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An Open Letter to Muslims Regarding Islam, Homosexuality, and The American Way of Life

Imam Mikaeel Smith

Published

Since the United States Supreme Court decision to allow homosexual marriages in all 50 states in America, the American Muslim community has been forced to reanalyze what it means to be an American Muslim, and specifically what  American Muslims should think about such legislation.  American Muslims have been forced to question (once again) how one balances living in any country that sometimes legislates against one’s core principles. Social media has been flooded with articles, posts and long discussions, as Muslims both young and old struggle try to understand where they should stand during this epic moment.

Muslims and Civil Rights and True Hypocrisy

A recent open letter written by two Muslims (a writer, Reza Aslan and a comedian, Hasan Minhaj) stated that it is hypocritical to fight for the civil rights of one marginalized group and not the civil rights of another group. What the writers fail to address is that one first has to be true to his or herself before they can be true to the society that they live in. They also fail to realize that Muslim civic engagement is based on not the current relative definition of what is or isn’t morally right but rather the Muslim engages based on a revealed ultimate moral code, which is static. If a Muslim stands up for the propagation of what she considers immoral actions, she is untrue to herself and an adversity to her society and religion.

I find it extremely disturbing that being true to what one believes can be called hypocrisy, when in reality it is the exact opposite.

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This decision has effectively deemed homosexual relationships as morally right, in other words “good”. But what about the millions of Americans who the day before the decision was passed felt that this action was vile and detestable. What should they do if they wish to be good Americans? Well, if they truly believe homosexuality to be immoral, then their capitulation is tantamount to giving up a struggle for the well being of American society.

Is It Religiously Okay to Support and Celebrate the Announcement of This Decision?

The majority of the confusion regarding this legislation is about how a Muslim should interact with an individual or society that engages in such actions; and secondly, is it right for a Muslim to support such legislation.

Among Muslims there have been some who have expressed happiness over the legislation. In my understanding, this is completely wrong and unacceptable for someone who believes the action to be immoral.

When the Quran and Prophetic tradition speak so adamantly and clearly regarding an evil and perversion of an action, on what basis can a Muslim express happiness over its propagation?

A cursory study of the Quran would show us that a Muslim is taught to struggle to become the means for the removal of evil. If this is not possible than he should at least dislike the evil.

The evil is understood to be like that of a tumor, which has infected a person or even a society. The objective of doctors’ efforts is the removal of cancer out of love and compassion for the patient. Unity is also a byproduct of morally based political engagement in that all the doctors will join hands regardless race, religion or social class to get rid of the tumor.

Read Dealing With Homosexual Urges

There are two tendencies which have added to the confusion. Some of the doctors have begun to hate the person due to the stubbornness of the tumor. This leads some to defend the evil in an attempt to stand by the person. While other doctors have begun to forget that the tumor should not be there in the first place.

Islam and Morality Relativism

The Islamic moral code is not relative. In fact true morality can never be relative rather it is absolute. As Peter Kreeft states in Ecumenical Jihad, “Otherwise, such a moral relativism is an infallible prescription for social chaos.” This exact idea is also found in the Quran, where Allah states, “Had there been any God other than He, the Heavens and Earth would be in chaos”. The “chaos” that we see today is called moral relativism which will be discussed later.

Read: Gay and Muslim?

Our Islamic moral code commands us to stand and fight for all human beings, but we are also commanded to stand against all dehumanizing deeds. Essential to understanding the Islamic moral system, I have outlined some facts or truths about morality:

  1. Morality is necessary for a society to survive. The alternative is chaos
  2. Morality is not Sectarian. It is both universally know and universally binding
  3. Morality is natural or based on human nature. Also know as These laws are intrinsic to human nature just as laws of physics are to nature of matter
  4. Morality liberates. It is a set of directions for the purpose of making our human nature flourish
  5. Morality takes effort. This is know a Jihad, or a fighting against forces of evil in all of us
  6. Morality gives meaning and purpose to life
  7. Morality is reasonable. It is not blind but intelligent. It perceives the difference between good and bad actions and lifestyles. It “discriminates” not between good or bad people but good or bad actions and lifestyles.[1]

Point number 7 above points out perhaps the most essential aspect of Islamic morality. That is does discriminate. But this “discrimination” is not between good and bad people but good and bad actions.

A Trendy Defense of Islam

When living in America, or any other non-Islamic country for that matter, a Muslim is allowed by the Shariah (the moral, ethical, social and political codes of conduct for Muslims at an individual and collective level) to fore-go or ignore some of the aspects of the Shariah. For example, the penal law and some aspects of civil law are not to be implemented. However, this does not mean that a Muslim should lose sight of what his or her belief deems to be ideal — as per the Quran and Prophetic teachings of Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him).

It has become a rather trendy method for many Muslim activists to dismiss or even demonize some aspects of the Prophetic teachings in order to defend Islam. The question begs to be asked, “What Islam are you defending?” This method of defending Islam has led to widespread confusion among Muslims as to what is a part of religion and what is cultural. As Muslims, we are not obliged nor allowed to force people upon Shariah. However, we are also not allowed to forget what Islam holds to be ideal.

Muslims should thus understand that their moral engagement in the American political scene is essential to the well-being of America. Their engagement will only contribute to the betterment of the society when they engage with their universal code of morality and their list of unchanging rights and wrongs.

Without this moral law Muslims are no longer a part of the solution, but rather part of the chaos. From this, it should be clear that the Quranic delineation of rights and wrongs outlines the ultimate rights and wrongs; actions that always were and always will be right or wrong. It is this morality that gives meaning to life and society, and this morality that liberates man while unifying him with others.

In my understanding, both American values and Islamic values merge on the elevation and honoring of those who are true to what they believe —both in speech and action.

Allah knows best.

Imam Mikaeel Smith is the Resident Scholar of the Islamic Society of Annapolis and the Islamic Society of Baltimore.

[1] Ecumenical Jihad; Kreeft page 75

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Imam Mikaeel Ahmed Smith (Michael V Smith) is an Islamic scholar, writer, and activist striving to meet the educational needs of communities at the Qalam Institute in Texas. He served as the Islamic & Quran Coordinator and Islamic Studies Teacher for the Tarbiyah Academy. Imam Mikaeel previously served as a resident scholar at the Islamic Society of Annapolis and the Islamic Society of Baltimore. At the age of 18, he embraced Islam after reading the Qur’an and the Autobiography of Malcolm X. Within a year after his shahadah, Imam Mikaeel enrolled at the Dar ul-Uloom al-Madania in Buffalo, NY, where he learned to read Arabic and memorized the Qur’an. In 2008, he traveled overseas to study Arabic at the Jami’a Abu Noor in Damascus, Syria. Imam Mikaeel is passionate about meeting the needs of students of knowledge, building Islamic literacy, working with youth, and striving for social justice.

32 Comments

32 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Peter Hall

    July 23, 2015 at 12:18 PM

    I find it amusing, with all the problems within the Muslim world, From lunatics chopping off heads in what they think Islam means, to slavery, female genital mutilation, honor killings, murders, rapes, child brides, terrorism and a multitude of other problems, that you devote your energies writing about what some non Muslims and Muslims do, in the privacy of their own homes, that affects nobody else but themselves?

    So many people who claim to be Muslims, are committing major atrocities and immorality in the name of Islam, or using Islam to justify evils, and you are worried about the immorality of other?

    You need to get your own house in order before you cast moral judgments upon others.

    • Avatar

      Faisal

      July 23, 2015 at 5:06 PM

      Come on Peter, the problem is not just with a miniscule percentage of Muslims that misinterpret Islam, but a lot to do with ignorant people such as yourself who are just as guilty of misinterpretation. Muslims have nothing to apologise to the world for, though I can think of governments, institutions and countries that do.

      • Avatar

        Ilpalazzo

        July 24, 2015 at 1:22 AM

        And that comment at least proves Zoroastrianism true.

        Congrats, Angra.

        • Avatar

          Peter

          July 24, 2015 at 1:46 AM

          So you are calling me ignorant, but you do not define what I am ignorant of?

          However, your claims that Muslims have nothing to apologies for, reeks of self delusion and ignorance.

          Or are you PROUD of ISIS? Do you support what happened on 9/11? Do you celebrate the kidnapping of 200 schoolgirls in Nigeria? Do you congratulate the parents who have mutilated their daughters with female genital mutilation?
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prevalence_of_female_genital_mutilation_by_country

          Or that Slavery is most prevalent in Muslim societies. are you proud of that? Do you want to blow up the Pyramids?

          Seriously? I can readily admit the mistakes of my forefathers, and the western societies. However my system of values I applaud being challenged and questioned. I do not have to live in denial and lies as I feel challenging and questioning my values, is how things get better.

          Clearly denial and ignorance, is the domain that you choose to dwell in.

      • Avatar

        JIHADYourUrges

        October 4, 2015 at 4:38 PM

        Peter, show me where, in Islamic scripture its allowed to kidnap, kill innocent people, hijack planes etc.?
        I think that’s why your being called an ignorant. SOME Muslims should be punished, rest shouldn’t. SOME western people should be punished, rest shouldn’t.

    • Avatar

      Ahmad B.

      July 24, 2015 at 3:24 PM

      [This is the first part of my response. The rest of it appears under the second, expanded posting from Peter Hall.]

      Dear Peter,

      Your post raises a couple of questions in my mind, if you don’t mind:

      (1) Do you believe the liberal state is under an obligation to permit incestuous marriages, particularly those between two siblings of the same sex (as in this case, all the “material” reasons given for the “traditional” prohibition of incest concerning genetic risk, etc. do not exist)? Why or why not?

      (2) Do you believe the American legal system is fundamentally unjust for forcing American women to cover their breasts on public beaches under pain of fine, arrest, or imprisonment, while in France this is a non-issue (and further north you can even go naked in public gardens)? Why or why not?

      (3) If everyone in a “liberal” society can do as they please, why does the state continue to ban and stigmatize willing polygamous marriages and family arrangements? Is the effect of the recent SCOTUS decision that, as we often hear, “all marriages are now equal” and “all families are celebrated,” or merely that “homosexuals can now marry each other” and “gay families are no longer to be stigmatized”? Does so-called “marriage equality” really apply to all, or is this just a convenient slogan to make ourselves feel righteous and good for specifically allowing GAY “marriages”?

      (4) Do you believe people in a liberal society have the right to publicly disagree with the morality of homosexual behavior or to publicly state their belief that true marriage can only consist in the union of a man and a woman, or should the expression of these opinions be banned as “discriminatory” to avoid offending self-identified homosexuals or contributing indirectly to a hostile environment that might prove dangerous to them? Why or why not? [Such rights, by the way, have been severely curtailed in oh-so-“liberal” Canada ever since gay “marriage” was imposed on that nation 10 years ago. See, for instance: http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2015/04/14899/%5D.

      (5) On a similar note, do you believe Pamela Geller has the right to slander Muslims and their faith through public bus ads equating Muslims with Hitler and alleging (erroneously and with no citation) that the Qur’an teaches “Jew-hatred,” or should this right be curtailed to avoid offending Muslims or contributing to a hostile environment which might prove dangerous to them? Why or why not?

      • Avatar

        Peter Hall

        July 25, 2015 at 9:03 AM

        Hi Ahmad,

        I hope you are well. I will try and answer your questions as best as I can. I am not an American, however I have lived there. I am from Australia. However you seem to be confusing matter of law and matters of morality. The laws you are talking about are in relation to the rules of the country, and how its society operates, not its morality.

        In response to your questions in order you asked,

        1)
        a) I do not view The USA as a liberal state, I view it is as one of the more conservative of the Western nations.

        b) I do not believe any state should allow marriages between siblings or first cousins. The reason is that the resulting progeny has a much greater rate of birth defects and low intellect, as a result of these Unions. Therefore the decision to inbreed, is creating a problem which the whole of society is burdened to look after, look at the Royal families of Europe. Up until 100 years ago it was rampant, now great care is taken to avoid it due to the health complications. An example is in the UK where the higher rates of birth defects in Pakistani and Bangladeshi communities, and is directly linked to marriages between 1st cousins. Compared to non Muslim communities.

        c) The issues of marriage between same sex siblings is a non issue, please do not waste my time and embarrass yourself.

        The law in the USA previously did not recognize the relationship between homosexuals. Whether you like it or not, homosexuals exist, and the law was not recognizing what in reality already existed. Homosexuality is not illegal in the USA.

        The law cannot deal with what it denies exists. Changing the law does not start or stop relationships between homosexuals, but it does allow the distribution of the assets of Estates and formal structures pertaining to financial support, etc denied to homosexuals, and that makes our society fairer.

        2) The law does no such thing, your bias is showing. I am not a woman, so I cannot answer on behalf of women. However, grew up in a society where some women can CHOOSE go topless, or in some places naked on beaches designated as such. I do not view those women choosing to do so as immoral, and I do not want to rape them, or stone them, or judge them, to me they are females who want to get a better tan.

        Your term “baring her breasts”, indicates to me you are attempting to do some moral grandstanding. The sad thing is I now understand why Muslim women want to cover themselves when around Muslim men, you really do come across as a bit of a pervert.

        The laws in the USA are the same as anywhere else, in that local populations have agreed on places where you can wear clothes and others that you cannot. The law in some places also stops motorcyclists from wearing helmets into Banks. The regulation of what you can or cannot wear in the USA is not Federally regulated but is done so by local Government. These laws also permits women to go naked in designated public places or enclosed areas.

        In my opinion the USA presents more opportunities for a women to decide what she wears, than any Muslim majority society. You seem to be from a closeted viewpoint. Natives in New Guinea, who live naked happily, the majority of the the time, would consider you quite mad.

        So compared to Australia and France, the USA is conservative and restrictive, compared to any Muslim majority country, it is wildly decadent. Your point? You choose to live there, if you do not like Canada, leave. I chose to live in the USA for a number of years, I then CHOSE to move back home.

        3) Name a single society where anybody can do as they please? Like a lot of prejudiced people, you just do not understand the law in the USA does not forbid homosexual relationships. That is a moral issue. Homosexuality was struck from the criminal codes in the USA already.

        The laws that were enacted, recognize the relationships that do exist between some homosexuals. It is a legal contract that infers rights and obligations to both parties and recognized by the state, it allows the State to deal with the property and obligations resultant from these relationships.

        The law also controls the use and availability of alcohol, you cannot give alcohol to people of certain ages, you cannot drink and drive with too much alcohol in your blood stream, you cannot be drunk in certain places. So it is not illegal to drink. However there are laws that Govern the consumption of alcohol to protect people from themselves and others. it is not perfect, but better than nothing at all.

        The same with marriages. The states have rules that protect society, and the people who are in these relationships.

        The law says you cannot marry a 6 yo, why?
        (As a father, I would love it that my daughter can never date until she is 30 and marry a guy I pick. She is my daughter, however she had more realistic boundaries placed upon her by me, and the state. My security and pride comes from it does not matter what the state says or I, I trust her mother and I have raised her with the morals and decision making ability to do the right thing for her.)
        In our society, a person must be intellectually and physically mature enough to understand their obligations and rights on entering into the legal state of marriage. It is not a moral issue but a legal one, so if you marry your 6 yo sister, you should be in prison. Whether you burn in hell or not, is a moral issue, that is not the concern of the law, where there is separation of the church from the state.

        4) I believe in every society you should have the right to do anything you want, as long as it does not infringe upon the rights of others. You voicing your believe that a marriage is between a man and a woman only is your right.

        You said “Canada ever since gay “marriage” was imposed ” !!! So when were you forced by the Canadian homosexual to marry him? Really? LOL LOL LOL, I think your husband was lying to you, you did not need to marry him. It may be a bit late now, but I would of talked to someone before the wedding; as I think the law did not mean you HAD to marry a guy.

        Is that why you are so angry, and obsessed with bared breasts?

        You are getting a bit hysterical about this aren’t you? There is exactly the same number of homosexuals with this law as there was before. Well maybe one more if we count your “marriage”. There is very good evidence the incidence of homosexuality is actually higher in Muslim societies due to the strict separation of men from women, and men not being able to afford to pay dowries to get married.

        However Muslims deny what everybody else sees, like ISIS murderers are not Muslims. The sexual trafficking of young boys and girls, and the abuse of such children is a predominantly Muslim business. However Muslims do not view buggery of a young boy who is owned by them as homosexuality. They justify it the same way Muslims deny what other Muslims do, by denying that these Muslims are “real’ Muslims.

        ftp://ftp.repec.org/opt/ReDIF/RePEc/rau/clieui/SP14/CLI-SP14-A5.pdf

        http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2007/05/the-kingdom-in-the-closet/305774/

        5) Pamela Geller has the right to hold her beliefs. If she wants to expose her beliefs to society, she faces the judgement and scrutiny of those who do not hold her beliefs. I think that anybody who tried to murder her because of her beliefs, must be very insecure about their own system of values.

        So Pam can slander you as much as she likes, and you can slander her back. If she is telling lies, shame her with the truth, if she is wrong, correct her, if she is evil, show her by demonstrating what good is.

        The same as if someone insults the President of the USA, in the USA its almost a national sport, however planning to kill him is a no, no. I am happy for anybody to challenge my beliefs and my theories, that is one way I learn. However anybody who wants to kill me because of what I say, seriously needs help.

        The Qu’ran does say to kill the Jews and hate the Jews, haven’t you read it?

        I can provide some references on the many instances. However, not being a mindless chump, I do contextualize most of these calls to hate and kill, but you cannot deny that the Qu’ran is pretty blood thirty reading. The bible says lots of things that are pretty gruesome too, doesn’t mean you have to do it.

        Muslims keep on saying we non Muslims do not understand the Qu’ran, it is not that we do not understand the Qu’ran, it is Muslims do not understand it. The facts are, the Muslim world is among the MOST illiterate, even in their native tongue.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_literacy_rate

        Therefore the vast MAJORITY of Muslims have never read the Qu’ran, even if they could get translations in their native tongue, they still could not read it. Yet alone the few who can read Arabic, and even less can read the Ancient Arabic it is written in.

        Therefore compared to most Muslims, I have actually read the Qu’ran, and I have read a few translations.

        Muslims are terrified that anybody sees fault in their religion, and in doing so exposes all of the flaws of Muslims. The reason for their terror is they only know how to recite something, that could be an Arabic shopping list, for all they know, in a language they do not understand, and have to believe what they are told it really means. It is not the fault of Islam, it is the fault of Muslims.

    • Avatar

      Mohamed

      July 28, 2015 at 2:04 PM

      You need to let go of this notion my friend. It is perceived that Muslims are the cause for most terrorist acts, but that’s because they are the ones most highlighted in the media. If anything, it is used as a scapegoat mechanism. ISIS is not Islam, and anyone who thinks they are, really needs to understand what kind of a religion Islam is… or just religion in general. They fail to acknowledge the rates of depression and suicide in North America, the occupation of Palestinians, the killings of Rohingya’s, and so many more deaths that aren’t even related to Muslims. There is bad everywhere, trust me! Also, have a look at this article: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2015/07/24/there-have-been-204-mass-shootings-and-204-days-in-2015-so-far/ You’d be surprised to find the muslim:non-muslim ratio. However, I don’t think I fully agree with the content of this article. I stand by Nouman Ali Khan’s position of what he thinks Islam’s stance is on Homosexuality, which can be found on YouTube. He says that the act itself, is not permissible. However, to have homosexual or queer feelings is okay since the Quran says nothing about that. I think the most important aspect of his very short talk was that whatever a person decides to do is not our business insofar as we have conveyed to them or if it has been conveyed to them that these actions are forbidden in Islam. He goes on to further say that “we don’t have the license to judge” as this is not our position in life. So as long as one is aware of what they are doing, the rules they are breaking, and the consequences of that, then we have no choice but to let them be. This is speaking of homosexual Muslims, which has risen tremendously. In regards to non-muslims, they have every right to live the life they want and the they have every right to be treated fairly and justly. They deserve the Muslim’s acceptance, compassion, and and care. I truly believe this approach will benefit more people than harm them. And by benefit, I mean the ability for them to see the true Islam. If we continue to disregard homosexuals and condemn them, then consider more hate towards Islam and more ex-muslims. My thoughts only.

      • Avatar

        Peter

        July 30, 2015 at 2:46 PM

        Well, it is not a perception, it is actually a fact. Please no more denial, or trying to muddy the waters. I feel sorry for the situation of the Palestinians, as well as the South Sudanese, as well as peoples everywhere who are oppressed, but there is as much Muslim oppression, as there is non Muslim oppression, I feel sorry for the Copts of Egypt, The Christians of Sudan, The Muslims of China, and the women of Nigeria who have been enslaved by Muslim groups, I feel sorry for the millions of girls who are sexually mutilated because some Muslims believe it is part of Islam.

        What I object to, is the denial of the obvious! Muslims are very quick to point the finger at others. Yet when it comes to critical self examination, denial is the only public response.

        I honestly believe that the average Muslim is no better or no worse than the average Christian or the Average Jew or the Average Hindu. There are evil minorities within EVERY culture and society.

        However the freedom of movement, the ability to commit evil, the ability to abuse or oppress others within a community is directly related to the level of denial that community holds onto.

        The Catholic Church, by its silence, allowed a few Priests to commit horrendous sexual abuse on children. No one said anything, those that did were either ignored or shamed into silence, so the abuse continued for a VERY long time. However, now it is out, anybody who tried to do the same, will not encounter the protection of silence, they face a far greater risk of exposure, and criminal prosecution. The majority of good Catholics will no longer stay silent. If you think such abuse is the sole domain of the Catholic Church you are very wrong, every religion, has the same dirty laundry. Including Islam, and denying it will not make it go away, it only makes it worse.

        Rapist Pedophile Priests are not the fault of the Catholic faith, but of the Catholic followers denying there was a problem. Muslim terrorists are not the fault of Islam, but is the fault of the majority of Muslims who live in denial, who make excuses and who are too scared to be critical.

        If Muslims considering joining ISIS or committing a terrorist act, in the name of Islam, were as scared of the reaction of their fellow Muslims, as if they were to spit on the Qu’ran, or eat pork, or Insult the Prophet Mohammed, there would be no ISIS, there would be no Muslim terrorists.

        However, the average Muslim sits on their hands, and says NOTHING except “they are not real Muslims”, or makes excuses. In doing so they are saying it is ok to rape children, it is ok to behead captives, it is ok to kidnap children and sell them as slaves. Because Muslims will never say anything.

        Yet Muslims stay silent, they deny terrorism is a Muslim problem more than other communities. I am yet to see any mass protests by Muslims about Muslim terrorists, I am yet to see mass rallies objecting to ISIS, I am yet to see mass protests at the treatment of Copts in Egypt, or the execution of journalists or welfare workers by those claiming to be Muslims.

        So everybody can see what is happening, and it festers and grows, because Muslims stay silent.

        Now you may say Islam is a the religion of Peace, and Muslims respect women, and Muslims that to kill just one innocent, is to kill all of mankind, and that Muslims believe there is no compulsion in religion.

        However, the widespread practices of Muslims murdering people in the name of their religion, of mutilation of millions of Muslim female’s genitals every year, of the capture and sexual slavery of children, the forced conversion of girls and captives in their thousands, and the abuse and vilification of minorities by Muslims, such as homosexuals, presents an Islam to the world that is the opposite of what you say.

        If the Catholic Priests raped children in front of cameras, saying it was Gods will, and posted it on U Tube, they would of been hunted down, sacked and if lucky arrested, if unlucky beaten to death by the mobs. No descent person would stand for a child to be abused in public, yet alone let someone do it in the name of their religion something so clearly evil and wrong.

        Yet Muslims are happy to allow other Muslims, to murder aid workers who went to help other Muslims, in the name of Islam, AND BOAST ABOUT IT. Yet what do Muslims do? NOTHING.

        Do you understand now why Muslims are the ones dishonoring Islam? Your denial is a far greater offense against Islam, than the Cartoonist from Charlie Hebro. It is not cartoonists that encourage terrorism and evil, it is the denial that Muslims like you hold onto, in the face of the greatest slandering of Islam ever. That slandering is done by Muslims in the name of Islam, and the bulk of Muslims say NOTHING. YOU let it happen.

        I am tired of hearing how we do not understand Islam, we do not need to, it is Muslims who do not seem to understand that what we see as Muslim Terrorist acts, is not our problem, it is your problem as you are suffering the most from it.

  2. Avatar

    Peter Hall

    July 23, 2015 at 12:27 PM

    I find it amusing, with all the problems within the Muslim world, From lunatics chopping off heads in what they think Islam means, to slavery, female genital mutilation, honor killings, murders, rapes, child brides, terrorism and a multitude of other problems, that you devote your energies writing about what some non Muslims and Muslims do, in the privacy of their own homes, that affects nobody else but themselves?

    So many people who claim to be Muslims, are committing major atrocities and immorality in the name of Islam, or using Islam to justify evils, and you are worried about the immorality of other?

    You need to get your own house in order before you cast moral judgments upon others.

    I am not gay, and I feel no threat to the morality of my society, or my own morality, by homosexuality.

    A free society grants everybody the right to do whatever they please, as long as it does not limit or infringe the rights of others.

    I respect your right not to eat pork, and I would fight against anybody who tries to force you to do so. However in a free society, you have to learn to respect the rights of others, and prioritize the needs of the greater.

    The rights you are exercising in publishing your article, are not available to all under the under the doctrine you are expounding as the higher moral code.

    The fault is not with Islam, but with those who interpret it.

    • Avatar

      Ahmad B.

      July 24, 2015 at 11:28 AM

      (continued from above)

      (6) Do you have a problem with the fact that adoption agencies run and funded by the Catholic Church in Massachusetts were forced by the state to close down for refusing to place children with gay couples, in direct violation of Catholic moral teaching? Or is it okay for the “liberal,” everyone-can-do-as-they-please state to constrict people’s religious rights and freedom of conscience in this manner if they happen to take strong and sincere exception, on the basis of very old and well established beliefs and practices, to the current state orthodoxy on highly complex and contentious moral, philosophical, and metaphysical issues such as these?

      (7) Do you accept that there is a difference between not wanting to serve a gay couple “just because they’re gay” (like refusing to serve them coffee if you own a restaurant) and not wanting to be forced to directly PARTICIPATE YOURSELF in an ACTIVITY that you consider wrong (like having to film a “gay wedding” if you’re a photographer or baking a cake with two “brides” or two “grooms” on top of it)?

      (8) More generally, does the “liberal” state allow me the freedom of conscience to refuse personal participation in activities I deem immoral and deeply offensive, or does it have the right to override my moral autonomy? If so, then in what cases and on what grounds? Whose rights are being privileged over whose, and how do you proceed to make this determination in anything like a fair and objective manner, one that doesn’t call a whole host of (heavily disputable) metaphysical and moral assumptions into play? And does the “liberal” state do this consistently, or just in the special case of homosexuality since that is now all the rage?

      (9) If a gay couple requests a wedding cake in the form of two interlocking male organs, do I now get to refuse on moral grounds, or am I still forced, like a soulless and unthinking machine, to simply “bake the cake” and not dare to judge the propriety of what I’ve been asked to do? If I am a photographer, am I allowed to refuse to take on a nudist wedding because I don’t feel comfortable filming and taking pictures of naked people? May I refuse either case only as long as my objections don’t stem from “religion”? On what basis are you deciding what moral intuitions and commitments the “liberal” state allows me the freedom to act on and what moral intuitions and commitments it is justified in coercing me to violate?

      (10) Finally, does it not strike you as ironic in the least that a notion upheld universally and intuitively by all of mankind throughout its history – namely, that a “marriage” can only consist of the union of a male and a female – is now castigated as the epitome of “bigotry,” “hatred,” and “intolerance”? How is it even remotely plausible that this freakish view of things is all of a sudden the right one and that the collective testimony of practically all human history should stand indicted of fundamental error?

      (continued below)

      • Avatar

        Saif

        July 24, 2015 at 11:56 AM

        Ahmad, your points are overlooked by too many people. I support homosexuals’ rights to live their lives; but I also think it’s ironic when people are forced to “bake gay wedding cakes” etc. And I think it’s a little presumptuous to alter the definition of marriage so flippantly when it has been defined one way for so long. I don’t agree with a lot of this article by the Imam here, but lots of your points are well taken.

      • Avatar

        Peter Hall

        July 24, 2015 at 12:42 PM

        Again you are proudly displaying true ignorance.

        Your examples of how unjust liberal societies are had me laughing on the floor.

        You clearly have absolutely no concept of proportionality. If you are offended by a wedding cake, yet not offended by the actions of ISIS, the problem is sadly your problem. You make so many assumptions, with no basis in fact, and attempt to draw together so many unrelated threads to hide the facts I presented you have turned yourself into a joke, truly!

        I am not a liberal, quite the opposite, and I do hold strong religious views. However, the very basis of the society you are commenting on, is that everybody has the right to do whatever they want, as long as it does not infringe upon the rights of other.

        You seem so self obsessed, that you can only see what offends YOU, or YOUR notion of YOUR belief system. So YOU equate the offense a Muslim might feel, at seeing an image of a gay couple upon a wedding cake as an infringement upon YOUR rights, and therefore YOU think that is all that matters.

        I feel offended every time I see a woman dressed in a burka, however her choice of wearing a burka, does nothing more than offend me, so she can wear a burka, as long as no one expects me to wear one, or tries to tell my wife to wear one, we have no problems.

        However, Muslims need to stop worrying what they get offended over, which seems to be a lot, and start looking after the very real problems facing the Muslim world. Islam is not a victim of gay rights, nor have Muslims. Islam has not failed to create a nice place to live, MUSLIMS have failed to create a society that anybody really wants to live in.

        That is why Muslims flee Muslim lands, they do not want to flee Islam, just their fellow Muslims.

        Now a a western society is by no means perfect, it has many flaws and many petty injustices. That is because it is a man made system, designed by men. It tries to balance out all the things people are offended over, and tries to stop all the things that are evil and bad. However it is a work in progress.

        However Muslims might have the perfect way of life for mankind to live under, they might not, however Muslims have utterly failed at trying to implement a society that people want to live under. Muslims will continue to do so, until they stop being constantly offended over things that do not matter, and start being offended by the actions of their fellow Muslims.

        I am yet to here of a slaughter of Muslims by homosexuals, I am yet to see Homosexuals owning Muslims, I am yet to see Homosexuals blowing up Mosques and crashing into buildings. I am yet to hear of Muslims being forced into Homosexuality by non Muslim Homosexuals or threatened with death.

        So you may want to continue with the wedding cake argument, for fight for the Catholic Churches right on who to grant adoptions too.

        In my society you can do that. In your idea of a society you may not have offensive wedding cakes, or for that matter adoptions at all. However we all know that not many people really want to live in your society when faced with the reality of it, they beg to flee your norms to live under mine.

        Or are there boatloads of Americans, Canadians and Australians washing up on the shores of Saudi Arabia? Are Britons, Sweds and Dutch begging to live in Lebanon, Egypt or Libya?

        Why are Iraqi and Pakistanis fleeing on boats, risking their lives to get to a country like Australia, when Saudi Arabia, UAE and Oman are rich Muslim countries and right next door??

        It is not the failure of Islam, it is the overwhelming failure of Muslims to be able to create a society, that sane person would want to live in. The proof is the number of Muslims fleeing to non Muslim societies in their tens of millions.

    • Avatar

      Ahmad B.

      July 24, 2015 at 11:29 AM

      (continued from above)

      Of course we all know that it is bogus to speak of a “liberal state” that just lets everyone live however they want. No state has ever done this, nor can it. There is, in fact, a very particular set of moral standards and values, based on a very specific set of metaphysical assumptions (even if only implicit) regarding the human person, right and wrong, etc., lying at the basis of everything the “liberal” state does, and this particular — and heavily disputed — set of assumptions gets imposed on everybody through coercive legal means despite their own metaphysical commitments, as we see in the case of the de facto criminalization of various forms of non-endorsement of homosexual behavior.

      As I said, this is probably inevitable on some level if society is to have any chance of holding together at all. I just find it enormously disingenuous (or ignorant) when self-described “liberals” insist on masking this fact and pretending that they are just being perfectly neutral, imposing nothing on anyone, just letting everyone live as they please and follow the lights of their own conscience and worldview, and why can’t everyone else in the world be equally “enlightened” and “tolerant” as we? You should at least admit that you are, in a very real sense, imposing your own “religion” — that of a secular humanism grounded in an essentially materialistic metaphysics and a subjectivist view of human nature and the good — on Christians, Muslims, Jews, and everyone else, rather than pretend that you are just benignly running a neutral state that isn’t coercing adherence to a specific doctrine or morality. Then we could have a serious discussion about the merits and demerits of overall worldviews and ethical systems, rather than the facile assumption that atavistic Muslims seek to “impose” their religion on everyone else while enlightened Western liberals do not.

    • Avatar

      Nik

      September 24, 2015 at 9:31 AM

      hey peter, love your comments. i agree with all the things you said.. would love to hear from you. you seem like a guy who knows some stuff. do you have a blog or anything where i can follow you? let me know..

  3. Avatar

    Faisal

    July 23, 2015 at 12:47 PM

    American Muslims, if that’s what they want to call themselves, need to understand that Islam totally rejects and negates the ‘gay lifestyle’ for both genders, like all other major world religions. That’s the bottom line. Now if Muslims in America feel that they will be discriminated against because of this belief then the best thing would be to leave the country, rather than showing acceptance to this law. Americans can legislate as they will, but Muslims cannot.

  4. Avatar

    mr.who

    July 23, 2015 at 1:45 PM

    //The majority of the confusion regarding this legislation is about how a Muslim should interact with an individual or society that engages in such actions;//
    How should a muslim interact with sinners who do worst than homosexuality? I’m talking about sins such as shirk?

    // and secondly, is it right for a Muslim to support such legislation.//
    Should we also un-support the currently legislated freedom to practice any religion of choice – such as idolator, satanism and gasp! Islam?! Or do we only withdraw support when it doesn’t harm us?

  5. Avatar

    Ilham

    July 23, 2015 at 6:27 PM

    assalamu alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

    Imam Smith, jazakAllahu khair for the beautifully written Open Letter. You hit the nail on the coffin with your analysis on how some Muslims erroneously demonize our religion so that others could better ‘understand.’ Our religion is free from faults, alhamdulillah.

    Peter, 1.8 billion people. Do the math and you’ll understand while Faisal said ‘minuscule percentage.’ When a white man commits mass murder (serial killers profile is a white male), do I have a right to blame white people? Do I have a right to tell them that they are not allowed to have an opinion on anything until they ‘get your house in order?’ By the way, your statement is completely false as Muslims overseas and at home have been denouncing acts of terror and technically speaking ISIS are not even considered Muslim! We are fighting non-Muslim terrorists who use our name to kill us and others.

    Rohingya Muslims are facing a genocide right now and barely anyone knows this. The ‘peaceful’ Buddhist are slaughtering Muslims in Burma, but hey who cares. The people of Kashmir are burned alive, but whatever. The Chinese Muslims are told they cant even fast!

    But whatever…

    • Avatar

      Peter Hall

      July 25, 2015 at 5:59 AM

      1.8 billion Muslims? There are 2.2 Billion Christians, so what?

      Your religion might be perfect, however it is pretty clear that the followers of Islam seem to have missed the bit about religion of peace, and there being no compulsion in religion. So my criticism is not of Islam, but of Muslims. Clearly most Muslims do not have a clear idea of morality, or of the dictates of what is fair and what is unfair.

      Clearly Muslims have failed to establish livable societies that are fair to the people who live in them. Muslims have failed to establish societies that are self sufficient, that can feed their population and act in a human way. The only Muslim societies that have survived for any period of time have been where the bulk of the population is subjugated or exploited in some way. Or have relied on hand outs.

      This is not only true of Muslim Societies, as it has characterized many Western Societies as well. However as Western societies have progressed from oppressive structures, Muslim societies have not. You do not understand that with freedoms come responsibilities.

      You do not get why you offend others, you are only cognitive of how other offend you.

      You again grab for the victim card to justify victimizing others. You do not understand that saying you have rights that are being denied, means you can then deny the rights of Homosexuals. The victim card is not a get out of jail for free card.

      If you want your rights respected, you need to respect the rights of others, you need to develop some maturity and acknowledge that Muslims are not perfect, and they way you Practice your religion is not only offensive to many people, but how many Muslims practice their religion is downright dangerous to everybody else but mostly to other Muslims.

      Funny you mention the Chinese Muslims, the Burmese Muslims and even Kashmir, YET YOU FAIL TO MENTION or even admit the greatest number of Muslims being slaughtered are by Muslims slaughtering other Muslims in the name of Islam, they are busy slaughtering the wrong type of Muslim. Get real man, you are so deluded it is scary.

      The reason Muslims are so dangerous to other Muslims, and everybody else in general, is they only kill other Muslims they consider not true Muslims. So denying Muslims who murder other Muslims is just the typical Muslim thing to do!

      It would be like me saying catholic Priests who molest boys are not Catholic Priests. So therefore there are no Catholic Priests molesting little boys. Clearly you are using a line of reasoning only reserved for an idiot.

      However being in denial you will not comprehend the stupidity of your statement, like only :”white men are serial killers”. OMG you are not only ignorant but clearly a racist.

      The top serial killers are dominated by non whites, the top ten have only 1 white man who comes in at number 10

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_serial_killers_by_number_of_victims

      Now looking at the rate Muslims seem to love slaughtering other Muslims, it amazes me you would bring up senseless murder. As Muslims seem to have cornered the market at killing each other. The only people Muslims of the last 50 years have been any good at killing, has been each other. For every Muslim murdered, by a non Christian, 7,900 Muslims are murdered by their fellow Muslims. That’s a 7,900 to 1 kill ratio

      So Muslims are far better at killing other Muslims than non Muslims are.

      Also the victims of Muslim extremists, are in the vast majority, other Muslims. Muslim terrorist mainly target other Muslims, they consider to be not the right type of Muslim. Just like you think you are the right type of Muslim, and ISIS would want to kill you.So Muslims are far better at killing other Muslims than non Muslims are at killing Muslims.

      So you may want to deny the facts, and make up facts. However the facts show, if Muslims want to stop the vast majority of innocent Muslims being killed, it is the actions of other Muslims that need to be addressed. If Muslims want to demand respect, they better learn to respect others first.

      The sad reality is, that Muslim countries are ineffectual in anything else except killing each other, and breeding, and living on hand outs. The Golden age of Islam is long gone, Muslims need a helping hand far more now than ever before, as you have outbred the capacity to feed yourselves, and with the exception of a few oil rich countries that are totally dependent of non Muslims to recover these resources, Muslim societies are total basket cases.

      Muslims make up 22% of the worlds population, and only 1.8% of the worlds GDP. Unless Muslims start asking for help more, and demanding less, the lot of the worlds Muslims will only deteriorate further.

  6. Avatar

    Rabia

    July 23, 2015 at 11:15 PM

    I find it astonishing that you say the moral code set in Islam is static. Is Islam a religion for all times or not? Is Quran a Book for all times or not? If it is indeed a living religion and document then it must be reinterpreted for every era and not remain frozen in 6th century Arab desert tribalism, otherwise it becomes a stagnant code with little relevance in the 21st century.

    If the moral code is static then slavery should be condoned. But we see that humanity has outstripped that as a moral value. No human being should OWN another human being. Women as war booty, concubinage, other things considered ‘moral’ by religion are no longer considered that because humanity has moved beyond them. Which implies that if considered static and absolute, religion and its moral codes become redundant. It is only by constantly reinterpreting religion and its codes according to the current era that it stays a living, relevant ideology.

    • Avatar

      Rob Squared

      July 24, 2015 at 1:13 AM

      The Shari’ah is static. Our understanding of it and willingness to practice it are not. Moving beyond the Shari’ah is not something to be proud of.

    • Avatar

      Saif

      July 24, 2015 at 11:52 AM

      Rabia, well put. It does no good to say that Shariah is 100% static. It is a false statement at the face, because nothing can be kept 100% static. We must decide what we should change and what should be kept the same. How we respond to homosexuality is simply another such thing that we have to decide on. America has perhaps forced this issue on us before we are ready for it… but perhaps that is good.

      Anyway, I agree with Imam Mikaeel that Muslims should not compromise their principles just for political convenience as Aslan and Minhaj are saying. But I disagree that the principles are static; I agree with you that they must change with the times.

    • Avatar

      M.Mahmud

      July 25, 2015 at 1:45 PM

      Islam will stay relevant and alive despite the efforts of munafiqeen and kuffar to make it fit with standards other than those of the very first Muslims.

  7. Avatar

    Ilpalazzo

    July 24, 2015 at 1:16 AM

    The author displays her hypocrisy by considering Muslims to be tools for removing evil (as if their personified God himself couldn’t) as an analogy for removing cancer, yet ‘fails to realize’ that Islam is a cancer to the US. Therefore, we would be justified on flipping the argument back onto them and would be labeled bigots for doing so. Also, the author ‘fails to realize’ that just because something is legalized, doesn’t make it automatically ‘good’. Everything is circumstantial, but in the US the marriage licensing is a business and there is a separation of church and state in that regard. I’m personally not a fan of gay marriage, but it also doesn’t affect me either. So if you’re bugged by it, move to a beautiful, peaceful Islamic country.

  8. Avatar

    Saif

    July 24, 2015 at 11:48 AM

    I find this article to be both highly principled, but also somewhat disturbing, at the same time. The Aslan/Minhaj article was found lacking by a lot of people, because it was not a defense of gay rights so much as it was a call to the Muslim community to enter into a “marriage of convenience” with their cause, because as another minority group here in America, we should be speaking up for their rights so they will speak up for ours. The Imam in the article above is, in effect, saying “Muslims should not compromise their principles for political convenience.” And there is a lot of integrity in that.

    But what is scary to me, and to many others I’m sure, is the part where he explains how Muslims do not force the issue of Shariah in America because it is a foreign land, but must maintain that it is the ideal nonetheless; and presumably, that Muslims would support Shariah if it ever COULD be implemented in America, and of course support its implementation abroad. Unfortunately, the picture that many people have in their minds about what “Shariah” would do to homosexuals is really disturbing to a lot of people. Even many Muslims who wish to follow their faith are disturbed by the idea that homosexuals should be oppressed (this is not to say we need to allow gay marriage, and to PROMOTE homosexuality, but certainly, there is a balance that might be sought between what happens in Muslim countries, and according to classical Shariah as most people understand it).

    If the Imam could respond and say what he thinks should happen with homosexuals under Shariah, that would be appreciated. I trust he does not believe that they should be killed for engaging in homosexuality… and if he does not, then I assume that he agrees with me that it is much better to be over-tolerant of homosexuality (as we perhaps are in the west) than to brutally oppress it (as seems to be done in most countries that claim to practice Shariah). To put it more succinctly, Imam Mikaeel- or anyone else who is defending this article- what would be your policy towards homosexuals if you were elected president of the US? And how would you reconcile your policy with your faith as a Muslim?

  9. Avatar

    Hue Man

    July 24, 2015 at 4:34 PM

    Thank you for being straight forward about the issue in this article.

  10. Avatar

    Ste

    July 25, 2015 at 2:37 AM

    “I find it extremely disturbing that being true to what one believes can be called hypocrisy, when in reality it is the exact opposite.”

    Actually, this only became an issue when Muslims bought first class tickets to ride the Victimization Gravy Train. Once Muslims insisted everyone cater to their sensitivities and indulge their persecution fantasies, it began to look hypocritical for Muslims to oppose gays. You think gay sex is immoral? I think cousin marriage, child marriage, concubinage and polygamy are immoral. Why should I tolerate Muslims if they don’t tolerate gays?

    If I look at the big picture, one of the fascinating things about the new Muslim community of the United States is the calculated way in which they have pursued status as a victimized group. That’s why I am always checking in on my old friends at MuslimMatters. CAIR is modeled after the Jewish Anti-Defamation League. The Jews had the Holocaust. The Muslims have the Palestinians, the Bosnians and the Rohingya. Muslims have made great efforts to attach their struggles as “brown people” to the white guilt towards black Americans. I loved the Muslim fund drive to rebuild black churches after the Charleston shooting. Way to be obvious, Muslims!

    All of this has worked so far, but it cannot be maintained if Muslims act on their own religious prejudices too much. The rhetoric in the above article is going to remind a lot of people of the Moral Majority. In the meantime, Faisal wants everyone to make their hijrah to Muslim lands, which he knows very well they are not going to do. At this point, I sense a checkmate for Muslims, a pivotal point at which they may have to redefine the whole game they are playing in the US.

    • Avatar

      alex

      November 2, 2015 at 11:34 PM

      That’s true people can show human kindness no matter what race or religion because God created all humans

      God bless you

  11. Avatar

    Ahmad B.

    July 28, 2015 at 11:35 AM

    Assalamu ‘alaikum,

    For anyone still following this thread, here is an excellent analysis (from a well-known legal thinker and author) of the premises and implications of the Obergefell decision: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/stanley-fish/scalia-gets-it-pretty-muc_b_7880118.html?ncid=txtlnkusaolp00000592.

    The author, Stanley Fish, nicely sums up many very important points. Most salient is the fact that the SCOTUS decision represents not the impartial application of the obvious principles and provisions of the Constitution, but the substituting of one moral regime for another. The author rightly faults the majority decision (and I would add to that the whole rhetoric of the liberal left on this issue) for masking this reality under the rhetorical guise of a purely objective application of legal “impartiality.”

    I agree with Fish that they are at fault for this — and no one, certainly not Muslims, should be hoodwinked by such maneuvers! — but disagree with his implied stance that a proper handling of the case could even theoretically have taken place on “purely legal” terms without appealing to some type of moral framework or another. By the very nature of who we are as human beings, law and morality are too deeply intertwined for such a thing to be possible on any but the most mundane and mechanical level of procedure, traffic law, etc. — but certainly not when it comes to life-critical issues like sexuality morality and marriage norms (or, for that matter, reproductive technologies, abortion, end of life issues, etc.).

    At least Islamic Law admits this fact forthrightly, unapologetically recognizing that the provisions of the Shari’a rest on explicitly moral concerns and considerations — as legislated by the Lawgiver Himself for the benefit of all. A law that didn’t do this would hardly be worth the name, and certainly not worthy of man, whom Allah has created as “khalifat Allahi fi-l-ard” (God’s vicegerent on Earth). Liberalism, on the other hand, denies itself the resources to make explicit moral claims, though of course it cannot avoid doing so implicitly, so it is constantly involved in a disingenuous game of smoke and mirrors, pretending that it is just benignly ruling with perfect impartiality among competing rights and interests and not, as is the case, imposing through the arm of the state a very particular moral — and, by implication, metaphysical — outlook on the population. (These issues are dealt with nicely in Daniel Haqiqatjou’s article of July 20 on this website, “Debating Homosexuality,” which can be found here: http://muslimmatters.org/2015/07/20/debating-homosexuality/).

    This article linked to above by Fish and the concerns it raises makes it even clearer for me how problematic it is for any Muslim leader to declare public support for this decision, or to write it off as no concern of ours, or to concede that “as a matter of the Constitution, the issue is clear (i.e., we agree that the Constitution disallows “discrimination” and therefore concede that “gay marriage” is an obvious and indisputable right).” Since such a stance cannot but be a moral one, as this article makes clear, upholding and expressing this view hands the entire MORAL debate to the secular left on a silver platter, in a manner that directly contradicts our own moral commitments — and those of other religious communities, or even non-religious individuals who believe in natural marriage and family relationships — and undermines our ability to articulate and defend those commitments not just in the public sphere, but even, eventually, within the confines of our own mosques and communities.

  12. Avatar

    Mike Bee

    October 8, 2015 at 4:27 AM

    i have heard a figure that 40-50% of run aways are on the street are there due family conflicts around youth LGBT issues. How does Islam address such issues? In what ways does Islam provide hope or alternatives?

  13. Pingback: » From a Same-Sex Attracted Muslim: Between Denial of Reality and Distortion of Religion

  14. Avatar

    abedeen

    February 11, 2019 at 7:23 AM

    The people of the twin cities transgressed against the bounds of God. According to the Quran, their sins included inhospitality and robbery [18] they hated strangers and robbed travellers, apart from other mistreatments and rape. It was their sin of sexual misconduct as well which was seen as particularly egregious, with Lot strongly chiding them for approaching men with sexual desire instead of women.[19][20] Lot exhorted them to abandon their sinful ways, but they ridiculed him[21] and threatened to evict him from the cities.[22] by saying that this man wants to be ‘Pure’ .Lot prayed to God and begged to be saved from the consequences of their sinful acts.[4][23]

    Then two angels, disguised as handsome males, came to Lot. He became distressed due to his powerlessness to protect the visitors from the people of the cities.[24] The cities’ residents demanded that Lot surrender his guests to them.[25] He offered them his daughters instead out of shame for his guests,[26][27] but they were unrelenting and replied “we have no need of your daughters: indeed you know quite well what we want!”[28] The Quran remarks “they moved blindly intoxicated in the frenzy of approaching death”.[4][29] The exegetes Ibn Kathir, Qurtubi and Tabari do not read ‘daughters’ to mean Lot’s literal daughters. They argue that since a prophet is like a father to his nation, Lot was directing the evildoers to turn away from their sins and engage in healthy relationships with the daughters of the nation, i.e. women in general.[30]

    The angels then revealed their true identities to Lot, and told him that they had been sent by God to “bring down upon the folk of this township a fury from the sky because they are evil-doers”.[4] They advised Lot to leave the place during the night and not look back, informing him that his wife would be left behind on account of her sinful nature.[31] Keeping his faith in God, Lot left the cities during the night with his believing family members and others who believed in him. When morning came, God turned the cities upside down, and rained down on them stones hard as baked clay,[32] putting an end to the lives of the people of Sodom and Gomorrah.[4]

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#Islam

Undisputed And Undefeated: 13 Ways Khabib Nurmagomedov Inspired Us To Win With Faith

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Published

Many fans anxiously watched UFC 254 with bated breath as Khabib “The Eagle” Nurmagomedov went head-to-head with Justin “The human highlight reel” Gaethje. The latter had just come off a spectacular TKO win against a formidable and feared fighter in the form of Tony Ferguson, beating him over 5 nerve-wracking rounds by outstriking him with a combination damaging head shots and crippling low kicks.

We all knew what both would do – Khabib would go for the takedown, and Gaethje would try to keep the fight on the feet and opt for stand-up striking – which fighter’s strategy would prevail? Alhamdulillah, it was Khabib, in a mere 2 rounds.  We weren’t in the fight, but we are all nervous and supplicating, making du’a to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) to give him another victory.

And so it was that after the win, he collapsed in the middle of the ring to cry, as this was his first fight after the loss of his father due to complications with Covid-19. He cried, and many a man cried with him, feeling his pain. Gaethje revived from his triangle choked slumber and consoled his former foe, telling Khabib his father was proud of him.

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We were all sure when “The Eagle” got on the mic, he would say he wanted to fight GSP, George St Pierre, and then retire 30-0, as he had said in previous press conferences leading up to the fight.  Instead, he surprised us all by announcing his retirement at 29-0, and I couldn’t help but marvel that not only was he turning away from a lucrative final fight, but the way in which he announced his retirement reminded us of our faith, our deen, our religion, Islam.

Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) says in the Qur’an

“And remind, for indeed, the reminder benefits the believers.”

Throughout his MMA career, Khabib has proudly worn his faith on his sleeve. As he has risen to become the current pound-for-pound #1 fighter in the world and arguably the GOAT, the greatest of all time, his unwavering example as a practicing Muslim transformed him into a global phenomenon and role model for many of us by reminding us to be better worshippers, to be closer to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He).

Let’s look at a few of the ways he did this:

1. Beginning with Alhamdulillah

The announcer at UFC 254 began by congratulating Khabib on a job well-done yet again by praising him, stating, “The world is in awe of your greatness once again…your thoughts on an epic championship performance, congratulations.” Khabib didn’t immediately begin talking about himself. Instead, he said:

“Alhamdulillah, SubhanAllah, God give me everything…”

After stating this, he went on to announce his retirement, his reasons for retiring, and thanked everyone who supported his professional MMA journey.

The Reminder

Alhamdulillah is literally translated into “All Praise Belongs to God”. Khabib begins by thanking Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He), pointing out that his talents and abilities are a gift, a blessing from the Most High. When we have any blessing from Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He), we must remember that whatever our own effort, our abilities, our support, and our achieved outcomes ultimately tie back to support from our Rabb, our Lord, who controls all.

Khabib pointing to Allah

It’s not from me, it’s from Him

If you’ve ever seen Khabib point at himself, shake his finger back and forth as if to say, “No” and then point up to the sky, this is a nonverbal way of him saying, don’t think all these great things you see are from me – they’re from Allah above.

2. The Prostration of Thankfulness – Sajdat al-Shukr

You may have noticed at the end of Khabib’s victory, when the announcer states that he’s the winner of the bout, he falls into a prostration known as Sajdat al-Shukr – the Prostration of Thankfulness (to Allah).

Khabib and his sons prostrating

The Reminder

Performing this is recommended when someone receives something beneficial (eg good news, wealth, etc) or if they avoided something potentially harmful (e.g. job loss, healing from a disease, etc). The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) would do this when he received good news. The believer should remember to be thankful to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) as much as they can.

See also:

3. Establishing the 5 Daily Prayers

Khabib and me, don’t be jelly

Years ago (early 2018), Khabib visited my local masjid in Santa Clara, California (not far from where he was training in San Jose at the AKA gym). Many at the masjid didn’t know who he was, but we heard he was the #1 contender for the UFC Lightweight championship belt, at that time held by Tony Ferguson.

He did a Q & A with the community, and someone asked him a general question about what he would recommend for the youth.  He said, and I’m paraphrasing:

Take care of your prayers, if you come to Day of Judgment not take care of your prayers, on that day you will be smashed.

The Reminder

The second pillar of Islam that Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) has commanded us to follow is to pray to Him 5 times daily. Khabib was no doubt referencing the following statement of the Prophet (saw):

“The first action for which a servant of Allah will be held accountable on the Day of Resurrection will be his prayers. If they are in order, he will have prospered and succeeded. If they are lacking, he will have failed and lost…”

 

 

Shaykh AbdulNasir Jangda notes that when the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) first began his mission of da’wah and faced devastating rejection from family and community, Allah told the Prophet to stand and pray. The reason for this is because when we are weak and suffering, the place to turn to for strength is back to Allah in prayer. There is no doubt Khabib’s strength came from his connection to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) which in turn came from his 5 daily prayers.

Praying multiple times daily, consistently, can be challenging; when it was legislated by Allah to the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him), Musa 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) kept telling him to go back and ask Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) for a reduction, saying, “Your people will not be able to handle it.”

Khabib is a great reminder that no matter how high you climb in life and career, no matter how busy you think you are, worshipping Allah is the most important deed one can do, and this discipline is the most important habit to build.

4. Strong Wrestling Game

Some say Khabib is already 30-0 for wrestling a bear

In a sport that sees far more striking and kicking than it does wrestling, Khabib came to dominate the lightweight division of the UFC with a strong grappling style that is a combination of sambo (a Soviet martial art), judo, and wrestling. Famously, he outwrestled a bear when he was much younger.

During his fights, he doesn’t close out his bouts by pummeling his opponents and causing them damage as most strikers would. Most of his hits open up his opponents to being forced to tap out via submission. Even his last opponent, Justin Gaethje, noted that he was much happier to be choked out in a submission, as all he would get is a pleasant nap, as opposed to striking, which could have long-term health consequences.

The Reminder

The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) was not only able to wrestle, he took down the strongest wrestler in Makkah. Rukanah, the famed Makkan wrestler, challenged RasulAllah because of his hatred for the da’wah. The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) accepted his challenge and took him down multiple times, body slamming him again and again. It was said that after the conquest of Makkah, Rukanah accepted Islam.

5. Fighting / Training through Sickness and Injury

During the post-fight press conference with UFC President Dana White, it was revealed that Khabib had broken one of his toes 3 weeks before the fight. Prior to that, he had taken two weeks off upon arriving at Fight Island having contracted mumps, according to AKA trainer and coach Javier Mendez. Khabib is quoted as having told Mendez, “My toe may be broken, but my mind is not.” In addition to this, his father had just passed away months earlier, and this would be his first fight without his father present.

Mumps, broken toes, and the emotional turmoil of family tragedy

The Reminder

In addition, the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) has told us, “A strong believer is better and is more beloved to Allah than a weak believer, and there is good in everyone…” This strength includes strength of body, mind, and spirit; not just when conditions are perfect, but when trials surround you from every conceivable direction.

6. Relationship With His Father

After defeating Justin Gaethje, Khabib went to the center of the ring and cried, and everyone cried with him. We all knew his father’s death weighed heavily on his mind and his heart, and this was his first fight without him. His father was his mentor and trainer, whom everyone could obviously see he both loved and greatly respected.

In the post-fight question and answer with Dustin Poirier, Khabib was asked, “What’s your message for your young fans out there who look up to you so much?” he responded:

“Respect your parents, be close with your parents, this is very important. Parents everything, you know, your mother, your father, and that’s it, and everything in your life is going to be good, if you’re going to listen to your parents, mother, father, be very close with them, and other things come because your parents gonna teach what to do.”

The Reminder

There isn’t enough space in this article to go over how much emphasis our faith places on respecting our parents. Allah says in the Qur’an:

Your Lord has commanded that you should worship none but Him, and that you be kind to your parents. If either or both of them reach old age with you, say no word that shows impatience with them, and do not be harsh with them, but speak to them respectfully. [17:23]

7. Relationship With His Mother

Our parents ultimately want us to succeed, but also want us to maintain our well-being. Without his father’s presence, it was clear that Khabib’s mother didn’t want him continuing in the Octagon (the UFC ring). After 3 days of discussion, Khabib gave his word to her that this would be his final fight. After beating Justin Gaethje in UFC 254, Nurmagomedov announced he was retiring because he promised his mother that he would retire and that he’s a man of his word.

The Reminder

This hearkens back to a statement of the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) about how much respect mothers deserve. A man asked the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, “Who is most deserving of my good company?” The Prophet said, “Your mother.” The man asked, “Then who?” He (saw) said “Your mother.” The man asked again, “Then who?” The Prophet again said, “Your mother.” The man asked again, “Then who?” The Prophet finally said, “Your father.”

Khabib easily had millions more to make on a journey to hit 30-0 in his professional fighting career and decided to hang it all up to make his mother happy. This is true respect and obedience, and for that matter, the love of a mother for her son and his well-being over monetary gains.

8. Respect for Muhammad Ali

When asked about the comparisons between himself and Muhammad Ali, Khabib stated that it was an inappropriate comparison. He noted that Muhammad Ali didn’t just face challenges in the ring, but challenges outside of it due to racism, and that he was an agent of change with respect to bringing about greater civil rights for African Americans.

The Reminder

In his final sermon, Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said, “There is no superiority of an Arab over a non-Arab, or of a non-Arab over an Arab, and no superiority of a white person over a black person or of a black person over a white person, except on the basis of personal piety and righteousness.”

From the 7th century until today, our faith recognizes that people are not judged by their race, but by their actions and the intentions behind those actions. In the video above, Khabib recognized both the wrongness of racism, and the challenge it posed along the way of Muhammad Ali’s own journey, and that his contributions to social justice transcended his involvement in sport.

9. His Conduct with Other Fighters

With the exception of the fight with Conor McGregor, Khabib always dealt with his opponents with respect. He hugs them, shakes their hand, and says good things about their accomplishments and strengths both before and after fights. In a sport known for heavy trash talking and showboating to build hype, Khabib kept his cool and his manners.

Champion vs Champion, the respect is mutual

The Reminder

The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said:

“The only reason I have been sent is to perfect good manners.”

Maintaining good character and conduct during press-conferences was Khabib’s calling card; even when trash talkers like Tony Ferguson tried to go after him, he would still recount Ferguson’s formidable stature as a fighter.

When reporters tried throwing him a softball opening to insult Ferguson’s mental health, Khabib responded that he didn’t want to talk about Tony Ferguson’s problems if he they were real; if Ferguson truly has a problem, then we should help him, as we all have problems.

10. Fighting Those Who Dishonor Faith and Family

As mentioned above, Khabib is known for being very respectful of his opponents during press conferences. He speaks well of their strengths, shakes their hands, hugs them; he even runs up to his opponent after a fight and hugs them, consoling them and wishing them well. After his win against Poirier, he traded shirts with him and donated $100k to Poirier’s charity.

Khabib vs Dana’s boy, the chicken

The exception was the infamous UFC 229 which Muslim fans watched holding years, maybe decades of pent up anger at the type of crass secular arrogance represented by Conor. We desperately wanted Khabib to maul the mouthy McGregor. The latter had gone after his family, his faith, his nationality, anything and everything to hype up the fight and try to get under the champ’s skin. Some people lose their calm, and others, well, they eat you alive.

Khabib made it clear he wasn’t having any of that. He took the fight to Conor and choked him out with a neck crank. We then learned why he was called “The Eagle” as he hopped the cage and jumped into the audience to go after other members of Conor’s team who had spoken ill of him, giving birth to “Air Khabib”.

The Reminder

When our faith and family is spoken of in an ill fashion, it’s not appropriate that we sit there and take it. Khabib never cared when it was criticism against him, but once it went to others around him, he took flight. We as Muslims should never give anybody who tries to attack and dehumanize us a chance to rest on their laurels. We should strive ourselves to take the fight back to them by whatever legal means necessary, as Khabib did, whether it is cartoons of the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) or political pundits and satirists who monetize hatred against Muslims.

11. Shaking Hands and Training with Women

In numerous public instances, Khabib reminded us that our faith demands we don’t shake with the opposite gender. As one of my teachers taught us, the Qur’an instructs us to “lower our gaze” when dealing with women. If we shouldn’t even look at them out of respect for Allah’s command, how can we take it to the next level and touch them?

Extended to this is even more serious physical contact like training at the gym. Cynthia Calvillo, one of Khabib’s teammates at AKA gym, said the following about Khabib and his unit:

“It’s a little bit weird because of their religion and stuff…They don’t talk to women you know. I mean we say ‘hi’ to each other but we can’t train with them. They won’t train with women…I don’t think any other woman does.

The Reminder

Our faith places stricter physical and social interaction boundaries between men and women. Keeping matters professional and respectful with the opposite gender need not include physical contact. The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) was said to have never touched non-mahram women. It was narrated that he said,

“It is better for you to be stabbed in the head with an iron needle than to touch the hand of a woman who is impermissible to you.”

For this reason, the majority of scholars prohibited physical contact between men and women with some exceptions (e.g. old age). Watching Khabib maintain this practice, even in public where it could potentially embarrass him and cause undue negative attention, gives us all inspiration to deal with this issue in the workplace better. He encourages us to strive for better tolerance and awareness of our faith rather than forcing us to conform.

12. Not Making a Display of The “Trophy” Wife

If you follow Khabib’s Instagram, you won’t find lewd pics of him and a significant other. In fact, you won’t find any pictures at all of him and his wife. Who she is is a mystery to all. In an age and a sport where many post photos with their romantic partners, Khabib again is a standout with his gheerah, his honorable protectiveness for his significant other.

Khabib and his wife

The Reminder

We are again reminded that a part of manhood is to have protective ghayrah, jealousy over one’s spouse. Ibn al-Qayyim also said, bringing in the concept of chivalry,

“The dayyuth / cuckold is the vilest of Allah’s creation, and Paradise is forbidden for him [because of his lack of ghayrah]. A man should be ‘jealous’ with regards to his wife’s honor and standing. He should defend her whenever she is slandered or spoken ill of behind her back. Actually, this is a right of every Muslim in general, but a right of the spouse specifically. He should also be jealous in not allowing other men to look at his wife or speak with her in a manner which is not appropriate.”

13. Owning His Mistakes, Looking to Be Forgiven

Finally, it should be noted there is no real scholarly disagreement on prohibiting striking the face. Recognizing this, Khabib stated when asked if “he thinks the AlMighty will be satisfied with him for taking part in haram fights for money,” he replied, “I don’t think so.”

In an interview with the LA Times, he said:

“You go to mosque because nobody’s perfect. Everybody makes mistakes, and we have to ask Allah to forgive us. This is very important mentally, to be clear with Allah. This is not about the UFC. There is nothing else more important to me than being clear with Allah. And being clear with Allah is the No. 1 most hard thing in life.”

The Reminder

We as human beings aren’t perfect – perfection is only for Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He). We all make mistakes, sometimes small, sometimes large, but in the end, He subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) is ready to forgive us if we’re willing to recognize our failings and ask to be forgiven.  Allah says in the Qur’an in 2:222:

“Allah loves those who always turn to Him in repentance and those who purify themselves.”

There are no sins so great that redemption is beyond any of us. Whatever Khabib’s flaws, his value as a positive change maker and faith-based role model globally outweighs his negatives.

Part of seeking forgiveness is the process, and the first part of that process is acknowledging the mistake. This means not being in denial about it or not justifying it, just owning it. As Khabib has owned his mistake publicly, there is no need for us to try and justify it either.

We can own that there are problems with MMA and the industry, in participating as well as watching and supporting. At the same time, we can do as Dr Hatem al-Hajj said about Muhammad Ali:

Concluding Thoughts

While UFC pundits will forever debate over the greatest of all time, there is in doubt that Khabib Nurmogomedov, the first Muslim UFC champion, will always be our GOAT.

I ask that Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) accepts the good from what Khabib has done, rewards him tremendously for the inspiration he’s given us all to better focused on the akhirah, the next life, and continues to make him a powerful sports icon who uses his platform as Muhammad Ali did to teach Islam and exemplify it in the best way for all of us to benefit and follow.

Ameen.

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#Society

Politics In Islam: On Muslims Partaking In Political Engagement In Non-Muslim Countries

Imam Asad Zaman, Guest Contributor

Published

Some Muslims are convinced that participation in the elections is forbidden. Some even worry that engaging in politics might cause someone to become a kāfir, because it is a matter of walāʾ. Their argument is that participation necessitates approval of and allegiance to unbelief, and thus this makes participants unbelievers. The main verse cited to reach such a position is that Allah, the Exalted, says: “Let not the believers take the disbelievers as awliyāʾ against other believers.” The claim that this verse prohibits Muslims from partaking in political engagement in non-Muslim countries is immensely consequential to our communities, and so we should take care to understand this ayah in detail.

We must first consider the meaning of the word ‘awliyāʾ. It is the plural of the Arabic word waliy. Many English translations of the Qur’an translate this word as “friend,” causing us to understand the ayah above as prohibiting us from taking the disbelievers as friends. But this meaning would directly contradict multiple verses of the Quran and the well-established practice of our noble Messenger .

Clearly we need to examine this verse more carefully. Most dictionaries variously translate the Arabic word waliy to mean custodian, protector, helper, or authority. Typically a waliy is someone who has responsibility, allegiance, or authority over somebody else. For example, in Islamic law, a father is titled the waliy of his children. The word wāli, which is a derivative of the same root, is also used as an administrative title such as governor or magistrate of a place or region.

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My preferred English word for the Arabic word waliy is “ally.” The word is used in English to describe two separate individuals or parties who participate in favor of each other. This word best fits the Quranic context for the word waliy.

According to the Quran, Allah is the waliy of the believers, and the believers are the waliy of Allah. Allah being the waliy of the believers is consistent with the meanings of “custodian,” “protector,” “helper,” or “authority.” Because clearly Allah is all these things to the believers. But these meanings are not consistent with us, the believers, in our relationship with Allah, the Exalted and Mighty.

But the word “ally” can apply to both the superior party and the inferior. Consider two countries who are allies in defense and military matters. While one might be stronger, more powerful, and even dictate its demands to the other, they are still allies with one another. And Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) is far greater than any such comparison.

So when Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) describes Himself as the waliy of the believers, it means that we seek His continual guidance, help, and protection. Our role and responsibility in this alliance is not the same, as nothing we do can ever benefit or harm Allah. Allah makes it clear that He is not in need of our protection or assistance, as He is All-Powerful and free from any weakness. We express our allegiance to him through our worship, obedience, reverence, and love. The awliyāʿ of Allah are those who dedicate themselves to perfecting these duties.

Clearly the alliance the believers have with Allah is completely unequal since there is no similarity between the Creator and the creation. While we take Allah as our ally out of our incompetence and dependence, He chooses us as allies purely out of mercy and kindness. And we desperately beg Allah to remain our ally, and to permit us to be allies of Him.

With this understanding of the word waliy, we can now better analyze the verse in question. Notice how the verse’s prohibition against taking unbelievers as allies is not unqualified; it specifies that we must not do so against other believers. We understand from this that it is permitted to make a treaty with unbelievers as long as it does not harm our fellow believers. Our beloved Messenger himself did this when he entered Madinah and made a treaty with the two major tribes of Aws and Khazraj, and with more than a dozen minor tribes pagan and Jewish tribes. The Muslims were expecting major attacks from the idolaters of Quraysh, and so their alliance with neighboring tribes was in the interest of the Muslim community as a whole.

This immediately forces us to question the validity of the military alliance between Israel and Egypt that deprives the people of Gaza of basic necessities. It is this sort of arrangement that the verse seems to warn so starkly against. Let those who partook take heed, as the verse ends with a stark threat: “And Allah warns you of Himself.”

Muslims can be friends with non-Muslims. Muslims can ally with non-Muslims. But a Muslim may never harm another Muslim. “It is enough of an evil for a person to belittle his Muslim brother. The entirety of one Muslim is sacred to another—his blood, his wealth, and his honor.”

And to Allah belongs all good.

Politics In Islam: Muslims Are Called To Pursue Justice

 


Quran 3:28ْ وَِريَنأَكافُِْمْؤِمنُوَنالِْخِذالَنتَتَّقُواِمْنُهْمتُقََّاليَتََّّالأَِسِمَنََّّللاِفِيَشْيٍءإْيِلَكفَلَْٰلذَُمْؤِمنِيَنَۖوَمنيَفْعََْمِليَاِصيُرَءِمندُوِنالْلَىََّّللاِالَِوإَسهُُِۗرُكُمََّّللاُنَفَْويَُحذاةًۗ

Let not believers take disbelievers as allies rather than believers. And whoever does that has nothing withAllah, except when taking precaution against them in prudence. And Allah warns you of Himself, and to Allah is the destination.

Quran 2: 25  7ِماِتإُُّظلْخِرُجُهمِمَنالَمنُوايُِذيَنآَُّّيالََّّللاُئَِكَوِلٰولََُماِتۗأُُّظللَىالُِهمِمَنالنُّوِرإْخِرُجونََّطاُغوُتيُْوِليَاُؤُهُمالَُرواأِذيَنَكفَََّهلاَىالنُّوِرَۖوالِرُۖهْمِفيْصَحاُبالنَّاَأَخاِلدُوَنAllah is the ally of those who believe. He brings them out from darknesses into thelight. And those who disbelieve-their allies are Taghut. They take them out of the light into darknesses. Those are the companions of the Fire; they will abide eternally therein.10Quran 10:62-64َوَالُهْمَيْحَزنُوَنِهْمْيَالَخْوٌفَعلََءََّّللاِْوِليَاََّنأَِالإأ-وَنََوَكانُوايَتَّقَُمنُواِذيَنآْوُزَّال-فَِْلَكُهَوالَٰماِتََّّللاِۚذَْْلِخَرةَِۚالتَْبِديَلِلَكِلَوفِياَحيَاةِالدُّْنيَاْبُْشَرٰىفِيالُْهُماللَُمعَِظيال-ْ

Unquestionably, [for] the allies of Allah there will be no fear concerning them, nor will they grieve. Those who believed and were fearing Allah. For them are good tidings in the worldly life and in the Hereafter. No change is there in the words of Allah. That is what is the great attainment

Quran 17:111ٌّيِمَوِلهَُُّكنلْميَِكَولَُْملْهَُشِريٌكفِيالَُّكنلْميََولََولَدًاِخذْْميَتَِّذيلََِّالَحْمدُِلِلَِّْلالَوقُِيًراِْرهُتَْكبلَِۖوَكبَنالذُّAnd say, “Praise to Allah, who hasnot taken a son and has had no partner in [His] dominion and has no [needof a] protector out of weakness; and glorify Him with [great] glorification.”12Forty Hadith, Imam al-Nawawi, #35َ،ُكُمْسِلمَْخاهُالََرأْنيَْحِقََِحْسِباْمِرٍئِمْنالَّشِرأٌمبِمَحَراُمْسِلِْمَعلَىالُمْسِلَْوِعْرُضُّلال:

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#Life

The Khabib Halal/Haraam Ratio: Good Character, Bad Sports, And The Conundrum of Muslim Representation 

Zainab (AnonyMouse)

Published

Note: This article was reviewed and approved by Shaykh Younus Kathrada for religious content

The Muslim Ummah has spent the last several years celebrating the rise and success of MMA fighter Khabib Normagomedov, a Muslim Daghestanti fighter who emerged to become an undisputed victor. On the day of his 29th victory, he also announced his retirement from MMA, referencing a promise that he made to his mother.

Muslims went wild in their praises, showering him with adoration, expressing their admiration of his obedience to his mother, his public demonstrations of sajdah ash-shukr after every match, his humility and remembrance of Allah, and his lowering of the gaze around inappropriately dressed women at public events. Undoubtedly, these are all praiseworthy behaviours and characteristics that should be encouraged in all Muslims, especially Muslim men. 

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However, there has been a near-deafening silence on the underlying problematic foundations of the entire phenomenon of Khabib Nurmagomedov and his popularity amongst Muslim men. To begin with, his entire career as an MMA fighter is considered sinful and prohibited according to the Shari’ah. It is well-known that the Messenger of Allah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said:

وَعَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ ‏- رضى الله عنه ‏- قَالَ: قَالَ رَسُولُ اَللَّهِ ‏- صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏-{ إِذَا قَاتَلَ أَحَدُكُمْ, فَلْيَتَجَنَّبِ اَلْوَجْهَ } مُتَّفَقٌ عَلَيْهِ.‏ 1‏ .‏

‏1 ‏- صحيح.‏ رواه البخاري (2559)‏، ومسلم (2612)‏ واللفظ لمسلم، ولتمام تخريج 

“When any one of you fights, let him avoid (striking) the face.” (Narrated by al-Bukhari, al-Fath, 5/215).

Scholars have agreed that any sports which involve striking of the face, and in addition, those which involve several physical harm and injury to its participants, are haraam. As per the hadith, and established legal maxim, “laa darar wa laa diraar” (There is no harming of others nor reciprocation of harm), this prohibition extends to sports such as boxing, MMA, American football, and any other sport where the athletes deliberately and regularly inflict and receive physical injury. 

On The Ropes

This is not a matter to be taken lightly. Indeed, it is disturbing and unfortunate that this fact has been minimized to such an extent that many Muslims – including and especially the Muslim men who are such avid fans of these sports – are not even aware of this prohibition. Perhaps most alarming is that many of those who are considered scholars, imams, shuyookh, and leaders in the Muslim community, who are aware of this prohibition, have neglected to mention these rulings even as they publicly praise those such as Muhammad Ali or Khabib Nurmagomedov for their prowess in these arenas, and hold them to be role models to follow. When even religious authorities are publicly cheering on such athletes and celebrating their victories, how can the average layman be expected to know that these sports are detested by the Shari’ah? It is a grave shortcoming that so many religious teachers and leaders have failed their fellow Muslims on a matter that has been extremely public and popularized. 

It is also necessary for Muslims to consider that the way that professional boxing, wrestling, MMA, and similar prohibited sports are conducted is a far cry from the casual (and permissible) fighting-for-sport that existed at the time of RasulAllah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him). Today, the sports industry boasts billions upon billions of dollars spent in promotional material and events that involve no small amount of music, alcohol, vulgarity, and nearly-naked women being used solely to titillate the male gaze; sponsors of teams and athletes include beer companies. 

Glutton For Punishment

Male and female ‘awrah alike is revealed, openly and blatantly, normalized as part of the sports environment. Concern over the male ‘awrah being revealed cannot be overstated when we have an Islamic tradition that emphasizes modesty for believers, male and female. The greatest of all human beings, the Messenger of Allah, was described as “… more modest than a virgin in seclusion”

(Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī 5751, Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 2320). The Prophet Musa (‘alayhissalaam) was known to be so modest that he kept his body covered at all times (Sahih Tirmidhi); the Companion ‘Uthmaan ibn ‘Affaan (radhiAllahu ‘anhu) was described as having such modesty that the Messenger of Allah himself said, “Should I not be shy of the one whom the angels are shy of?” (Sahih Muslim 2401)

Related to modesty is the reminder to Muslim women who have been watching his matches (or any other entertainment) to lower their gazes. Bluntly speaking, it does not behoove a believing woman to be enjoying the sight of half-naked men (especially the very fit, athletic, and often attractive type) to be grappling away at each other. Muslim women are certainly not immune to the fitnah caused by the flaunting of undressed men all over social media feeds and through other entertainment.

The warnings regarding zina of the eyes apply to Muslim women just as they do to men; the Qur’an has already said:

{And tell the believing women to lower their gazes and guard their private parts…} (Qur’an 24:31) 

It is unfortunate that this has been forgotten about to such an extent that even scholars have neglected to address this particular issue.

Rolling With The Representation Punches

While Khabib himself has been praised for his lowering of the gaze around inappropriately dressed women at events that he is present at, we should be cognizant of the fact that neither he nor any other Muslim man (or woman) should be putting themselves in the position of being at such events to begin with. The truth of the matter is that his presence at these events was a necessary part of his career; his income, derived from this haraam sport and this haraam environment, can bluntly be considered haraam rizq, and no different in legal ruling than those who make money from liquor stores or running brothels. That Muslims have been blithely ignoring the serious spiritual ramifications of this raises the question of just how seriously we take the issue of blessed rizq in the first place. 

It is clear that many Muslim men, and in particular the religiously observant, find in Khabib a type of Muslim representation that they crave: someone who is publicly and unapologetically Muslim, who has demonstrated impressive physical skills and capability (perhaps they’re living through him vicariously?), who has displayed exemplary conduct outside the ring, who has constantly held fast to publicly and unashamedly remembering Allah and speaking of Islam. 

In and of itself, this is admirable. The Muslim Ummah has had a dearth of heroic contemporary role models, and no one can be faulted for feeling love for someone who seems to embody such laudable character and conduct. However, we cannot simply stop there. It is necessary for us to ask ourselves the question of what kind of Muslim representation is the kind of Muslim representation worth having – and how, and where, that representation takes place. 

When Muslim women have entered the public space, providing “representation” in the form of a muhajjabah in Playboy magazine, a hijab wearing model in a beauty pageant and the modeling industry, a hijabi in Olympic sports, and plenty of non-hijabis in many other areas, there has been a great deal of valid, legitimate criticism regarding the concept of “Muslim representation” and what it entails. Amongst conservative Muslims, there is a shared belief that “representation” at the cost of upholding the halal and turning away from the haraam is not representation worth having. Indeed, such “representation” comes with a significant amount of damage to the collective social and spiritual health of the Ummah: there is normalization of platforms that are antithetical to Islamic values, of dressing and conduct that go against our Shari’ah, and encouraging younger generations to engage in those behaviours and to pursue those types of careers. 

Why, then, are we not holding our Muslim brothers to the same standard? No matter how inspiring Khabib’s conduct is, no matter how admirable his public representation of his Muslim identity, his career and all that comes with it cannot be considered permissible, acceptable, or encouraged in Islam. Unfortunately, we have had many Muslim men encouraging one another to watch his matches, to the extent of arranging watch parties in the masjid! (Someone, please, answer me truly: how would RasulAllah consider the enthusiastic watching of a haraam sport in the House of Allah?)

Blow-By Blow: Izzah of the Ummah?

Furthermore, the excuses made for Khabib’s career choice are, frankly, flimsy – he has not brought ‘izzah to this Ummah in any tangible way other than making Muslim men feel good about themselves (I mean, hey, I get it, but sorry, this ain’t it); he is not “intimidating the kuffaar” (let’s be real: the kuffaar at the UFC are making more money off of him than you could ever dream of having in a lifetime); his victories in the ring are not a victory for this Ummah (please, go ask the oppressed Muslims in Burma, Somalia, Yemen, East Turkestan, Palestine, Kashmir, and elsewhere how much of a victory his matches have been for their well-being). Indeed, questions have risen regarding his public appearances with Vladimir Putin and his possible political allegiances with Russia, which has a long history of brutalizing Muslims in their surrounding regions. 

At the end of the day, Khabib Nurmagomedov is a paid athlete, whose millions of dollars come from a prohibited sport, in an industry that reeks of filth from beginning to end. He is our Muslim brother, and what should be celebrated is that he has finally chosen to leave the industry. What we should not have done, nor continue to do, is to hold his career as an MMA fighter to be exemplary for Muslims in any way, shape or form. We should pray for his guidance as a Muslim, his forgiveness for his previous sins, and remind our Muslim brothers – no matter how emotionally swayed they may be – that true ‘izzah comes not from participating in prohibited sports or careers (despite how successful one may be at it!), but from obeying the Law of Allah and His Messenger and abstaining from transgressing the boundaries laid by the Shari’ah.

Further resources on rulings:

https://islamqa.info/en/answers/10427/ruling-on-boxing

https://www.islamweb.net/en/fatwa/429082/boxing-is-forbidden-even-without-striking-the-face

https://www.islamweb.net/en/fatwa/329518/going-to-gym-that-has-yoga-lessons-boxing-and-sauna

Is Watching Boxing Allowed in Islam?

Punching or Striking the Face

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