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Keeping it Real: Student of Knowledge Superstars

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Who ever thought that glitz and glamour would be associated with being a “talib al-‘ilm”? Did anyone ever imagine that being a “student of knowledge” would become a glorified dream for many Muslims? Is it acceptable to say that becoming a “da’ee” is the new way of ‘being the man’? Is it fair to equate aspiring to be a ‘baller’ in jahiliyyah to aspiring to be a “student of knowledge” in Islam?

A big disclaimer before continuing: This is not a critique of seeking knowledge, of students of knowledge, or anything of that sort. Rather, what follows is an examination of the culture found in our communities of aspiring students, their motivations in seeking knowledge, and the method employed in doing so.

When you grow up in the West without Islam – even if you are a Muslim – you will have certain people you still look up to, some who have nothing to do with who you really are. For example, young desi kids dressed like gangsters and thugs, listening to rap music [See related post on Hip Hop and Islam.], meeting with their friends to mack on girls, then going home to eat biryani and study for those extra chemistry classes they are taking in preparation for med school. Aren’t we all to some extent products of our own environment?

The bottom line is, though, to some extent – in jahiliyyah (not necessarily exclusive to people who converted) – people aspire to be like those celebrities, famous and adored. I don’t think it’s even necessarily the appeal of the money as it is the adoration of the people. Everyone craves having the respect and attention of people. Muslims who start learning see examples of people who are famous in the Muslim ummah. They have CD’s, DVD’s, they travel around giving talks and classes, and are to a large extent adored by the Muslim masses. I remember going to a convention once where the crowd of people waiting to get in to hear one particular speaker talk resembled the crowd outside an arena waiting to get into a rock concert.

When Muslims give up some of the aspirations they may have had before, they try to replace them with more ‘halal’ ones. Unfortunately, while our actions reform quickly, the intentions are often lagging behind. The virtues associated with seeking knowledge are motivation enough to study. However, with studying comes the pitfalls of seeking attention, fame, debating with people, being ‘known’ as ‘knowledgeable,’ and studying things which do not benefit. It becomes easy to cast aside scholars who speak about “the same things” and become infatuated with people who are always engaged in novel things you have never heard before, or authoritatively assert themselves in controversial issues.

Just the virtue of having a reputation as knowledgeable or academic is often enough to mess with the intention of a seeker of knowledge.

Even women are a huge fitnah for the aspiring student of knowledge. The respected males in western culture are the ones who get all the girls. For many of such aspiring ‘students’ the girl factor is definitely a big plus in the path of seeking knowledge. It doesn’t help, of course, to go to a conference, and have sisters sending up questions like “are you looking for a second wife?” in the Q/A portion of the talk to the Shaykh. Many think that by becoming a ‘student,’ marriage prospects will flow forth without end and they will somehow be forced to struggle to narrow themselves down to only 4 lucky women.

That status as a “student of knowledge” becomes the goal by which to attain respect, admiration, women, and even to some respect, money. Is this just a zabihah version of the ‘baller’ lifestyle?

Surely the picture is not as bad as it has been painted above is it? Many people (especially youth) are confused oftentimes as to their own intentions. While the pursuit of studying the Sacred Knowledge is no doubt noble and virtuous, that pursuit does not come without tests – chief amongst them is the test of our intentions. We are all familiar with the hadith of the first 3 people to be thrown into the Hellfire – amongst them a scholar and reciter of Quran (may Allah protect us all from Hellfire). We have to assess our goals in learning the deen, set realistic expectations, and study the proper way.

What are the warning signs we can look for to see if we’re headed down the wrong path in seeking knowledge?

The Prophet (saw) was commanded in the Qur’an to ask for an increase in knowledge. In some hadith, it is narrated that he would ask Allah for the beneficial knowledge, and in even other narrations we find he (saw) sought refuge in Allah from knowledge that did not benefit.

So, for the aspiring student, is there a focus on knowledge that benefits?

Islam is in some respects a religion of priorities. Aisha (ra) said for example, that had the prohibition of alcohol been the first commandment in Islam, no one would have accepted it. They had to go through a process to reach the stage of giving it up. Similarly, when learning the deen, as with any other subject, you have to master the basics and essentials first before moving on to more complex subjects. The important underlying factor with Islamic knowledge is using this litmus test: Is what you are learning bringing you closer to Allah (swt) or not?

Is it proper for an aspiring student of knowledge then, to –

Engage in debate and criticism of real students of knowledge on issues of aqeedah, bid’ah, and advanced issues of ‘ilm and ijtihaad while they themselves have not even studied Islam to the extent of reading Quran with proper tajweed or memorizing more than Juz ‘Amma?

What about people who cannot even name the arkaan of salaah authoritatively telling others about the fiqh of how to move the finger in salah?

How about those who are always engaged with defending hotly contested issues like Mawlid and Tawassul, while almost ignoring and never calling to acts of ibaadah that are undisputed?

What about someone engaging themselves for days and weeks on end ‘researching’ whether to go into sujood on your hands or knees first, while they have not even properly studied fiqh to know what types of water can be used to make wudu?

How about passing judgment on other Muslims, calling them innovators, or having corrupted aqeedah/manhaj while not even knowing the technical differences between shirk and kufr?

Similarly, what about people who make walaa and baraa over Fiqh issues, like refusing to pray behind someone who wipes over their socks, or boycotting people who eat “outside meat”?

The “student of knowledge culture” for some people has spurred strange affiliations. You meet people at the masjid sitting and discussing the virtues of ashaabul-hadeeth (the People of Hadith), and calling themselves students of hadith, even studying relatively advanced issues of sciences pertaining to its narrators – yet, they have not even read any of the 6 books of hadith from cover to cover – much less read them with a teacher! Some affiliate themselves to traditional Islam while not even having studied the basic usool and dalaa’il for the “traditions” they claim to follow – yet they feel pious and knowledgeable enough to look down upon others not on the same path as them.

For many, being a “student of knowledge” has resulted in a disregard for the basics, a focus on advanced issues of ikhtilaaf, and adherence to a strict dress code. Dress code? You know the types. People in tailored thobes, Saudi style kufis, izaar hemmed exactly halfway between the knee and ankle, discussing and debating rulings and verdicts and scholars of whom they have never even read an original writing from. Or groups of people, all discussing the wird and adhkaar given to them by their teacher, ignoring the adhkaar found in the Sunnah, and all dressed like they were hired to endorse the spring 2008 line for Shukr clothing.

There is a huge element of people plateauing in the first stage of knowledge – when you think you know everything. This is also known as “a little bit of knowledge is dangerous.” The intention to reach the advanced stages is noble. People obviously have a thirst to learn the upper levels of Islamic sciences, especially the issues that are in vogue in the communities. Everyone wants to argue about halal meat and Doritos but no one wants to actually study the usool and evidences that go into it. Everyone wants to offer up tafseer of the Quran, but no one wants to take the time to memorize it, or even read it every day.

That’s another amazing thing, the number of people running around as “students” who ignore even the most basic aspect of our deen and have no daily relationship with the Quran, or even a solid plan in place to finish memorizing it.

There is definitely a certain level of arrogance that comes with studying the deen in this way – going for the “sexier” issues and ignoring the basics – because you start looking down on others for their stances on a handful of particular issues. I myself cannot remember how many times I was told something was bid’ah, would get angry with people for engaging in it, and then upon studying the issue more with a teacher would find that in fact there are other evidences, opinions, and explanations showing that it was either not bid’ah – or at the least not something to get your blood boiling over. How many people in our communities fight with and boycott each other over these types of issues? It’s definitely a disease we have to combat. One telling sign is that people going down this path, as they “progress” in seeking knowledge, they become more and more disenchanted with the community. They withdraw. They start looking down on the rest of the community, they begin to disregard things like social work as beneath them – even if they do not explicitly say it, then it’s shown through their actions. This is when the knowledge of the deen goes from an encompassing life practice to an almost strictly academic pursuit.

One sign of this is the rapid rise in IOD. What’s IOD? Internet-Only-Dawah. We have so many people in our communities who shun the masjid and the community, and instead engage themselves with only internet dawah. This is not to say that there’s no dawah online or anything of that sort (obviously, this article itself is on a blog of all things), but it’s more about people who get caught up in the culture described above spending all their time debating in chatrooms and PalTalk and forums. The incessant back and forth, name-calling, boycotting, and email lists rehashing these debates have become widespread. People withdraw from their communities and abandon dawah there, opting instead to just label others and label scholars with different names and bicker in the name of dawah. This is a deception of Shaytaan and something that hardens the hearts. There is definitely a huge market for making dawah online, but it must be done correctly, and I would personally venture to make the argument that it will not be successful if a person is not also actively engaged in dawah in their own community IRL (in real life).

It’s time to be real with regards to how we learn our deen. There are entire books on how to seek knowledge, its methods, and its virtues. This article is not the place to reinvent the wheel, but to draw focus on two of the biggest problems we all face in our quest to learn the religion,

  1. Intention
  2. Patience

For those of us aspiring to become real students of knowledge, we have to seriously check our intentions. What is the goal of learning? Is it to debate with people? Is it to gain admiration of people? Is it to write books or give talks and impress others?

Or is it seriously about coming closer to Allah, and bringing benefit to others? If this is the case, we have to act like it. We must focus on learning that which will bring us closest to Allah. The example of Quran has been mentioned in this article a few times, let’s look at how this example applies.

Some people caught up in the allure of just “seeking knowledge” for the sake of knowledge will always exert themselves in finding loopholes to justify whatever they are doing. If, for example, you try to bring them back to the basics like focusing on the Quran, they will research and research until they find an example of one scholar who couldn’t correctly read with tajweed, or one scholar out of thousand upon thousands who didn’t actually finish memorizing Quran. We have to be willing to step back and assess ourselves, and see if we are willing to put in the hard work into the basics – which may be boring – in order to get to the stage of being able to properly study the subjects we may be more interested in.

To do the basics takes patience, and we have to be very real with ourselves regarding our goals. Are we going to become scholars? Do we have the skill set for it? Put it this way, if you are faltering in regards to your secular education, and you cannot keep up with your classes or make good grades – why would it all of a sudden change at an Islamic university? That’s a very tough truth we have to face. Do you have the time and ability to actually set aside 6-8 years (at the minimum) to actually study full time?

It is nearly impossible to be a full time secular student, or a full time employee, and a full time student at the same time. If you are going to be studying part time, are you ready to face the fact that most likely you will not become a scholar or big student of knowledge? If that is the case, are you ready to focus yourself on becoming a productive community member, maybe a good khateeb, teach good halaqahs, make the avenues available for others to learn, do community work, and fulfill the other roles our ummah needs? We definitely need more scholars, no doubt. But what we do not need is people who fool themselves into thinking they will be scholars, and not only miss that goal, but have missed out on helping the ummah in other ways as well.

Are you willing to focus on learning that which is most essential to you (and not necessarily what you are most interested in learning)? Let me give an example of something that some of us ‘part time’ students fall into. Someone may not have the ability to study full time, but wants to learn Arabic. This is a good goal. They will dedicate 2-3 years of their life spending all their free time studying sarf, nahw, balaghah, and other grammatical sciences in extremely great detail. But after 2-3 years they are only now at the level of reading basic Islamic texts that could have been covered in English already.

It’s important to realistically identify what stage you want to reach. There is nothing wrong with becoming a knowledgeable, practicing Muslim – not everyone is cut out to be a scholar. How many people spend 5-6 years of their life ‘chasing the dream’ and not doing anything else with their time, only to be now hitting their 30’s without any true Islamic education or even secular education to show for it? Many people are just “waiting to go overseas” or “go study” and they bide their time not doing anything – not memorizing Quran, not studying with the Imams in their communities, and not even going to college and at least getting a solid secular degree! People like this after 5 years are still studying, discussing, and debating the exact same things they were 5 years prior without any progress.

The path of seeking knowledge does not have to culminate in being a scholar or da’ee only as many people assume. If people in the ummah were dedicated to learning, and becoming practicing Muslims, imagine how our communities would be. Imagine that all the doctors, lawyers, teachers, and businessmen were all practicing Muslims – having taqwa of Allah in raising their families, in teaching their kids, in spending their wealth, in volunteering their time, and dealing with each other. What kind of a community would that be? How would it be to go to that masjid where these people are? The entire knowledge level and practice of the whole community would shoot through the roof, and you would have dedicated members of the ummah helping each other out.

Once we identify a tangible goal to reach, we have to work to get there, and supplicate to Allah (swt) to not only allow us to be carriers of the knowledge, but those who act on what we learn. Looking at what this takes should humble us in regards to embarking upon what we want to achieve. It should increase our respect for those students of knowledge who have dedicated years of their lives studying, and are now active in teaching the deen. We should grow in our respect for our local imams who are often neglected and overlooked. What we learn should nourish our hearts. If we are questioned later about what we learned and why, we should be able to answer appropriately. Before reading a book, before listening to a lecture, we should ask ourselves why we are doing it. After we finish, we should ask ourselves what we learned from it that will benefit us in the akhirah, what we gained from it that we can pass on to others, and benefit the people with.

We all want to become more knowledgeable of our deen, but we have to be true to ourselves, and our sincerity to Allah(swt) in what we’re trying to get out of what we learn if we want to be successful.

As a final note, one important narration must be mentioned from Sufyaan ath-Thawree,

“We began seeking knowledge for other than the sake of Allah, but knowledge refused to be sought for other than Allah’s sake”

Even though many of us may start out with mixed intentions, or our intentions may change as time goes on, as long as we keep working, then insha’Allah Allah(swt) will give us the tawfeeq to correct our intentions and become true carriers of what we are learning.

I hope that this article is not misconstrued, and I hope that it doesn’t discourage anyone from seeking knowledge – that is definitely not the goal. The goal is rather to serve as a reminder of our approach to seeking knowledge, and making sure we are doing it in the proper manner, and with the proper intentions. No matter what stage of life we are in, we can begin seeking knowledge, even in old age – but we have to do our utmost to do it with the proper etiquettes.

Alhamdulillah, many avenues have opened up for us to learn Islam. We can take online programs, distance education programs, weekend seminars, summer intensives, halaqahs, and even short intensives overseas that last for a few weeks. The opportunities are all there for us to learn, but we have to seize them, and make the best use of them that we possibly can so that we can learn more and more of what brings us closer to Allah(swt).

In closing I wish to direct everyone to this book in pdf format, The Pitfalls in the Quest for Knowledge by Salmaan al-‘Awdah which says a lot of what I wanted to in a far more eloquent manner – I just wish I had found this book before writing this article and not after :)

Some related resources,

Omar Usman is a founding member of MuslimMatters, Qalam Institute, Muslim Strategic Initiative, and Debt Free Muslims. He is a regular khateeb and has served in different administrative capacities in various national and local Islamic organizations. You can follow him on Twitter @ibnabeeomar. Check out his latest project at Fiqh of Social Media.

98 Comments

98 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Joyhamza

    March 10, 2008 at 10:39 AM

    beautiful article akhi !!

  2. Avatar

    abu ameerah

    March 10, 2008 at 10:44 AM

    it took me a long time to scroll all the way to the bottom of this article…my hand got tired in the process. kudos on a long article! :)

  3. Avatar

    Yasir Qadhi

    March 10, 2008 at 11:12 AM

    Excellent as usual. Well said.

    I hope this article benefits all those who read it (myself included), and also reaches out to those who need to read it.

    There are some points I wish to add, but as usual don’t have time now, insha Allah soon.

  4. Avatar

    True Virtues

    March 10, 2008 at 12:05 PM

    Jazakallahu Khair! This article was something that is much needed. I am going to share this with my brothers inshAllah.

    Alhamdulillah it came at a critical time for me, and again Jazakallahu Khair for posting it.

  5. Avatar

    Dawud Israel

    March 10, 2008 at 12:10 PM

    Big up bro for this! Masha Allah, mad respect!
    This needs more attention and discussion.

    The whole “Talibil-Ilm” culture/clique” is a major turnoff for me. Sincere brothers start attending different masjids because of these groups where it’s really easy to feel like an outsider.

    The other thing is the obsession with Ilm is kind of getting carried away. I mean, this is all some Muslim concern themselves with–they don’t want to get a job or nothing, just go overseas and become a scholar. And they think that once they have collected this huge amount of knowledge they can act on it by teaching it (i.e. teach others to give to the poor, but not do so themselves).

    This is stupid because your going to die one day and it could be today. Shouldn’t you be focusing less on learning Ilm and more on actually implementing that knowledge?
    How would you want to go out?

    Ilm becomes a responsibility on the person who finds it. Not many understand that. Everyone wants to learn Arabic when they can get the same depth in English–Allah has made the way to Him easy.
    My own example is I bought the 2 volumes of Riyadh us Saliheen. I read one hadith out of that book and I haven’t read anymore until I can implement it into my daily schedule.

  6. Avatar

    Yaser Birjas

    March 10, 2008 at 12:13 PM

    Jazaka’Allahu khayran, a beautiful reminder of a serious threat…

  7. Avatar

    Amad

    March 10, 2008 at 1:06 PM

    It doesn’t help, of course, to go to a conference, and have sisters sending up questions like “are you looking for a second wife?” in the Q/A portion of the talk to the Shaykh

    Since I personally know a few “stars” (may Allah preserve them), this issue is particularly important.

    Sisters, STOP with the ga-ga’ing over students of knowledge. And STOP with the marriage proposals under the guise of questions. And STOP being at your sweetest-best when talking to these shayookh on the phone… usually their “regular” wife is around and she doesn’t like it one bit when your questions start turning irrelevant!

    Ok, I might be a bit jealous (humor alert), but really these Shayookh are as much humans as the non-Shayookh. Which means they will not be perfect husbands to one wife, let alone 2 or more (like all of us husbands). And also get over the romanticizing of being married to “the shaykh”. There is only so much thrill in having your hubby rock the audience… as soon as he comes home, he is just the regular ole’ husband. And if you AGREE to become a second(ary) wife, then don’t blame “the shaykh” when he treats you as such. Because remember he ALREADY had one wife until you offered yourself so generously.

    Now I am not blaming everything on sisters, but really a man can only take so much of emotional black-mailing ;) Can you imagine the fitnah of having sisters line up to become your 2-4 wives? It is very significant, as well as being quite halal.

    Again, I remind you that the practical side of being a second(ary) wife, or the wife who begged to get just a little of “her shaykh” is VERY DIFFERENT from the romanticism of marrying a man who can give you a fatwa on call. Yes, he can tell you when you can start or stop praying, but when he isn’t around for the majority of your married life, then I think you wouldn’t have minded one bit searching for those answers online.

    In conclusion, CHILL OUT… there are plenty of non-Shayookh who could make much better husbands (starting with being ABLE to give you much more time). In fact, before you start stalking “your Shaykh”, talk to his existing wife for a reality check!

    P.S. Even though I am not a real “Sheikh”, I am hoping that my family name of Sheikh will work instead?? So sisters, I am taking “secret” questions by email these day…If you can’t get a real Shaykh, maybe you’ll compromise for a fake one?? :)

  8. Avatar

    iMuslim

    March 10, 2008 at 1:17 PM

    I don’t have time to read the whole way through right now (I’m actually in the library – meant to be reading about Biology!) but I did find this part a little shocking:

    Even women are a huge fitnah for the aspiring student of knowledge. The respected males in western culture are the ones who get all the girls. For many of such aspiring ’students’ the girl factor is definitely a big plus in the path of seeking knowledge. It doesn’t help, of course, to go to a conference, and have sisters sending up questions like “are you looking for a second wife?” in the Q/A portion of the talk to the Shaykh. Many think that by becoming a ’student,’ marriage prospects will flow forth without end and they will somehow be forced to struggle to narrow themselves down to only 4 lucky women.

    As you guys would say: “Fo’ real, dawg?” (ahem)

    Seriously… I’ve never witnessed such behaviour from my fellow sisters! It would be totally embarrassing for everyone – including audience members… maybe it’s a US Muslim thing. Y’know, us Brits are far more reserved. ;)

  9. Avatar

    Amad

    March 10, 2008 at 1:24 PM

    Sr iMuslim, I hate to break it to you, but things are WORSE in UK… TRUST ME ON THIS. I know what I am saying.

    Think about it… how would you know Sr. iMuslim? The questions are all secretly transmitted on little pieces of paper. While you were naively assuming that the sister, all hyped about deen, was asking about a difficult technical issue in Usool al-Fiqh, she was actually dreaming of how cool it would be to be asked, “sister, can you ask your husband this question for me”. What a high!

    P.S. I hope that this one issue doesn’t become the focus of the many much more important things that Br. Omar’s article brought up. Sorry to have diverted it a bit.

  10. Avatar

    Dawud Israel

    March 10, 2008 at 1:34 PM

    LOL Amad man you are so classic! Your married to that’s the funny part.

    Vat an uncle! :)

    Oye Chachoooooo

  11. AnonyMouse

    AnonyMouse

    March 10, 2008 at 2:05 PM

    Haven’t read the post yet, but after seeing the comments, here’s what I have to say:

    It is NOT FUNNY or cool for the Sheikh’s wife or his family to know that he’s getting proposals from random women supposedly asking him “innocent” questions.
    Also, when you’re visiting the sheikh (WITH YOUR HUSBAND) for marriage counselling, please do not hit on the sheikh.
    Don’t think that we don’t know who you are or where you live. And please don’t be so incredibly stupid as to think you can suck up to the sheikh’s wife and daughter after having tried to land him for your own.

  12. AnonyMouse

    AnonyMouse

    March 10, 2008 at 2:05 PM

    (Have I given away too much info? Hmmmm…)

  13. Avatar

    Zaynab

    March 10, 2008 at 2:07 PM

    ah, JazakAllah khayr for this article! As I started getting more involved in the Muslim community (ESPECIALLY the internet community) I was constantly shocked by this “student-of-knowledge” phenomenon!

    You raised a lot of good points but one that I think is super dangerous is the following:

    “One sign of this is the rapid rise in IOD. What’s IOD? Internet-Only-Dawah. We have so many people in our communities who shun the masjid and the community, and instead engage themselves with only internet dawah.”

    Thanks for the article. And I really enjoy your writing style, your references and examples are easy to relate to.

  14. AnonyMouse

    AnonyMouse

    March 10, 2008 at 2:19 PM

    Okay, am halfway through the article (masha’Allah, it’s LONG!) and I thought of the perfect ikhlaas check:

    If you REALLY want to be a student of knowledge and benefit this Ummah, then are you willing to go live in a tiny backwater town (Fort Mac, anyone?) where you will have almost ZERO chance of being recognized and popular outside of said backwater town? Are you willing to dedicate your life for the sake of Allah to this tiny community and give them not just the ‘ilm you’ve been blessed with, but the contents of your pocket and your heart to boot? Are you willing to grow up with the people of the community, to laugh and cry and learn WITH them?

    If you know that the dunya benefits are minimal, possibly non-existent, but are still willing to do it… then may Allah keep you strong and sincere, and successful in both dunya and aakhirah, ameen!

  15. Avatar

    WM

    March 10, 2008 at 2:34 PM

    I’ve always wondered; what if someone has no intention of helping out his community? What if he does it purely for himself? Is it wrong if he seeks knowledge for no other reason than to have answers to the questions he asks himself, and to be able to refute doubts about certain issues etc?

    • Avatar

      Not saying

      June 9, 2011 at 4:53 PM

      In my opinion-absolutely search out knowledge for the sake of Allah. As for helping out the community, that’s better, so if you have any spare time why not get an unspeakable reward for helping others? You don’t have to necessarily be a sheikh or well known to give advice to brothers who ask, brothers around you, to enjoin on right and forbid what is wrong.

  16. Avatar

    Amad

    March 10, 2008 at 2:46 PM

    Dawud, please do not divulge my secret personal information for public consumption. Those details are not that important.

    Let the question emails keep coming. Ignore Uncle Dawood.

    On a serious note, Sr. Anonymouse, the issue with leading an isolated, low-key life, is that the Ummah is in a HUGE need for people of knowledge. You know back in Houston, I used to have lengthy arguments/discussions with Sh. Waleed about spending more time with us. We were friends when he was relatively unknown in the village of Clear Lake (well its a suburb of Houston). As he got more known (famous), we started seeing him less, and for me it was a loss of both Shaykh and friend (in terms of time). He was my next-door neighbor, we used to drive to the Masjid for almost every prayer, and then after prayer, we would sometimes talk for hours.

    But in the end I realized he was right. His benefit was not only for me, my community or even Houston. It was for everyone in America and beyond. So, its a balance. The fear of popularity shouldn’t become an impediment to disseminating benefit. The former should be checked, not the latter.

    P.S. Sr. Mouse, you wouldn’t be talking about your dad, would you?? And since you are going to be getting your own student of knowledge, this may haunt you once again! :)

  17. Avatar

    Elzaharna

    March 10, 2008 at 2:51 PM

    Masha’Allah! You put all my thoughts into words Ibn Abee Omar. May Allah reward you for this much needed article. I wonder if there is a way to make it shorter so that it reaches the people that actually matter.

    lol to the side discussion…don’t get carried away Anonymouse :)!

  18. Avatar

    Navaid Aziz

    March 10, 2008 at 3:27 PM

    As salaam ‘alaikum,

    After reading your original draft I didn’t think you could improve it too much more, but maa shallah you did a fantastic job Omar. Jazaaka Allahu khairan.

    A timely read indeed. Only if this could be mass distributed on the campuses of certain universities ;)

    May Allah grant us beneficial knowledge, righteous actions, and most importantly sincerity. Aameen.

    Baaraka Allahu feekum.

  19. Avatar

    Asim

    March 10, 2008 at 4:21 PM

    An insincere intention is bad enough, but it is something one can introspect over and if one finds one’s intention awry, one can (with Allah’s tawfeeq) correct it.

    Even more troubling is the case when someone believes that digging deep into esoteric and/or disputed issues (to an exaggerated degree, and at the cost of making time to learn the basics first), classifying other Muslims as guided or misguided, limiting oneself to a very small circle of like-minded friends (at the cost of withdrawing from the general community), etc., are actually GOOD THINGS in the Deen.

    How can such a person’s mindset be changed?

    Wassalam.

  20. AnonyMouse

    AnonyMouse

    March 10, 2008 at 5:00 PM

    The fear of popularity shouldn’t become an impediment to disseminating benefit.
    True… I guess it goes back to the discussion we had here. Although, I don’t think that it’s soooo much a matter of fear of popularity, as it is an issue of those who could benefit from you most. I suppose it all depends on the individual and their own preferences when it comes to Da’wah – some prefer being low-key and others recognize that there are some things needed on a larger scale.

    Sr. Mouse, you wouldn’t be talking about your dad, would you??
    *Cough* I think I’ve said enough already… :p

    And since you are going to be getting your own student of knowledge, this may haunt you once again!
    Just what I needed this morning… MORE to start getting panic attacks about! But yeah, I guess I shouldn’t put my boxing gloves away just yet, just in case I need’em :D

  21. Avatar

    Hazem

    March 10, 2008 at 5:37 PM

    Subhanallah. This article pretty much embodies alot of my fears (for everyone in general, but particularly me). I know a few people who have actually gone overseas to study Islam, but for one reason or another decided not to pursue the memorization of the Quran. Instead, as you mentioned, they chose to study more controversial subjects and came back giving “this is what my sheikh taught me” as their daleels. One actually learned arabic grammar, yet still had no interest in memorizing the Quran! May Allah help us all and may he reward you Br. Omar for posting this article.

    P.S. I am literally lolling at the side conversation going on.

  22. Avatar

    sincethestorm

    March 10, 2008 at 5:44 PM

    I really love this article because there is a new trend among the youth about being the next shaykh for the wrong reason. Its ridiculuous how people have raised the status of the shaykhs and praise them endlessly to their face. It is exaggerated and I wish some of the shaykhs would come out and speak about.

    I have seen this with the sisters ie girls. I say girls because most of them are in their teens and early 20’s. There is no maturity there so sometimes I wonder if it is entirely their fault. The shaykhs are older men and they should know better. If something is a potential fitnah, you figure out ways to avoid it.

    I remember Sh. Adly dropping this comment in his lecture that he was not looking for a 2nd wife. Word spreads and people figure out where he stood. Sh. Shareef has said on numerous occasions that getting a 2nd wife is not something he would do because of how it would psychologically affect his wife. So the point is if you want to get the message across, its not that hard.

    There should be some blame placed on the shaykhs. If they see it as a problem then they can speak about this ‘unwanted’ behavior and say how they find it inappropriate. They have taken the means and then certain things will not happen. Its really not that hard!

  23. Avatar

    Moon

    March 10, 2008 at 5:47 PM

    Brother Amad your generalisation shocks me, because there are situations where sisters do ‘throw’ themselves at students of knowledge, please dont mark everyone with the same brush.

    There are situations where the second(ary) wife as you put it rather sarcastically i may add did not send questions offering herself on a plate but was approached from the man.

    I find your post very disrespectful, yes these situations occur but to mock the second(ary) wife as a general is very rude.

    “Sr iMuslim, I hate to break it to you, but things are WORSE in UK… TRUST ME ON THIS. I know what I am saying”

    really? i am sure you dont live in the UK??? I have been to both sides and lets just say i dont agree!

  24. Avatar

    ibnabeeomar

    March 10, 2008 at 6:15 PM

    jazakallahu khayr to everyone for the feedback.

    i gotta say, the whole wives side discussion is proof in point of the article – skip the main topic and focus on that one part ;)

    what i mentioned in the article was just one incident that i knew of happening, and how some men react to things like that – so inshallah lets leave it at that and not make generalizations about sisters, or use it as a platform to find another wife like certain members of the MM staff ;)

  25. Avatar

    talib

    March 10, 2008 at 6:22 PM

    jazak allah khair for this artcle…it was very informative and makes a person review himself…if he/she was engaged in some of these acts.

    A good book i read on ways and character of seeking knowledge is “hilyat talib ul-ilm” written by sheikh bakr abu zaid rahimuhu allah…i dont if this book has a english translation but it guides a beginner in how to seek knowledge, books to read, character around people and scholars.

  26. Avatar

    Amad

    March 10, 2008 at 6:24 PM

    salam Sr. “Moon”… of course there are exceptions. My advice was general, to those who think its so very cool to do so. And that it is not as cool as it sounds. And that sisters need to think ten times before agreeing to such arrangements. For some, it is perfectly fine and they may have best of intentions, but it doesn’t make it appropriate for the general audience.

    I am not from UK, but my friends (who are shayookh) have gone to UK. I think I’d trust them more than I’d trust what the audience thinks.

    My comments were part humor and part serious. Anyways, if I offended you or anyone, I am very sorry.

    Let’s move on to the main topic before Omar bans me from this post :)

  27. Avatar

    Hid

    March 10, 2008 at 6:33 PM

    SubhanAllah, Sheikh or Alim, i would neverrrrrrrr propose a man. Shewwwwwwwwwww…I cant even imagine any sister doing that- I guess most sisters who do propose in question sheet are just playing around, which is wrong in itself. Subhan’Allah

  28. Avatar

    sincethestorm

    March 10, 2008 at 6:36 PM

    Moon,
    Alot of sisters want to be 2nd wives for the sake of the limelight. Its sad but true.

    The article is well written and the message is important.
    1. Live your life in the realm of reality and take advantage of the resources/time before you.
    2. Use the talents Allah SWT gave you and do things for the community. Not everyone is going to be a scholar and not everyone needs to be one. There is a lot of work that needs to be done. This is not meant to be disrespectful to scholars.
    3. Always check your intentions.

  29. Avatar

    Hid

    March 10, 2008 at 6:45 PM

    I hope sister’ brains are functionally properly when they decide to ‘hit’ on Sheikh, Why would a religious man marry a flirtatious sister?

    k back to the topic of article, I think its EXTREMELY difficult to keep your intentions pure. Being a student of knowledge and memorizing Quran full time, keeping my intentions pure is the biggest striving i have to do on daily basis.

    My mother went around and told everyone how i was memorizing the Quran, so next thing you know if i ever went anywhere, they would start praising me with the words , that Allah knows and i know that i didnt deserve at all. All the unnecessary attention was making me so scared (it was constantly reminding me about hadith where people will come with mountain size of deeds but it will turn in to dust) So what was the result? I stopped memorizing for a while, until the people started thinking that i’m over that phase…However, i started memorizing again and this time i told my mom/teacher not to say a word to anybody or else…

  30. Avatar

    Moon

    March 10, 2008 at 6:50 PM

    Br Amad and sincethestorm

    Believe me i know there are sisters who do behave ike this and i have seen and experienced it myself from the opposite side, so i have not misunderstood any of what was written and i agree it does take place. There is a very fine line between mocking the ‘propsals etc’ that go on and the second(ary) wife in herself.

    I also agree that the Shayookh need to act responsibly.

  31. Avatar

    aarij

    March 10, 2008 at 7:19 PM

    Very nice article.

    Before I started the AlHuda curriculum (have I told you how much I love it?), I would probably have fallen into one of the afore-mentioned groups. But subhan Allah, the Qur’an has a powerful affect on any person…and it was only after I started studying Qur’an did I realize how little I knew and how insignificant my knowledge is.

    In my opinion, no one can seriously consider themselves a “student of knowledge” in the West until they are:

    1. praying Fajr and Isha at the masjid consistently (like 5 out of 7 times a week or something).

    2. fulfilling the right of tilawah of the Quran i.e. reciting it properly, understanding its meaning and acting upon it.

    WAllahu alim. If someone’s is doing this (or striving towards it), then in sha Allah their seeking of knowledge will bring massive fruit.

  32. Avatar

    Aboo Uthmaan

    March 10, 2008 at 9:24 PM

    Great article as always!

    I remember once at the closing of a four day seminar Br. Abu Usaamah at-Thahabi advising the attendees to learn the principles of the religion and to attach themselves to them as opposed to “personalities”, and of course the wisdom is such a saying is evident.

    That said, I would like to see the “students of knowledge”, those who Allaah has blessed to be able to study at the Islamic universities or under noteworthy scholars, address the issue of them being hyped to such celeb like statuses and for them to evidently act as a bridge between us and the major scholars.

    Of course, failure to stop the attachment to and hyping up of “personalities” and the exaggeration of them is not only detrimental to those who are guilty as charged, but is also detrimental to those being hyped, this is because many spiritual diseases can kick in, thus destroying their sincerity in calling to Allaah and the life thereof .

  33. Avatar

    UmA

    March 10, 2008 at 11:30 PM

    Just wanted to say it’s really encouraging to see endorsements from the senior brothers about this article. jazakumullah khayr.

  34. Avatar

    bedou

    March 10, 2008 at 11:34 PM

    I just wanted to add that this was a gutsy article to right, and could’ve gone very very wrong. MashaAllaah akhee, you handled it with aplomb.

    May Allaah ‘azza wa jal reward you for that.

  35. Avatar

    Kamran

    March 11, 2008 at 12:08 AM

    well said Bedou. MashaAllah, a very good article and it was much needed! Jazakumullahu Khairan.

  36. Avatar

    Aalia

    March 11, 2008 at 12:41 AM

    Asalaam 3alaikum wa ra7matullahi wa barakato!

    I came across this site while looking for other Muslims’ opinions on different matters. This article (and many others I have read so far) were very enjoyable to read through. Masha’Allah. Please keep up the good work!

    BTW I totally know about the “dawah online” thing cause I used to go to “Islamic” chatrooms on Yahoo and listen to the brothers on the mic arguing about Fiqh matters that even I already knew (which is kinda bad since I am a new Muslim and have only recently started reading knowledgable material). I call them Yahoo Muftis and Mufti al-Mic. LoL! SubhanAllah. Anyways barakAllahufeekum wa salaam 3alaikum wa ra7matullahi wa barakato!

  37. Avatar

    Manas Shaikh

    March 11, 2008 at 1:06 AM

    This is a wonderful post. Made me feel sorry for how little I know. IA I shall learn more.

  38. Avatar

    zfnd

    March 11, 2008 at 1:11 AM

    mashallah

    This article was well written to the point the ‘2nd wives’ talk didn’t distract me…

    jazakallahkhair ibnabeeomar for the wonderful reminder

  39. Avatar

    Amar

    March 11, 2008 at 2:55 AM

    Jazak’Allahu Khair Bro,

    Masha’Allah you hit the nail on the head.

    Akhee, I think it all has to do with intention and maturity; yes I understand intention is difficult, as even Sufyaan ath-Thawree said: “I did not try to rectify anything that was more difficult upon me than my intention.”

    However if somewhere deep in the heart there is intention to come closer to Allaah, then it will manifest itself, as one of the salaf said:

    “Whoever seeks knowledge with true sincerity, in order to benefit the servants of Allaah with it and benefit himself, being unknown will be more beloved to him then being arrogant. This is what will cause him to increase in humility with regard to himself, exertion with regard to worship, fear from Allaah, longing for Him, and humbleness in front of the people – not caring for what goes on in the day and night of this worldly life.”

    However when we find self proclaimed “students of knowledge” arguing over minor fiqh issues without even comprehending the usool of fiqh, or behaving harshly and intolerant with servants of Allaah (not knowing that Allaah described the believers as being “compassionate among themselves” [48:29] because he hardly reads the Book of Alalah) then we have to wonder that perhaps Allaah has kept them at this level and has not truly advanced them in knowledge.

    There is so much that can be said about this topic and it is unfortunate to see the time, energy and zeal of the youth wasted by studying and arguing over advanced topics when they have not grasped the sciences and can hardly articulate the Words of Allaah properly.

  40. Avatar

    Amar

    March 11, 2008 at 3:11 AM

    SubhanAllah, I say all of this with a smile, but about the “sisters” issue; first, some advice to the brothers:

    I find trying to memorize the Qur’an and its tafseer, and studying the knowledge more delightful to my heart then anything else. Allah blessed me with a wonderful wife and children, and I give them my love and time and their due rights – but as soon as the family is asleep, I cherish the left over time so that I can increase in knowledge. The very thought of another wife taking some of my time that can be devoted to studying causes me grief!

    And to the sisters – cut the brothers some slack! It is bad enough your parents typically only want doctors, now all you want are shuyookh! You and your husband can both be in the pursuit of knowledge together. :-)

  41. Avatar

    Abu Zaynab

    March 11, 2008 at 5:54 AM

    Very nice!

    This piece was well overdue. The “pop star” status of shaykhs as well as their students needs to be eliminated from our communities.

    Just like you mentioned in the article, the power of being a “shaykh” can be intoxicating!

    I must say that our ulema need to really do/say something about this phenomena! For anyone who has gone to study knows very well the problems that come with studying, especially if done overseas. Visa problems, threats of being thrown out of some countries as a sharia student, hustle and bustle of country X, as well as many other issues that plague a student of knowledge ,especially if it is not his country of origin, is often times NOT FUN!

    We need to give up these romanticized ideas of moving to country X and finding the study circles going well into the night, because that is a fallacy most of the time.

    Likewise, our shuyukh have to stop catering to that behavior! Scholarship should be respected, but our shuyukh need to likewise respect themselves!

    Oh yea…and the women thing is real! I remember reading the remarks of one young woman about a certain shaykh in the west known for giving eloquent lectures…something to the effect that “if he was married to three women, she would die to be his fourth!”

    She could have been sincere, but something tells me she was more caught up in the prestige than anything else!

  42. Avatar

    ibn 'abd al-wadud

    March 11, 2008 at 7:33 AM

    This is the perfect kick up back side iv been needing for a long long time. May allah save you from what I have been doing for the last year or so. ameen.

  43. Avatar

    Kamran

    March 11, 2008 at 10:14 AM

    as salamu`alaykum,

    I agree with what you’re saying Abu Zaynab. However, I’d also like point out the difference b/w “respecting” the students of knowledge that we have and making them “pop stars”. I agree, treating them like “pop stars” is harmful yet I do believe that certain level of respect should be given to these Shuyukh, for they’re what we have as our “guides”, whether we like it or not.

    Especially for the youth, they need to have a certain level of respect for the shuyukh and not to treat them like their homies :-).

    It’s a fine line but it has to be maintained and it is for the good of our own youth here.

    wallahu `alam
    Kamran

  44. Avatar

    Hassan

    March 11, 2008 at 10:21 AM

    Pakistani “Sheikhs” (the caste, e.g Amad Sheikh) are notorious for being miser. So ladies please make sure your not marrying the miser one. :D

    (PS: Amad Sheikh is very generous Sheikh)

  45. Avatar

    Abu Zaynab

    March 11, 2008 at 2:53 PM

    Dear Br. Kamran,

    I hear exactly what you’re saying. There are plenty of shuyukh that demand our respect. Those tireless souls that work to benefit our communities need to be given their props.

    However, there is the occasional “village idiot” that needs to get out of the way and let the real shaykhs grab the mic.

    It wasn’t my intention to say that the shuyukh didn’t deserve respect, but at the same time some of those we read about or hear about need to just know their place and be quite.

    It kind of reminds me of a statement that was made by the late Sh. Muhammad Al Ghazzali who said, “There was a time when we wanted one champion to stand up and speak in the name of Islam! Nowadays, I want everyone who speaks in the name of Islam to just be quiet!”

    Abu Zaynab

  46. Avatar

    Abu Aaliyah

    March 11, 2008 at 3:23 PM

    Mashallah. A beneficial article, with much to reflect upon. Jazakallahu khayran.

  47. Avatar

    1/2AWiseMan

    March 11, 2008 at 6:56 PM

    The article itself is absolutely amazing! MashaAllah.

    This phenomenon of calling oneself a student of knowledge without knowing jack about the fundamentals is surprisingly becoming more prevalent. Many brothers n sisters skip over the Quran, the various sciences, etc. and jump to surface issues without understanding the depth of Islam.

    May Allah bless us with the understanding of the deen and fulfill the responsibilities of a student of knowledge.

    All in all – outstanding article brother Omar and jazakallahukhair all for the beneficial comments.

  48. Avatar

    ibnabeeomar

    March 12, 2008 at 1:57 AM

    btw sh. yasir, we’re definitely looking forward to your comments :)

  49. Avatar

    Omer Choudry

    March 12, 2008 at 2:17 AM

    Why did Muslims coin this term “student of knowledge”? Its bad english. A student is by definition someone who willfully acquires knowledge. To use the term “student of knowledge” is redundant in meaning, you cant possibly be a student of anything but knowledge.

  50. Avatar

    Qas

    March 12, 2008 at 2:50 AM

    I agree with Omer. On a semi-related note, for some reason, it seems that there is extravagant use of what I like to call “translated” English among some so-called “students of knowledge” to add legitimacy to their claims. A simple sentence like “you should not do this” becomes “verily, it is forbidden to indulge in this activity ya ikhwan”. Have any other brothers/sisters noticed this as well?

  51. Avatar

    Asim

    March 12, 2008 at 12:43 PM

    Qas,

    I think “student of knowledge” came about as a translation of “Taalibul Ilm”. Had the word “Taalib” been translated not as “student”, but as “seeker”, the resulting phrase, “Seeker of knowledge”, would have avoided the redundancy you point out–even though it too is rather cumbersome.

  52. Avatar

    Dawud Israel

    March 12, 2008 at 1:58 PM

    “Brother’s we should GAIN knowledge!!!”

    As if knowledge is a commodity you can own and collect.

    uhhh…whatever happened to saying “learning”?

    Gain knowledge–>materialistic connotation lacking the inner aspects of Ilm…hunter-gatherer all over again eh?

    Student OF Knowledge–>as if you could be a student of anything else BUT knowledge!

    Learning–>always a student by default since it’s based on an inner act–to learn from what you have learned–learn learn learn

    Ahh what’s the use…no one want to “gain knowledge” in the first place merely say they are…

  53. Avatar

    ExEx Blogger

    March 12, 2008 at 8:57 PM

    Ibnabeeomar – You Gave It! Especially the part about those that don’t even know how to read Quran.

    Yes, By God, I’ve witnessed students of knowledge hooking up with girls over the internet. Very sad.

  54. Avatar

    ExEx Blogger

    March 12, 2008 at 8:58 PM

    BTW – How comical is that the idea that malicious activity lead to suspension of the site when it was ONLY that MM outgrew themselves.

    You wouldn’t fear malicious activity unless you had reasons.

    Hope you find a new webserver.

  55. Avatar

    Hid

    March 12, 2008 at 10:28 PM

    I am waiting for Sheikh Yasir Qadhi’ feedback on this issue, would love to hear what he has to say on this topic.

  56. Avatar

    Faiez

    March 13, 2008 at 12:10 AM

    What I find interesting though is that an individual won’t reach this “popularity” amongst people if they don’t have the intrinsic need to please Allah (swt) and have the actual desire and interest in the knowledge.

    It’s as though the ‘scholars of the dollar’ end up either losing popularity or never getting it the first place. This could possibly one way Allah (swt) protects his religion. Wa Allahu ‘Alam

  57. Avatar

    Amar

    March 13, 2008 at 8:04 AM

    “Scholars of the dollar”! Yes!, I love it :-)

  58. Avatar

    Yus from the Nati

    March 13, 2008 at 11:25 AM

    Masha’Allah

    A “keepin it trill” article.

    However, unfortunately it’s hard to shake my “dream world” of dippin out of this place after dental school to sit with the “kibaar”.

    Jokes aside (although I wasn’t joking above)…

    A literal return/reviving of the Quran & Sunna is much needed among the cognizant.

    Those that are intellectually aware of what’s happening and want to to do something, but are still lazy as hell for no reason except Shaytaan (auzobillah) and his own soul.

    I’ll always remember a brother from Azhar saying along the lines of…”You want to get to the point where you ‘see’ the Quran in action in your daily life” Where you understand what Allah is saying in a depth that the stories, parables, advice, remembrance is all around you.

    May Allah guide us all…makes sense why we ask Allah of this guidance 17 (or more) times a day.

  59. Pingback: muslimmatters.org » And One Year Ago, MM was Born

  60. Avatar

    Anonymous

    March 13, 2008 at 11:39 PM

    Assalamualaikum wa rahmathullah,

    InshaAllah this message reaches you all in the best of your health and i’maan.

    JazakAllah khair for posting such an informative article.
    The perspective is rare to find yet much needed in the craze of today’s mispercepted notion of Islam.

    I am a student in a secular school and find it hard enough to work while going to school without comprimising my grades. However when I heard of Al-Maghrib I was instantly attracted to everything about Al-Maghrib and after a long battle over what is my priority finally I use taking Al-Maghrib as a way to motivate me up for my secular studies, and hamdullillah it works.

    In my situation, even though I am a full-time student at a university, the knowledge that Al-maghrib presents is basically a grab it now or lose it option…so I try to grab it …wa allahu aa’lam

    However I found the talks about sisters in marriage and shyookhs quiet amusing.
    I myself used to be interested or fascinated rather, by the idea of marrying a sheikh. I don’t think there is anything wrong with that, given that intentions are for the sake of knowledge, guidance that one might gain from such a companionship.
    From Al-Maghrib I have learnt that in the times of early Muslims. Many sahabah would marry multiple times amongst their social circle. After Umar (ra) died one of the sahabah proposed his wife consistently and she consistently said no when asked the sahabah why he was so persistent he repied in order to learn how U’mar used to worship his Lord. This shows us the worth of a pure relationship based solely for the pleasure of Allah.

    I truly believe that many sisters, if not all, who do want to be second or third wife it is out of this intense love for attaining spiritual guidance, and what better way to have it than from a spouse…wa Allahu aa’lam

    However, I also agree with the brothers. Now I am engaged to somebody who is not a sheikh but I cannot see anybody else as my husband…the aklaaq that one possess subhanAllah turn out to be the highlights of the person even if the person is not your typical sheikh, the famous brother, or the most active member of MSA…actually it turns out that it doesn’t really even matter as long as one has the love and potential to learn about the message of the Rasul (saws).

    May Allah guide us all to the straight path…aa’meen.

    -barakullah feekum

  61. Avatar

    Abu khuzaimah

    March 14, 2008 at 2:14 AM

    The problem is not only ‘bottom up” but “top down” you see students of knowledge completing a 5,6, maybe 7 year course then all of a sudden they are given the title “shaykh” that is not befitting. There has been stories of the ullema crying when being called a sheikh due to the weight in this life and the next that the position carries. And i’m not falling for the its an adabi title, our senior brothers in knowledge should clarify their true status as much as we should refrain from raising them above their level. wa allahu alam

  62. Avatar

    Secrecy

    March 14, 2008 at 6:29 AM

    Asalamu alaykum wa rahmatullah,

    Article was amazing, nice reminder, Anonymous i couldnt agree with you more.

    One lesson i learnt was that i need to focus more on my quran, as that is the real connection with Allah.

    May Allah subhana wa tala make us sincire.

    To be honest i feel sorry for the shieks, women are fitnah (sometimes), may Allah protect me from falling in to the same mess. Regarding the internet dawah thing, yeah i would agree with that, the real dawah is when you have struggle and strive to give the message, internet dawah (its brill im not undermining this) its good but personally it can be done, to actually get out there and face the hardship is the real challenge.

    Ameen

  63. Avatar

    Fudayl ibn 'Ayyad

    March 14, 2008 at 9:35 AM

    If you can be unknown, do so. It doesn’t matter if you are not known and it doesn’t matter if you are not praised. It doesn’t matter if you are blameworthy according to people if you are praiseworthy with Allaah, Mighty and Majestic.

  64. Avatar

    secrecy

    March 14, 2008 at 5:40 PM

    If the whole world hates you, but Allah loves you, then thats enough and be content, but if the whole world loves you but Allah hates you, then thats enough. You are destroyed.

    Our intentions should be solely for Allah, and i think a practical step would be for the shuyook to address this by reminding us of the importance of ikhlaas and have more women scholars, so the women can look up to them.

    Wallahu a’laam

  65. Avatar

    ExEx Blogger

    March 14, 2008 at 9:22 PM

    @ Secrecy

    Allow me to remind you of the hadeeth regarding your first paragraph.

    In Sahih Al Bukhari, the Prophet (Sal Allahu alayhi Wa Sallam) says “When Allah (Sub’haanahu Wa Ta’ala) loves someone he calls Jibreel and Allah then says

    “Ya Jibreel! Inni uhibbu fulan!” “Oh Jibreel! I love such and such a person, so love him!”

    and Allah names that person and then Jibreel loves that person. Then Jibreel calls out to all the angels of the heavens and he says,

    “Allah loves so and so, so love him!”, so all the angels love him. And then Allah places the pleasure of in the hearts of the people towards this person!”

  66. Avatar

    Secrecy

    March 17, 2008 at 9:12 AM

    Jazakallah khair brother, thats the one.

    Powerful message!

  67. Avatar

    usman

    March 17, 2008 at 2:36 PM

    salaam,

    I hope everyone is in the best of health and in the state of ever increasing iman. The article was awsome…really makes me think bout my life…and wat i am doing. may allah help me and all the muslims…

    The intention bit was really important…my question is how do we keep our intention correct all the time…for the ppl who r active and doin islamic stuff in the community…how do we keep our intentions in check…i dont kno…

  68. Avatar

    ibnabeeomar

    March 18, 2008 at 11:23 AM

    usman – i hope someone else can help answer this better. i dont know of a good answer to it other than to stay constant in making dua to Allah (swt) to purify our hearts.

    i have heard many people say that this is something that’s a constant battle with shaytaan. there will never be a 100% answer, that, once you do this your intention will be pure. its a constant struggle – like riyaa, but it comes with the territory of being active.

  69. Avatar

    Aboo Uthmaan

    March 18, 2008 at 10:07 PM

  70. Avatar

    Ridwan

    March 19, 2008 at 11:29 AM

    Mashallah, you bring up good points…I will send this article to my sheikh and see if theres anything wrong with what was said in it, if not, you have benefited me, Jazak Allahu Khairan.

  71. Avatar

    noname555

    March 19, 2008 at 1:16 PM

    Defense of the Students of Knowledge

    First, I would like to congratulate the author of this article for his keen insight and eloquence in the realm of Islamic knowledge. This post is in no way meant to be a criticism on the article itself, but rather a defense for the SOK who strive every day to please Allah (SWT) and face many difficult trials in their life. Throughout the history of time, SOK and Scholars have been victims of persecution through many trials including but not limited torture and jailing like Imam Ahmed (Ra). Contemporary SOK go through less physical trials but many psychologically taxing ones. Imams today are treated the worst out of various leaders of religion. If they explain a bit of knowledge to a lay person, the lay person strikes at the Imam as the Imam have committed Bid’ah or calls him stereotypical names or ridicules him in some fashion- this itself is a depressive and shameful state of affairs, and the boards that employ them treat them worse than slaves. Next, if a sister does propose or show interest to a SOK what is the big deal? Didn’t Khadija(Ra) indirectly propose to the Prophet (SAW)? Is it befitting for SOK to have such arrogance to publicly announce that I am not seeking another wife. I am sorry, but did anyone ever consider that a SOK might be seeking that “stardom” to spread the message of God. Could there be many things nobler than to spend his free time making CDs, and DVDs, and traveling so that people can come closer to their creator? O Muslims think for what you are doing- fear being jealous of someone who attains fame. Fame and things of such nature are blessings and tests from Allah (SWT). Every human being needs reminders not just SOK. I hope Insha’Allah this horrible trend of defaming and backbiting SOK will come to an end. SOK of Islam are the most underpaid, and disrespected out of all of the religious scholars. In conclusion, I leave you with these Ayaat from the Book of Allah.

    Allah bears witness that La ilaha illa Huwa (none has the right to be worshipped but He), and the angels, and those having knowledge (also give this witness); (He is always) maintaining His creation in Justice. La ilah illa Huwa (none has the right to be worshipped but He), the All-Mighty, the All-Wise.
    ( سورة آل عمران , Aal-e-Imran, Chapter #3, Verse #18)

    (24) But those among them who are well-grounded in knowledge, and the believers, believe in what has been sent down to you (Muhammad SAW) and what was sent down before you, and those who perform AsSalat (Iqamat-as-Salat), and give Zakat and believe in Allah and in the Last Day, it is they to whom We shall give a great reward.
    ( سورة النساء , An-Nisa, Chapter #4, Verse #162)

    106) And these similitudes We put forward for mankind, but none will understand them except those who have knowledge (of Allah and His Signs, etc.).
    ( سورة العنكبوت , Al-Ankaboot, Chapter #29, Verse #43)

    119) And of men and AdDawab (moving living creatures, beasts, etc.), and cattle, in like manner of various colours. It is only those who have knowledge among His slaves that fear Allah. Verily, Allah is AllMighty, OftForgiving.
    ( سورة فاطر , Fatir, Chapter #35, Verse #28)

  72. Avatar

    Abû Mûsâ Al-Ḥabashî

    March 21, 2008 at 4:29 PM

    Related Post:

    A Message to the Tullab-ul-‘Ilm and Du’at
    http://m-kamil-ahmad.blogspot.com/2007/08/message-to-tullab-ul-ilm-and-duat.html

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  75. Avatar

    Reader

    December 7, 2008 at 1:01 PM

    As-salamu ‘alaykum as-salaam warahmatullaahi wabarakatuh,

    Masha’Allaah! An excellent article and one that is a mirror of reality. I find it comical that sisters don’t mind being second wives but those sisters would never opt to be first wife, they all get defensive and have some sort of anger attack, strange! They just want to be the last one standing! There are few who are genuine but majority don’t care.

    Again, thank you for the article! It was well-needed!

  76. Avatar

    Algebra

    December 7, 2008 at 1:16 PM

    Aslamu-alaikum:
    @ Reader said:

    As-salamu ‘alaykum as-salaam warahmatullaahi wabarakatuh,
    Masha’Allaah! An excellent article and one that is a mirror of reality. I find it comical that sisters don’t mind being second wives but those sisters would never opt to be first wife, they all get defensive and have some sort of anger attack, strange! They just want to be the last one standing! There are few who are genuine but majority don’t care.
    Again, thank you for the article! It was well-needed!

    I BEG TO DIFFER WITH YOU sister or brother
    My mother actually ENCOURAGED my father to take on a second wife…………………. my mother ws the first wife.

    Furthermore, a proposal the came for me wanted me to be his co-wife, and ACTUALLY his FIRST WIFE WIFE wrote me PRAISING all of his excellent qualities and giving me her blessings.

    AND that is WHAT I CALL A STONG IMAN>
    i was sooooooooo impressed with the sister MASHALLAH
    it taught me where our priorities should be to LOVE ALLAH MORE THAN OUR HUSBANDS.
    and ALLAH is the one that blessed us with POLYGAMY>
    salam

  77. Avatar

    Algebra

    December 7, 2008 at 1:53 PM

    Aslamu-alaikum;
    Clarification of IMAN………………..
    yes only ALLAH knows the level of IMAN in our hearts, but there are some things we muslims are suppose to look at that ALLAH has guided us to look at when choosing a spouse……………… YOU KNOW LIKE does he or she
    prays(salat), fasting, zakat, etc,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, and if the MUSLIMS keeps DOESN”T
    1. DOESN:T LIE( yes i know the story of Prophet Ibrahim and he did hide the fact that Sarah was his wife from the king) but in only in a few cases we are allowed to lie and those are LIFE and DEATH situation for a MUSLIM, and to keep a husband and wife from divorcing, etc.
    2. keeps his or her promises
    3. Keep Immanat
    4. Doesn’t curse when he or she fights.

    Lastly, Allah has asked us to do JIHAD………………….. that is a relative term as well and JIHAD also includes fighting the weaknessse of our nafs.,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, which includes jealousy, envy……………………..
    and any woman that can go above her jealousy and is generous enough to share her husbanad is a STRONG woman mashallah
    salam
    i have to go now will write laters

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  83. Avatar

    Jasera

    January 19, 2010 at 3:17 PM

    An excellent lecture by Shaykh Kmaluddin Ahmed[db] regarding ‘Power of Intention’

    http://www.islamicspirituality.org/play/98

    JazakAllah for the article,
    mashaAllah very beneficial.

  84. Avatar

    Scott

    February 7, 2010 at 11:32 PM

    How many people spend 5-6 years of their life ‘chasing the dream’ and not doing anything else with their time, only to be now hitting their 30’s without any true Islamic education or even secular education to show for it? Many people are just “waiting to go overseas” or “go study” and they bide their time not doing anything – not memorizing Quran, not studying with the Imams in their communities, and not even going to college and at least getting a solid secular degree! People like this after 5 years are still studying, discussing, and debating the exact same things they were 5 years prior without any progress.

    Wow… like looking into a mirror. I’ve wasted my 20s but in the secular realm and the sacred. While I gave up internet debate (for the most part) years ago, I still definitely fit the description of one who shuns regular community for the internets only.

  85. Avatar

    Mohamed Sheikh

    April 4, 2010 at 11:37 AM

    Jazakallahu khayr for this article, its my first time coming on this site…and i really appreciated it!

    mAY aLLAH REWARD YOU immensely fid dunya wal aakhirah,

  86. Avatar

    shiney

    June 18, 2010 at 10:35 PM

    thank you so much for writing this article-it has helped me a lot. masha’allah, i think Allah (SWT) has blessed you with a lot of wisdom to have alot of insight into this stuff. i agree with a lot of the things you mentioned but i have to say, many students of knowledge who have the intention to learn do it for the sake of Allah (SWT). Furthermore, knowledge leads to action but if you are not acting upon what you learned, then it is not beneficial knowledge. May allah help us and guide us all to the straight Path and give us beneficial knowledge.
    Ameen.

    @noname555: I agree with you too though-good points made

  87. Avatar

    Ibn Al-rawandi

    June 18, 2010 at 11:36 PM

    Of course there is another legit criticism of these Taalib al-‘ilms that is missing from the discussion. The “‘ilm” is mostly false and thus useless in the 21st century. This ‘ilm can neither increase crop yields nor cure diseases or solve any urgent and serious problem from how to stop oil leak in the gulf to fighting global warming. True and useful ‘ilm like Science is much more useful.

  88. Avatar

    أخوكم

    April 22, 2011 at 2:38 PM

    السلام عليكم

    Some very nice points were raised – ما شاء الله

    One of the things that really took me back was when I was asked in an exam to explain 3 differences between the arkan of the salaah & its wajibaat from my desired madhab. Such a simple question caused me to really review the last ten years of ‘seeking knowledge’ & some of the issues I had debated in the past.

    الله يهدينا

    والسلام عليكم

  89. Avatar

    Rasema Mujic

    June 24, 2011 at 1:33 AM

    Assalamu ALyakum wa rahmatu ALlahi wa barakatuh

    Forgive my lack of knowledge, does this article forbid us laypeople from implementing Islam by forbidding and shunning the forbidden? I am not a student, yet I do act upon what I am ordained to act upon. Why is everyone against it? This drives me to extremes.

    Yes, claim it must not cause more evil. But what is evil here and to what extent evil? If I am forbidding something to someone, they will oppose. Does this cause more evil?

    What opposition does it matter?

    Anyhow, why am I asking you people? It is obvious you are against “haram” being told clearly.

    I hate this site.

    • Avatar

      ibnabeeomar

      June 25, 2011 at 4:05 PM

      it simply means exercising wisdom and speaking to people at their level.

      it further means not to be pretentious and self-righteous.

  90. Avatar

    Abdul Alim

    December 2, 2012 at 1:55 AM

    Assalamu Aleykum, great article, ma sha Allah.

    For those tulaab who complain about the article being too long – this is the essence of being a student of knowledge, namley to IQRA!

    JazakumAllahu khayren.

  91. Avatar

    dhia

    December 5, 2012 at 8:16 PM

    Note to author..
    2012: swagger
    2005: game
    1998: Mack

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  94. Avatar

    Areej

    March 3, 2015 at 10:18 PM

    This was a very intricately laid-out article. Many important points were made in it. JAK brother for taking the time to write it.

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#Society

Do You Know Why Uzma Was Killed?

#JusticeForUzma is a campaign that highlights the many terrible ways household help is treated in places around the world. Here, Fatima Asad writes about how she is raising her children to be the change they want to see in their society. 

Fatima Asad

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Last week, Pakistani society was struggling with the story of the horrific murder of Uzma, a teenager, who worked as a house maid in the city of Lahore. The 16-year-old was allegedly tortured for months and then murdered by the woman she worked for…for taking a bite from the daughter’s plate. #JusticeForUzma is a campaign that highlights the many terrible ways household help is treated in places around the world. Here, Fatima Asad writes about how she is raising her children to be the change they want to see in their society. 

By Fatima Asad

Living in Pakistan, my children realize that within the gates of our neighborhood, they will see no littering, they will not experience water or electricity shortages and certainly, no one will be knocking on the door begging for food or money. The reason they have this realization is because I make it the day’s mission to let them know about their privilege, about the ways they have been blessed in comparison to the other, very real, living, breathing little girls and boys outside those gates. Alas, my children come face to face with those very real people as soon as the gates close behind us.

“Why are there so many poor people in Pakistan, Mommy?” they ask, quite regularly now, unsatisfied with the answers I’ve provided so far. The question perpetually makes me nervous, uncomfortable, and I hastily make a lesson plan in my mind to gradually expose this world’s truths to them… ahista, ahista…(slow and steady).

But on days like these, when we find out about the death of yet another underprivilged young girl (they’re becoming redundant, aren’t they?), on days like these, I want to hold them, shake them, scream at them to wake up!

Wake up, my child! Beta jaag jao.

Do you know why that little girl we see outside, always has dirt on her face and her hair is in visible knots?

It is because, there are too many people who can take a shower anytime they want, who have maids to oil, brush and style their hair.

Do you know why there are children with no clothes on their backs?

It is because, there are too many of us with too many on ours. There are too many of us with walk-in closets for mothers and matching wardrobes for their infant daughters. We obsess about tailors, brands, this collection, last season. How often do we hear or say “can’t repeat that one”, “this one is just not my thing anymore…”

Do you know why there are children with their cheeks sunk deep in their skulls, scraping for our leftovers in our trashcans?

Because there are too many of us, who are overstuffed with biryani, burgers, food deliveries, dinner parties, chai get-togethers, themed birthday cupcakes, and bursting appetites for more, more, more, and different, different, different.

There are too many of us craving the exotic and the western, hoping to impress the next guest that comes to lunch with our useless knowledge of foods that should not be our pride, like lasagna, nuggets, cinnamon rolls, banana bread, pizza, minestrone soup, etc.

There are too many of us who do not want to partake from our outdated, simple traditional cuisines… that is, unless we can put a “cool” twist on them.

Do you know why there are children begging on the streets with their parents? Because there are too many of us driving in luxury cars to our favorite staycation spots, rolling up the windows in the beggars’ faces.

We are rather spent our money of watching the latest movies for family nights, handing out cash allowances to our own kids so they won’t feel left out when going out.

Do you know why there are mothers working during the days and sacrificing their nights sewing clothes for meager coins? Why there are fathers, who sacrifice their sleep and energy to guard empty mansions at the cost of their self-respect? Because there are too many of us attending dance rehearsals for weddings of the friends we backstab and envy. Because there are too many of us binge-watching the latest hot shows on Netflix, hosting ghazal nights to pay tribute to dead musicians and our never-ending devotion for them, and many more of us viciously shaking our heads when the political analyst on TV delivers a breaking report on a millionaire’s private assets.

Do you know why there are people who will never hold a book in their hands or learn to write their own names? Do you know why there will never be proof that some people lived, breathed, smiled, or cried? Because there are too many of us who are given the best education money can buy, yet only end up using that education to improve our own selves – and only our own selves. There are too many of us who wear suits and ties, entrusted with building the country, yet too many of our leaders and politicians just use that opportunity to build their own legacies or secret, off shore accounts.

Do you know why children, yes children, are ripped apart from their parents, forced to provide their bodies and energies so that a stranger’s family can raise their kids? Because, there are too many of us who need a separate maid for each child we birth. Because, there are too many of us who have given the verdict that our children are worth more than others’.

Because, there are too many of us who need a maid to prove to frenemies our monetary worth and showcase a higher social class.

Because, there are too many of us who enslave humans, thinking we cannot possibly spoil our youth, energy and time on our own needs, our own tasks, our own lives.

Because, there are too many of us who need to be comfortable, indulged, privileged, spoiled, educated, satisfied, excited, entertained and happy at the expense of other living souls.

And we do all this, thinking—fooling ourselves into believing— that our comforts are actually a way of providing income for another human being. Too many of us think that by indulging in our self-centered lifestyles, we are providing an ongoing charity for society’s neediest.

Too many of us are sinking into a quicksand that is quite literally killing us. This needs to stop immediately. This accelerating trend of possessing and displaying more isn’t going to slow down on its own- in fact, it’s become deadly. Too many of our hearts have hardened, burnt to char.

More of us need to sacrifice our comforts, our desires, our nafs so others can have basic human rights fulfilled. More of us must say no to blind consumerism, envious materialistic competition and the need for instant gratification so others can live. We may have the potential to turn into monsters, but we have exceedingly greater potential to be empathetic, selfless revolutionaries. Too many of us have been living for the here and now, but more of us need to actively start thinking about the future.

Do we want to raise generations that will break bread with the less fortunate or do we want to end up with vicious monsters who starve and murder those they deem unworthy? The monsters who continue to believe that they have been blessed with more, so others can be given less than they are entitled to.

It is time for change andthe change has to start from within these gates.

#justiceforuzma #justiceformaids

 

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#Life

OpEd: Breaking Leases Into Pieces

Abu Awad

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Ali ibn Talib raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him)once said, “Know the truth and you’ll know who’s speaking the truth.” 

I am based in Canada and was recently having coffee with friends. In the course of the conversation, a friend (who I consider knowledgeable) said that it’s okay to pay interest on a leased car because interest doesn’t apply to lease contracts. This completely caught me off guard, because it made no logical sense that interest would become halal based solely on the nature of the contract.

I asked him how this can be true and his response was that the lease contract is signed with the dealer and the interest transaction is between the dealer and the financing company so it has nothing to do with the buyer. Again, this baffled me because I regularly lease cars and this is an incorrect statement: The lease agreement is signed with a third party financing company who is charging you directly for the interest they pay the car dealership. Therefore, any lease contract that has interest associated with it is haram. This is the same as saying your landlord can charge you interest for his mortgage on a rental contract and this would make it halal. I tried to argue this case and explain to my friend that what he was saying was found on false assumptions and one should seriously look into this matter before treating riba in such a light manner.

Upon going home that night, I pulled out all my lease contracts (negotiated to 0% mind you) and sent them over to my friend. They clearly showed that a bill of sale is signed with the dealer, which is an initial commitment to purchase but the actual lease agreement is signed with a third party financing company which is charging you interest directly. If this interest rate is anything above zero it is haram (anything which is haram in a large quantity is also haram in a small quantity).

To my dismay, instead of acknowledging his mistake, my friend played the “Fatwa Card” and sent me a fatwa from a very large fatwa body in North America, which was also basing their argument on this false assumption. Fortunately for me, my friend pointed out the hotline number and the day and time the mufti who gave the fatwa would be available to answer questions.

I got in touch with the scholar and over a series of text messages proceeded to explain to him that his fatwa was based on a wrong assumption and for this reason people would be misled into leasing cars on interest and signing agreements with financing companies which are haram.
He was nice enough to hear my arguments, but still insisted that “maybe things were different in Canada.” Again this disappointed me because giving fatwa is a big responsibility – by saying “maybe” he was implying that full research has not been done and a blanket fatwa has been given for all of North America.

It also meant that if my point was true (for both Canada and the United States) dozens of Muslims maybe engaging in riba due to this fatwa.

The next week I proceeded to call two large dealerships (Honda and Toyota) in the very city where the Fatwa body is registered in the US and asked them about paperwork related to leasing. They both confirmed that when leasing a new vehicle, the lease contract is signed with a third party financing company which has the lien on the vehicle and the dealer is acting on the financing company’s behalf.

It is only when a vehicle is purchased in cash that a contract is signed with the dealer. This proved my point that both in the US and Canada car lease contracts are signed with the financing company and the interest obligations are directly with the consumer, therefore if the interest rate is anything above 0% it is haram. I sent a final text to the mufti and my friend sharing what I had found and letting him know that it was now between them and Allah.

1. As we will stand in front of Allah alone on Yaum al Qiyamah, in many ways we also stand alone in dunya. You would think that world renowned scholars and an entire institution would be basing their fatwas on fact-checked assumptions but this is not the case. You would also think that friends who you deem knowledgable and you trust would also use logic and critical thinking, but many times judgment is clouded for reasons unbeknownst to us. We must not take things at face value. We must do our research and get to the bottom of the truth. Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) says to stand up for truth and justice even if it be against our ourselves; although it is difficult to do so in front of friends and scholars who you respect, it is the only way.

2. There are too many discussions, debates and arguments that never reach closure or get resolved. It is important to follow up with each other on proofs and facts to bring things to closure, otherwise our deen will slowly be reduced to a swath of grey areas. Alhamdulillah, I now know enough about this subject to provide a 360 degree view and can share this with others. It is critical to bring these discussions to a close whether the result is for you or against you.

3. Many times we have a very pessimistic and half hearted view towards access to information. When I was calling the dealerships from Canada in the US,  part of me said: Why would these guys give me the information? But if you say Bismillah and have your intentions in the right place Allah makes the path easy. One of the sales managers said “I can see you’re calling from Toronto, are you sure you have the right place?” I replied, “I need the information and if you can’t give it to me I don’t mind hanging up.” He was nice enough to provide me with the detailed process and paperwork that goes into leasing a car.

Finally, I haven’t mentioned any names in this opinion and I want to make clear that I am not doubting the intentions of those who I spoke to; I still respect and admire them greatly in their other works. We have to be able to separate individual cases and actions from the overall person.

May Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) guide us to the truth and rid of us any weaknesses or arrogance during the process.

Aameen.

Ed’s Note: The writer is not a religious scholar and is offering his opinion based on his research on leasing contracts in North America.

Suggested reading:

Muslim’s Guide to Debt and Money Management Part 6

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#Current Affairs

Shaykh Abdallah Bin Bayyah: A Genuine Muslim Voice for Peace

Mufti Mustafa Ceric

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By Mufti Mustafa Ceric, Ph.D,

Grand Mufti Emeritus of Bosnia

The essence of the faith of Islam comes from two primary sources: the Qur’an, which is God’s revelation, and the Sunnah, which is the teachings, traditions, and attributes of the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him. But the nature of Muslims come from their many peoples and tribes:

“O men, God has created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes so that you may know one another. But, indeed, the most noble of you is the most morally correct among you. God knows and is well informed about everything.” (Qur’an, 49:13).

Thus, the experience of the faith of Muslims is as diverse as the nature of their national and tribal backgrounds. Therefore, both a specific God-given nature and a specific societal experience of Muslims must be recognized and appreciated within a global Islamic civilization, as long as the principle of tawḥīd (oneness of God), as is expressed in Lā il ā ha illa Allah, and the principle of an ultimate nubuwwah (prophethood of Muhammad, peace be upon him) are properly upheld. This diversity in the unity of the faith of Islam is a blessing for our ummah. Hence, Muslims must see the various natures and experiences of their fellow Muslims as a blessing from God that enriches an overall Islamic culture and civilization in the world.

Inspired by the reality of this blessing, I would like to share with you my perspective which stems from my God-given nature, my war and peace experience as a Muslim in Bosnia and a genocide survivor in Europe, and how I also see myself as belonging to the universal Muslim community today. Indeed, I would like to tell you why I believe that the Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies in Abu Dhabi, UAE, led by the esteemed Muslim scholar Shaykh Abdallah Bin Bayyah, is a right path of Islam and a good program of peace for Muslims around the world.

My testimony is based on my personal nature and my own first-hand experience of war and peace in Bosnia without a need of apology to anyone. It starts from the fact that, during the war and postwar time in Bosnia, it was hard to find a peace initiative from a credible Muslim group or institution to help me engage in dialogue and trust building with others. All the peace initiatives were coming from Christian groups or institutions that, by this very fact, had an advantage in presenting their case. So, when a major Muslim peace initiative was introduced by Sheikh Bin Bayyah in 2014 in Abu Dhabi, I was delighted to be invited to join it. Indeed, I was praying for its success and continuity because rarely do genuine Muslim ideas survive the tremendous pressure of staunch opponents who oppose such initiatives if they are not in— if it’s not their own idea. Fortunately, it seemed that the Forum for Promoting Peace in Abu Dhabi was spared this destiny—until the last, and in my opinion, the best of all Forums so far—the Fifth Forum of 2018. We know from the Qur’an and Sunnah that right and constructive critique is an important aspect of the nature of Islam, but the recent hate-speech and false accusations against the Forum are not in accordance with the nature of Islam and as such are not of an Islamicʼ adab (ethics) and ʼakhlāq (morality).

Let me say that neither the esteemed Shaykh Abdallah Bin Bayyah nor Shaykh Hamza Yusuf is in need of my defense. They are capable and upright people; their lifelong dedication to Islamic work speaks for itself. I feel the need to raise my voice clearly and loudly in defense of the importance of promoting peace, and the work of both esteemed scholars towards that goal. I humbly claim to be aligned with them in this purpose. And we should be grateful to the government of the UAE for supporting this project that has already engaged prominent religious, academic, cultural, and political leaders from around the world and earned their respect and commitment to this cause of peace.

First, no one has a monopoly on peace, but everyone has a duty to promote peace in their own way because, by its very definition, “Islam” is the concept of peace, and thus a “Muslim” is also by definition a peaceful man or woman. Therefore, the Forum for Promoting Peace is an application of this unique and powerful concept of Islam, namely the concept of peace.

Second, no one has a monopoly on tolerance, but everyone has an obligation to learn and teach tolerance in his or her neighborhood and surroundings because Islam is the faith of tolerance, made clear in the Qur’anic injunction: “there is no compulsion in religion” ( lā ikrā h a fī l-dī n) .

Third, no one has a monopoly on dignity, but everyone is entitled to enjoy the right of life (al-nafs), faith (al-dī n), freedom (al-ʿaql), property (al-māl), and dignity (al-ʿirḍ) because Muslim scholars defined these peace-oriented principles, and they did this long before the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. These principles are based on the letter and spirit of the Qur’an and the Sunnah as an amānah (trust) of the entire Muslim ummah, not just a part of it.

Fourth, no one has a monopoly on alliance, but everyone has the right to seek alliance with peace-loving persons and nations based on the example of the Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him), who participated in an alliance prior to Islam, known as the ḥilf al-fu ḍūl (the Alliance of Virtues) that he also approved in Islam.

Fifth, no one has a monopoly on democracy, but everyone has the right to speak about democracy, even if they believe it can sometimes lead to tyranny. The Greek philosopher Socrates had that right as well. He used to say that oligarchies become democracies for predictable reasons: “Democracy comes into power,” Socrates says, “when the poor are the victors, killing some and exiling some, and giving equal shares in the government to all the rest.” It’s an “agreeable form of anarchy,” Socrates tells us and adds that “the insatiable desire for freedom occasions a demand for tyranny.”

Sixth, no one has a monopoly on moral preaching, but everyone has a duty to improve his own morality before preaching to others. Islam teaches us that a right moral praxis is better than empty preaching.

And finally, no one has a monopoly on Islam, but everyone has the duty of farḍ ʿayn (personal responsibility) and far ḍkif ā yah (collective responsibility) to behave in such a way that does not corrupt the moral teachings of Islam and does not compromise the right image of Islam and Muslims in the world for the sake of personal gains. The work of Shaykh Abdallah Bin Bayyah and Shaykh Hamza Yusuf is their due of farḍ ʿayn and farḍ kifāyah for repairing a damaged picture of Islam and Muslims in the world, due to some irresponsible and militant groups who have claimed to act on behalf of Islam. Those who don’t understand the importance of the message of these scholars are out of touch with reality, and thus, cannot claim to be the right guide for the Muslims, especially in the West. Those among the Muslims, wherever they are, who still support a catastrophic regicide that has happened recently in some major Muslim countries ought to be advised that suicide, individual or collective, is not part of the nature of Islam. Indeed, Islam has never been a religion of destruction. Islam has always been a religion of constructive and inclusive culture and civilization.

Let me say that no Muslim with a good heart and sound mind can be indifferent to what is happening in Yemen, Libya, Syria, Myanmar (Burma), and elsewhere, where our Muslim brothers and sisters suffer. But this pain will not be removed by additional destructive ideas that would cripple the rest of the Muslim countries just because some others are in an internal or external conflict. On the contrary, our duty is to do whatever we can to prevent further destruction of the Muslim states and societies. The Muslims today don’t need more Palestines. They need more hearts and minds like Shaykh Abdallah Bin Bayyah and Shaykh Hamza Yusuf. Indeed, they need more countries and societies like the UAE to support the promotion of peace and security among Muslim societies and others in the world.

And my final note to my Muslim brothers and sisters in the West is not to make a hasty judgment that is instigated by some people (and institutions) who do not have sympathy for Muslims who are suffering. If you cannot help the plight of Muslims today, then at least don’t make the Muslim situation worse than it is. Those who have not tasted the bitterness of war cannot fully appreciate the sweet taste of peace. I have tasted both. Therefore, my dear Muslim brothers, sisters, and friends, wherever you are, pray for peace and support those who work for peace, whoever they may be.

Mustafa Ceric, Ph.D.
Grand Mufti Emeritus of Bosnia

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