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Why Thugs Can’t Raise a Nation: The Importance of Good Parenting


by Imam Abu Laith Luqman Ahmad who blogs at

Dear beloveds, you and I know that without a doubt, young black men are an endangered species. Today’s reality is that a young African-American male is more likely to be murdered on the street in Philadelphia or Chicago, than he is to be killed as a soldier in the war in Afghanistan. It’s time to spread the message that thug life is not working to our advantage. This situation will exacerbate unless we as men, start to do something about it. We can’t do anything about the past except learn from it. However, we can do something about the present and the future. I implore you brothers, first of all, to embrace fatherhood in every possible way. Do it by any halal means available to you.

The problems in our community are systemic; they didn’t happen overnight. Fatherless homes, drug abuse, high incarceration rates, illiteracy, family violence, dysfunctional families, and teenage delinquency are taking a high toll in our communities.  This is a systemic problem, and there are hardly enough resources, men, families, programs and solid indigenous communities left to address these issues. We have a crisis on our hands and we can’t expect the government to fix this for us. The so called thugs and “wanna-be” thugs in our communities aren’t helping. In my opinion, we’re going to have to start from the ground floor. We must strengthen our families and communities and establish new families. We, as men and women (especially men), have to shoulder our responsibilities to help insure that another generation of Muslims doesn’t end up repeating the cycle of dysfunction all over again. We have to make a decision, as a people, to get off the roller coaster

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Amongst the top priorities, my brothers, is to make it your mission to be a parent or a step-parent, in the true sense. Relish in it, meet it head on, accept it, value it, immerse yourself in it, work it, embrace it, grab it by the horns, greet it with enthusiasm, cherish it, be about it, face it, love it, handle it, smile at it, get down on it, step up to the plate, seize it, man up to it, don’t turn away from it, don’t be afraid of it, and do not let parenthood escape you. Be believing and dutiful parents beloveds, by any means necessary……

The best thing that you can pass down to your children is guidance; “Were ye witnesses when death appeared before Jacob? Behold, he said to his sons: “What will ye worship after me?” They said: “We shall worship Thy Allah and the Allah of thy fathers, of Abraham, Isma’il and Isaac,- the one (True) Allah. To Him we bow (in Islam).” 2:133

In these last days, where children often do whatever they want, and effectively run the households of their parents, where teenage pregnancy is at an all-time high in our community, juvenile delinquency is common, and where it is acceptable that 25 and even 30-year-old young men sit around in their momma’s houses playing video games and smoking weed all day, we have got to address the issue of parenting and family order. Acting like a thug may look good on television but, in my opinion, thugs can’t raise a nation. They can hardly hold down a good job! And for all you weed lovin’, pill poppin’, needle pushin’, crack smokin’, drug dealin’, and meth takin’ parents – you are just adding to the problem.

People have to start acting like grown-ups and start raising their children and not let their children raise them. You have to teach your children right from wrong and not let your home be ruled by the whims of a child, or be ruled by your own whims for that matter. When I see the extremely high rates of black on black killing, and crime in places like Chicago, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Compton, Detroit, and Brooklyn, I’m thinking, “Where are the parents? Where are the fathers?”

The plight of our black youth in America is not just a police or school issue; it’s a parenting issue! Where are the parents in all of this? Where is the proper teaching and raising of children? Where are the examples of decency and rightful thinking in the family? For that matter, where are the families in our community? We’ve got plenty of baby mommas and baby daddies but very few real mothers and even fewer real fathers.

I see too many mothers and fathers in their 20s, 30s and even 40s, trying to live like they are still teenagers. I see brothers paying more attention to the 20 inch rims on their car than they do to the proper care of their children. Perhaps the biggest problem with thugs and thug life is that many of them end up dead, addicts or in jail where they can’t help anyone. Too many children live a legacy where their dad is holed up in some state penitentiary, doing time. There’s nothing glamorous about that.

The time for excuses is over. Something has to be done. I don’t know the answer except to follow the guidance of Islam; get married, establish a family, be a dutiful husband, be a dutiful wife, be dutiful parents, teach your children morals, teach them religion, give them religious instruction, set boundaries for them, and teach them right from wrong. Stay close to the masaajid and to the gatherings of Muslims. Eat together, pray together, do things together.

It is a tragedy that many of our men and woman have been conditioned to seek out the thug path, glorifying thug life (street life) and believing in the thug creed (there is no right or wrong) – it’s only what makes you happy. They worship the thug god (money, gold, cars, and shiny things), and have incarceration as a rite of passage, while idolizing and painting murals of other dead thugs. Their daily staple is weed, they are fond of the forty, and spend more on their dogs and their cars than they do on their own families. In the religion of the thug, they curse their absent fathers, defy their mothers, live off their women, and spend an hour in the mirror each day primping themselves.

The scriptures of the thug are the rhymes and raps of debauchery and narcissism. They have taken self-love to an extreme. They damn the virtues of righteousness, while mentioning the name of God, and sometimes Allah in the same breath. Thugs cannot raise a family, let alone a nation.  They don’t honor life; they only destroy it.  How many of our women are raising the illegitimate children of some has-been thug, who is doing time.

Make no doubt about it; the commander-in-chief of the thug nation is none other than Shaitaan himself. The cure to end the cycle of madness is Islam, but we first have to submit, submit in a total submission. “O ye who believe! Enter into Islam whole-heartedly; and follow not the footsteps of the evil one; for he is to you an avowed enemy.” 2:208  

With all due respect to the single mothers out there, and may Allah reward you for the extraordinary job you are doing. It takes men to raise men. With so many of the men in our communities ether incarcerated, dead, gay, effeminate, emasculated, in the streets, on drugs, weeded out, washed up, faint of heart, or still, over forty, pretending that they are still teenagers, there just aren’t that many men left standing in our communities. So for those of you who are left; if you are able to shoulder a little extra responsibility, then now is the time. If you have to partner with other men of like minds, then do so. But don’t sit back and do nothing.

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  1. Aseey/Nigeria

    March 4, 2013 at 8:54 AM

    may Allah guide the black Americans to the light of islam.

  2. Asif

    March 4, 2013 at 12:23 PM

    Outstanding article. And this not only speaks to the African American segment of the Muslim Community but also those of South Asian/Arab descent who emigrated to the USA. I’ve heard plenty of stories and even know of some youngsters who are caught up in the gang/thug life and their immigrant parents don’t know how to deal with their rebellious behavior. A highly relevant topic that mosques across the nation need to address and call out those neglectful/untrained parents.

  3. Hassan

    March 4, 2013 at 10:45 PM

    Wait, what?? This article is contradictory to posts by sister Umm Zakiyyah

    • Say

      March 4, 2013 at 11:01 PM

      So? Its called pluralism in thought

    • Aly Balagamwala | DiscoMaulvi

      March 4, 2013 at 11:57 PM

      Dear Hassan

      It is the beauty of human nature that two different people can view the same issue in two different lights. MM allows voicing of varied opinions, and the views of authors do not necessarily need to coincide with the “official MM view” (if there is any).


  4. Momena minhas

    March 5, 2013 at 12:28 AM

    This is really nice post to update people and all of your posts are too easy and easily understandable and absorptive by mind.

  5. Zeeshan

    March 5, 2013 at 2:48 AM

    @Asif, I definitely agree with you. This problem is not just limited to the African American community. Our Ummah is suffering due to a weak foundation, aka parenting and upbringing falling short. I sometimes feel like parents go on auto-pilot rather than making a conscious effort to impart important values.

  6. Jamal

    March 5, 2013 at 9:34 PM

    -Comments Deleted-

    Dear Brother Jamal:

    Please note we do not appreciate comments that slander anyone. If you have anything to say please write an article with proofs.

    Best Regards
    MM Comments Team

  7. Hena Zuberi

    March 6, 2013 at 1:17 AM

    Br Jamal,
    Your comment is very vicious and paints all who fall under the “salafi” banner in one stroke. I think you are referring to particular group and you may be surprised to read that Imam Luqman who wrote this post that we cross-posted from his blog has written a whole book on the subject that you are referring to. Please head over there and read his views before bashing him.

    I personally agree with you that this is a big issue and needs to be address by our scholars.

  8. Jamal

    March 6, 2013 at 4:24 AM

    Oh what a suprise!
    The saudi censorship has kicked in to prevent free speech.
    Proving that your conversation with western media about subscribing to a moderate view.
    You hypocrites need to change the title to state
    ‘why salafis cant raise a nation’
    Anyone journalist reading this comment please research and expose the huge epidemic of salafis engaging in temporary polygamous marriages and then dumping them, especially so called sheikhs and convert rappers.
    These so called salafis are beyond vile.

    • Aly Balagamwala | DiscoMaulvi

      March 7, 2013 at 1:36 AM

      My dear brother in Islam,
      AssalamuAlaikum Wa Rehmatullahi Wa Barakatuhu:

      I understand that you are upset at this particular issue and about the censorship of your first comment. If I was mistaken about the fact that you slandered the staff of MM and Al-Maghrib (which is not directly affiliated with MM) by calling them Munafiq, then I apologize profusely. I also apologize also for the next few comments I have also removed because they do not fit the etiquette of language I have been taught as being part of Islamic conduct.

      Regarding the issue regarding certain people, who may label themselves as “Salafi”, “engaging in temporary polygamous marriages and then dumping them, especially so called sheikhs and convert rappers.”, I totally agree with you when you say “These so called salafis are beyond vile.” As Sister Hena has pointed out that Imam Luqman has written a book on this subject also that may benefit you InshaaAllah.

      It has been my utmost effort as Comments Team Lead (in agreement with the MM Leadership) to allow the comments section to be a place for beneficial discussion, where our readers or writers do not feel threatened to present their views and discuss them. Thus, in the past year atleast the level of “censorship” on MM is the lowest possible. We however, do not allow any insult to the religion, abusive language, calling people kafirs and munafiqs, etc.

      Since you feel so strongly on this subject and we have so far been unable to get a submission regarding it from our writers or any guests, we invite you to write a guest post on this important issue. Your post, after the necessary editorial process, will InshaaAllah add value to our blog and to its readers. You may submit this piece using

      Best Regards
      Aly Balagamwala
      MM Comments Team Lead

    • The Salafi Feminist

      March 10, 2013 at 5:59 AM

      As-salaamu ‘alaikum,

      Brother Jamal, you may be interested in this article which I wrote for SISTERS magazine, discussing the “marriage bandits” problem.

      You can read it here:

  9. AAaa

    March 6, 2013 at 11:06 AM

    Feminist can also not raise good children. Somebody needs to shed some light on that.

  10. Aasia

    March 10, 2013 at 4:32 AM

    Good good article masha-Allah. Not only is this beneficial to the African-American folks but to every person of every community. Highlights eloquently the importance of parenthood/fatherhood (even motherhood). Worth reading again and again.

    Also, I strongly agree with Brother Zeshan that one has to make a conscious deliberate effort in order to impart the beautiful Islamic values to our children. We work so hard to be engineers and doctors or anyone professionally. We should at least try to exert some sustainable effort into personal roles like spouses, parents etc.

    This article has reminded us of why it is important to be a good parent. However, the ‘how to’ part is equally worthy of elaboration.

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