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Nouman Ali Khan – Quranic Perspective on Recent Tragedies


  1. Khutbah delivered by Nouman Ali Khan on April 19, 2013


فَلَعَلَّكَ بَاخِعٌ نَّفْسَكَ عَلَىٰ آثَارِهِمْ إِن لَّمْ يُؤْمِنُوا بِهَٰذَا الْحَدِيثِ أَسَفًا

Obviously what’s on everybody’s mind today are some of the major events in the news that are very tragic that all of us have heard about and have been thinking and can’t help but think about. Of course from a Muslim perspective it’s probably not shocking to say that most of you when you first heard that terrible news out of Boston said, “God I hope that’s not a Muslim.” And that’s just naturally how the Muslims now are thinking because we’re just bracing ourselves for the next catastrophe that hits all communities including our own and especially our own. But I don’t want to turn this khutbah entirely reactionary and condemn the acts of violence alone which is obvious. What I’d like to do inshaAllah is to break this brief 20-25 minutes I have with you into three parts, the first part of which is just some things about how as Muslims we’re supposed to react. Not for others, not towards others, not to explain ourselves to anybody else, but how we are supposed to think about these kinds of events and what our attitudes are supposed to be, because there seems to be a lot of confusion even among Muslims. The average Muslim sometimes doesn’t really know what to think about a lot of these things. These events, one piled after another after another can really tear down a sense of what Islam really says about these things.

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The other problem with this is that in some circles, this terrible manipulation of Islam has happened in which some people give off the idea that somehow in Islam, we think that when Muslims suffer, that’s a tragedy. And  when non-Muslims suffer, “meh, what’s the big deal? They’re not one of us. We don’t have to feel bad for non-Muslims suffering.” And this is actually one of the worst attacks on Islam itself. Because Islam, we believe, is the message taught to all Prophets (‘alaihi salatu wa as-salam), all of them. Across nations, across ethnicities. Every Prophet preached the same message of the Oneness of Allah, the Uniqueness of God, and submission before Him. And all of these Prophets, you read what the Qur’an even says about these Prophets, and it says for example Shu’aib [as] – speaking about the crimes of the disbelievers – said:

وَلَا تَبْخَسُوا النَّاسَ أَشْيَاءَهُمْ
Don’t shortchange people when you sell them things. Meaning, some guy is a grocery store owner and he shortchanges his customer. He’s supposed to give them a pound or a kilo and he gives them them a little bit less but charges them the full amount. So don’t cheat people out of their product when they buy things from you. Deal with people in a fair way. But you know what, the seller and the buyer – both of them – are non-believers. And the Prophet is speaking about an unfair practice on behalf of the victim when he isn’t even a believer, just somebody who got shortchanged for their product. They didn’t get what they deserved.

[It was revealed to] Our Messenger himself (saws) in an early Makkan surah:

وَيْلٌ لِّلْمُطَفِّفِينَ. الَّذِينَ إِذَا اكْتَالُوا عَلَى النَّاسِ يَسْتَوْفُونَ. وَإِذَا كَالُوهُمْ أَو وَّزَنُوهُمْ يُخْسِرُونَ

Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) talks about the worst kinds of destruction falling upon those who cheat others in business! This is early revelation. There’s not even a  believing community to speak of. Yet the people who get hurt, the orphan who gets pushed around, many of you know this surah: فَذَٰلِكَ الَّذِي يَدُعُّ الْيَتِيمَ – he pushes the orphan; the orphan is not a Muslim in the ayah! The passage is talking about the orphan being mistreated in the community. And this is early revelation where the majority of people around are non-Muslims. The Qur’an concerned itself with the plight of humanity, as all prophets did.

And before the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him)himself became a Messenger ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him), it’s very well-known that he was part of a humanitarian organization – Hilf al-Fuḍūl – and he used to go and help as many people as he could in whatever way he could. It was basically a humanitarian cause in the local city of Makkah. Whatever little wealth he had towards this cause of helping others, trying to help others.

We believe, personally, as Muslims, that the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) was the most concerned person for humanity and he had a love for all of humanity. He was sent by Allah as a Messenger to all of humanity, as someone who would invite them. You cannot possibly invite someone to anything if you hate them. Or if you don’t honor them. Or if you think less of them. Invitation is like inviting someone to your house – you don’t do that to someone you look down on. Or if you think of them somehow as people who should be hated. We’re not supposed to have that attitude.

وَلَقَدْ كَرَّمْنَا بَنِي آدَمَ 

We honored the children of Adam. Allah says He honored the children of Adam. Now, which children of Adam? He didn’t specify, He didn’t say some children of Adam. Or the believing children of Adam, or the Muslim children of Adam, or the European children of Adam, or the American children of Adam. It’s the children of Adam. They’re all honored human beings! And this is not something that you or I gave – it’s an honor that Allah gave. Every human being – the ruh was blown into him, or her. The soul is blown into them. And the ruh (soul) itself is an honored thing, because Allah says

وَنَفَخْتُ فِيهِ مِن رُّوحِي

 Allah attributes it to Himself. So human beings are inherently honored in our religion, and all life is sacred. And that’s why even when the prohibition of murder is talked about in the Qur’an, and who should have the right to seek justice on behalf of the victim, Allah says

وَمَن قُتِلَ مَظْلُومًا فَقَدْ جَعَلْنَا لِوَلِيِّهِ سُلْطَانًا

 Whoever gets killed unjustly, then his family has a right to seek justice. The family has the right, when the murderer is caught, to qisas. The Qur’an says “an eye for an eye” – they can ask the court to do that, or they can seek some other form of retribution, like a lawsuit in modern times, or even forgive them. But that right should be given to the victim’s family, not some arbitrary court, not some anonymous jury. The Qur’anic principle, if there was such a thing in a society, then that victim’s family has the right, even if they were non-Muslims! Remember this is a Makkan surah, an early revelation, Muslims aren’t established yet and there is no governance yet and these ayaat came down, because these were principles of justice that dealt with all human beings.

So now, having said that I want to share something more with you, how the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) trained his companions. We have to understand – he was concerned for humanity before he even knew about revelation. But once he receives revelation, he ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) knows that there is such a thing as suffering in this world. There is suffering of disease, of crime like we’re seeing in the news now, suffering from war, from death, all kinds of suffering in the world. But when he came into contact with revelation, he learned about another kind of suffering – a far worse kind of suffering, one that lasts forever. It’s the suffering of the afterlife. He was already concerned with humanity before, but after receiving revelation the level of concern is incomparable. There’s really no comparison before and after. Now he’s not only concerned now about suffering in this world but also their suffering in the next world.

And despite that, you look at some of the unique cases among the Sahaba, the Companions of the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him), who he educated and cultivated their thinking himself [saws],these Companions would come by some non-Muslims that were sick, and they would read Qur’an over them as ruqya – the ruqya we do from the Prophetic practice – they would do that for a non-Muslim. Because they believed that recitation of Qur’an is healing, so they wanted to heal even the non-believer. Somebody now, as a contemporary, would argue how would a non-believer benefit from the spiritual healing of the Qur’an, they would have to have iman first, then they could benefit from the healing. But that’s not how the Companions thought. They were just concerned for other people.They just wanted to help, however they could.

One time the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him)was interacting with a Jewish man, and this man does something good for the Prophet. He says to this man – and the Companions are sitting there – he says may Allah make you beautiful. And the narration says that this man outlived the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) and he grew old, and not a hair on his head was gray. Like the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) prayed for his eternal youth, almost. His entire life he looked young. The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) prayed even for non-Muslims. He did that, in his lifetime, sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam.

Why am I bringing all this up? Because obviously news from all around the world is much more easily accessible to us today. More accessible than ever before. We get to know what’s going on in other places in the world, especially the bad news, because that’s more sensational. So we know about the kinds of horrible suffering that’s happening in the Africas, what’s going on in so many parts of Southeast Asia. The terrible catastrophes that are happening in Bangladesh right now. The families that are suffering in Syria. Unimaginable things are happening, and now this news is accessible to us. But you know what, when something happens in the United States, when an 8 year old child is killed just standing next to people watching a marathon, I am saddened deeply by the loss of that child. I have an 8 year old in my family. I have children too. I feel the sadness of that parent who lost their child. What did they do to deserve that?

أَقَتَلْتَ نَفْسًا زَكِيَّةً بِغَيْرِ نَفْسٍ

You killed an innocent child without any justification! They didn’t kill anyone. And I feel sad about that, and for some Muslims this is confusing. Is it OK to feel sad for non-Muslims? Is it OK to do that? There’s something wrong with that mentality. And then when you feel sad for them, someone comes and says – hey why aren’t you sad for all the other children in all the other war zones of the world? I say, this is a politicized manipulation of reality and human decency. Human beings can only feel so sad. I feel sad for whatever news comes to me, whether it’s from down the block or across the Atlantic, I feel sad. But that doesn’t mean that you go and say, “oh you know what, I’m really sorry that this child died, but there’s so many more dying there too.”

No, it’s not a contest. Imagine if somebody came to you and said that, “I’m sorry to hear your child is sick. But you know there are so many other children that are sick too.” It’s insensitive. It’s inhuman to think this way. It’s not like we’re comparing the tragedies, and we shouldn’t be comparing tragedies – it’s wrong to do so – suffering is suffering. And we feel bad.

The next question – and this is still the first point of the three I wanted to talk to you about – this is the last bit here. There’s so much suffering all over the world today that we if keep watching the news, we’ll be in a perpetual state of depression. I don’t know if you’d have a reason to smile. And that’s just us, we’re not the best humanitarians. We just watch the news and get overwhelmed by the horrible things that are happening around us. Now I remind you of what I said earlier, the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) was the most concerned human being for the plight of humanity ever. But then you find something unique about the personality of the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him). Allah tells us that the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) is so worried about the state of humanity that he’s about to almost die out of depression. So Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) tells him:

فَلَعَلَّكَ بَاخِعٌ نَّفْسَكَ عَلَىٰ آثَارِهِمْ إِن لَّمْ يُؤْمِنُوا بِهَٰذَا الْحَدِيثِ أَسَفًا

and in another place

لَعَلَّكَ بَاخِعٌ نَّفْسَكَ أَلَّا يَكُونُوا مُؤْمِنِينَ

 Once in Surat al-Kahf and again in Surat al-Shu’ara. Are you going to kill yourself from grief? Are you going to worry so much about them that you’ll die yourself? That they won’t believe in this speech? That they will suffer the eternal torment of Hellfire? Is this going to kill you? Allah is telling him not to grieve that much. And then you find the internalization of that teaching from the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him).In prayer he used to pray and cry for those who are suffering but at the same time the Companions say that whenever we saw him he was always smiling. He was able to balance it. You have to live your life too. Having joy and happiness in your life doesn’t mean you’re less of a human being. If you feel any kind of happiness in life while others are suffering, it’s not because you’re insensitive. No, because that’s a human thing. There’s a part of us that feels sad and a part of us can be happy at the same time. The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) had more reason to feel sad than anybody else because he knew, better than anyone else, what humanity was headed for. And yet, he had occasions of joy and happiness.

So we can’t be overwhelmed by negativity; we have to have that balance in our personality. And that’s the final thing about the first of three things I wanted to share with you. The final thing, I promise this time. If we’re overly depressed and negative, we’re not going to be able to be productive for the world. Human beings need to have some positivity in their lives to be able to do things for themselves and for others, for their families and societies. That’s part of what makes us functional for the world. That’s what the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) himself needs. There are multiple places in the Qur’an where Allah actually encourages the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him), congratulates him, tells him “Don’t be sad! Let me give you a reason to be happy.” It’s even a need for the Messenger of Allah, and it’s a need for ourselves.

The second thing I want to talk to you about and inshaAllah remind myself of in this khutbah is an idea I want to introduce to you, not necessarily have a long conversation about. The Qur’an says something really unique about itself.

Allah says,

يُضِلُّ بِهِ كَثِيرًا وَيَهْدِي بِهِ كَثِيرًا

which means that Allah allows many people to be misguided by means of this very revelation, and He guides many by means of this revelation. When we first listen to this we ask: why would Allah send this revelation and then allow it to be used for misguidance? In fact, misguidance is mentioned first, and then said وَيَهْدِي بِهِ كَثِيرًا. But then at the end of it, Allah mentions the kind of people that get misguided by God’s guidance itself. What kind of people they will be. He says:

وَمَا يُضِلُّ بِهِ إِلَّا الْفَاسِقِينَ

He never misguides anybody at all, by means of revelation except those who are inherently corrupt. They have a deeply rooted corruption in themselves. So what I want to bring to your attention is that there are either psychological forms of corruption, people who don’t even realize they’re being manipulated, like young people are very gullible. There are people who are emotionally corrupt or traumatized, there are people who are actually outright evil and corrupt. Corruption takes many forms. It could be purposeful or not purposeful, it could be circumstantial. But you know what, when you come to this book with some kind of corruption – maybe you don’t have complete information and you’re rushing to conclusions – then the Qur’an has the option for someone to manipulate it. Someone to make the wrong conclusions. Someone to use things in the Qur’an and say “oh this is what that means.” But that can only happen when something is corrupt. If the intention and the approach and the emotions are corrupt. Something corrupt has to be there for the wrong conclusions to come out.

Islamic civilization has existed for a very long time, and our scholarship is a proud scholarship that spans continents. It’s not even one continent, it’s several continents of Muslim scholarship that go back several centuries. It’s not a small civilization. This one book has been studied by millions upon millions of people, and each one of them didn’t casually read it, they spent their lives studying it. And none of them came to the kinds of conclusions that some young people today come to. We don’t even know their rationale, specifically Boston. But I know some people are going to be thinking “oh this is because of Islam”, or “this is a kind of jihad fee sabeelillah” or whatever else. This is nothing like jihad fee sabeelillah! This is nothing sanctioned by the Qur’an. It’s a form of corruption. It’s a form of manipulation of the sacred text. And we have to understand this first, that it’s a violation of Allah’s Word. There are some people who read the Qur’an in translation and they come across those ayaat. And I’ll just say them to you, so you don’t have to look for them. Read Surat at-Tauba; you’ll find them yourself. It’s going to be very politically incorrect for you to read Surat at-Tauba. The 8th surah, 9th surah, 33rd surah, even the 2nd surah. Read them. You’ll find things like

وَاقْتُلُوهُمْ حَيْثُ ثَقِفْتُمُوهُمْ

Somebody can pull out a translation of the Qur’an, and say look, it says “kill them wherever you find them.” That’s what they do when they read Qur’an – they’re going to say that. How come, in 1400 years of history, nobody thinks of that statement the same way as these people just did? How come they don’t see it that way? How come everybody else saw something far more advanced? Far more complex and contextual?

We have to study this Book carefully. We have to understand it clearly. We can’t just take something out of it and quote it out of context. Because if you want to get into that habit, here’s another one for you:

فَوَيْلٌ لِّلْمُصَلِّينَ

This is a complete ayah. The worst destruction shall fall upon those who pray. You want to just quote something from the Qur’an – here, Qur’an says this. Somebody says, “I don’t pray.” If you ask them why not, they say the Qur’an says فَوَيْلٌ لِّلْمُصَلِّينَ, my favorite ayah! But the Qur’an goes on to say:

الَّذِينَ هُمْ عَن صَلَاتِهِمْ سَاهُونَ. الَّذِينَ هُمْ يُرَاءُونَ.

There’s more to it! Those who pray to show off. Those who are lazy and careless when they’re praying. There’s more to it! There’s more to what’s being said. To simply pull something out of context is easy manipulation. It’s an easy target. And this is an unfortunate misuse of the Qur’an that is so common. And since most average Muslims aren’t even very well-educated in the Qur’an, they start thinking “well, I don’t even know how to explain that. It does say it, I guess.” And we’re defeated internally. But we have to understand this is a manipulation and a corruption of the pure teachings of Islam.

The final thing I want to share with you is our response to non-Muslims – your friends, your neighbors, your co-workers, who might look at you a little bit weird when we go into work tomorrow. There have already been several violent incidents across the country against Muslims before the news came out that these two young men were Chechen. And I want to remind myself and all of you, number one, just be vigilant. You don’t know what kind of crazy people are out there. Not everybody out there is crazy. Most people are very normal and very nice, but there are some crazy people out there. And they use these kinds of things as an excuse to perpetuate some kinds of violence or hate speech – you might hear something on the street , somebody just hurls something at you, someone drives by and does something inappropriate.

So first of all, be careful where you go and look at your surroundings. Second of all, don’t respond! You don’t respond to ignorance. Allah’s Messenger is told

وَاصْبِرْ عَلَىٰ مَا يَقُولُونَ وَاهْجُرْهُمْ هَجْرًا جَمِيلًا

Just be patient over what they’re saying, leave them in a decent way. Don’t resort to indecency yourself if somebody is resorting to indecency with you.

You’re not a criminal, I’m not a criminal; I don’t owe an explanation to anyone. You and I haven’t done anything wrong. You don’t have to feel like you owe anyone an apology, because you don’t. You and I don’t; we’re not criminals. If people decide to bunch an entire religion together and say all you people are the same, that’s their problem, not yours. So you don’t have to feel apologetic. But at the same time, if ignorance does come your way, the right thing to do is to ignore and not respond back. It’s as stupid as a dog barking at you and you’re barking back at the dog. It doesn’t make any sense and it’s not a good idea. That’s not wisdom.

These are the three things I wanted to share with you in this khutbah. The first and foremost – just as our heart bleeds for those who suffer in Muslim lands, our heart goes out to those who suffered anywhere. This deen teaches us to feel the suffering of humanity. That’s part of our faith, and if we don’t feel this, then there’s something wrong and something missing.

The second thing – just as a quick reminder – that if it is motivated by religious motives, then this is a manipulation of religious teachings. It doesn’t sincerely or genuinely or even in an academic or scholarly way represent what this religion has to say.

And finally, the third and the last things as I close inshaAllah ta’ala is that first of all we have to be careful in our surroundings. Find this to be an opportunity to talk to your friends and neighbors. They might be curious, they might even be worried when they see you. They might not say it, but they might be a little creeped out when you and your wife in hijab go up to their house. Take over some cake, and talk to them. We’re in a weird situation in America, Muslims in particular. We have to go out of our way to just at least let our neighbors know who we are. We have to go out of our way. Not artificially, not just to say, “look, I just came over to give you some cake and let you know that I’m not crazy.” But because our religion teaches us to at least know our neighbors. To be good to them, to care for them. That should be our motive, not PR.

If PR is your motive, then Allah will not put any barakah  in your reaching out to your neighbors. If you just want to go over and let them know, “Oh by the way, not fanatic OK? Just a normal Muslim. I’m not that Muslim” then there’s not going to be any blessings in that effort, and it might even make your relations with your neighbors worse. You want Allah’s blessings – be a sincere neighbor. Be a good neighbor. Go over to them, talk to them because they’re your neighbors, just for that reason. And if Muslims just did their job and fulfilled one of the instructions of the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) – taking care of 40 neighbors – I’m not even asking you for 40, how about 4? How about 2?

Even if we that, then a lot of misconceptions about Muslims out there will start disappearing. Because we wouldn’t have to speak for ourselves – our neighbors will. Our neighbors will say, “no we know these people. I trust my house keys with them when we go on vacation. I trust my kids with them; they go for sleepovers all the time. What are you talking about? Muslims aren’t like that!” But we don’t engage with our neighbors. We go on PR campaigns, we publish newsletters, we do press releases. All of those are artificial – they come and go. But our neighbors are always there and they need to know who we are. When they see who we are, then those barriers are dropped because you humanize people that way.

May Allah ‘azza wa jall help us all deal with this catastrophe.

And may Allah ‘azza wa jall bring solace to those who have lost loved ones and those that suffering as a result of this tragedy and tragedies around the world.

May Allah ‘azza wa jall help Muslims understand the true essence of their faith and help them become decent families and decent neighbors and decent citizens of the world.

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Omar Usman is a founding member of MuslimMatters and Qalam Institute. He teaches Islamic seminars across the US including Khateeb Workshop and Fiqh of Social Media. He has served in varying administrative capacities for multiple national and local Islamic organizations. You can follow his work at



  1. RP

    April 20, 2013 at 1:39 AM

    It would be helpful if Surahs’ name/number come as well during the khutbah whenever Qurani Ayahs pop up

  2. Pingback: Nouman Ali Khan lecture-Perspective on Recent Tragedies

  3. Gibran

    April 20, 2013 at 4:52 PM

    Assalamualaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh

    JazzakAllahu khair for this excellent speech

    However I think he didn’t really understand one point-what people have a problem with is the apparent lack of concern for other Muslims who are suffering far more.

    Muslims who are getting slaughtered in Myanmar, in Afghanistan and Pakistan for example. Why is it that our imams and leaders don’t also strongly condemn the slaughter of our innocent Muslim brothers and sisters and their children?

    Or the unjust detention of many in Guantanamo who haven’t done anything wrong?

  4. stand up for the ummah

    April 20, 2013 at 8:36 PM

    Heard a few sheikhs speak on the Boston bombings… have heard how we should be sympathetic to the people effected by this “tragedy”…not compare this to Syria etc,make dua for the families effected by this massacre etc..

    How about our response or relationship to those who did,or are blamed for carrying out the bombing.I will only believe a Muslim did it when he says he did it,and then what is our relationship with him??from Quran and sunnah should our sheuk not address that in video messages,if they must talk about current situation.That is more important for us to know.

    why can they not speak about the true victims,those who are shot and prisoned,like the 19 year old MUSLIM who is supposedly the bomber,is it not the sheikhs responsibility to address our relationship with him.He is now in the hands of the same murders and torturers of millions of people,should the sheikhs not tell us how it is Fard on us to free him,or pray for him,or help his family.and Allah knows best.

    • Abu Asiyah

      April 20, 2013 at 10:11 PM

      first of all, just because a person asks to empathize with the non-Muslim victims doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t empathize with Muslims. these are not mutually exclusive. and really, what does our ummah have a problem with? do we have a problem with feeling bad for the Muslims? do we have a problem with remembering their plight? or do we have a problem with treating non-Muslims like human beings? don’t we ignore the Prophetic teachings on treating non-Muslims well?

      obviously, we have more of a problem with the latter, and that’s why the shuyookh are addressing that problem, especially right now.

      as far as guilt of a person, Islamic Law doesn’t work like that. you don’t just ask a person if they did it or not. but, yes, you should give them benefit of the doubt, especially since half the family thinks they were set up.

      but let’s not run into a problem of siding with Muslims even when they are in the wrong. like a teacher of mine said, if Palestine was Jewish and Israel was Muslim, we’d still side with the Palestinians.

      • Gibran

        April 20, 2013 at 11:40 PM

        Assalamualaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh

        Abu Asiyah-nobody disagrees that we absolutely should show compassion to mushrikeen. Absolutely and we should also feel sorrow for their losses as well.

        Everybody agrees with you.

        The problem is, we see that our brothers and sisters who are going through far worse around the world are being largely ignored.

        Also, the people who are persecuting them(and our government due to drone strikes and invasions is among them) are getting a free pass.

        Why does this criminal kid get condemned but our government is not condemned by these shuyookh like that?

        • Abu Asiyah

          April 21, 2013 at 5:00 PM

          wa ‘alaykum assalaam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

          I find two problems with what you’re saying. First, yes people do disagree about showing compassion to the mushrikeen. That is what brother Nouman Ali Khan is actually trying to address. In fact, showing compassion to the mushrikeen is more of a problem in the Muslim community than the problem of showing compassion to the Muslims (for obvious reasons).

          Second, the scholars do condemn the oppression of this government. These same shuyookh you are criticizing are the ones promoting Islamic relief organizations and donating thousands of dollars to these efforts.

          Why is it that as soon as a shaykh does not mention the oppression against Muslims once when mentioning oppression against the non-Muslims, we all stand up and start criticizing them? When the reverse happens, we don’t. When the khateeb goes off for 45 minutes on how we should support the poor, oppressed abroad and then doesn’t encourage us to give one cent to the poor on OUR streets, we don’t think badly of that, even though our neighbors have so many rights over us. When he goes off on the practices of the government against the Muslims abroad, but then doesn’t mention anything about injustices to non-Muslims minorities here in the US, we don’t think badly of that.

          I’ve heard so many khutbahs and lectures from scholars, da’ees, students of knowledge, etc on the injustices done to Muslims, on how we should support them, on how we should give money to them, etc. The number of the same lectures on helping out our local communities? Practically none.

          So it strikes as very strange that when a shaykh decides to give a relevant khutbah about having compassion for fellow human beings who are non-Muslim and doesn’t for once mention other Muslims, we all go up in arms about how they only care about what’s PC to say and abandon our brothers and sisters in faith.

          There’s a time to talk about one thing and there’s a time to talk about the other and the shuyookh choose which is the best for which. So let’s give them the benefit of the doubt and not accuse of them of things that they’re not guilty of in the first place.

          • Gibran

            April 21, 2013 at 6:26 PM

            Assalamualaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh

            I’d like you to show me some examples of contemporary sheikhs lambasting the government for drone strikes.

            And some examples of them talking about oppression against Muslims. By all means, show them to me.

            I agree with you on the bit about helping local communities. Nouman Ali Khan hit the nail on the head-subhanAllah, we have totally forgotten about being good to our neighbors. Yes absolutely this is a thing we have neglected This pr stuff is not helping at all.

            I think we ABSOLUTELY should be condemning oppression of Muslims against non Muslims! Like how Muslims treat migrant workers in Arab countries-subhanAllah, one of my biggest concerns is this.

            But how many shaykhs do you see condemning that oppression against non-Muslims? Why is it that they aren’t heard? Is it because they aren’t heard of or cared for like the Boston Marathon victims? That there isn’t that much of a penalty in this dunya for not caring about the migrant workers who are mistreated by Muslims that the Marathon victims who were oppressed by two Muslims?

            Also, if Muslim is an oppressor, and it is somewhat clear that thesr two Chechen men have indeed done injustice, subhanAllah, we don’t just through them under the bus. We must ask Allah for their forgiveness and for the guidance of the one that is still alive.

          • Adnan

            April 21, 2013 at 6:32 PM

            Salam Alaikum,

            Right on the dot, brother Abu Asiyah. We are criticizing our scholars for speaking the truth in condemning oppression against non-Muslims while willfully neglecting all their tireless work for oppressed Muslims. Our criticism seems less motivated by a sincere desire to help the oppressed everywhere and more motivated by a desire to cut down any talk construed as sympathetic to oppressed non-Muslims. May God protect us from such corrupted hearts.

          • Gibran

            April 21, 2013 at 6:42 PM

            Assalamualaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh

            Again Adnan, I put the question to you-

            Why is it that the oppression against the Boston Marathon victims is being addressed and not the oppression against the migrant workers in Arab countries?

            Why is it that Johar, one of the two suspects is being kaffirized while we see little criticism of Obama for murdering little children? On the contrary, we have statements like “I am proud of Obama”-subhanAllah!

            Why is their no consistency?

          • Gibran

            April 21, 2013 at 6:45 PM

            Three victims died, ok, major thulm and should be addressed.

            But why no video every time this happens?


      • Gibran

        April 20, 2013 at 11:49 PM

        Assalamualaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh

        “like a teacher of mine said, if Palestine was Jewish and Israel was Muslim, we’d still side with the Palestinians.”

        Yes we defend the oppressed. So being a Muslim I side with the Christian Sudanese, the Armenians during their genocide, the East Timor people, and so on.

        But that’s not the issue at hand here. You’re comment is something everyone agrees with.

        • Hyde

          April 21, 2013 at 3:53 PM

          I do concur…if we had authentic ulema and and authentic understanding of this great deen, then there would not be no injustice.

      • stand up for the ummah

        April 21, 2013 at 4:48 PM

        The point that i am making is not that as Muslims we don’t have a responsibility to the non Muslims around us,but that as Muslims we have a greater responsibility to the Muslims around us.
        Putting the massacres of other countries aside in this situation,
        What is our obligation to the 19 year old suspected bomber???
        Whether guilty or not,what is our stance as Muslims.
        From what I understand of the deen a believer in Allah, no matter how bad will always be better than a disbeliever.Purely because of the fact he has still accepted Allah as his Lord.
        As we are asked to emphatise with the kufar effected by the bombings,should we not also be advised in our duty towards the perpetrator if he is found to be that?
        What I am asking is why do the knowledgeable among us,shy away from telling us the rights of another member of the ummah.
        If the sheikh addressed these issues then we would not have to make a point of asking them why they had not.

        • Adnan

          April 21, 2013 at 7:44 PM

          Salam Alaikum,

          It seems that our brother Dzhokhar, and indeed he is our brother, has committed a heinous crime this past week. If he is guilty, the Book of Allah stands against him and it is for the victims of the crime to seek justice. Allah says in Sūrah Isrā, “Wa man qutila madhlūman faqad ja’alnā liwaliyyihí sultānan” – Whoever is killed unjustly, We have given his or her patron authority (to seek justice). That justice undoubtedly includes the possibility of capital punishment (unless the family of the victims forgive). There is nothing distinguishing Muslims from non-Muslims in this verse or any verse; this is simply the divine law of qisās (retribution).

          In my opinion, it is our duty to pray for him and help guide him towards repentance – that he may have the courage to seek forgiveness from his victims, make amends, so that Allah might forgive him on the Day of Judgment. We must have a genuine concern for the eternal well-being of our brother – but that doesn’t mean we can reject the justice in God’s law of Qisās (retribution).

          • Gibran

            April 21, 2013 at 7:49 PM

            wa alayumusalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh
            Yes but Quran is not the only thing we use. Remember the hadith,

            Amr ibn Shuaib reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, judged that a believer should not be killed for killing a disbeliever.

            [Musnad Ahmad, Number 6624, Sahih]

            So there is more than just Quranic ayat. Wahy includes more than the Quran.

          • Adnan

            April 22, 2013 at 1:56 AM

            wa‘alaikum salam wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh

            And could it be that we are taking the hadith out of context to justify corruption? I do not have training in fiqh, but the following link argues that this hadith only applies to non-Muslims fighting Muslims on the battlefield – citing the actions and rulings of Ali ibn Abi Talib, the rightly-guided khalifa (ra), Umar Ibn Abdul Aziz, the “fifth” rightly-guided khalifa, and Imam Malik – all saying that Muslims can be killed for unjustly killing a non-Muslim. Imam Ali undoubtedly held to the true sunnah of the Messenger (saws).


            Amazing isn’t it – how easily we can quote hadith carelessly to justify committing corruption and neglect the Book of God as second place.

          • Adnan

            April 22, 2013 at 11:59 AM

            Also, another important note, where did you get such a hadith? ‘Amr Ibn Shu’aib was NOT a sahaba and narrated hadith through his grandfather, ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amr. I do not see how this hadith could be deemed sahih unless the isnad includes his grandfather.

          • Gibran

            April 22, 2013 at 3:21 PM

            Assalamualaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh

            I was quoting a hadith to show you that we don’t only take from the Quran and that we must also look at the sunnah. It isn’t acceptable for Nouman Ali Khan to simply take from a Quranic ayah without full knowledge of the fiqh rulings behind it. Ignoring the command of Rasulullah sallahualayhiwasalam is ignoring the command of Allah. If you disobey Rasulullah sallahualayhiwasalam you disobey Allah aza wa jal.

            So you were wrong initially to claim that he can be killed through qisas. You don’t know the fiqh and I pointed to something which should have shown you that you don’t know so you shouldn’t be making fiqhi judgements like this. Neither should, by his own admission in another video(search intellectual humility), Nouman Ali Khan

            By the way, did you know, it’s in the fiqh books, a father is not killed for the child? Blood money is taken instead. We get that from hadith. That’s because wahy is not only the Quran although those who follow their desires would like to think so. Only Quranists are the ones who truly neglect the Quran and disobey Allah and His Messenger. They are, as Sheikh Fawzan(I don’t follow this sheikh, just quoting him here), kuffar. They are disbelievers.

            *This comment was edited by the MM Comments Team in order to comply with our Comments Policy*

          • Gibran

            April 22, 2013 at 3:34 PM

            Assalamualaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh

            Looks like the majority of scholars agree with me.

            *This comment was edited by the MM Comments Team in order to comply with our Comments Policy*

          • Guilty...until proven innocent.

            April 22, 2013 at 5:42 PM

            Jazakallah brother for your comment,If the brother is gulity he is still our brother,and like u said we need to help him in his deen.
            ,the problem is without there being any proof, the ummah in the west generally believe our brothers and sisters to be guilty of any crime that is charged on them without any evidence.We accept the word of the fbi or mi5/6.And give no second thought to the brother/sister or their family.(A wife just lost her husband,and mother lost a son and her 19 year old is in custody,critically injured.can we not at least mention their rights from the ummah?)
            This is what the needs to be addressed.The talk above missed this point out,so is incomplete.not incorrect.
            I dont understand why alot of Muslims have a problem with being sympathetic towards another member of the Ummah,but are so obsessed with the point muslims dont empatise with non-muslims.

          • Adnan

            April 23, 2013 at 3:53 PM

            Wa ‘alaikumus-salam wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh,

            Isn’t it interesting, Gibran, that we both posted links that claimed that our fiqh opinions were that of the “majority” or “consensus” of the scholars, even if the two opinions contradicted. If anything, that should remind us to be weary of such a claim – It is easy to carelessly claim “my opinion is the majority opinion” without evidence. Though I believe my opinion to be correct, I know that it may be wrong.

            I readily admit that I am no scholar of fiqh, but I can remind you that the sunnah cannot be established by a piecemeal reading of hadith alone. If it is true, as the link claimed (and I admit corroborating evidence is needed), that ‘Ali (ra) allowed a non-Muslim the option of executing a Muslim who unjustly killed a relative, one cannot say that it was against the sunnah of the Messenger (saws). If there is sound evidence, the example of the rightly-guided successors does constitute a strong indication of the prophetic sunnah, and we must interpret hadith in light of that. If it is true that ‘Umar ibn ‘Abdul-‘Aziz allowed a non-Muslim to behead a Muslim who unjustly killed a relative, we cannot carelessly claim that the righteous caliph was ignorant of the sunnah. If Imam Malik ruled that an unjustly murdering Muslim could be executed, based on the practice of the righteous judges and people of Medina, one cannot claim that such an opinion is contradicting the sunnah. Rather, it is the hadith that may be misinterpreted.

            The link you posted implied that only the Hanafi school held such an opinion, which contradicts other accounts that it is also the opinion of Imam Malik. Another online source on the matter claims that according Malik’s Muwatta, a Muslim can be executed for killing a non-Muslim if he kills out of treachery* (as was the case in Boston).

            Your link also references a hadith in Sunan At-Tirmidhi without a link. I don’t doubt that such a hadith exists, and moreover that it is sahih, but it would be good to see it directly. I admit again that I am no scholar of hadith, but I can point out that the hadith you posted is clearly faulty. As we know, a hadith cannot be “sahih” unless it has an uninterrupted chain to the Messenger (saws) through one of the Companions. ‘Amr ibn Shu’aib CANNOT directly report the Messenger’s (saws) ruling since he lived long after his death. I presume that somewhere while copying and pasting these hadith online, a key part of the isnad was cut out mistakenly, something to the effect of “‘Amr ibn Shu’aib reports from his father, on the authority of his grandfather ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amr (ra), that the Prophet (saws) judged…” It’s an important reminder for all of us, especially me, that we should be very careful to copy and paste hadith online – because transcription mistakes are very common, and there are great difficulties in verifying such information.

            We all should be careful when quoting hadith, for just as Nouman Ali Khan states in his sermon that verses of the Quran can be quoted out of context by the fāsiqīn to justify corruption on the earth, the problem is potentially far greater with regards to the hadith. With regards to the Quran, each verse has an immediate textual context – I can show you that the verse “kill them wherever you find them” does not refer to all non-Muslims just by referencing the very surrounding verses in Surah Tauba. Hadith do not come with such a textual context, and I leave it to the fuqahā and muhaddithīn to better enlighten us to the real context, lest we quote hadith carelessly based on our own desires.

            Lastly, to the point about needing clear evidence before judging an individual to be guilty, that is indeed very true. A level of skepticism can be healthy, and it remains to be established whether our brother Dzhokhar is guilty (that’s why we have courts). But there seems to be many among us that also reject any and all evidence that will be placed before them solely because they don’t want to believe it. For instance, when we saw the video of OBL claiming he was behind 9-11, or the Taliban taking responsibility for attacking Malala, we still had people in our community claim that they did not believe it. On what criterion, other than our own personal desires, are we judging the evidence?

            Salam Alaikum,

            * The opinion referencing Imam Malik’s Muwatta can be found here – in a post aptly entitled “A Muslim will be executed for killing a non-Muslim.” I admit though that I cannot independently verify the reference:

          • Gibran

            April 24, 2013 at 11:22 AM

            Wa alaykumusalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh
            “Isn’t it interesting, Gibran, that we both posted links that claimed that our fiqh opinions were that of the “majority” or “consensus” of the scholars, even if the two opinions contradicted.”
            Yes, and I trust Islamweb.

            “one cannot claim that such an opinion is contradicting the sunnah. Rather, it is the hadith that may be misinterpreted.”
            Who is? I posted the hadith to show you that you were misquoting the Quran.

            “Hadith do not come with such a textual context, and I leave it to the fuqahā and muhaddithīn to better enlighten us to the real context, lest we quote hadith carelessly based on our own desires.”
            The same can be said for the Quran.

            The scholars who judged that a Muslim is not killed for a believer were not quoting hadith to justify corruption on the earth nor were they following their desires. If you accuse them of that, or imply that, wait for them to take from your good deeds on yawm al Qiyamah. Corruption is disobeying Allah and His Messenger, whether it is in accordance with anyones desires or not.

            But I think we can both agree, neither of us should be quoting things. You shouldn’t be taking an ayah out of context and ruling on it and I should be quoting isolated hadith to refute you/show you you are quoting an ayah out of context.

            We can both quote fatwas next time.

      • stand up for the ummah

        April 21, 2013 at 5:00 PM please watch this 8 minute talk,it may help with understanding the point that I am trying to make.Jazakallah

        • Muslim

          April 22, 2013 at 5:45 PM

          Above is the story of Usamah bin Zaid,he unjustly killed a man, what was the Prophet(saw) response.

    • Tanveer Khan

      April 21, 2013 at 9:27 AM

      What kind of people qualify as ‘true victims’ to you?

      • Gibran

        April 21, 2013 at 3:42 PM

        Assalamualaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh

        Tanveer, he was referring I think to those who go through a lot worse at the hands of our government. But they hardly get any attention like these Boston Marathon victims and the criminals(our government) hardly get the same condemnation as the criminals who did these Boston bombings.

      • stand up for the ummah

        April 21, 2013 at 4:52 PM

        True victims..those that are blamed or neglected by the ummah..They may have transgressed the limits,but does that mean we have too?
        There is a hadith in regards to the oppressor and the oppressed,both should not be neglected as if we leave the oppressor who will guide him back to the deen.

  5. Imran Khan (@1mrankhan_)

    April 20, 2013 at 9:05 PM

    It would be so great if brother Nouman could also quote the versus of the Quran with the name of the Suraha’s and the no. Also the hadith with the books and chapter.


  6. N Iqbal

    April 21, 2013 at 9:20 AM

    Asalaam walaykum brothers.

    I enjoyed listening to the three points made by brother Nouman and would like to make the following comments:

    1. Brother Nouman is right when he says that we must respond with empathy and concern with civilians going about their daily business and become victims of violence. There should be no ‘ifs’ or ‘buts’.

    2. Brother Nouman is also right when he speaks about misguidance and guidance. There are Muslim muqalid and mujtahid who both interpret the Quran and Sunnah incorrectly for the reasons he mentioned.

    3. Finally, brother Nouman is right about how we should respond. As a community we should be more vigilant and ignore the ignorant and not stoop to their level.

    However, there are many other issues which need to be addressed which brother Nouman has not addressed perhaps due to time constraints.

    With relation to point 1 we have to recognise a wider reality that due to epidemic levels of Islamophobia (in the West and not just America) any issue concerning Muslims and Islam is blown completely out of all proportion. Politicians and media deliberately exacerbate the situation inciting the masses against Islam and Muslims. Muslims see 24/7 coverage of their deen being villified and feel a natural resentment. Who is there that speaks on behalf of Muslims in the absence of the Khalif?

    With regards to point 2 there is misguidance and one has to ask why? As brother Nouman said Islamic civilisation (Khilafah) existed for 1400 years under which thousands of scholars were produced. However, after the destruction of the Uthmani Khilafah and the Islamic system in 1924 secular systems were imposed and Islam was reduced from the status of deen to a few rituals. To ensure the Ummah is guided we need to reverse the damage done by the colonialist West through the re-establishment of the deen of Islam.

    Finally, we should not stoop to the level of the ignorant. However, the Muslims must recognise that our identity is ‘Muslim’ and we are part of a global Ummah. There is a political agenda headed by America to divide and destroy any semblance of unity based on Islam. America’s foreign policy is pro Israeli and anti Islam and anti Muslim. Muslims need to strive to ensure their deen is implemented and protected.

    May Allah (SWT) bless this Ummah guide us to the correct path. Ameen

  7. Azeema

    April 22, 2013 at 4:21 PM

    I am assuming that few of you are young guys who think the world of themselves and are ready to criticize anyone and everyone else. I am quoting this : “a person is a best judge of someone else and a best lawyer of oneself”. I am assuming none of you is as learned and at the level of sheikh/imam/ustad Norman ali khan? I am assuming none of you understand your religion as well as he does, yet you feel you have the right to criticize him? You feel he should have addressed ALL the issues (YOU feel passionately about) in one Khutba? I am assuming you know all about him, his many khutbas over the years on infinite topics? Therefore you must feel justified and self righteous in criticizing a knowledgable fellow Muslim? After all you are not contributing to the theory of Muslims fighting internally instead of contributing externally? This criticism was a waste of your time and energy, and instead of teaching someone like ustad Norman ali khan (and we know his contribution) I would love to know yours !

    • Gibran

      April 22, 2013 at 4:48 PM

      Assalamuaalikum wa rahmatullahi wa baraaktuh

      What are you talking about? I am young, yes, there is nothing wrong with being young. I love brother Nouman Ali Khan to death,, bi idhnillah he is the person who is alive on this earth that has benefited me the most. I read his tafsir and listen to a lot of his lectures and khutbahs.

      Calling out wrong is also a contribution, and should be done for the face of Allah aza wa jal. It’s not necessary for anyone to care about what others think. I am not supposed to fear the blame of the blamers.

      Since the Messenger of Allah sallahualayhiwasalam took advise, and Nouman Ali Khan is incomprehensibly inferior to the Messenger of Allah sallahualayhiwasalam, Nouman Ali Khan should also be willing to take advise.

      I’m hoping he reads this.

      In case you read what I think was my first comment, I really liked this speech of his and thought it was a good one.

      Just two bits of criticism:

      1) He missed the point when he was talking about people politicizing the issue. Yes, it probably does happen, but that isn’t the major problem right now. The problem is the inconsistency we see. How many imams and leaders, lambast President Obama for slaughtering children in Afghanistan and Pakistan? How many of them make a video every time our brothers in other parts have to come home and look at their little children blown to bits as a result of “collateral damage.”

      What is so special about this oppression of non-Muslims? How about the non-Muslims in gulf countries that are severely oppressed by Muslims. They have to face rape, being enslaved and other things BY MUSLIMS. Why is it that they aren’t being addressed? Is it because these non-Muslims matter more?

      Where are the videos every time there is a massacre in Burma? How about our brothers it Gitmo who haven’t done a thing? How about our Ethiopian brothers who have this weird cult imposed on them by the Ethiopian government?

      All of this is not a criticism of NAK in particular but of shuyookh and imams in general. My specific criticism about him in this speech, again, is that he kind of missed the point.

      2) He claimed qisas is the same for non-Muslims. He quoted a Quranic ayah, but a Quranic ayah is not enough. We have hadith as well. We get from the majority of scholars that a Muslim is not killed for a non-believer. Quran is not the only part of wahy. For example,we have most scholars saying that the father is not killed for the son. Blood money is taken instead. Why? Because Allah aza wa jal said “Obey Allah and His Messenger.” That means not only the book of Allah but the sunnah of his Messenger as well.

  8. Pingback: An Open Letter to Islamist Extremists, from the Other Muslims of the World

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