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Reflections On The Muslim Reaction To Andrew Tate

The Muslim community has a lot to say about Andrew Tate converting to Islam. Shaykh Umarji unpacks the conversation from an Islamic viewpoint.

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Andrew Tate

Bismillah

We welcome Andrew Tate to the beautiful religion of Islam. He and all other human beings on this earth are desperately in need of Islam, whereas Islam is not in need of anyone.

A small segment of Muslim community, especially those on social media, have voiced a number of knee-jerk and emotional reactions in the past few days. As with all issues in today’s polarized political climate, the polar extremes attract the most attention, which is a function of how social media is purposely designed to maximize outrage and engagement. We have a faction of people who are ecstatic and anticipating Tate becoming the 21st century Omar bin Khattab raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him), and another faction of people seething with anger that such a person became Muslim or is even welcomed by the Muslim community. We have ridiculous statements floating around about threatening to leave Islam if Andrew Tate is welcomed by the Muslim community or deeming people hypocrites if they don’t zealously embrace him.

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Though alhamdulillah, we also have moderate, balanced takes that welcome him to Islam and pray for his guidance, yet withhold judgment and wait patiently to see how Islam changes his life.

So, why do we have such divergent viewpoints? How exactly should a believer respond to the conversion of a high profile and controversial figure?

Who is Andrew Tate?

It is not from our character to highlight the wrongs of a convert’s past life, but due to the high profile and very public nature of our (now) brother (whose videos are all still accessible), we need to understand his background to understand people’s reactions. He was a world champion kickboxer turned businessman; he become a millionaire mainly based on ventures that any decent person would deem as immoral. He eventually became a global influencer who called men to a version of masculinity quite at odds with the general direction of Western culture. Without going into the details of exactly what he says, his message has been incredibly polarizing: deemed as either extremely misogynistic or extremely empowering.

One group feels his past comments and behaviors are dehumanizing to women, whereas another group feels many of his comments represent a return to the traditional masculinity they desire. Many of those who feel he dehumanizes women have been quick to paint any and all folks who gave him an ear as equally misogynistic, whereas many of those who found value in his message have been quick to paint anyone critical of him as feminists and “simps.”

Unpacking the Psyche

Here is where I hope we can stop and engage in some perspective-taking and stop seeing the world through such a binary perspective. The real world is full of gray.  Usually each perspective is worth listening to, even though we may passionately disagree. Those who previously hated Andrew Tate might try to consider with open minds why people are attracted to some of what he says. It is not as simple as they must all just hate women. These young people were clearly looking for something that they found in Tate’s message. What was missing in the discourse of other famous personalities that led them to listening to a man who they knew had serious flaws?

Consider that some of his followers may have experienced pain and suffering that they were looking to heal from. Whether they were right or wrong to listen to him is beside the point. It’s about understanding where someone is coming from and humanizing them. Similarly, to those who resonated with some of what Tate said, consider with an open mind why people have serious reservations about him. They are not all crazy feminists and simps who hate men. They have likely heard things from him or his followers that are hurtful and misguided. Consider that some of his critics may have experienced pain and suffering that they attribute to his message and what he stands for. Again, instead of evaluating the accuracy of their judgments, we can try to understand them and humanize them.

The truth of the matter is that both men and women are suffering in our communities, because we are part of a culture that is tearing men and women apart. We are a microcosm of bigger societal trends in the West. We will not heal and have healthy communities if we continue with these gender wars. But we will address this issue another day, inshaAllah.

The emotions people are feeling about Andrew Tate are often involuntary. Someone may feel excitement or apprehension towards his conversion. There is nothing right or wrong about the initial emotion. However, we have to look inward and regulate our emotions correctly. If I am excited, can I calm down a bit, not anoint him Omar raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) 2.0, and recognize that Andrew Tate’s path to learning about Islam may be long, with ups and downs, and it may not be wise to put him on a pedestal until his lifestyle becomes more in line with Islam? If I am apprehensive, can I calm down a bit, not say anything inappropriate, and have positive thoughts that Islam will transform his beliefs and behaviors?

Answering to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He)

At the end of the day, Andrew Tate will only answer to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He). The same applies to me and you. We need to use every opportunity, even his conversion, as an opportunity for introspection and self assessment.

There appear to be a number of potential spiritual ailments underlying much of what we are hearing that need to be addressed. It is an ailment to believe that he is not deserving of Allah’s subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) grace. It is an ailment to believe that Islam is a cultural identity whose membership can be regulated. It is an ailment to be happy with his conversion only so one’s anger towards women can be justified. It is an ailment to be patient with his mistakes due to veneration of him but to withhold that same clemency from other brothers and sisters who err. It is an ailment if one’s faith skyrockets or plummets due to his conversion. These are all issues we need to keep close tabs on.

What should we expect of Andrew Tate? Don’t expect him to disappear and study Islam in solitude. While he may choose to, it is not the norm for high profile converts. Rather, he will likely continue to speak and will likely make mistakes. The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) himself did not mandate a moratorium on new converts, but rather he put them to work in a manner that maximized their talents and minimized their mistakes. This was part of his genius that we cannot replicate.

However, we hope that Andrew Tate has the right brothers and sisters in his ear to help maximize the good and minimize his mistakes. This means that we all need to be patient, and extend that same patience to other Muslims, male and female.

“Speak Good or Remain Silent”

Finally, watch your tongue. We have people saying he is converting only to swindle Muslims. In essence, they are openly judging his intentions, which the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) vehemently chastised. Once, during a battle, a companion killed a man who said the shahada after he was defeated in battle and on the verge of being killed. When the Messenger of Allah ﷺ found out he said, “Did you kill him in spite of his professing Laa ilaaha illAllah?” The companion replied, “O Messenger of Allah! He said it out of fear of our arms.” Our Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) then said, “Why did you not cut his heart open to find out whether he had done so sincerely or not?”1https://sunnah.com/riyadussalihin:393

We must guard our tongues at all costs and ensure that we only say things that please Him subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He). “He who believes in Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) and the Last Day must either speak good or remain silent.”2https://sunnah.com/riyadussalihin:1511

 

Related reading:

Convert Story: To Ask Or Not to Ask, That is the Question

Convert Story: To Ask Or Not to Ask, That is the Question

Hey Reverts/Converts! How do we help YOU?

Hey Reverts/Converts! How do we help YOU?

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Osman Umarji was born and raised in Southern California. He obtained a B.S in Electrical Engineering from UC Irvine and worked in mobile phone development. He then studied Islam in Cairo and in Al-Azhar University, focusing on Islamic legal theory. He was previously the religious director at the Islamic Society of Corona-Norco. He is currently completing his doctorate in Educational Psychology at UC Irvine, focusing on child and adolescent motivation and identity development. He is also an adjunct professor at UC Irvine and Cal State University, Long Beach.

7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. Spirituality

    October 28, 2022 at 10:05 AM

    Jazak Allahu Khayran for such a great and balanced article. Allah guides who He wills. May Allah guide him and all of us to the straight path.

  2. Umm Adam

    October 28, 2022 at 1:05 PM

    May Allah guide us all.

    Unfortunately this individual is continuing with hateful language. Please see his comments here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KWeEi5IUKt8&feature=share&si=ELPmzJkDCLju2KnD5oyZMQ

    He says he will have a big pile of rocks outside his house in case his wife “gets fresh.” Is this speech we want to encourage in the Muslim community?

    Husbands are not allowed to stone their wives for adultery. They do not carry out the hudud.

    Please consider this. We should condemn speech that is against the teachings of our religion and our prophet (pbuh), no matter what religion the person identifies with.

  3. Guest

    October 28, 2022 at 7:37 PM

    I hope the individual in question starts to learn Islam and try and begin the process of character reformation, instead of contiunuing on as he was previously, and especially needs to not be taken as an authority.

  4. nfsvsgta

    October 29, 2022 at 6:03 AM

    There is a spelling mistake of word “messenger”. Please fix it. Thanks!

  5. Muslima

    October 30, 2022 at 11:58 PM

    I am concerned and its justified. He attracts Red Pill men. He attitude is arrogant/prideful, rude, dismissive. He says a wife is husbands property, calls women B****, w****, and other derogatory terms.
    He is the type to beat his wife and quote quran allows it. He already made clear cheating is not allowed for women but husbands get a free pass.
    Wake Up he will bring men in that see Muslim women as easy prey – they get a virgin, submissive, young, clueless, no relationship experience and will abuse her. Men who are players, red pill, abusive, alcoholic, gambling, drug addicts will come to Islam thinking they can get a wife easy. These dudes wont marry their girlfriend of 5 years – they will much rather target your teen sisters. They coming from the manosphere…broken homes, dysfunctional families, narcissist fathers or absent fathers, etc.

    Islam welcomes everyone. But let them know marry at your level. A young virgin is not going to marry a player. A prisoner needs to marry one of his baby mamas. Converts need to marry each other.

  6. Zeba Khan

    October 31, 2022 at 3:02 PM

    I appreciate the balance and foresight with which this was written. JazakAllahukheiran. This is a badly needed perspective on the news, and I am looking forward to that next piece about gender wars. JazakAllahukheiran

  7. Anonymous

    November 2, 2022 at 2:42 PM

    Many of these videos are recorded well before his shahada. Please look in the history of YouTube and you will see the dates are from before his shahada. This video you’ve shared a link to was filmed some time ago when he was joking about becoming a Muslim. Just an fyi. Not defending the words in it.Just trying to be fair. He hasn’t said much after his conversion but people are posting old videos to get views and attention for their channels

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