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Khutbah | About the TN “Anti-Shari’ah” Legislation | Yasir Qadhi


Khutbah by Yasir Qadhi | Transcribed by Sameera

[The following is transcript of Shaykh Yasir Qadhi’s khutbah on the Tennessee “Anti-Shari’ah” Legislation on March 11, 2011.  The transcript includes slight modifications for the sake of readability and clarity.]


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[First Part]

My dear brothers and sisters in Islam, if we look at what is happening around us during this time frame, both at a national level and at an international level, we find that the Muslims of this land – the Muslims of America – are undergoing a crises the like of which we probably haven’t had since 9/11.  If you look, for example, at the state level in our own state of Tennessee, one of our state senators is trying to introduce a bill that will ban Shari’ah.  And of course for us, Shari’ah means our way of life.  For us, when we say the word Shari’ah, what we think of is honesty and virtue and being good and being studious.  What we think of is praying and giving charity; this is our understanding of the Shari’ah.

But when you read this bill, you find that the definition of Shari’ah is a violent political system; a methodology whose goal and aim is by any means necessary including terroristic means the overthrowal of our government and the establishment of Islamic law in its place.  This is their definition of Shari’ah, and because of this, they now wish to ban it and make it a criminal offense.  So basically if this bill does pass, perhaps for doing wudu’ you would be jailed for fifteen years or something like this.  If this is bad enough at the state level, yesterday this paranoia was even prevalent in Washington itself.

Yesterday, Congressman Peter King held a series of congressional hearings to look into the “growing problem of Muslim radicalization.”  And of course the hearings are a stepping stone to further scrutiny and further political pressure, and subhanAllah, the blatant racism, xenophobia, and blatant discrimination seems to be lost on many of our fellow Americans.  Do we interrogate every single Italian because of what the mafia does in New York?  Do we pull aside every single Irish American because of what the IRA used to do?  No right-minded American would ever think like this.  Do we interrogate every Evangelical Christian because of the murders that happen to abortion doctors?  No, of course not, because the average human being understands that a fringe minority and one apple that is corrupt and bad does not ruin the entire barrel.  You cannot stigmatize the entire community, but when it comes to Muslims, unfortunately it seems that there is a different law.

Right now as we speak there is another case going on in California.  Eleven students last year stood up and protested just verbally.  They protested when the Israeli ambassador was invited to their campus, and they shouted things against Israel and against the ambassador.  Now, you can call this rude or you can call this disruptive or you can call it unwise; I’m not defending or condoning what they did, but now they are facing criminal charges.  If the students were tapped on the shoulder and told that this is bad and this is rude or even if they were expelled from the campus, it may have been harsh, but to face criminal charges in a court of law for speaking, and in California of all places that is known to be the most liberal and open in opposition to any policy.  The opposition to Vietnam began in California.  What did the students do much more than just speak?  What happened to the first amendment?  What happened to being allowed to say what you want?  Now these eleven students have not only been expelled, and not only has the MSA been banned – there is no MSA on campus now because of this incident – but these eleven students are going to be tried in a court of law and perhaps jailed for merely speaking even though there are clear cases of protestors protesting against Muslims and against Muslim children walking into a fundraiser and there are protestors trying to disrupt that and calling much worse about our beloved Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) and that goes away scot-free without a single criminal charge.  Why?  Because they are within the law and are just protesting and simply saying what they want.

The double standards are so shocking that wallahi one wonders what is going on.  There are two broad ways to analyze these events going on.  The first of them is a purely spiritual analysis, purely religious.  The second is a purely worldly or non-religious analysis.  Generally speaking, when you hear a khutbah and when an imam, cleric, da’ee or scholar preaches about these things, he concentrates on the spiritual side, and so he says, for example, that these are fitnahs – great trials and tribulations – that are happening, and they are happening because of our sins, and they are a punishment for what we have done, and so our job is to come closer to Allah ‘azza wa jall and establish a relationship with Him.  He gives you religious advice about how to counter trials and tribulations.  This is what you generally hear from clerics and preachers.

On the other side of the spectrum, you have Muslim political activists and people who are involved in the media and politics, and their whole premise is that this is happening because we are not involved in the government and because we don’t care about our own elected representatives and our tax dollars, which are being used to pay for our congressmen and senators.  We don’t care to call them up and say:  “Hey, hold on a sec, you are my representative representing Tennessee, how could you do this to us?”  Because we don’t care and because we see what is happening and don’t write letters and don’t make phone calls and don’t have a media presence, this is our main problem, and there is hardly any mention of religion.

The fact of the matter, brothers and sisters, is that both of these camps have an element of truth to them.  The fact of the matter is that they are both right, and rather than presenting an either / or situation, the true Muslim realizes that yes, every problem has a spiritual component, but it also has a worldly component.  Every problem has a religious component, and you must have a relationship with Allah ‘azza wa jall, and you must re-establish that connection and must turn to Allah.  If Allah doesn’t help you, then who is going to help you?  Of course there is a religious element, but there is also the physical element and worldly element.  We want Allah’s help, but what am I going to do as well so that Allah will bless me in that effort.  The fact of the matter is that we as Muslims need to benefit from both sides of these camps, if you like – the ultra religious and ultra secular / progressive.  They both have elements of correctness in what they are saying.

In this short khutbah I am making today, I cannot elaborate on all of the ideas and all of the visions that we should have, but insha’Allah ta’ala I will try to summarize both of these paradigms.

The religious perspective is something that many of you have heard before in khutbahs and duroos.  It is absolutely true that Allah (subhanahu wata’ala) says in the Qur’an that no museebah (problem) happens to you except because of your own attitude and your own state.  Allah said in the Qur’an that it is because of our own apathy that He will send punishments upon us.  It is because we have turned away from Him that He will send us punishments to remind us of Him.  SubhanAllah, at times of distress, we all remember Allah.  When our child is sick, then that is when we become ultra-religious.  When we are going through financial hardships, then that is when the hands go up and we say,  “O Allah help me, O Allah help me.”  Allah knows our weaknesses, and so He prods us and puts in trials and tribulations in order that we come closer to Him.  And the purpose of every trial is to remind us of Allah ‘azza wa jall; therefore, if the trial takes place without any reminding and without any religious benefit, then the intensity is increased.  We thank Allah ‘azza wa jall that the trials we are facing in this land – no doubt they are very bad from what we had pre-9/11 – but in the relative scale of things happening around the world, they are very trivial.

Once, Khabbab ibn Arad, the famous companion, came to the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) in the early Makkan phase.  Do you know who Khabbab is?  Khabbab is one of the first ten converts to Islam and was a slave.  Khabbab was one of those who was tortured like Bilal, Ammar, and Sumiyyah.  He was one of those who was tortured almost to the point of death.  His master would take iron and put it in coals and brand his body with it and tell him to leave Islam.  Until the day he died, he had scars and burn marks on his body.

Khabbab came to the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam), and the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) was sitting in the shade of the Kab’ah taking some rest on his back.  Khabbab said, “Ya Rasulullah, why don’t you ask Allah to help us?  Why don’t you make du’a?  Why don’t you do something?  Look at our state.  Don’t you see what we are in?”  The Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) was leaning back, and he came forward and said, “Wallahi, the people before you were tested and tried in manners you could not imagine.  It would even happen that one of them would be brought forth and an iron rod or comb would be used to split his body in half, but even that would not prevent him from worshipping Allah (subhanahu wata’ala).  Rather, you are hasty and impetuous and not patient enough.  Wallahi, [the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) swore] this religion will become protected.  [When was he speaking?  He was speaking when Islam was persecuted and when Muslims didn’t even know if they would survive until the next day.  He gives a prediction the likes of which nobody could believe.]   Wallahi this religion will be protected, and Allah will fulfill His promise [to the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) to protect Islam] until a rider [in one version he says, ‘until a female rider’] will go from the two cities of Hadramawt to Sana’a [which is in the far places of Yemen], and she will fear nothing of her safety other than the wolf attacking her sheep.”

In other words, religion will be established so securely that they were in Makkah then and eventually even in Yemen, Islam would be prevailing and flourishing and would be so safe and secure that a woman could leave from point A to point B in the fringes of the Islamic land and is not worried about anything because we shall have ‘izzah one day.  He is telling them:  You are worried about the religion?  No, don’t worry about the religion.  Allah will protect the religion.  Worry about yourselves.  What have you done?  This is really the point of this hadith.  Don’t think that Islam will go away.  No, Allah ‘azza wa jall has promised in the Qur’an:  Allah’s Light cannot be extinguished.  You cannot extinguish the Light of Allah ‘azza wa jall no matter how much people puff and blow and huff, the religion will not go away.  The religion will be preserved.

The question is, what is your relationship with the religion?  The question is what have you done to preserve religion in your life?  Allah will take care of the religion, but what have you done and what will you answer to Allah (subhanahu wata’ala)?  This is basically the point of trials and tests.  This is the point of fitan because during these times when the pressure increases, the mu’min increases his relationship with Allah (subhanahu wata’ala).  This is exactly why the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) told us to rush to do good deeds before trials come which prevent you from worshipping Allah.  “Rush to do good deeds.”

In another hadith, he was looking at the city of Madinah and said, “I see trials will come to this ummah one after the other like the drops of rain fall onto the houses, and no one will be able to save themselves from it.”  Trials will come like the drops of rain, meaning quantity and meaning the quality and meaning that everybody will get wet and everybody is going to be affected.

In another hadith, the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) said, “Every time a trial comes, the believers will say, ‘This is too much and I can’t bear it.  It will destroy me.’  But Allah (subhanahu wata’ala) will give them the patience and they will go over that trial.  Then the next one will come.  Then they will say, ‘This is the one, this is the one that will destroy me!’  And so forth one trial after another.”  The purpose of this life, brothers and sisters, is not to have a Jannah on this earth.  The purpose of this life is to earn the real Jannah.  Did you think that you would earn that Jannah by living a Jannah on earth?  The purpose of this life is to earn the real Jannah, and that Jannah is earned by showing your dedication to Allah and by living through trials and testing times having your faith in Allah ‘azza wa jall always rejuvenated and renewed.

Allah says in the Qur’an, “Alif laam meem.  Did mankind think that they would be left alone simply saying that they believe without testing that belief?”  Did you think that all Allah wanted from you was to say, “O Allah, I am a Muslim.  O Allah, I am a Muslim, don’t test me, I am a good guy”?  No!  Actions speak louder than words.  Talk is cheap.  This is something that we know in our daily lives and Allah ‘azza wa jall‘s Sunnah proves this.  Did you think that all Allah wanted to see was that we say we are Muslims?  No!  “Surely We have tested and tried those before you so that We can see those who are telling the truth from those who are lying.”  ‘Those who are telling the truth’ meaning in their claim to be Muslim and ‘those who are lying’ meaning in their claim to be Muslim.

So, brothers and sisters, to translate this into reality, let me be as blunt as I can.  Anybody who is living through these trials and seeing the increased persecution and seeing all that is happening and yet it is not affecting him, and yet he seems to be oblivious, then be prepared for some more fitnahs coming because it hasn’t worked apparently, and because he hasn’t got the message.  This is just the heat simmering right now, and this is nothing compared to what many other nations as we speak are facing.

Look at our brothers and sisters across the world and what is happening to them.  We thank Allah ‘azza wa jall that we still have so much freedom and peace and security in this land, and we will fight on behalf of these freedoms and securities that nobody will take them away from us.  These are our God-given constitutional rights, and nobody will take them away from us, but unfortunately, brothers and sisters, as people are encroaching on our rights, to be brutally honest, it is as if we are an apathetic nation and as if we couldn’t care less and as if we have no clue about what is going on. Today they are taking away one right, and if we remain quiet, tomorrow it will be more.

Wallahi, brothers and sisters, no other community, no other religion, no other ethnicity could possibly be tried the way we are being tried right now.  Nobody could be having a congressional hearing over Italians or Irish or African-Americans or the Hispanics.  Everybody would say this is racist.  Are you going to call every single Roman Catholic because of what is happening because of some priests and pedophilia?  Are we going to blame all of the Roman Catholics and say, “Oh we need to have a congressional hearing about the Roman Catholics because there is a problem with some of their priests?”

Wallahi, no community, no religion, no ethnicity could be given this level of scrutiny and get away with it except for us.  Why?  Wallahi, there is a spiritual and a realistic, practical element.  As for the spiritual, as I said, there is no question there is a strong element of truth there that when these trials happen and when these fitan come, we need to re-establish our relationship with Allah ‘azza wa jall, and that is the purpose of these trials.  The point being that if we don’t have that relationship with Allah, we can’t move to stage two.  Stage one is the spiritual one.  Stage one is making sure you understand what is going on here and asking,  “Have I earned Allah’s Help?  Do I deserve to be helped by Allah?”  If Allah doesn’t help you, believe me, nothing is going to happen.  “If Allah Helps you, no one can possibly win over you, but if Allah abandons you and humiliates you, who can possibly help you if Allah has abandoned you?”

The first point, as we said, and it is absolutely valid and 100% true, we need to re-establish that connection with Allah, and we basically need to be Muslims not just in word but in deed.  We need to start reassessing our commitment to Islam.  Ask yourself, “How often do I pray?  What is my relationship with Allah even during those prayers?  How much charity do I give?  Do I really have a merciful and tender heart?  Am I really a representative of this religion on this earth?”  If the answer to these questions is no, well then the very first step is that we need to make sure that the relationship is there.

Getting on to the second point, and that is the understanding of the worldly means to get things done.  Unfortunately, many times our clerics and our imams – and I’m not criticizing all of them, but for some of them, unfortunately this is true – seem to neglect and ignore this side of things.  It is as if all of the solutions of the world will happen if you come to the masjid on time and pray regularly.  Wallahi, it is very important that you come to the masjid on time and pray regularly, but the world will not change simply by you coming to the masjid.  In fact, our Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) didn’t just worship in the masjid.  He was an activist in every sense of the term, and this is where I think there are elements of truth in both of these perspectives.  The Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) didn’t just tell the Muslims go worship in your houses and pray and give zakah.  He preached and went from tribe to tribe and would go during the Hajj and tell the people to look at what the Quraysh was doing and that the Quraysh were being unjust to him.  He was calling out their hypocrisy and preaching to the people and doing what he can to establish his credentials to spread the message of Islam.  If that is what the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) did in his time, and in his time he would approach the elite of the Quraysh openly and privately.  He would go to them one on one and try to convince them.  If he couldn’t convince them of Islam, at least he would convince them that he should have the right to preach this message and that he was a Qurayshi and a citizen of Makkah.  This is basically what he is saying:  “I am a member of your tribe.  Why am I not allowed to preach this message?”  When they finally prevented him from preaching, he would then go to the other tribes and say, “My own people have prevented me from speaking the truth, will you allow me to come to your land and speak the truth?”  SubhanAllah, if he could do this in his time, wallahi, the exact equivalent in our times is to get involved in the political process and to get involved in the media and to communicate and preach.  This is exactly what the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) did in Makkah.

The fact of the matter, as we all are so painfully aware, is that our sense of apathy and our sense of not raising a finger is one of the ultimate causes of us being in this situation.  Brothers and sisters, we need to understand the way that this country works.  It’s not rocket science.  Our taxes are used to pay our representatives.  Our representatives are our spokespersons and our servants and are people who should represent us.  We don’t understand this point.  They are not people that we need to look up to in the sense that they are our bosses.  No!  Wallahi, they are our servants in the sense that they are taking from our taxes and are supposed to represent us, not just in the state level but in the national level and in the Congress and Senate.

When things like this happen, if an entire community got together and said, “Look, you are supposed to be our Congressman.  Do something about this.  If you don’t, we don’t think you represent us, and we are going to get somebody else in office next time.  We are not going to vote for you.”  Voting speaks.  It does!  It is the language of politicians.  Going to the people publicly and privately and spreading our message through the media – we all need to become ambassadors of our faith.  Brothers and sisters, we can’t pass the buck to somebody else.  There is nobody else!

If you as a Muslim are not going to live up to your responsibility and are going to say, “Oh, let somebody else do it.”  There are only so few of us in this land.  What is the percentage?  2%?  3%?  Some people even say 1%.  No doubt we are very, very miniscule of a percentage in this land.  If this 2% wished to pass the buck on and say, “Not me, I’m too busy with my life and too busy with my earnings and too busy with my job,” who do you think will fight for your rights if you are not going to fight for them?

Brothers and sisters, there is no magic solution to the problem.  There is no easy way out.  Look at the struggles of other nations and people and the struggles of other indigenous Americans, whether they be African American or people of other faiths that were considered to be non-mainstream, every one of those communities – we are here in Memphis, one of the lands of the civil rights movements, and we should learn from this.  Do you think that the leaders of the civil rights movement just sat back and said, “Oh tough luck, we have to sit at the back of the bus.  May God help us but what can we do, they are the majority.”  Is that how they acted?  Or did they understand: we need to mobilize, we need to show the people we are human beings, we need to show the people there is nothing wrong with us, we deserve the same rights as they do.  It was difficult, and there were sacrifices involved.  People did not like it in the beginning, but in the end, look at it.  By and large, the civil rights movement is one of the most successful movements for championing rights in this country compared to any other movement.

How did they do it?  Wallahi, they didn’t have mega-million bucks.  They didn’t have the clout and the power that perhaps other groups might have, but they had a vision.  As Martin Luther King, Jr. said, they had a dream.  They persisted in spreading that dream.  They persisted in inspiring people of all faiths and of all religions to come and rally behind their dreams.  Slowly but surely, bit by bit, eventually they won the people over.  Why?  Because at the end of the day, humanity overall is good.

Wallahi, brothers and sisters, it is difficult to hate.  It is difficult to hate.  If the average American hates Islam, it is because he does not know what it is.  If he has this fear, it is because he has never met a practicing Muslim.  Why?  Because the Muslims in his workplace – me and you – are too scared to tell him what our religion is.  Me and you – we haven’t done our job.  If every American actually knew who we are and interacted with us, they might not agree with our theology and might not agree with praying five times a day and this and that, but they wouldn’t be scared of us and wouldn’t hate us and wouldn’t be stereotyping us.  There is a natural fear that people have of a minority they are not familiar with.  It is natural to be at some point racist or stereotypical.  The job is then on us as well to counter that racism and to counter that stereotyping.

The question is very blunt:  what have I done and what have you done to counter that stereotyping?   Perhaps you are not going to be interviewed on the media.  Perhaps you are not going to speak to Congress, but wallahi, brothers and sisters, nobody will come to your office other than you.  Nobody will interact with your circle of friends other than you.  Do not trivialize your role in all of this because the circle of friends that you have and the circle of acquaintances that you have and your area of influence, no other human being could take your place in that.  Think about it!  Stop daydreaming about grandiose solutions.  That is not going to happen!  No one person is going to come and snap his fingers and solve the problem.  The solution is going to be bit by bit, slowly but surely.  Me and you.  We come together.  We do what we can with our elected officials and with our state congressman and with our congressmen elected in Washington and with our senators.  Additionally, what we can with our friends and neighbors.  If we are interviewed by the media, alhamdulillah.  If not, as I said, your circle of friends and acquaintances is unique to you.  Nobody can take that responsibility away from you.  You can’t pass the buck – that is your buck and your responsibility.

Brothers and sisters, many of you here came from other lands to this country.  Many of you might not have thought of settling.  Maybe you came to study.  Maybe you came to spend five or ten years.  The fact of the matter is, now we are a part of this land.  Now we need to stop thinking about ‘back home’ because home is not where your grandfather was born, but it is where your grandson will die.  That is where home is.  This land is now home for us.  I speak as a person born and raised here.  I have no attachment to any other land.  This is my country.  This is my land.  I know where my father and mother came from, but what connection does that land have with me?  This is my land and country.  For those of you who emigrated from other lands, you need to understand that every one of your children is thinking like I am thinking.  Your own children’s and grandchildren’s lives and religion is at stake here.  I cannot emphasize this enough.

Brothers and sisters, what we are seeing now, we were hoping that from 9/11 to now things would get better and hoping that ok, 9/11 happened and was a very big tragedy, but America should be educated about Islam and Muslims.  Unfortunately, we have not seen such xenophobia and racism since 9/11, and things don’t seem to be getting better, but they seem to be getting worse.

Each and every one of us, brothers and sisters, has a role to play.  Don’t trivialize that role, and don’t pass it on because nobody else can take your responsibility.  And you know what?  At the end of the day – let me get back to the spiritual side – even if the situation gets worse and even if you weren’t able to cause a cataclysmic change and correct the whole world for the better, if you tried your best and you strove to be a good Muslim and you gave that vision of Islam to your friends and neighbors, on the Day of Judgment, you can stand with humility and pride and say, “Oh Allah, maybe I didn’t change the world, but I tried my best and I did what I could.”  Allah ‘azza wa jall will judge you based upon what you have done and based upon what you have accomplished and based upon your capabilities and skills  If you did the best that you could, then alhamdulillah, Allah will give you the best that you deserve.

May Allah (subhanahu wata’ala) make us amongst those who strive for this religion and who perfect our Islam and who show it the best way possible.  May He make us the best ambassadors and the best role models that this ummah has ever seen.  Ameen.

[Second Part]

Brothers and sisters, of course my specialty and my expertise is more on the spiritual side, so I must concentrate more on this because that is who I am.  No doubt we need help from those involved in the political process and the media as well, but let me conclude the khutbah by going back to the paradigm that I am more comfortable with and that is the spiritual side.

Our Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) suffered more than we could ever suffer.  He bore the brunt of that pain and humiliation and stereotypes and tactics with the dignity and maturity that made him the best role model for us.  Outwardly, you could never tell that he was affected.  Outwardly, he bore it like a man with ultimate dignity.  Allah revealed in the Qur’an something in his heart.  In the Qur’an in the conclusion of Surah Al-Hijr, Allah (subhanahu wata’ala) says, “And of a surety We know that what they say about you causes you a lot of grief and pain.”  The Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) didn’t show it.  He would not want to show it to us.  Why would he?  Allah revealed in the Qur’an from above the seven heavens, and He told us the inner thinking and the inner mechanism and the heart and soul of the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam).  He said, “We know that your heart is grieved.  We know that you find it difficult what they say about you.”  His humanity is being shown here.  Our Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) wasn’t super-human.  Wallahi, if anybody insults us, we go to bed hurt and thinking ‘how could he say this about me.’  When he insults our religion and when he insults our God and our Prophet, our entire minds are thinking what are we going to do about it.  Our Rasulullah (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) was no different.  When they insulted him and when they ridiculed him and said what they said about him, outwardly you thought masha’Allah nothing is happening, but inwardly, Allah revealed, “We know it hurts you.  We know you find your heart constricted and you cannot breathe normally.”  His humanity is shown.

What does Allah tell him to do in response to that?  Wallahi, this is exactly what we need to think about.  Our Prophet is being smeared and stereotyped.  Our religion is being characterized by negative adjectives.  Our God is being mocked.  It’s a sign of iman to feel hurt.  It is a sign of iman to think, “A’udhu billahLa hawla wa la quwwata illa billah.”

But what is the response?  What did Allah tell him to do?  Listen to this.  “Praise your Lord.”  When they make fun of you, don’t even respond; you have better things to do.  When they make fun of you, praise your Lord.  “Fall down in prostration.”  You have a better thing to do with your life and that is to worship Allah ‘azza wa jall.  If they don’t understand and if they are wasting their lives trying to extinguish the Light of Allah, you have a better goal.  You have a higher cause and that is the worship of Allah ‘azza wa jall, so when they do this to you, as a response to that, praise Allah and fall down in sajdah.  “…And continue worshiping your Lord until death comes to you.”  The more they increase in their attacks and the more they make fun of you and ridicule you, you need to maintain your dignified appearance and increase in your worship of Allah ‘azza wa jall.  This is exactly what the Qur’an has told no less a figure than our Prophet Muhammad (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam); therefore, how about me and you?  How about me and you?

When we see what is happening around us, when our Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) was being rebuked and being cursed in the most vulgar manners, wallahi our bloods boil, and they should boil, but what is the response?  What should we do?  Firstly – and as I said, let’s not ignore the second step – the first thing is to increase our tasbeeh, increase our sujud, increase our ibadah.  We cannot move to level two and cannot start doing anything else until we have perfected this.

Brothers and sisters, the fact of the matter is – and let me be as brutal as I can – hardly ever before has our Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) been ridiculed and been made fun of at the global level that he is being made fun of now.  Hardly ever have people written and drawn diagrams and done this and that about him the way that it is being done now.  Because of the internet, because of the media, and because of the videos, every small incident is being spread across the world.

My question to myself and to you is:  Has that caused you to increase your tasbeeh, to increase your sujud, to increase your ibadah?  Has it done anything of that?  Because this is exactly what the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) is being told.  No doubt, we have to move to level two, and no doubt we have to get verbal, and no doubt we have to speak, and no doubt we have to defend and write, but that is level two.
Level one is the fundamental point.  We need to make sure that we have earned and have deserved and striven to please Allah so that Allah will bless us when we get to level two.  The fact of the matter is, brothers and sisters, that many of us seem to be completely unaffected by what is going on.  The bottom line is, if you remain unaffected now, then wait for more to happen even yet.  If you are affected now and it causes you to change for the better, then alhamdulillahAlhamdulillah, even if you can’t change the world, you have changed yourself, and at the end of the day, when all is said and done and when you are resurrected in front of Allah, if you have changed yourself for the better, you have gained everything and that is all you need to gain.

May Allah (subhanahu wata’ala) make us amongst those who are of the saliheen, the righteous.  Ameen.

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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.



  1. abu Rumay-s.a.

    April 4, 2011 at 2:22 AM

    jazakAllahu khairun for putting things in perspective…

    even though the situation is complex and difficult, the two fold solution is quite clear –> turn back to Allah spiritually by increasing worship and convey the message of Islam outwardly…

  2. life is a test

    April 4, 2011 at 6:17 AM

    Assalamualaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh Sheikh!

    JazakaAllah Khair for this much needed reminder!

    May Allah, Most High, All Hearer help and direct us to play our role as representative of the ummah of our beloved Prophet (‘alaihissalam)!

    The fact is that it’s not just the U.S. or the European countries in which Muslims are facing fitnah related to their deen. This is also the case in some so called “Muslim countries”. Yes we are facing fitnah at an international level. I am a little skeptical about the government thing. From my view it does not matter whom you elect because the faces and names might be different but what they all stand up for might be for the same anti-islam ideology. Well yeah there might be exceptions. Allahu ‘Alam how few those numbers are.

    I would also add that not all non muslims hate implementing Islam because it is about “terrorism” (ofcourse which is not) but among them are those who hate shariah because Islam cares about social welfare and people’s health which means NO to alcohol, NO to illegal sex (which results in so many children confused about who their parents are!), NO to drugs, NO to homosexuality, NO to anything that will tear the social fabric, NO to ususry/interest.

    This is exactly what people dont want to happen and according to my limited understanding I see that people who take their ownselves and their desires as their Lord will never want to see Islam growing.
    And Allah is Best of Helpers.

    But ofcourse whatever the case is we have to focus on what we are suppose to do. I hope each one of us will take up the time to ponder about the blessings and abilities the Most Merciful One has bestowed upon us inorder to use them to serve this beautiful Deen which our Creator gifted us with! Ameen!

  3. Yasir Qadhi

    April 4, 2011 at 9:10 AM

    Salaam Alaikum

    Subhan Allah, the transcript of a khutbah is definitely not the same as an actual khutbah!

    The spoken word is very different from the written – sometimes its just better to leave each one separate from the other.

    Just my $ 0.02.


    • iMuslim

      April 4, 2011 at 10:55 AM

      Wa ‘alaykum salam

      I think many MM followers are so familiar with your style (more familiar than even yourself), that we can hear you speaking the words as we read, masha’Allah. :)

      I read the khutbah and found it very moving – and scary – like a giant magnifying glass had suddenly been placed over all my thoughts and actions. Or rather, the glass was always there and I just noticed it.

      Ya Rabb.

      I also forget that I am a UK citizen, so I get hyped up about US politics only to remember that I have no influence on it, and I need to work in my own locality, insha’Allah! :)

      • Yasir Qadhi

        April 4, 2011 at 11:27 AM

        Jazak Allah for the comments.

        I meant that when this khutbah is *read* it sounds a bit disjointed, as the original is spoken word.

        It must have taken some time (and a lot of patience!) to type all this up, so jazak Allah for that!


      • umtalhah

        April 4, 2011 at 12:25 PM

        “that we can hear you speaking the words as we read, masha’Allah. ”

        :) and i thought i was the one who actually heard him speak the words as i read them.

    • mofw

      April 4, 2011 at 11:11 AM

      I agree, which is why having a downloadable audio file would have been nice. Perhaps its not too late for someone to upload one.

      • siraaj

        April 4, 2011 at 1:41 PM

        Salaam alaykum,

        Jzk for the feedback, will check with the tech team how feasible this is inshallah.

        About written version, while it is true that tone and emphasis is lost in transcription process, it allows the audience to choose the medium of delivery. Not everyone wants to sit through a video, but the ability to spread the gist of the message remains, and finding information conveyed in the talk is more easily referenced, quoted, and at the end of the day, spread to the masses ;)


        • mofw

          April 5, 2011 at 1:31 AM

          It’s trivial to rip the audio from a youtube video, its just not very convenient to do so when at work. Rather than sit through a video I prefer listening to podcasts or mp3s on my commute or during lunch.

          I know MM often provides audio of lectures which is why I was disappointed when there wasn’t any today.

          • Siraaj

            April 5, 2011 at 1:53 PM

            Trivial is not the issue – resource management is more the concern =)


      • Danish S.

        April 5, 2011 at 1:45 AM

        The Memphis Islamic Center is in the process of creating audio lectures and podcasts of all its video recordings. Insha’Allah we will post it to our multimedia section under Audio at when it becomes available soon.

  4. bintyb

    April 4, 2011 at 12:29 PM


    I am a UK citizen so am not too familiar with american politics, But am I right in thinking they have now ammended the original bill?

  5. Abdul-Malik Ryan

    April 4, 2011 at 1:56 PM

    Jazzak Allahu Khayr Shaykh Yasir, many beneficial points in this khutbah.

    I especially agree that it is important for Muslims to look at their own personal relationships and what their actions are communicating about Islam and Muslims to those with whom they interact. This is the greatest area of influence for almost all of us.

    I do think that there is sometimes a spiritual/moral downside to self interested political involvement, and we should be more careful of that. The organized community leadership and all of the most ambitious young Muslim leaders are firmly committed to political involvement as the number one priority so it is especially important that we deal with the reality of it and not rely on simplistic arguments or sloganeering on either side (for or against political involvement).

    I also think we have to work harder on how we talk and think about some of these issues. No doubt the way symbolic attacks on Islam, Shariah and Muslims have become mainstream in some parts of American public life is a serious and important issue. We should pay attention to it, but we should not overreact, panic, or make our situation seem worse than it is. For those who are not citizens in general, or for specfic Muslims who are incarcerated or worse for political reasons the situation in the United States has been very serious for some time. For others, they suffer from poverty and racism that are not necessarily strictly related to their religion. As for the majority of Muslims in America, we are a very comfortable community, most of our neighbors and co-workers are nice to us, our children attend public schools where they are generally well treated, some of us in fact attend or work for private non-muslim schools that provide prayer spaces and other amenities for our community. There are large swathes of the general American population, at least as large as the percentage which is Islamophobic if not larger, that is very hospitable to Muslims and willing to speak out in our favor based on their own human values. These comments do not have a political point, but they are a reality and I fear that sometimes the way we play up the specific challenges we face in this country is ungrateful to Allah for the position of comfort we live in. Again, this is not an argument for ignoring the challenges, but I hope that we do not have to make the challenge seem worse than it is just to promote action. Yes, the right will continue to get more vociferous in some of its attacks on Islam and Muslims as we head into the next election. No, there is no danger of making salah being made a crime anywhere, even in Tennessee. I think we as American Muslims in general should be more concerned about the ways in which our comfortable lives are the result of benefitting from injustices to others here in the United States and all around the world and less on protecting our own material self-interest.

    Allah knows best.

    • life is a test

      April 4, 2011 at 5:28 PM

      “I think we as American Muslims in general should be more concerned about the ways in which our comfortable lives are the result of benefitting from injustices to others here in the United States and all around the world and less on protecting our own material self-interest.”


    • abu Rumay-s.a.

      April 5, 2011 at 2:00 AM

      i think there is some credence to what you mention regarding the “comfort”, however, it is somewhat relative. The comfort level for a Muslim in 2011 is not what it was in 2000!! Yes, the comfort is there for having basic amenities, yet when it comes to civil liberties it is not the same.

      Also, its true that the average person of conscience who knows Muslims (either as a neighbor, co-worker, etc.) is indeed well receiving and that is a blessing. However, the minority of bigots and islamophobes have political clout and mass media propaganda, therefore, their message is relatively “heavier” than the average person’s sentiment. That is why they are able to influence some politicians for one reason or another.

      I think that If this tide of hatred and racism is not confronted for its illegal dimensions, it will only get far worse. There is somewhat a crafty strategy to keeping hammering the public with such “anti-sharia” type of hype that can eventually persuade average citizens that this might have validity. Then when it comes around to legalizing it, it won’t be so difficult to pass votes. Unfortunately, it has already reached this stage and more needs to done from all people who value justice and democracy.

      And Allah knows best..

  6. NAS

    April 4, 2011 at 2:51 PM

    As Salamu Alaikum,

    Does anyone know of a good article that explains why the anti-sharia bills are unconstitutional, basically if anyone can point me to something that explains the legal reasoning behind its unconstitutionality.

    Jazakum Allahu Khayer!

    Great lecture btw, I really appreciated the transcription! May Allah reward you Sheikh Yasir.

  7. ahmed

    April 4, 2011 at 4:27 PM

    for people like us who have never heard sheik’s voice, i believe the audio will be better.

  8. ummmanar

    April 4, 2011 at 4:46 PM

    Assalamu alaikum
    Zazak allahu khayer shaykh great lecture I always enjoyed your speech.May allah(swt) increase your knowlage and reward you and your familiy with highest heaven .Thank you.

  9. MuslimAmerican

    April 4, 2011 at 4:57 PM

    Assalam alaikum

    A much needed, bold and clear reminder insha Allah.

    Jazak Allah Khair Shaykh Yasir,
    Santa Clara, CA.

  10. Amman Abdul Adl

    April 4, 2011 at 11:34 PM

    Masha’Allah, its great to hear a well-balanced sermon, not only talking about spirtuality, but also about actions…

    As much as we muslims complain about being treated unfairly in the political system. I always wondered how we muslims would treat minorities in an Islamic State? As much as we complain and talk about this type of “injustice”, I just want to know what we would do to non-mulims if they wanted to express themselves in our own lands? There could probably a christian priest saying the same thing that Shaykh Qadhi is saying in this khutbah….

    So how do we express our frustration in the United States, when in our countries the same thing is also going on our lands, especially in Saudi Arabia or Iran?

    • Yasir Qadhi

      April 5, 2011 at 12:13 PM

      Salaam Alaikum

      Profound questions indeed.

      Please listen to my: Ummah versus Nation-State; while I don’t answer your questions directly, it is relevant to such discussions.


      • Amman Abdul Adl

        April 5, 2011 at 3:03 PM


        Thank You Shaykh for your response. I’ll watch it insha’allah…

    • abu Rumay-s.a.

      April 5, 2011 at 3:45 PM

      theoretically the possibility of your hypothetical is mutually exclusive in my view…the laws and justice of one country is not necessarily contingent upon the justice of another, although it could be due to certain ignorance and tensions.

      Currently, I live between Saudi and the States and I don’t think the same thing is going on, there are clear differences and the circumstances vary.

      I believe the main point of contention is mistreatment of law abiding citizens and the infringement of civil liberties. As practicing Muslims and American citizens, we disagree with anyone in any country who may be engaging in such mistreatment. By and large, the treatment of minorities in Muslims countries fairs somewhat better than other places, relatively speaking. In fact, history attests to this when certain minorities were being persecuted in certain lands, they fled to Muslim countries for protection which they did receive.

      And Allah knows best…

    • suhail

      April 7, 2011 at 12:44 PM

      Why would we compare and Islamic nation to America. They have different set of laws and circumstances. Secondly Saudi and Iran are not Islamic nations rather they are nation states which have majority muslims and ruled by muslims. There is a vast difference between nation ruled by muslims and nation ruled by the laws of Islam.

      Also when we talk about domestic issues then we cannot look at other states and say well they do this to the minorities. Here we are talking about US and its laws.

      US have to upheld its laws and apply it evenly on the citizens. The US consitution is the law of the land here and thus US government and citizens will be judged based on the applicability of that law. You cannot say well US does this but Rwanda or Sudan does this because you cannot hold a country responsible for standards that it does not profess to follow.

      The simple analogy would be that if you have two children and one is in 1st standard and other in 5th standard. Then you go ahead and judge the 1st standard child on the basis of how he did in his exam with 5th standard questions.

      • FSN

        April 14, 2011 at 7:43 PM

        JazaAllah Sh. YQ –

        This is great to show that we have allowed a big gap between us within American Muslims. The companions had a divert skilset to help the early generation. Khaled ibn Waleed was not a Qari, rather a great military genius. They all worked alongside one another without any hatred or looking down on one’s faith.

        Another point would have been to highlight is that fact we also cut ourselves off from participating within our communities. I know some Muslim communities participate, but in general we isolate and only want to interact with Muslims. We have not done our job by working on concerns that are not about Islam.

        Again, thank you for moving the discussion to the everyday person within our own circles.

  11. Leo Imanov

    April 5, 2011 at 2:26 AM

    bismi-lLaah wa-lhamdu li-lLaah wa-sh shalaatu wa-ssalaamu ‘alaa rasuli-lLaah wa ‘alaa alihi wa man walah

    assalamu ‘alaikum wa rahmatu-lLaahi wa barakaatuH.

    baraka-lLaahu fiek!

    wa jazaka-lLaahu khairan for posting the khuthbah!

    nothing more to say, you’ve said almost all the important thing!

    wa bi-lLaahi-ttaufiq wa-lhidayah

    wa-ssalamu ‘alaikum

  12. QasYm

    April 5, 2011 at 12:49 PM

    Perfect timing! I needed a khutbah to bootleg for this Friday:)

  13. Gareth

    April 5, 2011 at 2:49 PM

    “Does anyone know of a good article that explains why the anti-sharia bills are unconstitutional, basically if anyone can point me to something that explains the legal reasoning behind its unconstitutionality.”

    – NAS, the implementation of shariah would violate the US constitution which, in the first amendment, states “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

    Essentially this was to prevent one religious group from persecuting another (or the non religious) by making it an article of the constitution that all religious denominations (and people of none) may express themselves freely without recourse to religious sentiment. Also the fourteenth amendment grants all US citizens equal protection and treatment under US law.

  14. A.M.

    April 5, 2011 at 11:32 PM

    If in some way this becomes legalized, then it will be haram for a muslim to live in Tennessee. Because If, according to Sharia Law, the Law of Allah, the Law of Islam….I should pray 5 times a day, and fast, and give zakah, etc. and that is consequently banned in the law banning Shariah, it will become impermissible for me to stay in the land in which I cannot practice my religion properly. And the excuse that we were “oppressed” will not work, because the land is big enough for us to sacrifice our previous home, and to travel to where we can practice our religion properly. Let’s see – if the law gets introduced, then passed – how many muslims stay. Or how the American Sheikhs find a technicality in this religion allowing people to stay. Oh and by the way I live in Ohio, and have family in Tennessee….anyways May Allah protect not only this religion, but the hearts of those within whom this religion abides. Those in Tennessee, and in the World. All we have worked for. All our parents have worked for. May soon be slipping away, and there may no longer be a future for muslims here. I see an exodus of our people on the horizon. And it’s scary.

    P.S. This is exaggerated by a lot, but look at it from my prospective. I am not limiting this view to the next few years. I am thinking long term. Decades…maybe more. First it starts as a simple idea in the minds of the enemies of this religion. The few, but the Strong. The Leaders (mal’aa) of the non believers. From Nuh, to Rasool Ullah, to the Crusades, to Bosnia, to today in Tennessee….this is how it starts. And our friendly neighbors today, well the sheep follow. And the wolves, the leadership, leads. We need to protect ourselves, because maybe not us – but our children would wish we had. Wishful thinking of change and activism is great. But it is blood, sweat, and tears which write history, not pens through which we write letters to our congressmen. It was not but with – even in the Civil Rights Movements – blood, that change was achieved. And yet again the question arises. Is it the same with us? No. by Allah the muslims are different. A comparison to Civil Rights – whether that of MLK, or Gandhi – is not one of muslims. Peaceful marches showing submission of all wills in return for meager human rights, given to even the lowest of people, the homosexuals, illegal immigrants, and other third class citizens – is not how we will succeed. Success and honor for a MUSLIM is through Islam, and submission.

    For the meantime, let us find solace in trying to defend ourselves while we are here. But remember, our future is not here. Rather the future of Islam in this world, is in Al Quds, and in the hereafter, is in Jannah. We need to teach our children to love Islam, and to gain this eeman. Because one day, they will surely need it to survive here, We do not want to be from those are like those that imitate them (these non muslim people who are taking part in such bigotry), and befriends them to an overwhelming extent. For Allah says,

    “… And if any amongst you takes them [Jews and Christians] as Awliyaa’ [friends, helpers]), then surely, he is one of them…”

    [al-Maa’idah 5:51]

    This is similar to the view of ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Amr who said: “Whoever settles in the land of the mushrikeen and celebrates their Nawroz (new year) and Mahrajaan (festival) and imitates them until he dies will be gathered with them on the Day of Resurrection.” This may be interpreted as referring to absolute imitation which implies kufr and as meaning that imitation in part is therefore haraam; or it may be interpreted as meaning that he is one of them to the extent that he imitates them, whether it is in ideas of kufr, sin or partaking in a ritual.

    Although this refers not to anything we do in this country as muslims, alhamdulillah, our state of mind, and the state of our hearts are affected by these people. And we lose sight of the bigger picture. So I think that we should not get sucked into this life of ease too much. We should Protect ourselves for the now, and keep our mind open for the future of us, and our children – which is not here…in this society. (Even though muslims lands are worse today, we are seeing glimpses through the revolutions that it might be better “Islamically speaking” tomorrow. And that is what we pray, hope, and wait for.)

  15. Haleh

    April 6, 2011 at 7:23 AM

    Assalamo alaikom Sheikh Yasir,

    JazakAllah khair for the masha’Allah powerful and inspiring khutba. Since we moved to the Middle East 6 years ago I have not heard a khutba in English and I miss it so much. I would like to suggest for MM to post all your khutbas so that more people can benefit from them please. It’s not fair that only the Muslims in Tennessee get to hear and benefit!

    Please give my salams to you entire family.

  16. Miriam

    April 6, 2011 at 10:27 PM

    As salaam alaikum
    Dear Muslim Matters and Sheik Qadhi,
    I just wrote an essay on my blog about the rampant Islamaphobia and bigotry as result of watching the CNN special on Muslims in America. Although this article is focused on sheriah law I see a common connection: hatred of Muslims.
    I couldn’t find a place to leave a trackback comment on your website so I’ve copied and pasted the url to my essay below. In the past you stated you were open to constructive feedback so I’d like to share another perspective.

  17. Kwame Madden

    April 8, 2011 at 8:25 PM

    Thank you Yasir for the Khutbah right now I’m reading Chris Hedges book the Decline of the Liberal class.Hedges brlillantly the climate in the time of World War 1 when dissent was virtually shut down by certain forces.As this country declines continues we and others will be scape goated as the real issues go under the table.We have to hold on and be strong.May Allah reward and protect you!Ameen

  18. Usama

    April 13, 2011 at 5:21 PM

    Jazak Allahu khairan Brother–this is only on the rise and I’m afraid we will learn the hard way if we don’t engage in our community.

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