Connect with us

#Islam

Shaykh Hamza Yusuf And The Question of Rebellion In The Islamic Tradition

Dr Usaama al-Azami

Published

Sepoy rebellion, Shaykh Hamza

In recent years, Shaykh Hamza Yusuf, a notable Islamic scholar from North America, has gained global prominence by supporting efforts by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to deal with the fallout of the Arab revolutions. The UAE is a Middle Eastern autocracy that has been the chief strategist behind quelling the Arab revolutionary aspiration for accountable government in the region. Shaykh Hamza views himself as helping prevent the region from falling into chaos by supporting one of its influential autocratic states.

However, more recently, he has become embroiled in another controversy because of comments he made regarding the Syrian revolution in 2016 that surfaced online earlier this week and for which he has since apologised. I will not discuss these comments directly in this article, but the present piece does have a bearing on the issue of revolution as it addresses the question of how Islamic scholars have traditionally responded to tyranny.

Thus, in what follows, I somewhat narrowly focus on another recent recording of Shaykh Hamza that has been published by a third party in the past couple of weeks entitled: “Hamza Yusuf’s response to the criticism for working with Trump administration”. While it was published online at the end of August 2019, the short clip may, in fact, predate the Trump controversy, as it only addresses the more general charge that Shaykh Hamza is supportive of tyrannical governments.

Support MuslimMatters for Just $2 a Month

MuslimMatters has been a free service to the community since 2007. All it takes is a small gift from a reader like you to keep us going, for just $2 / month.

The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

Thus, despite its title, the primary focus of the recording is what the Islamic tradition purportedly says about the duty of Muslims to render virtually unconditional obedience to even the most tyrannical of rulers. In what follows, I argue that Shaykh Hamza’s contention that the Islamic tradition has uniformly called for rendering obedience to tyrannical rule—a contention that he has been repeating for many years—is inaccurate. Indeed, it is so demonstrably inaccurate that one wonders how a scholar as learned as Shaykh Hamza can portray it as the mainstream interpretation of the Islamic tradition rather than as representing a particularly selective reading of fourteen hundred years of scholarship. Rather than rest on this claim, I will attempt to demonstrate this in what follows. (Note: this article was sent to Shaykh Hamza for comment at the beginning of this month, but he has not replied in time for publication.)

Opposing all government vs opposing a government

Shaykh Hamza argues that “the Islamic tradition” demands that one render virtually absolute obedience to one’s rulers. He bases this assertion on a number of grounds, each of which I will address in turn. Firstly, he argues that Islam requires government, because the opposite of having a government would be a state of chaos. This is, however, to mischaracterise the arguments of the majority of mainstream scholars in Islamic history down to the present who, following explicit Qur’anic and Prophetic teachings, opposed supporting tyrannical rulers. None of these scholars ever advocated the removal of government altogether. They only opposed tyranny. For some reason that is difficult to account for, Shaykh Hamza does not, in addressing the arguments of his interlocutors, make the straightforward distinction between opposing tyranny, and opposing the existence of any government at all.

A complex tradition

Rather than support these tyrannical governments, the Islamic tradition provides a variety of responses to how one should oppose such governments, ranging from the more quietist—opposing them only in one’s heart—to the more activist—opposing them through armed rebellion. The majority of later scholars, including masters such as al-Ghazzali (d. 505/1111), Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali (d. 795/1393), and Ibn Hajar al-‘Asqalani (d. 852/1449) appear to have fallen somewhere between these two poles, advocating rebellion only in limited circumstances, and mostly advising a vocally critical posture towards tyranny. Of course, some early scholars, such as the sanctified member of the Prophetic Household, Sayyiduna Husayn (d. 61/680) had engaged in armed opposition to the tyranny of the Umayyads resulting in his martyrdom. Similarly, the Companion ‘Abdullah b. Zubayr (d. 73/692), grandson of Abu Bakr (d. 13/634), and son of al-Zubayr b. al-‘Awwam (d. 36/656), two of the Ten Companions Promised Paradise, had established a Caliphate based in Makkah that militarily tried to unseat the Umayyad Caliphal counter-claimant.

However, the model of outright military rebellion adopted by these illustrious scholars was generally relinquished in later centuries in favour of other forms of resisting tyranny. This notwithstanding, I will try to show that the principle of vocally resisting tyranny has always remained at the heart of the Islamic tradition contrary to the contentions of Shaykh Hamza. Indeed, I argue that the suggestion that Shaykh Hamza’s work with the UAE, an especially oppressive regime in the Arab world, is somehow backed by the Islamic tradition can only be read as a mischaracterisation of this tradition. He only explicitly cites two scholars from Islamic history to support his contention, namely Shaykhs Ahmad Zarruq (d. 899/1493) and Abu Bakr al-Turtushi (d. 520/1126), both of whom were notable Maliki scholars from the Islamic West. Two scholars of the same legal school, from roughly the same relatively peripheral geographic region, living roughly four hundred years apart, cannot fairly be used to represent the swathe of Islamic views to be found over fourteen hundred years in lands as far-flung as India to the east, Russia to the north, and southern Africa to the south.

What does the tradition actually say?

Let me briefly illustrate the diversity of opinion on this issue within the Islamic tradition by citing several more prominent and more influential figures from the same tradition alongside their very different stances on the issue of how one ought to respond to tyrannical rulers. Most of the Four Imams are in fact reported to have supported rebellion (khuruj) which is, by definition, armed. A good summary of their positions is found in the excellent study in Arabic by Shaykh ‘Abdullah al-Dumayji, who is himself opposed to rebellion, but who notes that outright rebellion against tyrannical rule was in fact encouraged by Abu Hanifa (d. 150/767) and Malik (d. 179/795), and is narrated as one of the legal positions adopted by al-Shafi‘i (d. 204/820) and Ahmad b. Hanbal (d. 241/855). As these scholars’ legal ideas developed and matured into schools of thought, many later adherents also maintained similar positions to those attributed to the founders of these schools. To avoid suggesting that armed rebellion against tyrants was the dominant position of the later Islamic tradition, let me preface this section with a note from Holberg Prize-winning Islamic historian, Michael Cook, who notes in his magisterial study of the doctrine of commanding right and forbidding wrong that “in the face of the delinquency of the ruler, there is a clear mainstream position [in the Islamic tradition]: rebuke is endorsed while [armed] rebellion is rejected.”

But there were also clearly plenty of outliers, or more qualified endorsements of rebellion against tyrants, as well as the frequent disavowal of the obligation to render them any obedience. Thus for the Malikis, one can find Qadi Abu Bakr b. al-‘Arabi (d. 543/1148) who asserts that advocating rebellion against tyrants is the main position of the madhhab; similarly among later Hanafis, one finds Qadi Abu Bakr al-Jassas (d. 370/981); for the Hanbalis, one may cite the positions of the prolific scholars Imam Ibn ‘Aqil (d. 513/1119), Ibn al-Jawzi (d. 597/1201), and in a more qualified sense, Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali. Among later Shafi‘is, I have found less explicit discussions of rebellion in my limited search, but a prominent Shafi‘i like the influential exegete and theologian al-Fakhr al-Razi (d. 606/1210) makes explicit, contrary to Shaykh Hamza’s claims, that not only is obeying rulers not an obligation, in fact “most of the time it is prohibited, since they command to nothing but tyranny.” This is similar in ways to the stance of other great Shafi‘is such as al-hafiz Ibn Hajar al-‘Asqalani who notes concerning tyrannical rulers (umara’ al-jawr) that the ulama state that “if it is possible to depose them without fitna and oppression, it is an obligation to do so. Otherwise, it is obligatory to be patient.” It is worth noting that the normative influence of such a statement cited by Ibn Hajar transcends the Shafi‘i school given that it is made in his influential commentary on Sahih al-Bukhari. Once again, contrary to the assertions of Shaykh Hamza, there is nothing to suggest that any of the illustrious scholars who supported rebellion against tyrannical rulers was advocating the anarchist removal of all government. Rather they were explicitly advocating the replacement of a tyrant with a just ruler where this was possible.

Al-Ghazzali on confronting tyrants

A final example may be taken from the writing of Imam al-Ghazzali, an exceptionally influential scholar in the Islamic tradition who Shaykh Hamza particularly admires. On al-Ghazzali, who is generally opposed to rebellion but not other forms of opposition to tyranny, I would like to once again cite the historian Michael Cook. In his previously cited work, after an extensive discussion of al-Ghazzali’s articulation of the doctrine of commanding right and forbidding wrong, Cook concludes (p. 456):

As we have seen, his views on this subject are marked by a certain flirtation with radicalism. In this Ghazzālī may have owed something to his teacher Juwaynī, and he may also have been reacting to the Ḥanafī chauvinism of the Seljūq rulers of his day. The duty, of course, extends to everyone, not just rulers and scholars. More remarkably, he is prepared to allow individual subjects to have recourse to weapons where necessary, and even to sanction the formation of armed bands to implement the duty without the permission of the ruler. And while there is no question of countenancing rebellion, Ghazzālī is no accommodationist: he displays great enthusiasm for men who take their lives in their hands and rebuke unjust rulers in harsh and uncompromising language.

Most of the material Cook bases his discussion upon is taken from al-Ghazzali’s magnum opus, The Revival of the Religious Sciences. Such works once again demonstrate that the Islamic tradition, or great Sufi masters and their masterworks, cannot be the basis for the supportive attitude towards tyrannical rule on the part of a minority of modern scholars.

Modern discontinuities and their high stakes

But modern times give rise to certain changes that also merit our attention. In modern times, new technologies of governance, such as democracy, have gone some way to dealing with challenges such as the management of the transition of power without social breakdown and the loss of life, as well as other forms of accountability that are not possible in absolute autocracies. For their part, absolute autocracies have had their tyrannical dimensions amplified with Orwellian technologies that invade private spaces and facilitate barbaric forms of torture and inhumane degradation on a scale that was likely unimaginable to premodern scholars. The stakes of a scholar’s decision of whether to support autocracy or democracy could not be higher.

Modern scholars like Shaykh Yusuf al-Qaradawi (b. 1345/1926), someone who Shaykh Hamza’s own mentor, Shaykh Abdullah b. Bayyah (b. 1353f./1935) considered a teacher until fairly recently, has advocated for an Islamic conception of democracy as a possible means to deal with the problem of tyranny that plagues much of the Muslim world. He is hardly the only scholar to do so. And in contrast with some of the scholars of the past who advocated armed rebellion in response to tyranny, most contemporary scholars supporting the Arab revolutions have argued for peaceful political change wherever possible. They have advocated for peaceful protest in opposition to tyranny. Where this devolved into violence in places like Libya, Syria, and Yemen, this was generally because of the disproportionately violent responses of regimes to peaceful protests.

Shaykh Hamza on the nature of government

For Shaykh Hamza, the fault here appears to lie with the peaceful protestors for provoking these governments to crush them. Such a conception of the dynamics of protest appears to assume that the autocratic governmental response to this is a natural law akin to cause and effect. The logic would seem to be: if one peacefully calls for reform and one is murdered in cold blood by a tyrannical government, then one has only oneself to blame. Governments, according to this viewpoint, have no choice but to be murderous and tyrannical. But in an age in which nearly half of the world’s governments are democracies, however flawed at times, why not aspire to greater accountability and less violent forms of governance than outright military dictatorship?

Rather than ask this question, Shaykh Hamza Yusuf appears to be willing to defend autocracy no matter what they do on the grounds that government, in principle, is what is at stake. Indeed, in defending government as necessary and a blessing, he rhetorically challenges his critics to “ask the people of Libya whether government is a blessing; ask the people of Yemen whether government is a blessing; ask the people of Syria whether government is a blessing?” The tragic irony of such statements is that these countries have, in part, been destroyed because of the interventions of a government, one for which Shaykh Hamza serves as an official, namely the UAE. This government has one of the most aggressive foreign policies in the region and has been instrumental in the failure of representative governments and the survival of tyrannical regimes throughout the Middle East.

Where do we go from here?

In summary, Shaykh Hamza’s critics are not concerned that he is “supporting governments,” rather they are concerned that for the last few years, he has found himself supporting bad government and effectively opposing the potential for good government in a region that is desperately in need of it. And while he may view himself as, in fact, supporting stability in the region by supporting the UAE, such a view is difficult if not impossible to reconcile with the evidence. Given his working relationship with the UAE government, perhaps Shaykh Hamza could use his position to remind the UAE of the blessing of government in an effort to stop them from destroying the governments in the region through proxy wars that result in death on an epic scale. If he is unable to do this, then the most honourable thing to do under such circumstances would be to withdraw from such political affiliations and use all of his influence and abilities to call for genuine accountability in the region in the same way that he is currently using his influence and abilities to provide cover, even if unwittingly, for the UAE’s oppression.

And Allah knows best.

Support Our Dawah for Just $2 a Month

MuslimMatters has been a free service to the community since 2007. All it takes is a small gift from a reader like you to keep us going, for just $2 / month.

The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

Shaykh Usaama al-Azami is Departmental Lecturer in Contemporary Islamic Studies at the University of Oxford. He began pursuing Arabic studies formally in 2002. He subsequently enrolled at Oxford University, completing his BA in Arabic and Islamic Studies in 2008. From 2005 onwards, he attended regular classes at Al-Salam Institute with Shaykh Mohammad Akram Nadwi, from whom he narrates numerous classical works including the Hidaya of al-Marghinani and the Sahih of al-Bukhari. Over the years Shaykh Usaama has been able to study with, and/or obtain ijazat from a number of scholars. They include Shaykhs Ahmad ‘Ali Lajpuri, ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Kattani, Yunus Jaunpuri, Muhammad Rabi’, ‘Abd al-Wahhab al-Turayri, ‘Abd-Allah al-Judai’ (without ijaza), Muhammad al-Yaqoubi, Muhammad Al Rashid, Nizam Ya’qubi, Jihad Brown (without ijaza), and Ziyad al-Tukla. From 2010-2015, Usaama was based at Princeton University’s Department of Near Eastern Studies, where he completed an MA and later a PhD on contemporary Islamic political thought.

32 Comments

32 Comments

  1. Avatar

    GregAbdul

    September 15, 2019 at 7:12 PM

    Rebellion in the US is not like rebellion in UAE. Different types of bad governments require different types of responses. If there is no organized opposition ready for international backing in the UAE or Saudi Arabia, are you trying to talk about a unicorn that does not exist and using that unicorn to attack a Muslim scholar? Why is it that Western Muslims who are so eager to attack Sheikh Hamza and Sherman Jackson NEVER criticize Louis Farrakhan? Why are the voting-is-haram speakers never seen as oppressive?

    There are peaceful protests in the UAE? Sheikh Hamza is assisting the UAE Monarchy in oppressing its citizens? In the video you linked, he apologized for those that “misconstrued” his words and “regretted going in to that area.” Once again; a sort of Obama issue. Obama was the one who said Assad had to go. He then spent years seeking allies among the resistance and found none. I saw online videos of Syrian fighters who said that it was haram for them to take aid from non-Muslims. Assad obviously had no such limitations. The Russians and Iranians are pouring aid in to the Shia side. To stage a rebellion against an established state and not look for every inch of outside help possible has caused terrible suffering to the Syrian people.

    Sheikh Hamza has had nothing to do with the suffering of the Syrian people. Over and over I have listened to him and his speech has always been impeccable. He discourages rebellion and speaks, using Quran and Hadeeth, asking that Muslims strive for order. The extremists in Syria, who would not lower themselves to where the US could more fully engage the conflict, funny, I never hear them criticized, but the white American Western Muslim somehow is at fault for what has happened in Syria or wrong for daring to talk about it?

    Millions of suffering, mostly Muslim, women and children is being overlooked. Blaming a man who literally speaks from outside of the conflict reduces that suffering to nothing more than an opportunity to bash that Emam you happen not to like.

  2. Avatar

    Hassan

    September 16, 2019 at 3:05 AM

    Rendering unconditional obedience to tyrannical / unjust rulers is not only contradictory to Islamic history, but is also contradictory to the teaching of the Quran. For even the prophet Muhammad (pbuh) we were instructed to ONLY obey him in matters that are fair, just and right and in line with the book of Allah (the Quran), as evident by the following verse:

    “O Prophet! When believing women come to thee to take the oath of allegiance / pledge (Arabic: baya’a) to thee, that they will not associate in worship any other thing whatever with Allah, that they will not steal, that they will not commit adultery (or fornication), that they will not kill their children, that they will not utter slander, intentionally forging falsehood, and THAT THEY WILL NOT DISOBEY YOU IN ANY JUST MATTER, (or what is right / good) (Arabic: ma’rufin), then accept their allegiance and pray to God for forgiveness for them: for God is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.”[ Quran 60:12.]

    Hence, as can be seen from the above verse: Obedience even to the Holy Prophet (pbuh) has been restricted only to that which is ‘just, fair and good / right’ (ma’rufin); although the Prophet would not have order anyone to do any evil / unjust act.

    From this (the above verse) it automatically follows that no one in the world can be obeyed outside the bounds of Divine law. For when obedience to Allah’s Messenger is conditional upon ‘what is just, fair and good/right’, who else can have a position to demand unconditional obedience and require the people to obey and follow each of his commands laws, rules or customs, which may contradict the law(s) of Allah?

    Therefore, an allegiance / pledge to a leader is allowed ONLY up to the point that said leaders actions are fair, just and right and in line with the teachings from the Divine Book (Arabic: ma’rufin), as evident by the above verse.

    • Avatar

      AbdelRahman

      September 16, 2019 at 7:15 AM

      But Shaykh hamza Yusuf actually never said that. This article is very poorly written and is misleading.

      This article cites this video as evidence that Hamza Yusuf said “virtually absolute obedience to the ruler”: https://youtu.be/spQ_0-Bf7eY

      But if you watch the video he clearly says “obedience to the ruler in what does not violate the shari’ah”.

      How can you change that to “virtually absolute obedience to the ruler”.

      The person you should be criticizing is the author of this article.

    • Avatar

      GregAbdul

      September 16, 2019 at 6:45 PM

      Your premise is a straw man. In Islam, the only unconditional obedience is to Allah and his messenger and no Muslim gets to decide if what Allah commands through his messenger is good or bad. sws, swt

      No one can be obeyed outside of the bounds of divine law?….(yawn)…so when the cop gets behind you and turns on his lights and you ain’t done nothing, your interpretation of Islam says you just keep right on driving? Income tax, is not written in the divine law, you pay it? Or do you tell your local state and federal tax collection authorities you only obey divine law? The only “law you are talking about not obeying is “man-made” is voting…but you sit here and pay taxes and support a secular Western government with money and sweat…because only a crazy person would leave America?

      The only secular law you refuse to obey in the West is voting (in reality precisely because there is no secular law that orders you to vote). Yet when the secular government threatens to jail you, only when that threat does not exist, do you reject divided government, created by mostly Christians through secular consultation? When we talk about Ma’ruf and Munkar, every possible modern behavior is not covered by those terms, which leave to many of us speculating. Reefer is not spelled out in the Quran or hadeeth. We have scholars who do analogy and tell us don’t do it.

      My point is, if you live in the West, you are subject to and OBEY man made laws every single day……please quit talking sideways about “voting is haram.” But paying for Tagut out of your own pocket, when Taghut uses your money to “oppress Muslims,” your sheikh tells you that’s halaal and you don’t have to move…because you live in the West and you have absolutely no intention of following the Quranic injunction (COMMAND) to move? They teach me that everything comes from Allah. Can you show me evidence, with the exact term addressed (VOTING), that Allah did not create voting?

  3. Avatar

    Abdelrahman Elsayed

    September 16, 2019 at 7:18 AM

    “Shaykh Hamza argues that “the Islamic tradition” demands that one render virtually absolute obedience to one’s rulers.”

    T’m sorry this is false. You cite this video as evidence to your claim: https://youtu.be/spQ_0-Bf7eY

    But in this video Shaykh Hamza Yusuf never said “virtually absolute obedience to the ruler”. He clearly said “obeditto the ruler in what does not violate the shari’ah”.

    Why can’t you show some more balance in the way you criticize our scholars ?

  4. Avatar

    Suleiman

    September 16, 2019 at 2:13 PM

    Why all this obsession with the UAE. I studied and worked in 6 different Arab countries and I can say without a doubt the happiest People in those 6 countries are the Emarati people. Is it because Sh. Hamza is close to the UAE and since some people hate him, not matter what he says and does, we hate the UAE too!!!
    I am sure these haters of Sh. Hamza don’t care about the well-being of the Emirati people just as they don’t care about the people of Yemen. Democracy, oppression, etc are nothing more than smoke screen to attack Sh. Hamza. How many of these armchair pundits put their hands in their pockets and sent something to the people of Yemen?

    • Avatar

      Khurram Shah

      September 17, 2019 at 12:30 AM

      The UAE is a beacon of tolerance and strives for peace in the Middle East.
      They have a Ministry of Happiness which works to make everyone happy

      You have to realize that those who hate them are supporters of Qatar and Muslim Brotherhood, the group which has inspired OBL and ISIS

      • Avatar

        Suleiman

        September 17, 2019 at 8:08 AM

        I agree. I lived in the UAE for 15 years.

  5. Avatar

    Michael Elwood

    September 16, 2019 at 8:01 PM

    I think the real scandal isn’t Hamza Yusuf’s full-throated support of tyrants and tyranny, it’s that what he says and does has considerable support in the Sunni intellectual tradition. However, as you can see from some of the comments here, most Sunni laypersons don’t know that this is what the Sunni intellectual tradition teaches. They believe that what Yusuf said is being misrepresented by his critics and that Sunnism is for the oppressed and against the oppressor. They point out that in the Youtube video Yusuf says obedience to the ruler is contingent on that rulers’ adherence to what the Sunnis consider “shari’ah”. But they ignore the fact that at 3:50 Yusuf quotes the fabricated Sunni saying that “No people will move towards government, even a handspan, to humiliate them except Allah will humiliate them.” At 4:20 Yusuf alludes to Al-Ghazali’s book “Nasihat al-Muluk,” but doesn’t quote from it. So let me quote the relevant passage:

    “The tyranny of the sultan for a hundred years causes less damage than one year’s tyranny exerted by the subjects against each other. When the subjects indulge in tyranny, God most High will appoint over them a forceful and violent sultan.”

    And at 10:18 he quotes what Ibn Hanbal says in his book “Al-Siyasah al-Shari’ah”:

    “Sixty years under a tyrant is better than one night of anarchy.”

    So, yes, Hamza Yusuf and the Sunni intellectual tradition does teach the “duty of Muslims to render virtually unconditional obedience to even the most tyrannical of rulers.” It explains Yusuf’s ridiculous comments about the Syrian Revolution and Black Lives Matter, and his support for the degenerate Trump and the degenerate UAE rulers, too. Yusuf is not alone in that belief. He’s just the most well known Sunni scholar in America who holds this belief. And, in fairness to Sunnis, some Shia scholars in America like Sheikh Mohamad Al Hajj Hassan also support Trump.

    Islam, however, teaches us the exact opposite. The Quran says:

    “Such was `Aad – they disregarded the revelations of their Lord, disobeyed His messengers, and followed the ways of every stubborn tyrant.”  [Quran 11:59]

    So, if Allah PUNISHED ‘Ad for supporting tyrants, how did countless Sunni and Shia scholars throughout the centuries come to believe that Allah will REWARD them for supporting tyrants? That’s a question for Hamza Yusuf and his blind followers to answer. As for me, I will always defer to what Allah and his Messenger says in the Quran alone over what some Sunni or Shia scholar says (past or present). Let me end this comment with some more verses from the Quran that I hope Hamza Yusuf’s blind followers will reflect on:

    “When they commit evil acts, they say, ‘We found our fathers doing such, and God ordered us to it.’ Say, ‘God does not order evil! Do you say about God what you do not know?'” [Quran 7:28]

    “When gross injustice befalls them, they stand up for their rights. Although the just requital for an injustice is an equivalent retribution, those who pardon and maintain righteousness are rewarded by God. He does not love the unjust. Certainly, those who stand up for their rights, when injustice befalls them, are not committing any error. The wrong ones are those who treat the people unjustly, and resort to aggression without provocation. These have incurred a painful retribution. Resorting to patience and forgiveness reflects a true strength of character.”  [Quran 42:39-43]

    • Avatar

      Michael Elwood

      September 16, 2019 at 10:24 PM

      Oops, I got my Ibns mixed up. I meant Ibn Taymiyya’s book not Ibn Hanbal.

      • Avatar

        GregAbdul

        September 16, 2019 at 11:38 PM

        maybe you are not Muslim? Islam, most of Islam’s history is Ah lal Sunnah wal Jama’ah (not wahabis). Elwood, is white. You got the nerve with a long history of slavery colonization and persection, to come here and tell us about evil Muslim political teachings and history? Excuse me, I won’t delete but I will try to be nice. Our faith and its commands are subject to interpretation. We have a long history of religion tolerance and right to privacy. Can you say the same about Europe? After Muslims conquest, it was very common for our “Sultans” to give people freedom of worship hundreds of years before the First Amendment. Please quit the prejudice. This is a Muslim site and we argue over how much we should see people like you as irredeemable. When you come here trying to preach from on high with such horrid history from your people, you make liberal Muslims like me look bad. When we want you to teach us Islam, that we Muslims are so ignorant about that we need your European self to teach us….we will visit a white hate site.

        • Avatar

          GregAbdul

          September 16, 2019 at 11:41 PM

          or are you making a wasabi argument?

          • Avatar

            GregAbdul

            September 16, 2019 at 11:42 PM

            *wahabi”

        • Avatar

          Michael Elwood

          September 17, 2019 at 8:01 AM

          What are you rambling about now, Abdul? And what exactly are you an abdul to? You don’t know me and what little you do know about me you have apparently forgotten. Both of us used to occasionally comment on the Patheos website. If you could remember any of my comments from over there you would know that I’m not “white”. My family has been in America since colonial times. Some of my ancestors were “white” but most were “mulatto” or “black”. I’m a Muslim but I’m not a “Wahhabi”. Heck, I’m not even a Sunni! Hamza Yusuf and his handlers in the corrupt shaykhdoms of the Gulf always accuse their critics of being “Wahhabis” or “Muslim Brotherhood” or “liberal/leftists” because they can’t deal with the actual substance of the criticism.

    • Avatar

      GregAbdul

      September 17, 2019 at 11:15 AM

      I am sorry. Your words were such a shock. As far as I can tell (I am a beneath you blind follower, so obviously I could be wrong) Salafis essentially are intolerant Hanbalis. I only wish you would seriously consider and ponder the best way to spread your anthropomorphic view of Allah and your literalist interpretation of Islam. Your bitterness and lies on fellow Muslims, maybe a quiet moment and cool thoughts might encourage you to use softer words and to be more honest?

      I can’t delete what I put here and I really wish I could. Such talk, the way you began, I could not even tell you are a Muslim. We will just have to see how things turn out. Allah knows our future and controls our fates. I love the Saudis. I know they fund intolerant Islam for not bright people and the people suffer and often their lives are reduced as a result of a false sense of superiority, but it is up to Allah to fix the heart. I only ask you use your reason.

      If you live in the West, intolerant hateful Islam is never going to work and all the Saudi Riyals in the world won’t spread hate that is built on intolerance in a free open society. Sheikh Hamza has founded a college and we love him. I am calling you Wahabi out of anger. Can I call you a Hanbali? I think it stains the Imam’s name, may Allah be pleased with him, but at least then we will know the root of this hate you are spewing at Muslims online. The joke here is, there are Saudi suck ups and immigrants in the West, stuck on back home who will never go back and just plain hateful people who bash the religion of anyone who does not sign off on their hate.

      You really think your bitterness is the way of our Prophet or that people cannot see your open display of hate? By the way, you are NOT alone, but I am pretty sure you guys are in the minority. What happened to following our leaders and what the community deems halaal and good and softens of heart and manner that is supposed to be in the heart of every believer?

      Please forgive me, having thought about it, I feel sorry for you.

  6. Avatar

    DI

    September 16, 2019 at 10:23 PM

    I can give excuses for HY. If ulema want to be revolutionaries, lets start by listing the countless fallen ulema revolutionaries in our history.

    Now, I’d like to see more hadith discussion of other HY political stances which arguably are just as, if not more, problematic. And more relevant to American Muslims than UAE..

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=otcP47kNhCc

    “And in Kanz al-Ummal, its a weak hadith, but he ﷺ said ‘Your companions are the Europeans (ar-Rum, by extension Americans) as long as there is good in life.’ If you are fighting them, it’s going to be a bad situation. We need to learn to live people, our ummah as a whole…”

    I don’t feel comfortable with the Americanization of Hadith. But even in Ibn Arabi’s time, people fabricated hadith about Andulusia. I am very uncomfortable with the idea of a scholar using a hadith to tell Muslims to learn to live with America.

    di.

    • Avatar

      GregAbdul

      September 16, 2019 at 11:45 PM

      Good thing you don’t live in the US or Europe?

  7. Avatar

    Fritz

    September 17, 2019 at 6:49 AM

    Bad article.

    There has never been a fully successful revolution in human history.

    Also, ponder this. There is no Quranic story of revolution and revolt.

    Think about it. SHY was just stating the bleeding obvious.

  8. Avatar

    Ahmed

    September 17, 2019 at 7:37 AM

    Can the author give one revolution in the Arab world that led to a democratic governance. There were countless revolutions in most of the Arab countries since independence from France and Britain. Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Libya, Mauritania, Algeria, Sudan, Somalia, Yemen…. Every revolution was worse than the one it toppled. What are you talking about? Worse yet, you are twisting the great religion of Islam to conform to what your small mind breeds.

  9. Avatar

    BioIslam

    September 17, 2019 at 9:56 AM

    Does anyone know whether Shk. Hamza Yusuf accepts as Sahih the Hadith of righting wrongs with the hand, if not the tongue, or if not at least the heart? In the Youtube linked to in the article above, he does not cite it, although he cites others.

    If he accepts it as Sahih, is HY wise to not use his “tongue” to “put it right”, as the Hadith expressly prescribes? Imho, it depends on his niyya. That is the key first principle, in the interpretation of Islam I follow (BioIslam.org). If HY’s niyya is to support the interests of certain rulers, then clearly he is violating the “heart” portion of the Hadith. But if his niyya is to avoid the use of the “tongue” to put it right, since it might trigger others to use their “hand” to put it right, then he is wise to hold his tongue. As Michael Cook says (p. 82), “Ghazzali excludes the use of violence by individual subjects when the wrongdoer is the ruler, since it leads to disorder and to consequences worse than the original wrong.” Until HY clarifies his position on his acceptance of that Hadith, and his niyya, we should not rush to judge him.

    • Avatar

      GregAbdul

      September 17, 2019 at 11:22 AM

      It is not our job to examine his heart or his niyyah. our job is to ASSUME he seeks good until there is clear evidence he does not. SHY in his arguments consistently cites sacred texts and quotes them verbatim. He is an American Muslim scholar. Sadly it seems that for some people identity politics comes in from of loving our brothers and sisters in Islam.

      • Avatar

        BioIslam

        September 18, 2019 at 12:07 AM

        The question remains, what is HY’s position on this particular important Hadith (from Sahih Muslim), which he noticeably evades. According to a leading academic on this topic, it was broadly accepted by the ulema, both Sunni and Shi’ite (Cook, p. 12)? If you are close to the HY ecosystem, it would be helpful to request a HY student to share that knowledge with us.

        I applaud your passionate defense of HY. There is much that I appreciate about HY, but I am not comfortable with his political stances, at least not yet. Also, I am not specifically questioning HY’s UAE connection, since I once lived in the Middle East, and am aware of the many positives of that country, mindful that no country is perfect. But when a major scholar takes a political stance, and given the damage done to the ummah in Islamic history by the ruler-scholar nexus, which I have discussed on my blog, the question is why is he taking that particular stance, and how does that relate to the content of an important prior Hadith? If it was a minor Hadith, I would not press the point.

        So, brother GregAbdul, the purpose of questioning his niyya is not to question his love for the ummah, or of his overall sincerity, on both of which there is no doubt, or as you correctly say, we should ASSUME…

        … but the question is what is his intellectual intention of bypassing an important Hadith, knowing that he believes in the Hadith system overall, since he often cites lesser known Hadiths. If he was a Quranist, it would make sense, but he is not. I just don’t understand how a major scholar can take a strong position on a topic, without citing his position on a major Hadith. If he does not believe that particular Hadith is valid, or that the historical consensus of ulema on this Hadith is invalid (as is often the case, as I have previously written about extensively), then it would be helpful to know that.

        J.A.K.

        • Avatar

          GregAbdul

          September 18, 2019 at 11:50 AM

          as salaam alaikum, You are evading fundamentals here, not the Emam. I don’t get you guys. This Muslim has founded a Muslim university in America and is an internationally recognized thinker in our Ummah. . Yet you in a sort of pompous way, think it is your job to judge him. Judgement belongs to Allah Alone. I am not a scholar. I can generally tell you that Sharia is, you assume good motivations until you see CLEAR EVIDENCE of wrong doing. All this talk about intentions and niyyah….Only Allah, looks in to the heart. Your view and argument are upsides down. Do you have CLEAR EVIDENCE, that the Emam rejects the Hadeeth you cite???

          If you do not., why are you pretending to be an authority that someone has to give you proof that they follow one arbitrary hadeeth? That you want to apply only to say Muslims should fight with to the US government? All these failed revolutions and all this human suffering, but your focus is that you are the one to judge what is inside our scholars hearts?

          Should Muslims fight every government in the world until Yaw Mul Qiyyamah? Do you know of a perfect nation where Muslims should never try to change one bit of it? Then your “fix with the hand hadeeth either mean’s world chaos, or your interpretation and application of said hadeeth is lacking in this context.

          I am not his student. I end up studying his words because over and over he is attacked and I look and I see the attacks are not legitimate. He cites Quran and Hadeeth and explains them, ever single time I look at his lectures and videos. He strives to never speak from his nafs. He is not collaborating with Trump to persecute Muslims. So there is no nexus for you to examine.

          I am a layman so you straighten me out: Doesn’t the Quran command you, that if you are in a place where you can not freely practice Islam, you have to move to where you can? If the Quran teaches this, I keep saying….and your tax money is used to persecute and kill innocent Muslims, certainly you are not so hypocritical as to be writing as you live in a Western land are you? That is a Quranic injunction by the way, NOT a hadeeth.

    • Avatar

      Zara

      October 24, 2019 at 6:36 AM

      I believe that the answer lies in on of his older talks called either “the purification of the heart” or “make firm my Heart”. If you can’t change it with the hand, nor the tongue, then at least hate it in your heart than nothing at all – (I remember this, so as to not have deadened your heart fully).

      • Avatar

        Zara

        October 24, 2019 at 6:50 AM

        https://youtu.be/zKKJQefgVYs
        (make firm my Heart)

        https://youtu.be/UbKZo7WvYgw
        (curing the heart I believe it is, but I thought it was purification of the heart or education of the heart as it has also been entitled)

        • Avatar

          Zara

          October 24, 2019 at 7:36 AM

          Apologies – this is the talk entitled here the human heart but back in the day was called purification of the heart.
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h65jJlzPVZg

          Interesting to see how many talks there are about the heart. I really do recommend listening to all of them.
          Time is experienced as linear, but there are really multiple dimensions to our existence, and what any of you say now, will affect you in the future.

        • Avatar

          Zara

          October 24, 2019 at 7:49 AM

          Or it could have been in this Family night talk –
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nZOzbsrSpO8

          Please don’t doubt his intentions.
          Doubting his knowledge, heart and intention is poor form.

  10. Avatar

    Khurram Shah

    September 20, 2019 at 6:31 PM

    The UAE is an amazing country. Criticism of it is definitely coming from Qatar, which is preaching intolerance. The 4 Arab countries, Saudia, Egypt Bahrain and UAE on the other hand are preaching peace. Don’t take my word for it, ask any Saudi or Egyptian scholar, and he will tell you the same

  11. Avatar

    KG

    September 23, 2019 at 9:44 AM

    While your post was informative, you construct a bit of a strawman when it comes to Hamza Yusuf. You really misrepresented his position and one only needs to listen to his apology video and more of his lectures or talks to see that.

  12. Avatar

    Khurram Shah

    October 4, 2019 at 3:48 AM

    The first astronaut from UAE, Hazza Al Mansoori has returned to earth. The UAE has achieved in 50 years what took other countries hundreds of years, to send a man to space. They have shown technological growth by sending a man to space

    The UAE stands for happiness and technology
    And let us contrast that with how Qatar and Turkey are using their time and energy in spreading violence and terrorism

  13. Avatar

    Sam

    May 6, 2020 at 10:46 AM

    We see what occurred in Syria. The people rose against a tyrant and more havoc, destruction and much deaths especially of the majority sunnis was seen in Syria.

    Even the great scholar Shayk Ramadan Bouti shared that the people must not rebel against the Alawite government as they will be worse off.
    We saw that.
    Asad is still in power and thousands of lives lost and millions displaced.
    We must use wisdom and intellect to change a dictorship, through peaceful means.
    The Syrians brought on their own destruction.

    May we change governments through dialogue and peaceful means.

    We don’t see this in the west.

    Time for the middle eastern countries to dialogue, discuss and promote peaceful change.

    Afterall Islam is a religion of peace

  14. Avatar

    Mansour

    June 2, 2020 at 7:34 PM

    I have no issue with a sheikh preaching absolute obedience to tyrants, there are thousands of those, and we love and respect them all. The issue with Sheikh Hamza Yusuf is he claims to preach an “American Islam.” America, of course, being founded on armed rebellion against tyranny. If we define American Muslims are Muslims who share American values (as opposed to just papers or geography of birth) then the two positions are mutually exclusive. One cannot be a proud American Muslim and a royalist. Whatever that is, it is not “American Islam.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

#Islam

Podcast: Prayer is a Work in Progress | Shaykh Abdullah Ayaaz Mullanee

Zeba Khan

Published

Many of us have been Muslim for our entire lives, and despite praying regularly for years, can still never feel like we’re never doing it right. Why is it so hard to focus in salah? And what should someone do if they feel like they are AWFUL at it?

Join Zeba Khan as she asks Shaykh Abdullah Ayaz Mullanee, who not only struggles with his prayers too, but is also the dean of Mishkah Institute, and author of the books “A Ramadan With the Prophet ” and “The Poetic Words of Sayyiduna Ali رضي الله عنه.” To take a free short course on the meaning of Salah, visit this link.

Support MuslimMatters for Just $2 a Month

MuslimMatters has been a free service to the community since 2007. All it takes is a small gift from a reader like you to keep us going, for just $2 / month.

The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

 

 

 

Support Our Dawah for Just $2 a Month

MuslimMatters has been a free service to the community since 2007. All it takes is a small gift from a reader like you to keep us going, for just $2 / month.

The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

Continue Reading

#Islam

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

Avatar

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.

Support MuslimMatters for Just $2 a Month

MuslimMatters has been a free service to the community since 2007. All it takes is a small gift from a reader like you to keep us going, for just $2 / month.

The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

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.

Support Our Dawah for Just $2 a Month

MuslimMatters has been a free service to the community since 2007. All it takes is a small gift from a reader like you to keep us going, for just $2 / month.

The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

Continue Reading

#Islam

Does A Muslim Have To Wish Well For An Oppressor Who Is Struck With Disease?

Imam Imran Salha

Published

First, we should differentiate between those who want to curse at the oppressor because it’s a fad, and those who do so because they either experienced oppression directly from said oppressor, or they genuinely empathize with those who have been directly oppressed.

To those who are doing it as a fad, I say what my teachers always said to me:

“Islam is not for blowing off steam.”

You cannot use Islam as an outlet for immaturity. Imam Shafi’i said if you are stuck between two options, choose the one that goes against your desires for there is a higher likelihood that the truth lies in that option.

Support MuslimMatters for Just $2 a Month

MuslimMatters has been a free service to the community since 2007. All it takes is a small gift from a reader like you to keep us going, for just $2 / month.

The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

Second, we also have to be careful not to restrict the Islamic position on something just because it sounds like the moral high road. This may be personal preference for some to hold back from cursing the oppressor, but that doesn’t mean Islam specifically asks this of us.

What is the standard?

The Qur’an – “Tell my servants to say the best word.”

“I was not sent as one who always curses.” -Hadith

“The Muslim is not one who always curses.” -Hadith

Scholars noticed that the Prophet ﷺ used the word اللعّان (la’aan) instead of لاعن (laa’in). The former is صيغة المبالغة which means that one is always cursing, where the latter is a description for one who curses once. If the Prophet ﷺ meant to say that the Muslim NEVER curses he would have said “A Muslim is not one who curses even once.”

Instead, what He ﷺ actually said is it is not part of the character of a Muslim that they frequently curse, which is why he used the word لعّان.

Also, the Prophet ﷺ could not have meant that he never cursed, because he himself cursed at an entire tribe. In an authentic hadith in Saheeh Muslim, Khifaaf ibn Imaa’ al-Ghifaari narrates that the Prophet ﷺ made the following dua during salah:

اللَّهُمَّ العَنْ بَنِي لِحْيَانَ، وَالْعَنْ رِعْلًا، وَذَكْوَانَ، ثُمَّ وَقَعَ سَاجِدًا.

“Oh Allah, send your curse upon Bani Lihyaan, and curse Ri’l, and Thakwaan – and then the Prophet ﷺ fell in prostration.”

There is no way that the Prophet ﷺ would command us never to curse and then in certain instances invoke the curse of Allah on others. This proves that cursing is in fact necessary sometimes.

Abu Bakr [ramhu] told Urwah bin Masood to lick the genitalia of Al-laat, which was an idol that was worshipped at the time. This was after Urwah disrespected the Prophet ﷺ. This is a hadith in Bukhari and the Prophet ﷺ did not scold AbuBakr raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) for his reaction and all the narrations that say the Prophet ﷺ scolded him are weakened if not fabricated. We know the rulings on the Prophet ﷺ’s silence. His silence is legislation. If there was something wrong with Abu Bakr raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him)‘ s words the Prophet ﷺ would have HAD to say something about it. His ﷺ silence means he agreed with what Abu Bakr raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) did.

Even if you do not want to curse, why should you wish well on any oppressor when Allah cursed all oppressors in the Qur’an? You can be clever. Look at the following example.

When Jamal Abdel-Nasser died, Imam Mohammed al-Ghazzali (ra) said: “Oh Allah have mercy on him in the same way he had mercy on your Ummah.”

لما مات جمال عبد الناصر قال الشيخ الغزالي: اللهم ارحمه بقدر ما رحم الامة

So I can say, (and again this is in the case of wanting to avoid cursing): Oh Allah! Have mercy on Trump to the same degree that Trump had mercy on the immigrant mothers who had to be separated from their children as a result of his ruthless policies.

For Tarbiyah purposes, it is beneficial to teach your children and students of knowledge never to curse. This was the methodology of Imam AbdelQadir Jilani (ra) who would force his students never to curse even against oppressors. However, this is in the context of Tarbiyah and preparing students for scholarship and leadership, not the context of Fiqh. This is so that the students lean more towards the Prophetic reality and is also more in line with the hadith we mentioned in the beginning! A student of knowledge and future leader should not be in the habit of constantly cursing.

Many spiritual paths force their students into a certain “extreme” to discipline them and make their default setting leaning towards what is more spiritually beneficial, so that only when it is absolutely necessary will they use these “licenses” that allow them to express their anger. When it comes to the general masses though, we should not make it seem like this is absolutely not allowed, or that it is even spiritually superior to wish well on an oppressor.

We should not be in the business of telling people that Islam forces you to wish well on forces of evil.

The Prophet ﷺ passed by a janazah and said: “Relieved and one who others are relieved from.” Upon being asked, the Prophet ﷺ explained: “The Believer is relieved at the moment of their death from the toil of life. As for the wicked, the people, land, trees and animals are relieved from their presence as soon as they die.”

May the eyes of the oppressors never find rest. Ameen.

Support Our Dawah for Just $2 a Month

MuslimMatters has been a free service to the community since 2007. All it takes is a small gift from a reader like you to keep us going, for just $2 / month.

The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

Continue Reading
..

MuslimMatters NewsLetter in Your Inbox

Sign up below to get started

Trending