Andrea Elliot, a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, of the New York Times, has been following Shaykh Yasir Qadhi for the past year. Here are highlights from her 11- page magazine feature on him, his students, the need for discussions about jihad.  The article will appear in print this Sunday in NYT. (a.elliott-reporter@nytimes.com)

Beyond the gothic confines of Yale, he was becoming one of the most influential conservative clerics in American Islam, drawing a tide of followers in the fundamentalist movement known as Salafiya. Raised between Texas and Saudi Arabia, he seemed uniquely deft at balancing the edicts of orthodox Islam with the mores of contemporary America. To many young Muslims wrestling with conflicts between faith and country, Qadhi was a rock star. To law-enforcement agents, he was also a figure of interest, given his prominence in a community considered vulnerable to radicalization. Some officials, noting his message of nonviolence, saw him as an ally. Others were wary, recalling a time when Qadhi spouted a much harder, less tolerant line. On this night, however, it was Qadhi's closest followers who were questioning him.
“I want to be very frank here,” Qadhi said, his voice tight with exasperation. “Do you really, really think that blowing up a plane is Islamic? I mean, ask yourself this.”None of the students defended the plot, but some sympathized with the suspect, said several students who participated in the call, one of whom provided a recording to The Times. Was it not possible, they asked, that he had been set up? And how could they trust the F.B.I. after all they experienced — the post-9/11 raids, the monitoring of mosques, the sting operations aimed at Muslims? A few went as far as to say that they could not turn against a fellow Muslim who was trying to fight the oppressive policies of the United States.

Qadhi paced the worn, gray carpet. “There were even Muslims on that plane!” he said. “I mean, what world are you living in? How angry and overzealous are you that you simply forget about everything and you think that this is the way forward?”

Yasir Qadhi-The American Cleric

To young, conservative Muslims, Yasir Qadhi is one of the most influential clerics in America. The 36-year-old Houston native has preached before tens of thousands of Muslims, drawing a strong following on Facebook and Twitter. Law-enforcement agents have also tracked his rise among a subset of Muslims considered vulnerable to radicalization. After a former student tried to blow up a plane, Qadhi found himself caught between a suspicious government and a young following he could lose.

The son of Pakistani professionals, Qadhi shares a meal during the holy month of Ramadan with his family. Todd Heisler/The New York Times

East to West

Qadhi was raised between Texas and Saudi Arabia, where, after college, he studied Islamic theology.  …He drilled into Salafiya with a discipline that defied his adolescence. At a retreat in Boulder, Colo., some of Qadhi's friends skipped out to go fishing. When they returned, Qadhi refused to share his notes. “It was very clear that this guy was going to become something and we weren't,” said one of the friends, Amad Shaikh.

At 30, he returned to the United States to pursue a doctorate in Islamic studies at Yale University. He now lives in the suburbs of Memphis, where he juggles a teaching job with a demanding schedule as an international preacher.  Qadhi's platform is the AlMaghrib Institute, which offers seminars in Islamic theology in North America and Europe. The institute represents an ultraconservative movement known as Salafiya, which Qadhi has rebranded “orthodox with a capital O.”

Qadhi did not always preach tolerance. During his time in Saudi Arabia, he was immersed in a hard-line world, spouting rhetoric he now regrets.  In 2001, Qadhi engaged in anti-Semitic rhetoric, saying at a conference in London that “Hitler never intended to mass-destroy the Jews.”

Qadhi and other American Muslim clerics pray at the Dachau concentration camp in Poland last August;
he talks to Rabbi Jack Bemporad during the trip. Tyler Hicks/The New York Times

Looking back, Qadhi said he fell down a slippery slope where criticism of Israel gave way to attacks on Jews. Beneath the vitriol, he said, was a sense of victimization — that non-Muslims were to blame for the afflictions of the Muslim world. “When you're young and naïve, it's easier to fall prey to such things,” said Qadhi, who publicly recanted years later. Last August, Qadhi joined a delegation of American Muslim clerics, government officials and rabbis on a visit to the Auschwitz and Dachau concentration camps. The visit left Qadhi “sick” and more embarrassed, he said, by his Hitler remarks, which he had recanted in 2008. Critics continue to label him a Holocaust denier.

In recent years, Qadhi has honed a more moderate message, prompting controversy among his fellow Salafis. In 2006, he shook hands with a female columnist, drawing a death threat. The following year, he helped made a pact “of mutual respect and cooperation” with Sufis, a mystical branch of Islam that Salafis have traditionally denounced….Qadhi began to wrestle with some of his own beliefs. It troubled him that Salafiya, even in its nonmilitant form, had helped shape the ideology of groups like Al Qaeda. “What type of Islam are we going to teach people?” he recalled thinking. “This isolationist Islam? This Islam of 'us' versus 'them' — is that healthy? Is that what my religion is?”

Qadhi tells his students to find a balance between the edicts of Islam and the mores of America. He lives in a spacious suburban ranch house, frequently stopping into Starbucks for a “tall-double-white-mocha-please-thank-you.”  There is no better place to be Muslim than in America, he said, where as a religious minority, “you feel your faith.”

The Salafi Movement

In the spectrum of Islam, Salafis occupy an ultraconservative camp. They seek to reclaim Islam's lost glory by purging the faith of modern influences. They model their lives after the world's first Muslims, starting with the Prophet Muhammad.

AlMaghrib students pray at a conference in Houston. Michael Stravato for The New York Times

Versions of Salafiya have persisted through history, but its modern iteration took hold in the puritanical, 18th-century school of Saudi Islam known as Wahabbism. Variants of this movement later spread around the world.  While most Salafis are not jihadists, the majority of Sunni militants follow the Salafi theology.  Law-enforcement officials say there was no policy singling out Salafis. In the aftermath of 9/11, federal agents rushed to contain a new threat, with scant understanding of the theological points separating nonmilitant and militant Salafis.

Qadhi's Students

America's youngest Muslims have come of age in the shadow of 9/11, watching closely as their own country wages war in Muslim lands. In interviews, AlMaghrib students denounced the tactics of militant groups like Al Qaeda but said they share many of the same political grievances. They are searching for the correct Islamic response.

Laptops are ubiquitous at the annual AlMaghrib conference in Houston. Michael Stravato for The New York Times

Afghan civilians “are my brothers and sisters, and I feel very close to them,” said Abdul-Malik Ryan, ( a Muslim matters blogger) a lawyer in Chicago. But he is unsure of the proper remedy. “You might be sympathetic to resisting the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, but how can you be sympathetic to people who throw acid on little school girls?” Link to clip of his interview.

The J Word

Qadhi says that he is unable to compete with the message of militants like Awlaki, because he cannot speak freely about jihad, which he calls “the J word.” He fears that engaging in a serious discussion of militant jihad would bring damaging media scrutiny, not to mention possible prosecution. “My hands are tied, and my tongue is silent,” he said.  While for many Westerners, the word “jihad” is a red flag, among American Muslims, it is a noble concept subject to varying interpretations. Jihad is translated to mean “striving in the path of God” and has several manifestations, from the spiritual to the military.

Here is the link to the full feature.

153 Responses

  1. Hassan

    I feel sorry what scholars have to face living in west. I can not comprehend the amount of pressure they have to live in to serve and propagate what they believe is correct.

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  2. Filisteeniyyah

    Brings tears to see how misinformed the Western world and many Muslims are about the path of as-Salaf-us-Saalih. No doubt many misuse this label for their own evil gains, but then again many misuse the Muslim label for their own evil gains too. Does that mean because of a few rotten Muslims, I’m going to give up Islam? Definitely not. Likewise, does it mean that because of a few rotten people who claim to be upon Ahlus Sunnah, I will give it up and say that path is the root of all evil? Definitely not.
    Times will get tougher and I can only hope Allah enables us to stick to the way of Ahlus Sunnah…the people of the Prophet, his Companions & the rightly guided Scholars (past & present) as much as possible…regardless of who mocks us or accuses us of being part of things that the Sunnah…the Deen…is 100% free from. May Allah make the Truth and the flasehood crystal clear for all of us.

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  3. Siraaj

    That was a whole lotta reading, still processing all of it. I thought it did a good job of capturing the essence of the problem, though I think her approach was so overly granular that it only focused on one “group”, whereas it misses the picture that many of the students in these programs are not “salafi” in the common use of the word in describing hardcore, intolerant people, but are practicing Muslims looking for benefit from which ever institutes provide it. I think the piece misses the mark from that perspective.

    But from the perspective of properly bringing light to the conflict within the Ortho-Fis, I think she did a great job of really nailing the essence of it. I’m not so sure that’s good for “Islam in America” though.

    Siraaj

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    • Filisteeniyyah

      So you are saying that the youth who are down with the Al-Maghrib crew are not intolerant? What if I told you that I and quite a few others have met some very arrogant youth in those gatherings who think if you’re not down with Al-Maghrib you must be the most lost Muslim? Or how about those blind youth who think there are no Scholars in this world except for the 6/7 tullaabul ‘ilm that teach at Al-Maghrib?
      Would you like it, if based on my experience, pass a verdict and say – al maghrib crew in the common use of the word describes arrogant, cocky and intolerant youth –

      I don’t think you my brother are being just when you equate “salafi” to hardcore and intolerant people. Maybe you met a few bad ones, but how can you call out the entire ideology for that? If you think the call of Salafiyyah is hardcore and intolerant then I truly believe you must be extremely misinformed. Don’t read the books of Ibn Taymiyyah, Ibn al-Qayyim, Ibn Katheer, Imam Ahmad, Abu Hanifah, Maalik, Shafi’ee…Bin Baaz, ‘Uthaymeen, Albani…and thousands of others who were upon this call…if you think this call = hardcore and intolerance.

      We have a problem with this call not because of a few ignorant people who lack manners…not at all…that is just an excuse that Shaytaan whispers into our ears…we have a problem with this call because this call entails constant research, seeking knowledge, making sacrifices and implementing the Sunnah. Almost every other call has some form of short cut to supposedly pleasing Allah. But not this one, so why not use a few bad ones and generalize the entire call as bad so we don’t have to go anywhere near it…keep our hanky panky watered down version of what ever we follow and think we’re the best followers of Muhammad sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.

      And also I find it ironic, that no matter how much this Al-Maghrib world tries to separate itself away from the label of Salafiyyah, they are still labeled as such. Reminds me of those Muslims who want to be known as Faty (not Faatimah) and Mo (not Mohammed) but at the end of the day no matter how much they drink or fornicate, their kufar friends still call them “yo mozzlem y do u guys gotta fall down on the ground n pray…hey mozzlem y do u gotta cover like that”.

      Rather than saying ok we are calling to Salafiyyah but let people see the true beauty of Salafiyyah and not be confused by a few rude folks…the saying that goes around in the AMI crew is – you only need Aqeedah not Manhaj – I don’t know how you can separate ‘Aqeedah from Manhaj or Manhaj from Aqeedah. Scholars of the past never came up with ajeeb concepts like this.

      However I try to be as fair as possible – yes I admire the organized method of AMI…I admire their thoroughness in covering a material…but I do not like the cocky-ness of their youth nor this concept of “keep ‘aqeedah and forget manhaj”.

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      • Filisteeniyyah

        Just wanted to add that I didn’t mean to sound like all the youth of AMI have haughty attitudes, many of them do while many don’t.
        A lot of us have no choice but to go there and unfortunately this whole concept of “have aqeedah forget manhaj” is not a healthy concept to teach to Muslims.
        We always go back and ask the Scholars if we don’t know. Even though youth seem to think it’s foolish to take things from foreign Scholars simply because they never lived in USA (which i think is undermining the knowledge, understanding and wisdom of the scholars), don’t forget through out Muslim history, sincere students of knowledge used to travel thousands of miles simply to sit with Scholar fulaan. No body made statements like “the scholars from medina never lived in khurasaan so they don’t understand our fiqh and no need to take fataawa from them”.

        It would be great if the students of knowledge in the West didn’t do things in a way that creates blind followers all over again. We see it among the african americans who think there’s no Salafi scholar except for the 5 on their website and we see with the youth of AMI who think there are no scholars except for 6/7 instructors of AMI. Both are extreme and both are ruining the call of Salafiyyah and both are equally guilty.
        But that doesn’t mean I take all this and say Salafi Dawah is evil. Absolutely not. How can a call that is not based on hidden agendas, not based on one specific Imam/leader (who is human and therefore has mistakes)…a call that is based on sincerely seeking knowledge, patience, following the sunnah no matter what, loving all the scholars of Ahlus Sunnah and leaving their mistakes for their correct verdicts, etc etc…how can this “concept/call” be at fault?! It’s like saying since Muslims do terrible things, the concept/call of Islam must be bad.

        The haters need to try much harder than that to brainwash us away from Salafiyyah. As long as Allah Wills we will be on this Dawah and no one can stop that until or unless Allah misguides a specific individual away from it. And we seek refuge in Allah from ending up like that.

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      • Siraaj

        Salaam alaykum,

        I think you misunderstood what I meant – I wasn’t saying all Salafis are hardcore, or bad-mannered, but that this is the image commonly associated with the word these days (at least, in my experience, and others who have a view of the larger daw’ah scene).

        About the students traveling to learn from the scholars, this is true, but don’t forget that when those students left their teachers, their opinions changed based on evidence, circumstances, and specific situations.

        And remember that when a man came from another land to ask Imam Malik 40 questions, the majority of answers were, “Allah knows best.” Do you think that man came with general questions about the deen, or specific questions about his specific situation?

        I would encourage you as I do others to read the fatwas from amjaonline.com, you’ll have a fresh perspective, even on issues in which we’re conservative, and they are as well, you’ll appreciate the respect for opposing opinions and awareness of the difficulties and obstacles people in the West deal with, and how the rulings are applied to deal with them.

        Siraaj

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      • Student Of Knowledge

        I think you misunderstood what I meant – I wasn’t saying all Salafis are hardcore, or bad-mannered, but that this is the image commonly associated with the word these days (at least, in my experience, and others who have a view of the larger daw’ah scene).

        What would you say if one argued the same thing about the word “Islam” and “Muslims” ?

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  4. Zaid

    Salaam

    I am slightly dissapointed. Sheikh Yasir inspired me with his lectures on Tawheed, the critical analysis of Shirk, his series on fiqh. I was moved at how simple our religion is, and how the truth can so easily be spotted from falsehood if you just have the correct intentions to learn for the sake of Allah.

    Perhaps the politics in America have changed him, but im sensing that the Shiekh is struggling with Riya (someone i constantly struggle with). I am sensing the Sheikh is compromising. Yes we should be pragmatic in our struggles, but should be be afraid of the Dhunya, and the power of men over the power of Allah? When did it become known as the J word. The Yasir Qadhi on my cd player, the one who inspired me to change my life, make my salaah, stop with Bidah practices would only fear Allah.

    I was watching the DEEN SHOW the other day, and i heard Sheikh Muhammad Al Shareef define Islam to mean “Peace”. Peace….fullstop. What ever happened to it meaning to submit ? and with him too, i watch the facebook updates, and i sense a struggle with Riya.

    Hopefully i am wrong, but I am slightly sad, as i listen to Sheikh Yasirs lectures, and i give them to my family in the hope that they will move away from their bidah and Sufi Shirk, and then i read this article, and i see how these Sheikhs are changing, and I am sad. Who can us uneducated muslims turn to who will remain steadfast.

    Am i wrong, am i too far away from what is happening in America?

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    • Sister

      Brother, you cannot see what is in the hearts of people therefore you have no right to say someone is struggling with Riyaa. Please be careful when judging others.

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      • Ahmed Muhammed

        I agree, Shiekh Qadhi from what I know of him is upon the Qur’an, and the Sunnah, and until I hear from his own mouth something I know to be against the Qur’an and Sunnah then I’ll take him to task on that issue only if I have dileel on that issue, not an opinion. Myself, being a Muslim I can understand why the shiekh is watching what he says and how he says it. Not that Jihad is something we as Muslims should be afraid of, but we must understand there are many non Muslims who remain ignorant of what it is, and how it is practiced, and understood correctly. Which is why we are seeing so many young brothers, and even sisters new to Islam becoming influenced by extreme interpretations of some scholars.

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    • U

      His view on tawheed, shirk, bidah haven’t changed. I feel with some of his fiqh positions he has become too lenient. If he provides the evidence, then fine. If for example the hand shaking with the lady, he doesn’t provide the evidence then it leaves the door open to confusion and guesswork.

      Naturally we presume the best, but on the hand shaking..i feel it is a step too far. Nonetheless his aqeedah is sound.

      Allah knows best.
      May Allah keep his intentions pure.

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  5. Zaid

    Salaam

    I am slightly dissapointed. Sheikh Yasir inspired me with his lectures on Tawheed, the critical analysis of Shirk, his series on fiqh. I was moved at how simple our religion is, and how the truth can so easily be spotted from falsehood if you just have the correct intentions to learn for the sake of Allah.

    Perhaps the politics in America have changed him, but im sensing that the Shiekh is struggling with Riya (something i constantly struggle with). I am sensing the Sheikh is compromising. Yes we should be pragmatic in our struggles, but should be be afraid of the Dhunya, and the power of men over the power of Allah? When did it become known as the J word. The Yasir Qadhi on my cd player, the one who inspired me to change my life, make my salaah, stop with Bidah practices would only fear Allah.

    I was watching the DEEN SHOW the other day, and i heard Sheikh Muhammad Al Shareef define Islam to mean “Peace”. Peace….fullstop.( Sheikh Yasir, you told ME that whoever ses this are disingenous).. What ever happened to it meaning to submit ? and with him too, i watch the facebook updates, and i sense a struggle with Riya.

    Hopefully i am wrong, but I am slightly sad, as i listen to Sheikh Yasirs lectures, and i give them to my family in the hope that they will move away from their bidah and Sufi Shirk, and then i read this article, and i see how these Sheikhs are changing, and I am sad. Who can us uneducated muslims turn to who will remain steadfast.

    Am i wrong, am i too far away from what is happening in America?
    May Allah guide us all.

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  6. Abu Noor Al-Irlandee

    Being interviewed for this article, I was impressed to see the level of research and fact checking that goes into a major NYT feature like this.

    However, there is one major factual error regarding AlMaghrib Ilm Summit students that is still in the article:

    The most dominant trait among the men is a quintessentially American geekiness.

    I mean, that is not true, is it?

    :)

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    • MR

      There is truth to that, haha.

      On a serious note. You gotta be a nerd to be a student of knowledge.

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    • Siraaj

      This coming from the guy who reads books to kill time in the middle of social gatherings. But anyway, she was obviously referring to y’all, definitely not me ;) My geekiness is more Canadian.

      Siraaj

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    • Yus from the Nati

      I most definitely got weak when I read that. Hilarious.

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  7. Mehdi Sheikh

    I am surprised how the article stated that Al-Magrib started tackling Jihadi issues since 2006. Does that mean that A-Magrib doesn’t connect it’s students to the Scholars of our time from whom I have read articles on this issue since I first came to Salafiyah.

    Shaikh Al-Albaani’s debate with a jihaadi is legendary and its been around for a decade or even more. The statements of Shaykh Ibn Baaz, and Shaykh Uthaymeen have been propagated to the point that they should have been memorized. But I guess “Shaykh” Yasir Qadhi as he calls himself now is better than them. Instead of just pointing out what they said he has a need to reinterpret a new method for his own students? Anway Awlaki has been refuted ages ago by the senior scholars. All you need to do is just point those out.

    Subhanallah, I guess since he is “orthodox” now and chumming it up with deviants like his “Brother-in-Shaykhhood” Hamza Yusuf, he gets a special pass. Maybe we should just call him “peer sahib”. Seems more fitting.

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    • Leo

      Sh. Yasir Qadhi doesn’t need anyone to defend him. However I feel compelled as a person who has met the man several times to say he is a humble man mA, and does not feel superior than anyone.
      As for people claiming to be of “true” Salafiyyah , where are you guys? I live in the uk. I don’t see any of you reaching out to me. The only thing I ever hear from these brothers are refutations of Muslim scholars. They have only ever taught me refutations and little else. Is it any wonder if there is animosity towards them?

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      • A

        Hey Sheikh Mehdi, who will you leave of the muslim scholars unrefuted? People like you – the “refuters” as I like to call you guys, all we hear from you and your small group is refutations of everyone left and right. You bring no positive da’waa or other goodness to the table. Not only that but you never condemn the true evil that is the aggression by the West and their puppet muslim rulers in the East against the innocent muslim men women and children. You refute Awlaki? Only two people from the “refuters” – one who works for the Saudi regime, and the other not too popular have tried to refute him. And when they tried, as all those who have seen the videos know – they completely miss the point. They highlight other issues, etc. and even then we saw many people around the world – from the scholars – such as Sheikh Abu Adnan, etc. get up and defend him against the so called “refutations” of Imam Anwar. Also were you to read the fatwaas of Albani? As you say think he is “Irrefutable”? Do you know his fatwas allowing Amiliatis Shahdia (Suicide Operations (Bombings)?) And him calling for the khilafah to fight in Jihad. Will you then “refute” him? Or what about Ibn Uthaymeen? Do you know how much he has praised Bin Laden and agreed with his methodology? Do you then also know about the fatwas of Ibn Uthaymeen in which he agrees with the killing of innocent non muslim civilians – using the daleel that “trangress against the kuffar as they transgress against you”? Will you now refute Ibn Uthaymeen? I do not know too much about Bin Baaz – so I do not know how, but I am sure that you “refuters” if you found something – you would refute him too. This is what the refuters do. Also on the other hand – you go and refute people because you think they are “supporting the west”? Hell – this is what you do. Yasir Qadhi calls to Islam, and Dawah…he is not making a new methodology. You think he will call to Jihad while sitting under the banner of Red White and Blue? What benefit could he bring other than get himself locked up, and the name of Al Maghrib as a dawa institution humiliated? We would lose muslims, not gain them. Those who talk about Jihad are in the right places, such as Yemen, Afghanistan, etc. In the west these scholars need to talk about what the are right now. You will try to refute Hamza Yusuf? Even though he studied under the chain of Uthaymeen, and such, and even after he has the Ijaazah, and we see from him no deviation in Aqeedah? All of these scholars across the spectrum are good in what they do. And may allah reward them immensly for their efforts with Jannah. We can disagree with them, but “refute” them” What knowledge to possess anyways? You refuters have an Ijazah to make takfir from Sheikh Google? These “refuters” establish and promote no good, and they cast shadows and doubts about the good. They try to humiliate the awliyaa of Allah – these ulema, such as Awlaki, and Yasir Qadhi (Yes I mentioned the polar opposites under the same title – as the scholars one for the West, the other for the East. And the rulings are different in their respective places.) As for all those refuters – please keep your dirty rhetoric to yourself. If and when some does need to be refuted….this will be taken to the mainstream – and the Scholars will get together (without their own agendas) and refute the person on his aqeedah. As for differences in Fiqh…which is what a lot of rulings of Jihad is on? We will disagree, but I refuse to rub the name of a scholar in the dirt, just because he is at odds with my opinion. May Allah forgive me for my mistakes, and as for after the names of all the scholars mentioned previously – may the mercy of Allah be upon them, and may they enter Jannah, as the Siddiqqeen, or the Shuhaha, or the Saliheen. Ameen.

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      • Mehdi Sheikh

        I am completely dumb-founded by your statements.

        I not going to try to “refute” any of the things you stated above, other brothers and sisters on this board who will see the obvious glaring errors in your statement can see to that, but I will say that I too am not one of those who exclusively busies himself with refuting scholars. It is true that well known individuals and institutions have completely cannibalized themselves in the process of doing so to the extent of becoming a laughing stock among the Salafi Community at large, but in spite of them Salafiyya is still strong, regardless of what some people have said. It is just that apart from a few people most of us have rejected and abandoned the pointless refutation of other salafis with the “he said, she said” aspect that was so openly evident and wasted so many people’s time to returning back to beneficial knowledge.

        My contention with our Br. Yaasir (and he is not a scholar, so please stop calling him “shaykh”) is not that he wants to adapt fiqh issues for the west or even his wishy-washy manhaj. My contention is his obvious abandonment of the senior scholars of our time and the abandonment of the salafi ideology and his lack of defense of it. As someone to whom Salafiyyah and Ahlus Sunnah are synonymous this disgusted me, as evident in my attitude. To others this may not be the case.

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      • A

        Everything stated above is true, as I heard these statement directly from the videos of those shuyookh. Please – if you really think I am wrong, then tell me the claims which you think I am wrong in – and I will bring you their daleels right from the youtube links, or such…And Yes Yasir Qadhi is one the ulema…bring me proof that he is not…even though many of the “salafi” (I dislike the way those madhkalis use that term) sheikhs in al Jazeerah would say he is a scholar. Not many will say that they agree with him – but this is a disagreement between the scholars….none of the shuyook will say he is not a scholar, meaning he does not have knowledge of their capacity. Oh and by the way – when he says that he is only a student of knowledge, it is modesty. We see many of the shuyookh saying that….but you are a “refuter” and you, although you may not believe so – you are of that minority group whom the “salafees” have abandoned. This is why even though many people on here are salafi, they still reply against you. May Allah forgive me for any mistakes above – but If you want any proof – just ask…all of those statements made above are true….anyone….just ask me…..I will send you the link(s)….

        ” other brothers and sisters on this board who will see the obvious glaring errors in your statement can see to that..”

        Bring It! Any brothers….Inshallah I do not want to be silenced with some stupid comment like Sheikh Mahdi’s. Read my statement and if you see anything you find unknown to you (even though all of it is controversial) just ask, I will send you the link.

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      • Student Of Knowledge

        who will you leave of the muslim scholars unrefuted? People like you – the “refuters” as I like to call you guys, all we hear from you and your small group is refutations of everyone left and right. You bring no positive da’waa or other goodness to the table.

        Refuting what is wrong and proclaiming what is true isn’t enough good for you my brother?

        Also were you to read the fatwaas of Albani? As you say think he is “Irrefutable”? Do you know his fatwas allowing Amiliatis Shahdia (Suicide Operations (Bombings)?) …Will you now refute Ibn Uthaymeen?

        Did you really read those fatwas by these scholars from their original sources?? Because you are misrepresenting what they said and attributing things to them which they have never said! Where did you add the “Bombings” part from?! It has no mention in the Arabic fatwa of the Sheikh! This is the fatwa of the Sheikh about suicide bombings! It seems like you are talking without knowledge my brother so I won’t address everything you said and I will just advise you to only say things which you are certain of in the future.

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      • Student Of Knowledge

        And Yes Yasir Qadhi is one the ulema…bring me proof that he is not…

        Brother A, I am afraid you have things switched around. You have to provide proof if you are claiming that some one is a scholar, not the other way around. The default is not that people are scholars. For example, I can’t come here and claim that I am a scholar and then ask you for proof that I am not! If I make a claim then I have to provide proof to support it. It would be good to know which of the well known salafi scholars have said that Sh Qadhi was a scholar?

        even though many of the “salafi” (I dislike the way those madhkalis use that term) sheikhs in al Jazeerah would say he is a scholar. Not many will say that they agree with him – but this is a disagreement between the scholars….none of the shuyook will say he is not a scholar, meaning he does not have knowledge of their capacity.

        Brother A, can you please provide me with the names of the prominent salafi scholars in the east who do say that Sh Qadhi is a scholar?

        The term ‘scholar’ is a huge title and it would be unjust to make the claim that Sh Qadhi is equal in status and knowledge to our senior salafi scholars who had spent their entire lives in the path of knowledge and spreading it. Some have been spreading the dawah for longer than both me and Sh Qadhi have been alive, so I think it would be better not to go into extremes regarding Sh Qadhi. If you call people what they are it is better for them and for yourself.

        Please do provide me with the names of the well known salafi scholars who have said that Sh Qadhi is the great scholar you are trying to make him to be.

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  8. U

    Many of Yasir Qadhi’s works have been superb. Has anyone seen his tafsir series on surah Yusuf? Or any of his speeches on dua? His works on bidah, shirk, tawheed are extremely insightful.

    The pact of mutual agreement was controversial for some but in the larger scheme of things, I feel is simply a signature to agree to work constructively. It doesn’t mean he supports Sufism or shiaism.

    However, there was one part of the article that was very disappointing: shaking the hand of the lady.

    There are some things which shouldn’t be compromised. I feel he should make clear his stance on shaking hands. If it was a genuine slip, simply say. There is a Hadith when the prophet sws was walking home with his wife, people saw him and quickened their pace. The prophet sws called them back to make it clear to them that it was his wife and not any strange woman. Perhaps sh Yasir qadhi should also just make it clear that it was a slip… If from a fiqh perspective he disagrees, then he should write an article or bringforth his evidences, because according my research it is not allowed and I would be interested to see his evidences.

    I pray that Allah keeps his intentions pure, because I can only imagine with his growing popularity and recognition it can easily get to you.
    May Allah make it easy for him to not only keep his intentions pure, but also his actions and teachings in accordance with the deen.

    It’s quite sad that he is harassed so much at airports and by the FBI… Because if they cared to perhaps watch some of his videos, they would realise that he is simply an ordinary peaceful Muslim trying his best to follow his religion, and live in peace with society. The article made a huge deal out of the salafi link. It is a misunderstood term and the author added fuel to the confusion.

    No sheikh is perfect. They do have differing views, and even if I don’t agree with him about his new stance on shaking hands, and a couple of more minor fiqh points, he is still a very knowledgable shiekh, who is doing much for Muslims and trying to bridge gaps in society.

    Again, may Allah purify his intentions.

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    • b.a.

      Salaam,

      Shaking the hands of a non-mahram lady is an issue that scholars have differed about. Therefore I see no reason why we have an issue with someone who holds a position that is within the confines of the shari’ah. If that isn’t Sh YQ’s position and it was simply a mistake on his part, then we should simply overlook it iA, lest Allaah (swt) not overlook our mistakes on the Day of Judgement:

      http://www.suhaibwebb.com/islam-studies/shaking-hands-with-a-non-mahram-dr-yusuf-al-qaradawi/

      wassalaam

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      • U

        W salam,
        I read the article. I don’t agree with the fatwa,, but thanks for posting it. I didn’t know there was a different view.

        If anybody misunderstood, I don’t have any problem with sh. Yasir Qadhi. I could make this comment an essay in praise of him.

        The author of the article, although I think she is slightly off the mark with her understanding of the word salafi, has been quite fair and given good insight into some of the conflicts and sensitivities the sheikhs in America must face. Clearly sh Yasir Qadhi is devoting his life to help the Muslims, and this is in the interests of America. Thousands of Muslims have benefitted from him, and it would be petty of me to discredit him, because I disagree with a few fiqh points.

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  9. bilal

    So i was reading some of the comments on the article on the NYT page and it appears the article has not been well-perceived due to the hatred of Muslims out there. Regardless if we agree with the entire article or not, we should admit it was well-written and somewhat middle-ground. I think we ought to write to the author of the article and thank her for the piece to encourage more well-balanced articles in the future. Does anyone have her email address?

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  10. Abdur

    If Yasir Qadhi is not brave enough to speak the truth then he does not need to take a leadership position. There are plenty of Muslims that are willing to speak the truth and they are the ones that need to take his place

    American Muslims need another Malcolm X, because Mr. X had the strength to tell the truth even when it cost him his life.

    People like Al- Awalaki are so popular because Muslims are tiered of this watered down compromised version of Islam that is constantly being fed to them.

    Our Prophets (pbut) always came with the truth and NEVER allowed themselves to be silenced by the disbelievers.

    salafimedia.com is a good source for authentic Islam.

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    • Mehdi Sheikh

      The above link is a Khaarijee site. I suggest no one visit it.

      The Prophet (salallahu alaihi wa sallam) never dehumanised a people, even the Jews. Never called anyone dogs, or pigs, etc. as people often do with their enemies (the Jews were depicted as Rats by Nazis, etc). The only exception are the Khaawaarij, whom he referred to as the “Dogs of the Hellfire”, and that they should be “fought where ever they are”.

      I suggest the moderators remove that pro-terrorist link so as not to pollute the minds of the Muslims.

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  11. Yahya Ibrahim

    Bismillah,

    Many of those who read the article will not comprehend the stress that is involved in Yasir’s life.
    Allah protect you Abu Ammar and I pray Allah continues to use you in the spread of harmony, tolerance and peace.

    I pray Allah protects your family and deen.

    Only issue that surprised me was STAR TREK ? I guess we all have our faults.

    Yahya

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  12. Cera

    Abdur,

    So you’re saying that Awlaki is popular because he has the correct version of islam? Shaikh YQ has all my respect because he makes sense. Islam is not what people like awlaki make it to be. Honestly, to poeple like you, I would say what shaikh YQ would probably say…. CHILL OUT!!!!

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  13. Khader Ali Khan

    Salam Alaikum,

    There is no deny that Sheikh Yasir Qadhi has done lot of good work in Islam, may Allah give him the strength to speak the truth and turn the tide like Imam Ahmed did during the times of fitan while other scholars were just finding a way out to escape the punishment by making ambiguous statements.

    I wish Awlaki was still in America and had not gone to such an extreme. Muslims in America miss him. ( we need middle way (awlaki+qadhi)/2 :)

    May Allah forgive us all for our mistakes.ameen

    – Khader

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  14. newboy1331

    Actually, my respect for Shaykh Yasir increased when I read this,

    Qadhi says that he is unable to compete with the message of militants like Awlaki, because he cannot speak freely about jihad, which he calls “the J word.” He fears that engaging in a serious discussion of militant jihad would bring damaging media scrutiny, not to mention possible prosecution. “My hands are tied, and my tongue is silent,” he said. While for many Westerners, the word “jihad” is a red flag, among American Muslims, it is a noble concept subject to varying interpretations. Jihad is translated to mean “striving in the path of God” and has several manifestations, from the spiritual to the military.

    Imagine the pressure (not being sarcastic).

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  15. Usman

    I am very surprised about many of these comments that are pointing out flaws in Sheikh Yasir Qadhi. Have we lost the Islamic etiquette that we should make 70 excuses for our brother?

    My excuse for you: We all need a reminder and are in hard times, inshallah you will take this reminder and seek forgiveness.

    None of us is perfect. We should take the good from someone and not point out their mistakes. Pointing out petty little mistakes does no good. We all make mistakes, we all need guidance from Allah. We are all looking for some perfect leader, while the leader we each need is facing us right in the mirror. We each need to change as individuals.

    I call on all Muslims to start doing good openly and in private. As a community we have stopped doing good and are all now facing the consequences. Let each just do good deeds, focus on Islam, and stop chasing after the dunya. Let us stop talking and start doing.

    As a call to action, I encourage each one of us right now to donate to the Islamic charity of your preference, as an example of one good deed. Inshallah, I will do the same right now.

    May Allah enable us to do good and stand out against wrong.

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    • Usama

      As Salamu Alaikum,

      Jazak Allahu khairan–I couldn’t agree more.

      It seems people forget or don’t realize the situation people like Shaikh Yasir are in, while also neglecting basic adab.

      May Allah reward him for all the good that he does and may Allah grant us the wisdom to focus on the things that truly matter. Ameen.

      Usama

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    • Mehdi Sheikh

      Excuses for a man who has turned against the teachings of his own Shuyookh in Saudi? Some one who considers furthering his studies there as brain-washing?

      Br. Yasir is a panderer plain and simple. He is more interested in promoting himself then the Salafi ideology.

      Why did he not come out an simply state that the idea of “militant Salafis” is an oxymoron? Instead he acquiesced to it and even further added to the fire. How can one call himself a salafi when he doesn’t follow the great scholars of our time? And if one does follow Ibn Baaz, Ibn Uthaymeen and Al-Albaani then where is this “militancy” coming from?

      Br Yasir is busy making sure that his followers only know him as the true “peer sahib”. He is always making himself the point of reference instead the scholars of our time.

      I swear by Allaah I loved Br. Yasir once and have and still do sometimes benefit from his writing greatly, but his turning back on salafiyya and his constant, arrogant calling to himself has become disgusting, and everytime he opens his mouth it seems as he moves further away from Salafiyyah into the murky, “pandering” territory occupied by the likes of Usamah Hasan. May Allaah protect him from that and may Allaah guide him and protect especially his students from his riyaa and misguidance.

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      • Bushra

        SubhanAllah brother, I suggest you read and re-read your comment. It is simply abhorrent and to judge him from what he has said in this article is a misguidance in itself.

        You really should look at your own faults before you pinpoint him. By calling him arrogant with an aspiration to be a ‘peer sahib’ is not only unIslamic, but unkind. I wonder if you would be able to say this if he was standing in front of you? Or even if the Prophet (saw) was present? I think you know the answer.

        May Allah(swt) protect our tongues (and fingers that type on the keyboard) from taking us into the Fire of Hell. Ameen.

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      • Abdullah

        “Our Lord, forgive us and our brothers who preceded us in faith and put not in our hearts [any] resentment toward those who have believed! Our Lord, indeed You are Kind and Merciful!” [Al-Hashr, 59:10]

        “Let whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day either speak good or remain silent…” [Bukhari]

        Mu’adh said, “I said, ‘Messenger of Allah, tell me of an action which will admit me to the Garden and keep me far from the Fire.’ He said, ‘You have asked about a great matter, but it is easy for the one to whom Allah Almighty makes it easy: worship Allah and do not associate anything with Him, do the prayer, pay the zakat, fast Ramadan and go on hajj to the House.’ Then he said, ‘Shall I direct you to the gates of good? Fasting, which is a protection, and sadaqa, which extinguishes mistakes as water extinguishes fire, and the prayer of a man in the middle of the night.’ Then he recited, ‘Their sides eschew their beds’ until he reached ‘what it used to do.’ (32:16-17) Then he said, ‘Shall I tell you of the head of the matter, its support and its peak?’ I said, ‘Yes indeed, Messenger of Allah.’ He said, ‘The head of the matter is Islam and its support is the prayer and its peak is jihad.’ Then he said, ‘Shall I tell you of the foundation of all that?’ I said, ‘Yes, indeed, Messenger of Allah.’ He took hold of his tongue and said, ‘Restrain this.’ I said, ‘Messenger of Allah, will we be taken to task for what we say ?’ He said, ‘May your mother be bereaved! Are people thrown on their faces into the Fire for anything but the harvest of their tongues?'” [at-Tirmidhi]

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      • Siraaj

        No Mehdi, excuses for a Muslim brother who is trying his best, that’s it. That’s what we all are. We’re none of us perfect, some have more knowledge than others, and we’re trying our best to figure out what is right and what is not.

        Let’s assume that Sh Yasir is wrong in his approach – will you also fault his sincerity in trying to reconcile and bring all his intellectual faculties to bear to address situations that most cannot? There are great scholars the world over, but many of them have no idea what is happening in America because they’ve simply never been here. Ever.

        And this goes to scholars in other regions as well, such as Egypt. In many instances, they’re passing fatwas based on second and third hand information, and that information is colored by biases of the students they interact with, and the media they are reading from, and the actions of that country’s government.

        On the first day of his class in light of guidance, when Shaykh Yasir teaches about seeking knowledge, that first day begins with, “I’m not a scholar, I’m a student of knowledge” and he requests that no one place him on the pedestal, so to speak, only to knock him off when it turns out he’s not perfect (because in the end, none of us are, and no scholar is perfect).

        Taking knowledge from a great scholar doesn’t mean holding strictly to that scholars rulings. Even being a student of a great scholar, the using the same thought process, one might arrive at a different conclusion due to other considerations. That’s normal, and that’s human.

        No scholar of any region is a Prophet to go about unquestioned, anymore than one methodology or another – the goal is pleasing Allah, the Prophet (SAW) has brought us guidance, and the rest is us doing our best to please Allah by understanding what was brought. If two groups can differ on the Prophet’s words and not be condemned for it, if a man can cremate himself for fear of Allah and be forgiven for it, then I’m hopeful that we will also get a pass for trying our best to please Allah, even as we make mistakes along the way.

        Siraaj

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      • Middle Ground

        Salam

        And this attitude of the above poster is why I will NEVER use the word ‘salafi’ about myself again. If salafis have a bad rep, they have brought it onto themselves with this kind of nonsense, specifically the scholar bashing aspect. Dearest Brother Yasir, you can count yourself in very esteemed company with the other great scholars who have been slandered by these kind of people.

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  16. Ammad

    Sallamaleikum,

    I’m kinda saddened by some of the ragging on the shaykh as it all seems to be focused on why he has been taking a more cautious,less-reactionary approach to America. I fail to understand how promoting dialogue between various faiths and even sects is a watered-down version of Islam as brother abdur seems to be suggesting.If we,like the Shaykh, would like to see more people follow the ahl sunah wa jammah the way forward isn’t labeling them as deviants and arguing with them in an unpleasant manner as sadly many who label themselves ‘salafi’,dialogue is the way forward. I personally understand his move of not trying to clash with the FBI/CIA as that means his message of Islam’s universality and value to America will no longer hold water in front of non -muslim Americans if he is villified through smear campaigns and FBI raids etc.Also,let us not endorse Anwar Awlaki as being popular or as speaking for Muslim Americans because frankly he has abused his position of influence by channeling hate. I sympathise with his sufferings while in America but as a supposed scholar he should know better than claim militancy is a solution to Muslim problems. I pray to Allah swt that he forgive both YQ and Awlaki for their shortcomings and guide them to good if they shall fall astray..

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  17. AbdulAziz

    Article was good overall. I like this man and he does a lot of good things masha Allah.

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  18. Rafa

    Much respect for the Shaykh. Whatever his flaws, he’s done more for this Ummah than most. May Allah give him strength and patience, and may He protect him and his family. Ameen.

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  19. n

    the issue here is that he’s at this cross roads. on one side ppl think he’s not strong enough and on the other side from what i can see, he can’t be open about what islam says about jihad while being an american and living in america.

    in my own little tiny microscopic view, i totally disagree that america is the best place to be a muslim.

    Anyway back to the real issue, 7 years ago the issue was ali tamimi and other mahad shuyookh which were kicked out of the US or given life sentences over trivial things. Now those on the frontlines are these ‘moderate salafi’ shuyookh who are connected to the old ….. the article noted that ali tamimi was one of his teacher and stuff.

    My fear is that either they will be pushed to get in line and say what the US wants which would spell disaster for them or say the truth and face the FBI and government harassment which im sure he already goes through..

    in this kind of a situation i so fear what hapepened to ali tamimi would happen to our shuyookh. its not hard to imagine that among almaghrib students for instance there may be informants placed in the midst of us.

    Allahu musta’an. I feel the noose around the neck of the muslims is slowly being tightened while most muslims believe they have so much freedom and ‘live in the best place to practice Islam’.

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  20. Usman

    Brothers and Sisters please take to heart the following comment by a non-Muslim to this article and forget the stupid petty talk on topics like Shaking hands with a non-mehrem woman with no intent to lead to anything sexual. Here is the comment of the non-Muslim:

    “the fact that Islam has intellectual rigor to it, does not make it more acceptable. As a non-Muslim, the internal arguments of Islamic law are of no interest to me as I do not believe the basis (Koran from G-d) has any truth. Therefore, all that is relevant to non-Muslim Americans are the behaviors and attitudes of Muslims.”

    If the testimony of a rock can be used against us on the day of judgment, even the testimony of a non-Muslim and what he sees can be used against us. We need to stop talking about petty little things and start acting. when are we going to wake up? The real Jihad for us is to really ignore the media and continue to do good, after all it is the stopping of doing good that has put us in the mess the ummah is in. We talk to much about fiqh issues. Let us talk about helping those in need (for example the victims of the Japan earthquake). Let us focus our life on doing good. For sure none of us will enter heaven because he/she spent all their time arguing and talking. Let us organize non-profits and even for-profit companies that encourage the doing of good and stand out against evil.

    Let us act and not react.

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    • Hebah Ahmed

      You took the words out of my mouth! Barak Allahu Feek! May Allah make us the best examples to mankind in our families, communities, nations, and the world Insha Allah!

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    • Sarah

      JazakAllahu khairan!!! I was going to say the same exact thing- honestly, we’re in such a dire state as an entire ummah today on MAJOR issues- most youth have trouble praying 5 times a day if they aren’t already questioning their religion, da’wah, family, manners.. and we rail on and on about the different opinions of shaykhs between the few of us that do maybe pray five times a day. :(
      as Br. Nouman often mentions in his vids, we are missing the bigger picture..

      and btw, I’m sick of all this backtalk about shaykhs- these people went out and gave their LIVES and time for all of us and for the sake of Allah, and all we do is sit and criticize this one’s aqeedah and that one’s opinions as laypeople. may Allah save us all, astaghfirullah..

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    • Sarah S.

      Excellent point masha’Allah! And very well-put. Barak Allahu feek. May Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) purify our hearts, increase our efforts to do good, and allow our good actions to weigh heavily on our behalf on the Day of Judgment. Ameen.

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  21. Bushra

    With regards to Shaykh Yasir’s stance on foreign policies, we have to understand the magnitude of his role in the Muslim community. Bear in mind that he has a huge following and is constantly in the public eye; he is able to relate to his students and to their struggles, whilst avoiding being caught up in politics and sensitive issues. I’d much rather that he stayed in his position and being able to openly teach than be inaccessible to us. Yes, there are scholars of the past who fought for the correct principles, but look at what they fought for and were thrown into jail for – Imam Ahmad fought against bid’ah and shirk, before he fought against anything else. There is no such thing as a ‘watered down’ version of Islam if tawheed and a correct practice of aqeedah are intact first and foremost and this is what Shaykh Yasir so vehemently professes before he approaches any other topic.

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  22. Sister in Deen

    Jazak Allahu khair Shaykh Yasir. As someone who considers you one of her teachers and mentors, I was so happy to see this pretty positive article in NYT with you in it. I can’t imagine the amount of burden, stress and sacrifice you and your family must go through daily to work for the deen and I pray Allah SWT blesses your time, health, wealth, and imaan and grants you a long life so you may continue to inspire Muslims in America and around the world, ameen. May He grant you and your family and us all Jannat al-Firdous (The Highest of Paradise) and reunite us with the Prophet (salallahu alayhi wassalam) there, ameen.

    As for the article, while I do think it overly emphasized the ‘Salafiya’ movement as opposed to being an orthodox practicing Muslim, I am at least glad it did not use the word ‘Wahabbi’ which basically makes everyone want to throw up when they hear it. I applaud NYT for detailed journalism and hope it will continue.

    Shaykh Yasir, you are in our du’as and you have truly touched our lives Alhamdulillah. Keep up the good work!

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  23. Sister

    May Allah reward Shaykh Yasir &his family with abundant khair in this duniya and in aakhiraa..Mashaallah what beautiful kids you have shaykh..may Allah protect them ..

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  24. Yasir Qadhi

    Salam

    I wanted to add one point: the article does quote me accurately in all of its quotes. Nonetheless, because of the space allocated, the author could not have gone into the level of detail, or mention the context, or disclaimers, that I might have added for each of the quotes in there.

    I kindly ask the brothers/sisters who are interested to simply ask their questions related to the article here, and I will try my best to respond to them one by one. The author of the article interviewed me for probably more than a hundred hours over the course of a year and a half, and from all of those interviews she wrote this article.

    Please remember that this is an article in a newspaper, and not an academic dissertation. Also keep in mind that I am not the author!

    Yasir

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    • Bushra

      Precisely. Jazakallahu khair for your comment.

      I mean…come on! It’s the New York Times!! It’s read by big bosses of corporate America and traders on Wall Street! So of course there’s bound to be some discrepancies, despite the accurate quoting. And the quotes have been picked out to make certain points, so naturally we’re not going to get the full picture.

      Brothers and sisters, bear in mind that this is an article where a journalist followed YQ for a year and has summarised it into 11 pages. That’s not enough to do justice to even just a week in YQ’s shoes.
      For us to get the full picture, we’d have to follow Sh. YQ on a Big Brother-style show (although not as haraam).

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    • Hassan

      May Allah preserve you and your family Sheikh. The article did answers many questions I been asking for a while, and things are starting to make sense now. I think going through NYT route was better (and safer) than islamic blog. Again I feel extremely sorry for ulama that are under extreme stress both from big brother (govt) and little brother (followers). The article also highlight the complex nature of a human.

      Having said that, there is no denying that you evolved over the years. So do you regret public speaking while you were still learning? Would you tell young student of knowledge to be low profile and quiet or at the most talk about just basics and referring the matter to greater ulama till they themselves become well established in knowledge?

      What were differences between you (or your methodology) that you transformed while others (in salafi dawah) went underground? Was there something unique about your background that others perhaps did not have? From the article it seems your father (may Allah keep him healthy and give long life) influenced you to return from Saudia as they were brainwashing. What exactly he found wrong with them?

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    • Usman

      Waliakum asalaa Shiek Yasir,

      The article quotes your statement, from the jword.org video, urging us to use the pen and our tongue to do good and be more productive. Do you agree also that actions speak louder than words? For example, I see more impact in your encouraging supporting the Al-Amanah charity here in Houston than simply giving a speach telling Muslims what we generally should do.

      The article seems to put you at a competition of words with the Anwar Al Awlaki. This is not , however, a competition that can be won with words alone. Al Awlaki is calling to specific wrong actions and we need to be calling to specific right actions. You also, understandably need support of Muslims coming together to conduct projects that implement the doing of good for the sake of Allah, with the added benefit of shedding Muslims in a good light, such as Al-Amaanah.

      All of this community action I would think is outside the scope of an academic scholar. So overall do you agree that we should focus creating more charity organizations and even for profit companies that encourage others to do good, as the Qur’an and sunnah define good (i.e. feeding of the poor, helping neighbors, etc.).

      Jazak’allh khier Shiek

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    • SZ

      I saw this article posted in Google news, so quickly ran through it before NY Times makes their online material inaccessible, but definitely getting the magazine this Sunday!

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    • Cognitive Dissonance

      Bismillah,
      Asalamu Alaikum,

      I appreciate your candidness in this article, may Allah bless & protect you and your family with the best in this life and the next.

      Just as your understanding has continually progressed since your days in Madinah U and you have looked at your long held beliefs critically, such as holocaust, jihad etc. I pray you also look at the Salafi/Wahabi movement and their doctrines with an equally critical eye. Perhaps in a moment of honest reflection you will realize that much of their theological/jurisprudential views are, in fact, outside the pale of normative Islam. It seems from this article that this process is already underway, and how could it not be? You are a smart, erudite individual, so making excuses for Salafi/Wahhabi doctrine is just intellectually unsustainable.

      Have you studied the actual historical evolution of Wahabi ideology, and what they did in terms of labeling other Muslims as kafir in the Arabian peninsula? How it was used by the political movement to give legitimacy for fighting and slaughtering Muslims to basically gain more land?

      Yes I know, many on this blog will say it was the Kuffar who came up with the term Wahhabi and Salafi to divide Muslims…But that just goes to show you how lightweight our Ummah is intellectually.

      Finally, though obviously I am not a fan of Salafism, I do appreciate MM and your openness to other perspectives. May Allah bless us all.

      Allah ma’ak,
      Dissonance

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      • Mehdi Sheikh

        Perhaps in a moment of honest reflection you will realize that much of their theological/jurisprudential views are, in fact, outside the pale of normative Islam. It seems from this article that this process is already underway, and how could it not be? You are a smart, erudite individual, so making excuses for Salafi/Wahhabi doctrine is just intellectually unsustainable.

        Thank You Br/Sis Cognitive Dissonance. It is wonderful to see people give proper recognition our Peer Sahib Yasir Qadhi, who has indeed seen that the way of this “Salafiyya” is a horrible and wrong way to approach Islaam. But don’t worry he has embraced the enlightened path of the eminent Shaykh, Al-Qutub ul Islaam Hamza Yusuf, and the great Mujaddid and Shaykh-al-Islaam Abdullah Bin Bayyah and others like them and soon he shall bring this new light to all his students and then there will be peace just as we had peace during the end times of Uthmaan (radiallahuanhu).

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      • Cognitive Dissonance

        Dear Brother Mehdi, your lack of adab and mocking other Muslims is what drove many people away from Salafi/Wahabi to begin with. No doubt many who read this blog are too young to remember the late 80’s early 90’s when Salafis like Mehdi were the norm, and the movement collapsed on itself, constantly looking for the next person to criticize who were not of the minhaj, ultimately turning on each other. I am saddened to read your comments Mehdi, and I pray for you dear brother, no doubt if we touch base in 10 years you would also have spiritually burned out like so many before you. Sunnat Allah…

        Were it not for Sh Yasir, Muhammad Al-Shareef and Maghrib, which I like to call Salafi 2.0, there would be no vestiges left of it. So yes, this is not your Salafiya Mehdi, by and large the ummah has been there done that and moved on.

        I have respect for Sh Yasir as a man with a good heart and I pray with pure intentions, he does not deserve anyone being disrespectful towards him. I do however very much disagree with his Muhammad Abdul Wahab aqidah, he was raised in it, he didnt select it after thoughtful deliberation(like many reading this blog), which was the point of my post.

        By the way, I am not a ‘sufi’, and quite frankly agree with some of the criticisms of it as well. I do believe Wahabism is not normative at all (read your history folks, you will be quite surprised to find out how it came to being, and what atrocities against Muslims it was responsible for as a logical end to its rigid aqidah). And here’s some irony for you….if the US didnt find oil and become the key friend & protector of KSA, and petrol dollars did not flow to fund Madinah U, countless free publications and institutes across the globe, there would be few salafis/wahabis world wide including whoever is reading this. So Uncle Sam is a key partner in Salafi dawa…cognitive dissonance, no?

        Peace & Salam to all my brothers and sisters, life is short so I pray Allah blesses us all with proper understanding and humility to always constantly learn and challenge our own beliefs because all we want is Allah to be happy with us…

        -A searcher who is happily searching….

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      • Siraaj

        History demonstrates that this is not true simply of Hanbalite ‘aqeedah via government, but the same is true of other more vs less dominant madhabs, the ‘ash’ari ‘aqeedah via nizamiyyah / universities, shi’ism, and others.

        Some will take solace in numbers (the majority of the world follows “our” ‘aqeedah) when it suits their end, and when something else spreads effectively, then it’s time to look at the bloody history of that group, and ignore the bloody history of all the other groups.

        I’d call all this one-sidedness a cognitive disservice.

        Siraaj

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      • Mehdi Sheikh

        So alhamdulillah we both agree that the article shows quite explicitly that our brother Yaasir is distancing himself from the Salafi Ideology.

        To you this is a good thing and to me this is a bad thing, and thus our respective points of view. Since I clearly see this is a bad thing, I am expected to see such abandonment and disavowal as something worthy of disrespect and you see it as something worthy of praise.

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      • Cognitive Dissonance

        @Mehdi, yes that is a fair summary,no one can disagree that Sh Yasir has ‘evolved’ in his thinking since KSA, he says that himself explicitly.

        @Siraaj, thank you for taking time to comment, I appreciate it.. You are obviously very intelligent so I must be misunderstanding you; the fact that many other ‘madhab/sects/movements’ had a bloody past makes the Wahhbis history ok?

        i) I brought up Wahabism because it is relevant to this article, and the vast majority are not aware of the sects history which I would assume you’d agree is important to know, as with any movement ii) Yes other sects killed, so that is not necessarily unique to the W’s, but Wahhabis as a puritanical sect is unique that it can only see the world as black and white and declared Muslims who didnt completely tow their line as kafir/mushrik (and thus made their blood halal). But putting killing aside (and there was much under W’s name), my main issue with this perspective is that it is just wrong. And W’s still do the same thing today, go to any Muslim country and see the Ahl-Hadeeth/W masjids and followers ‘enjoining the good/forbidding the evil’ on Muslims in matters where there is disagreement. This has been the biggest cause of strife in Muslim communities (even in the US) and I applaud Sh Yasir for trying to break from this with his pact with other scholars. iii) Of course I agree with you, more believers does not make something right. The point I was making is the irony that if not for petrol dollars (aided by the the ‘kuffar’) Wahhabism would have faded away like so many of the other backwater puritanical movements that implode on themselves. Some may think that W’s ascended because of the strength of their beliefs, but that is not the case (even though you might be surprised to know in some areas I think they have some good points), take away money and itd be a different story.

        Sh Yasir (and by extension all Maghrabis’) have already distanced themselves from Wahabism, to an extent that it appears he is approaching an entirely new interpretation. For me that is progress, for others like Mehdi that is abandoning the core beliefs. I am curious as a Muslim to see where this ends up. What will happen ultimately I do not know, Sh Yasir is a smart and pious man and I pray the best for him. It is quite an interesting position to be in.

        There is much cognitive dissonance for anyone who really studies this topic deeply, but alas most will never do so.

        btw, ‘Cognitive Disservice’..clever :-)

        May Allah bless us all…

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      • Siraaj

        @Cognitive Dissonance: Not at all, two wrongs don’t justify a right – in fact, where was I even talking about bloodshed in the groups I mentioned to justify another’s bloodshed…quite a deft strawman.

        No, what I said was simply in regards to the spreading of the ideology through petrol money, and not more than that. This is historically true of most, if not all groups that remain in vogue at present, so how does this de-legitimize the tenets and thought process in any way…? Isn’t that the point of your remark, after all? Furthermore, I reference “Hanbalite” ‘aqeedah, in that wording is a hint that the formation for this intellectual construct far pre-dates Abdul-Wahhab’s time and really renders what happened during his time irrelevant to the larger discussion, and if you give it some thought, it also makes what you’ve said about it irrelevant as well.

        Siraaj

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    • Muslim

      Asalamu Alaykum Shaykh,

      Thank you for the opportunity to take questions about the article.

      The article mentions several times the term “Salafi” or “Salafiyah” or “Wahabi”.

      Can you explain what these terms mean and represent? The discussion in the media these days is about “home grown” terrorism and Muslim youth being brainwashed by these types of movements, and some of them actually taking some type of illegal action because of it.

      Why is there a group in Islam called “Salafiyah”? What are the origins of this group and is it a group or groups? Is it traditional? Should a young kid growing up in America learn from people who call themselves “Salafiyah”? These are just a few questions that come to my mind that I think really need to be clarified, especially for young Muslims browsing the internet learning about their religion being exposed to these terms.

      I also feel the article stressed the term “Salafiyyah” or “Wahabi” very much, and attached you to this label, but then somehow said you are going away from this ideology. But like you said, a hundred hours of interviewing, with very few quotes didn’t leave one with a clear understanding of your thoughts. Or at least I didn’t feel it did.

      JazakAllah Khair for your time. May Allah SWT bless you are your family.

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      • The Critically Cognitive

        It has to do with debate over minute.
        Just stick to the basics and don’t get involved in that stuff.
        The basics = the meat of Islam
        Everything else is salt.

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  25. zk

    salam,

    i thought this was a great article and hope that mainstream Muslim leaders such as Yasir Qadhi continue to engage in the public sphere. hey, maybe you can go on the Colbert Report!
    Also, YQ, I appreciate that you openly discussed your personal growth over the years.

    one issue i had with the article was that it made it seem that all Al Maghrib students are hardcore salafis when alot of the students probably wouldn’t identify themselves as anything but Muslim.
    (not there’s anything wrong with being salafi) it just made us seem ‘monolithic.’ not sure if anyone else got that vibe?

    nevertheless, i will be emailing Andrea Eliott to thank her on this piece…once I find her contact info. The NYtimes website is being wonky right now.

    also, people that are commenting on his appearance? REALLY??!!!! i am more concerned that he drinks Starbucks when he really should be boycotting them for their support of Israel.
    /sarcasm

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  26. Zaynab b Mohamed

    Salaamu alaykum Sh.Yasir,

    Jazak Allah khayr for all of your efforts – your Aqeedah 101 course was my first exposure to any kind of rigorous Islamic education and it was a BIG transformational event in my life :) May Allah bless you.

    I have a question about the article: Shaykh Muhammad AlShareef has always been very clear that he doesn’t think we should put labels on ourselves because it does more harm than good – but this article focussed so heavily on the “Salafi” label. I was really concerned about this. Do you think reviving these labels is a healthy approach for our already fragmented community?

    If part of being a Muslim following the first 3 generation – why the need to differentiate?

    JazakAllah khayr again

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  27. anonymous

    This is a slippery slope and we realize from the Sunnah of the Messengers (wa salaamun alal mursaleen) and the scholars who came after them that speaking the truth will improve your relationship with Allah but might make the people turn away from you. Who is the intended audience?
    Dealing with media that is not supportive of our own cultural mores, we have to be careful. I was explaining to someone yesterday that its quite possible that you do your best but if you speak truthfully and bluntly, you’ll probably get harassed/arrested (look at our beloved Imam Siraj Wahhaj and the recent drama, they try to villify him). If your article is well received by non-muslims you know some Muslims are gonna call you a sell-out at least, revoke your MANHAJ PASS or start calling you a kafir at the other extreme, might refuse to pray next to you or behind you. At this time our interests are not always one with the people of our society and its difficult to juggle. I think that if we have the opportunity to use the media a) we should be prepared for the encounter to benefit the masses as truthfully and sincerely as possible inshaAllah b)and protect ourselves from ridicule/harassment/imprisonment.
    The situation gets progressively worse. Back in the 90’s we had so many dawah opportunities and we kept silent for fear of harassment. Then we know what 2001 brought (Patriot Act). Now our free speech can be criminalized to build our alleged profiles in a court of law and some juries may convict us because it will be safer for us to waste away in jail than be out on the street since we are accused of heinous plotting and we know many personalities that are dealing with that. You wanna criticize country X for bulldozing the house in that town, it will be used against you if you get arrested. Oh they dropped a non-nuclear bomb that has 5x the blast radius of what hit Hiroshima and Nagasaki on a muslim country, criticize and you might end up being labelled an anti-semite (don’t see the correlation, same here, but thats the game they play) .What do you think is going to happen by 2015? We may have less opportunities in their outlets. We need to kick up our dawah efforts fi sabilillah before we lose the right to speak completely. Either we get very professional in their media or invest in our own that lives up to their standard and put the dollars behind the effort. But dawah MUST be done before it is legally prohibited inshaAllah.

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  28. Ummi

    It was an interesting article that showed some complexity and depth. It makes for an opening, opens the ears of the audience. It is really hard to open oneself up to scrutiny of a reporter for so long, and not have control of the outcome – so commend Sheikh on his courage. It indirectly speaks well of his adab and reliability / stability of character mashaAllah that he was able to take this level of scrutiny and the reporter came away with a positive, nuanced view.

    Have to laugh about the brothers’ whole “weight” discussion, as I thought only women were so obsessed about looking fat, lol. Anyway, for what it is worth, I think the sheikh looks strong and healthy in his photo (he’s the dude on the left in the Poland photo, not the one with the cane), but we could all use more wisdom in what we eat and more promotion of healthy lifestyles and fitness. We should be more tolerant of all kinds of body types and physical challenges, and that is part of what our culture needs too.

    As far as shaking hands, I’ve read some of the fatawas permitting it in cases where there is no chance of desire, or where it might cause offense. So I am in no position to counter the scholarly judgement for those who accept that opinion. Not harshing on YQ.

    From experience, I’ve absent-mindedly shaken hands with men. I’ve also (as a single) brushed hands with a man and it definitely had an effect so I strictly try to avoid this, even if it may appear rude and even if culturally before Islam I would never have given it as second thought to shake hands. I’m only revealing how a single brush of hands between a man and woman can have strong physical effect (from both sides OR only one side) that can last for years, because fatwas sometimes come from a very intellectualized place — head only — and our human emotional/physical/feeling/heart experiences are so much more complex than that.

    I hope scholars will look more deeply into scientific research and practical applications regarding male-female physical interactions / body language research. This has become a highly developed field and is morphing into a whole subculture of flirtation techniques, reading personality, and persuasion / manipulation.

    There are techniques based on hand shaking that deserve further scrutiny — check out Erickson handshake hypnosis. A widely performed psychological tool one finds touted in the coaching / personal development industry. Anyone can google and learn it. Do you really want your muslim wife, sister, mother, daughter exposed to this technique by men she is meeting while she’s out and about in the workplace / mall / social gathering? Really?

    Body posture reading and manipulation is readily used in social settings. Apart from its uses in business settings, men are being coached on how to seduce and manipulate women (called the “target” “quarry” or “prey”) using all sorts of body posture-reading micro-techniques. Advice on how to flirt or size up a woman’s desire for you, or activate her desire, talks about literally 1 second of increased eye contact making a difference. Or judging woman’s desire by the size of her pupil dilation, or how she flicks or touches her hair (alhamdulillah for hijab). Or judging a woman’s degree of submission to you (thereby her femininity) by the quality of her handshake.

    Things like body contact through hand shaking and eye contact between males and females are incredibly potent and we should not underestimate their power no matter what culture or custom we try to accommodate. Especially in a culture where we necessarily have a lot of close-quarter interaction with members of the opposite sex.

    On the power of eye contact, in a scientific experiment complete strangers were asked to stare into each others’ eyes for 2 minutes without glancing away. After the two minute stare, both men and women reported having a feeling of connection with their partner and that they were somehow more attractive. In fact, after this test, two of the couples — complete strangers before the experiment — went on to get married.

    Our modest, dignified interactions between males and females are a beacon for others. Even if for now it makes us stand out, I think we should embrace the american sense of individualism and cultural wackiness embedded in our culture. Basically say, yeah we’re a little wierd we don’t shake hands or hold eye contact between genders. And kind of laugh it off. Eventually americans might say, hey they have something good going on there. Then we’re calling them to that, rather than vice versa.

    Off on a tangent there, but really wanted to put that out there.

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    • Bushra

      Jazakallahu khair. Really handy and some of the points you made are food for thought.

      I wouldn’t recommend hand-shaking if you find it has an effect on you. Better to avoid it then.

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      • Siraaj

        I wouldn’t recommend any sisters shake any men’s hands. I’ve read some of the same work the sister has, there are men actively training on how to seduce women in any setting, and of the techniques to “break the ice” is to start by initiating a handshake or holding her hand suddenly and then dropping it and looking away so that unconsciously it registers as a doorway to a person who is non-threatening and the idea of them touching you is “ok” and that this person is “ok”

        Think the barseesa slippery slope of desensitization, but intentionally done. btw, what’s being taught here is to men who are basically losers trying to score with the best looking women. It’s basically a worst case scenario, and if it can work with the ugliest of men on the best women, then what about when we raise the looks of the man and downgrade on the woman, the potency of such techniques are scary.

        Siraaj

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    • The Shardul of Allah

      I am neither a scholar, nor did I come here to advocate the fatwa of a certain website. However, there so many proofs against man shaking that hands of a non-mahram woman, I can’t fathom how there can be fiqh difference regarding this issue among the scholars. Reading following fatwa from Islam Q&A:

      http://islamqa.com/en/ref/21183/shaking%20hand

      I find the argument that says shaking hand between non-mahram men and women is OK as long as there is no fear of fitnah or bad thought in the heart to be hypocritical. Because can there be any person in this world whose heart can be purer than that of the Messenger of Allah? Yet the Messenger of Allah clearly said, “I do not shake hands with women.”

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  29. UmmZayn

    Jazaka Allahu Khayrane Shaykh Yasir for all your efforts and actions. May Allah reward you and reward your family, may He give you all goodness, blessings, peace, happiness and success in both this world and the next, and may He bring you all together again in Jannah al Firdaus, Ameen!!!

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  30. UmmZayn

    The thing that got me about the article was the CONSTANT use of the word Salafi in reference to AlMaghrib teachers, courses and students. I hate the throwing around of such buzz words, without any meaningful explanation of what it truly is

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  31. Someonenew

    Assalamualaikum
    I know the author of the article and think she did a job job as she often does addressing issues on Islam on the west. I encourage everyone to read more of her articles.

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  32. anon

    This is a slippery slope and we realize from the Sunnah of the Messengers (wa salaamun alal mursaleen) and the scholars who came after them that speaking the truth will improve your relationship with Allah but might make the people turn away from you. Who is the intended audience?
    Dealing with media that is not supportive of our own cultural mores, we have to be careful. I was explaining to someone yesterday that its quite possible that you do your best but if you speak truthfully and bluntly, you’ll probably get harassed/arrested (look at our beloved Imam Siraj Wahhaj and the recent drama, they try to villify him). If your article is well received by non-muslims you know some Muslims are gonna call you a sell-out at least, revoke your MANHAJ PASS or start calling you a kafir at the other extreme, might refuse to pray next to you or behind you. At this time our interests are not always one with the people of our society and its difficult to juggle. I think that if we have the opportunity to use the media a) we should be prepared for the encounter to benefit the masses as truthfully and sincerely as possible inshaAllah b)and protect ourselves from ridicule/harassment/imprisonment.
    The situation gets progressively worse. Back in the 90′s we had so many dawah opportunities and we kept silent for fear of harassment. Then we know what 2001 brought (Patriot Act). Now our free speech can be criminalized to build our alleged profiles in a court of law and some juries may convict us because it will be safer for us to waste away in jail than be out on the street since we are accused of heinous plotting and we know many personalities that are dealing with that. You wanna criticize country X for bulldozing the house in that town, it will be used against you if you get arrested. Oh they dropped a non-nuclear bomb that has 5x the blast radius of what hit Hiroshima and Nagasaki on a muslim country, criticize and you might end up being labelled an anti-semite (don’t see the correlation, same here, but thats the game they play) .What do you think is going to happen by 2015? We may have less opportunities in their outlets. We need to kick up our dawah efforts fi sabilillah before we lose the right to speak completely. Either we get very professional in their media or invest in our own that lives up to their standard and put the dollars behind the effort. But dawah MUST be done before it is legally prohibited inshaAllah.

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  33. Yus from the Nati

    Assalaamu’alaikum Shaikh,

    How was your view (if the question is not too personal) of the NYT piece? Did you feel in some parts were out of context or exaggerated?

    I felt as though the article gave the reader a huge question mark on top of your head. Kind of like “is he with us….or not really (re: America and Muslims)?” Maybe I misread or read into it too much, I kind of read it quickly.

    May Allah preserve you and continue to give you, and all of us courage and strength.

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  34. AsimG

    Asalaamu alaykum Shaykh,

    First off come to chicago soon insha’Allah. It’s been too long.

    Secondly, will the recent changes in the Middle East allow for more open discussions on Jihad as these protests/rebellions have so much American support?

    Do we support the fatawa of Shaykh Yusuf Qardawi on Qaddafi or do we stay silent and/or condemn as some have done in the Barlevi community?

    Finally, let’s talk straight about our frustrations with American foreign policy. Du’a is the weapon of the believer, check. Write a letter to your congressman, fine. Change yourself and then change others, alright.

    But how about something concrete? Even Hizbut Tahrir offers something while the salafi/”orthodox” makes a big deal out of just TALKING.

    You’ve now been pushed to the frontline and have national/international recognition. It is your responsibility to do something. Others have come before you and have sold out or focused on other issues. Please don’t make the same mistake.

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  35. Sara

    Assalamualaikum,

    I was a bit confused on some points in the article. There is a mention of the University of Madinah and it seems like it’s kind of shunned and branded as intolerant. I was wondering, Sheikh Yaser, if you actually thought this? I mean, what did you think of your experiences at the University?

    JazakAllahu Khayr

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  36. Naseeha

    Firstly

    “You will not enter Paradise until you believe, and you will not believe until you love one another. Shall I not tell you about something which, if you do it, you will love one another? Spread salaam amongst yourselves.”

    Secondly

    “The Muslim does not slander, curse, speak obscenely or speak rudely.” [Narrated by al-Tirmidhi]

    Thirdly

    We are also enjoined to guard our tongues. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said when he was advising Mu’aadh (may Allaah be pleased with him): “Restrain this,” i.e., your tongue. I said: O Messenger of Allaah, will we be called to account for what we say? He said: “May your mother be bereft of you, O Mu’aadh! Will people be thrown in Hell on their faces or their noses for anything other than the harvest of their tongues?” [Narrated by al-Tirmidhi]

    And Finally

    “Whoever has wronged his brother with regard to his honour or anything else, let him seek his forgiveness today, before there will be no dinar and no dirham, and if he has any good deeds to his credit they will be taken from him in a manner commensurate with the wrong he did, and if he has no good deeds, then some of his counterpart’s bad deeds will be taken and added to his burden.”

    [Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 2317]

    …..I will leave you to contemplate the Hadiths above

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  37. =D

    Look at all the little scholars here. Sheikh Google’s followers are abundant

    What ever happened to good manners? What happened to having a respectful discussion? What happened to agreeing to disagreeing?

    Let’s follow the example of the Prophet of Allah who spoke respectfully even with those people who disagreed with him.

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  38. Umm Aman

    bismillahirRahmanirRaheem
    assalamu alaikkum warahmathullahi wabarakathuhu
    On a friday, shouldn’t our focus be in doing salah, dhikr and good deeds than bad ?. Isn’t sheik yasir qadhi a muslim , a believer of tawheed , a learned man?. Did he ever say that he is always right?.
    We need scholars for us , for our children and future generation. don’t speak if u can’t speak good is the teaching of our beloved prophet (saw). Do not focus on one scholar and be blind behind him and if u dislike some of the actions of the scholar , do not turn your back and speak ill of him.

    May Allah,subhanata’ala guide us all and keep us on the right path. inshaAllah.ameen.

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  39. anonymous

    So are we gonna write thank-you messages to the author? She did attempt to thread a nice middle ground. Does anyone have her email address?

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    • Brother

      You should check out the comments on the article in the NY Times. You can guess at the venom and sheer hatred being spewed. The internet is such a thing that removes the barriers to reveal whats in one’s heart. May Allah protect us all from these fitnas.

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  40. MR

    Terrorism creates terrorism,

    So true. Goes both ways too. Muslim initiated terrorism and non-Muslim initiated terrorism. Wrong on all accounts.

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  41. Umar

    I have a few questions concerning the article and a few lessons:

     A. Why does y. Qadhi have 10,000 books? Are they for reference…10,000 is what somebody may just about get through in a lifetime.

    B. Could somebody clarify…y. Qadhi’s father felt as though he was being brainwashed in medina. Maybe it is a personal issue, but is there anything wrong with medina?…

    C. Why has Salafia/ the way of the salaf been described as fundamentalist Islam? We all know that fundamentalist has two meanings – to practice the fundamentals of something, and it has also has terrorist connotations. When Zakir Naik tried a play on words in London, he was banned from the country. How can one even be a Muslim if he doesn’t follow the fundementals of the religion? Fine I’m not going to make this a rant as to how the word fundementalist is being misused, but it is being misused!

    D. What inspired the nytimes to take such an in depth look into sh. Yasir Qadhi’s life? There have been many influential sheikhs in American history. Just why specifically Y. Qadhi at the moment… I’m just interested, because I’ve followed him and his work for a while and it’s become of national interest suddenly. InshaAllah people will be inspired to look up some of his videos and may benefit.

    E. People probably do want reasoned discussion on sensitive topics but why do they feel that Sh. Yasir Qadhi must be at the forefront of this? He specialises in aqeedah. Is it not enough for him to teach what he can to the best of his ability and leave other aspects to other specialist scholars?

    F. We can learn a few things from Y. Qadhi’s work ethic. Commitment pays off.

    G. If Y Qadhi knows the FBI have been after him, albeit in an attempt to work constuctively, how does he live peacefully knowing his every move is under so much scrutiny? I mean he would have to check and check again the wording of every google search. As Muslims we do live with the belief that our every actions are being recorded, but there is also the Hadith about if a man was to throw a stone at the eye of someone who was spying into his house, there is no blame on him. If there is that much emphasis on basic privacy, how can he live knowing that his computer IS being tracked, and perhaps his home bugged? I have nothing to hide regarding my internet activity, but I would naturally obviously feel quite uncomfortable knowing that some agent in some government office is watching, recording, and waiting to burst into my home at the slightest suspicion. What do you think?… I’m exaggerating, or a violation of the basic human right of privacy is being committed?

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  42. Agajucie

    Really interesting read. MashAllah our shaykh is quite the romantic :)

    I too had an issue with the author almost stereotyping and labelling a large population of American Muslim as “salafis.” I don’t think I’ve ever met 2 brothers/shaykhs who agree on absolutely everything. MashAllah the American Muslim population is so diverse. She could’ve at least broken down “salafis” into single S, double S (super salafi) and triple S (SUPER-super salafis)
    :)

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    • Jamal

      You people who love to critisize everything shoud stop “troubleshooting”, sheikh Yasir is not a computer! Try to see the wisdom behind the interview, and for once, try yourselves to do some good for the ummah for a change.

      May Allah preserve the sheikh and grant him jannat al-firdaus.

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  43. Olivia

    Asalaamu alaikum Shaykh Y.Q.,

    I read through the series and watched the videos, and I just wanted to personally thank you for taking the time to do this series and to tell you how much it means to me personally that you have put this out there in the open where it finally needs to be.

    You are right that for too long this topic as been kept on the D.L. and allowed to fester in the dark corners of people’s minds where there is no one else except Shaytaan to discuss it with. The conservative Muslim community in the U.S. and abroad needs to flesh this out. Preventing radicalization and militancy hinges on being able to have a frank discussion about jihad, otherwise under-the-table dialogue amongst the more disenchanted members of our community will prevail while the leaders, who our government is so keen to point out are not doing enough, are forced to censure themselves out of fear of cases being created against them because they are being aligned with very terrorists they are, in fact, denouncing.

    This discussion hits home for me very hard. I am a very empathetic and proactive person, and anyone who knows my other project, ScreamFree Muslims, knows that I truly want to better this community through my own talents, insha’Allah. At some point every day i feel the pain for Muslims who are suffering, whether its the victims of bombs or children in abusive households or victims of hate crimes in our very own country. Honestly, if you are a Muslim, it is very easy to look around and find pain and suffering and to feel like a victim amongst a greater ocean of victims. And that is a very dangerous and dark place to wallow away the time.

    But as an American Muslim I cannot ever subscribe to Awlaki’s view. He may be an American citizen, but I don’t think it was difficult for him to shrug off that identity and return to his familial roots in Yemen. Yet I am a Muslim who has family all over this country since the 1800s, ranging from atheists to Christian and from liberal to republican. I even have cousins in the war in Iraq, kids I played with at family reunions my entire life. I have another cousin who I still see and our children play together who is a paramedic and whose siblings are in the war, and every year we come together for our family reunion, and despite the climate and political views of some of family members, I am welcomed with open arms despite being a conservative Muslim. My own father was in the FBI and he cared and loved me as a Muslim and I recited and shared surah Fateha with the congregation at his funeral. Would the Prophet, peace be upon him, really tell me to kill them, these people who were so open-minded and rocked me in my very cradle? Does that even sound noble? Or logical? Who here is really bringing the people in this world to Islam, if that is in fact the goal?

    I understand the grievances and my heart breaks for my brothers and sisters over seas, but when innocent Americans die that could be my blood, my family. The Prophet, peace be upon him, always longed for mecca and loved his people, even though they were mushrikeen and he had to flee from them for his own safety. He hurt for them and longed for them and wanted the best for them. He even forgave the tyrants amongst them when he conquered Mecca, because he always hoped that some day they would change, and how many of them accepted Islam when he came to Mecca, including those who killed his own family and friends? Had he followed the hardcore ideology espoused by the militant strain amongst us, those people who have all been dead before accepting Islam. Mecca would have been burned to the ground. He had every “logical” reason to raid and burn Mecca for “retaliation” but his heart was full of Rahma and he had wisdom and foresight to know that Islam will never spread amongst a people who are dead or persecuted. These terrorists only have Mercy for their own people, they have narrowed something Allah has made vast. The American people are generally good people and should be given the chance to live and learn about Islam and perhaps choose it. I wonder if terrorists ever contemplate how many people they killed that may have been thinking about accepting Islam or were at least supporting the Muslims in this country and standing for Justice. I wonder how many allies of Islam, instead of enemies, were killed by terrorism. Heck, they could’ve even killed me at some point.

    There is no justice in killing innocents anywhere. Let’s stop living in a cave and think of something that actually works and may end this war and allow Islam to flourish in a positive way. Lately, I have been thinking that if all the known terrorists just turned themselves in, there would be an end to carnage both here and overseas and Muslims and non-Muslims everywhere would be a lot safer. No one can deny that every time a terrorist attack occurs, it only makes thing worse for Muslims everywhere and ends up in America dropping more bombs on innocents. I fail to see how these “martyrdom operations” even work on a military scale, seeing as they are so small as to affect any considerable damage to the opponent’s militia and result in more casualities for the very people they are supposed to be defending. It just doesn’t make sense strategically–or on any level whatsoever!

    So please turn yourselves in and give the logical, constructive ones amongst us a chance to make things better for everyone and actually teach the people about Islam. Or, since turning yourselves in is most likely something you wont do, I propose a change in tactics–how about overthrowing your own governments? The reason this whole war started is because of tyranical blood-sucking dictators in these countries. Even the Americans supported overthrowing Mubarak because of who and what he was, even though they have everything to lose if someone comes into power who breaks alliances with Israel. If Muslims overseas want this war to end and want a foreign policy change that protects Muslims, you need to meet Washington at Washington’s level. So how about overthrowing the tyrants and getting someone at the top in the Muslim countries who actually serves the people and seeks to protect them? Terrorism is not working, like really not working. Time to try something with some promise!

    I can’t believe i’m talking to terrorists…..

    Anyways! The Americans are my people and I have them and this nation in my heart, just like the Prophet did for Mecca and its inhabitants. He had their best interests at heart and mercy for them, as do I for my people. So at the end of it all if any militant Muslim shows up these shores trying to harm them, they’ll have to go through me first. And that’s because I’ll stand for justice, where and when I can, and I believe that justice is for everyone, not just Muslims.

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    • n

      Sister Olivia, I agree with everything you said – almost. Mash’allah I agree..killing random civilians in the name of islam is just plain insanity. Its like rage gone out of control.

      Having said that, we should know that alot of these tyrant governments that are in power in the Muslim nations are fully supported and backed by the western nations. They effectively keep the dawah from becoming too widespread in these countries. These countries are great places for western nations to send ppl to be tortured. Who backs the saudi regime? or most any regime in the middle east for that matter.

      Take Mubarak for example. the US would never say much about his rigged elections that he carried out for ages because Mubarak was a great ally in the Middle east. Remember, israeli interests ? So who cares if there was no ‘democracy’. Thats why the US was so confused about what to say in the beginning days of the egypt uprising. its like oh no what do we do/ we like mubarak cuz he’s our puppet and we also say we like democracy but we’d rather prefer the muslims to be downtrodden with no voice.

      In pakistan for example…there’s so much destabilization because the US interests there conflict with what the ppl really want. the ISI/military are on one side in general and you’ve got the puppet government backed by who? The west again sadly. CIA is all over pakistan doing covert operations. What are they doing there? They are there to serve their own interests, treat the natives of the land like sheep and dogs, and use drones on ppl because they’re poor and have no voice. who’se gona really do smething ? their cia dude kills pakistanis and they want him back! and when about a decade ago that happened by a paksitan intelligence guy, they wanted him to themselves too. Democracy is just a fad. america isn’t even a real democracy. its a republic.

      remember General zia? Who took him out?

      Its simple to say ‘hey muslims overseas..why don’t u go overthrow your own governments’. That to me says you’ve never travelled overseas and don’t know much about the nuance of life abroad in the muslim countries.

      American ppl are one thing, but the american governments tactics in the middle east have been horrendous.

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      • n

        leme tell u of an incident that happened with my friends brother, who is of egyptian origin but has an american passport. he was in egypt a few months back and some incident happened and basicaly an american fbi/cia guy at the location wanted him arrested so the eggyptian official took him away to make the american guy think he got ‘arrested’ and then aftewrads..told him ‘yalla go..’ y’ani he let him go.

        the muslims..the governemnts are puppets to the US.

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      • n

        bigger than the question of the muslim masses rising up agains their governments which are puppets..is the question of…why don’t the americans themselves rise up against their own government which has wreaked so much havoc all over the world in the name of ‘democracy’ for so long.

        just recently, a muslim lady was taken off a plain. How many americans are speaking out against these injustices that are being done to muslims? Muslim terrorist plots are few and far between compared to other groups so why the increased attention on the Muslims.

        Its to be expected that when u do dhulm to a group (overseas and within america) then within them, a few loonatics are gona loose it and do dumb things. I don’t agree with the loons, but i also don’t agree with the dhulm starters.

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      • Olivia

        I completely understand that the West is the one who supported people like Mubarak and other dictators but whose fault is that? Honestly, when I look at the Muslim world, I wonder how it has come down so low when Islam is such a great religion. And how was Mubarak taken down–by terrorists or by Egypt’s own people rising up and doing so? You’ve made my point for me. These leaders are in Washington’s pocket and they’re the one’s are sitting back and smoking a cigar while their own people are being killed. People need to take some risks and fight for their rights instead of hemming and hawing. If you take down the puppet, then America has no one’s strings to pull, and Egypt is proof that America is not going to interfere.

        It’s like Muslims in their own countries are in bed with the enemy and then trying to take kill the guy down the street who he’s friends with. Every time you take up, your enemy is still next to you and you never manage to kill the other guy any way. And it just happens over and over, like some really Hellish version of Groundhog’s Day.

        America is always going to be looking to protect it’s own interests, that’s a cold fact. I don’t always agree with its methods, when its stripped Muslims here of their rights and killed innocents abroad. I also don’t agree with America’s decision to drop the atomic bomb, and my grandfather served in the war and saw Hiroshima after it was blown up. The logic used by the U.S. was “In the end it saved the lives of American soldiers.” I always think that in war, a civilian’s life takes precedence over a soldier’s, regardless whose side their on. But Washington doesn’t agree with me, so you can only expect that Washington will be more than happy to secure dupes who will help them help themselves (at least neo-cons will feel that way).

        But you realize that the pivotal point here is not America, but the leaders who acquiesce? Muslim leaders are the ones who give the red or green light to America to do those things and to what extent. Look at Iran. I may have beef with Iran on a lot of things, but there is at least an example of a leader who isn’t going to be America’s doormat. Everyone may privately have their nukes pointed at each other, but at least you don’t get the impression that the Iranians will ever become fodder for America’s war on terror b.c. their leader has secured his own people’s interests and protection first. That’s what a leader’s job is. Unfortunately Muslim leaders have secured America’s interests and protection first so know one works to protect their people.

        Thus I believe that if Muslims abroad want an immediate and lasting change, they need to do what they need to do to put the right people in power. I’m not denying fault for America in its aggressive foreign policy, but I think the ultimate blame lies at the feet of the people who let it through the door. When the farmer’s tied a sheep to a stake and the wolf is prowling for food for its pack, who really killed the sheep–the wolf? or the farmer? both did, but the wolf’s actions were predictable and the wolf was never responsible for protecting the sheep. time to get a new farmer. if people don’t want a flood, close the floodgates.
        that’s easier said than done (taking down a leader) but if there was ever a time it’s now. people in many countries are revolting, so why aren’t these Muslim jihadis doing more to aid the resistance to these oppressive governments? personallly i think its because they need their countries to continue suffering in order to justify their jihad.

        it was mentioned about America rising up. its funny but i’ve caught wind of many americans discussing this very thing as regards the economic downturn and how the middle class is being destroyed right now and honestly thats why you have a movement like the tea party, which has a very rebellious attitude. but americans won’t be as fervent about a Muslim woman being taken off a plane bc to them that’s homeland security protecting them–that’s our fight, not their’s. we may feel the sting of that, but the average american believes its inconveniencing one person for the protection of the many. it is a slippery slope, no doubt, but this is a perfect example of America protecting its people and its own interests. as Muslims we may disagree with some tactics, but overall the spirit of protecting the homeland from threat is exactly what’s missing in Muslim countries. if the tables were turned, lets say in Pakistan, Pakistanis would not protest an American being taken off a plane if it was believed that action was protecting all the other Pakistanis on board.

        Also, Americans do protest these wars and their destruction. just a few weeks ago on the coast here in Cali I saw all these women in black on the street carrying signs about “Mother’s are suffering everywhere” and how all innocent life should be protected. but what do you want them to do, go throw stones at the white house? at the end of the day America is an organized country that protects the vast majority of its citizens, thus Muslims have immigrated here, so Americans aren’t going to do something to jeopardize that. Everyone wants their immediate world to be safe, thus Americans want America to be safe first and Yemenis want Yemen to be safe first and Pakistani’s want Pakistan to be safe first. So the question is, what are we doing to insure that Muslims everywhere can be safe? Are we working proactively using a successful method, or are we a bunch of victims using methods that are proven to be unsuccessful and insuring more victimhood?

        like Shaykh Yasir said Muslims in America have certain duties and Muslims overseas have certain duties to insure the well-being of this ummah, and results are measurable and from what i’ve seen 1) terrorism is a failure and 2) overthrowing rulers has had some significant success. as for Muslims in America, many of us have worked tirelessly to tell the people here about Islam and to debunk all the garbage pushed down the pipeline by neo-cons. because of Muslims in America you have Americans accepting Islam or at least not turning into a bunch of mindless “patriots” who will witch-hunt their Muslim neighbors. Most of America is still on the fence. definitely the fear of being a Muslim in America is not comparable to the fear of living in a country at war, so you are right that there are some things i will not be able to fully appreciate until i live it. but aside from those true victims of violence, i think our ummah has found a cozy place in victimhood lately. its time to stop equating our level of suffering with our level of nobility, and the current “jihad” is born of victimization. their agenda is based on being victims and their tactics create more victims everywhere, both Muslim and nonMuslim, to insure their battle never ends.

        personally, i think its time to be something else, and i find a great indicator from Allah in the people of Egypt. those are Muslims who stood up and said they wouldn’t be victims anymore and Allah facilitated the path for change for them. And I think the same goes for Muslims here in America. we are constantly in a victim mentality and secretly we love the validation that we feel when someone gets pulled off a plane. we love being victims because we believe its all we have and that isn’t true. yes we live in a country that has persecuted us, so what are we going to do? cry when we get pulled off a plane or keep our chin up? are our spirits that breakable? it’s time work in for Islam not only because of persecution but to take it a step further and work in spite of it. its not enough to just repulse persecution and stand up for our rights but to go beyond and be willing to interact with the American people and be a part of America so these people can really know Islam. lets be honest, most of us are just neutral. we just want to eat, live and pray and keep quiet and hope no one bothers us and that’s what the right wants. that just isn’t good enough. shaykh yasir says Muslims in America have everything to lose. honestly, i feel like i have nothing to lose, because what i hold most dear can never be lost and everything else is worth the risk. most of us won’t even smile and say hi to non-Muslims we walk past on the street –why? what are we afraid of? rejection? hostility? let’s think of what our Prophet (S) said when the Muslims were starving and they asked him to make dua, he told them that they were hasty, and that the people’s skin used to be separated from their bones just for saying “La ilaha illallah.” We are no where near that. We live in comfort and luxury, so why are we so scared and sulky? Why don’t we feel empowered by this situation and rise to the challenge of representing our faith to the people who have a right to hear the truth, even if means we have to make our own camp and stand alone, with the terrorists on one side and the neo-cons on the other? that’s what it has become and the world is watching.

        man, this is so why i dont do blogs. i hate getting sucked in =)

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      • n

        sister olivia, i think u made some very good points and i mostly agree.

        i think muslims themselves (the leaders in this case .. the sellouts) are the ones who shoot their own ppl in the foot.

        when the pakistani president many years ago was somone the US didnt like and cut off aid to, he said ‘to hell with u’ and thats the time pakistan worked to become a nuclear power.

        by the way if an american was taken off the plane in pakistanis..and pakistanis dont protest..that would make sense rite =) but in america..thats not the case..its americans of different color that are being taken off…not foreigners…or perhaps the real issue underlining the whole thing is that anyone wearing differet clothing and more specifically of a different color doesnt register as truly ‘american’ in their minds…Allah knows best.

        On another note, something is confusing….

        You said here:
        “personally, i think its time to be something else, and i find a great indicator from Allah in the people of Egypt. those are Muslims who stood up and said they wouldn’t be victims anymore and Allah facilitated the path for change for them. ”

        On the other hand,
        remember the sister who wrote an article about lessons learned from Egypt’s uprising..i believe u defended her actions..so on one hand, u feel the muslims overseas should come together n make a change like egyptains did..but on the other hand just wondering why did u feel her actions were justified..what if everyoe chickened out and ran away to protect their own family first? would they all be justified too?

        I’m not really asking this question cuz i want an answer..more so to point out the contradiction..something to ponder over.

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      • Olivia

        Thank you for pointing that out, I always like to know if I’m contradicting myself =)

        In my mentioning of overthrowing the govt. my point was directed those who are militant and who are looking to pick a fight and have the machinations to do so. why not rise up and bear arms to protect the common people to overthrow these autocrats? imagine if instead of plotting how to kill American civilians, they were out there on the front lines protecting the very women and children who had to flee.

        my main point with what i said in that other article was that we tend to use the sunnah very narrowly when it supports our cause. i felt bad for the sister because everyone was jumping on her case and trying to use the sunnah as an example to blame her for leaving. i didn’t really feel so passionate about the subject at hand as much as it was that i wanted to point out to the importance of examining things in detail and in context rather than being so broad. i think there was support in the example of the Prophet and his community for both staying and leaving during Egypt’s revolution and everyone individual’s case should be examined.

        in the end, i just ask Allah to guide us to whatever is best and can bring an end to all this destruction. maybe i’m wrong and continued revolutions will only cause more problems. these are only my thoughts on the matter of how the Muslim world can move forward with the means to demand a more balanced foreign policy (through better leaders). Allah knows best.

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  44. Muhib Rahman

    Sheikh Yasir Qadhi is a SUPERB Muslim leader. May Allah protect him and continue to bless others through his teachings.

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  45. Zamzam Bayan

    Muslims should keep emphasizing that Islam tolerates other view points, religions…etc; it is the religion of peace. However, it has non-negotiable principles, just like any other beliefs.
    Zamzam

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  46. Concerned

    Edit: Comment is not relevant to the article – I’ve removed all discussion related to weight-training and most related to handshaking because it’s not the focus of the article.

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    • Muslim

      Asalamu Alaykum Concerned,

      I don’t think MM should have taken down your comment, if they did. It actually is related somehow to the discussion about the article as the NY Times articles mentioned the incident about hand shaking.

      However, it is strange how many people on this blog are infatuated with the situation of the hand shaking. The article discussed things such as Jihad, Islamic movements, border harassment issues, etc. For some reason, about 25% (rough estimate) of the comments left on this blog are about the hand shaking.

      People are dying in Tokyo because of an amazingly powerful earthquake, radiation is leaking there, the Libyan people have been attacked by their own leader and now the country is being bombed by several different nations, we have a serious problem in the US with people hating Muslims, the Shaykh is being harassed whenever he flies anywhere, crime and poverty are increasing all over the US on a daily basis, and about 1/4 of the people on this blog are concerned with the hand shaking.

      I think we a have a serious problem with the way we prioritize things in our discussions. Wisdom needs to be used. Not EVERYTHING can be solved at once and at the same time.

      Can Muslims shake hands with people from the opposite sex who are not considered their relatives in Islam – no. Most of the scholars in the world, the majority of them will tell you “no”. But why in the world is everyone so focused on this issue? We don’t have to discuss everything.

      If a husband and a wife debated and argued every single little problem they had with each other, their relationship would crumble for lack of wisdom and patience.

      Many Orthodox Jews that I work with carry things in both of their hands to avoid having to shake hands of the opposite sex. And if they don’t want to, they kindly look down and say I’m sorry, I can’t. And most people accept that, especially when they see a beard and a religious hat on their head. And some of them shake hands. Same thing with Muslims. Some do, some don’t. Does it make a difference at this point??

      Alcohol was not prohibited to the first Islamic community until after they went through several years of training with the Prophet, Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him. There was a wisdom in that.

      Can’t we apply the same wisdom in this case?

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      • Concerned

        Walaykum salam wa rahmatullah,

        Jazak Allah khayr, I appreciate your points. May Allah bless you and your family.

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  47. Mohamad

    Assalamu Alaikom wa Rahmatuh Allahi wa Barakatuh,

    Call me a conspiracy theorist, but now after popularizing the “Wahabi” label and brainwashing everyone to believe that “Wahabis” are bad and wrong, our enemies are moving on the term Salafi. There is no such thing as someone who calls themself a Wahabi. A “Wahabi” in REALITY is just someone whose Islam was taught to him in Saudi Arabia, and carries Saudi taught influence in his deen. There is nothing wrong with that, as long as one has the proper aqeedah, there is nothing wrong if we carry certain opinions. Muslims are diverse, so you have to expect the more conservative and more liberal. Remember that who strives and makes a mistake is rewarded once, and if he is correct he gets rewarded twice! Now what the media did is make these people look like extreme fundamentalists. I personally believe it is because the “wahabis” hold strictly on to their deen, and our enemies do not like someone who is so steadfast. In addition Saudi Arabia is the closest thing we have to an islamic country, so instead of outcasting it shouldn’t we be proud of it and make duaa that it improves? Sadly we constantly do the opposite, slowly disliking the country more and more, focusing on their mistakes, starting a “their islam and our islam” attitude. This is EXACTLY what our enemies want. Whenever we speak we must be just, so before you criticize someone, make sure you point out their positive aspects. By Allah this only leads to more love between us.

    So now they are moving on to Salafis, since they have already tarnished the image of our conservative brothers from Saudi, who are upon the proper aqeedah. Now their goal is to label a much larger group and tarnish their image. Why? Because again, they are upon the right aqeedah. Even though I disagree with CALLING myself salafi, I do follow their approach to islam, which always has been the right approach. And here is the problem: Their approach is correct, and most practicing muslims naturally follow that approach, but they don’t call themselves salafi. So what happens is that after tarnishing the image of the salafis, next, anyone who is salafi by mere belief and action will also be labelled whether he likes it or not. Remember, being “salafi” only means to follow the approach of the righteous salaf. That means proper aqeedah, using the saheeh sources, proper rulings concerning issues that do not change with time, and ijtihad and wisdom when dealing with issues that require ijtihad! Doesn’t this sound like proper Islam?

    In summary, slowly our enemies are trying to make people move away from proper islam using labels and focusing on mistakes of individuals. At the same time they promote watered-down versions of islam (e.g. sufism). Wallahi our enemies have been against orthodox islam from day one, so what’s new today?

    This poor slave of Allah is only speaking from his experience and his own ijtihad concerning the way events are unfolding.

    To sheikh Yasir:

    I love you for the sake of Allah. I ask Allah to reward you for all the countless good you have done for the Ummah, that which we know that which we are not aware of. I remind myself first, anyone reading this, and you to purify your intention, since it is one of the greatest struggles we go through. I remind myself first and you to constantly doubt if you are correct in certain opinions, since this will keep us humble. Remember it is not wrong to say ‘I was wrong’ or ‘I’ve changed my views concerning..’. May Allah put Barakah in you and your and family and your efforts.

    I just have one request. I hope that you could shed light on this whole labeling business. Please comment on the topic I’ve touched upon because I believe it is important to talk about the elephant in the room. I am sick of unwarranted labels and using them to automatically discredit someone. Please comment in an article in the future or have a talk on this.

    Jazakum Allah Khair

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  48. Sohaib ibn Waqqas

    What is Shaykh Yasir’s opinion of Shi’ite Muslims? The article says he has accepted Sufis as being correct Muslims. What about Shi’ites? Has he said anything about them?

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  49. 'Uthmaan

    As-salaamu ‘alaykum Sh. Yasir,

    I appreciate that you’ve been inundated with questions and comments already but I’d also like clarification on some issues. I think the answers to these questions are quite important.

    – Could you clarify your position on men and women shaking hands?
    – Do you still believe that democratic rule is kufr and hence incompatible with Islam? Perhaps this is one of those topics which requires a whole article to itself (or perhaps not). Either way, an answer, however brief, would be appreciated.

    Barakallahu feek.

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  50. n

    I think we as a community should make dua for our leaders if we don’t already. for their sincerity, safety, guidance.

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  51. moeed

    salam

    Sh. Yasir, do you think a better and perhaps more cautious (but perhaps not as accurate) argument could have been used in lieu of your contention that offensive jihad is inconceivable today because of the lack of a Muslim state and/or khalifa.

    I am reminded of Sherman Jackson’s argument vis a vis the Syed Qutb idea of jahiliyya; as you probably know, Jackson argues that the assumptions undergirding inter-state relations in the modern world have shifted from assumed hostility between mutually antagonistic tribes (the premodern) to one of assumed, contractual peace between nation-states (the modern). For Jackson the notion of offensive military action is out of place in the modern world because the factors influencing that particular decision, as well as the material and intellectual conditions that make offensives explicable, were based on what are now outdated assumptions (inter-tribal hostility). And once those assumptions change, the doctrine must be reformulated. That is his argument in a nutshell.

    Now I wonder if that argument might have come off better than to point to the lack of a khalifa to declare an offensive. However, I understand you may not have used this argument because, perhaps, it is not as legally sound as the khalifa argument (which is why I hedged and mentioned above that I am not sure about the accuracy of Jackson’s argument).

    I only say this because I think the lack of a khalifa argument begs a very obvious question. And from a PR standpoint, which is I think part of the intention of the article (and I do think PR is a noble cause, but of course not the only cause for American Muslims) the open-endedness of the khalifa argument seems to raise too many questions and, unfortunately, provides more fodder for right-wing lunatics.

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  52. Ilmsummitter

    It’s really kind of sad that after a year and a half of reporting with the cooperation by the sheykh and the students at the various retreats and classes resulted in an article that I really feel is just contributing to strengthening the negative image of American Muslims and reaffirming the beliefs of all those people who called for and supported King’s Hearings.

    It makes it seem like the majority of American Muslims especially youth are just confused ticking time bombs who are desperately searching for a way to channel their anger. This is not what the majority is preoccupied with..we have goals within our communities and personally on a spiritual level. It focused so much on the average Muslim’s uncertainty that obviously it will just increase the American society’s suspicions of the Muslim community.

    I pray that Allah (SWT) rewards Sh. Yasir Qadhi for his intentions and sacrifices he made in efforts to help ease the hardships faced by Muslims in America. May Allah strengthen him and guide him in all his affairs. Ameen.

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  53. waleed ahmed

    Asalam o alaykum Sh. Yasir,

    I just wanted to thank you for incredible work you are doing in the community. I can appreciate the thin line you are treading and what you have put on stake to speak up; may Allah protect you and your family and grant you success.

    Waleed

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  54. anon

    Has anyone read the comments to the article on the nytimes.com site??

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  55. Student Of Knowledge

    Assalam Alikum brothers and sisters.

    I am only posting my comment here in hopes that it is sincere advice for my brothers and sisters and I ask Allah to make it sincere for His sake alone. I realize that some of the things that I will say might not please everyone especially those who might have little knowledge and tend to react emotionally. My intention is to please Allah so I will state what I see to be the truth without sugarcoating it, all while maintaining proper manners because I am not here to throw insults.

    Many of the comments seem to be missing the big picture here. Of course, all the issues brought up from shaking hands with women to staying healthy are important and should be addressed in light of Quran and Sunnah but all these issues are in reality symptoms when we look at the big picture. What is more important is to look at the basic principles by which rulings are derived. The first thing that a person learns in Islam when he goes to study under the scholars are the Usool or basic principles in each field (fiqh, tafsir, aqidah, hadith, etc.) based on which one is supposed to derive the rulings and assess different issues.

    When the scholars look at a person to determine if he is from Ahlussunnah or not, they don’t look at what opinions or views he holds in every single matter and decide if he is deviant or not, but rather they look at his basic principles or Usool which the man uses in deriving his opinions and rulings which he holds. One thing that I have learned over the years from what several scholars have mentioned is that when a person has a lot of mistakes or wrong fatwas, it is indicative of a deeper flaw in his basic principles of how he understands Islam and his approach to the Quran and Sunnah.

    Hence most of the issues that were brought up in some comments above are merely symptoms or a result of a deeper issue in the basic principles of Islam.

    The article does not do a good job regarding the way it presented Salafiyyah. First off, there is only one Salfiyyah. Those extremist groups that use violence and kill civilians are not Salafis, they are Takfiris and are closer to the Khawarij than to Salafiyyah. The main contemporary Salafi scholars all reject and refute these extreme groups and what they do which is not really Jihad. Yes Jihad is a part of Islam and one of the basic principles that we believe in but it has certain guidelines and important rulings which our scholars have set in place based on Quran and Sunnah. Those who try to eliminate the concept of Jihad or try to water it down by misinterpreting it to mean something else are one extreme, an the other extreme are those. When none of the prominent scholars in the West are offering the correct middle path of understanding Islam in general and more specifically sensitive topics like Jihad, and they only offer a watered down version of Islam then this is what turns some people to go to the other extreme.

    I know there is a lot of pressure on our scholars here in the West especially because law officials do not understand anything about Islam and think that anyone who mentions the concept of Jihad is automatically and extremist and terrorist. So the scholars stop talking about Jihad and do not explain its proper concept to the Muslims and what is the correct Jihad in Islam and what is wrong, so people end up taking their understanding of Jihad either from one extreme of watered down “Jihad means peace” or from the other extreme of no guidelines “Jihad means bombs”. Yes there is a lot of pressure on the scholars just like there is pressure on the average Muslim in this country, but we have to state the truth without fear from the people. Allah tells Muhammad sallallahu alayhi wasallam in the Quran to convey what has been revealed to him and Allah will protect him from the people. We have to do the same and convey the true message of Islam and Allah will protect us from the people. If we present the true message then people would be more likely to accept it anyway.

    Going back to Sh Qadhi’s principles, several issues come up. Why do some of the Almaghrib Sheikhs have a problem with calling themselves Salafis and are against the term? They go against the Salafi scholars from Albani to Ibn Taymiyyah with this view of being against Salafiyyah. This is again indicative of something deeper which is apparent in their approach towards the deviant sects and the people of innovation. They have no concept of how to deal with deviant groups and innovators and that is something apparent in their followers who don’t mind taking knowledge from every random person out there from the Sufi to the Ikhwani to the Ash’ari. A Salafi is one who follows the Quran and Sunnah the way it was understood and practiced by the Salaf. I ask where are you from the statements of the Salaf and their stance towards the people of innovation and the deviant sects? Qaradawi for example who has very deviated principles and has been refuted by most if not all of our contemporary Salafi scholars, yet you still have some of the Almaghrib people who consider him to be a credible scholar and take knowledge from him. For anyone who claims to follow the Salaf, was this how the Salaf dealt with deviant sects and individuals? The answer is clear that no this was not the way of the Salaf, but the issue is that this basic principle is not something that is understood by many including Sh Qadhi and some of the Almaghrib people and students.

    Another issue which is clear is the contradictions that are in Sh Qadhi’s views, and that is because his basic principles are not sound. Just to give one example, on one hand he supported what was happening against Mubarak in Egypt, but on the other hand he signed up for a class with Blair. What happened to speaking an word of truth to an oppressive ruler? Or does that only apply to Mubarak and other rulers in the Middle East ? I doubt that any words of truth were spoken in that class with Blair, and no objecting to the war in the presence of Blair all while calling him with the titles like ‘Mr’ does not count as a word of truth. I wonder if Yale gets Mubarak to give a class if Sh Qadhi would sign up for it.

    This brings up another important issue. Did Sh Qadhi’s studies at Yale influence his beliefs and views in Islam? I think everyone agrees that he changed from when he graduated from Medina and what his views are now. Which views are more likely to be based on the teachings of our Muslim scholars, and which of his views were influenced by his teachers at Yale such as Blair? I can’t help but wonder.

    Sh Qadhi has put himself in a very tight spot here. If he declares that what the scholars have taught him in Medina are wrong, then he has discredit the institution where he got his degree from and thus loses any credibility to teach the Muslims and talk about Islam. If he declares that what he learned in Medina was right then he has proved himself to be wrong now because it is clear that he isn’t abiding by those principles. So far he hasn’t stated anything and I can see why.

    Some might say that his Aqidah is still sound and correct which is what is important, and that is true to an extent. Yes it is good that he preaches Tawhid and calls against Shirk, and that is one of the main things that I personally hold to be a virtue for him. But what about the other aspects such as being too lenient with the deviant sects like Sufis and Ash’aris. This ‘pact of coperation’ was not signed by any of the well known Salafi scholars. Was this from the guidance of the Salaf to sign pacts with the innovators that you will stop talking against them and warning the people from them? Do those who ascribe themselves to the Salaf read their statements and see their view regarding how to deal with innovators?

    One thing that I would like to see is how would the Sh Qadhi of today address the issues and views which the Sh Qadhi of the past used to hold, whether it is about voting and democracy or if it is about uniting with people of innovation. This gradual change in his views brings up the question ‘until when?’ Is he turning into the Qardawi of the West? This seems to be the current direction in which he is heading. Hudhaifa (r.a.) had a point when he said take your knowledge from those who have passed away because the living (scholars) are not safe from fitna.

    What about his followers? Those who are his students or followers are finding themselves to be in a tight spot now with his views changing so drastically. Do they stick to their Sheikh and support him no matter what he says or where he goes? Or do they stick to the truth? It is hard when you are emotionally attached to a Sheikh especially if you might have learned a lot from him during your early days when you first started learning more about Islam.

    I’m not questioning Sh Qadhi’s intentions, because this is something that he will have to deal with on the Day of Judgment and I will deal with mine, but it also doesn’t matter what his intention is when what he says or does is not in accordance with the Quran and Sunnah. As Ibn Mas’ud (r.a.) said, how many are those who seek good but do not achieve it. Many people in the world are very sincere but they might be disbelievers who are doing shirk and worshiping false gods. Their sincerity will not save them on the Day of Judgment because their actions were falsehood. So my point is that I am not accusing Sh Qadhi of having a corrupt intention and I honestly hope that his intention is sincere as well as I do for all the Muslims, but what I am questioning here are his views and statements.

    There is much to be mentioned and I think it is crucial to go into specifics when it comes to addressing the basic Usool which might be wrong and thus cause such views and opinions.

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    • Mehdi Sheikh

      May Allaah Bless you, forgive your shortcomings and increase you in knowledge and goodness and keep you and your family safe from the harms of Shaytaan and the people. Ameen.

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    • Hassan

      What about his followers? Those who are his students or followers are finding themselves to be in a tight spot now with his views changing so drastically. Do they stick to their Sheikh and support him no matter what he says or where he goes? Or do they stick to the truth? It is hard when you are emotionally attached to a Sheikh especially if you might have learned a lot from him during your early days when you first started learning more about Islam.

      There is no doubt he has changed. And I know one of his follower/friend has changed similarly. I am sure both changed with good intentions. They think what they are following is better what they were upon. I just have problem with them being condescending and looking down upon people who did not change. They are ridiculed as cultish , narrow minded and sometimes plain stupid. They have more tolerance towards a grave worshiper than the person with sound aqeedah, just because he/she does not want to get on the bandwagon of ikhwanism.

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      • Student Of Knowledge

        May Allaah Bless you, forgive your shortcomings and increase you in knowledge and goodness and keep you and your family safe from the harms of Shaytaan and the people. Ameen.

        BaarakAllahu fik for your kind words my brother.

        They have more tolerance towards a grave worshiper than the person with sound aqeedah, just because he/she does not want to get on the bandwagon of ikhwanism.

        SubhanAllah this reminded me of the statement of the Messenger of Allah alayhissalam which describes the khawaarij that they ‘kill the people of Islam, and leave alone the people of awthaan (idols)’

        No that doesn’t mean randomly killing idol worshipers is permissible in Islam, but as the Messenger said the khawaarij kill the Muslims who are closer to the truth while they leave those who are worshiping idols. And this is even true today as research has shown that the majority of Al-Qaeda’s victims are in fact Muslims! I believe the number was more than 90% of their victims are Muslims! This jihad of theirs is in the way of the devil not in the way of Allah!

        I am not equating the two so no one accuses me of accusing those whom brother Hassan mentioned to be khawaarij but I just thought that this degree of similarity was interesting to note!

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      • Mansoor Ansari

        If we are going label AlQaeda as khawarij as most of the ppl they kill r muslims, the sad part is that is true for all Muslim govts too. They have killed mostly Muslims to stay in power & in some cases it’s only Muslims they have killed while shown more love for the kuffar.

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      • Student Of Knowledge

        If we are going label AlQaeda as khawarij as most of the ppl they kill r muslims, the sad part is that is true for all Muslim govts too. They have killed mostly Muslims to stay in power & in some cases it’s only Muslims they have killed while shown more love for the kuffar.

        Brother Mansoor, I never said that because Al-Qaeda kill muslims then this makes them khawaarij!

        I guess it is my mistake that I assumed people know who the khawaarij were and what differentiates them from Ahlussunnah and what basic ideologies the khawaarij had which were wrong. Simply killing a muslim does not make one from the khawaarij. They have their own deviant ideology which I urge you to learn more about.

        I simply said that Al-Qaeda exhibits some of the traits of the khawaarij as the Prophet described them that they kill the people of Islam and leave alone the idol worshipers.

        Your claim that all muslim governments are killing muslims too is not accurate nor does it do others justice. The governments are not perfect and I am not here to defend them, but your claim isn’t valid either.

        Besides, even if we hypothetically say that a muslim govt/ruler has killed a lot of muslims, as horrible as that is but that does not make them from the khawaarij because those who are ruling are not termed khawaarij because the khawaarij go out against those who are ruling and fight them, hence the name khawaarij which means to go out.

        Again I would advise you to learn more about who the khawaarij were and what are their ideologies so you are aware why they are a deviant sect.

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    • A. Muhammad

      Nicely put.

      Unfortunately, whether it be the handshaking, the pact signing, J-wording, bringing new interpretations of the definition of a beard, creating vague ideas for a Muslim community (based on pre-Hijri events instead of post-Hijrah), refusing to consider any scholar who does not live on American soil, or calling himself a Salafi while in Yale to the Washington Post but now disavowing himself of the title, the Muslim community is at a loss of what to say when they see these sensationalist and controversial stances that have slowly been coming out, almost on a quarterly basis. They see and appreciate his books, his seminars, and his online initiatives, but are confused as to why the stance has recently become a tad bit more rebellious (similar to the Romantics that came right out of the Neo-Classicist Movement).

      Sh. Yasir has been of great benefit, and I pray that Allah gives him and all of us the correct understanding of the Deen. Ameen.

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  56. Usman

    Talking about Shaking hands while there is jihad in Libiya? Talking about shaking hands while the people of Pakistan are still in need of help of re-building after the floods months ago? Talking about shaking hands while the human beings in Japan are in need of help?

    All those who take suck hard stances, you are displaying the characteristics of kharijites. May Allah guide us all.

    Seriously, do you all know that this site is public? No wonder the image of Muslims has been allowed to be degraded by Allah, just look at our manners. Astaghfurallah! Have the majority of us lost our manners in how to even discuss an issue, even if we do disagree?

    I go to the Al Maghrib classes so that I can help others and implement the knowledge I gain. It seems that the majority of those commenting study fiqh just to put others down. There is a problem of focusing on fiqh when you do not have your basic Islamic manners down. We need to act before we learn advanced topics. Implement the basic knowledge first. This was the way of learning of the companions, it was not jumping into intense study sessions, which unfortunately is the model of Al Maghrib…We should, however, learn to take the good and avoid the bad in such things…

    I disassociate myself from the “Salfis” and Kahrijites on this forum. I am a Muslim; I believe in La Illaha IlAllah Muhummadur rasulallah. The prophet (SAW) did not refer to himself as a Salafi, so why do some of you? (bida?)

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    • Student Of Knowledge

      I disassociate myself from the “Salfis” and Kahrijites on this forum. I am a Muslim; I believe in La Illaha IlAllah Muhummadur rasulallah. The prophet (SAW) did not refer to himself as a Salafi, so why do some of you? (bida?)

      As a matter of fact, the Prophet alayhissalam did mention the word salaf in an authentic narration in Bukhari & Muslim and he told his daughter fatima (r.a) that he is her salaf!

      Let me ask you this brother, don’t you call yourself ‘sunni’ as in not a shi’a? If yes, then your same rationale is used for the simple term salafi to differentiate yourself from the deviant sects such as sufis and ash’aris among others. If not, then how do you differentiate yourself from the shi’a? Or do you not consider yourself any different from the shi’a?

      Ibn Taymiyyah (rahimahullah) have said: “There is no criticism for the one who proclaims the madh’hab of the Salaf, who attaches himself to it and refers to it. Rather, it is obligatory to accept that from him by unanimous agreement because the way of the Salaf is nothing but the truth.”

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      • Zeemar

        Your right following the salafi aqeedah is mandatory but it is NOT obligatory to call oneself by it, if one chooses not to and that is what the brother is referring to. I follow the aqeedah of the salaf to the best of my ability but I do not generally call myself salafi especially when more harm is going to come out of it than good.

        I agree with the brother before you that there is way too much picking on that goes on and more important issues are ignored. We need to realize that we are living as Muslim minorities in the west and that there may need to be certain level of compromise that needs to be made in order for the greater good to take place. I’ve taken classes with Al-Maghrib instructors and they do criticize the deviant sects within their classrooms and their beliefs. But at the same time they are willing to work with them for the greater good for the Muslims in the west on things we both mutually agree upon. The scholars of the past were living in Muslim lands and commenting on behalf of that context and it does more harm than good to apply those same concepts today in our society given our circumstances in the west. This is why I totally agree with Yasir Qadhi that we should not get advice from scholars in the east regarding cultural issues because they simply don’t understand our circumstances. We need to stop thinking of the salafi scholars in the east as superhumans who cannot err. We love them and respect them but at the same time we need to understand that there are cetain things that they are not going to be able to understand due to their lack of exposure to it.

        I often find some over zealous salafis criticizing certain shyukh in the west and calling people to follow certain scholars in the east. But little do they know that same shaykh in the west is good friends with that shaykh in the east! They may disagree on issues but at the end of the day they do respect each other. Never do they call their students to shun the other. You usually here the “shunning” from some unqualified youth in the west who can’t even speak Arabic and have never met the shaykhs in the east.

        Just my two cents.

        And Allah Alone Knows Best.

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      • Student Of Knowledge

        Brother Zeemar, our brother said that he disassociated himself from salafis and called it to be a bid’a that is the context of my reply. I never said it was an obligation on you to call yourself salafi as long as you follow the salaf then that is more important.

        However, I do have a question for you. If I ask you what your religion is, you would say that you are a muslim. If I say oh you are a muslim, are you a shi’a? You would say no I am a sunni! Why do you say that? In order to differentiate yourself from the shi’a. I am sure that almost all sunnis don’t have a problem with the term ‘sunni’ or with using it to refer to themselves in order to clearly identify what path they follow within Islam.

        So if I ask you if you are a shi’a, you would likely say no you are a sunni. Now what if I say oh so you are a sunni, are you a sufi? What would you say you are then? If you say no you are just a muslim, I would ask oh you are an ash’ari? If you say no you are just a muslim. I would ask are you a … as you see the list can go on until I have listed all the deviant sects that exist in Islam. So to me, just like if some one asks if I am a shi’a, I say no I am a sunni (in order to differentiate myself from the deviant sect). Similarly I say I am a salafi in order to differentiate myself from the deviant sects who claim to be sunnis and so that I make it clear that I am following the path of the Salaf. But I would be curious as to how do you differentiate yourself from all the deviant sects?

        We need to realize that we are living as Muslim minorities in the west and that there may need to be certain level of compromise that needs to be made in order for the greater good to take place.

        Coming to this point which I believe is very important. You say brother that to live as muslim minorities in the west we have to make compromises. This basic principle of refuting those who are deviant and warning against them is not something that we are allowed to compromise.

        The scholars of Islam are all agreed that whoever is not able to establish his religion properly in a non-muslim country then it becomes obligatory upon him to make hijrah to a place where he is able to properly establish his religion and practice its basic principles. So this argument that because we are in the west then we have to compromise and allow such deviants to destroy the pure message of our faith, then I am sorry brother but this does not hold valid at all. We either say we are able to establish Islam here in the west just as good as we would be able to in a muslim country and thus we would be allowed to stay and live here without having to make hijrah, or we say we are not allowed to establish all of the basic principles of our religion and thus hijrah becomes an obligation upon us. All those who say that hijrah is not obligatory and that we can live in non-muslim countries use the argument that we are allowed to establish our religion and its basic principles here. So even if we would accept that argument, we can not turn around and negate it by saying we have to compromise certain aspects because we are a minority here in the west! And this basic concept of how to deal with the deviant sects is one of the basic principles of Islam and is not something which we can compromise.

        I’ve taken classes with Al-Maghrib instructors and they do criticize the deviant sects within their classrooms and their beliefs.

        Brother I ask you who attends the Al-Maghrib classes besides their students? It is not enough to refute the deviant sects inside the class when then you turn around and join them and their key individuals in this country when you are outside of class. Don’t you see that being contradictory? If the general muslims who do not attend Al-Maghrib classes never hear the shaykhs warning from those deviant sects and individuals in public, then when do people know the truth?

        A man told Imam Ahmad (r.a.) that he finds it hard upon himself to criticize those who are not trustworthy. So Imam Ahmad said to him if you remain silent and I remain silent then when would those who are ignorant learn who is trustworthy and who is not. Many muslims do not know which people are trustworthy and who aren’t so they end up taking their knowledge about their basic beliefs in Islam from random people including those who are deviant. If we don’t speak up and warn the rest of the muslims about those deviant sects then when would they learn the truth?

        But at the same time they are willing to work with them for the greater good for the Muslims in the west on things we both mutually agree upon.

        No one is saying don’t do any work with them at all for the benefit of the Muslims, however before we unite with them the way some of the Al-Maghrib people have done and started treating them as if they are like Ahlussunnah and honoring them as if they were credible scholars, we have to ask ourselves what is it that “we both mutually agree upon”?? What is it that which unites us with these deviant sects??? If the basic Aqida is something which we differ on and we are not agreed with them on the very basic principle of Islam that of Tawhid and Shirk, then how can we unite with and on what basis should we agree with them?? Or is it just saying oh we are all muslims let us just unite even though there is nothing in common that unites us? Then what about the shi’as? Do we unite with them? They are muslims too, so why don’t we unite with them?? It doesn’t matter if we disagree on the basic principles of Islam and that they have destroyed the pure teachings with their deviations and innovations, let us just unite with them because we are a minority here in the west. Would you accept that brother? Would you agree to unite with the shi’a the same way ? If you say they are different I would say yes they are different but our disagreement with the sufis on the basics of Tawhid and Shirk is just as big and important as our disagreement with the shi’a and is also similar in many aspects!

        The first comment on the NY Times article was

        It is time for moderate Muslims if in fact they do exist to stand up and make a stand against extremism and violence and do something to help stop it! If not they are no better then the extremist and terrorist that exist.

        Just like we are obligated to refute those deviant sects who are doing violence in the name of Islam, we also have an obligation to refute those deviants who are destroying the basic foundations and teachings of Islam with their heretic ideology and innovations. Many of the Al-Maghrib people have refuted the extremists by name and they have no problem calling out Awlaki or Bin Laden and refuting them and their ideologies. Then why do the same with the other deviant sects? Or is it because there is no pressure from the non-muslims on us to refute the sufis/ash’aris and their deviant ideologies that we remain silent. Are we doing what we claim we are doing for the sake of Allah or is it for the sake of making the non-muslims pleased with us? If it is for pleasing the non-muslims then it is enough to refute the extremists and denounce their terrorism because the non-muslims do not care whether the sufis destroy the pure teachings of Islam with their deviant ideologies and perhaps some of them would want to see that! But if we are doing it for the sake of Allah then it is just as important for us to refute the extremists and warn the people from them in public and by name to also refute the other deviant sects and individuals in public and by name. Actually this is more important because the average muslim knows that bombing random civilians is not from Islam, but they easily fall for those deviant individuals and sects who are preaching their falsehood as if it was Islam while no one is stating otherwise, so the average muslim will be more likely to fall for these deviant sects and follow them and take knowledge from their people without knowing that they are misguided.

        . This is why I totally agree with Yasir Qadhi that we should not get advice from scholars in the east regarding cultural issues because they simply don’t understand our circumstances.

        Although it is important for the scholar to understand the circumstances of the situation when making a ruling on it, but just because they do not live in the west does not mean they can’t understand the situation properly or that they are not qualified to speak about it. There is a principle which the scholars use that says ‘passing a ruling about something is a branch of being able to imagine it’ and that means the scholar does not have to be in the situation himself but as long as he has a proper perception of it he is able and qualified to pass a ruling about it. Or else if you were to use that argument then anyone can come and use it and reject everything that you say on the basis that you are not aware of the situation or that you do not live in it or experienced it. One who comes to Sh Qadhi here in the US and asks him for a fatwa about anything can simply say after the Sheikh has replied with an answer that his answer is not credible because he hasn’t experienced or seen the situation of the questioner. A woman can always use this argument to reject what the scholar says on the basis that he is not a woman and he will never be able to understand what it feels like to be a woman. Although this might be true but that doesn’t mean the scholar is not able to pass a ruling on anything unless he has experienced it himself. As long as the scholar is able to understand the issue at hand and has a proper perception of it and is credible and qualified to pass rulings then that argument can not be used. The examples are many but the point is that this argument is not valid that the scholars of the east can’t talk about the issues of the west because they don’t live here or know the situation. I know you don’t mean it but this is actually disrespectful to the scholars to make such a claim, and I don’t know where you got your argument from or where Sh Qadhi arrived at this conclusion, but this argument was never used by any of our scholars throughout the history of Islam. Furthermore I can turn this same argument around and use it against Sh Qadhi himself who talked about the situation in Eqypt even though he does not live there. So this argument is not really valid and I hope that if you insist on such an argument that you provide some proof for it because no one has stated such a thing before. And as a side note, this is not the same as taking ‘urf or the local customs into consideration when issuing a fatwa because this is a matter of one of the basic principles in our religion which does not change based on local customs or culture.

        We need to stop thinking of the salafi scholars in the east as superhumans who cannot err.We love them and respect them but at the same time we need to understand that there are cetain things that they are not going to be able to understand due to their lack of exposure to it.

        No one is claiming that they are perfect or infallible and no one has ever done so. Ironically enough some of the comments here are reacting emotionally as if Sh Qadhi is infallible and has no mistakes. More ironic is that you say you love and respect the scholars in the east yet you discard all their knowledge and experience by using such an invalid argument that they can’t understand an issue here in the west. I know you probably don’t intend it but this is very disrespectful to the scholars. Don’t you think that if you ask one of them about something but they can’t understand it or if they don’t think that they are qualified to do so because they don’t live in the west that they will say I don’t know and tell you to ask one of your local Shaykhs, don’t you think that they are knowledgeable enough to know better than we do whether they are qualified or not to talk about issues we face here in the west? I think brother that you haven’t thought through what you are trying to say or else you wouldn’t have used that argument to justify what is wrong.

        I often find some over zealous salafis criticizing certain shyukh in the west and calling people to follow certain scholars in the east. But little do they know that same shaykh in the west is good friends with that shaykh in the east!

        Such a general statement brother that I wish you can back it up with specific proof. Can you please name for me which salafi scholars of the east are good friends with Sh Qadhi ? I mean where are we living really? The majority of the salafi scholars in the east probably have never heard of Sh Qadhi and he doesn’t maintain his relationships with them or else he wouldn’t have went wrong with his new views if he remained under the guidance of the well known salafi scholars instead of being influenced by other people which I am sure did happen during his time at Yale. I am not saying he should not have went to Yale, but it seems like he abandoned his past in medina and started a new future in yale.

        But brother please do provide me with some of the names of well known salafi scholars who have praised Sh Qadhi or said that he is a scholar.

        Never do they call their students to shun the other.

        Refuting some one’s mistakes does not mean we are shunning him. At the same time, if one keeps going down the path away from the truth then at the end there is no other option than to shun him like you shun the other deviants. That is why I hope that Sh Qadhi and the rest of Al-Maghrib go back to what is right regarding these major things which they are mistaken about and that they disassociate themselves from the deviant sects and individuals before they keep getting closer to them and farther away from the truth until they become just like them.

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  57. Peter

    @ Author

    It is unfitting for a New York Times journalist to mix up Poland with Germany, and quite unacceptable for the editor to let such an error to slip by, and go to the press… I say it with all due respect, of course.
    Well, for the benefit of those less educated: Dachau was, and is in Germany. Not in Poland. Please correct this mistake as soon as possible.

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    • Amad

      Peter, please email Andrea directly as well. Agree that this isn’t an error worthy of NYT standards.

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  58. Your Akh

    As-salaamu alaykum Sheikh Yasir,

    In contrast to some of the more critical statements that have been written above, I would like to thank you for the approach you have adopted over the years in guiding muslims such as myself in the west. Jezakallahu khayran! I’ve found your ability to navigate the Islamic texts with the context of my specific society (the UK) highly refreshing and welcome. My own perspective as a humble and very low level student of Islamic fiqh is that in researching many of the opinions that you adopt or express, your opinions can mostly be referenced to the opinions of:

    – The first 3 generations and major imams,
    – The early (Ummah accepted) scholars ( eg Ibn taymiyyah, Imam Nawawi, Imam Suyuti etc)
    – Senior contemporary (generally Ummah respected) scholars (e.g. Sheikh Yusuf, Ibn Bayyah, Mufti Taqi, Sheikh Uthaimeen, Mufti Ali in egypt)
    – Widely known contemporary senior students of knowledge and ulema in the West

    Basically, from my analysis of things, the gripe that many of the ANTAGONISTS to Sheikh Yasir have is quite simple: unless one’s reference is to their opinions solely, one becomes ‘off it’. Sheikh Yasir wrote a piece about such individuals when he said:

    In the early 90′s, a new movement appeared that claimed to follow the teachings of the earliest generations yet were far removed from it in ideology, methodology and manners. They assumed that they and they alone were rightly guided. They deemed all those who opposed them to be deviants and heretics. They made it their religion to go around concentrating on the supposed faults of other people, without actually offering anything of substance to their communities. This group gave such a negative stereotype to anyone who wished to preach an orthodox understanding of Islam that to this day we are battling the negativity they created.

    I had plenty of run-ins with them, and they caused many of us much personal grief and problems. I must admit, though, that while the swiftness of their demise did come as a surprise, I knew all along that their fame would be short-lived, and their popularity temporary. I knew this not because I was privy to some unseen knowledge, but because Allah says in the Quran, “So as for the chaff, it leaves in all direction, and as for that which benefits mankind, it stays on earth” [al-Ra`ad, 17]. These people were bankrupt in knowledge, bankrupt in manners, and bankrupt in being of any benefit to society. Their only contribution appeared to be in belittling the contribution of others and mocking their efforts.

    My sincere concern is that Sheikh Yasir, does not allow a few thousand individuals to cause him to veer off course of his goal to bring Islam to the shores of Western societies through the initiatives of organisations such as Al Maghrib, Muslimmatters, Like a Garment etc. Please do not change your approach to be REACTIONARY to those who do not seem to share your insight and vision. Inshallah you have brought much khayr to many Muslims and we need you to not REACT to these goaders. I wouldn’t usually write in because I don’t want to contribute in the usual internet contentions. Howvere, I felt compelled to write to you Sheikh Yasir because by expending energy trying to placate these types of calls you redirect it away from areas which might be much more productive. I’’ll again provide another quote:

    It is normal with people that when you turn aside from someone who assails you with insults – no matter how much those insults hurt you – and continue on your way, the person gives up that approach. This is not because the person has grown tired of bothering with you, but rather because that person is going to look for some other way to take you off course. That person, therefore, is the one who becomes preoccupied, while you are able to benefit from your time and achieve your goals. `Amr b. al-`As expressed this idea when someone threatened to devote all his time to opposing him. `Amr said to his adversary: “You, therefore, are preoccupied.”…………….. It is imperative these days that we learn to let those who wish to obstruct the spread of the authentic message of Islam to remain preoccupied with their scheming, rather than letting them succeed in distracting us from our good work.

    Sheikh Yasir, I ask that you read this article by Sheikh Salman and continue to be a benefit to all of humanity by Allah’s leave:

    http://en.islamtoday.net/artshow-414-400.htm

    Sincerely I ask that you please make du’aa for me and my non Muslim family (I’m a revert) Sheikh. Also make du’aa and consider the Muslim brothers and sisters in the UK, the confused masses here in the West, the Ummah and mankind generally Sheikh Yasir!

    If anything I have done offends anyone I ask that Allah forgives me and I hope not to add fuel to any disagreements. I also ask that the best complexion (70 excuses) are put on my comments.

    Wal Asr Innal insaana lafi Khusr illal ladhina amanoo wa amilus salihat wat-tawwasobil haqq watawasaw bis sabr.

    As salaamu alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu

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    • Student Of Knowledge

      Senior contemporary (generally Ummah respected) scholars (e.g. Sheikh Yusuf, Ibn Bayyah, Mufti Taqi, Sheikh Uthaimeen, Mufti Ali in egypt)

      Brother how do you reconcile between grouping all these scholars from different groups together? I am just curious like if one of them declares the other to be deviant and warns from him, do you take his word for it or not? This has definitely happened among some of those whom you mentioned above!

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      • Akhi

        @ student of knowledge

        I have responded merely to clarify my rationale not to engage in a to and fro on this matter. I had never seen these comments by brother Amad but found them and felt that they kind of conveyed my sentiments exactly:

        http://muslimmatters.org/2007/08/22/suhaib-webbs-departure-from-traditionalism/#comment-5885

        Inshallah I guess I know where you may be intimating in your comments. In light of me stating I guess where you are intimating therefore let us inshallah engage or depart on the best terms, with the best opinion of each other and speak that which will benefit both of us.

        As-salaamu alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakutuhu

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      • Student Of Knowledge

        My dear brother ‘Akhi’,

        as I stated before that my intention of commenting on here was to give the brothers and sisters what I hope to be sincere advice for the sake of Allah.

        Definitely any discussion should be in a proper manner and with respect to each other. If you don’t want to discuss anything with me please feel free not to as I am not here to force people to do anything.

        My question to you was because I honestly do wonder how those who consider all the scholars to be credible and trustworthy even though the different scholars are from different sects and declare each other to be deviants. How does one reconcile that? I am really just curious and always wonder how can one make such a claim while understanding what that claim really entails.

        I’ll give you an example to make things easier. Qardawi is known to be from the ikhwani sect and is not a salafi nor claims to be one. Almost all of the salafi scholars have criticized him, refuted his mistakes, and declared him to be deviated from the way of the salaf. Shaykh Muqbil Waadi’i wrote a book refuting Qardawi and his deviant principles and was very harsh in describing him. Shaykh Uthaimeen was once asked to hear a statement and asked about the ruling of one who says this, and the shaykh replied that whoever said this was a disbeliever who has left Islam and that the government/ruler should strike his neck and kill him. The words in that statement were words of kufr. The one who was asking Shaykh Uthaimeen didn’t say who the speaker who made this statement was, but it was in fact Qardawi. Shaykh Albaani also refuted Qardawi many times and criticized him harshly. I have yet to see one of the salafi scholars who considers Qardawi to be from amongst the credible scholars who are upon the way of the Salaf. So how does one who says he follows the scholars like Albaani, Qardawi, Uthaimeen… reconcile between this and the fact that these scholars whom he claims to follow have refuted this other scholar whom he also claims to follow and they have declared him to be deviant and not credible.

        Maybe you weren’t aware of such things, but honestly I am very curious to know how you would reconcile such a thing ? I know I might have put you in a tight spot but if you don’t mind then I would love to know how you deal with that. Do you take the word of Albaani, Uthaimeen, Muqbil, etc. and follow them in that Qardawi is not a scholar and is deviated from the way of the Salaf, or do you not follow them about that?

        If brother Amad would like to answer this question that would be great too although I think that anyone who makes such a statement usually have not thought what he is saying through or does not know a lot about these different people whom he is claiming to follow.

        And ‘Akhi’ we are on best terms insha Allah and I hope we can discuss these issues in a proper way without fighting over them. Feel free to answer me if you’d like or if you don’t want to discuss it then that is also fine with me.

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      • Abu Abdurrahman

        Bismillah..

        Assalam alaikum wa rahmatullah,

        Brother, Student of Knowledge,

        Jazakallah khairan for your gheera.

        Perhaps some would be interested to know that when Shaykh Albani, alyhi rahmatullah, would refer to Dr. Qardawi, he would refer to him as ‘Shaykh’ yusuf al Qardawi, in recognition that he was a man with knowledge and fiqh. He would accept to check his books – which he would correct the mistakes therefrom; but you would agree that in accepting to work on his books it not only corrects it, but popularises it further – somethign which shaykh Albani rahimahullah did not seem to mind.

        But when any shaykh goes against ijma – based on his ijtihad and not being aware/recognising there to be an ijma on the affair., or even on a matter where the vast majority of ulama for 12-13 centuries oppose him on that issue..then the layman and students of knowledge should clearly not follow the faqeeh in those issues. And that goes for Dr. Qardawi all the more so.

        But please let us not do baby and bath water. It will besides all else only come off as ignorant or arrogant, even with the best of intentions.

        Jazakum Allah khairan

        Wassalam

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      • Abu Abdurrahman

        Salams ..

        Sorry, after having written the above, I thought I should check the exact wording…

        Shaykh Albani (rahimahullah) says of Qardawi: “al-shaykh al-faadil”: The Noble shaykh..’ .pg 18 of saheeh al jaami3, muqaddimah.

        Let us be moderate in our criticism, and just.

        Wassalam alaikum wa rahmatullah

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      • Amad

        Jazakallahkhair Akhi
        I cannot find myself in a position to debate how good Sh Qaradawi, for example, is or is not. The ummah’s testimony is enough… yes not all agree with him, but who has there been in the ummah that the entire ummah agreed with before? None.

        why do we even bother throwing darts at stars. We’ll be just hurting ourselves at the end.

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      • Student Of Knowledge

        -Comment removed. Pls note that this is not Spubs or Troid or IA where days and nights are spent on criticizing scholars. Shaykh al-Qaradawi is an esteemed scholar and we are not interested in your “refutations” of him.

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  59. LM

    I hate to say this but Yasir Qadhi is making his own sect in the name of Salafiyya. He represents his own interpretations and cherry picks from statements of genuine Salafi scholars while he conveniently discards what he personally disagrees with. He represents his own and only his own Islam. I respect Yasir Qadhi as a person but can no longer say I am his student or a follower of al-Maghrib. May Allah Guide all of us and keep us on the Path that is Straight. Ameen.

    LM

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    • Umar

      That’s a huge over exaggeration. Disagreeing with some fiqh points does mean you invent a new sect. All the 4 imams disagreed on many fiqh points.

      The only thing over time that has changed is his focus. In the past it was about tawheed, shirk, sufism etc…Nowadays – and it makes sense that you shift focus with your new responsibilties – it’s still about all that but with the added responsibilty of domestic and foreign affairs.

      He has an immensely busy schedule, juggling his teaching at weekends with almaghrib, his phd course, his weekly programmes at Memphis, conferences, the added hassle of various authorities prodding him and balancing his family life with all this. He does all this and the comments on the nytimes article are all bashing Islam and Muslims despite Yasir Qadhi’s efforts to write and preach against terrorism. Then some Muslims on this forum (you) are claiming very unfairly that he’s inventing his own sect. This factionalist attitude is having negative repercussions around the world. There are some cases where it is necessary to make a distiction, for example with the sufis because people need to be aware of the shirk that flows through its doctrines. But it is an overstatement to say Sh Yasir Qadhi is off the manhaj because he feels that in certain situations, it is best if American scholars speak about some of the issues affecting Americans. Who wouldn’t agree with that? In many of the comments a lot of guesswork, assumptions and exagerations are being made about Y. Qadhi’s statements and intentions.

      Better you wait until Y. Qadhi responds to some of the comments as he hinted he may, and focus on obtaining what good you can.

      Salam.

      Can’t we just appreciate the good that he’s done.

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      • LM

        You said:

        “Disagreeing with some fiqh points does not mean you invent a new sect. All the 4 imams disagreed on many fiqh points.”

        Yasir Qadhi has less knowledge than those who taught him in Medina. Yet, he disagrees with them as if he has the same knowledge as them. This is the problem. The disagreements in fiqh among the four imams were legitimate because all of them reached the level and qualification of ijtihad — absolute ijtihad, in fact. This is entirely a different matter and irrelevant because apparently Yasir Qadhi’s teachers from Medina never reached the level of ijtihad, yet they were still more knowledgeable than Yasir Qadhi overall — but Yasir Qadhi still disagrees with them, but under what authority? I accept that Yasir Qadhi is not creating a new sect as sects are primarily due to different `aqeedah. Yet, Islam does not allow differences in fiqh when one is not qualified to make fiqhi judgements of any kind. Whether one calls it a sect or not doesn’t change my basic point. And shaking hands with women? This difference in fiqh is one that makes him completely at odds with what Islam teaches. I hope you understand where my disagreement comes from. May Allah Guide us all on the Right Path.

        Wassalam.

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      • Siraaj

        But the opinions shaykh yasir is calling to is not synthesized out of thin air – there are fiqh councils and bodies which exist which hold these opinions which come from the same ‘aqeedah, yet differ on contemporary points of fiqh – I would encourage you to see what amjaonline.com’s fatwa bank offers on many contemporary issues vs what is found from fatwa banks from scholars overseas ruling on issues in America, in comparison.

        For example, due to the high cost of medical care in America where no universal system exists, amja ruled due to daroorah one can take medical insurance, whereas overseas scholars will often state otherwise.

        With regards to voting, many scholar both here and abroad have changed their position on voting and democracy and consider it from the issues where harms and benefits have to be weighed, and many have ruled (who are living here) that the benefit of participation outweighs the harm – I again encourage to read their fatwa banks and the conferences amongst the senior scholars that were held to deliberate and rule on these issues.

        About shaking hands with women, there are existing scholars of repute (whether they are liked or not) that have other evidences for their opinions.

        Generally speaking, I believe our “salafi” brethren have fallen into the same sort of extreme taqleed that they lamented in the late 90s, of hanafis only following what their hanafi scholars said, and so on, and now it’s simply back to one set of ‘ulamaa from one region.

        But here’s the funny thing – even within the four classical madhabs, differences of opinion exist while using the same usool – same methodological guidelines, different conclusions. The muqallid follows his or her local imam then, and that resolves issue.

        Our salafi brethren were right in questioning blind following and hyper-partisanship towards on fiqh methodology to the point of ostracizing others, in their own way, as off the manhaj. But they’re human, and many of them have fallen into itself, each person at their own level at how deeply they’ve dipped partisan pool.

        Siraaj

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      • Student Of Knowledge

        About shaking hands with women, there are existing scholars of repute (whether they are liked or not) that have other evidences for their opinions.

        I’m just curious, can you name a few of them brother Siraaj? And just to be clear we are not talking about old women or young girls.

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  60. The Critically Cognitive

    He likes Star Trek
    “Shaykh” Yasir likes the modernist Star Trek?! With regards to the issue of Star Trek, or as the people of knowledge refer to them, the people of Trek and Bid’ah, it is an established path by the “senior geeks” that Star Trek is a Bid’ah invented to refute the modernist philosophers. The True Manhaj is that of Star Wars.

    Anyone else think the Jedi Knight Master-Padawon system is based off the Sufi Shaykh-Mureed system?

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  61. Student Of Knowledge

    Sh Qadhi, in addition of my comments so far I would like to advise you to be more accessible to the general muslims. One might want to give you advice in private about some mistakes that you might have but being able to get in touch with you is not something easy. Perhaps if you are more accessible for people to be able to talk to you then you might benefit from their advice and go back to the truth rather than having to defend your mistakes after they have refuted them. I wouldn’t mind having your phone number to be able to call you as I have advice for you regarding several issues, that is if you wouldn’t mind having people to contact you to give you advice. I would post them here but seeing as to how most people react emotionally and lack proper knowledge even about some of the most basic principles in Islam, I’d rather if there was another way in which I am able to talk to you directly as to give you whatever advice I have for you and thus I would have fulfilled my obligation towards you.

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  62. Mohamad

    Assalamu Alaikom,

    Just a question, why would a person of knowledge go and study Islam in Yale? I swear no mockery or sarcasm intended, I only want to know why would you prefer Yale over Muslim institutes? What are the incentives or benefits?

    Jazakum Allah khair

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  63. Halliru Abdullahi

    How long is a Muslim’s garment (SUTRAH) supposed to be?.

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  64. parallel_

    I read half way through the thread, and I apologize for adding my comment in here.  

    I can’t understand what this competition that is going on between people. 

    I cant (/ don’t want to) really comment on ‘this’ scholar or ‘that’ scholar. If I truly respect a ‘scholar’ it has be based on the persons inner illumination, as it brings clarity to the persons thought from the Ruh, not just from the rational level of the mind or the intellect. Sh. Hamza Yusuf used to have it in his early days. Imam al-Ghazzali, has it straight up! His books are a Deep source of knowledge. 

    I would say is that if a person starts with the Quran, then Sunnah, then goes to Imam al-Ghazzali, then Imam Nawawi, they are are pretty much set for life. More than that is just a waste of paper. A lot of the ‘good stuff’ is in the classical works which is still applicable to our time. Sure some issues of the modern world will have to be ironed out but they don’t require That much mental effort if you study the Quran regularly. In other words on a personal level a person can figure out the issues that face them intellectually or otherwise, while the intellectual infrastructure to facilitate a structured body of knowledge has to be developed by the scholars. 

    The major issue / root of the problem in the Ummah I believe is the mis-conception of the concept of science as “Ilm” or spiritually beneficial knowledge. Most of the problem lies in this issue. On an individual level a Muslim can minimize their interaction with the duniya, but collectively living on the earth as a populace of a billion Muslims is a completely different story. A true Islamic epistemology has yet to be erected, the basis of it are already are there in Imam al-Ghazzali’s Ihya. 

    Anyhow.

    I think most of the people should try find a true ‘Shaykh’ and engage in a proper study of “Tasawwuf”. All their misconceptions about themselves and knowledge acquired through their own researches or by the means of scholars will be completely cleared out. It will help clear ur Nafs, improve and increase your ibadah, purify your reason / rational mind, and then you as a Muslim will be able to really understand and feel the fear and joy behind (almost) each and every verse of the Quran. Studying this discipline of Islam really really refrains one from getting into unnecessary intellectual jugglery, while keeping their feet planted on the ground! Imam al-Ghazzali and Imam Nawawi both were students of Tasawwuf. 

    And living in the west is a messed up place as a Muslim, but living in the east brings its own issues. I personally find that in the west it is impossible to perform one’s salaah while on the move. In the winter you just get killed for time. Saying ‘just’ my fardh in a hidden spot in a semi-idiotic way is Not going to save me from the fire. In the end, I guess we just have to make the best of where ever we are.

    I hope Allah Subhanahu wa’ Taala guides us onto His straight path and protects us from His hell-fire. Ameen.

    best rgrds,

    ~

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  65. Iman

    Can everybody please stop judgeing the sheikh.. He’s doing a great job Masha’Allah! He must be having he’s own reasons why he doesn’t “say it out loud” and even if he doesnt who r we to judge him!

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