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Clarification and Notice | Sh Yasir Qadhi

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A few months ago, an Islamophobic website posted an audio-clip in my voice, in which, so they claimed, I justify attacking all Christians. Based on this, they began claiming that I am a ‘jihadist’ preaching ‘radical jihad’ to Muslims in America.

Due to the preposterousness of the claim, and the xenophobic nature of those who propagated it, I felt it best to not even dignify this audio clip with a response, as anyone who has read my articles, taken my classes, or seen my videos will know this is completely untrue. However, recently, a number of other figures, including some esteemed religious pastors, have begun reiterating these same claims and spreading this audio clip. This has resulted in me receiving many queries, hate mails, and even death threats. Therefore, I feel compelled to respond to this audio-clip in order to clear up this fabrication.

This audio clip is a shoddy cut-and-paste job from a lengthy theological series (around 15 hours of audio) I gave many years ago, discussing the reality of the Islamic concept of shirk (associating partners with Allah). The series had absolutely nothing to do with politics or jihad. Rather, some theological statements from that lecture have been taped together and made to look political. The audio recording as it stands is a complete distortion. Someone literally took sentences from different parts of that series and constructed a very menacing sounding paragraph in my voice. As such, that paragraph in the audio clip is a complete fabrication.

In one section of that theological series, I discussed some of the differences between a category of shirk called ‘major’ and another called ‘minor’. One of those differences involves the fact that the theory of an ideal Islamic government would not allow Muslims to openly practice idolatry, whereas other forms of shirk (viz., ‘minor’ shirk) would not be punishable by an Islamic State. (This would be similar to Moses prohibiting the Israelites to worship the Golden Calf). While the wording of that sentence could have been more precise, it is clear from the context of that sentence (which is not quoted in the audio clip) that I am discussing a theoretical Islamic state and attempting to clarify some of the differences between ‘major’ and ‘minor’ shirk (I also list five other differences).

In a different section of that series, I mention that believing that God has a Son, or worshipping Jesus, would be in contradiction to the Islamic concept of monotheism, and be classified as a type of shirk. This is a standard Islamic (and Jewish) doctrine.

In a third section of that series, I quote the Quran directly when it describes idolatry as being ‘filthy’(similar to the Old Testament describing it as an ‘abomination’).

What this audio clip has done is to cut-and-paste these three statements (and more) in one paragraph, and thus give an impression that since Christians practice ‘shirk’, they should not be allowed to practice Christianity, and must also be ‘filthy’. Of course, this shoddy cut-and-paste job flies in the face of Islamic teachings, and cannot be attributed to Islam or to me.

Never have I claimed that Christians need to be prevented from practicing Christianity, or that they are filthy. This is truly a preposterous claim, as even the most basic exposure to Islamic law would demonstrate that non-Muslims are allowed to worship according to their doctrines in an Islamic state. Therefore (and I have made this point many times in my lectures), if this is the case in an ideal and theoretical ‘Islamic state’, how can anyone claim that Muslims want to ban Christianity in a non-Islamic land?

In conclusion, my views on jihad can be heard in my lectures and read in my articles (a simple Google will show most of them). In addition, quite a few articles have been written about me and my work (in particular, I reference the New York Times Magazine cover article about me). My message has been consistent and clear: I am a Muslim theologian and teach (and preach) the theology of Islam, but I have never called for violence against any group or religion.

I have made mistakes in the past (and no doubt will continue to do so in the future); however, what this website, with its concocted audio-clip, is accusing me of is an all-out fabrication and sheer slander. It completely contradicts my talks, writings, public and private work, and indeed my own personal beliefs.

I hope this clarifies the misunderstandings surrounding this audio.

 

Yasir Qadhi

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.

90 Comments

90 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Ubaid Seth

    July 3, 2013 at 9:59 AM

    I’m sorry you’re going through this, Shaykh. This is pure deception and a reflection of their own morals and values. If someone has to resort to lies to discredit you, I take that as a good indication that you’re doing well. May Allah bless you and your family for the service to the Ummah and I hope this doesn’t discourage any of our youth from pursuing Islamic knowledge.

    • Avatar

      Liz Litts

      December 10, 2015 at 9:38 PM

      You rag heads aren’t fooling anyone. Just try to steal our propetery and you will see aloa snack bar real soon.

      • Avatar

        LoveYourNeighbor

        December 17, 2015 at 12:06 PM

        “Teach us to be patient and always to be kind.” Liz Litts, you need to keep praying that prayer, and perhaps seek some anger management counseling.
        Dr. Qadhi, I am so sorry that these hurtful allegations were made against you.

      • Avatar

        Old

        April 13, 2016 at 11:55 PM

        Liz Litts, do you read? You cannot have read Dr Yasir Qadhi’s explication.

      • Avatar

        Will

        September 14, 2016 at 11:19 PM

        Liz, the two greatest commandments -according to Jesus Christ- are too love your God and to love your neighbor. As an example of who your neighbor is, he told the Parable of the Good Samaritan, in which multiple men of the victims own nation pass him by to avoid being “unclean” and yet his “neighbor” turns out to be someone who is his mortal enemy. This man gave a very plausible explanation fo rwhat happened with the original clip that was being shared around, yet you choose to ignore it simply because his name for God is different from yours. Ontop of it all, you disgrace your God and your faith by making such statements as you do in your post (by the way, those can actually be considered death threats which, being transmitted over the internet, is a felony offense. Jail time, anyone?) Lastly, before you assume I’m a follower of Allah and write this entire statement off, I was born and raised a Lutheran, which is the religion responsible for most every religion of the protestant (non-Catholic) variety today, but am now an atheist, which means I don’t believe in any of your imaginary friends.

      • Avatar

        Lyñ Fallah

        September 20, 2016 at 8:46 AM

        I’m so sorry you feel this way.
        I am a Christian and have many Muslim friends, they are the kindest friends and have helped me through many difficulties during the past 35 years.
        Yes, there are some radical extremists but not all Muslims are extremists.
        You’re missing out on some wonderful friendships with having your hateful attitude.
        And it seems to me that you’re the one spreading hate, not most muslims.
        Most muslims just want to live in a free society and be free to practice their religion, just like Christians. They are not trying to take over the United States and kill all of us.
        If you lose your fear and actually talk and get to know music them, you’ll find that yes, while there are some that hate us, there are many more who just wants to live in peace. You’ll find that the same is true for American’s too!

    • Avatar

      sharon

      December 15, 2015 at 10:37 AM

      But your quran tells you it is ok to lie to further islamic ideology. So we infidels cannot trust anything that you say! It is islam that tells you to deceive the world! That is because you worship a false god and false prophet who are inspired by satan himself. Your ideology contains all of the characteristics of satan that we are warned about by God and his son Jesus Christ in the Holy Bible. Turn to the one true God who is filled with love, not hate that allah demands you spread.

      • Avatar

        Atif Siddiqui

        March 27, 2016 at 7:18 AM

        Why should anybody “lie” to spread one’s ideas ?? Do you think we are fly-by-night salesmen ?? We are charging you for spreading Islamic ideology ?? We would “spread” it to you and then run away with your money ?? By the way – there is only one God……so no question of a false God.

      • Avatar

        Cindy

        May 2, 2016 at 1:22 AM

        Exactly. It’s called Taqiyya.

      • Avatar

        Jack Keg

        September 14, 2016 at 9:08 PM

        Amen Sharon, Amen.

      • Avatar

        John Rogers

        September 19, 2016 at 11:34 AM

        Excellent rebuttal

    • Avatar

      Ken Jennings

      September 15, 2016 at 1:15 PM

      Your message of apology has been heard and understood by each person in the way that God , Himself would have each to percieve it. Enough said of your issue. My point being , that unless you have come to the United States of America to join us here in your search for a better way of life, then the preaching of your faith should be done back in your own homeland. This nation was founded by God fearing and loving men and women who sacrificed and strove to make a place where all could be equal. Our country I am sorry to say has faltered in it’s purpose by allowing the contamination of it’s belief system by many false doctrines being spread because we do believe in freedom for all. God Almighty and His Son Jesus , with the Holy Spirit must now rescue this land from the many satanic attacks being perpetrated in many names. I bear no personal malice toward you, but you have been led astray. There is only one true God , and one way to Heaven , Jesus Christ , King of Kings , Lord of Lords. Call on His Name and you shall be saved. You will begin to walk in the Light. Be blessed.

    • Avatar

      Royce

      September 17, 2016 at 8:11 PM

      Everything about Islam is detrimental to a free society. Freedom in itself is not part of Islam and Muslims are commanded to Lye to Non Muslims so who is to know if this Man is telling the truth or not. As Muslims you are sworn to convert, kill or enslave myself and all NON MUSLIMS. Want to be trusted? Renounce Islam for the abomination it is and come to the People of the Book. Come to the people whom believe in the one true GOD and not a false Idol. We await your arrival.

  2. Avatar

    Shabeeb

    July 3, 2013 at 11:48 AM

    I’ve undertaken many lectures and lessons from Sh. Yasir and it is very unfortunate that he is going through this. What’s pitiful is how can people who hear the audio conclude that this is what he’s preaching, the audio is clearly a cut and paste piece of junk. May Allah protect the Sheikh and make this situation easy.

  3. Avatar

    Fatima

    July 3, 2013 at 2:02 PM

    Assalamu alaikum Sh. Yasir,

    May Allah Ta’ala help you through this ordeal, Aameen.

    You should take legal action against slander with the help of MLF or other attorneys in your community in sha’ Allah.

    • Avatar

      Shonna

      September 20, 2016 at 9:07 PM

      That’s why you all have CAIR….right? CAIR, in itself is a terrorist organization. Your religion can’t coexist with any other. Why did you come to America?

  4. Abdul Wahab Saleem

    Abdul Wahab Saleem

    July 3, 2013 at 3:00 PM

    Over my years of being an avid follower of Sh. Yasir Qadhi and his thought, I have come across many who take him as a friend and a few who take him as a foe. I have never heard a more absurd allegation directed against Sh. Yasir than this. May Allah preserve and protect him!

  5. Avatar

    alynch4047

    July 3, 2013 at 3:41 PM

    It’s an irritation to have to respond to fabricators and liars but sometimes necessary. Your truthfulness stands in clear contradistinction to the lying efforts of these people. May God reward you for your patience, wassalaam, Abdulhaq

  6. Avatar

    Nida

    July 4, 2013 at 7:51 AM

    May Allah protect you and your family Shaykh. Its unfortunate that such garbage needs a response, but it does before it becomes too widespread. If you are getting death threats, I would suggest reporting them to the police and not ignoring them.

  7. Abez

    Abez

    July 7, 2013 at 10:44 AM

    Yasir Qadhi’s work speaks for itself, and the fact that someone has to fabricate something to make him look bad is proof of that.

    Ya Shaykh, May Allah reward you and increase you in blessings. May He preserve your “honor” in this world and raise you in ranks in Jannah, InshaAllah. :)

    • Avatar

      Imtiaz Rashid

      December 11, 2015 at 3:27 AM

      May Allah help all the scholars & Muslim Ummah in this difficult time & false propaganda of some groups for political gains….surely they will be defeated …Insha`Allah.

    • Avatar

      Everyone's Mama Rachel

      April 14, 2016 at 12:12 AM

      Sorry — the nutty CINO (Christians In Name Only) are dragging this fabrication around again in 2016.

      • Avatar

        Lyñ Fallah

        September 20, 2016 at 8:54 AM

        Amen. I will never understand the lies and hate of the people who call themselves loving Christians.
        May God forgive them.

  8. Avatar

    Nam

    July 13, 2013 at 3:29 PM

    SubhanaAllah. May Allah rectify your affairs, ameen

    I don’t think we realize the struggles our shuyoukh go through to teach us. May Allah have mercy on them and protect them and their families, ameen

  9. Avatar

    Muslims4Liberty

    November 10, 2013 at 8:28 PM

    not acknowledging their propaganda and rhetoric is exactly what they want. They want to spread their hate unchecked. That’s why we created Muslims 4 Liberty. A group devoted to challenging the haters on their own ground, at their events, in front of their fans. Academic challenging, asking for references, challenging knowledge levels. All done in a respectful ‘guerilla activism” style.

    The haters hate to be challenged, nice to see a mainstream islamic speaker finally bellying up to the bar.

    • Avatar

      DBW

      April 26, 2016 at 9:36 AM

      I am speaking as a Christian. And I am very sorry that Dr. Qadhi is having to deal with this xenophobic reaction and character assassination.

      The problem is to acknowledge the propaganda is also what haters want. It does not matter if you answer or not. They will try to use your words or your silence against you either way. To use an old Southern American phrase (and please forgive the use of a non-Halal metaphor): “Never get in a wrestling contest with a pig. You both get dirty and the pig likes it.”

      It’s one of those issues where no matter what you do, the options are not good. That is perhaps why in the Proverbs of Solomon you have two sayings, “Do not answer a fool according to his folly,” and “Answer a fool according to his folly.” Sometimes it is useful, sometimes it isn’t–but it is always a challenge.

      • Avatar

        Mimo

        May 11, 2016 at 11:11 PM

        Can someone post the original uncut version??

      • Avatar

        allan

        September 15, 2016 at 6:58 AM

        as a christian you should not infer other Christians are pigs.Neither should you call others Phobic. that is slanderous and also an
        indication of hatred and discrimination which is counterproductive to the statement you are conveying is it not?

      • Avatar

        Lyñ Fallah

        September 20, 2016 at 8:59 AM

        I agree with you. I am a Christian and have Muslim friends, beautiful hearts and smart minded individuals.
        Seems to me like more Christians than muslims are spreading the hate.
        I know fear has a lot to do with it but if they trust and believe in God, what do they have to fear?

  10. Avatar

    Swaleh

    November 10, 2013 at 8:29 PM

    May Allah protect our shuyoukh and grant them steadfastness so that they can continue to benefit us with their great work, Ameen

  11. Avatar

    rayz

    November 10, 2013 at 8:37 PM

    Assalamu alaikum Sh. Yasir,

    May Allah Azzawajal help you through this ordeal. Ameen

  12. Avatar

    Safa Anwar

    November 10, 2013 at 8:40 PM

    Sheikh yasir, your best attorney is Allah SWT. InshAllah you will be given justice. I hope this hate clears up against you inshAllah.

  13. Avatar

    Sheena

    November 10, 2013 at 9:23 PM

    Yasir Qadhi’s work has helped me growing my knowledge and I can tell that the fabricated claims are far away from his and Islam’s teaching.

    I pray that Allah make this ordeal easy for him and make him steadfast and protect his honor ameen

  14. Avatar

    Allama Iqbal (@iqbaliyat)

    November 11, 2013 at 12:27 AM

    If this is true then somebody is dedicating their time in doing this stuff to malign you. And for this matter they are ready to go to any extent to malign you. My advice is that you must take help from a professional lawyer who is trustworthy also. In fact I advice you to learn the Constitutional laws which are related to these events.
    This experience I am telling is based on Hollywood movies, believe me, there is a tinge of truth in such movies.
    Also if we look into the history of Islam, we can find such events. If we do not respond in a timely manner then it will be too late, History will repeat again.

  15. Avatar

    Nadia

    November 11, 2013 at 7:35 AM

    Alhumdulillah, Yasir Qadhi has helped me in many ways with his classes and lectures in guiding me to my Islamic faith. He is one of the most well-respected sheikhs out there and without a doubt what these Islamophobes are saying about him are truly disappointing and hurtful. Without him in this Ummah and his knowledge, I and other Muslims would be far away from where we stand now.

    May Allah SWT help you Sheikh Yasir Qadhi and protect you from these claims along with your family as well, ameen.

  16. Avatar

    Ummer Farooq (@faro0485)

    November 11, 2013 at 1:54 PM

    I think rather than just making a statement, you should go after the makers of this and with a video… ask them why they cut and pasted your speech.

  17. Avatar

    @stevestonesr

    November 11, 2013 at 4:56 PM

    I stand by my Brother, Yasir, and know him to be a person of peace who works to unite people of all faiths at those points where we share common values. There are differences between all peoples of the major Abrahamic faiths, but what binds us together is plenty enough to work together for the common good, and to the glory of the one true God.

  18. Avatar

    Halima

    November 12, 2013 at 5:06 AM

    May Allah protect you from the defamers and fabricators. Us Muslims should help by donating to fund legal costs for you and for any other of our brothers and sisters who go through this all the time.

  19. Avatar

    Habesha Muslimah

    November 12, 2013 at 11:09 AM

    The muslim Ummah need precious Muslim scholars like sheikh Dr. Yassir Qadhi. I’m sure that Allah (swt) has guided many young Muslims through him to go back to their deen and practice it and I’m proud to say that I’m one of them! May Allah continue to bless him and may he protect him from all evils and reward him with the greatest rewards.

  20. Avatar

    Amiyn al-Ansare

    June 19, 2014 at 12:30 AM

    On the topic of Islamaophobia, Dr. Yasir, do you think it is worthwhile to debate Robert Spencer and David Wood (both of them in particular). I honestly am dissatisfied with the reality that they debate Muslims who are only about 60% prepared to correct the misunderstandings that these two men spread about various controversies such as the satanic verses incident, which you explained adequetely, barik ALLHU feek. I also dislike how they quickly jump to conclusions about certain personalities in Islamic scholarship being widely accepted by the masses of Muslims, but the do not appear to recognize those who strive to adhere to orthodox and those who do not ascribe to strange notions of such personalities.

    In my humble opinion, you, barik ALLAHU feek, are likely the most prepared to debate these men in the manner which they public claim to seek:

    Without relying on the ‘Tu quoque’ , which David Wood says is Muslims using biblical references or realities in Christianity to say that “your religion has these problems too”, and without denying early historical references. Clearly, these men to not often understand that unreliability of the references they use, but often their opponents are not expert enough to clarify this reality. You’ll see exactly what I’m talking about here in Wood’s debate with Ali Atie:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GYyXGcZrMQc

  21. Avatar

    Thomas Maynard

    August 3, 2014 at 9:39 AM

    I guess the easiest way to refute the allegations in the video, is to post one where you say people of other religions are able to co exist in this country with out the fear of reprisals from another. Saying you didn’t say it……..is one thing. Saying you do not believe in what was said is another. It is well known that it is OK to lie to a non Muslim ……….so what was said here has to be taken with a grain of salt.

    • Avatar

      David

      December 9, 2015 at 8:06 PM

      Exactly. Believe nothing they say.

    • Avatar

      Mischele

      April 27, 2016 at 9:12 AM

      WELL SAID ; I BELIEVE HE MADE THIS SPEECH LONG AGO ; HE EVEN ADMITS”MAKING MISTAKES”… HE SAID ; NOW WANT TO RECANT IT !!!!!

  22. Avatar

    Samson Valnery

    August 3, 2014 at 5:52 PM

    there is so much hate towards muslims it has began to make me sick just like christians have the radicals the southern baptist there are the radicals in the muslim faith just because there are a few bad apples does not mean all are and the christians can not say they have not stained their hands with blood at one time either look at salem and the grail wars just to name a few extreme radicalism is not new and to those who truly believe that we can live and let live thank you sorry you have to deal with these issues you face i have several friends who are muslim though i may not be they are and they are very dear friends of which i care very much for wish you the best of luck and may Allah your god bless you for being tolerant when so many who claim to be are not

  23. Avatar

    Julia

    August 4, 2014 at 4:06 AM

    If they have misused what you said to concoct their own story, it is a vile thing. But the war on propaganda on ‘both sides’ is thriving. And I find it hard to believe islam is willing to coincide peacefully with other religions. islam does not appear to be a very peaceful religion, and it seems to have zero tolerance for other religions. One simply needs to look around in the world, to see what happens in islamic countries to people of other faiths. You could argue that there is a peaceful majority, but that doesn’t seem to have much impact. my conclusion is that islam is a threat to us Christians and the western countries should be much more agressive in dealing with religious issues. We are MUCH too tolerant when it comes to other religions and that hasn’t brought us much good, so far. I am a very tolerant person and my faith has taught me to love and respect others, to show grace and to forgive. But multiple encounters have proven to me islam is NOT that kind of religion. It wants to conquer, and erase all that is different. So, talk about peacefully living together, seems to be an utopia. This will probably be proven in the reactions that may be given to my little contribution. I WISH we could live peacefully together, but both your book AND mine, tell a different story.

    • Avatar

      Dave

      December 11, 2015 at 7:56 PM

      I bought a copy of Reliance of the Traveller, which is the classic manual of Islamic sacred law, better known as Sharia Law. It continues to help me see who and what islam really is..

    • Avatar

      Mansoor

      December 12, 2015 at 7:06 AM

      You cannot recite Adhan (call for Muslim prayer) in public in Britain however there is no bar and you can hear church bells ringing on Sunday mornings all over my country i.e. Pakistan. Still Islam is blamed to be a threat to Christianity. You have to read the chapter on Mary in Quran to know how honorable Mary and Jesus are to Muslims.

    • Avatar

      John Rogers

      September 19, 2016 at 11:42 AM

      I am in total agreement with Julia.

  24. Avatar

    Wayne

    August 4, 2014 at 1:17 PM

    Interesting rhetoric.

    Your words defended those Muslims who teach to kill Christians. So, I ask, which offends you more? The hideous teachers of murder, or that your words were used against you?

    As a Christian, I am offended when someone says I am a polytheist. I am not, nor have I ever been a polytheist. So, had someone twisted what I have taught to imply I was a polytheist, I would be more offended by the polytheism than I would be offended by their use of my words.

    Wayne
    Luvsiesous.com

  25. Pingback: KOMMONSENTSJANE – PROFESSOR SPEWS HATE | kommonsentsjane

  26. Avatar

    Tabea

    August 20, 2015 at 3:26 PM

    Assalamu alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu, dear brother Yasir,
    I’d recommend you to publish the original audio tapes. That’s the best way to prevent any misunderstandings and to completely clarify the video.

    May Allah bless you and your family

  27. Avatar

    David Dayne

    October 21, 2015 at 12:17 AM

    What is your position on the genocide of Christians throughout the world at the hand of extremists or in the name of Ala or Muhammad?

  28. Avatar

    Keith Henderson

    October 21, 2015 at 11:59 PM

    We had the same type of problems when the Prophet Joseph Smith Jr. Restored the Church in 1830 …he received the Brass Plates of Laban & the Gold plates from the ancient American prophet Moroni. …which he translated from the modified Egyptian tongue into English. .hence we have the Book of Mormon for all of God’s childern. …but he was hunted and tares & feathered by the mobs ..eventually the Prophet Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum Sealed there testimony in blood at the hands of mobs in Illinois.
    So yes individuals can take your words and twist them for evil designs….because of this type of behavior it wasn’t until Ronald Reagan was president of the USA that the law that was on the books in the state of Missouri was put away or removed since it was put into effect in the 1830’s …to kill all the Mormons in that state ..

  29. Avatar

    Teressa

    October 22, 2015 at 12:58 AM

    thanks for clarifying. I dont know ️you, but that someone would do that to you is just wrong. Keep teaching, and be blessed.

  30. Avatar

    Earl

    October 22, 2015 at 6:29 PM

    I carry bacon bites in my truck so I can bacon coat my money as I use it, I love going to Muslim stores and doing it,

    please buy products from Muslim stores with bacon coated money, good day.

  31. Avatar

    Brad

    October 22, 2015 at 8:51 PM

    Clarification and notice to you. We know what your “holy book” commands you to do to Christians and Jews and how to treat them. People like myself listen to what Muslims like you say to each other, not what you say to the useful idiots here in America that think the way to have peace is to appease your cultish Sharia Law.. So this is fair warning. If you really think that Muslims are entitled to “take the property of Jews and Christians”, I live in Tampa Florida. I invite you to lead by example and try to take my property or my life. Another fair warning, you’re not going to be fighting an unarmed women or child. Bring it you [deleted expletives].

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

  32. Avatar

    Mohammed Khan

    December 5, 2015 at 3:25 AM

    Dr. Yasir Qadhi,

    May Allah protect you. I have found all your writings tolerant of all religions which is the case in Islam. Quran says “there is no compulsion in religion”.

  33. Avatar

    Shannon Ealy

    December 6, 2015 at 10:37 PM

    I don’t believe you, nor do I trust any Muslim. I have seen first hand the treachery and debauchery that goes with your faith. Pedophilic men and beaten obedient women. If you dislike what is said in my country, go back to your own, or stay and face judgement by me who are not afraid to bring violence upon you and your kind.
    I believe it was stated earlier that if you and other Muslims wish to live peacefully in our country you should show how much you dispise what is being said about you and what is happening with the “radical Muslims “. Stand up against them! Protest against them! I have yet to see one Muslim protest the acts of ISIS or ISIL. Pretty soon your neck will be against the knife and we won’t ask you to accept Jesus as your savior. Do the right thing and opinions could change.

  34. Avatar

    Christian

    December 10, 2015 at 11:56 AM

    To each and every muslim here .. search your hearts and minds on this .. which of you entertains Christian friends or has, at the very least, donated time, money, or effort, towards a single Christian cause in need of help .. ever? Why do you not even support your own? Where is your support? While you fight amongst yourselves over how to pray, who to believe, what parts of the quran you choose to believe and others to shelve, for now .. when will your religion ever be attractive towards everyone’s benefit .. not just your own .. you’ve got more than a little growing up to do.

    • Avatar

      Aly Balagamwala

      December 14, 2015 at 5:15 AM

      Dear Christian

      I not only have entertained many Christian friends both in US and Pakistan but I have also donated to causes which were led by Christian organizations. I have done the same for Hindu, Jain, Sikh, Buddhist, Agnostic and Atheist friends as well. I have no qualms for supporting humanitarian causes regardless of which faith is spearheading the effort.

      Best Regards
      Aly

      *Comment above is posted in a personal capacity and may not reflect the official views of MuslimMatters or its staff*

  35. Avatar

    Tanveer Chowdhury

    December 10, 2015 at 4:56 PM

    Dear Shaykh Yasir- I stand with you InshaAllah. May Allah SubhanAllahu Ta’la help you through this trial, bestow his Rahma’ on you and on your family and give you the patience and the courage to overcome this. Ameen.

    • Avatar

      Naima

      December 23, 2015 at 3:41 AM

      Dear sheik Yassir,
      Remember what our prophet and the early Muslims have gone through. It is a test of Allah. In today’s time even if you are innocent such as in your case they will still find fault in you because they see Islam the problem and the more you practise Islam the more you are seen as a big threat. But remember the final judge is Allah. Keep doing what you are doing. Great sheik you are indeed and an inspiration for many. May Allah protect you from the evil of today and the judgement day , a meen.

  36. Avatar

    Amber

    December 10, 2015 at 7:44 PM

    May Allah swt protect you Shaykh Yasir, the truth will eventually prevail.Maa sha Allah,You have been a great mentor and a teacher.I have heard you speak nothing against Islam nor have you in your speeches encouraged Jihad.Our prayers are always with you.May Allah swt bring you out of this darkness with even more brilliance that you shine the whole world with your genuine knowledge of Islam,Ameen.
    For those who claim this land is theirs, to them neither does it belongs to them nor to us but the whole universe belongs to Allah swt.The one God and creator of the universe and if someone had any right to live on his land, then it is only justified that it be his worshippers and his obdient slaves.
    My religion,Islam for sure promotes peace and harmony.
    What about yours,hatred and racism?

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    Frank Driver

    December 11, 2015 at 1:06 AM

    You claim in a non Islamic state that Christians would be allowed to practice their faith! I have a problem with a religion, being a form of Government! The term govern has meaning, which conflicts with religion! Islam is not any form of Justice and or free will! To educate means to learn both or all sides, freedom means to use that knowledge! Knowledge that men and women are equals, that religion does not make a person right! Nor does it make a person wrong! Here are things about Islam I dislike, it is wrong to lie period, character is character! Having different values with different people is wrong! I would like you to stand up against problems within this religion that are wrong! I would like for you to stop trying to justify wrongs within this religion! People are not perfect neither are all religions, especially Islam !

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    Mohamed Sulub

    December 11, 2015 at 6:13 AM

    Asalmau Aleikum Sheikh Yasir,

    May Allah’s peace, mercy, protection and blessings be upon you during this difficult time. All my prayers be with you in shaa Allah.

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    Clayton

    December 11, 2015 at 10:04 AM

    As an American Christian, I wish to apologize. I am sorry for the way my “brothers” have treated you. We have sinned. We claim to follow Jesus, but yet we ignore his commands to love all people when we would rather fear and hate. I wish I could change their hearts. I am sorry.

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    Corporal Clegg

    December 11, 2015 at 11:55 AM

    This is a lie. The only way an “infidel” can practice his/her religion in an islamic state is as a dhimi. The dhimi has no rights compared to a muslim. A muslim can graze his goats in the dhimi’s field and destroy his crops and the dhimi cannot question this because he is below the muslim and has no rights. If the “infidel” is allowed to practice their religion in islamic states why have islamic states forbid jews from enterning? As to preaching violence against others, the teaching and preaching of islam in and of itself is a preaching of violence against the “non-believers”. Smite them (the non-believers) at their necks. I guess in arabic language “smite” has a non violent meaning.

  41. Avatar

    blabla

    December 11, 2015 at 1:59 PM

    Taqyyia at its best

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    Joy

    December 11, 2015 at 5:22 PM

    Dear sir,
    As a Christian, I would like to apologize for all the hateful comments which have been made previous and post to mine. I don’t agree with your statements, on the supposedly falsified post or this one. However, if what you say is true and that video was a fake, I’m truly sorry. We are taught in the Bible that lying is a sin and unacceptable. We are also taught to love our neighbors, enemies, those who hate us and curse us; because when we speak or act we are not just speaking or acting for ourselves, we are representing God.
    Our holy book tells us to “Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16) It also states “Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.” (1 Peter 2:12)
    That is why it is heartbreaking for me to read the unbelievable comments made by some of the people on this post who claim to be Christians but aren’t exhibiting Christ’s love or conduct. It is not for us to judge the world, but to love it.
    Again, I am sorry for the injustice done to you, and (I mean in no way to offend you when I say) I pray that God will bless you, keep you, and make His face to shine upon you, that you would know Him and be saved.
    To all Christians reading this post: PLEASE think before you speak, act, comment, and threaten: “Is this something Jesus would say?”, “Will this be edifying?”, and “Will this glorify God?”

  43. Avatar

    Nancy Savignac

    December 11, 2015 at 10:38 PM

    I am a Christian. I am called by Christ to love everyone and that includes Muslims, even the kind who don’t like me much. I think most Muslims are loving caring people. We must all pray. Nancy

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    Carlos

    December 12, 2015 at 12:10 AM

    I personally have nothing against individuals of any religious affiliation that understand the individuals rights of life And freedom , and I understand that in every culture nation and religion there is things that sometimes make no sense to others but when it comes to the Islamic idiology , culture and religious believes in general is really hard for me to understand how overall in general in the Islamic culture there is little or cero tolerance toward diversity specially in nations where Islam is the dominant factor but these people expect others to be tolerant toward them , most non Islamic nations in the world are tolerant to have Mosques in their territory’s but it’s impossible to have a church or a sinagogue in some Islamic nstions

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    Carol

    December 12, 2015 at 11:19 AM

    I think it’s sad that thinking that God made all these races and has allowed many religions to exist today, to give some muslims the right to think they can force other’s to submit to a god of war. To think that the arabic language is the only language recognized by god is insane. Please let other’s live how ever they choose…in the end they will give account.if that’s to hard for you then move out of the USA because inciting terror is not welcomed.

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    B Wilson

    December 12, 2015 at 11:39 PM

    From a follower of Jesus to a follower of Allah – peace be to you.

    I am sorry that you have suffered this slander and the associated persecution. It revolts me.

    I will pray for you, and of your charity, pray for me.

    In peace and mutual respect,

    – A Christian

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    Bowie

    December 13, 2015 at 4:06 PM

    Well I certainly hope you don’t think you can just take properties from Christians and Jews in the democratic world – unless you would want to spend some time in a penitentiary! Thou shalt not steal.

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    Antonio Garcia

    December 15, 2015 at 10:42 AM

    The Koran encourages Muslins to kill Christians and Jews and lie about it if it suits them (taqiyya).that is the problem

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    Patrick

    December 18, 2015 at 12:07 AM

    #Taqiyya!
    “This is truly a preposterous claim, as even the most basic exposure to Islamic law would demonstrate that non-Muslims are allowed to worship according to their doctrines in an Islamic state.”
    REALLY? Show my a Christian Church in Saudi Arabia? Lmao

  50. Avatar

    R

    December 23, 2015 at 6:37 AM

    Taqiyya……….

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    Brian

    April 15, 2016 at 8:53 AM

    I appreciate your explanation. I came across the recording and it was very disturbing, especially the part describing how Muslims can take lives and property of infidels. But, in light of the violence propagated by followers of Islam onto the world over the past few years, it is hard to ignore such recordings. I believe it is time that mainstream Islam stand up and denounce the actions of radical Jihadists. Some Moslems have done that individually, but the recognizable organizations (CAIR, MSA, etc…) have taken steps to impose the responsibilities to non-muslims to conform to sharia, even going as far as lobbying for laws t make it illegal to be critical of Islamic practices.

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      Daniel

      May 1, 2016 at 3:43 AM

      Yes, perhaps he can help clear this up by clearly stating when and under which circumstances Muslims are allowed or not allowed to take the lives and property of Jews and Christians. Perhaps he can comment on how Muslims all over the world are killing infidels and taking their property (in particular, ISIS, of course). I would be very interested in hearing his comments on this.

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    Inshirah

    May 3, 2016 at 4:08 PM

    I ask Allahswt to Protect you and the Loved Ones…Always, to accept your Service and Sacrifice and to Bless you with the Highest Rewards…Aameen!

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    Rick Halpern

    June 22, 2016 at 10:08 AM

    It’s obvious that your correction did not include how you want to treat Jews.
    All Islamic attempts to wage war on Jews & Israel will ultimately fail.
    Islam’s major contribution to the modern world is terror. Not much of a religion of peace.

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    Syed Kamal

    July 7, 2016 at 10:02 AM

    Professor you are a liar, pure and simple. Now that people are aware of your philosophy and the environment has changed you are changing your tune. The medieval ideas you expressed are fully endorsed by the Qaran your holybook. Your explanation is just a turn to avoid consequences of your true beliefs.

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    Stacie L Moore

    August 9, 2016 at 11:30 AM

    All of the world’s major religions have one core message… “Do unto others as you would have it done unto yourself”. This is also known as the Golden Rule, you reap what you sow, etc. Anything that goes against this spiritual law will wreak destruction upon itself… Could this be why the Middle East is in such turmoil? Ask yourself, dear professor, is this stuff you’re teaching to other human beings going against this universal law? If so, then you are teaching destruction… which is evil. If not, then you have no need to defend yourself.

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    Eric Taylor

    August 11, 2016 at 10:41 PM

    Centuries of existence, still Tribal Law ensues. A quick definition from the Cambridge Dictionary – TRIBALISM: a very strong feeling of loyalty to a political or social group, so that you support them whatever they do! Carry on!

  57. Avatar

    Imran

    September 14, 2016 at 6:40 PM

    You said it was from a speech you did 15years ago does that mean you think about cheistian like that at that time and that was your thoughts?

  58. Avatar

    Gary

    September 15, 2016 at 7:57 AM

    BS, How do you feel of what happened to the Armenians, Coptics and Greeks? Renounce those attrocities on video, and I may believe you. But your religion has a 2000 year history of genocide.

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    John Smegly

    September 15, 2016 at 8:34 AM

    I can accept much of your statement except this : “This is truly a preposterous claim, as even the most basic exposure to Islamic law would demonstrate that non-Muslims are allowed to worship according to their doctrines in an Islamic state.” Christians are NOT allowed to worship “according to their doctrines” in an Islamic state. In every Muslim country Christians live a dhimmmi and must hide their faith. Historically, they’ve even been forced to wear yellow badges (like the Nazis did to the Jews) and pay punitive taxes. In many countries, not only are they not allowed to openly practice their faith, they are specifically targeted FOR their faith and blood-libel is spread about them to encourage their murder. An in still more countries – the Islamic State would be one – even being identified as Christian makes them a target for death. In pretty much every Muslim country, the accusation of “blasphemy against Mohammed” is thrown against Christians regularly with the purpose of persecuting them and taking their stuff. So, this portion of your statement is clearly taqiyya. There are also many hadith in which the principles that you lay out in the doctored video are clearly stated – that Christians are considered “accursed” by Allah and their wives, children, and property are forfeit. In one particular hadith Mohammed basically says “See that Infidel’s house – he is cursed by Allah and his stuff belongs to you – take it!” So, claiming this is not Islamic doctrine is also taqiyya whether its a belief you hold or not.

  60. Avatar

    Strong Faith Christian

    September 17, 2016 at 10:31 AM

    Is it not, written in your Quran, telling you it is ok to lie and deceive Christians? And you now want us to believe this B.S you are trying to push out your mouth. As the name implies,so does the standard of being. You parade your religion as peaceful, and it is not by the admission of your Quran. doesn’t matter if you are radical or not, your Quran tells you to kill,rape,enslave in the name of Allah. Christians serve a Living God.He commands us not to lie,steal,rape or murder. The Islamic Muslim faith, cannot say that, without lying.

  61. Avatar

    Terry

    September 20, 2016 at 8:12 AM

    The problem, as I see it, lies squarely with the Muslim faith. We read, and hear, daily the words of hate towards others in the Islamic holy text. Yes it is written and therefore cannot be denied by any one who follows the Islamic faith. In this country Americans see and hear many Muslim holy leaders speak of hatred towards others. Mainly hate towards westerners and towards Isreal. I have heard lessons being taught to school children to kill the Jews. We also see and hear on a daily basis of Christian’s being kidnapped, tortured, and killed by Muslims. What I have not seen are Christains bombing or beheading Muslims. Yes, I have seen footage of many Muslims celebrating the 9/11 attacks even in this country. I will openly admit that we have our own nut cases such as Timothy McVay and the Westbourgh Baptist. The main difference is that our own nut cases are few where we hardly ever experience any trouble from those few and when we do, we see the vast majority publicly denounce these freaks. With the Islamic faith, on the other hand bombings, killings, and other criminal acts occur on a daily basis. I will also add that we vary rarely see vast majority of Muslims denouncing these terrorist acts. I would be ashamed if I were a Muslim in the fact that when a bombing occurs people automaticly think blame Muslim and 9 out of 10 times are correct in their assumptions. To say the problem is not a problem with Islam is foolish. Especially when these Islamic problems have been present through out the centuries.
    Call me a racist if it makes you feel better, however my thoughts of Muslims being savages comes directly from the ideals and actions I have seen concerning the Islamic faith. Maybe a Muslim can explain the treatment given to women treating them worse than animals in many Muslim countries. Family I have living in Europe have told me of the many savage actions of Muslim refugees in Europe and say this is not of a few but of the majority. What I have seen of the Muslim behavior in this country so far makes me believe that my government is not considering the safety of the civilians.

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The Unexpected Blessings of Being Alone

Juli Herman

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My seven-year old son sat on the ground, digging a hole. Around him, other children ran, cried, and laughed at the playground.

“He’s such a strange kid,” my oldest daughter remarked. “Who goes to the playground and digs holes in the ground?”

In an instant, scenes of my ten-year-old self flashed through my mind. In them I ducked, hiding from invisible enemies in a forest of tapioca plants. Flattening my back against the spindly trunks, I flicked my wrist, sending a paper shuriken flying towards my pursuers. I was in my own world, alone.

It feels as if I have always been alone. I was the only child from one set of parents. I was alone when they divorced. I was alone when one stepmother left and another came in. I was alone with my diary, tears, and books whenever I needed to escape from the negative realities of my childhood.

Today, I am a lone niqab-wearing Malay in the mish-mash of a predominantly Desi and Arab Muslim community. My aloneness has only been compounded by the choices I’ve made that have gone against social norms- like niqab and the decision to marry young and have two babies during my junior and senior years of undergrad.

When I decided to homeschool my children, I was no longer fazed by any naysayers. I had gotten so used to being alone that it became almost second nature to me. My cultural, religious, and parenting choices no longer hung on the approval of social norms.

Believe it Or Not, We Are All Alone

In all of this, I realize that I am not alone in being alone. We all are alone, even in an ocean of people. No matter who you are, or how many people are around you, you are alone in that you are answerable to the choices you make.

The people around you may suggest or pressure you into specific choices, but you alone make the ultimate choice and bear the ultimate consequence of what those choices are. Everything from what you wear, who you trust, and how you plan your wedding is a result of your own choice. We are alone in society, and in the sight of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) as well.

The aloneness is obvious when we do acts of worship that are individual, such as fasting, giving zakah, and praying. But we’re also alone in Hajj, even when surrounded by a million other Muslims. We are alone in that we have to consciously make the choice and intention to worship. We are alone in making sure we do Hajj in its true spirit.

We alone are accountable to Allah, and on the Day of Judgment, no one will carry the burden of sin of another.

مَّنِ اهْتَدَىٰ فَإِنَّمَا يَهْتَدِي لِنَفْسِهِ ۖ وَمَن ضَلَّ فَإِنَّمَا يَضِلُّ عَلَيْهَا ۚ وَلَا تَزِرُ وَازِرَةٌ وِزْرَ أُخْرَىٰ ۗ وَمَا كُنَّا مُعَذِّبِينَ حَتَّىٰ نَبْعَثَ رَسُولًا

“Whoever accepts guidance does so for his own good; whoever strays does so at his own peril. No soul will bear another’s burden, nor do We punish until We have sent a messenger.” Surah Al Israa 17:15

On the day you stand before Allah you won’t have anyone by your side. On that day it will be every man for himself, no matter how close you were in the previous life. It will just be you and Allah.

Even Shaytaan will leave you to the consequences of your decisions.

وَقَالَ الشَّيْطَانُ لَمَّا قُضِيَ الْأَمْرُ إِنَّ اللَّهَ وَعَدَكُمْ وَعْدَ الْحَقِّ وَوَعَدتُّكُمْ فَأَخْلَفْتُكُمْ ۖ وَمَا كَانَ لِيَ عَلَيْكُم مِّن سُلْطَانٍ إِلَّا أَن دَعَوْتُكُمْ فَاسْتَجَبْتُمْ لِي ۖ فَلَا تَلُومُونِي وَلُومُوا أَنفُسَكُم ۖ مَّا أَنَا بِمُصْرِخِكُمْ وَمَا أَنتُم بِمُصْرِخِيَّ ۖ إِنِّي كَفَرْتُ بِمَا أَشْرَكْتُمُونِ مِن قَبْلُ ۗ إِنَّ الظَّالِمِينَ لَهُمْ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ

“When everything has been decided, Satan will say, ‘God gave you a true promise. I too made promises but they were false ones: I had no power over you except to call you, and you responded to my call, so do not blame me; blame yourselves. I cannot help you, nor can you help me. I reject the way you associated me with God before.’ A bitter torment awaits such wrongdoers” Surah Ibrahim 14:22

But, Isn’t Being Alone Bad?

The connotation that comes with the word ‘alone’ relegates it to something negative. You’re a loser if you sit in the cafeteria alone. Parents worry when they have a shy and reserved child. Teachers tend to overlook the quiet ones, and some even complain that they can’t assess the students if they don’t speak up.

It is little wonder that the concept of being alone has a negative connotation. Being alone is not the human default, for Adam 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) was alone, yet Allah created Hawwa 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) as a companion for him. According to some scholars, the word Insaan which is translated as human or mankind or man comes from the root letters that means ‘to want company’. We’re naturally inclined to want company.

You might think, “What about the social aspects of Islam? Being alone is like being a hermit!” That’s true, but in Islam, there is a balance between solitary and communal acts of worship. For example, some prayers are done communally like Friday, Eid, and funeral prayers. However, extra prayers like tahajjud, istikharah, and nawaafil are best done individually.

There is a place and time for being alone, and a time for being with others. Islam teaches us this balance, and with that, it teaches us that being alone is also praiseworthy, and shouldn’t be viewed as something negative. There is virtue in alone-ness just as there is virtue in being with others.

Being Alone Has Its Own Perks

It is through being alone that we can be astute observers and connect the outside world to our inner selves. It is also through allowing aloneness to be part of our daily regimen that we can step back, introspect and develop a strong sense of self-based on a direct relationship with Allah.

Taking the time to reflect on worship and the words of Allah gives us the opportunity to meaningfully think about it. It is essential that a person gets used to being alone with their thoughts in order to experience this enriching intellectual, emotional and spiritual experience. The goal is to use our thoughts as the fuel to gain closeness to Allah through reflection and self-introspection.

Training ourselves to embrace being alone can also train us to be honest with ourselves, discover who we truly are, and work towards improving ourselves for Allah’s sake. Sitting with ourselves and honestly scrutinizing the self in order to see strengths, weaknesses, and areas for improvement is essential for character development. And character development is essential to reach the level of Ihsaan.

When we look into who we want to be, we are bound to make some decisions that might raise eyebrows and wag tongues. Being okay with being alone makes this somewhat easier. We should not be afraid to stand out and be the only one wearing praying or wearing hijab, knowing that it is something Allah will be pleased with. We should not be afraid to stand up for what we believe in even if it makes us unpopular. Getting used to being alone can give us the confidence to make these decisions.

Being alone can strengthen us internally, but not without pain. Emory University neuroscientist Gregory Berns found that people who dissent from group wisdom show heightened activation in the amygdala, a small organ in the brain associated with the sting of social rejection. Berns calls this the “pain of independence.”

All our prophets experienced this ‘pain of independence’ in their mission. Instances of different prophets being rejected by their own people are generously scattered in the Quran for us to read and reflect upon. One lesson we can extract from these is that being alone takes courage, faith, conviction, and confidence.

 

We Come Alone, Leave Alone, Meet Allah Alone

The circumstances that left me alone in the different stages of my life were not random. I always wanted an older brother or someone else to be there to rescue me from the solitude. But the solitude came with a blessing. Being alone gave me the time and space in which to wonder, think, and eventually understand myself and the people around me. I learned reflection as a skill and independent decision-making as s strength. I don’t mind being alone in my niqab, my Islam, or my choices. I’ve had plenty of practice after all.

Open grave

You are born alone and you took your first breath alone. You will die alone, even if you are surrounded by your loved ones. When you are lowered into the grave, you will be alone. Accepting this can help you make use of your moments of solitude rather than fear them. Having the courage to be alone builds confidence, strengthens conviction, and propels us to do what is right and pleasing to Allah regardless of human approval.

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Why Israel Should Be ‘Singled Out’ For Its Human Rights Record

Unlike other countries, ordinary citizens are complicit in the perpetual crimes committed against defenseless Palestinians.

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israel, occupied Palestine

Why is everyone so obsessed with Israel’s human rights abuses? From Saudi Arabia, to Syria, to North Korea to Iran. All these nations are involved in flagrant violations of human right, so why all the focus on Israel – ‘the only democracy in the Middle East’? Clearly, if you ignore these other violations and only focus on Israel, you must be anti-Semitic. What else could be your motivations for this double standard?

This is one of the most common contentions raised when Israel is criticized for its human rights record. I personally don’t believe in entertaining this question – it shouldn’t matter why an activist is choosing to focus on one conflict and not others. What matters are the facts being raised; putting into question the motives behind criticizing Israel is a common tactic to detract from the topic at hand. The conversation soon turns into some circular argument about anti-Semitism and the plight of the Palestinian people is lost. More importantly, this charge of having double standards is often disingenuous. For example, Representative Ihan Omar has been repeatedly accused of this recently and her motives have been called ‘suspicious’ – despite her vocal criticism of other countries, especially Saudi Arabia.

However, this point is so frequently brought up, I think that perhaps its time activists and critics simply own up to it. Yes – Israel should be singled out, for some very good reasons. These reasons relate to there being a number of unique privileges that the country enjoys; these allow it to get away with much of the abuses it commits. Human right activists thus must be extra vocal when comes to Israel as they have to overcome the unparalleled level of support for the country, particularly in the US and Canada. The following points summarize why Israel should in fact be singled out:

1) Ideological support from ordinary citizens

When Iran and North Korea commit human right abuses, we don’t have to worry about everyone from journalists to clerics to average students on campuses coming out and defending those countries. When most nations commit atrocities, our journalists and politicians call them out, sanctions are imposed, they are taking them to the International Court of Justice, etc. There are instruments in place to take care of other ‘rogue’ nations – without the need for intervention from the common man.

Israel, however, is unique in that it has traditionally enjoyed widespread ideological support, primarily from the Jewish community and Evangelical Christians, in the West. This support is a result of the historical circumstances and pseudo-religious ideology that drove the creation of the state in 1948. The successful spread of this nationalistic dogma for the last century means Israel can count on ordinary citizens from Western countries to comes to its defense. This support can come in the form of foreign enlistment to its military, students conducting campus activism, politicians shielding it from criticisms and journalists voluntarily writing in its support and spreading state propaganda.

This ideological and nationalistic attachment to the country is the prime reason why it is so incredibly difficult to have any kind of sane conversation about Israel in the public sphere – criticism is quickly seen as an attack on Jewish identity and interpreted as an ‘existential threat’ to the nation by its supporters. Any attempts to take Israel to account through standard means are thwarted because of the political backlash feared from the country’s supporters in the West.

2) Unconditional political support of a world superpower

The US is Israel’s most important and closest ally in the Middle-East. No matter what war crimes Israel commits, it can count on America to have its back. This support means the US will use its veto power to support Israel against actions of the UN Security Council, it will use its diplomatic influence to shield any punitive actions from other nations and it will use its military might to intervene if need be. The backing of the US is one of the main reasons why the Israeli occupation and expansion of the colonial settlement enterprise continues to this day without any repercussions.

While US support might be especially staunch for Israel, this factor is certainly not unique to the country. Any country which has this privilege, e.g. Saudi Arabia, should be under far great scrutiny for its human rights violations than others.

3)  Military aid and complicity of tax-payers

US tax-payers are directly paying for Israel to carry out its occupation of the Palestinian people.

Israel is the largest recipient of US-military aid – it receives an astonishing $3 billion dollars every year. This aid, according to a US congressional report, “has helped transform Israel’s armed forces into one of the most technologically sophisticated militaries in the world.”

Unlike other countries, ordinary citizens are complicit in the perpetual crimes committed against defenseless Palestinians. Activists and citizens thus have a greater responsibility to speak out against Israel as their government is paying the country to carry out its atrocities. Not only is this aid morally reprehensible, but it is also illegal under United States Leahy Laws.

4) The Israeli lobby

The Israeli lobby is one of the most powerful groups in Washington and is the primary force for ensuring continued US political support for the nation. It consists of an assortment of formal lobby groups (AIPAC, Christians United for Israel), think-thanks (Washington Institute for Near East Policy), political action committee or PACs, not-for-profit organizations (B’nai B’irth, American Jewish Congress, Stand for Israel) and media watchdogs (CAMERA, Honest Reporting). These organizations together exercise an incredible amount of political influence. They ensure that any criticism of Israel is either stifled or there are serious consequences for those who speak up. In 2018 alone, pro-Israel donors spent $22 million on lobbying for the country – far greater than any other nation. Pro-Israel lobbies similarly influence politics in other places such as the UK, Canada, and Europe.

5) One of the longest-running occupation in human history

This point really should be the first one on this list – and it is the only one that should matter. However, because of the unique privileges that Israel enjoys, it is hard to get to the crux of what it is actually doing. Israel, with U.S. support, has militarily occupied the Palestinian territories (West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem) since 1967. The belligerent occupation, over 50 years old, is one of the longest, bloodiest and brutal in human history.

Israel continues to steal land and build settler colonies the West Bank – in flagrant violation of international law. It has implemented a system of apartheid in these territories which is reminiscent of the racist regime of South Africa. The Gaza strip has been under an insufferable siege which has made the living conditions deplorable; it has been referred to the world’s largest ‘open-air prison’. In addition to this institutional oppression, crimes committed against Palestinians include: routinely killing civilian protesters, including teenagers and medics, torture of Palestinians and severe restrictions on the everyday movement of Palestinians.

The brutality, consistency and the duration for which Israel has oppressed Palestinians is alone enough reason for it being ‘singled out’. No other nation comes close to its record. However, for the reasons mentioned above, Israel’s propaganda machine has effectively painted itself as just another ‘liberal democracy’ in the eyes of the general public. Any attempt to bring to light these atrocities are met with ‘suspicion’ about the ‘real’ motives of the critics. Given the points mentioned here, it should be evident that the level of support for Israeli aggression is uniquely disproportionate – it is thus fitting that criticism of the country is equally vocal and unparalleled as well.

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This Article Could be Zakat-Eligible

Who Accounts For This Pillar of Islam

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Co-written by Shaykh Osman Umarji

As writers on MuslimMatters, it came as a surprise when the website we write on marked itself zakat-eligible on its fundraiser for operations in Ramadan. This website has previously highlighted the misuse and abuse of zakat for vague and dodgy reasons, including instances of outright fraud by nonprofit corporations.  We have lamented the seemingly inexorable march from zakat being for living human beings in need to financial play-doh for nonprofit corporate boards.

Estimated global zakat is somewhere between $200 billion to $1 trillion.  Eliminating global poverty is estimated at $187 billion– not just for Muslims, but everyone.  There continue to be strong interests in favor of more putty-like zakat to benefit the interests of the organizations that are not focused on reducing poverty. Thus, in many ways, a sizeable chunk of zakat benefits the affluent rather than the needy. Zakat, rather than being a credit to the Muslim community, starts to look more like an indictment of it.

No, it’s not ikhtilaf

The recent article on this website, Dr. Usama Al-Azmi seemed somewhat oblivious to the cavalier way the nonprofit corporate sector in the United States treats Zakat.  The article did not do justice to legitimate concerns about zakat distribution by dismissing the issue as one of “ikhtilaf,” or a reasonable difference of opinion, as it ignored the broader concern about forces working hard to make zakat a “wild west” act of worship where just about anything goes.  

It’s essential to identify the crux of the problem. Zakat has eight categories of permissible beneficiaries in the Quran. 1 Two are various levels of poor, distribution overhead; then there are those whose hearts are to be inclined,  free captives, relieve indebtedness, the wayfarer, and the cause of Allah (fisabilillah). The category of fisabilillah, historically,  the majority of scholars have interpreted as the cost of jihad (like actual fighting). However, in recent times, Muslim nonprofit corporations, with support of learned Muslim leaders, have adopted an increasingly aggressive and vague posture that allows nearly any beneficial cause to get zakat.   

The concerns about the abuse of zakat, and the self-serving desire by corporations to turn fisabilillah into a wastebasket Zakat category that could be “incredibly broad” has to do with far more than a difference of opinion (ikhtilaf ) about the eligibility of Dawah organizations. Let’s assume dawah and educational organizations are eligible to administer Zakat funds.  We need to know what that means in practice. What we have is a fundamental question the fisabilillah-can-mean-virtually-anything faction never manages to answer: are there any limits to zakat usage at all?

Show Your Work

We fully understand that in our religious practice, there is a set of rules.  In Islamic Inheritance for example, for example, we cannot cavalierly change the definition of what a “daughter” is to mean any girl you want to treat like a daughter. There is an established set of rules relating to acts of worship. For the third pillar of Islam, zakat, there seem to be no limits to the absurd-sounding questions we can ask that now seem plausible.  

Unfortunately, we have too many folks who invoke “ikhtilaf” to justify adopting almost any opinion and not enough people who are willing to explain their positions. We need a better understanding of zakat and draw the lines on when nonprofit corporations are going too far.

You can be conservative and stand for zakat as an act of worship that contributes to social justice. You can have a more expansive interpretation friendly to the nonprofit corporate sector’s needs to include the revenue source. Wherever you stand, if you don’t provide evidence and develop detailed uniform and accepted principles and rules that protect those people zakat was meant to help, you are inviting abuse and at the very least, opening the door towards inequitable results. 2

Can you feed the needy lentils and rice for $100 a meal, with margins of $99 a meal going to pay salaries to provide these meals and fundraise for them?  Why or why not?

Can a Dawah organization purchase an $80 million jet for its CEO, who can use it to travel the world to do “dawah,” including places like Davos or various ski resorts?  What rules exist that would prevent something like this? As far as we know, nothing at all.

Bubble Charity

In the United States, demographic sorting is a common issue that affects all charitable giving, not just giving by Muslims. The most affluent live in neighborhoods with other people who are generally as prosperous as they are. Certain places seem almost perversely designed to allow wealthy residents to be oblivious to the challenges of the poor.  There are undeniable reasons why what counts as “charity” for the wealthy means giving money to the Opera, the Met Gala, and Stanford University.

The only real way affluent Muslims know they supposed to care about poor people is that maybe they have a Shaikh giving khutbas talking about the need to do so and their obligation of zakat once a year or so. That is now becoming a thing of the past. Now it is just care about fisabilillah- it means whatever your tender heart wants it to mean.   

As zakat becomes less about the poor, appeals will be for other projects with a higher amount of visibility to the affluent.  Nonprofits now collect Zakat for galas with celebrities. Not fundraising at the gala dinner mind you, but merely serving dinner and entertaining rich people. Educational institutions and Masajid that have dawah activities (besides, everything a Masjid does is fisabilillah) can be quite expensive. Getting talent to run and teach in these institutions is also costly. Since many of the people running these institutions are public figures and charismatic speakers with easy access and credibility with the affluent. It is far easier for them to get Zakat funds for their projects.

People who benefit from these projects because they send their children to these institutions or attend lectures themselves will naturally feel an affinity for these institutions that they won’t have with the poor. Zakat will stay in their bubble.  Fisabilillah.

Dawa is the new Jihad

Jihad, as in war carried out by a Khalifah and paid for with zakat funds, is an expensive enterprise. But no society is in a permanent state of warfare, so they can work towards eliminating poverty during peacetime. Muslim communities have done this in the past.  Dawah is qualitatively different from jihad as it is permanent. There was never a period in Islamic history when there was no need to do dawah. Many times in history, nobody was fighting jihad. There was no period of Islamic history when there were there was never a need for money to educate people. Of course, earlier Muslims used zakat in education in limited, defined circumstances. It is not clear why limitations no longer apply.  

Indeed dawah is a broad category.  For example, many people regard the Turkish costume drama “Diriliş: Ertuğrul” as dawah.  Fans of the show can’t stop talking about the positive effects it has had on their lives and their iman. What prevents zakat from funding future expensive television costume dramas? Nothing, as far as we can see.   

No Standards or Accountability

Unfortunately, in the United States, there are no uniform, specific standards governing zakat. Anything goes now when previously in Islamic history, there were appropriate standards. Nonprofit corporations themselves decide if they are zakat-eligible or not. In some instances, they provide objectively comical explanations, which supporters within the corporation’s bubble pretty much always swallow whole. Corporations don’t have to segregate Zakat-eligible funds from general funds. When they do, they can make up their own rules for how and when they spend zakat. No rules make zakat indistinguishable from any other funding source since they can change their standards year after year depending on their funding needs (if they have rules at all) and nobody would be the wiser. It is exceedingly rare for these corporations to issue detailed reports on how they use zakat.  

The Shift to Meaninglessness

Organizations with platforms (like the one that runs this website) are going to be eager to get on the zakat gravy train. There is no cost to slapping a “zakat-eligible” label on yourself, either financial or social. It seems like everyone does it now. Some Zakat collectors are conscientious and care about helping the poor, though they are starting to look a little old-fashioned. For them, it may make sense to certify Zakat administrators like halal butchers.

Zakat used to be about helping discrete categories of human beings that can benefit from it.  It can now mean anything you want it to mean. In the end, though, without real standards, it may mean nothing at all.

Footnotes:

  1. The sunnah also highlights the essence of zakah as tending to the needs of the poor. For example, the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) commanded Muadh bin Jabal, when sending him to Yemen, to teach the people that Allah has obligated charity upon them to be taken from their rich and given to their poor (Sahih Muslim).
  2. In Islamic legal theory (usool al-fiqh), sadd al-dhariya is a principle that refers to blocking the means to evil before it can materialize. It is invoked when a seemingly permissible action may lead to unethical behavior. This principle is often employed in financial matters.

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