Isolation to Integration: Befriending our America

MuslimMatters is pleased to introduce Ify Okoye as an Associate Writer. She is well-known around the blogosphere as “Muslim Apple”. Please join us in welcoming her.

Isolation to IntegrationSome months back, at the ISNA/MSA convention at the Washington DC Convention Center on July 4, Yasir Qadhi, Dean of Academic Affairs at AlMaghrib Institute, Dalia Mogahed, Senior Analyst and Executive Director of the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies, who also serves on President Obama’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, and Hatem Bazian, a professor and lecturer from California, gathered in a mostly empty room to give a breathtakingly open and refreshing discussion on their shared vision of the role, identity, and place of American Muslims in this land.

Dalia Mogahed opened the discussion by quoting some of the research findings of a Gallup survey, Muslim Americans Exemplify Diversity, Potential:

* Muslim Americans are the most racially/ethnically diverse religious group in the United States. They are the only religious group to have no clear racial majority, with African Americans at 34% comprising the largest racial group.

* Muslim American women are one of the most highly educated female religious groups in the United States, second only to Jewish American women. Muslims are the only religious group that have a higher percentage of women with post-secondary degrees than men.

This is perhaps not unsurprising considering many young Muslim men harbor dreams of going overseas to study, always hoping Madinah will raise the entrance age limit, until the majority realize that the responsibilities of setting up a household and caring for a wife and children will take money, which is often easier to obtain with a solid degree from an institution of higher learning.

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* About 80% of Muslims Americans say religion is an important part of their daily lives; only the Mormons have a higher percentage, around 85%.

Dalia Mogahed mentioned this fact in another context, as a reason why groups that wish to gain validity in the Muslim community resort to appeals to religious sensibilities in order to justify their actions.

* About 41% of Muslim Americans and Protestants say they attend religious services at least once a week, which is second only to the Mormons.

* By contrast, Muslim American youth (18-29) show the least level of civic participation amongst all of the religious groups, in that only 51% are registered to vote.

This past October, Yasir Qadhi and Dalia Mogahed once again shared the stage at AlMaghrib Institute’s IlmFest conference and reminded the audience that a message of social service and helping others is built into the fabric of our deen and is a recurring theme that permeates the early Makkan surahs in the Quran.

* Only 41% percent of Muslim youth (18-29) in the U.S. are considered to be “thriving” in relation to their current lives and life expectations for the next five years, which is the lowest percentage among all of the religious groups surveyed.

You can read the full report here: Muslim-West Facts Mission

Dalia Mogahed continued by saying that Muslim youth in the 18-29 age bracket have come of age in a post 9/11 environment, in which, for the last eight years, Muslims have been telling people “who we are not, rather than who we are” so it is no wonder Muslim youth are the group least likely to be considered or consider themselves to be “thriving” in America. Add to that the confusing messages coming from various spheres in the Muslim world telling us that Muslims should not live in western secular countries, or forcing us to justify our existence in, for many of us, the lands of our birth, justifying murder in name of some perverted “jihad”, telling us that to engage in society by voting or going into certain professions like law is akin to “kufr” and the list is numerous. Not to mention the esoteric discussions of aqeedah and emphasis on outward clothing styles largely ignoring the more pressing issues of lack of iman, laxity in performing salah, poverty, domestic violence, sexual abuse, and substance abuse.

Mogahed mentioned that we as American Muslims need a three-fold paradigm shift in our discussions. First, to reframe the discussion away from Muslim Americans as being a “dangerous and malignant tumor” as many hostile commentators believe or the “benign tumor” that is inadvertently used as a defense by some friendlier voices. Our Muslim American community is not a tumor, neither benign nor malignant, we are citizens and an organic, vital, and integral part of the American landscape, that is here to stay and contribute our energy and talents to the wider society.

The other two false dichotomies, which Mogahed believes should be dropped by American Muslims are the immigrant/indigenous Muslim dichotomy and the domestic/global issue dichotomy, recognizing that “we are all American Muslims” and that the issues that are important and central to one segment of our community can and should be recognized as community issues. So that dawah to non-Muslims is not just an issue for converts, nor is the issue of flooding in Bangladesh, solely an issue for Bengalis, nor is the scourge of malaria, an issue only for sub-Saharan Africans.

Dalia Mogahed believes that coupled with the three-fold paradigm shift there should also be a behavioral shift. This shift in behavior can be manifested by Muslim participation in community service projects. Muslim Americans are the least likely to vote and the least likely to volunteer their time on a weekly basis for community service. To that end, Mogahed exerted the audience to “answer the call, the president’s call, the call of those in need, and the call of God” in serving our communities, through the United We Serve initiative to encourage Americans to engage in community service.

It was Mogahed’s hope that by the end of this past summer, by September 11, 2009, that there would be at least 1000 interfaith community service projects registered by Muslims as a catalyst for larger change and as a sign to the wider American community that their Muslim American neighbors are here to stay, need not be feared, and are vital contributing members of society. Research has demonstrated that when individuals know and interact with Muslims in their daily lives that negative impressions and feelings of bias decrease towards the community as a whole.

At IlmFest, Dalia gave an update on the final results of the United We Serve initiative. Out of 3003 multi-faith projects submitted by the entire council, 2279 of those were Muslim-led projects. Some of the other faiths groups, which are used to planning their schedules years in advance and have strong national hierarchical organizations, were not able to respond effectively within such a short time frame.

The ISNA/MSA convention was my first time listening to Dalia Mogahed and I was very impressed and motivated by her public speaking style. Her voice was strong, steady, and clear. It is rare to see a Muslim woman in proper hijab given such a prominent platform to speak particularly when many of the more conservative sections of our community are still debating whether or not a woman’s voice is awrah and women’s voices are barely audible if at all in many of our masajid and in the media that loves to give airtime to Muslim women that reflect a more liberal, usually hijab-less sensibility.

I think it is important for our western Muslim communities to give our sisters a platform to speak in our masajid and organizations and not pretend as though men can adequately address the concerns of women by simply asking their wives for their opinions. To that effect, I was impressed that at this past summer’s Ilm Summit, that both brothers and sisters were given the opportunity to give the evening wild card presentations and the after dhuhr and isha inspirational speeches to the entire student body. By the time, I attempted to sign up, all of the slots had been filled, which is good motivation for me to prepare and sign-up early if given the opportunity again.

I also think it’s time for our communities, particularly western communities, to have an honest discussion and healthy debate about these issues because clearly as the polling by Gallup and recent events demonstrate, our youth are confused about their religion and their Islamic and western identities. How is it that men that have had many female teachers, attended schools with both men and women, work in environments with both men and women, and shop at stores with male and female sales associates cannot be mature enough to listen to a woman in proper hijab give a talk to a diverse audience, or shudder that women be given equitable seating in a lecture hall or masjid? How is it that young men (admittedly a very small number) leave their families lured by the seductive attraction of jihadi groups in order to chase a fantasy, which more often than not lands them in jail during what should be their most productive years?

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66 responses to “Isolation to Integration: Befriending our America”

  1. Amad says:

    Welcome to MM, Sr. Ify… may Allah make this a mutually beneficial affair for all. Look forward to seeing your writings…

  2. huzaifa says:

    “How is it that young men leave their families lured by the seductive attraction of jihadi groups in order to chase a fantasy, which more often than not lands them in jail during what should be their most productive years?”

    I swear by Him in whose hands my life resides, I do not want to create fitnah or argumentation. I just want to highlight to you and others who may read, that the seductive attraction you speak of is an offer to a business transaction from Allah swt as mentioned in the Quran.

    You mention “which more often than not lands them in jail during what should be their most productive years?”
    what do you mean by productivity? If you mean it should be their most productive years in serving Allah swt, then I agree as well. Is it not then that some of these men, who were chosen by Allah, have sacrificed so much in their productive years for Allah swt. Is it not then that these productive years given to them by Allah swt were not wasted in futile endeavours.

    I agree with you that serving the community is a great service and should be done by all muslims, but please do not vilify Jihad to prove your point. It is from among the noblest activities personally conducted by our Messenger (saw).

    How do we know whether those years spent by those few men in jail will be more pleasurable to Allah swt than anything we have done for this Ummah.

    Please, when speaking about those who leave for Jihad, speak with repect and make dua for them, regardless if they end up in jail or not.

    May Allah swt guide us all to the path that leads to Him.

    • Hester says:

      Please, when speaking about those who leave for Jihad, speak with repect and make dua for them, regardless if they end up in jail or not.

      Unbelievable.

      • Muslim Apple says:

        Huzaifa: I cannot agree that the brothers I am referring to are partaking in any jihad. I do not respect foolish decisions and actions but I can agree that we are all in need of dua.

    • Muslim Apple says:

      Hester: The brothers I am speaking about are are not fighting in any jihad anymore than the alleged plane bomber was. We are not allowed to take the law into our own hands, however noble one’s intentions may be and these sort of brothers often end up fighting no one and only bring harm to themselves, their families, and their community.

  3. […] 2009 December 22 by Muslim Apple This morning, my first post has been published over at Muslim Matters: Isolation to Integration: Befriending our America. It’s a review of talk given by Dalia Mogahed at this past summer’s ISNA/MSA […]

  4. Regular Baba says:

    Salam

    There is a group called Muslims Against Hunger which organizes soup kitchens all around the USA. I was blessed to take part in one such event a while back, you can read about it at http://regularbaba.blogspot.com/2009/11/thoughts-from-food-kitchen.html. Not blaming anyone, but we muslims should have been doing these things the moment we stepped in this country.

    • Muslim Apple says:

      Salaams,

      Thanks for highlighting this, in sha Allah, I’ll head over there to read it. There is a group in my local community that has volunteered at a soup kitchen every third Monday of the month for years, so much so that the people have come to expect the Muslims there. This work and social service in general is a fundamental aspect of our religion and critical to changing the negative perceptions of Muslims that predominant.

    • Holly Garza says:

      ASAWRWB- There is a lot of other organizations helping out, just not as many as we should have. Out here (well in Chicago) we have Project Downtown (our Chicago web page link seems to be down this morning but it’s on face book as well) to help feed and even clothe the homeless and unfortunate. It’s a great blessing to be able to have reminders of how blessed we are and it’s something affordable, and great Dawah. MashaAllah there are sisters and Brothers who do it and they do it better and more than me. It’s one of those great things the Muslim Ummah IS doing but it’s just not that publicized.

  5. Amatullah says:

    aw darn, I wanted to be the first to comment since we were sitting right next to eachother that day…crazy ISNA weekend lol. :)

    My dear friend Ify, I’m glad there is another thing we are doing together :) I cannot wait to read more from you inshaAllah. May Allah ta’ala make all of your affairs good for you.

  6. MentalMuslim says:

    MaShaallah Ify, very good points made – especially about letting Muslim women take public platforms to speak. I absolutely agree with you on that. The vaacum that has been created by the absence of practicing Muslim women has been filled too long by “liberal” Muslim women.

  7. Sally says:

    mubarak Ify! Solid article touching on so many vital issues! I’m looking forward to reading more of your writings :) I’m impressed with the United we Serve results. Alhamdulillah there is a lot of energy within our communities that can have a lasting positive effect when directed properly. Jazaki Allah khair.

  8. abdullah says:

    I would only add a note of caution to this article. There is a stark difference between integration vs. assimilation. Integration meaning that you have a stable job, a spouse, are known by your community, are giving daw’ah to your non-Muslim neighbors, and are taking an active and constructive role in community life. Assimilation is one (led by “progressive” Muslims) who actively are trying to change Islam to fit a pre-conceived western mindset (promotion of secularism in the deen, homosexuality, zinna, etc.) to advance a neo-conservative vision (secularization of Islam so that it is really no different than any other religion in America and poses no problems for an American empire). The assimilationists and neo-con cheerleaders be they Irshad Manji, Wafa Sultan, Waleed Phares, Tareq Fatah, Nonie Darwish, Asra Nomani, Zuhdi Jasser, and others. speak for NO ONE but the people who front them behind the scenes and have ZERO standing among Muslim communities.

  9. Yus from the Nati says:

    The other two false dichotomies, which Mogahed believes should be dropped by American Muslims are the immigrant/indigenous Muslim dichotomy and the domestic/global issue dichotomy, recognizing that “we are all American Muslims” and that the issues that are important and central to one segment of our community can and should be recognized as community issues. So that dawah to non-Muslims is not just an issue for converts, nor is the issue of flooding in Bangladesh, solely an issue for Bengalis, nor is the scourge of malaria, an issue only for sub-Saharan Africans.

    This is interesting because it infers that someone had made up a “dichotomy”, and then a problem arose vs. a problem arising, LEADING to the dichotomy. No one can just ‘fix’ a problem such as rascism, classism, and prejudice in our community by not speaking about a dichotomy that truly exists. If nobody wants to help fill the niche, someone WILL fill it. i.e. groups such as MANA. As far as making ta’assub, that’s another thing which is also from the ill effects of a disassociation of ethnic groups.

    Research has demonstrated that when individuals know and interact with Muslims in their daily lives that negative impressions and feelings of bias decrease towards the community as a whole.

    Hecky ya. One of the problems that many of us see are that these Muslims that are involved in Muslim educational organizations, and/are the ones causing some of the problems are social outcasts. They cannot function in society on a regular basis. Like a foreigner living in their homeland. In the words of Imam Suhaib Webb “don’t be a weirdo”.

    I also think it’s time for our communities, particularly western communities, to have an honest discussion and healthy debate about these issues because clearly as the polling by Gallup and recent events demonstrate, our youth are confused about their religion and their Islamic and western identities. How is it that men that have had many female teachers, attended schools with both men and women, work in environments with both men and women, and shop at stores with male and female sales associates cannot be mature enough to listen to a woman in proper hijab give a talk to a diverse audience, or shudder that women be given equitable seating in a lecture hall or masjid?

    It’s not really that big of a conundrum as we’re making it. Something you can control with ease vs. something you cannot control with ease. It might not necessarily mean they do not have a problem with it in these environments, but these environments are unrestricted. I’d still like to see one of the Imam/Scholars/Instructors of any Muslim institute put their wife up there and “represent” so to speak, if this is such a correct idea. Forget the opinion, the Question is are we mature enough to even discuss this. Answer: Hell no. You can’t even get a discussion on “educational” forums without it getting locked up and people getting super emotional.

    How is it that young men leave their families lured by the seductive attraction of jihadi groups in order to chase a fantasy, which more often than not lands them in jail during what should be their most productive years?

    The majority of society are not intellectual and are shaped by simplistic sensationalistic messages. i.e. Sitcoms, FOX News, etc. It is not hard at all to see why youth go over and do retarded stuff. You have one religious side pushing propaganda down your throat. The other side slowly pushing their propaganda back. Unfortunately sensationalism goes only so far. The academics are missing in all of this where people have still failed to counter in the west. (See Sh. Haitham Haddad’s response re: this) We’ll have the most detailed articles on Aqeedah but nothing on “G.Had” the boogie man.

    We are also losing the “scholar” who “speaks out” against injustice. This is virtually non-existent in the West (completely understandably, b/c I’d prob be first to chicken out). Especially among those who ALREADY have the clout and are “reputable”. It was refreshing to see Imam Zaid’s article up here on MM. Atleast he mentioned

    “There is no legitimate reason for their deaths, just as I firmly believe there is no legitimate reason for the deaths of the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi and Afghani civilians who have perished as a result of those two conflicts. Even though I disagree with the continued prosecution of those wars, and even though I believe that the US war machine is the single greatest threat to world peace”

    He mentions this as well as the opinion of the Ft. Hood massacre.

    It seems we forget to use our own principles on ourselves as Americans and/or Muslims.

    Jazakillahukhair for the discussion-creating post.

    • Muslim Apple says:

      Lots of interesting points Yus.

      Personally, coming into the Muslim community with an open mind and heart, it has taken me years and it is a continual process to feel comfortable in my own skin. Even though I can be shy, I’ve never had an issue with public speaking until I felt the negative pressures, which says it’s better for women not to talk. Then I became shy to ask questions in Islamic classes or lectures and hesitant to speak on the mic. I don’t think many brothers can see the ill-effects of these attitudes but as was discussed elsewhere, sisters feel the impact directly.

      And it’s true, many of the voices loudest in their condemnations of all things perceived “western” are content to remain in small Islamic bubble communities, where interactions with the majority are limited. Very rarely do we see these brothers and sisters volunteering their time to help the wider community but they talk big about hijrah and jihad and “who’s on the haqq”.

      • Yus from the Nati says:

        Even though I can be shy, I’ve never had an issue with public speaking until I felt the negative pressures, which says it’s better for women not to talk. Then I became shy to ask questions in Islamic classes or lectures and hesitant to speak on the mic. I don’t think many brothers can see the ill-effects of these attitudes but as was discussed elsewhere, sisters feel the impact directly.

        No honestly I see what you’re saying. Jazakillahukhair. Please believe it’s not only the women in the class that are scared to ask. Some instructors make you feel salty for even thinking about raising your hand. (I know…not as serious as what you’re saying)

        And it’s true, many of the voices loudest in their condemnations of all things perceived “western” are content to remain in small Islamic bubble communities, where interactions with the majority are limited. Very rarely do we see these brothers and sisters volunteering their time to help the wider community but they talk big about hijrah and jihad and “who’s on the haqq”.

        I was actually talking about the bros (and assuming sisters by association) of these Institutes. Honestly, when you look into the classrooms, it seems like everyone falls into the similar social hierarchy of high school. The nerds and or/others. Does that affect them on the Day of Judgment? Of course not….but it does reflect on us as a people. Where are the “cool”/”normal” people? The people who demand respect when they walk and talk, and get respected? It’s like a Treky (sp?) giving you da’wah. In the demographics that I have experienced…only the Treky’s will listen to them…everybody else would shrugg it off. Like the concept of getting a youth counselor who is relevant with the times and that the youth can relate to. What I am suggesting is that the average say Al Maghrib student for example, cannot relate to the regular people in everyday life, in the workplace, in school. People have come up to me saying that they’re like social outcasts. So doing charity work won’t mean nothing necessarily if we can’t even function within the constructs of our everyday life and be normal/respected.

        As far as who you were referring to. Alhamdulillah I have been around the 73 sects and have experienced a lot of them haha. As SYQ has said before… they are “anomalies”. It is interesting to see that they still bring in converts left and right, at every Jumu’ah there’s a Shahada. I think it’s because of what I am saying above re: being socially relevant. Allahu’alam

  10. Joyhamza says:

    Assalamu ‘Alaikum, I think the following comment of the sister is extremely well put:

    “How is it that men that have had many female teachers, attended schools with both men and women, work in environments with both men and women, and shop at stores with male and female sales associates cannot be mature enough to listen to a woman in proper hijab give a talk to a diverse audience, or shudder that women be given equitable seating in a lecture hall or masjid?”

    But nonetheless a great read and very important points have been raised. Baarakallahu feek.

    -Edited. Post edited for questionable statement.

    • Joyhamza says:

      lol you guys should have edited the last line as well. It has lost its meaning without the edited portion.

    • Muslim Apple says:

      Wa alaykum salaam wa rahmatullah,

      Aww, I missed reading your full unedited comment. Feel free to post your other point at the Muslim Apple blog, if you’d like to continue discussion.

    • Faraz Omar says:

      that’s the statement I found a little out of place. is attending mixed universities, for example, justification for having a similar atmosphere at religious conventions? I know that’s not the case that you are making. But the argument used (to allow a woman in proper hijab give a talk) is out of place or inappropriate in my opinion. It somehow justifies the former rather than the latter.

      It’s interesting to learn about the challenges my brethren are facing in the West. may Allah make all your affairs easy and give you victory and success. jazaak Allah khair Muslim Apple.

  11. Hamza21 says:

    I don’t really put too much stock in these “Muslim surveys” since most are centered upon immigrant muslim professionals not working class nor converts.

    Within the African-American muslim community, the largest racial group according to article, AA Muslims are less educated than non-muslim AA’s. The same can be said about muslim converts in general in relation to wider non-Muslim American landscape. So to promote this false sense of reality – a delusion- is pretty destructive. It paints a unhealthy perspective of how things really are thereby not producing effective leaders who can rectify and produce changes needed for the health and grow of Islam in America.

    • Abû Mûsâ Al-Ḥabashî says:

      What survey are you basing those conclusions on?

    • Muslim Apple says:

      Hamza21: This is not a “muslim survey” it was conducted by Gallup. Any survey can be misleading and I do think questions and issues of education affect our communities, particularly African American communities, Muslim and non-Muslim.

      But it’s also interesting to see that the children, particularly the daughters, of immigrants from countries not exactly known as bastions of female equality are excelling in higher education more so than their brothers. A lot of interesting trends at work.

  12. qw says:

    Ok, so while we’re at it, here is an issue that should be of importance to everyone here. And if its not, I am sorry but your priorities are misplaced. If our children grow up outside the deen, for any reason, its a shame. We should all do what we can.

    http://news.yahoo.com/video/local-15749667/17236009

    I think people should raise legal funds.

  13. Welcome to MM, Ify. May Allah guide, bless and accept all your writing endeavors. Ameen.

  14. mofw says:

    Uncorroborated and sourceless statement:

    This is perhaps not unsurprising considering many young Muslim men harbor dreams of going overseas to study, always hoping Madinah will raise the entrance age limit, until the majority realize that the responsibilities of setting up a household and caring for a wife and children will take money, which is often easier to obtain with a solid degree from an institution of higher learning.

    • Muslim Apple says:

      It’s corroborated by personal experience and anecdote. Come to my community and you will see a many, many, many brothers and sisters that go through this desire leave their others studies, go study Islamic studies overseas, make hijrah, or just train at a jihadi camp in their late teens and early 20’s but as the realities of family life set in, they get serious in finishing a degree in order to earn money to take care of their families.

      Countless families in my community have been torn apart by arrests and draconian sentences, justified or unjustified, revolving young brothers going overseas to train for x.y, and z. If you haven’t seen it, come take a look around, I’ll show you the trail of destruction, husbands and fathers in jail with no hope to get out and the wives and children left behind.

  15. Holly Garza says:

    Asalamau Alaikum Wa Ramatulahi Wa Barakatu

    I was passionately interested in the articles’ points and thrilled to see a Sister wrote this!
    Very good points sister, I look forward to reading more from you InshaAllah.

    Earlier this year I was watching some random “Muslim” t.v. show very similar to this one with women and me both on the panel. It was very interesting and the women managed to keep their modesty even though *gasp* they were sitting at a table with men. The men were reasonable, responsible, educated, and respectable and never felt intimidated or fell in love just because the women were their. (I loved it)

    After all though, why should they? The prophets wives used to teach Islam.

    We forget that Islam gave us our rights and it is our duty to seek knowledge and share it as a Muslim.

    A lot of women use excuses too to not get involved. It’s time to stop blaming men, culture, society, and religion for our behaviors! God All Mighty granted women in Islam rights over fourteen hundred years ago in the Qu’ran take them!

    I have been blessed to be surrounded with knowledgeable sisters as friends and a lot of women I know-and know of, DO take an initiative to learn and share. MashaAllah.

    • Ibrahim says:

      Could you care to explain how the Prophet’s wives used to teach Islam? By sitting next to the men or behind a barrier? If you do not know, then you shouldn’t talk about this matter and worse derive conclusions from it.

      • Holly Garza says:

        I do know about this matter, maybe you are the one who shouldn’t talk when you don’t know. Did I insinuate that they were uncovered or “mixing”, no I didn’t. I was talking about how women leave their rights over laziness, unwillingness to learn, men(some times the men don’t even ask them to) and other ideas. We have a duty to share what we know even if it is one ayah. I didn’t say we should all go around saying the women were not covered by a “curtain” or barrier.

  16. Haroon says:

    “About 41% of Muslim Americans and Protestants say they attend religious services at least once a week, which is second only to the Mormons”

    Only 41%! Only once a week!

    If this problem is not the of highest priority to be addressed then I think I need to study Islam again.

    • Holly Garza says:

      yes it truly is-however some of us learn at via web sites, downloads, and internet learning sites.

      However nothing beats going to a lecture or weekend seminar!

      • Ibrahim says:

        No, he is talking about that only 41% attend the masjid only once a week, which means the majority never even attend the Friday prayer; not that people don’t attend lectures in a masjid. This really applies to men.

        • Haroon says:

          Thanks for clarifying brother. I just found this statistic shocking. I knew the situation was bad but not this bad. Talking about other issues when the Muslims are not even praying seems wrong to me. It’s all well and good saying Muslims should be doing this or that but if we are not performing the 5 daily prayers then all these other issues go out of the window.

          The salaat is the first thing that we will be looked at on the day of judgement.

  17. […] Muslim Apple joins Muslim Matters Jump to Comments Last night just before I switched off the computer i saw something that set the alarm bells ringing: news that blogging sister Muslim Apple has joined Muslim Matters. […]

  18. Abu Yunus says:

    “Add to that the confusing messages coming from various spheres in the Muslim world telling us that Muslims should not live in western secular countries.”

    Confusing messages?!?!? The statements of the Prophet (sallaahu alayhi wa sallam) emphasize that we should’nt live among the mushrikeen. Remember, living in dar-ul-kufr is an exception to the rule, not the rule itself. Just because one cannot make hijrah to bilaad al muslimeen doesn’t mean the obligation is completely lifted. It is lifted until one gains the ability to make hijrah, this is the case for many people for whom hijrah is obligatory.

    “Do not live among the mushrikeen and do not mix with them, for whoever lives among them or mixes with them is not one of us.” (Narrated by al-Bayhaqi, 9/142; al-Haakim, 2/154

    “I disown every Muslim who settles among the mushrikeen”: Abu Dawud

    So, it is not messages from the Muslim world that are telling us not to live in the West or other kafir countries.

    • Holly Garza says:

      Asalamu alaikum with all due respect and not to argue since everyone always seems to nit pick everything here, I think that is out of context.

      What about when the prophet Mohammed SAWS himself lived in Non Muslim lands? When He settled down in Medinah. He succeeded to get all people, the Muslims, Jews, Christians and pagan Arabs to enter into like a social treaty.

      Islam doesn’t state that a certain group of people are the chosen people of God whereas the others are inferior , but it states that ALL mankind — Muslims and Non-Muslims — are honored
      The Qu’ran does not tell us not live in designated areas it actually says

      “We have honored the children of Adam; provided them with transport on land and sea; given them for sustenance things good and pure; and conferred on them special favors, above a great part of Our creation.” 17:70

      ” Oh humanity , be conscious of your Lord , who created you of a single soul ” 4:1

      “God does not forbid you, to act fairly towards those who have never fought you over religion nor have driven you out of your homes, from dealing kindly and justly with them.” 60:8

      “Allah does not forbid you from those who do not fight you in the matters of your religion and those who did not expel you from your homes, that you show them courtesy and kindness and act justly with them because Allah loves those who are Just.” Al-Mumtahanah: 8

      “Co-operate with each other in matters of righteousness and piety and do not co-operate in matters of aggression and sin.” Al-Ma’idah: 2

      The prophet’s mercy wasn’t only shown to Non-Muslims through his actions but also through his words . Once it was said to the prophet SAWS : “Invoke a curse upon the polytheists .” The prophet SAWS replied : ” I haven’t been sent as the invoker of curses , but I have been sent as mercy .

      “and argue with them (non believers) in ways that are best and most gracious.” 16:125 using soft tones, our behaviors as examples and our religion which is Submission to Allah not scholars and his word the Qur’an.

      Do not revile those whom they call upon besides God, lest they revile God out of spite in their ignorance. Thus, We have made alluring to each people its own doings. In the end will they return to their Lord and He shall then tell them the truth of what they did.” Quran 6:108 AND “We believe in that which has been revealed to us and revealed to you. And our God and your God is one; and we are Muslims in submission to Him.”29:46

      Our Islamic teachings as far as social responsibilities are based on kindness and consideration of others. Muslims and non-Muslims alike have the right to live in peace and harmony hence the Islamic constitution ensures justice for all. No where are we told in the Qu’ran not to live in a specific area.

      We as Muslims are responsible for sharing our knowledge. No matter where we live, no excuses. Muslims attack the West as the sole reason for our problems but the truth is we are a broken, badly in repair religious community. We need to learn our religion, live it, and practice it before focusing on where we should live. Our lack of knowledge, understanding, and practice of our TRUE Religion has led to us being unable to even deliver the message of Islam to non Muslims.

      How can we say we want to live only amongst Muslims when we ourselves don’t even know how to practice the right way? It is our job and duty to share what we know. Not what “we think” or how “we assume it means’. However, don’t become a know it all or arrogant. We are not allowed to be arrogant or judgmental. Sharing Islam does not mean telling someone every single thing they are doing wrong but focusing on the good.

      The prophet SAWS converted many because he migrated and lived and taught Islam.
      Even those he did not reach he treated well and lived amongst take for example his Uncle , Abu Talib was not a Muslim but still he respected his uncle and cared for him and his uncle loved and respected him. His uncle was good to him and would help him. There are many examples in the Qur’an and Sunnah if we would only live by them. I could go on and on but I’m out of spunk for a moment from typing and reading. I ask Allah to guide us all on the Right path, especially me.

      • Abu Yunus says:

        what you have said is completely off tangent to the original discussion at hand and then you went on to make your own tafseer of several Qur’anic verses. You yourself admit that he settled in madeenah yet you are arguing against hijrah and lettings your whims be the judge. This religion is not the religion of whims and desires. To answer your question about non-Muslims this is what the Qur’an says, “Indeed those who disbelieve among the people of book and the polytheists will dwell in the hellfire for eternity. They are the worst of creatures.” (soorah al-Bayyinah). Now, don’t tell me that the believers and the unbelievers are equal, because your statement implies that the believers are not superior to the unbelievers. Again, don’t take the words of the Prophet which I had quoted lightly and just brush them aside with your emotional arguments. What the Prophet (sallaahu alayhi wa sallam) had advised is the best for us. Also, if you would only reflect the verses of Soorah al-A’raaf you will notice that Allaah preceded jihad with hijrah in about three verses. Meaning that hijrah is a prerequisite to jihad in order to gather the Muslims together in one place. It was easy for you to say that is out of context, you failed to provide that context which deemed was necessary to understand the hadeeth. Go ahead, and provide the context and I guarantee that it will not support your arguments and I am already familiar with the contexts of hadeeths that I had quoted.

        • Holly Garza says:

          I did not argue against hijrah, and what whims exactly are you talking about? What emotional argument? Don’t pretend that I’m one of those weirdo internet obsessive wanna be right argue types when you don’t know me, our religion is not one of suspicion.

          I’m not here to argue, I am here to learn, share and read. You take the Quran how you want too. I never said it was tasfeer, just like your quoting, I’m quoting perhaps a little more learning our beautiful religion is needed. Have a good day.

    • Muslim Apple says:

      Abu Yunus & Holly: There is actually a part two of this discussion, in which, Yasir Qadhi discusses some of the issues you have raised and others concerning al walaa wal baraa. I’ll guess I’ll have speed up my editing process, in sha Allah.

      • Holly Garza says:

        Asalamu alaikum-which discussion? It seems interesting. take your time sis, whenever you can post it.

        • Muslim Apple says:

          Holly: There were three speakers on the panel. Dalia spoke first and her comments formed the basis of this post but Shaykh Yasir also spoke and his comments form the basis of a potential second post on this topic. He answered those who say Muslims should not live in western lands.

          • Holly Garza says:

            oh I’m sorry! I was having a brain fart after going way off subject replying I forgot what it was originally about! I apologize. I usually home school, face book, go offline, come back, go on here and over and over on and off throughout the day.

  19. Salam-

    Forgive me for coming late to the party, but I just wanted to throw in some quick comments.

    The other two false dichotomies, which Mogahed believes should be dropped by American Muslims are the immigrant/indigenous Muslim dichotomy and the domestic/global issue dichotomy, recognizing that “we are all American Muslims” and that the issues that are important and central to one segment of our community can and should be recognized as community issues.

    I’m not sure I buy that those dichotomies are false in all circumstances. On the one hand, I wholeheartedly agree that on religious matters we should not distinguish ourselves from our fellow Muslims on the basis of heritage or location. Indeed, their pain is our pain and our cause, fundamentally, is one. Yet, on the other hand, from an analytical perspective, it’s disingenuous to deny the differences between those whose lineage in this country traces back many decades (if not centuries) and those whose families only relatively recently sought to reside here (sorry, I’m big on alliteration :) ).

    One case in which the evidence (not to mention usefulness) of these distinctions is quite apparent is the study of identity formation. Incidentally, my own work (in progress) focuses on second-generation Muslim-Americans (those sons and daughters of immigrants), but others exclusively document how Islam informs, for example, the lives of African-Americans or converts. To a certain extent, these delineations are made to serve the needs of researchers (after all, you can’t very well study everything). At the same time, however, it’s clear that the particular historical context unique to these (by no means clear cut) groups impact their socio-economic, political, and religious views and experiences. Even setting aside theses and journal articles, I contend that to make informed, intelligent decisions about our future, we have to be cognizant of our past and honest about our present.

    The global/domestic divide is also a useful reference…but I won’t get into that now so my comment stays shy of novel-length :D

    All in all though, you bring up great points to ponder on. Great work!

  20. Abdallah says:

    Wassalam,

    Second generation kids (children of immigrants and converts) really are in a crisis in this country and they should be the priority. I agree with TheAlexandrian that immigrant and indigenous Muslim populations can, at times, have very different needs and experiences. And within those groups there are clearly very substantive divisions as well.

    In the Masjid and Islamic school environments these divisions in language and culture have a significant effect on corresponding priorities. “Should we have an Arab or Desi Imam?” “Should we celebrate Pakistan Independence day in the Masjid?” “Should we focus on Quranic Arabic or conversational Arabic?” “Should we allow non Muslim teachers in the school?” etc…

    It’s hard to resolve these issues. The thing we can all agree on is the fact that our kids need more support in navigating the popular culture. We need to provide safe spaces in our Islamic centers for them to hang out in and big brother big sister type mentors for them to look up to.

    Without good social support it will be tough for them to grow up as practicing Muslims and pass Islam on to their kids. May Allah make us all strong Muslims and protect our kids from our own shortcomings.

    • Muslim Apple says:

      Abdallah: Indeed, the second generation are in crisis, perhaps also because the first generation is not that strong or hip to the realities faced by their children in adapting to and navigating through this society and are unable to adequately prepare them? Ameen to your dua.

  21. Faiez says:

    We have this lecture on video for wasatstudios. The lecture was actually pretty empty because of ISNAs main session.

    If you want to bother the MM staff who will consequently bother Saqib to have it produced.

  22. Muslims' being deceived says:

    As Salaamu Alykum,

    I can’t wait until this illusion they call “Democracy” shows it’s real face and real agenda. Then these “integrationists” will swear by Allah they were fooled. It’s people like these that give fatawa that mislead the Ummah. These are surely signs of the end of time.

  23. Abu Yunus says:

    I agree 110%

  24. umm haya says:

    Assalam aalaykum
    Subhanallah!!!!!!
    A simple issue that i would like to raise here is how in the very first place can men sit with a woman on the same table even if she is in her HIJAB? Well if somebody can give me dalaa-il on the permisibility of such actions then please do so.
    Jazakallahu khairan!!!!

    • umm haya:

      wa’alaykum assalam

      I agree that a man sitting next to a woman is not encouraged, but sometimes the situation does not allow for a seperation to be done. I really greatly respect the ilm that Sheikh Yasir Qadhi has and if that would have been possible, he would have done it. wallahu a’lam.

  25. […] Muslim Matters: Isolation to Integration: Befriending our America – Part I […]

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