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Bullying and Islam Series

The Shaykh ‘N Bake Shame Grenade – A Muslim Internet Phenomenon

Omar Usman



Presenting the Shaykh ‘N Bake: A critical analysis of the utilization of shame grenade discourse by Muslims on the internets and its efficacy. Please watch the following video along with the written explanation immediately after.

Definition of Terms

Shaykh ‘N Bake: To reverse a regular conversation into something serious, religious, or self-righteous. Characteristic of manipulative behavior. In other words, to lob a shame grenade. \’shām grə•nād\ noun – A rhetorical object hurled into a conversation to compel someone into a certain action via complete embarrassment. When detonated it makes everyone within its “shame radius” want to give up on life.


Commonly occurs online. Utilized most often by overzealous people online under the guise of “dawah” or “naseehah,” but accounts to little more than a feeble attempt at self-importance and humiliation of others. The phenomenon is not unique to the Muslim community (see: Jesus Juke), but we do have our own distinct flavor of it. The easiest way to shame grenade someone is to conflate two situations that are not mutually exclusive (or sometimes even related) in an attempt to guilt someone into a desired action. “How dare you spend $3 on coffee instead of donating $3 to my project.” Or, “how dare you watch a movie in Ramadan, you should spend that time in ibadah.” Also, “if you love Islam and want people to stop starving, share this photo on Facebook otherwise you are complicit in their oppression.” Please see video above for more detailed real life examples.


If I haven’t seen it, it must not exist. See no evil, hear no evil We sometimes confuse having Google with having access to the angels recording everything (or rather, the angels on the shoulders of whoever we want to attack). I once engaged someone in this type of discussion and asked them, “have you listened to every single lecture of theirs both online and in person to know they’ve never spoken about this topic?” And they said something along the lines of no, but it should show up when I google it. What’s ironic is the same people want you to make 70 excuses for them or their cause, but they can’t give you more than 1.5 seconds of Google. Guilty until proven innocent Because their cause is so important, it somehow gives them free reign to throw out accusations against people. It is okay to be rude, abrasive and offensive – because attacking people is for a greater good of clarifying the truth. And because these are scholars/speakers/activists, it is okay to assume they’re guilty first. The burden of proof and good manners are thrown in the trash in the name of the truth and the “good” of “the ummah.” And the qualifications of those shaming the speakers? Often, nothing aside from feeling entitled to throw around accusations of guilt. Polarized Us vs. Them Cult Mentality They think whatever issue they are shaming others on is a clear, unequivocal truth. And not only a truth, but a truth that trumps any other issue of concern. Therefore, if you’re not with them, you’re against them. Sound familiar? This leads them to make personal attacks against whoever they are ‘advising’ and feel it is completely justified. Priorities will always differ by context and circumstance. But you know what? Most of these people will acknowledge that point and then argue that they are the exception. Mark my words, it will probably happen in the comments section of this very article. Advice is a Duty Upon Muslims How not to give advice We have something in Islam called hikmah (wisdom). An example of this is Aisha raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her) saying if the prohibition of alcohol was the first commandment given, no one would have followed it. Another is the hadith mentioning that gentleness is not put into something except that it beautifies it [reference]. Even Musa [as] was told to speak to Fir’awn in a kind way. They think just because what they are saying is technically “true,” it somehow absolves them of context, good manners, and common sense. It’s kind of like being in the ER because you just had a heart attack, on the brink of death, and then kicking the Muslim physician out of the room for not having a beard. You may win the battle, but.. False Humility I don't know, I'm just asking, but you're wrong This is my favorite one. This is when someone feels they are right, but they know if they insist upon it, they will sound arrogant. So they put on the cloak of false humility and act like they don’t know anything and ask questions to cause fitnah. This is unbelievably common. If you have an opinion or understanding, there is a way to express it and ask a question. People do it all the time. But donning the false humility persona is usually an indicator that they’re gearing up to attack someone but want to appear polite. Part of false humility is claiming they are acting for the “good of the ummah” – as if their comment on a YouTube video will somehow save thousands of people from falsehood. It’s very much a Fox News style tactic (that was also parodied quite well by Southpark – Disclaimer: link may have some inappropriate language). Is saying alhamdulillah authentic?   Toxic Negativity No words. This is the worst consequence. It seems people who do this are obsessed with determining who Allah hates, why He hates them, and speaking on His behalf about it nonstop. They show up online, shout venom at everyone, and then disappear. If you went to their local masjids, most people would not even know who they were. It’s doubtful any of them have made a positive impact on anyone there. Rather, they’re usually most likely known as troublemakers (if known to anyone at all). They think they are doing good work online by somehow forbidding the evil, but all they do is alienate and drive people away from the religion. This type of negativity never results in anything positive. It doesn’t result in changed behavior on the part of the one being “advised.” It doesn’t even motivate the one “advising” to actually do something productive. A Zero-Sum Game IMG_5889   Screen Shot 2013-04-24 at 8.57.22 AM This is bigger than just being a characteristic of the Shaykh ‘n Bake. It’s an entire mindset. It’s the incorrect understanding that everything in life is zero sum. It is about making things mutually exclusive when they aren’t. Zero sum is something normally applied to things like money. It’s like the gas in your car, once it’s out, it’s out. But do you apply this principle to your kids? Do you have 2 kids, find out you’re expecting a 3rd and say, “You know what, that’s great but I’m just all out of love to give.” One of the ways these people operate is by convincing others that everything is zero-sum. If you comment on one tragedy, it means you’ve somehow taken away importance from another. If you make dua for one thing, it means you can’t make dua for another. This point is critical, because their entire paradigm hinges on it. They have to convince everyone that if a scholar comments about one thing, it means he is ignoring another – and therefore must be attacked. Manipulation, Bullying, and Spiritual Blackmail Well, obviously. Yes, there is such a thing as spiritual blackmail. When someone is not able to articulate a point in an effective or persuasive manner, such that the one listening is actually affected by it – then they resort to this manipulation technique. I am right, and if you disagree with me, you’re going to hell. Forget about my own akhirah, how are YOU going to answer to Allah on the Day of Judgment when He asks you in front of all of mankind about your Facebook post?? In reality, this behavior is nothing more than good ole bullying – except under a religious guise. It’s meant to manipulate others and try gain some type of upper hand. They will never admit they are wrong. They get overly dramatic and give an exaggerated sense of importance to their issue. Can't argue with that. Life is a game for them. In fact even the religion has some game like qualities for them. It’s about proving you are right, that you’re on the winning team. It’s showing you held your ground and overcame your opponent. And in order to win, you may manipulate others.

People who cannot articulate their faults or mistakes see life as a game. They are keeping score and they intend to win. They want you to submit but have no intention of submitting themselves. Theirs is not a world where we are supposed to create intimacy and trust through grace, but a world where we are supposed to accumulate power and security by tricking the people around us (Donald Miller, The Single Defining Characteristic of a Manipulator).

All is fair when you are working for a higher purpose. XKCD


The most important lesson I have learned is to simply block these people out. There was a time where I used to engage and debate with people on issues like this, but life is simply too short. In the end, you don’t win anything. At most, you might change someone’s mind, but even that is unlikely. The most likely consequence is that they will kill your positive energy. They will make you hate life. They will make you wish you had never opened your mouth, about anything. If these people had their way, no one would ever accomplish anything good. In their mind, unless something meets their arbitrary level of perfection, it is not worth being done. Keep doing your work. Keep driving your bus, and don’t let them get on it. Anas ibn Malik reported: The Messenger of Allah, ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him), said, “If you’re about to plant a tree and the Day of Judgment commences, finish what you started” (Musnad Ahmed, sahih). No matter what you work on, there will be haters. No matter what effort you make, someone will be there to criticize it. And while it may not be easy, you simply need to sniff out those trying to shame grenade you and block them out of your life. Unfriend them on Facebook, block them on Twitter, delete their contact from your phone, and don’t let them get to you. Those who complain and criticize will disappear forgotten, but in the end the good work you do will remain and insha’Allah be a legacy. Click the image below for an infographic of the video by Sketchy Muslim: Ba--cQeCEAAojHT

“There are two types of people in this world: people who do things, and people who criticize those who do things.” — Ḥamza Yūsuf Quotes (@HamzaYusufQ) September 2, 2013

zXYnWeC Truth.

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. Avatar

    Sabeen Mansoori

    August 27, 2013 at 9:43 AM

    Jazakallahu Khairun. Well written and true.

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    August 27, 2013 at 9:47 AM

    Brother Omar Usman, why do not you write on sufferings and persecution of keyboard jihadists? I mean you are wearing a tie which may or may not be halal, not sure, burden of proof on you. I mean where is your outrage when keyboard jihadists have no internet connectivity? Do you know they are constantly bullied and made fun of. At least they are doing sabar in their capacity, while you are posting youtube video over a good bandwidth. They are your brothers and sisters as well. Have you ever made dua for them? Is this tarbiyah you giving to your children to ignore them? How rude.

    • amad


      August 27, 2013 at 3:46 PM

      By the way, I coined the term “keyboard jihadists” and I would appreciate getting credit for it from hereon.
      -humble credit-seeker

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        August 27, 2013 at 11:11 PM

        Really? I have seen NYT using it as well. You should get nobel prize for something

        • Amad


          August 28, 2013 at 4:50 AM

          You are absolutely right that I should get credit but am too humble to push for it. If MM was sincere, then we would have “Shaykh” Yasir Kazi and “ibnabeeomar” who are more influential pushing for this credit. Because lack of credit is kind of zulm as I heard from one shaykh (i think he is from the kabeer ulema).

          Unfortunately they are too busy talking about trivial matters like “Shaykh” Yasir on intimacy and “i-a-o” on cooking. Although I don’t like to digress, but deen is naseeha. And I hope that “Shaykh” yasir would focus on marriage rather than intimacy, which imho he is not very good in. After all, 100 non-intimate marriages are better than no marriage. I mean so many unmarried brothers (or only once married) out there. Anyway I don’t think he will respond to this comment as he is too busy earning big bucks in maghrib.

          P.S. Some of you might think that this comment is pure bakwas but you should check your heart for thinking like that
          P.P.S. This is my last comment on this subject unless someone forces me to respond as responding to wrong things is jihad in typing.

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      December 6, 2013 at 4:14 PM

      Bro, you for real though? Accept corrections and don’t be amongst the arrogant. You do not speak rudely to Teachers. For Wallahi the learned are the only ones that truly fear Allah SWT

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        Ibn Anjum

        December 6, 2013 at 8:35 PM

        Lady. The comment was obviously a joke.

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    August 27, 2013 at 11:02 AM

    This is pretty much perfect – great analysis of an irritating trend that is difficult to put a finger on. It’s a shame scholars and community leaders have to waste precious time responding to a constant barrage of nonsense.

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    Abu Milk Sheikh

    August 27, 2013 at 11:04 AM

    As a follow up to this article perhaps you can write about popular students of knowledge, imams and du’aat being unable to take any sort of criticism whatsoever, no matter how constructive or valid. Rather, their behavior makes one wonder whether the Sacred Knowledge that they’re carrying has had any effect on them at all.

    Common responses to constructive criticism include ad-hominem (“where did you study?” “what have you achieved?”), horn-tooting (“I went to al-Azhar,” “look at all my ijaazaat,” “respect mah authoritaa”), pandering to their cheerleaders, arrogance, passive-aggressive insults (referring to critics as “keyboard jihadists” and “living in their mom’s basement”) and the oh-so-effective delete/censor/block/ban. Everything _but_ address said constructive criticism.

    Maybe some people resort to “Shaykh ‘N Bake” because they’ve experienced the above. Why should they waste their time when they know the response will be to act as if beyond reproach?

    There is also a cheer-leader culture that exists among the followers of these authority figures – their are raised above their rank (4-year BA in Islamic Studies = “Sheikh”, MA = “Allamah”) and are treated as if they are incapable of making mistakes. This has an extremely harmful effect on the authority figures – it breeds arrogance.

    The deference of the laity to those in authority is predicated upon their obedience to God Almighty and His Messenger, their actions and statements being in-line with God’s and His Messenger’s orders and prohibitions, their steadfast and upright calling to the Truth and clarifying it. Once they violate that Divine Mandate, all bets are off.

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      August 27, 2013 at 2:51 PM

      It’s really chicken and egg. There are people who can’t give criticism well, and there are people who don’t take it well. Oftentimes the former drives the latter, though not always.

      However, there is something to be said about engaging disagreements thoughtfully. The name-calling is a vicious cycle of fingerpointing – “He started it” – and eventually someone must break it, not by “calling out” the other, but let’s share differing views together.

      I find the key is that we have to recognize differences can occur, and you may not come to agreement in the end, but you can at a minimum respect one another as Muslims and also stay out of the realm of questioning the heart or intentions of the other, as that’s not our realm.

      Basic example:

      “Scholar S1 took Position P1 on Matter M based on Reasons R1, R2, and R3

      I disagree with Scholar S1 on Position P1 on Matter M1 because of CounterReasons C1, C2, and C3. Since I’m a layman, I’m not simply taking this from myself, but I’m referencing Scholar S2’s position which appears to hold more merit.

      However, I respect Scholar S1, continue to make use of him as a source of knowledge, and feel nothing but the best for him as my brother in faith.”

      I’ve found that when approaching like this, without name-calling, intention-guessing, and many of the other destructive behaviors Omar points out in his article, feedback is generally good.

      There are those rare individuals who don’t have the maturity to handle any criticism, and what I like to do is maintain my posture of not attacking the other person as a person anyway because my job is simply to share the information, not force people to my side.


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        Abu Milk Sheikh

        August 27, 2013 at 3:28 PM

        While both the critic and the one being criticized are required to maintain Islamic manners, there is a World of difference between a lay-person behaving badly and a student of knowledge, imam or da’ee behaving badly. Without mentioning any names we’re seeing this bad behaviour become more and more common, and right in our own back yards.

        Unless we’re setting the bar really low for the people of knowledge these days too, in terms of their expected conduct. It would make sense, the bar’s already been lowered significantly for considering someone as a person of knowledge.

        Re: name calling, there are situations where it is justified. Just as there are situations where backbiting is permissible (six, according to Imam an’Nawawi.)

        Frankly, if someone’s displaying nifaaq (i.e. traits that are exclusive to munafiqeen) we have every right to call them a munaafiq. The proof is in the Qur’an (at-Tawbah and at-Tahreem), the actions of the Sahaba radiAllahu anhum ajma’een and the Prophet’s silent assent sallallahu alayhi wa sallam. Don’t get it twisted, calling someone a munafiq is not the same as takfeer.

        Now, we can’t see what’s in a person’s heart and we can’t make judgements about a person’s internal condition; we can only go by what is apparent.

        ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab said: “In the lifetime of Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) some people were called to account through Revelation. Now Revelation has discontinued and _we shall judge you by your apparent acts._ Whoever displays to us good, we shall grant him peace and security, and treat him as a near one. We have nothing to do with his insight. Allah will call him to account for that. But whosoever shows evil to us, we shall not grant him security nor shall we believe him, even if he professed that his intention is good.” [Saheeh al-Bukhari]

        Funny thing is, the one’s claiming that the critics are intolerant to different opinions are themselves intolerant, sometimes caustically so, to people implementing valid opinions such as the one about nifaaq above.

        • ibnabeeomar


          August 27, 2013 at 6:03 PM

          if you only you were as dedicated to spreading something positive and beneficial to people as you are insistent about being able to label others as hypocrites…

          • Avatar


            August 27, 2013 at 8:15 PM

            Wait.., did you just threw shame grenade on him?

        • Avatar


          August 27, 2013 at 6:45 PM

          If you would, please take note of the following contradiction:

          Point #1:
          Unless we’re setting the bar really low for the people of knowledge these days too, in terms of their expected conduct. It would make sense, the bar’s already been lowered significantly for considering someone as a person of knowledge.

          Contradicted immediately by:

          Point #2
          Re: name calling, there are situations where it is justified. Just as there are situations where backbiting is permissible (six, according to Imam an’Nawawi.)

          In your previous post, you mentioned:

          “Common responses to constructive criticism include ad-hominem (“where did you study?” “what have you achieved?”)”

          Tell me, how is it that when one group criticizes another with namecalling (sell-out, munafiq, etc) it’s perfectly justified and within good-manners, but when one group questions the other’s credentials to do so, this is bad manners unbecoming a person of knowledge?

          If you claim you are justified in name-calling and you have Islamic backing, and your trusted Shaykh is doing it, then you will have the other group likewise citing the same evidences against you. You therefore should have no reason to complain about their bad manners since the evidences you cite can invariably cut both ways.

          As I said, only way out is to break away from name-calling and intention-guessing, and speaking strictly about the points at hand and have the maturity to walk away and agree to disagree if all else fails. If someone else is into name-calling and backbiting, you take the higher ground and stay away.


          • Avatar

            Abu Milk Sheikh

            August 27, 2013 at 10:43 PM

            I don’t see a contradiction.

            I was speaking of conduct in general.

            I then mentioned a _specific_ case where it is allowed to call a spade a spade, for a Shar’i reason, that is backed by evidence from the Qur’an and Sunnah.

            In fact, the evidences themselves obligate a Muslim to be harsh in this specific situation. This is how it was understood by the Sahaba.

            I’m interested to hear which evidences can be used to permit general bad behaviour.

            I am sure that you are aware of the fact that it is permitted to speak negatively about a person in several situations.

            “The only way out…” is to follow the teachings of Islam. Disagreeing agreeably has its place, as does calling a spade a spade. Hikmah is to use both where and when necessary.

            By the way, every comment of mine that you guys censor just adds weight to my argument that criticism, in whichever form, is not taken well. My comment pointing out OP’s poor reasoning and logical fallacies, both in the article and in his responses to comments was censored.

            I have not being disrespectful, my tone is perfectly civil and I have stayed on-topic.

            What’s the point of surrounding yourself with sycophants all the time? This article, like others on MM will have dozens of comments to the tune of “mashallah nice article, jazakallah.” While their duas are certainly of benefit to all, such comments add nothing to the discussion or our understanding of an issue.

          • Avatar


            August 27, 2013 at 11:55 PM

            Assalamualaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh

            I agree, and Abu Milk Sheikh, I think you have made some pretty valid points, just as this article has valid points.

            It’s easy to feel comforted when you get 20, 30 thumbs up and everyone is agreeing with you. But what matters is how Allah judges it.

            It might be that anytime anyone criticizes a Shaykh or imam they are immediately charge with “Shaykh n Bake grenade.”

            If Umar RA was corrected by a Sahabi woman, what makes our sheikhs and imams free from criticism?

            I think this article is correct in its essence. However, we cannot go to one extreme.

          • Avatar


            August 28, 2013 at 12:18 AM

            Right, but unfortunately the shar’i reason is abused. For example, were I to look up some of your comments on other forums, I wouldn’t be surprised to find myself and others being called “House Muslims”.

            Anyway, I’m glad to take that person’s good deeds any day of the week if they truly want to hand it to me, but I would prefer they learn to disagree without being disagreeable (or disa-gheebah-ful, get it, mwahahaha!) ;)

            The contradiction is clear – when you feel justified, you can call a spade a spade, even if we disagree on whether the spade is truly a spade. But if someone else does likewise, then they are psycho-analyzing, they are in the wrong, they are sell-outs, uncle toms, and house muslims, and then some.

            Problem is you can dish it out, but you can’t take it :)

            I personally don’t mind the name-calling because I win either way since I never return the favor, though I prefer conversation with people who have been taught proper manners.

            Unfortunately, the point I made about name-calling abuse is clear, as in the following contradiction (again, one sentence after the next):

            “I have not being disrespectful, my tone is perfectly civil and I have stayed on-topic.

            What’s the point of surrounding yourself with sycophants all the time?”

            Is calling a person who surrounds themselves with sycophants, or insulting all the commenting readers who agree with the author as sycophants not disrespectful? Is this really calling a spade a spade? Can people simply agree without necessarily being sycophants? This goes back to what I said about abusing – taking a label and exaggerating, placing it on everyone who disagrees with you, or takes a different stance from you.

            I also wouldn’t call such behavior respectful (as it seems you think you’re not being disrespectful). However, I’d expect since you consider yourself of the laiety, it’s ok because you’re not expected to know better, only the people of knowledge (or bloggers) you criticize should have better manners, so an anonymous person hiding behind a satirical pseudonym should be not be taken seriously enough to ask, “Who are you, and what qualifies you to classify me as a spade?” ;)

            I think you’ve contradicted yourself numerous times already, and I think we’ll just have to agree to disagree. Unfortunately, what value we could have taken in the form of constructive criticism towards the people you’ve alluded to was lost in vitriol, venom, and offline venting.


        • Avatar

          Nihal Khan

          August 28, 2013 at 8:07 PM


    • Avatar


      August 27, 2013 at 7:07 PM

      Watch out Abu Milk Sheikh,….Omar’s 5’9″ and he’s got some fly socks on.

      Seriously though, this is a great, and necessary article. Video could’ve have been longer, it was very good.
      Omar and Abu Milk Sheikh both make valid points. It’s a “2-way street”.

    • Avatar

      Omar Ibrahim

      August 17, 2014 at 1:11 PM

      While I agree with all of your points, and would add that the use of clever terminology does nothing to aid in solidarity, and is its own kind of shame grenade. The central issue however is not a matter of soundness of logic or poverty of reasoning, but of manner and attitude which encompasses all. In Islam we are encouraged to comply with authority figures primarily for the sake of not disturbing the peace, though the rebel in us may frown at such a notion against unrest, it is not a motion for complacence. Rather, the “best of jihad” is a “truthful word”, not an ambivalent strike, and this demands both authority and reflection. One must accept that his circumstances are never devoid of his responsibility, and that he is never helpless or blameless, and that final judgement is with Allah.

      The muslim then judges not the muslim or the kafir or the hypocrite, he judges action in order that he may deem for himself what is best. That this manifest in pride in one’s faith or arrogance is inevitable, but only the latter which causes damage, while the former may be a natural shame. When it comes to written word, we have certainly taken the medium far too greatly for granted: that our final miracle was a book of words borne by a man (upon him be peace and blessing) warrants only the greatest respect and consciousness with regard to language and its uses.

      Consider the microcosm of our circumstances being within this article and the subsequent commentariat responses which, at first glance, easily far surpass the parent article in length. What of content, depth and breadth of perspective? In simple terms, many of our esteemed “scholars” and leaders in the modern muslim world have simply taken on audiences larger than they bear the capacity for, quite frankly, an audience warranting celebrity status. Not that there is anything inherently wrong with being revered by people in such a manner, though it is somewhat confusing that there are so many, but this is another issue.

      When you consider the lack of solidarity apparent at the global level for muslims and non-muslims everywhere this can be devastatingly disheartening to the individual, the modern man. The tired and true but ineffective response to such collective unrest is always the same at the political level, everyone will wish to lay claim to reforms, and pay the way for greater solidarity and unity. The problem is that were such marvelous unity to take place it would necessarily begin at the smallest levels. How many youth are left neglected by their own family, and how many voices are left unheard in everyone of our communities? What has this done to our sense of identity and what then possesses us that we feel the urge to step on to a global stage? Wallahu A’lam

    • Avatar

      Abu Coconut

      August 18, 2014 at 1:58 PM

      your reply should be an article itself. excellent

  5. Avatar


    August 27, 2013 at 11:56 AM

    LOL! LOL! LOL! This is, hands down, the best article I’ve read all year. Unfortunately I don’t have daleel to back that statement up. :P (Still, it’s so hilariously accurate that it’s scary.)

  6. Avatar

    Ali (@Ruh_shu)

    August 27, 2013 at 12:23 PM

    Assalaam aleikum,

    Although some of your points are valid, this is not a fair assessment. Most of these reactions stem from a very real fact that majority of our sheiks and ulamas are too afraid or too timid to speak against the oppression and the political realities facing our ummah. When we seek leadership we find none.

    We as common people will look for solutions, and when the only solution provided is to go to the masjid to pray, and to increase our eemaan, while our brothers and sister are being slaughtered/oppressed in our own country or the neighboring country, there will be an air of discontent at the very least.

    In this case, of course different people will take different paths. Some will adapt a more pacifistic Islam, others a more jihadi path picking and choosing verses of the Quran and Hadith that would promote their corresponding versions/vision. However most will just lose themselves in worldly matters, reducing Islam to a cultural or national identity rather than a way of life.

    So in the scheme of things a sheikh who is vary of being “shamed” over something he might have done or not done is overreacting in IMO. An insignificant “MuslimMatter”.

    Pls, excuse the poor grammar.

    • Avatar


      August 27, 2013 at 4:17 PM

      LOL. You cannot script this nonsense better :)

      • Avatar

        Ali (@Ruh_shu)

        August 28, 2013 at 5:48 AM

        Nonsense? Please explain with your superior intellect, and admirable arrogance why u though my comment was nonsense. Maybe u can enlighten me.

      • Avatar

        Aly Balagamwala | DiscoMaulvi

        August 28, 2013 at 6:15 AM

        Dear “OneTwo”:
        Your comment is in violation of our policy. Please use a valid email address, a valid name/kunyah and avoid making other commenters feel “unsafe”.

  7. Avatar


    August 27, 2013 at 12:52 PM

    jazakAllah khayr, great points that all of us can take benefit from. i know a lot of us reading will immediately think of people we know that practice such things, but we should also internalize the points for ourselves as often times we may be exhibit those traits unknowingly. also a good reminder below:

    Rasul Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) said: “Whoever does not argue when he is in the wrong will have a home built for him on the edge of Paradise. Whoever avoids it when he is in the right will have a home built for him in the middle of Paradise. And whoever improves his own character, a home will be built for him in the highest part of Paradise.” [Tirmidhi]

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    Fatima Ariadne

    August 27, 2013 at 12:53 PM

    Ooooooohhh my wooordddsss I LOVE LOVE this article!! So spot on it’s scary! Actually what made me scary most is how people easily throw online takfir, telling others “you’re kaafir/kufr/munafiq/mushrik/heretic/etc”. I remember a while back on youtube comment some hardcore said like, “after all it’s online, after I make takfir to you I can runaway undetected”. Whaat?? Do these people realize their actions are NOT immune from recording angels!!! (rant)

    We all must return to Umar ibn Khattab message, “don’t judge a person based on his Qur’an recitations, for it’s nothing but his speech. Look at his attitude and actions”. Unfortunately, this is what happen when we have little deen knowledge but feels like with such little knowledge we’re one level with scholars and have right to put others down, mostly just because they’re not in line with our thoughts. This article is great for self-reflection too sometimes we think online anonymity makes us feeling too safe….

  9. ibnabeeomar


    August 27, 2013 at 1:49 PM

    I would like to thank the people who shame grenaded this article in the comments section. I’m not talking about the obviously sarcastic ones, but the serious ones that were unintentionally humorous. Thanks for all that you do, this article wouldn’t have been possible without you :)

    • Avatar

      Abu Milk Sheikh

      August 27, 2013 at 3:03 PM

      Re: inability to take constructive criticism –

      Case. in. point.

      Heck, there’s even a passive-aggressive insult thrown in for good measure.

      Did I call it, or did I call it?

  10. amad


    August 27, 2013 at 2:00 PM

    More drivel from Omar, who has “arabized” his name to ibnabeeomar to act shaikhy,

    Wish he would spend more time writing about imp. issues like Syria or Egypt than researching cooking.

    Please note that I am only a humble observer.

    • Avatar

      Ashhar Raza

      August 28, 2013 at 4:19 PM

      are you for real? :D :D

    • Avatar


      December 6, 2013 at 4:53 PM

      Hun, you don’t tell him what to do with his time, I think better than you he should know how to utilize his time. You see, once I used to think like you, I used to ask my teacher why nobody got angry over all of this. But bro, you see anger has never been solution. So what’s the point if he just comes on here and starts and blabbing about what’s going on in Syria, all of us know they are being killed unnecessarily but instead off talking amidst ourselves, there should be dialogues between us and them and if you really know what’s going on, you’ll know syrians and yemenis aren’t the only ones being killed and you’ll know that leaders from Turkey etc are actually doing something. You do not just wake up one day and say i’m gonna change the world

  11. Avatar


    August 27, 2013 at 6:29 PM

    Haters gonna hate!

  12. Avatar

    Aly Balagamwala | DiscoMaulvi

    August 27, 2013 at 10:09 PM

    I have been Comments Team Lead for MM for the past year and some. That really should be enough said! :)

    All I can say is that I wish my biggest problem was islamophobes who were not versed in the etiquettes of Islamic discussion but sadly it is my fellow muslims that have questioned my sincerity to Allah’s Deen, pronounced takfir (whether outright or by calling me a Munafiq), and Allah knows what else:I bear the scars of many a wound by fellow Muslims. It has been my best effort (and may Allah help me improve this) to always address the issue at hand never the person making the comment. I can’t say I always succeeded and sometimes have even removed my own comments feeling they violated the standards. Even some MM authors also have had comments edited/censored in my quest for being fair. I sometimes feel like telling people to stop learning aqeedah and fiqh any further and to just learn manners from him whose manners were the example of perfection (SAW).

    May Allah guide us all especially me (on any side of any issue, whether scholar, student of knowledge or layman) to follow the manners of the Prophet (SAW) especially when the heat is turned on and the other person is transgressing.

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

    • Avatar

      Abu Milk Sheikh

      August 27, 2013 at 10:49 PM

      Aly, whether justified or not, someone calling you a munafiq does not equate to takfeer in any way. This is a misconception.

      And prioritizing learning good manners is a sunnah of the scholars.

      • Avatar

        Aly Balagamwala | DiscoMaulvi

        August 28, 2013 at 1:06 AM

        > someone calling you a munafiq does not equate to takfeer in any way
        The context it is stated in most comments does mean that.

  13. Avatar


    August 27, 2013 at 10:54 PM

    Brilliant article. Brilliant. Long overdue…
    I hope you know though, Br. Ibn Abee Omar, that you can look forward to being added to
    one of their forum or YouTube lists of “deviants”, lol. For your own benefit and to “warn the Muslims” of course, lol.

    What I find amusing also, is how these types want to speak about high, nuanced and complex concepts like Tawhid, Jihad, Shari’ah, etc…but they do not even have basic basement level
    akhlaq. Right here, you regularly see their comments receiving the good ‘ole moderator warning( Keep up the hard work ya Br. Aly..and thank you): “Comment removed in order to comply with MM Comments Policy” They cannot even make it through a comment without losing their temper, slandering, libeling, insulting or threatening, and they want to give people da’wah and

    I think this all boils down to arrogance and insecurity frankly…atleast for most of these types.
    It’s not really about where the kafirs are going to spend eternity, who is a munafiq, fasiq, etc. It’s really about the converse of making THEMSELVES feel special. Judge and condemn others…raise oneself. It’s all arrogance and insecurity at the heart of it.

    Great article! One of my favorites of ALL TIME. Keep up the good work brother!

  14. Avatar


    August 27, 2013 at 11:56 PM

    Asalamualaykum wa rahmatullah wa barakatuhu

    I have an an unfortunate tendency with comments sections, if the post is more than a hand’s width long and/or riddled with grammatical errors I will ignore it. Either suggests that the reply is ill thought through and ill suited to the context.

    Even if english is one’s third language, written communication is so prone to misinterpretation that we should make the effort to fully articulate our point succinctly. Rereading the reply before posting may assist too, as well as thinking “am i ready to publish this to the world?”

  15. Abez


    August 28, 2013 at 2:02 AM

    “First shalt thou take out the Holy Pin, then shalt thou count to three, no more, no less. Three shall be the number thou shalt count, and the number of the counting shall be three. Four shalt thou not count, neither count thou two, excepting that thou then proceed to three. Five is right out. Once the number three, being the third number, be reached, then lobbest thou thy Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch towards thy foe, who being naughty in My sight, shall snuff it.”

  16. Abez


    August 28, 2013 at 2:21 AM

    I remember a comment on a brilliant Zakir Naik lecture that had nothing to do with the content of the lecture, but skewered him for daring to preach Islam… in a suit.

    People may intend good, but they are missing the mark by attacking/condemning/shaming instead of having a relevant, respectful discussion. From a commenter’s perspective it may not seem like a big deal, but from a writer’s perspective it feels like being kicked in the face. One particular shame grenade lobbed at me put me off writing for almost an entire year, and if that’s the commenter’s agenda (Good, let her stop writing!) then imagine a world where Muslim writers have all been shame-grenaded into silence.

    Not only would there be a massive loss to the Muslim internet world, there would also be no one left for people to troll. So it’s a loss for both, really- writers and trolls alike.

    If what a Shaykh says is good & correct about say… health and fitness, we can benefit from the advice and say Alhamdulillah without shaming him for having eaten at McDonald’s once or being a few pounds overweight. Because he was talking about how good it was to take care of our bodies, NOT how perfect he was at doing it. Those are two entirely separate topics.

    We’re all imperfect, writers and commenters alike. Like religion, the goal is to look at the message itself, because it’s been over 1400 years since we got an official Messenger, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him. We’re here to remind each other of the good, PRIVATELY AND TACTFULLY guide each other away from evil, and remember that perfection is only with Allah, and attacking one another (versus respectfully discussing relevant disagreements) is only from Shaitaan.

  17. Avatar


    August 28, 2013 at 9:28 AM

    lol it says it in that same article it will happen again!!

    Anyways, thank you for putting this into words finally someone spoke about it. It’s sad to see our shuyukhs attacked like this and humiliated in public for being good or doing good!!!

    I used to be this person who would respond back in behalf of the shaykh but like you said I realized there is just way to many of them and i have no time to waste so I leave a positive comment and move on and this is what really counts.

    Once again thank you for taking the time

    wa salams

  18. Avatar


    August 28, 2013 at 12:06 PM

    TabarakAllah – an outstanding article. This situation can be easily translated to social gathering or a family / couples discussion where someone comes to us all excited / passionate about say their football team and we throw a shame grenade about a totally different topic (e.g. did you clean the room)!
    I have been on both sides – Sometimes, we are consumed by a thought or are just coming of reading an article that affects us or (in the above e.g. coming from a messy room) and that is all we are thinking about and not even listening to the other person.
    The article is a beautiful reminder for us to be conscious of the situation, context and time before we speak. InshAllah we can avoid some of these if actively listen to the speaker and try to comprehend and use what we can from it.. Barakallah feekum

  19. Wajid


    August 28, 2013 at 12:55 PM

    Salaam alaikum,

    MashaAllah excellent article. Serious question: What do you term the opposite of a “Shame Grenade”?

    • ibnabeeomar


      August 28, 2013 at 12:57 PM

      actual naseehah? :)

    • Avatar


      August 29, 2013 at 7:11 PM

      “What do you term the opposite of a “Shame Grenade”?”-WAJiD

      Great, and fair, question WAJiD! Maybe Omar should be the only one to answer this question since it is his article, but I would say the opposite of “Shame Grenade” is:

      “If you don’t agree with me, or praise me, you’re a ‘Hater’- The Other Side of Shame Grenade”

  20. Avatar


    August 28, 2013 at 3:29 PM

    This did shed some light on the “Shaykh n’ Bake” phenomenon, but I feel like this article also throws the “shame grenade” on everyone. I would like to esp. point out the “fake humility” bit: there are so many people online who are sincere and want to learn. I have seen questions asked and clarifications given in the youtube comments section and facebook and what not. After reading this article, I feel like people would have this sort of thing in the back of their mind to label *every* curious person on the internet as someone with negative intentions. It’s kind of confusing really.

    • Avatar


      September 3, 2013 at 8:46 PM

      YT should be probably the last place on the Earth to get any real advice of any kind.

  21. Avatar

    muhseenah muhammad

    August 28, 2013 at 4:42 PM

    Salam. Please @ibnabeeomar continue your good work and do not allow comments of people ( who may not even be who they say they are) hinder you from saying the truth. May Allah continue to guide and protect you. Amin.

  22. Mobeen


    August 29, 2013 at 1:29 AM

    Great article Omar. It is noteworthy to mention the contribution of the internet and social media in exacerbating this tendency – prior to such accessible online forums, advising and criticizing required direct human engagement, whereas now any tom, dick, or harry can criticize as he/she pleases under the cloak of virtual anonymity.

    One of the things that any activist/scholar has to negotiate is the extent to which they want to have an online presence. Part of taking on a more active online profile is the reality of the type of micro-analysis you make mention of in your piece – individuals will question your intentions, feel envious, and undoubtedly nitpick. The downside as has been mentioned above is that forums for providing constructive criticism or merely asking questions are drowned out by obnoxious, ill-mannered haters. I pray your post contributes to reducing such clutter and serves as a reminder to us all to vet our intentions prior to our own writings.

    Lastly, it is perhaps worth considering the converse as well given that we are discussing the interactions that scholars have online with others, which is receiving consistent praise and needing to manage ongoing adoration – even as a local activist one has to keep him/herself in check against regular complements and restrict the impulse that relishes in such praise and seeks it. On that note, perhaps the best article I’ve read was on MM by Shaykh Yahya Ibrahim – it was very heartwarming and so I figured I’d share in the comments section here:

    • Avatar


      August 29, 2013 at 2:54 PM

      Salaam – good point. We need to keep in mind a few basics when giving Naseeha (probably more applicable when its online)
      – critique the contents / not the person
      – Stay on the topic (don’t go into tangents)
      – Don’t make it personal
      – When in doubt ask clarification (without the shame grenade please)
      – If you want to give advice to the author / Sheikh, please do so in a private manner. All Social Media tools give you the option of contacting the person individually….
      – and when in doubt, refer to this article – awesome reminder

    • ibnabeeomar


      August 29, 2013 at 8:57 PM

      excellent points, jazakallahu khayr. i think a follow up post to this discussion might be something along the lines of analyzing platform building (pros and cons along with focus on self promotion that you’re referring to).

      its kind of weird in the sense that we acknowledge social media has transformed our lives in all realms but we havent done a proper critical look at how it affects certain islamic aspects (e.g. scholarship/activists/etc)

  23. Avatar


    August 31, 2013 at 2:45 PM

    You guys just dont get it.

  24. Avatar


    September 2, 2013 at 1:54 AM

    One thing that upsets me is that the tone in some popular Islamic forums is always very aggresive and “angry”. Labels of Kafir, Rafidhi, Nusayri, Majoos are thrown about casually, and anyone with a point of view against the majority can be called such names. If it was a fringe forum I would ignore it, but when the most popular Islamic forum on the web is like that it gives a very bad impression to non-Muslims and Muslims alike

  25. Avatar


    September 3, 2013 at 10:05 PM

    I would be lying if I said I was not to blame for this. But there is, I think a psychological reason behind why people shoot the grenade. I think it has to do with guilt. If people did sinnin in the past or were associated with something that was haram, and they now want complete dissolution fromt hat, they appear to be more offensive than ever before to others who may be [nonchalantly] doing that.

    For example if I see an imam or for that matter anybody talking movies, music and sports I feel like ‘oh what is he talking about’ or ‘how could HE talk about such a waste of time’. Because I use to spend so much time on this nonsense [and other ‘hanky-panky’ things], so I am hyper-sensitive to all this stuff and find it very uncomfortable to see how others could just easily talk about it. It is my own guilt that I wallow in.

    It is like when I was doing stupid stuff, I expected Muslims to be perfect, but I became more islamically oriented I still demanded perfection.

    Further as tender wounded, I feel more palpable when I see the “wrong going” around. It really is about the the accuser then the accused.

  26. Avatar


    September 9, 2013 at 9:38 PM

    Assalamu Alaikum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatu,

    JazakAllahu khayran, a thoughtful analysis on a common phenomenon. May Allah increase us in hikmah and adab and allow us to safeguard our tongues from that which displeases Him. Allahumma Aameen.

    One common thread that can be seen is the tactic of distraction in its many forms. The individual doesn’t address the matter at hand, but instead brings up a new and unrelated matter (as per the ‘Guilty until Proven Innocent’ and ‘Zero-Sum Game’ examples). Essentially, the individuals in these examples are saying ‘Why aren’t you focusing on something else, something bigger, something more important?’

    This same tactic is used when people belittle issues or phenomenon. They don’t speak to the issue at hand, but bring to light another issue that’s more deserving of our attention than the one that is spoken about. Recently, I was made to think of this upon reading a question someone posed. An individual expressed thoughts on the impermissible nature of a woman reciting the Qur’aan in a mixed gathering. In response to this, the following question was posed: more of a threat: woman reciting Quran at ISNA or kids listening to trashy music by female singers?

    Essentially distraction is being utilized here; one doesn’t speak to the issue that was raised, but simply poses a question which seems to argue that there are greater things to worry about, more important matters that deserve our attention – effectively belittling the issue that was raised. It also serves to stifle conversation around the topic, illustrating it as relatively insignificant. The question itself escapes any real, meaningful commentary on the event itself – the only comment on it is essentially a non-comment (‘we should be speaking of other things’). These are perhaps not the intended messages that the questioner wishes to put forth, but nonetheless, they are what the question itself suggests.

    While encouraging others to re-prioritize has it’s time and place, it’s perhaps not an approach to be brought up in response to an event that was unprecedented, deemed impermissible, and yet still widely being touted by some Muslims as a progressive, acceptable, and positive step. The questioner juxtaposes two problematic scenarios, but seems to give implicit precedence to the latter (trashy music) over the former. While the latter is a known and accepted impermissibility, people’s reaction to the former spells a sort of ‘hidden’ impermissibility if you will, one that we are either unaware of or don’t wish to address. The waters are further muddied by the fact that this recital took place in an Islamic environment.

    This brings to light a further discussion on the climate we find ourselves in – the silence that surrounds these issues, womens’ purported ownership of this narrative, and by extension, the demonization of brothers who speak on these issues (noting their impermissibility), the way in which we call them backwards and misogynistic when they merely reference ahadeeth and scholarly texts, and the way in which sisters who too agree with the impermissibility of such phenomenon are also reprimanded (painted as those who have accepted their inferior status).When we promote silence on these issues, we cease to acknowledging them, their greater significance, and the direction we are charting. There’s a greater discussion to be had, and when we adopt silence, and speak of greater priorities, we effectively stifle that conversation and belittle the issue. But I digress.

    W’Allahu a’lam. Just some things that came to mind and some parallels that were drawn. Again, barakAllahu feek for the article. The concepts that were raised are important to consider and discuss.

    May Allah increase us in that which pleases Him. Aameen.

    Wa Salamu Alaikum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatu

    • Avatar


      September 10, 2013 at 7:38 AM

      Wa Alaikumus Salamu Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatu,

      Insightful analysis. I think you are spot-on when you mention that this tactic of ‘distraction’ is often used inadvertently, and unintentionally. Some are obviously just present at these discussions (online or not) to stir up something, cause confusion, conflict etc. May Allah protect us from such people and their fitna. However, many are not eloquent enough, or do not think their questions/statements through thoroughly enough before uttering them, to realise that they are comparing apples and oranges, and causing people to be distracted from the issue at hand.

      As for your digression :-) I’ll bite – but I can only agree here, as this example sums up perfectly the “tactics”, or more kindly, argumentative ethic, of those who do not want their beliefs, actions, interpretations of our deen challenged. While the topic of women reciting in the presence of non-mahram men can be said to be “off-topic”, it’s a very good example of two things:

      a) people causing distraction, and not evaluating an action/belief by comparing it to an obvious sin, i.e. what we have just discussed
      b) how easy it is to have one’s good intentions (reciting Qur’an) marred by improper actions (women reciting aloud in mixed gatherings), a.k.a. idiomatically in the English language as “the road to hell is paved with good intentions”

      So, good points and a good addition to the “Shaykh ‘n Bake” (I couldn’t resist; I’m sorry but that term is hilarious) phenomenon.

  27. Avatar


    September 12, 2013 at 1:27 PM

    Is it wrong to have assumed that this article might be about a Shaykh found “baked” with students…

    • Avatar


      September 13, 2013 at 8:19 AM


      Haha, yes Zee, that is wrong.

      Shaykhs don’t do that okay…But if they did, why include the students? Is it not possible for a Shaykh to be “baked” all on his own?

      May Allah protect us all from the fitna of drugs, Insha-Allah ameen

  28. Avatar


    October 1, 2013 at 3:22 PM

    You made some good points. But I have a problem with the examples used, some comments where were real examples of people using the ‘shame’ grenade, evidenced by the fact they didn’t know the ‘cap’ isn’t Sunnah – but others were real criticism’s. The one with the inter-faith prayer, I would agree with the person who commented because there is no such thing is as ‘inter-faith’ prayer. The examples used are a mix of real criticisms and people who want to ‘shaykh ‘n’ bake’. They need to be distinguished properly.

  29. Avatar


    December 5, 2013 at 1:06 PM

    Mashallah this was great

    The Jesus Juke link is no longer active

    The funny thing about online haters, is that in person
    I dont think they would ever act like that or say the things that they do

    But the anonymity of the Internet gives them courage to be “themselves”

    • ibnabeeomar


      December 6, 2013 at 9:35 AM

      link has been updated and fixed, jazakallahu khayr!

  30. Avatar


    December 6, 2013 at 10:15 AM

    very well researched, articulated and presented ! Hats off to you ! (Y)

  31. Avatar


    December 6, 2013 at 4:41 PM

    As Salaamu Alaykum everyone. Uhh, seems like you people just don’t get it. We’re all Muslims here, promoting and loving our religion should be our priority. Say a non-muslim comes on here and reads your comments, he won’t have any need to be part of a people that have no love for one another talkless of their Imams and Sheiks. None of us truly believes until we love one another, now getting back at each other with hurting words is not actually a sign of love. I agree everyone should be able to voice his/her opinion, but if what you feel isn’t khair, no matter how strong your feeling, it would be better to keep it within you. Until we don’t act united, we won’t be a strong ummah. You think these Americans or westerners you are lashing out at so much that you hurt your brothers could have done what they’re doing and did if we weren’t so divided. I mean they couldn’t have done any of this when we were a caliphate, now the way you disrespect your leaders doesn’t say much of you, because no matter how much you don’t like what your leader is doing,it’ll better if you simply obeyed him, for in that obedience is obedience is obedience for your rasul and in obeying your rasul is obeying THE ALMIGHTY,THE WISE. Have you heard about the hadeeth where the prophet SAW says “when two Muslims confront each other with swords,then the murderer and the murderd are in hell” the companions asked him “O Messenger of Allah! That was a murderer, but what of the murdered?” the Prophet said “Because he was also keen to kill the other man”. Please be patient with one another brothers and sisters, we’re a brotherhood, not a fighters club.

  32. Avatar


    December 7, 2013 at 1:46 PM

    Dearest brothers and sisters of Islam,
    I’ve waited for an article like this to be published for a long time, because I haven’t had the courage to say what it says. As Muslims our purpose is to live in the Sunnah of our prophet (pbuh). As I grew up, I was taught that Mohammad (phuh) was the kindest, most pious, and admirable man. He had his faith in Allah, but he never made his brothers and sister feel inadequate.

    I feel like all of these “targeted” posts about how “I’m better than you” are taking away from the peace of our religion. By making our Muslims feel small and unworthy of Jannah, as said in the article, we’re driving people away from our religion.

    I’ve seriously considered taking off my hijab permanently because of the negativity of my brothers and sisters. The way I see it is; my relationship with Allah is exactly that. Between me, and Allah.

    That’s not to say that constructive criticism should be ignored. If you see a Muslim doing something particularly wrong, offer them a realistic solution to the issue.

    Our religion is peaceful, let’s practise that. Stop with the internet bashing, and try another approach to getting your point across.

    Lastly, if you see a Muslim inadequately practising the religion, pray for them. Don’t hurt them with your words and actions. Don’t weaken their Iman by making them feel inadequate. Let that person’s change come from Allah.


  33. Avatar


    December 8, 2013 at 1:32 PM

    Let me add my two cents here.

    While sheikhs and shame-grenaders (coined a new term there) are busy arguing, a large portion of the Muslim community is dealing with the most fundamental issues: Who is Allah? Do I believe in him? Why am I a Muslim? How can I start my 5 prayers a day?

    I feel like people who shame-grenade should be ignored. The whole point of them doing this is for attention and to cause fitnah and they have achieved their goals. I hope Muslim scholars and activists and community members can come back to the basics of the religion and ignore all these voices of trouble no matter how hard it is.

  34. Avatar


    December 9, 2013 at 12:26 AM

    As Salaamu Alaykum,
    While shame grenade throwers might be of different kinds, I’d like to point out something regarding one of those types. With the advent of twitter, facebook and social networking, it has become quite easy to broadcast your thoughts to the world. A lot of times ppl do that without actually stopping to think, consider the form in which they present their thoughts and the consequences of that.

    Personally, I prefer social networking because I can write and actually see what I am conveying before I hit send/enter. I might have been guilty of this through speech, though certain adab videos have certainly helped me in that regard.

    So I propose greater number of adab classes in every community for the benefit of some of us who are throwing shame grenades without even realizing that we were holding on to them. :D

  35. Avatar


    January 21, 2014 at 6:09 AM

    Seriously, ppl with issues need to go down and re-evaluate. Doing something good doesn’t mean you have to explain yourself with a hadith or quranic verse. Our religon, is a religon that if you do anything good, to a non-muslim or not, Allah (s.w.t) still rewards you. Al-hamdillullah, we still have sheikhs telling us the right thing, we should thank them and benefit from them not criticize them. They took the time to study and learn the knowledge their teaching us, while your some guy who probably found his “islamic references” from google. I’m 16 and even I can tell that were doing to these awesome sheiks are wrong.

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  38. Avatar


    August 16, 2014 at 4:11 PM

    The fact that this writer took his precious to counter-shame others whom he perceived as shamers, proves that he has fallen into the same abyss of ignorance like those whom he is now attempting to shame by pointing out their mistakes. Save us from this nit-picking nonsense and address issues that are relevant and significant.

  39. Avatar


    August 16, 2014 at 4:12 PM

    The fact that this writer took his precious time to counter-shame others whom he perceived as shamers, proves that he has fallen into the same abyss of ignorance like those whom he is now attempting to shame by pointing out their mistakes. Save us from this nit-picking nonsense and address issues that are relevant and significant.

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Supporting Our Children’s Mental And Emotional Well-Being





By Habeeb Quadri

The topic of mental health is still taboo in the Muslim community. Sadly, I know of five Muslims who recently took their own lives after suffering from mental illness for many years. These tragedies are often misunderstood and families of these victims of mental illness are left reeling alone in their grief coupled by the painful judgment of people who scorn these victims.

We need to bring this topic out of the darkness and shine a light on the facts. Mental illness is a disease. It can be treated, but with varying outcomes. Often times, it is a lifelong battle that despite even the most aggressive treatment and support of family members, victims succumb to their illness by withdrawing from loved ones, suffering in silence and, in the worst cases, ending their lives. Mental illness is often hereditary or can be brought on by life circumstances.

As parents, we should facilitate healthy emotional wellbeing in our children as a way to help arm them against the inevitable hardships they will face in life. While for some children even our best efforts will be futile against a genetic predisposition toward depression or a severe biological mental illness condition, we still need to do our part by being conscious of caring for this aspect of our children. We are so concerned about how our kids are developing academically and in their deen, but we forget about their feelings. We need to make certain our tactics and efforts gear our children toward developing a healthy mindset and positive self-esteem. For some, this armor can be a shield during times of difficulty. If our efforts at home are not helping, know when to seek help from a mental health provider. There is great wisdom in reaching out to professionals who can better assess what your child might be experiencing.

The US Department of Health and Human Services stated that the number of adolescents who experience at least one major depressive episode leapt by 60 percent between 2010-2016. Suicide deaths among people age 10-19 have also risen sharply according to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Our children are of a generation where they are programmed for instant gratification, parents tend to swoop in and solve problems instantly for their children, attention span is short, and they are constantly connected to the digital world with everything at their fingertips immediately. The result of this modern lifestyle in our children is that they are not learning to be resilient and they no longer learn to develop a natural ability to persevere, to have the ability to keep working toward goals despite setbacks and failures.  

So, how can we better raise our children to be able to operate at their optimal in today’s world, to have emotional strength and resilience? Here are a few tips and strategies I’ve compiled over the years from multiple sources that can help build confident children who know how to deal with today’s challenges:

Make Salah Part of Your Child’s Life: Allah swt will bless the lives of those who pray their daily prayers and your child will develop God-consciousness through this act. Teach your child to ask Allah for help daily. Pray with your children and remind them to pray. The gift of Salah was given to our prophet (pbuh) during one of the toughest years of his life, the passing of his uncle Abu Talib and his wife Khadija, and the severe persecution of Muslims. The act of prayer is a reminder to Muslims to turn to Allah swt during times of hardship.

Make Dua: By reciting the duas for everything from studying for test, to playing a game, to driving a car, to leaving the house, we are constantly remembering Allah swt. This is another way children find strength in their daily activities. By connecting all of our actions with Allah swt, we find support and strength in our Creator.

Let Them Go Outside and Play: Unplug your children and send them outside to play. Today’s youth spend on average just four to seven minutes outside each day in unstructured outdoor play such as climbing trees, building forts, catching bugs or playing tag, studies show. Yet, many children spend 3-4 hours each day in front of a screen. In recent years, the National Wildlife Federation released a comprehensive report showing the unique benefits of playing outside on mental health.  

Participate in Afterschool Clubs/Activities: Having children participate in a team sport or club where they have to interact with a group of individuals to achieve a goal builds confidence and promotes teamwork. These interactions teach children how to express themselves, how to take critical feedback, and how to accept failure. They learn that sometimes they might lead the group and sometimes they will fall in line and have to be a participant of the group. Kids learn how each person is part of the overall success of the group or team. This is especially important as we are living in a time when everything is “I” – IPhones, iMacs, iPads. We need to teach children more about “WE”!!!   


Let Children Help Around the House: Stop doing everything for your kids. Let them clean the dinner table, put the dishes in the sink, throw away the garbage, make their bed, clean their room, put their homework in their backpack, etc… Children will not learn to be independent and self-functioning when everything is done for them.  

Stop Overpraising Your Child: A recent study done by Stanford University of toddlers showed that praising effort, not talent, leads to greater motivation and more positive attitudes toward challenges down the road. These findings are consistent with previous research, which has connected praise with increased motivation in children, but only when it is based on real attributes. Consider these making these alternative statements:

  • Instead of saying “You are so smart!” say “You work so hard in school and it shows.”
  • Instead of saying “You always get good grades. It makes me happy!” say “When you put forth effort, your grades show it. You should be so proud of yourself and I am proud of you.”
  • Instead of saying “You are a great athlete! You could be the next LeBron James!” say “Keep practicing and you will continue to see great results. Good Job!”

Let Them Fail: This does not mean let your kids fail a class. Encourage your children to try new hobbies or activities, like an art project, a sport, or trying to learn how to rollerblade. Kids who can’t tolerate failure are vulnerable to anxiety and this can lead to bigger problems when they do inevitably fail. Children need to know that it’s ok to fail as this will happen throughout their lives. They need to know that it is a brave act to try something new, knowing that it might not work out. Shielding children from failure can create a fragile sense of self-worth. Being able to recover from any setback will be a valuable tool in their life. Help them to reframe the way they view failure by suggesting new ways to assess the experience, such as:

  • If your child says “I’m so stupid” teach them to instead ask themselves, “What was I missing in that assignment?” or “What could I have studied more?”
  • Instead of “I’m not good at math (or any other subject)” – encourage them to say “I’m going to train harder in math (or any subject)”
  • Instead of “This is too hard” – help them instead to see the obstacle as “This is going to take some time and effort”
  • Instead of “I give up” – teach your child to say “I’m going to try again but this time I’ll use another strategy”
  • Instead of saying “I made a mistake” – instead say, “Mistakes help me improve.”

Teach Your Kids How to Express Themselves: Having daily conversations with your child and letting them talk helps children to know you value their thoughts. Individuals who bottle up emotions and don’t talk about their feelings are more likely to struggle with emotional wellness. Learning to identify and express emotions in a positive and healthy way helps young children build astrong foundation of success later in life.

Encourage Your Children to be Active, Exercise and Make Healthy Food Choices: This is another developmental area that we have to be careful how we use our words. Even physicians don’t use the words “obesity” and “overweight” with kids. Instead, talk about health in general. Say things like “Being healthy is important,” and “I enjoy getting outside and walking with you.” If your child brings up to you his or her discomfort with how they look, listen to what they have to say and offer solutions for how your entire family can improve their health and make healthy choices. When the entire family makes healthy choices, a child doesn’t feel singled out and he or she will feel supported in efforts to be healthy. Children are sensitive about their body image and what others think of them, especially in preteen years but even as early as age 6.  Develop healthy eating and exercise habits as a family even with your young children. Even very young children can develop low self-esteem about how they look. Make a habit of getting your kids moving for 30-60 minutes daily when they get home from school. Teach them to make better choices regarding food.

Community Service: Teach your children to share and help others.  Research shows individuals who help others and do community service are happier than others who don’t. Spend time as a family volunteering at a soup kitchen, cleaning the park together, or attending a social justice rally. Allah swt will always help a servant who takes care of His creation.

Show Love to your Children: Kids need to feel and hear how much their parents love them. Hugging and showing affection to your children is crucial for children in building a positive self-concept. Fathers, especially, make an extra effort to show affection toward both your sons and daughters.    

Do Not Buy Them Everything They Want: Life is not easy.  If children are always receiving every gift they want, they don’t learn to value even the most basic necessities in life. Mashallah, many parents who are financially well off want to give their kids what they did not have but this can take away the drive of children to work hard and appreciate hard work and gifts.

Build Good Character in Your Children Starting When They are Young:  If you instill good behavior and model good behavior yourself starting when your children are young, they are more likely to naturally develop good character. Learning to control one’s anger, to respect elders, to say please and thank you, to share, and take care of guests are all acts children must begin learning very young.   These selfless acts help children to know that life is not just about them.    

Teach Patience: Allah reminds us that Allah is with those who are patient. Life is full of ups and downs in health, wealth, family and more. All of us will be tested in at least one of these areas. Help your children realize solutions are not always going to be instant. Sometimes resolutions will take time.   

Finally and most importantly, if you see your child or family member really struggling, Get HELP!  Going to a therapist, counselor, or psychiatrist is not wrong and can be life-saving. I have seen adults not receive help because of what people would say or because families discount the severity of a person’s symptoms, telling him or her that their emotional issues are because they lack imaan or that it’s black magic. Certainly seek spiritual help but, at the same time, get help from medical specialists who Allah created to help people suffering with mental illness. There are medications that can help treat mental diseases and counseling that can help alleviate suffering.  May Allah guide us and protect us all and grant us the ability to have compassion for those suffering from any illness.

NOTE: Many thanks to MCCA School Counselor Dr. Samar Harfi, PsyD., for her oversight and contributions to the content of this article.

Habeeb Quadri is the MCC Academy Principal and Chairman of Muslim Youth of North America Advisory Board. 

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A New Reality : Responding to Suicide




By Ayan Nur and Mariam Kandil

“Abdullah* had been asking for help, but we didn’t get it . . . He was a nice kid. Always polite and respectful — the kind of kid every parent dreamed of. But he had struggled. His father was known to be hot-headed and a number of times people had heard him yelling at Abdullah in the masjid. No one wanted to ruffle the dad’s feathers, so everyone remained quiet… Eventually, everyone stopped seeing him at the masjid….And then we find out he committed suicide.”

*name changed for privacy

What would you say to your children if they were friends with Abdullah? How would you support them as they grieve the death of their friend? As a community leader or educator, how do you support Muslim children and youth? It is hard to imagine that suicide is even an issue among our young people, but it is happening all across Muslim communities. Suicide can be a sensitive topic, but it is one that needs to be addressed.

The Family & Youth Institute (FYI), a research and education institute that promotes mental health and well being of individuals and families and, specializes in the needs of American Muslims, has developed resources for individuals who might be suicidal, who are suicide attempt survivors, suicide loss survivors, mental health professionals, educators, community organizers, and family and friends affected by suicide. These Suicide Prevention and Intervention Resources include: i) Community Action Guide, ii) Toolkit iii) Prevention Infographic, iv) Intervention Infographic, and v) National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention Video (featuring Dr. Sawssan Ahmed, an FYI researcher).

As a parent, what can you do to support your grieving child?


  • What is most helpful is to listen without judging, interpreting, advising, or evaluating- don’t be quick to offer advice and give opinions.
  • Reflect back to them so that they know they have been heard. For example, “You really get uncomfortable when kids at school talk about your friend. You wish they knew what it’s like to have a friend die.” Doing this helps children trust that you will listen to them.

Be open to different ways of grieving

  • Children can have a wide range of reactions and ways of expressing their grief
  • There is no right or wrong way to grieve – some cry, some lash out in anger and others withdraw
  • Let them know ALL of their reactions are okay and supporting them to discover what works best for them (as long as their behavior does not hurt themselves or others)

Know that grief doesn’t follow a schedule

  • The stages of grief are: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance
  • Grieving may include one, all, or none of these experiences and they do not occur in any particular order
  • Let your child know it’s common for their feelings, thoughts, and physical responses to change day to day, sometimes minute to minute!

There are different ways to communicate

  • Children might turn more towards peers or solo endeavors such as music or journaling for comfort and support
  • Children may not talk with the adults about how they are feeling or even about the person who died
  • For teens especially, methods of communication that aren’t face to face can be easier to navigate.
  1. Passing a notebook back and forth, with the understanding that unless there was a safety concern, nothing written would be brought up in person, to be a great way to open up the lines of communication.
  2. Texting, email, short videos, or written notes – get creative and work with your teen to find what works for both of you.

Know that grief affects children on many levels

Some children:

  • Have trouble sleeping, especially in the few weeks or months after the death and/or have nightmares
  • Have short tempers, mood swings, and experience irritability
  • Can become forgetful, so your child may need extra reminders about chores and plans
  • Experience difficulty concentrating in class or completing homework

For more information, check out The FYI Suicide Prevention Toolkit, a helpful resource for individuals affected by suicide. The Toolkit is a compilation of videos, articles, infographics and hotlines and is organized into sections by reader (suicidal individual, suicide attempt survivor, suicide loss survivor., etc).

As a community member or leader, what can you do after suicide loss?

The entire community and the peers of the person who died by suicide may also be shocked and trying to comprehend the tragedy. There may be other people who are struggling with suicidal thoughts, have depression, or have experienced this before and are experiencing post-traumatic stress symptoms, amongst other possibilities. Therefore, it is important that the whole community is aware of the way they conduct themselves, especially in the way in which the death is discussed. When talking about the incident, avoid hearsay and gossip and recognize that you do not know what is going on in the minds and hearts of the people around you. Check out the following resources for communities as a whole:


  1. The FYI Suicide Prevention Community Action Guide is designed to: increase community awareness and education, help identify ways to integrate prevention efforts into your community and highlight relevant resources for those in need. This guide is meant to equip you with the knowledge and tools to better prevent, intervene, and address suicide in your community and help save lives.
  2. The FYI Suicide Prevention and Intervention Infographics are another helpful resource. They cover topics such as factors that contribute to suicide, warning signs, what to do, and how to talk to someone who is contemplating suicide. These resources are quick and easy references that cover the basics, and are meant to help you intervene with someone who is experiencing suicidal thoughts, but also provide information to destigmatize suicide. It can be handed out in the community, and posted in areas which are heavily frequented by people.
  3. Handbook for Survivors of Suicide Loss This handbook covers grief, how to tell others (children, friends, etc.), managing social media, financial concerns, and other resources.
  4. A Handbook for Survivors of Suicide is a book for people who have lost a loved one to suicide, written by someone who has suffered the same loss. It addresses the emotional roller coaster a loss survivor experiences, grief, suicide facts and myths, battling guilt, moving on, and support.
  5. Suicide Survivor Resource list. This sheet lists a selection of organizations, websites, and materials that can help people who have lost someone to suicide. Many of these resources were developed by survivors of suicide loss.
  6. After a Suicide: A Toolkit for Schools identifies ways to deal with a tragic loss in a community. The content will help you effectively coordinate a crisis response, help individuals cope with their feelings, work with the community, address social media and minimize the risk of suicide contagion. Though it is written for educators and school leaders, the content can be easily transferable for communities and an excellent resource for community leaders.


Other resources:

  • Grief Toolkit:
  • Crisis Text Line. Text TALK to 741-741 to text with a trained crisis counselor from the Crisis Text Line for free, 24/7.
  • Muslim Youth 24-hr Helpline: 1.866.627.3342 (
  • Stones to Bridge (anonymous support and counseling for Muslim youth)

Helping those affected by suicide can be difficult and draining, but inshaAllah will be rewarding. The Family and Youth Institute is available to help support the mental health and well being of American Muslims. We hope these resources are beneficial to you and if you have any questions or want more information please visit our website or contact us at

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#Current Affairs

President Obama’s Counter-Terrorism Programs Target Muslim Students in Public Schools





By Waqas Mirza

As the days of the Obama Administration near their end and cute photo collections and videos of the president’s relationship with kids are shared on social media, here is a closer look at some of his administration’s policy legacy when it comes to Muslim children [Editor’s Note].


Nearly fifteen years of the War on Terror may not have led to any appreciable decline of terrorist groups but they certainly have resulted in the US government coming up with some uniquely comical ideas on how the war should be fought. The State Department once spent millions of dollars for its Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications division to troll Islamic State accounts on Twitter. Earlier this year, the State Department offered a $1.5 million grant to produce a “television drama series” aimed at “countering violent extremism among young people in contemporary Afghan society.”

One of the more recent ideas, however, is more frightening than funny. The FBI’s strategy for Preventing Violent Extremism in Schools aims to recruit teachers and school officials to monitor students for signs of radicalization. The criteria for what may constitute radicalization may as well be designed to facilitate racial and religious profiling and quash political dissent. It includes those who criticize US government policies, have qualms about “western corruption,” use “code word or unusual language,” and travel to “suspicious” countries. It also reinforces the mistaken belief that there are reliable indicators which may help predict who becomes a violent extremist.

The FBI’s strategy came under immediate fire for instructing teachers to effectively “act as puppets of federal law enforcement” and using the threat of terrorism to “justify a massive surveillance apparatus.” A coalition of 14 civil liberties organizations pointed out to FBI Director James Comey that the Bureau’s strategy “perpetuates profiling and negative stereotypes that Arabs, Sikhs, South Asians, Muslims and those perceived to be Muslim are prone to engage in extremist violence…”

Muslim students already face abuse and bullying in schools and the FBI’s strategy is likely to exacerbate this trend. In a study published last year, the California chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-CA) reported that 55% of American Muslim students it surveyed admitted being subjected to “some form of bullying based on their religious identity,” a rate that was twice as high as the national average.

In addition to the threat of bullying, the FBI strategy also compromise the trust teachers strive to cultivate with students as well as teachers’ attempts to encourage original and creative thinking in students. As Congressman Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS) warned in a letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch, having teachers participate in the FBI’s strategy may “chill relationships with students or, for that matter, undermine a supportive learning environment.”

These concerns are not merely theoretical. The FBI’s strategy is modeled after UK’s Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) program known as Prevent. Since the British Parliament passed the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act in 2015, public sector workers such as teachers and doctors have a statutory duty to identify students and patients at risk of violent extremism and report them to Channel, the government’s deradicalization program. Some recent reports on Prevent illustrate the problems the FBI’s strategy is likely to encounter and the impact it will have on students and teachers.

A survey of 507 social workers carried out by the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (CAFCASS) found that more than 40% were “unconfident about being able to assess an individual’s vulnerability to being drawn into terrorism.” This is no shock since academic studies suggests there are no reliable indicators which can help predict who will become a violent extremist. A subsequent analysis by CAFCASS of 54 family court cases involving radicalization confirmed that “it is not possible to create a profile of children at risk of radicali[z]ation.”

This flawed methodology has resulted in some pernicious effects, as delineated by a recent report by Rights Watch UK. The report assessed that Prevent stigmatizes Muslim students, stifles creativity and free expression, interferes with the right to education, undermines privacy, and may actually promote the very extremism it seeks to curb.

A few examples highlighted by the report provide a snapshot of the effects Prevent has had on students. An eight year-old boy in east London was referred to social services for wearing a shirt with the words, “I want to be like Abu Bakr al-Siddique” (considered to be one of the first converts to Islam and the first Caliph after Mohammad’s death). A 17 year-old north London boy was questioned by a “special constable” responsible for Prevent in schools for “handing out leaflets … highlighting the humanitarian emergency and water shortages in Gaza.” He was further questioned by two police officers who informed him they were “only looking for certain types of Muslims.”

In perhaps the most outrageous case, a 16 year-old Hampshire student with special needs was referred to Prevent for borrowing a book on terrorism from the school library. Understandably, the child’s mother was infuriated with this arrangement. In an interview with Rights Watch UK, she asked the most obvious question: “If a child isn’t allowed to take a book out of a library and read it, what do they have it for? If that book is in a library any student can go and read it, then if he can’t read it, who is allowed to read it?”

As is to be expected, Muslim students are disproportionately targeted by school and government officials under Prevent. According to the most recent data, as the report notes, 57.4% of all referrals were Muslims, despite making up just 4.8% of the UK’s population.

In no uncertain terms, the report concluded that the UK government needs to abolish Prevent and provide “reparations to those children and families harmed by the strategy.”

There is no reason to believe the results of the FBI’s strategy will be any different.

Equally alarming are localized versions of the strategies which are being pursued under the aegis of Countering Violent Extremism (CVE). Boston’s CVE framework, for example, insists on the need for behavioral assessment of students from kindergarten all the way to colleges. According to documents released through a Freedom of Information Act request, students in Montgomery County, Maryland, can been identified as vulnerable to extremism simply for exhibiting signs of stress, alienation, and homesickness.

In the UK, Prevent has already faced resistance from community groups. The National Union of Students attacked the strategy for assuming “all Muslim students are suspect before proving otherwise.” At their annual conference, the National Union of Teachers voted overwhelmingly to pass a motion opposing Prevent.

In the US, too, there is growing opposition to the FBI’s strategy, led by civil rights and Muslim groups. The American Federation of Teachers has recently joined the opposition. In an open letter to the FBI Director James Comey, it argued against “[i]ncreased ideological policing and surveillance efforts” which will “have a chilling effect on our schools and on immigrant communities, jeopardizing children’s sense of safety and well-being and threatening the security and sense of trust of entire communities.”

Despite the objection of educators, civil liberties groups, and Muslim organizations, the FBI is proceeding with its strategy, subverting the primary functions of schools and turning them into “mini-surveillance states.” By alienating students and treating them as suspects, it is likely to encourage violent extremism rather than challenge it.

Waqas Mirza is a writer and journalist focusing on US foreign policy, War on Terror, Islamophobia, surveillance, policing, and development. You can follow him on twitter @waqasahmi.

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