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Anti-Muslim Bigotry

Yasir Qadhi | A Proud, Patriotic, Shariah Practicing American

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NOTE: This was published in The Commercial Appeal, the largest newspaper of Memphis, TN. It is intended for a general American readership.

Cross-posted with “Faith in Memphis

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Two Tennessee legislators have proposed what amounts to a ban on the Islamic system of ethical, spiritual and legal teachings known as shariah.The authors of the bill incorrectly define shariah as a system of legal, political, military and religious laws that calls its followers to overthrow the United States’ government through brutal force, acts of terrorism, and ‘holy war’ (i.e., jihad), in order to establish itself as the sole political and religious power in the world.

Sounds pretty frightening, doesn’t it? If I did not know any better, I would be the first to jump on the bandwagon and support any effort to ban such a nefarious system, not just in Tennessee but all across my country.

But there is just one major problem: the ‘shariah’ that this bill defines is a shariah that I don’t recognize, nor do the millions of American Muslims who proudly claim allegiance to this country, nor does the recognized body of Muslim scholars formally trained in the study of shariah.

I have dedicated my life to the study of Islamic law. I want to correct the basic premise upon which this proposed bill is based.

The word ‘shariah’ literally means ‘path,’ and for all Muslims, the shariah is a set of ethics and laws they believe will lead them to God’s mercy.

The bulk of the shariah, approximately 70 percent, deals with rituals of worship. For example, the shariah tells me that I should regularly take time out of my day to remember God. It advises me to give charity, and instructs me that a percentage of my earnings and savings should be dedicated for the poor.

The shariah instructs me how to fast every year in order to cultivate patience and to feel unity with those who are less fortunate. It asks me to commemorate the faith of the Prophet Abraham by visiting the house of worship that he built in Mecca, and details the rituals that I should perform during this pilgrimage.

Approximately 25 percent of the shariah deals with dietary restrictions and personal economic and family laws. Just like kosher laws for Jews, Muslims have their own laws in the shariah that regulate the way animals should be slaughtered, taking into consideration respect for their lives and feelings.

Family law in the shariah requires Muslims to follow religious customs when marrying or divorcing. For example, a husband is obliged to gift his wife a monetary gift at the time of marriage and is also obliged to pay an additional amount in the case of divorce. The shariah also prohibits Muslims from dealing in usurious transactions. All of these laws, far from opposing the laws of the land, are in fact protected by our U.S. Constitution.

It is true that some laws of the shariah are intended for application at a national level, and include punishments for murder and theft. These laws make up a portion of the remaining five percent of the shariah.

However, these laws are intended to be applied in a system of government that derives its rules from Islam.

But much of the Shariah is not codified and is instead based on interpretation. So even in a hypothetical Islamic state — and that’s the only kind there is — various jurists and theologians will have different understandings and interpretations of shariah in any given situation, much like American judges will differ over the intent and understanding of the Constitution.

Such a hypothetical system of Islamic government is not being championed by American Muslims. In fact, it is highly debatable whether such a system even exists anywhere in the world, including Iran.

Even more importantly, the Constitution of my homeland — the United States of America — mandates the separation of church and state. My fellow American Muslims and I understand, appreciate and fully support that mandate.

The proposed bill purports to protect those who choose to peacefully practice Islam in their lives. Unfortunately, the proposed bill also makes the word “shariah” synonymous with the word “terrorist”. That likeness is grossly inaccurate and runs against the very values that shape the American landscape.

One of the fundamental principles that makes this country so different from others – and hence so great – is the religious freedoms guaranteed by our Founding Fathers through the Constitution. It was an idea they considered so sacrosanct that they enshrined it in the Bill of Rights.

I cherish this freedom. The claim that those who desire to follow the shariah actually harbor a secret desire to overthrow the Constitution and supplant it with shariah law is outlandish.

The ‘shariah’ that the proposed bill tries to ban is not based upon Islamic tenets, is not desired by American Muslims, and is absolutely prohibited by the U.S. Constitution. The value added by this bill is, therefore, null, but the fear and stigma it creates is potentially dangerous and divisive.

History has taught us what fear-mongering does to a civil society.

The Nazis could not have succeeded in their goal if they had not instituted an active campaign of instilling paranoia and fomenting an intense hatred against minority groups in Germany.

In this great land of ours, a hundred thousand Japanese Americans were interned because of irrational fears about internal threats to America. I cannot help but think that the current climate of fear against Muslims reeks of the McCarthy Hearings of the 1950s. Do we really want to go down this route again?

American Muslims, like all people of faith, are working to navigate their way of life into the American framework. No reputable Muslim group in America is calling for overthrowing the U.S. government or establishing some sort of Islamic government.

What we are asking for is what all Americans of faith ask for: that we be allowed to live under the laws of the land and according to the tenets of our faith. To deny us this right is not just unconstitutional, it is anti-American.

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Sh. Dr. Yasir Qadhi is someone that believes that one's life should be judged by more than just academic degrees and scholastic accomplishments. Friends and foe alike acknowledge that one of his main weaknesses is ice-cream, which he seems to enjoy with a rather sinister passion. The highlight of his day is twirling his little girl (a.k.a. "my little princess") round and round in the air and watching her squeal with joy. A few tid-bits from his mundane life: Sh. Yasir has a Bachelors in Hadith and a Masters in Theology from Islamic University of Madinah, and a PhD in Islamic Studies from Yale University. He is an instructor and Dean of Academic Affairs at AlMaghrib, and the Resident Scholar of the Memphis Islamic Center.

95 Comments

95 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Yusofa zadn

    March 11, 2011 at 7:20 AM

    Free will was instituted by our Creator from the. Very beginning of this world (4th as we have been learned). In His/her greatness t he universe is completely filled with HIs energy including our very souls that partake of HIs Greatness, knowing no gender, but given the gift to rise above our animal soul (from the vey earthy soil we stand on) thru the base desires we possess and share among the animal kingdom. yet many people seek to deny their human body’s need to contain both souls to elect this world thru our good works and embrace all mankind to use their free will to find righteousness from within their own mind, bodies and souls in all their thoughts, words and deeds to be an example not only to their own community but the lost souls of Islam. How can we not overlook that the million or so Muslims that have made themselves judge and jury when it comes to those that are righteous in their own vision of the Al- Mighty? Should we concentrate on being the best example to humanity without using techniques, forums, food kitchens, prisons, ect. as pulpits we so detested to force so many Muslims to accept CHristianity or Buddhism or Hinduism? In this day of technology and how small this world has become when there isn’t literature, writings, teachings on the key to being true monotheistic among free nations? Why must others be missions or missionaries when the world is lured by the sweetness of righteous rather than sword or even misrepresentation of our silent motives? While we can live a just and pious life in America in our own communities can all the good that is done by so many be emphasized over how others no of our sect or from our homeland, or are lax in their devotions, should we try to Bring home our own lost sheep before we lose our freedoms to the few that have made themselves into a one-per on judge and jury in Western counties? We need to show modern, educated communities around the globe that thrive in their goal to have dedicated their lives to our Creator while having been born & raised in China, Russia, Africa, South & North America & teach the world that the majority of MUslims live in INdonesia and not in the deserts of the MIddle East or in the confines of censored states ruled by misguided greedy leaders that were lured by power, beauty, money and fear losing control of the people, thus falling off their thrones in disgrace. When people are able to use their free will & choice, true seekers of our righteousness will find the true path & will end up being the examples of goodness we can find here and elevate it to the true glory of our mission to make this world into a paradise here on earth that will have people seeking out great scholars to grow themselves–maing this world into the very mission that was renewed with Noah, passed on to his son Shem and taught to IBriham whom we know, removed all doubt of anyone or thing could ever share the true throne of Glory. And when our holy soul which partakes of His Energy which is everywhere, one day when she returns in it’s pristine state given to us here on earth so that we have the ability to change this world for the better, as only humans can by HIs own design and the only creatures that have the power to chose between good and evil, thus, we must begin with ourselves, then our families, then our communities, so the examples that shine will be positive and not negative. As no man is an island, when a brother or sister slips, the whole community is held responsible. This is common among all peoples, thus, we should heed the warnings that by trying to force others to accept our way of life, they must first see we not here to use so-called friendships as missions to convert people, but a way to bring goodness thru uniting those that will hold those that want to destroy evil by their own hand, accountable.

    • Avatar

      Olivia

      March 16, 2011 at 6:43 PM

      thank you for sending this article. I appreciate the much needed discussion of Sharia Law. I find myself shouting at the TV in frustration at the many references to Sharia law by commentaors, for instance Hannity and OReilly , when thry do not have a clue. I am very disgusted at the hearings which are being held by Congress and absolutely no efforts to educate the public. I remember having to sign a document that I was not a Communist in order to keep my teaching position. Obviously, we have made no progress although
      claiming we believe in relious freedom.
      We will have to Scipe again soon but it became less urgent when we will all be seeing you soon.. I am so happy with the photos you sent. I have shared them with friends and plan to bring them tomorrow when the five of us go to Briar Ridge for Saint Patrick Day traditional corn beef and cabbage.The picture on the cover of the four of you is precious The day was important to Grandpa as his mother was born in Ireland. We always had our family here. We are having the first spring weather today so I am going for a walk. I was thinking of the four of you when sitting on the patio sunroom.
      Hugs to all of you. It is a good feeling to know Kathy will be there soon..

  2. Yahya Ibrahim

    Yahya Ibrahim

    March 11, 2011 at 8:35 AM

    Bismillah,

    I Ask Allah the al-Mighty to Honour you Abu Ammar.
    I ask Allah to grant you protection from the evil that seeks you and your family.
    I ask Allah to aid you and strengthen you in all that is right and to protect you and shelter you from all that is error.

    I pray for Allah to increase your fame and honour your name with the association to the Sunnah and way of Muhammed (s).

    Hold your head up high and keep your heart firm and maintain your private worship and ‘Ibadah.

    Remember your beginnings and the ambition to serve others. That is our key to success.

    Your brother
    Yahya Adel Ibrahim
    http://www.facebook.com/yahya.adel.ibrahim

  3. Avatar

    SZ

    March 11, 2011 at 9:53 AM

    WOW… Alhamdullilah for well versed American scholars like Shaykh Yasir Qadhi, who understand our religion well enough to explain it to the layman, from our faith and other faiths. Thank you for this, especially in this time, with all that is going on with Peter King, Irvine 11, etc!

    • Avatar

      ali

      March 15, 2011 at 10:24 AM

      Thank you for your article Mr. Qadhi. We need more scholars like you who appreciate the law of the land and religious freedom in our personal worship. This is a most critical message in these days.

      Innovative and smart scholars like you can help keep religion and state separate. Like American Muslims accept it in the US, most of educated Pakistanis want exactly the same thing in Pakistan. Most educated Muslims especially with an American background want the same thing in our countries. So we can enjoy the freedom of the west while practicing our religion.

      Your message definitely plays a vital role in keeping state and religion separate in countries such as Pakistan, Bangladesh, Egypt, Syria, etc.

      • Avatar

        F

        March 15, 2011 at 2:09 PM

        Correction: the ruling elite of Pakistan, who form a tiny majority and are generally the least practicing, want to implement a complete secular system.

        The vast majority of Pakistanis want a combination of moderate Islamic law and freedom in their personal lives as well as in choosing the government.

  4. Avatar

    Muslim

    March 11, 2011 at 10:05 AM

    Wow we support the secular mandate? Is that what Rasulullah(saws) would have done?

    • Avatar

      Abdullah

      March 11, 2011 at 11:59 PM

      The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, would cooperate with non-Muslims regarding issues of justice and human rights. As he said: ‘”I witnessed a confederacy in the house of ‘Abdullah bin Jada‘an. It was more appealing to me than herds of cattle. Even now in the period of Islam I would respond positively to attending such a meeting if I were invited.” [Ibn Hisham 1/113,135]

      The point of American secularism is that the government is religiously neutral, not atheist. It is very different from French or Turkish secularism. The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, would cooperate with a confederacy of Mushrikeen if it benefited people, so why is it wrong to cooperate with the People of the Book who are even closer to the Muslims?

    • Avatar

      ali

      March 15, 2011 at 10:29 AM

      Muslim, you have to innovate and modernize. Why are you trying to live in the 14 century? When most muslims in the US and in the muslim countries dont want sharia, why do you want to force it down their throats. Yasir Qadhi deserves full credit for this highly innovative concept and for helping keep sharia out of the lives of Muslims across the globe. Very few scholars have said such things. The closest I can think of is javaid ghamdi from Pakistan.

      I hope Mr. Qadhi realizes the value of his work for secularism in the muslim world and not just the US.

      • Avatar

        Qas

        March 15, 2011 at 10:39 AM

        I think you’ve misconstrued Shaikh Yasir Qadhi’s intent to the other extreme.

      • Avatar

        Islam

        March 17, 2011 at 1:08 PM

        Ali,

        Why not just modernize and innovate and change the deen of Islam to something else….I mean why should muslims pray 5 times a day…it seems so time consuming and unproductive?

        Islam gave us rules and systems. Our example is the Prophet (pbuh). He implemented Islam which includes a polical, economic and social system. Again he is our example and the Quran clearly says we must follow his Sunnah.

        By trying to change or so called “modernize” the basic principles of Islam, then you might as well throw all of Islam away and call yourself something else other than a Muslim.,

  5. Avatar

    abdur

    March 11, 2011 at 10:06 AM

    The democratic system in America that gives sovereignty to man instead of Allah (swt) is NOT compatible with the teachings of Islam. No True Muslim can happily live in America and witness millions of Americans displeasing Allah (swt) by practicing the Un-Godly system of secularism, democracy and liberalism.

    The Shariah as a political system is superior to any other way of life including the American democratic system. As Muslims it is our job to call Americans away from their secular practices and invite them to the Shariah as a political system. This the TRUE way of our prophet (pbuh) and his companions (ra).

    I think the person that wrote this article needs to learn the concept of al wala wal baraa.

    • Avatar

      Yasir Qadhi

      March 11, 2011 at 10:20 AM

      Salam

      Before commenting, do realize that this article is not the time and place for a more nuanced discussion of my views – in fact I don’t even like the fact that its being posted on MM because it is not intended for an MM audience (meaning: it is very simplistic, as it needs to be, because it attempts to explain what Shariah is to people in Tennessee who believe that the Shariah is worse than fascism and promotes terrorism).

      If you want a more nuanced and academic discussion, listen to:

      – “Towards Formulating a Vision for Muslims in the West”

      – Ummah versus Nation State (both of these lectures can be found online)

      and also read my article on this issue:
      http://muslimmatters.org/2010/03/01/gods-law-and-man-made-laws-muslims-living-in-secular-democracies/

      What I am saying is that it is not allowed, even according to our Shariah, to live as citizens in this land and to then plot and plan to overthrow the government and establish Shariah in its place. The Muslims in Abyssinia at the time of the Prophet understood that.

      Yes, we invite people to Islam. And the Shariah is an integral part of Islam But we don’t act treacherously and hatch secret plots against people whom we have an agreement with. If you choose not to have an agreement with them, that is your right and choice (I do not know your nationality). From my side, I have American citizenship, and that entails certain rights and restrictions on me.

      Yasir

      • Avatar

        Abdur

        March 11, 2011 at 10:37 AM

        A suggestion is maybe you should say that we as Muslims believe in the Shariah and want to PEACEFULLY invite them to the Shariah as an alternative way of life instead of the democratic system that currently exist.

        I understand that you may have not meant to down play the Shariah but it comes off as if you are belittling the Shariah with such quotes as.

        “Even more importantly, the Constitution of my homeland — the United States of America — mandates the separation of church and state. My fellow American Muslims and I understand, appreciate and fully support that mandate.”

        How could you as a Muslim fully support an un-Islamic concept such as separation between church and state?

        You must also remember that Muslims that don’t understand Islam are also reading this article and you must send them a message that we as Muslims must call for the Shariah in both Muslim and non Muslim countries but we must do it the proper Islamic way.

        • Avatar

          hassan

          March 11, 2011 at 11:05 AM

          How could you as a Muslim fully support an un-Islamic concept such as separation between church and state?

          So you want Christianity law to be law of the land in US?

          • Avatar

            ivoryTower

            March 11, 2011 at 1:58 PM

            Wouldn’t christian law be closer to shariah than a secular system, since it is based on Divine law (although corrupted in some cases) e.g. under Christian law gay marriage would not be allowed. Or would you prefer a law that allows gay marriage?

          • Avatar

            Salman

            March 11, 2011 at 9:28 PM

            There is no agreement as to what “christian” law actually is, especially with the myriad of different christian sects/groups/cults (i.e. Mormonism) that are proliferating all over America. Essayist Noam Chomsky has a good quote on this:

            American society is now remarkably atomized. Political organizations have collapsed. In fact, it seems like even bowling leagues are collapsing. There’s been a drift toward very fragmenting tendencies among groups, toward this sort of identity politics.”

            – Noam Chomsky

        • Avatar

          Abdullah

          March 11, 2011 at 11:40 PM

          The American concept of separation of church and state is simply a legal mechanism put in place to mitigate fighting between different religious groups and to prevent religious bias in the administration of government. It is part of the social contract Muslims are obligated to follow if they live in or visit the United States. Muslims are benefiting from this separation, otherwise the far-right Christians would have banned or imprisoned all Muslims a long time ago.

          When Muslims come to America, they must respect the social contract of security by obeying the basic civil laws legislated on the basis of Maslaha (public interest) and Ma’ruf (well-known good). Similarly, when non-Muslims visit Saudi Arabia, they must respect the social contract of security by obeying the Basic Law of Saudi Arabia. As Allah Almighty said:

          “O you who have believed, fulfill [all] contracts. (5:1)”

          • Avatar

            Abdur

            March 12, 2011 at 7:28 PM

            So if burying your girl babies becomes obligatory & all had to do it, you would obey that too?

            Obeying contracts implies that the contract is HALAL, not a contract the makes one do things that are haram.

            Even our prophet (pbuh) came into his kuffur dominated society and called against the people’s wrong doing. He never said “since I’m a minority I haft to follow their rules.”

          • Avatar

            Fawsia

            March 14, 2011 at 2:25 PM

            I agree with Abdullah wholeheartedly tolerance and freedom of religion is the cornerstone of this great country’s constitution. If America didn’t practice separation of church of state as minority we won’t be able to practice our religion freely as we do now. Personally I get nervous when I hear Sharia Law therefore I don’t blame the American public for being afraid of Sharia Law. When we hear Sharia Law is women can’t work, women are stone, hands are cut off. I am glad that Mr. Qadhi explained in layman’s terms.

      • Avatar

        Salman

        March 11, 2011 at 9:41 PM

        I agree with brother Abdur. When we try to distort or water down Islam to pander to an audience, and the Islamophobes call you out on it (which many can and will do) you are actually doing more harm than good (despite intentions). There ARE parts of shar’iah which ARE incompatible with secularism, however the larger point should be drawn to the fact that this is hysteria that is being whipped up by groups in Tennesee (as well as in Oklahoma and other states) with an agenda to perpetuate political power (via GOP political hands encouraging this) by associating Islam/Muslims with violence and Obama as a closet Muslim. The same entities which bankrolled Mubarek and cut deals with Qaddafi, then wondered why there was political violence coming from those very same lands (9/11 hijacker Muhammad Atta was Egyptian after all), now want Americans to demonize Muslims in America so that they can further consolidate and control events at home:

        Islamic radicalization hearings expected to energize GOP base

        • Avatar

          Abdullah

          March 11, 2011 at 11:46 PM

          Shaykh Yasir is not distorting Islam. He is following the correct fatwa. You do not seem to understand the Fiqh concept of contracted security. International relations is an advanced aspect of Islamic jurisprudence and you can’t simply reduce it to narrow-minded slogans and talking points.

        • Avatar

          Brother

          March 13, 2011 at 1:59 AM

          Salaam Salman,

          With regards to Qaddafi and Mubarak, at the end of the day, it is Muslims who keep, or kept as with Mubarak, them in power. Without the support of a significant number of Muslims, they wouldn’t last very long.

        • Avatar

          Fawsia

          March 14, 2011 at 2:34 PM

          You run to International affairs!!! I just want to know how this bill effects me and my family as a Muslim American who lives in Tennessee. And how can I explain the Sharia Law to my neighbors and family who happen to be non Muslims!!! I don’t care about Mubarak and Qadafi and who bank rolled their power grabbing, abusive governments it doesn’t effect my every day life as a practising Muslim American. Therefore I want to hear what this guy has to say and learn from his teachings.

      • Avatar

        Husain

        March 13, 2011 at 9:07 AM

        “Even more importantly, the Constitution of my homeland — the United States of America — mandates the separation of church and state. My fellow American Muslims and I understand, appreciate and fully support that mandate.”

        “What I am saying is that it is not allowed, even according to our Shariah, to live as citizens in this land and to then plot and plan to overthrow the government and establish Shariah in its place”

        Brother, the second statement does not accurately describe the first one. The first is an unequivocal endorsement [“understand, appreciate and fully support”] of a concept – namely that God is not to be obeyed in the political sphere of life (even if such legislation exists, which in the case of Islam it does) – otherwise known as secularism. The second is simply describing an action – we will obey the laws of the land. One need not believe in former to adhere to the latter. the former falls in the realm of the Aqeedah while the latter relates to ahkaam.

        Advice: When you write or speak to non-Muslims, pretend the audience has Muslims in it. Because it almost inevitably will.

      • Avatar

        ali

        March 15, 2011 at 10:38 AM

        So it follows that radical muslims living in non sharia based islamic countries have no right to live in those countries and then plot to impose sharia in those countries. This really is very useful for the educated secular muslims of Pakistan to stop the extremist from plotting to impose sharia. Thank you for you fatwa, you must spread this.

  6. Avatar

    Obey American Law?

    March 11, 2011 at 10:21 AM

    There is a common misconception among Muslims today, that they are obliged to obey the law of the land in whatever country they reside.

    Allah (SWT) says, “O Prophet (Muhammad SAW)! Keep your duty to Allah, and obey not the disbelievers and the hypocrites. Verily! Allah is Ever All ­Knower.” [EMQ 33.1]

    Furthermore, it must be understood that by not obeying the man-made law in a country, it does not mean that one has to go around, murdering, stealing, lying and cheating, but rather it should be clear that this Deen of Islam has been completed by Allah (SWT) and contains all the guidance, solutions and commands for every single circumstance and situation that an individual or community will ever or could ever face:

    Allah (SWT) says, “This day, I have perfected your religion for you, completed My Favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion” [EMQ 5.3] and, “And We have sent down to you the Book (the Qur’an) as an exposition of everything, a guidance, a mercy, and glad tidings for those who have submitted themselves (to Allah as Muslims).” [EMQ 16.89]

    Therefore, for Muslims living in countries not ruled by the shari’ah e.g. USA, Britain, France, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Pakistan etc. it is essential to seek the knowledge of the Deen of Allah (SWT), such as matters of ruling, judging, the economy, foreign policy, the social system etc. If they do this then it will enable them to apply the correct ruling for their reality, hence making their life truly Islamic instead of obeying the law of Allah (SWT) in some matters and obeying man-made law in other matters.

    May Allah (SWT) guide us all to realise that obedience is only to Allah (SWT) exclusively and for His sake we obey His Messenger and the legitimate Muslim rulers who rule by the law of Allah (SWT) unlike the tyrants in Muslim lands today.

    Allah (SWT) says “O you who believe! Obey Allah and obey the Messenger (Muhammad SAW), and those of you (Muslims) who are in authority. (And) if you differ in anything amongst yourselves, refer it to Allah and His Messenger (SAW), if you believe in Allah and in the Last Day. That is better and more suitable for final determination.” [EMQ 4.59]

    • Avatar

      As Salam

      March 11, 2011 at 1:50 PM

      Mashallah….and what Islamic institute did you study at? I’m sorry, what is it that you have ijaza in? To make an assumption that “there is a common misconception among Muslims today” (assuming that the only Muslim not making that mistake is you) requires someone of recognizable knowledge.

    • Avatar

      Abdullah

      March 11, 2011 at 11:32 PM

      I am also curious to know from which street preacher you learned these talking points. The contract of security is an integral part of Islamic Fiqh that is discarded only by the cults of takfir known as the Khawaarij.

    • Avatar

      Brother

      March 12, 2011 at 8:20 AM

      You are taking quotes from the Prophet (pbuh) without giving any context. Islamaphobes do that all the time and have field days doing it. So what if a disbeliever tells you that you should pray 5 times a day? Or in more realistic terms, stop at red traffic lights?

      Also, the most learned person on this board that I am aware of is Sheik Yasser Qadhi. If we have insignificant knowledge of Islam, we shouldn’t be debating it like we are scholars. Can you share your credentials with us please? Jzk

  7. Avatar

    nayma

    March 11, 2011 at 10:39 AM

    Jazak Allahu Khairan Shaikh Yasir Qadhi for your clear and positive article at this time.
    So many of us want to say what you said but have the inability to express it. May Allah reward you for making it easier.

  8. Avatar

    sadia

    March 11, 2011 at 11:36 AM

    Assalama Alaykum

    I Ask Allah to protect Sheikh Yasir Qadhi his honor and his offspring.

    I love Allah and His LAW that’s why I agree Sh. Yasir Qadhi.

    Please make Dua for my children to the straight path of sunnah of Mohammad(PBH).

  9. Avatar

    yazen

    March 11, 2011 at 12:23 PM

    Assalamu alaikum,

    Jazzak Allahu Khairan for trying to clear up misconceptions and ignorance in the public regarding Muslims in America. All I would like to add is no matter how much someone may disagree with another Muslim’s opinion, it is pure ignorance and arrogance to post your disagreements in such condescending ways. If you have an alternative way in which you would have expressed an idea, then suggest it without trying to question the writer’s ikhlaas. And many people are confused about the concept ‘inviting to the Shariah.’ The idea is more likely ‘inviting to the Deen,’ which entails talking about aqeedah and tawheed first and foremost before you talk about Shariah. How many of you who are so quick to question the writer or other scholars on other websites actually spend your days calling people to tawheed instead of playing internet kung fu?

    • Avatar

      Abdullah

      March 11, 2011 at 11:50 PM

      This ignorance and arrogance is coming from young people who have learned their Islam from bloggers and street preachers instead of the authentic scholars of Islam and the Salaf.

  10. Avatar

    Linda

    March 11, 2011 at 6:03 PM

    Thanks you for this post and taking a nuanced and courageous stand at times based on the truth and an understanding that goes beyond the talking points of our scholars, students of knowledge and institutes.

    Why is there a lack of dynamic and critical thinking? Why do we get the same arguments, written in the same way for the last 20 years.

    Why are so few of our learned unable to present things in a manner that addresses the dynamic changes in the world.

    Jazakullah al khayr

    • Avatar

      Abdullah

      March 11, 2011 at 11:27 PM

      “Why is there a lack of dynamic and critical thinking? Why do we get the same arguments, written in the same way for the last 20 years.”

      Because the youth have been listening to the narrow-minded ideologues and street preachers of the cults of takfir instead of the authentic scholars. (See the fatwa posted below by Dr. Salah al-Sawy)

      • Avatar

        Hamza Mohammed

        March 13, 2011 at 2:23 PM

        Allah is All Knowing;

  11. Avatar

    Mohammed Guggen

    March 11, 2011 at 6:41 PM

    Brother Yassir,

    Your post is right on!

    As an American-Muslim, I couldn’t agree with you more on what you said:

    “Even more importantly, the Constitution of my homeland — the United States of America — mandates the separation of church and state. My fellow American Muslims and I understand, appreciate and fully support that mandate.”

    That’s exactly has been the problem with Muslim countries where there is no separation of mosque and state.
    All Muslim countries (except Turkey) are languishing in poverty, illiteracy, and general backwardness. How many Nobel Prizes in science and literature has the Muslim ummah produced in the last hundred years: 3!!!!!

    • Avatar

      MW_M

      March 11, 2011 at 9:27 PM

      I think you misunderstood the shaykh, he said separation of church and state, not mosque and state

    • Avatar

      Mehdi Sheikh

      March 11, 2011 at 10:28 PM

      This is exactly the type of reasoning I was afraid this sort of simple-minded article would attract.

      Br. Guggen. When the Muslim world was the source of science and enlightenment of the rest of the world, we didn’t have Islaam confined to the private sphere, the Muslim lands were even then ruled by the Shariah. Therefore secularizing the Muslim countries is not the solution. The solution is to retrace our steps back and reestablish the Quraan and Sunnah in our lives and not be impressed with the lifestyle of hte Kuffaar or their servants like Kemal Ataturk.

      • Avatar

        Mahmud

        January 1, 2013 at 12:35 AM

        Assalamualaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh\

        I think I love you(for Allah’s sake.)

        You always make comments that I support/really like. In fact, you are probably my FAVORITE commentator.

        Keep commenting but remember to say Bismillah before and also say your salams!

  12. Avatar

    Cartoon Muhammad

    March 11, 2011 at 9:02 PM

    MashAllah, good article Sheikh Yasir!

    It’s really sad that Sharia has been made synonymous with barbarianism in the west. So many people think that the main principles of the Sharia is hand cutting and women oppressing. I think after we make it clear to our fellow Americans that Muslims are not a threat, we need to educate the country on what this hypothetical Islamic state would actually look like.

    • Avatar

      Brother

      March 12, 2011 at 8:28 AM

      Hey Cartoon,

      I am sure you mean well, but your screen name might be interpretted in the wrong way due to recent unfortunate events in Denmark. Its unneccessarily insensitive. Thanks.

      • Avatar

        Cartoon

        March 12, 2011 at 1:41 PM

        JazakAllah bro. I’ll keep that in mind.

  13. Avatar

    Abdullah

    March 11, 2011 at 11:08 PM

    By Dr. Salah al-Sawy

    Question:

    All praise is for Allah and that is sufficient; and peace be on His chosen slaves.

    To proceed:

    This is a question concerning one of the most important issues that the Muslim forced to live in the abode of disbelief—especially those that fight Islam and the Muslims—needs to understand. The question is about the kind of relationship one should have with the society in which he lives, whether on the level of the individual or the nation. Due to the enormous ramifications of this issue and its great importance, I would hope that the sheikhs could shed light on this issue from every angle so that the picture would become clear to all. I beg your permission to add some important questions:

    1 – Would a visa be considered a contract of security? Does it matter whether the country is fighting the Muslims or not?

    2 – Does a person who gets a fake visa and enters a country with it fall under the same verdict?

    3 – If a person got a fake passport and went to a non-Muslim country, then upon arrival, sought refugee status and entered the country on that basis until his case is looked into (maybe after several years they would either agree or refuse)—would someone who snuck into a non-Muslim country without a visa or otherwise fall under the same verdicts as someone who entered with a visa?

    4 – Is there a significant difference between seeking refugee status and obtaining a visa?

    And may Allah reward you well.

    Fatwa:

    In the name of Allah, all praise is for Allah, and may peace and blessing be upon the Messenger of Allah, his family and followers. To proceed:

    The visa is a contract of security, legally obliging both parties to refrain from harm, in accordance with [the definition of] the contract of security in all books of fiqh. This is also the fatwa that has been issued by almost all scholars in modern times. Countries that fight us and countries that befriend us are equal in this regard.

    The same verdict applies to anyone who gets a fake visa, because creating a misunderstanding of security entails security, in addition to the sin of forgery that remains with him.

    Even more deserving than this is the seeking of refugee status, for this is a contract complete in all the stipulations a contract of security would require. It is impossible for a country to grant protection to someone who harbors ill will towards them or who would set them up for treachery; and this issue should be clear and obvious.

    I hope this explanation has been comprehensive in meaning and that the reminder turns you away from any others; and Allah Almighty is more exalted and more knowledgeable.

    Read the original fatwa at the Assembly of Muslim Jurists of America

  14. Avatar

    Safdar

    March 12, 2011 at 1:45 AM

    JazakAllahuKhairan sheikh for a simple but enlightening article on the fine line separating the tenets of our Shariah, and governance (be it an Islamic one or otherwise). This effort can come at no better a time than now, when the very foundations of Islam, and the beliefs of many educated and knowledgeable Muslims, are being shocked by a growing rhetoric that Islam is a barbaric religion with a Shariah (laws???) that yields no mercy.
    But, the Shariah, as rightly pointed out, does not entail only laws pertaining to civil, social, political and criminal governance. Shariah should be part and parcel of every moment in a Muslim’s life; as IT is guaranteed by Allah(swt) to be the ‘path’ to success in this life and the hereafter.

    Doesn’t our religion tell us to refrain from actions which can be dangerous to oneself or others? So, do we really have to be told to halt at a ‘STOP’ sign, or avoid speeding. It is amazing to see the expression of respect you get when you tell a fellow non-Muslim that I do not want to speed, or evade US taxes, or have a Savings account; or backbite, as my Shariah forbids it. Is this the same Shariah which the media has so conveniently branded as being inhumane?

    As a leaving note, I am pretty alarmed at the exuberant hostility and insult that many of our Muslim bloggers have expressed in response to such a simple, straight write-up. Please let’s avoid the sarcasm, insult, and name-calling; and win each other’s understanding, agreement or discord thorough words of love and respect. If we (including the author) were all right on our respective views; then can either one of us justify that the taxes we pay as ‘Proud, Patriotic, Shariah practicing Americans’ be acceptable by the ‘founding fathers’ of our religion, or by Allah(swt), as being within the bounds of Shariah; when it is our own earnings that are used to fund the persecution and killing of Muslims worldwide.
    Wassalam

  15. Avatar

    Mohamed Al-Jazaeri

    March 12, 2011 at 1:51 AM

    Although I may not agree with Shaykh Yasir (May Allah preserve him and increase his knowledge) on all of his opinions. I must say that he seems to display tremendous patience. I do not know how he can even waste his time responding to some of our brothers who clearly show nothing but ignorance. Quoting verses and traditions of the Prophet (peace be upon him) without having any knowledge of the intended meaning. My brothers, fear Allah: Let us learn the basics of our religion.

  16. Avatar

    Umm Aman

    March 12, 2011 at 8:43 AM

    BismillahirRahmanirRaheem
    assalamu alaikkum warahmathullahi wabarakathuhu,
    May Allah,subhnata’ala guide us to the straight path and keep us on the straight path forever.

    I wonder why there is always a black and white approach to any article published. I wish people remove their prejudice about the author or the topic before they read an article. Read the article as many number of times as you could before you comment. Give 70000 excuses to your fellow muslim if (i stress, “if”) there is any mistakes and comment it in a gentler way. This way we can learn better from our scholars.

    I ask Allah,subhanata’ala to remove suspicion, jealousy, prejudice from our hearts and help us to appreciate and enjoin each other in good. I ask Allah,subhanata’ala to keep us muslims united on the straight path. I ask Allah,subhanata’ala to bless our scholars, reward them immensely, forgive their shortcomings and protect them and their families from all the evil that HE has created. inshaAllah .ameen.

    Different audience require different approach to deliver the same message. I feel that this is what sh.yasir qadhi has done. I ask Allah,subhanata’ala to give us the correct understanding of the deen.

    • Avatar

      Abdhaqq B

      March 13, 2011 at 10:55 AM

      Excuses true. Mistakes true. However, intentionally and repeatedly- not just here in this article- ignoring basic concepts of al walaa wal baraa is not something to take lightly. That is if that person has got his or her bearings right as regards this matter. The Prophet was gentle, and yes in order situations he was affirmative and harsh when the situation demanded it. He did not dig out for 7000 excuses. Check the seerah out properly and you will find examples. Also in the life of Abu Bakr and Umar. The inability to even detect how far we have been tasered down or poisoned from within not to have alwaala and baraa is even more saddening.

  17. Avatar

    Brother

    March 12, 2011 at 8:44 AM

    Patriotism or Nationalism?

    I am curious to know if patriotism is ok in Islam? Patriotism is extremely subjective, which may make it very hard to answer. But those protestors in the OC were draped in American flags and calling to basically kill (“early meeting in paradise” as per the words of one of their leaders) the attendees of the fundraising event. No doubt that in their own minds, they were expressing the epitomy of patriotism.

    So then the question what level of patriotism is acceptable in Islam?

    • Avatar

      Abdullah

      March 12, 2011 at 3:40 PM

      When we discuss any term we need to define what we mean. If by “nationalism” and “patriotism” we mean love for one’s homeland in a manner that does not conflict with the rights of Allah and the rights of human beings, then this is permissible. If by “nationalism” and “patriotism” we mean love for one’s homeland above the love of Allah and His Messenger, peace be upon him, then of course this is impermissible. So it depends on how you define these terms. Allah knows best.

      • Avatar

        Salman

        March 12, 2011 at 6:26 PM

        Seems your ignorance is only superceded by reflexively responding/spamming other people’s posts without even a vague, passing familiarity with basic Islamic concepts. May wish to ask your “sheikh” about the following hadiths the next time you seek to worship him:

        He is not one us who calls for `Asabiyyah, (nationalism/tribalism) or who fights for `Asabiyyah or who dies for `Asabiyyah.”

        And in another Hadith, the Messenger of Allah (saaw) referring to nationalism, racism, and patriotism said:

        Leave it, it is rotten.” [Muslim and Bukhari] and

        in the Hadith recorded in Mishkat al-Masabith, the Messenger of Allah (saaw) said:

        He who calls for `Asabiyyah is as if he bit his father’s genitals

        Source: The Prohibition of Nationalism in Islam

        the impoverished state of Islamic knowledge that exists among such bankrupted people such that basic concepts such as tribalism, patriotism, and nationalism that even have to be contested as something not from Islam speaks for itself.

        • Avatar

          Abdullah

          March 14, 2011 at 9:01 PM

          Asabiyyah was defined by the Prophet, peace be upon him.

          Narrated Wathilah ibn al-Asqa: I asked: “Messenger of Allah! What is tribalism?” The Prophet, peace be upon him, replied: “That you help your people in wrongdoing.”

          يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ مَا الْعَصَبِيَّةُ قَالَ أَنْ تُعِينَ قَوْمَكَ عَلَى الظُّلْمِ

          This hadith is recorded in the Sunan of Abu Dawud, although the Isnad is Da’eef.

          People mean different things with the words “nationalism” and “patriotism.” Sometimes they mean Asabiyyah (helping your people in wrongdoing), which would obviously be Haram, and sometimes they mean love of country, which is Halal as long as it does not contradict Islam. These words (nationalism, patriotism) do not have fixed meanings, so you do not have the right to define them in only one way and then make a sweeping fatwa like you did.

          Also, you didn’t need to throw ad hominem insults at me. Wa salaam. =)

    • Avatar

      Yasir Qadhi

      March 12, 2011 at 9:04 PM

      Salaam Alaikum

      Very good question – worthy of an article. For now, I’ll refer you to my lecture “Nation-State versus Ummah”, and state that a certain level of love of one’s ethnicity, country, language and/or people is completely from within the Shariah, but if this love goes out of bounds, it would be impermissible and a ‘calling to asabiyya’, as has been prohibited by our beloved Prophet salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam.

      • Avatar

        Mohammad

        March 14, 2011 at 12:59 AM

        Why is it that we need credentials from institutions that are controlled by the secularists regimes that have done more damage against Islam than any other foreign enemy has? Take al-azhar for example! The head sheikh, during the demonstrations, decreed that it was forbidden to demonstrate against any Muslim leader! Mubarak, as well as any other western-backed secular regime in the middle east, is far from being Muslim! So when you ask for credentials, I don’t need to have credentials from any western backed institution to prove that I am worthy of an opinion. I, on the otherhand, only need to reference the Quran and Sunnah to validate my opinion. In this case, the sheikh is watering down the significance of vital aspects of the Shariah to appease an audience of non-Muslims! The fikra of secularism is in total contradiction of the fikra of Islam! The Aqeedah of secularism/capitalism makes man subservient to material whereas the Aqeeda of Islam makes man subservient to Allah swt! Our problem today is that we don’t recognize that the Aqeeda of Islam entails that it be practiced as a comprehensive deen encompassing all aspects of a system. We understand Islam as only a religion, a relationship only between man and His creator! This is the danger of secularism! It mandates that any religion be left out of the political sphere of life! The sheikhs message is too vague and gives the impression that this model if secularism is condoned in Islam! This should be common sense and the need for credentials shouldn’t be an issue!

        • Avatar

          F

          March 14, 2011 at 12:47 PM

          Mohammed,
          So you think that without any training, you can simply pick up the Quran and make judgments?

          Will you be operating on yourself too if I give you a surgery manual? Or how about build a bridge if I gave you an engineering design?

          • Avatar

            Abdullah

            March 14, 2011 at 11:05 PM

            Too many of the brothers who visit this site are taking their religion from extremist groups on the internet. The talking points that constantly show up here are just slogans repeated by street preachers. It really displays the general lack of concern for authentic Islamic scholarship amongst many of the youth.

            Allahu Musta’aan.

          • Avatar

            asif

            March 17, 2011 at 10:22 AM

            You are right.

            Abdullah go look into yourself and see if you are doing the same thing.

            American scholars are under a gun. Fatwas under a gun should be taken with a grain of salt. so should scholars under a gun. Even more when you yourself are under the gun, you better figure out if you are just copping out and following the easy path or are you really trying to find the truth..

            The scholars on the net represent a very small percentage of actual scholars. American muslim scholars too are a very small percentage of scholars. The vast majority of scholars qualified to give fatwas are off the net.

            Yasir Qadhis views are definitely extremist and away from not just alims but muftis, so are the views of most people visiting this site. I have talked to many top muftis and I have not met one yet who subscribes to the flavour of islam of yasir qadhi. I suggest going of the net. Visit some islamic country and ask a scholar there privately about yasir qadhis postions.

            American muslims are living in some kind of a delusion twisting islam just like other extremist muslims just for the sake of some apple pies and dollars.

            Few of us have the capicity to follow islam fully. I certainly cant. At least we can be repentant towards Allah for not following it rather than justifying our actions. Follow Adam way of repentance rather than Shaitans way of justifying his actions.

        • Avatar

          MW_M

          March 15, 2011 at 7:22 PM

          I like using exclamation marks too! It makes my argument so much more forceful! Take that!

      • Avatar

        Abdullah

        March 14, 2011 at 9:04 PM

        That’s exactly what I was trying to say, Shaykh, but it seems a Muslim cannot write anything on this blog without being attacked by other Muslims. I’m very disappointed. Allahu Musta’aan.

  18. Avatar

    Zayn Abdullah

    March 12, 2011 at 8:56 AM

    It seriously appears that many of our brothers and sisters are living in some type of la-la land.

    Mainstream America is witch-hunting Muslims down; they’re screaming at Muslim kids and terrorizing their own citizens. We need to calm them down and make them understand that not all Muslims are terrorist.

    Articles such as these ones are a step in the right direction.

    If people do believe that there is no hope for Muslims in America, they are free to leave and settle elsewhere. For those that remain behind, we need people like Sh. Yasir.

    • Avatar

      Abdhaqq B

      March 13, 2011 at 11:07 AM

      “Mainstream America is witch-hunting Muslims down; they’re screaming at Muslim kids and terrorizing their own citizens”

      This is nothing NEW. You need to read the Quran very well. And without blinkers.

      For starters try 2:120

      وَلَنْ تَرْضَىٰ عَنكَ ٱلْيَهُودُ وَلاَ ٱلنَّصَارَىٰ حَتَّىٰ تَتَّبِعَ مِلَّتَهُمْ قُلْ إِنَّ هُدَى ٱللَّهِ هُوَ ٱلْهُدَىٰ وَلَئِنِ ٱتَّبَعْتَ أَهْوَآءَهُمْ بَعْدَ ٱلَّذِى جَآءَكَ مِنَ ٱلْعِلْمِ مَا لَكَ مِنَ ٱللَّهِ مِن وَلِيٍّ وَلاَ نَصِيرٍ

      Then you can check out 18:20

      إِنَّهُمْ إِن يَظْهَرُواْ عَلَيْكُمْ يَرْجُمُوكُمْ أَوْ يُعِيدُوكُمْ فِى مِلَّتِهِمْ وَلَن تُفْلِحُوۤاْ إِذاً أَبَداً

      In times like this- times of fitan- what we need is to go back to the Qur’aan and understand as it was understood by the true salaf. And again, the true believer needs Allah and Allah alone. Remember what Abu Bakr sai

    • Avatar

      asif

      April 3, 2011 at 5:42 AM

      Zayn,

      Firstly what has sharia got to do with terrorism?

      Secondly since in most usage in the US, jihad now means struggle and not violent struggle, then how can you possibly say one should not struggle for the sharia in the US. Whereas, its your right even the by US law and constitution and political system to struggle for laws that you want. A pro life activist can struggle to overturn row vs. wade, yet you cannot even want sharia?

      What I fear is that when you take the halal and qualify it as haram and vice versa. One could call it masleha. When the scholars do it and take a halal and make it haram, and the ordinary muslim believes it. That can make him a MUSHRIK. This is extremely dangerous. Just go through yasir qadis lectures on kitab ut tauheed and then think how many halals have changed. You cannot take a halal, to struggle and make an effort for the sharia, and make it haram in the US. It seems very dangerous for the followers.

      Basically, like you say yourself, Muslims are under a gun, so are the scholars. It would be prudent for ones aqeeda to take politics related article and fatwas and not accept them on face value.

  19. Avatar

    Olivia

    March 12, 2011 at 12:24 PM

    very nice, shaykh Y.Q. you took the words right out of my mouth!

  20. Avatar

    Bilal

    March 12, 2011 at 3:51 PM

    Salamualaikum,

    I have an honest question…I was told that Western constitutions are documents of Kufr, is this true?

    • Avatar

      Abdullah

      March 12, 2011 at 6:06 PM

      The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, would cooperate with non-Muslims regarding issues of justice and human rights. As he said: ‘”I witnessed a confederacy in the house of ‘Abdullah bin Jada‘an. It was more appealing to me than herds of cattle. Even now in the period of Islam I would respond positively to attending such a meeting if I were invited.” [Ibn Hisham 1/113,135]

      Even though Western constitutions are not based upon Islam, that does not nullify the obligation for Muslims to fulfill their contracted security agreements, i.e. following civil laws legislated on the basis of maslaha (public interest) and ma’ruf (well-known good). Many shari’ rights are protected and Maqasid (objectives) of Sharia are fulfilled by American laws, so we follow and encourage what is good and reform what is bad. Allah knows best.

      • Avatar

        Bilal

        March 13, 2011 at 5:07 AM

        So wouldn’t it be more accurate to say that in Islam we are commanded to interact with and around Kufr in a certain manner…? Hence did the Prophet (saw) prescribe limits to such interaction of what can be done/said and what cannot be done/said?

        • Avatar

          Abdullah

          March 14, 2011 at 9:07 PM

          Allah Almighty said:

          “Allah does not forbid you from those who do not fight you because of religion and do not expel you from your homes – from being righteous toward them and acting justly toward them. Indeed, Allah loves those who act justly. Allah only forbids you from those who fight you because of religion and expel you from your homes and aid in your expulsion – [forbids] that you make allies of them. And whoever makes allies of them, then it is those who are the wrongdoers.” (60:8-9)

          So Allah has encouraged us to behave with Al-Birr towards non-Muslims. Furthermore, just because a contract exists with a non-Muslim does not make it invalid. The Prophet, peace be upon him, bought, sold, and allied with non-Muslim tribes on many occasions. So we do interact with disbelievers in a beautiful way which will bring them to Islam. These people who constantly talk about the “Kufr West” are just repeating slogans and they do not understand advanced levels of Islamic Jurisprudence related to Amanah (contracted security). Allah knows best.

  21. Pingback: Conveying the message clearly (without any spin) | Peace, Bruv

  22. Avatar

    waleed ahmed

    March 12, 2011 at 10:19 PM

    Great dawah initiative Sh. Yasir. I think American Muslims should submit similar articles to their local news papers explaining what shariah is and that it is already being practiced my American muslims; in fact its impossible for one to be Muslim and not practice the shariah. The sooner that average American learns what the shariah is, the sooner the bigotry will go away.

  23. Avatar

    Algebera

    March 13, 2011 at 12:49 AM

    Aslamu=alaikum
    Nice article Ma Sha Allah!!!!!
    salam

  24. Pingback: Hypocrisy at its Best «

  25. Avatar

    F

    March 14, 2011 at 12:46 PM

    Notice how all the anti comments rely on emotional rants and copy/paste hadeeth methodology. Not one of them presents a fiqhi argument to counter YQ but uses slogans and out of context verses to support their points.

  26. Pingback: Yasir Qadhi | A Proud, Patriotic, Shariah Practicing American

  27. Avatar

    Abdullah

    March 14, 2011 at 11:01 PM

    Honestly, MuslimMatters needs to do a better job moderating these comments. I for one would not tolerate people posting insults against the Shaykh or hardline propaganda from extremist ideologues. Yet it seems that every time I visit this blog there are people arguing in an ugly way about the religion. It is a terrible Fitnah.

    Allahu Musta’aan.

    • Amad

      Amad

      March 15, 2011 at 1:29 AM

      Abdullah, we are trying our best. Please remember that there is a fine line between censorship and moderation

      But I agree with you that I along with many people are getting really tired of these young guns who love to cut and paste stuff and act like they are ready to take on the world, while they still haven’t left their parents’ basement! Most of them hang out on an alternative site where they enjoy groupthink and then they come here to show off their skills.

      So, I am going to try to insist to the editorial team to moderate harder.

      • Avatar

        Abdullah

        March 15, 2011 at 2:51 PM

        Thank you for the response, Amad. Dealing with these comments is very frustrating. It seems so many of these “young guns” have learned a few slogans, read a few blogs, and then declare jihad against the world. How many people have been turned away from Islam because of this irresponsible rhetoric about Khilafah, Sharia, and Jihad? While Allah Almighty taught us to say:

        “Our Lord, make us not a Fitnah (trial) for the disbelievers and forgive us, our Lord. Indeed, it is You who is the Exalted in Might, the Wise.” (60:5)

        Allahu Musta’aan.

      • Avatar

        Umer Siddique

        June 15, 2011 at 5:10 PM

        Assalamu alaikum,

        I must say it is extremely patronising and presumptuous on your part to lump any objection to certain principles in such a way. Whilst I do not speak for everyone, several people who strongly disagree with various articles produced on this website have been involved in da’wah for as long as or even longer than the contributors to MM.

        Insulting another Muslim is completely out of order, but when one sees a clear violation of the shari’ah, one would expect those in charge of an apparently influential website to at least assume good of those who show zeal towards the shari’ah. I am not talking about this article, parts of which I have defended to those who spoke so strongly against it. However, comments such as the ones referring to young guns and alluding to armchair politics misses the point that there is a plethora of tullab al-‘ilm and masha’ikh who have vast experience in da’wah to Muslims, cooperate with various non-Muslim organisations and front-line experience in the political and legal realities facing Muslims in the West.

        To ignore such would only increase the impression that there is an elitist clique developing on sites such as this one that brushes aside any academic objection to many of the problematic articles written by people with insufficient credentials in shar’i knowledge.

        May Allah guide myself and all of us and save us from arrogance and misguidance.

  28. Avatar

    ahlam

    March 15, 2011 at 6:55 PM

    Nur,

    These countries are not Christian. They are Secular, so they are neutral on religions and are not Christian in the most conservative sense.You cannot compare them with MUSLIM-MAJORITY countries, .i.e not necessarily ‘Islamic’ countries and then say, hey, ‘christian countries’ (secular) are better than ”islamic countries” .

    I noticed you always come with the same talking points no matter the topic!

  29. Avatar

    Sadiya Ibrahimm

    March 16, 2011 at 3:28 PM

    ASALLAHMUALKUM WARAMUTULAHI WABARAKATU! MASHALLAH the things you have said is true but PRAISE be to ALLAH(SWT) THE CREATOR AND SUBSTAINER. The people of America can never undrstand the beauty of ISLAM when they are to busy following Democracy. THey don’t want to learn, May ALLAH guide all of us to the Straight Path, and give us STRENGHTH when we are in need AMMMMMMMMMMEEEEEEENNNNNNNNNNNNN!!!!!!!!!!!ALLAHUAKBAR ALLAHUAKBAR ALLAHUAKBAR!!!!!!!!!!!ALLAH IS GREAT!

  30. Avatar

    asif

    March 17, 2011 at 10:38 AM

    When you are under the gun you are more likely to believe what is convenient rather than what is the truth. I should look into my heart for kufr, shirk and nifaq and so should everyone.

    All I am trying to say is turn to Allah in repentance, ask for guidance and forgiveness just in case you are wrong. This is for everyone from all schools of thought. Arrogance leads to misguidance and turning to Allah leads to guidance. Have humility and ask for guidance. So shall I.

    It seems a stretch for a muslim to say he does not want to implement sharia where he lives? What you choose the laws of the jahaliyya?

  31. Avatar

    Scholars for Dollars

    March 18, 2011 at 1:59 PM

    Haha the moderators of this website are deleting any comment which exposes them and the falseness of their views from Islamic sources. Learnt this from the western masters huh? silent the effective critics and still proclaim how u love freedom n bla bla.

    Who r u guys working for and why r u scared if someone comments and clarifies things without any spam or hate msgs… so u wanna follow every step the kuffar take in hiding the truth!

  32. Avatar

    The Sanity Inspector

    March 18, 2011 at 10:57 PM

    There are thousand of patriotic Muslims. There is no patriotic Islam. Cabbie refuse to pick up riders with dogs. Kitchen workers demand extra breaks for prayer time. Shoppers press for “non-denominational” prayer alcoves in malls–malls! Students demand, and get, segregated swimming facilities. Inch by inch, drip by drip, Islam carves out a separate sphere for itself within the host country. And every mote in the sandstorm can say, “Who, me?”

    • Avatar

      jock

      March 19, 2011 at 12:48 AM

      I find it odd that you can admit that there are ‘thousands of patriotic muslims” (indeed there are) and yet conclude that ‘there is no patriotic Islam” based on a few instances such as the ones you mentioned. How does that logic work again?

      And what’s even more ironic is that you’re doing all this on a post by a Muslim scholar that’s actually arguing that Muslims can and should feel comfortable living in America.

      Attitudes like that will simply put you on the side of the extremists whose narrative is also along of the lines of ‘America is at war with Islam! AAARGH’

      open your mind a little

    • Avatar

      DrM

      March 21, 2011 at 2:35 PM

      So says the paranoid troll. Islam is here to stay and the apologists for anglo-American terror like you can’t do a thing about it but lie through your teeth. “Patriotic” in this day and age means being an uninformed, ignorant, overweight mental defective who listens to talk radio and is scared silly of any discussion with facts, only to wave an American flag made in China. Which is why you’ve gotten your behind kicked over at loonwatch so many times.
      You’ll happily pay Kosher tax but complain about segregated swimming facilities for Muslims. Yeah we’re going to take over. Here are our master plans :

      http://tinyurl.com/4o94buq

      • Avatar

        The Sanity Inspector

        March 22, 2011 at 10:10 PM

        DrM, you’re too late. I can read for myself the other commenters on this very thread who aren’t buying the theme of the main post. However, a quick skim of your site (for which thanks for the link) shows that there is nothing particularly Islamic about your take on things–full of aesthetic disdain for the things that make the nation great, and full of fiery ardor to burn the sh!house down–that’s a New York thing. The rest of the country rallied behind New York after 9/11, whereas when we went to war NYC filled up with massive demos, wishing for “a million Mogadishus”. So in that respect, you fit right in.

        • Avatar

          DrM

          March 24, 2011 at 4:59 AM

          @insane instigator,

          I’m afraid you’ve got me confused with someone who gives a damn. Disdain for what “great nation”? A bankrupt kleptocratic empire which commits mass murder and carries on like nothings wrong? Not buying it. Speaking of disdain, your disconnect from reality and contempt for the facts is typical of the mindless breed. Patriotism is tribalistic rubbish, and a common excuse for extremists like you hide your inferiority of mind and soul. It’s pricesly because of sheep like you that America went from being a republic to being a bloated empire collapsing on itself.This isn’t a football game, fool. And don’t waste my time your 911 conspiracy theories while bending over for judeofascists. You should be thankful that Muslims are bringing civilization and truth to you. My site is chemotherapy to you lies and falsehood.
          I can’t wait for gas to hit $10 a gallon, I don’t want to pay that much but I can afford it, plus knowing that it would put Anglo-American terrorists and their supporters in the poor house permanently is worth it.
          Get back to me when you find those mythical Iraqi WMDs, cretin.

          -Edited. Pls refrain from personal attacks.

  33. Avatar

    cera

    March 23, 2011 at 1:57 AM

    Asif, not sure where you live. If you live in the West and dont want to live under a secular state with the seperation of church and state and rather live in a shariah-based country than you are more than welcome to leave. Not sure where you’ll find a country that is truly an islamic state…but all the best with that.

    As citizens of this country, we need to abide by the laws of the land. And fortunately we can freely practice our religion, our faith here. Can’t say that about a lot of ‘muslim’ countries out there.

    • Avatar

      DrM

      March 24, 2011 at 5:05 AM

      Yeah Muslim “countries” which are client states(with no shortage of dictators on the dole) of the West, bought and paid for. So why is the West and its so called “separation of Church and State” so obsessed with setting up a Jewish state in the Middle East, subsidizing Jewish extremists and terrorists as they expand into “eretz yisroel.”
      “Secularism” indeed…

      • Avatar

        Everybody's Dad

        March 24, 2011 at 12:57 PM

        I imagine they do all that because of the ‘strategic interests’ that they want to keep under their thumb in the region. And if they can convince some sheep that its all about supporting freedom and ‘the only democracy in the mideast’ and all that jazz, then its really a double-victory for them: they’ve managed to secure a sort of hold over a place that’s not theirs under the guise of a moral superiority that they don’t deserve…

    • Avatar

      asif

      April 3, 2011 at 5:56 AM

      cera

      I dont live in the west. I do live in a western assisted non islamic taghuti democracy where the majority of people call themselves muslim. I do advocate the sharia be the law where I live and I do call my government Taghuti which is openly opposing the laws of God and I hate it for that reason..

      We are living in a time of fitna and trials. All I say is the of the 3 levels of faith, at least adhere to the third and least level of iman and in our hearts hate the evil and munkar. I have this fear that some of the scholars are now taking us below even this lowest level of iman due to their being under the gun.

  34. Avatar

    Jones

    March 30, 2011 at 3:40 PM

    Separation of church and state is the very definition of secularism, and this is kufr. I highly recommend you clarify your statement so that we know 100% that you DON’T support the secular premise.

    Sometimes the kuffar don’t understand our desire for justice and accountability through the application of the shariah, but that doesn’t mean that we resort to supporting their kufr way of governance.

  35. Avatar

    Lisa

    April 1, 2011 at 7:25 PM

    I thank you all for sharing your perspectives, your insights, and the much desired information that gives me a better understanding of people who honor and live the Muslim faith. I am grateful to Ikram Kirdi, who referred me to this site and who gave such thoughtful and thorough replies to my questions. I desire to know and understand truth and reality, not be mentally or spiritually “conformed” by propaganda based on ignorance, narrow mindsets, or a few who have behaved in a manner that is more akin to rage and fear than true peace and mercy. I am thankful for everyone whom God has brought into my life, and that includes you, friends. Lisa

  36. Avatar

    freethinker

    April 2, 2011 at 3:56 AM

    hi all,

    as non muslim, just want to reply to Amad about moderating comments. I am learning about Islam, and I find it much more helpful hearing ALL muslim voices. Only then can non muslims learn to differentiate between street preachers and more thoughtful voices like Sheikh Qadhi. We need all the voices so non muslims can make our own decisions about what Islam in U.S. really looks like. I love the adab thing, and I still see it as an Islamic value even when some muslims on MM go on ad hominem insulting rants. Thanks for this site and thanks for the work you do in moderating Amad. just my two cents worth. Peace.

  37. Avatar

    Mahmud

    January 1, 2013 at 12:50 AM

    Assalamualaikum wa wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh

    I disagree, however even if you are correct you should try to refute him with the most excellent akhlaq nearest to Rasulullah sallallahualayhiwasalam for Allah’s sale alone. Don’t just vent your anger at him.

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#Current Affairs

The Disenfranc(e)hisement Of Muslims And Why We Need To Stay Focused

Shaahima Fahim

Published

France is currently enjoying its turn in the limelight of the current news cycle, constantly feeding journalists, pundits, activists, religious leaders and laypeople with material to justify more and more stage time.

“We don’t believe in political Islam that is not compatible with stability and peace in the world,” President Emmanuel Macron is quoted to have said, blind to the fact that the very specific brand of politicised liberalism he currently wields, is ironically only holding that olive branch further out of reach.

Unfortunately, with the France-Macron issue, we find ourselves stuck in torturously lengthy debates over the many hypocrisies of the French laïcité, or going back and forth yet again trying to correctly define the newest terminology (‘Islamic Separatism’) coined for our apparently many-tiered brand identity, refusing to acknowledge the reality check in the room. That all those answers have already long already been writ.

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Macron’s message to Muslims is clear: You Are Not of Us. And in unabashedly endorsing the parading of offensive caricatures of the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) — knowing with full certainty the distress this causes for Muslims the world over- and cracking down on prominent Muslim charities and even anti-Islamophobia organizations. Macron is shouting it out from the rooftops; seemingly unafraid of any potential repercussions.

And why should he be? In a political climate where Donald Trump  is the leader of the free world, where Britain is no longer part of the EU, and the highly-respected Merkel soon on her way out, Macron is enticed by the notion that if he plays his cards right, he may well be in contention to be seen as the strongman of Europe.

Liberal Anti-Muslim Bigotry

Although there is so much more to unpack geopolitically, this only partially explains why Macron’s beef (not halal, of course) with France’s Muslim community is not new. Long before the Samuel Paty brouhaha, Macron has been stirring the proverbial pot of anti-Muslim sentiment by shutting down over 70 mosques, schools, and private institutions in the name of neatening up France’s secular identity. Domestically, having only barely earned his presidency when the country went to the polls last, Macron has now chosen to conveniently stretch the limits of his party’s liberal stance in order to drum up support when up against the far-right Le Pen in 2022. And when anti-Islam rhetoric is being employed in a secular political agenda, you know now is the time to be really concerned.

It becomes evident then that Macron too is operating from an all-too-familiar political playbook which calls for the weaponization of Islamophobia for political gain, in a bid to cover-up the deeper underlying issues of the state; and if that comes from smearing an entire civil society under the guise of countering radicalization, so be it. The same playbook has already been passed on by one too many hands, and if we fall into the trap of treating each incident in isolation, there looms the threat another great (Muslim-specific) pandemic.

Leaves of the Same Book

We recognize the same machinations from some of the pages China has earmarked, where the Chinese state is currently incarcerating of over 1.3 million Uyghur Muslims in a network of brutal concentration camps across what China calls Xin Jiang 9occupied East Turkestan. This under the official guise of countering separatist tendencies. Further south, a few leaves too have been taken and applied by India’s Modi  — notoriously known to have come into power flaunting his hard-line nationalist agenda—, in the passing of the blatantly anti-Muslim Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), and his ruthless ‘handling’ of the people of Kashmir. These examples representing only a small segment of an extensive readership.

Currently Muslims the world over are being distracted into believing that the demonization of Muslims is a very Macron-specific issue, and that we can wash our hands from the matter once through. The very specific French pastry mould that cuts out the definition of a ‘good’ Muslim (apolitical and unseen), and the increasing elasticity of laïcité, is in reality just a modified version of attempts at Muslim disenfranchisement and erasure we are witnessing the world over; only in this instance disguised by very French accents.

We have witnessed many an example where scare-mongering against Muslim minorities and immigrants has done wonders for winning votes in elections and referenda, and although the situation of Muslims in France does appear particularly bleak right now, taking offense too can be a surprisingly effective catalyst in tackling an unfair world order. As concerned bystanders from afar, we the oft-silent majority -and our non-Muslim allies-, should most certainly invest in efforts to counter instruments of institutionalized Muslim bashing  — in specific, and minority bashing in general- that is increasingly being mainstreamed.

Many jaded activists will testify that this movement too shall pass, with the oppressed yet to be left behind in the dust again. While most likely true, instead of cynically questioning whether or not these movements, petitions, and demonstrations are going to eventually produce results, we need to show up while the coals are still hot. Better still, with the blinders off. In reading up, speaking to those on the ground, keeping abreast of developments, and pressurizing our governments, we stand a chance at greater staying power for this cause now, and for a re-fuelled sense of purpose against Muslim-directed atrocities being committed anywhere else.

Secularism has never killed anyone, tweeted Macron callously, simultaneously blacking out pages from France’s bloody history and wiping clean the blood from his own hands.

Au contraire, Monsieur President. Au contraire.

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#Current Affairs

Democracy, Citizenship, And Islamophobia: The Making Of A New India

Meraj Din

Published

When tracing the political genealogy of modern India after its partition in 1947, historians identify the two defining principles used by the state as secularism and democracy. Yet the idea of India, post-1947, a newly born nation-state and now-market of 1.4 billion people, as a home for multiple religious, ethnic and linguistic denominations continues to unravel under the contradictions of historicity.

While the Union of India was historically seen as a progressive multi-ethnic secular democracy, throughout the past few decades the policies and politics of inequality for minorities, violent objectification based on castiesm, virulent manifestation of Islamophobia, and clampdown on all forms of democratic political dissent show a paradoxical paradigm shift from its founding principles.

Tracing the Genealogy of Partition

In the early years after independence, the country’s first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, and the ruling Indian National Congress (or Congress Party) advocated for an Indian brand of secularism designed to hold the country’s disparate communities together under one roof.

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This idea was formally attested in the 42nd Amendment of the Constitution of India enacted in 1976, the Preamble to the Constitution proclaim that India is a secular nation. 

Yet this idea of a nation that tolerates religious and ethnic minorities was contradictory of Hindu nationalist ideology, first collated in the 1920s by V. D. Savarkar in Hindutva: Who Is a Hindu?. Savarkar defines India culturally as a Hindu country and intended to transform it into a Hindu Rashtra (nation-state).

Hindu nationalists view India as a Hindu nation-state not only because Hindus make up about 80 percent of the population but also because they see themselves as the rightful sons of the soil, whereas they view Muslims and Christians as the outcome of bloody foreign invasions or denationalising influences.

Nobel laureate Amartya Sen argues in his path-breaking work The Argumentative Indian:

“the enthusiasm for ancient India has often come from the Hindutva movement—the promoters of a narrowly Hindu view of Indian Civilization—who have tried to separate out the period preceding the Muslim conquest of India.”

The case for  secularism, with its own historical pitfalls, really started to shake when Hindu nationalists populated the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its various ideological affiliates and started promoting a starkly different worldview; envisioning India as a majoritarian Hindutva nation-state, not a country with diverse multi-religious and cultural history.

The question of the viability of India’s secularist tradition, and the tensions inherent in these competing visions of Indian nationhood have come to the fore in recent years, since the BJP’s landmark electoral victory in 2014. 

Politics of Otherisation 

After India’s parliament revoked article 370 in Kashmir (called out as constitutional blasphemy), it passed a bill in the parliament offering ‘amnesty’ to non-Muslim illegal immigrants from three neighbouring countries.

It was a major step towards the official marginalisation of Muslims that would establish a religious test for migrants who want to become citizens, solidifying Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu-nationalist agenda.

The bill offers citizenship to religious minorities from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. The government, led by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), argued “this will give sanctuary to people fleeing religious persecution”, while forcing Muslims, many of whom do not have any official documentation, of re-registering as Indian citizens.

This is one more step towards realising the grand project of creating a Hindutva Nation.

Arundhati Roy, one of India’s most famous writers, compared the Citizenship Amendment Act and the National Register of Citizens (NRC) to the Nazis’ 1935 Nuremberg Laws, which blocked Jews from German citizenship. 

The ruling BJP government itself includes the Shiv Sena (Army of Shivaji) political party, which actually sought inspiration from Nazi Germany.Click To Tweet

In 1967, Bal Thackeray said, “it is Hitler that is needed in India today,” in an interview to Time magazine. In 1993, he said, “If you take Mein Kampf and if you remove the word “Jew” and put in the word “Muslim,” that is what I believe.”

This new reality of India clearly manifests the reductionist understanding of religion and use of politics as a means to achieve religious goals inspired from the Hindutva theology with all institutions working in tandem to promote the politics of exclusion. 

Take the case of the Babri Mosque in the city of Ayodhya, which was demolished by Hindu fundamentalists in 1992. Then, last year India’s Supreme Court awarded the disputed site to Hindus for the construction of a temple for the Hindu deity Ram.

Hindu hardliners, including BJP supporters, say that Ram was born at the site of the Babri Mosque, which was built 460 years ago during Mughal rule in the subcontinent.

The unanimous verdict of the Supreme Court in the Ayodha dispute“gives precedence to faith and belief over available documented archaeological evidence”, according to Kashmiri political analyst Sheikh Showkat Hussain.

The case of the Babri Mosque dispute, if read in continuation of other steps taken by the BJP government is another move towards the delegitimisation of Muslims’ citizenship. 

Just as it is illustrated in Brad Evans and Natasha Lenard’s Violence: Humans in Dark Times,the increasing expression and acceptance of violence-in all strata of society has become a defining feature of today’s world.

In December, while China was fighting the outbreak of the virus in Wuhan, the government of India was dealing with a mass uprising by hundreds of thousands of its citizens protesting against the brazenly discriminatory anti-Muslim citizenship law it had just passed in parliament.

There was punishment to be meted out to Delhi’s Muslims, who were blamed for the humiliation. Armed mobs of Hindu vigilantes, backed by the police, and attacked Muslims in the working-class neighborhoods of north-east Delhi. Houses, shops, mosques and schools were burnt and more than 50 Muslims were killed.

Covid and Islamophobia

While much of the international response to the coronavirus pandemic was unity and shared responsibility, , the battle against Covid-19 in India metamorphosed into Muslim-bashing.

Coming just weeks after pogroms based on religious hatred ended up 36 Muslims dead in Delhi, the outpouring of intolerable tweets manifest how concerns over the coronavirus have merged with longstanding Islamophobia in India, at a time when the Muslim minority — 200 million people in a nation of 1.3 billion — feels increasingly targeted by the ruling Hindu nationalists.

Since March 28, tweets with the hashtag #CoronaJihad have appeared nearly 300,000 times and potentially seen by 165 million people on Twitter, according to data shared with TIME by Equality Labs, a digital human rights group.

Coronavirus is just “one more opportunity to cast the Muslim as the other, as dangerous,” says Ali, an assistant professor of political science at JNU in Delhi. 

Antagonism towards the minority community, which had already spread its tentacles in society, intensified amidst the nationwide lockdown. By singling out an Islamic religious congregation as a major source of the spread of the infection, the authorities inflamed communal tensions and reports of Islamophobia poured in from various quarters across the country.

The mainstream media has incorporated the COVID story into its 24/7 toxic anti-Muslim campaign. An organisation called the Tablighi Jamaat, which held a meeting in Delhi before the lockdown was announced, has turned out to be a “super spreader”.

That is being used to stigmatise and demonise Muslims. The overall tone suggests that Muslims invented the virus and have deliberately spread it as a form of jihad.India has continued with this claim of being a progressive secular democratic nation even though systematic pogroms have been going on against the Muslim population. Islam and Muslims seen as an immediate ‘other’ die a silent death under different pretexts. 

“One of the key features of anti-Muslim sentiment in India for quite a long time has been the idea that Muslims themselves are a kind of infection in the body politic,” said Arjun Appadurai, a professor of media, culture and communication at New York University who studies Indian politics.

“So there’s a kind of affinity between this long-standing image and the new anxieties surrounding coronavirus.”

The left-leaning newspaper The Hindu published a cartoon showing the world being held hostage by the coronavirus—with the virus itself depicted wearing clothing associated with Muslims.

The Nehruvian secularist project and Modi’s communal project are not fundamentally all that different, in that both demand India’s minorities to “integrate” into the national majority which means giving up their socio-cultural way of life.

Modi’s model is to make all minorities homogenous by saying everyone is a Hindu and, therefore, they have to stop being anything else. The other is a secular model whose template is taken from the dominant religion, Hinduism, and, therefore, is cast upon everyone.

Arundhati Roy accused the Indian government of exploiting the coronavirus in a tactic reminiscent of the one used by the Nazis during the Holocaust. 

“The whole of the organisation, the RSS to which Modi belongs, which is the mother ship of the BJP, has long said that India should be a Hindu nation. Its ideologues have likened the Muslims of India to the Jews of Germany,” Roy said.

“And if you look at the way in which they are using Covid-19, it was very much like typhus was used against the Jews to get ghettoise them, to stigmatise them.” Click To Tweet

Hatred against Muslims continues after the massacre in Delhi, which was the outcome of people protesting against the anti-Muslim citizenship law.

Now, under the cover of Covid-19 the government is adamant to arrest young Muslim students; already Sharjeel Imam, Safoora Zargar and Umar Khalid have been booked them with anti-terror Laws like Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).

It seems the idea of India being the largest secular democratic country has disguised an organised Islamophobia campaign and an institutional oppression of Muslims that has existed for decades.

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Africa

Top 10 Books On Black Muslim History

Dr Muhammad Wajid Akhter

Published

The history of Black Muslims seems to be trapped between Bilal raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) and Malcolm X. While these are particularly bright supernovas in the pantheon of giants from Muslim history, they are far from being the only stars in that history.

Recent events have meant that many Muslims want to actively close that gap in their knowledge of Black Muslims. This isn’t just an academic interest, it is one of the recurring pieces of advice given by Black Muslims themselves when asked what the rest of the Muslim community can and should do to actively fight against racism in all its forms.

When you don’t know the story of a people, it becomes easy to belittle or even dehumanise them.

So here, in no particular order, are my Top 10 books on the history of Black Muslims in the English Language.

  • Centering Black Narrative: Black Muslim Nobles amongst the early pious Muslim by Dawud Walid and Ahmed Mubarak

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There are many reasons why tokenising Bilal ibn Rabaah raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) is embarassing. One of them is because there are just so many other Black Sahaabas out there to talk about. This great book showcases so many of the greatest generation who, we may not have realised, were black. I actually did a prior book review on this that you can check out here.

  • The history of Islam in Africa edited by Levtzion & Pouwels 

This is less a book and more like a mini-encyclopaedia. This is for the serious student of history and a good reference book. If you want to tell the difference between the Songhai and the Sanussi or want to tell apart the different Tariqahs – this is your encyclopaedia. I mean book.

  • Illuminating the Darkness: Blacks and North Africans in Islam by Habeeb Akande

Habeeb Akande is one of the most prolific Black Muslim writers out there on a range of topics. This book offers a sweeping narrative dealing with history, social issues like interracial marriage and the concept of race as dealt by scholars such as Al-Suyuti. As expected, this book is well researched and well written so a good primer for those new to the topic.

  • Beyond Timbuktu: An Intellectual History of Muslim West Africa by Ousmane Kane

Timbuktu and West Africa was for a time one of the richest centres of Islam in terms of wealth and intellectual tradition. To read about this time read this book by the Harvard professor Ousmane Kane. To all those who believe in the idea of racial superiority, you’ll be quickly disabused of that notion when you realise that this is the intellectual depth of a book about the intellectual depth of Black Muslims in West Africa.

  • The Black Eunuchs of the Ottoman Empire: Networks of Power in the Court of the Sultan by George Junne

In almost every Muslim Empire, the Sultans and rulers might change but there is a constant presence just off centre if you look closely enough. Eunuchs, who were often but not always of Black heritage, were right there at the centre of power. While the institution that brought them there was horrific and inhumane, the power they wielded was serious and far reaching. This book goes through the lives of a group of Black Muslims who shaped the Muslim world in ways that may surprise you.

  • The African Caliphate: The Life Work & Teachings of Shaykh Usman Dan Fodio by Ibraheem Sulaiman

In a part of the world that gave us the world’s richest known person, great kings and warriors – you have to be pretty special to stand out. Usman Dan Fodio was more than special. He was one of those people who excelled as a military leader, a teacher and a person. He revived the sunnah and stands as one of the giants in the history of Islam. Learn about the man they call simply “Shehu.”

  • The Caliph’s Sister: Nana Asma’u, 1793-1865, Teacher, Poet and Islamic Leader by Jean Boyd

History tends to be His story far too often. It is the history of great men doing great things. 50% of the world is missed out with women far too often playing cameo roles as femme fatales or spoils of war. Well, the story of Nana Asma’u bucks this trend. She was not just a towering figure. If her father conquered lands, Nana conquered hearts. Learn about her story. Herstory – get it? Just read the book.

  • Servants of Allah: African Muslims Enslaved in the Americas by Sylvaine Diouf

The story of how enslaved Muslims struggled to hold on to their faith and values, to not just survive but to actually thrive is fascinating and should be required reading. While there are other books that deal with the subject in a more detailed manner, this book is accessible and touches on all the main themes from revolts to literacy levels. Ms Diouf does a lot to shine a light on one of the darkest institutions in Islamic history.

  • Muhammad Ali: His Life and Times by Thomas Hauser

It is a measure of the man that despite being the greatest sportsman of all time, it was still only the 2nd most interesting part of the life of Muhammad Ali. How this young scrawny kid from Louisville went from being Cassisus Clay to one of the most recognisable human beings on planet Earth is not just a biography of a superstar but the story of the struggle of a people, the many missteps on the road to that struggle and the ultimate redemption that awaited. Long after the name of the Presidents and Kings of his era will be forgotten, the name of Muhammad Ali will live on.

  • The Autobiography of Malcolm X with Alex Haley

For me, even though it speaks to a specific person, place and struggle, this is by far the greatest of all the books out there on the history of Black Muslims . This is the denouement of a centuries long struggle for the survival of faith against the greatest odds and how slavery, racism and enforced conversions all came crashing down when one man of rare intelligence decided that it was time to overcome “by any means necessary.” If you have not read it, what are you waiting for? It will change you.

As I argued in a previous article called Erasing Race: Problems with our Islamic history, the history of Islam without Black Muslims isn’t really a history at all.

Whether you decide to read any of these books or check out some YouTube videos or articles about the history of Black Muslims, let us all educate ourselves. Only then will we all be able to start helping to build a more just world. Only then will we all be able to breathe.

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