and energy into positive practical ways that will help push the community forward.

  24. ibnabeeomar says:

    14. notes compilation
    15. class notebook/powerpoints
    16. sports activities (for youth, this is an add-on to babysitting)
    17. exam/quiz competitions

    • Amad says:

      1. Writing
      2. Finance and accounting (handling budgets)
      3. Web Design
      4. Hosting (homes, venue setup)
      5. Media dev (ppts, pdfs, surveys for feedback).
      6. Lawyers
      7. Babysitters
      8. Event planning/organizing
      9. Marketing
      10. Flyer/poster design
      11. audio/video recording
      12. Public Relations (professional)
      13. Public Relations (tablighi style) with other Muslims in the community.
      14. notes compilation
      15. class notebook/powerpoints
      16. sports activities (for youth, this is an add-on to babysitting)
      17. exam/quiz competitions
      18. (optional) Not injecting nisbah and manhaj-qualification check-list as part of masjid-activism entrance exam. :) [Just a joke Br. Abu Yunus, you have made your point on this specific issue, what about the rest of the post? I am sure you can contribute other points of benefit inshallah]

  25. Siraaj says:

    You know what’s interesting is that we’ve started out with positions first, and we don’t even know if the project needs it, but you know what? There are projects out there that would LOVE to have someone volunteer for these positions, but they don’t ask because they don’t think they have the resources – if you think there’s an org you can fit into to do this kind of stuff, or something mentioned in the list, or something else, volunteer it anyway and then do the best job you can with it.

    Siraaj

  26. talib says:

    @ Abu Yunus..and every1 else who reads this post

    i listened to this nice series of lectures by sheikh abul hassan al maribi…on how to be moderate(كيف تكون معتدلاً)..u might find it very useful

    http://www.sulaymani.net/catplay.php?catsmktba=236

  27. ALGEBRA says:

    Aslamu-alaikum:

    OK……………. AMAD, IBNEEOMAR, AND SIRAJJJJJ
    YOU GUYS ARE DOING THE SAME THING THAT YOU SAID YOU WERE NOT GOING TO DO;WHICH WAS BACK AND FORTH DISPUTING………………………YOU GUYS ARE NO DIFFERENT THAN ABU YUNUS……………JUST A DIFFERENT SIDE……………

    Show him the same patience that you would show a “moderate muslim”
    i understand his point of view about the term “salafi” maybe you should have not used it because it sounded like you were belittling them and i can see how it would offend someone that is salafi. because we are suppose to follow the quran, sunnah, hadith and in the last khutbah it states to follow the sunnah and khulafai rashideen’s practices of the Prophets’s understanding and i think that is what the salaf try to do anyway…………………..maybe that term should not have been used in your post…………….

    ok lets GET passssssssssssstttttttttttt this now.

    and siraj, i would appreciate it if you WOULD NOT moderate my comments………………….its seems whatever i say you moderate……………….. or is it you only accept the nice ones………………..show some FOREBEARANCE
    SALAM

    • Siraaj says:

      Salaam alaykum sister ALGEBRA,

      Unless you have certainty, it’s probably not best to throw accusations. I did not moderate your comments.

      Siraaj

  28. Amatullah says:

    MashaAllah, *awesome* post br Siraaj.

    I would add on to 16 and say not just sports activities but general activities that will create the brotherhood/sisterhood as well as help adults and kids with healthy lifestyles.

    19. Community service programs

  29. monkeynurse says:

    20. call a brother/sister you haven’t spoken to in a long time (obviously call a brother if you are a brother and so on…)
    21. sit with your family and discuss a topic (i know a family that did this growing up and all the brothers/sisters are heavily involved all over the country in islamic schools and organizations)
    22. walk around your community and pass out the local prayer time tables
    23. find out where lectures are happening in your community, load up the car after a game of bball and head out there
    24. invite your neighbor for dinner; separate the gender; try not to make the food too spicy
    25. exercise to increase your energy and decrease your laziness (i totally need to start this)

  30. Siraaj –

    Excellent post. MashaAllah!

    ibnabeeomar –

    JazakAllahu khayran for the plug ;)

    Amad –

    You are on a roll today. Keep ’em coming!

  31. -social workers, counselors and psychologists.

    Amatullah

  32. AsimG says:

    wow the comments seriously threw me off.

    I should make an article mentioning every group in a positive way and watch the comments roll

    what a waste of time…I kinda wish my head was empty of all of these useless labels

  33. salaaaaaamz says:

    22. walk around your community and pass out the local prayer time tables

    ^ dude this is tight mashaaAllah! it’s a wonderful way to focus on salah, a key priority in our deen, and bring ppl towards it.

    a great eeman booster is to pray with someone who inspires you and then hang out with them for a while!

    today go out there and encourage someone to pray with you!

  34. ALGEBRA says:

    @Siraj
    Aslamu-alaikum;
    Sorry for my accusations.
    salam

  35. ALGEBRA says:

    Aslamu-alaikum:
    I need a break from the other blog…………

    my list has to do with relatives, (i have many mashAllah)
    1. My sister and I share the cost of supporting my mother(an honor)
    2. My sister and i take care of our mother
    3. I have given out books on “Towards understanding Islam” at my workplace
    4. MashaAllah at my last job my immediate supervisor accepted Islam.
    5. here is a website i am marketing for sisters only……………http://icnachicagosisters.wordpress.com/2009/03/
    6. took care of my aunt when she was cancer ridden(MashAllah she is better now)
    7. donated money
    8. helped a reverted sister recently
    9. Helped my daughter for her MYNA events last week( she took the 1-5th graders to a Strawberry farm. Picked strawberries :)

    10. I try to be very good to my neighbor…………. organized her credit card accounts and mileage programs. Got her and her children enlisted in the mileage programs. Financial organizing for her.
    11. Try to talk to my relatives once a week. I have twelve brothers and sisters and i am the eldest. Sometimes i don’t get to everyone. Sometimes i don’t want to but make the effort :)

    12. I have been trying to get my prayers on TIME…………mashAllah i hope i stay steadfast on that inshAllah.
    13. Listen to surah bakarah every other day
    14. I have joined Al-Huda to learn tafseer in ENGLISH

    15. I blog :)
    salam

  36. Sadaf says:

    neo-hyper-partisan on- and off-line refutniks

    Can someone translate this for me in layman’s English?
    What’s up with Algebra and Br. Siraaj….in quite a few posts I have noticed some mutual “tension”….:-)
    By the way, Algebra it’s nice to know more about you.

    Jazak Allahu khairan for this wonderful article. It left me with an upsurge of imaan, alhamdulillah.

  37. Alief... says:

    refutnik=refusenik?

  38. Siraaj says:

    @ Sadaf: No tension on my end, relaxed as always, alhamdulillaah :) That refers to people who spend their life on and off the internet refuting and rebutting anyone who’s not in their “group”.

    @ Alief: Yes, a sort of “in the moment of writing” play on words :0

    Siraaj

  39. Zeshan says:

    Mashallah your post was nice. Here are some practical things I think might solve this issue.

    Language:
    First thing to leave this ummah was khushu and you can’t have khushu if you don’t know what you are reading in your prayers or if someone recites a verse of the Quran to you or you read it has no effect on you. So there needs to be a huge undertaking on giving every muslim the tools to understand the Quran. Alhamdolillah there are multiple islamic organizations tackling this issue. If you like to get involved in your locality or to your ability it would be good for you.

    Masjid:
    Place of worship again needs to play a central role for us Muslims:
    In surrah an-noor Allah mentions that he is the light of the heavens and the earth and then describes this light in verse 35. Saheeh International translation of the Quran gives interesting translation to the next verse 36: “[Such niches are] in the mosques which Allah has ordered to be raised and that his name be mentioned therein; exalting him within them in the morning and the evenings”. The next verse after this is interesting as well. Now there is a group from this ummah which call the people to attend the masjid and regardless of what we think of them or however many mistakes this group might have they are doing the best they can and May Allah reward them with khair ameen. You can get a portion of this light by attending the masjid more then just on jummah.

    Education:
    Getting people to understand the “big picture” of Islam and it’s principles which show that Islam is not a religion but a way of life. Along with this we can make solutions to prevalent modern day problems known to all. This requires research of our history and shariah (Islam is not a 200 year old experiment such as the modern state) by our scholars and for us to document the problems and correctly describe the situations to our scholars. Alhamdolillah there are many organizations we Muslims have in tackling this issue of educating in various degrees to muslims and non-muslims alike.

    Advice:
    Islam is not waiting for us to take action. It’s not a political movement. This is Allahs way of life which he has prescribed for humanity. Either we follow it or Allah might replace us with those who will. We only need to be small(or big if Allah wills) players in this situation so we can gain great reward with Allah. Allah az wajal can easily “flip the script” as it’s said on this entire planet any moment. Everything is under his control and we are given choices. Don’t be fooled into thinking that this deen depends on any one of us.

    What good will it do for you if the sun were to rise from the west tomorrow and the other signs of the hour follow it as falling pearls from a broken neckless if you didn’t believe and did good works before this?

  40. Faiez says:

    26. Pie eating contest.

  41. Yenny says:

    i just hope that the economy would recover very soon because of the Stimulus Package given by the government.

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