by imām Abu Laith Luqman Ahmad who blogs at http://imamluqman.wordpress.com/
Dear beloveds, you and I know that without a doubt, young black men are an endangered species. Today's reality is that a young African-American male is more likely to be murdered on the street in Philadelphia or Chicago, than he is to be killed as a soldier in the war in Afghanistan. It's time to spread the message that thug life is not working to our advantage. This situation will exacerbate unless we as men, start to do something about it. We can't do anything about the past except learn from it. However, we can do something about the present and the future. I implore you brothers, first of all, to embrace fatherhood in every possible way. Do it by any halal means available to you.
The problems in our community are systemic; they didn't happen overnight. Fatherless homes, drug abuse, high incarceration rates, illiteracy, family violence, dysfunctional families, and teenage delinquency are taking a high toll in our communities. This is a systemic problem, and there are hardly enough resources, men, families, programs and solid indigenous communities left to address these issues. We have a crisis on our hands and we can't expect the government to fix this for us. The so called thugs and “wanna-be” thugs in our communities aren't helping. In my opinion, we're going to have to start from the ground floor. We must strengthen our families and communities and establish new families. We, as men and women (especially men), have to shoulder our responsibilities to help insure that another generation of Muslims doesn't end up repeating the cycle of dysfunction all over again. We have to make a decision, as a people, to get off the roller coaster
Amongst the top priorities, my brothers, is to make it your mission to be a parent or a step-parent, in the true sense. Relish in it, meet it head on, accept it, value it, immerse yourself in it, work it, embrace it, grab it by the horns, greet it with enthusiasm, cherish it, be about it, face it, love it, handle it, smile at it, get down on it, step up to the plate, seize it, man up to it, don't turn away from it, don't be afraid of it, and do not let parenthood escape you. Be believing and dutiful parents beloveds, by any means necessary……
The best thing that you can pass down to your children is guidance; “Were ye witnesses when death appeared before Jacob? Behold, he said to his sons: “What will ye worship after me?” They said: “We shall worship Thy Allāh and the Allāh of thy fathers, of Abraham, Isma'il and Isaac,- the one (True) Allāh. To Him we bow (in Islam).” 2:133
In these last days, where children often do whatever they want, and effectively run the households of their parents, where teenage pregnancy is at an all-time high in our community, juvenile delinquency is common, and where it is acceptable that 25 and even 30-year-old young men sit around in their momma's houses playing video games and smoking weed all day, we have got to address the issue of parenting and family order. Acting like a thug may look good on television but, in my opinion, thugs can't raise a nation. They can hardly hold down a good job! And for all you weed lovin', pill poppin', needle pushin', crack smokin', drug dealin', and meth takin' parents – you are just adding to the problem.
People have to start acting like grown-ups and start raising their children and not let their children raise them. You have to teach your children right from wrong and not let your home be ruled by the whims of a child, or be ruled by your own whims for that matter. When I see the extremely high rates of black on black killing, and crime in places like Chicago, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Compton, Detroit, and Brooklyn, I'm thinking, “Where are the parents? Where are the fathers?”
The plight of our black youth in America is not just a police or school issue; it's a parenting issue! Where are the parents in all of this? Where is the proper teaching and raising of children? Where are the examples of decency and rightful thinking in the family? For that matter, where are the families in our community? We've got plenty of baby mommas and baby daddies but very few real mothers and even fewer real fathers.
I see too many mothers and fathers in their 20s, 30s and even 40s, trying to live like they are still teenagers. I see brothers paying more attention to the 20 inch rims on their car than they do to the proper care of their children. Perhaps the biggest problem with thugs and thug life is that many of them end up dead, addicts or in jail where they can't help anyone. Too many children live a legacy where their dad is holed up in some state penitentiary, doing time. There's nothing glamorous about that.
The time for excuses is over. Something has to be done. I don't know the answer except to follow the guidance of Islam; get married, establish a family, be a dutiful husband, be a dutiful wife, be dutiful parents, teach your children morals, teach them religion, give them religious instruction, set boundaries for them, and teach them right from wrong. Stay close to the masājid and to the gatherings of Muslims. Eat together, pray together, do things together.
It is a tragedy that many of our men and woman have been conditioned to seek out the thug path, glorifying thug life (street life) and believing in the thug creed (there is no right or wrong) – it's only what makes you happy. They worship the thug god (money, gold, cars, and shiny things), and have incarceration as a rite of passage, while idolizing and painting murals of other dead thugs. Their daily staple is weed, they are fond of the forty, and spend more on their dogs and their cars than they do on their own families. In the religion of the thug, they curse their absent fathers, defy their mothers, live off their women, and spend an hour in the mirror each day primping themselves.
The scriptures of the thug are the rhymes and raps of debauchery and narcissism. They have taken self-love to an extreme. They damn the virtues of righteousness, while mentioning the name of God, and sometimes Allāh in the same breath. Thugs cannot raise a family, let alone a nation. They don't honor life; they only destroy it. How many of our women are raising the illegitimate children of some has-been thug, who is doing time.
Make no doubt about it; the commander-in-chief of the thug nation is none other than Shaitaan himself. The cure to end the cycle of madness is Islam, but we first have to submit, submit in a total submission. “O ye who believe! Enter into Islam whole-heartedly; and follow not the footsteps of the evil one; for he is to you an avowed enemy.” 2:208
With all due respect to the single mothers out there, and may Allāh reward you for the extraordinary job you are doing. It takes men to raise men. With so many of the men in our communities ether incarcerated, dead, gay, effeminate, emasculated, in the streets, on drugs, weeded out, washed up, faint of heart, or still, over forty, pretending that they are still teenagers, there just aren't that many men left standing in our communities. So for those of you who are left; if you are able to shoulder a little extra responsibility, then now is the time. If you have to partner with other men of like minds, then do so. But don't sit back and do nothing.