Monthly Archives: December 2016

What is Wrong With the Millennial Generation?

Millennials… For those a little bit older it’s hard not to just rip into them on a daily basis. We can’t of-course as we’d hurt their feelings too much…

Anyway, here in a short video is a better way of talking to the millennials out there explaining just what is wrong with their generation.

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Musa Millington – Hamza Yusuf in a nutshell and racism

Link to original post by Musa Millington – Hamza Yusuf in a nutshell and racism

Well in a nutshell in case we forgot:

Hamza Yusuf is a Sufi, Ashari, promoter of Shirk (Qaseedah Burdah) and Bid’ah in the West who said that the most sacred place on earth is the grave of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم). He is also an extreme Muqallid of the Maliki madhab and associates with the likes of Habeeb Jifri; who calls to the worship of graves and shrines and the likes of them. That should be enough for us to be outraged, to distance ourselves from him and to warn others from his misguidance.

His comments regarding the struggles of African Americans also shows his extreme ignorance regarding the political, social and economic history of the United States as it relates to African descendants. Making foolhardy and rash statements that satisfy the white political oligarchy as well as many Muslim American immigrants who wish not to associate with the lower echelons of American society is not from the Sunnah. Rather the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) addressed it head on without any room for interpretation.

For the record the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “Upon you is to hear and obey even if it is an Ethiopian slave as if his head is (dark) like a raisin.”

Some foolish orientalists have interpreted this statement as one of racism. However, this is how he chose to address the Arabs as they disliked those of African descent. So he demonstrated that one’s skin colour was not a deficiency.

He also said to Abu Dharr when he called Bilaal the son of a black woman: “Did you find deficiency in him because of his mother. Verily you are a man who has Jaahileeyah (pre-islamic ignorance).”

He also said as narrated in Adab Al Mufrad by Imam Al Bukhari: “Whoever takes pride in his ancestry then let him bite unto the private part of his father.”

He also said: “There is no preference of an Arab over a non Arab or a white over a black…”

Hence, unlike the soft and tamed responses of many Muslims toward Hamza’s remarks (and racism in general) the Prophetic methodology was to take this matter head on in the face of those who have racism within their hearts. He also said as narrated in Saheeh Muslim:

“Three things from Jaahileeyah (pre-islamic ignorance) would remain in my Ummah. Taking pride in one’s lineage, cursing those of others and Niyahah (screaming and ripping off clothes at the death of someone).”

Hence, the one who is racist is not only ignorant but has an aspect of pre-islamic ignorance. The phrase Jahileeyah affected the companions so much that the great Sahabee, Abu Dharr, upon hearing the statement of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) went to Bilaal, put his head to Bilaal’s feet, apologized and asked Bilaal to stamp on his head.

But to Hamza racism is just another sign of ignorance which in itself proves the extent of his ignorance regarding Islam’s stance on racism.

And for the information of those out there who don’t know there were many Africans (yes black people) who played a very important role in early Islam. Just to name a few:

Bilaal Al Habashi, the first Mu’addhin.

Summayah the first matyr of Islaam

Najashi, the king of Ethiopia and his priests.

Mahajja the first matyr of Badr.

Bareerah who was freed by ‘Aisha.

Umm Barakah the first one who nursed the Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم) after his mother died.

Aslam the servant of ‘Umar Ibn Khattab.

Zaid Ibn Aslam who was one of the narrators of Muwatta’

Sa’eed Ibn Jubair who was seen as the most knowledgeable of the Tabi’een.

‘Ataa Ibn Rabaah who was a scholar of Tafseer.

Usama Ibn Zaid who led Muslim armies at 17 years old after the death of the Prophet.

Wahshi who killed Musailamah Al Kaddhab.

Naafi’ the servant of Ibn ‘Umar who brought to us the two recitations of Qaaloon and Warsh.

And there are many more who I didn’t mention and are found in a book called the raising of the status of Africans (Arabs used to refer to all Africans as Ethiopians) by Imam As Suyooti.

The Sahabah didn’t see race as an issue. Africans, as is observed by the list I wrote here, were prominent in the intellectual, political and social development of the early Islam. The likes of this took place with Malcolm X in the 1960s who by Allah’s will made Islam a household name and even presented it as a solution to America’s racial problems!

It is disturbing to see that in 2016, almost 50 years after the assassination of brother Malcolm that immigrant Muslim Americans have compressed themselves into a bubble wherein they boisterously applaud their ambivalence and nonchalance regarding the struggles of those who were pivotal in the development and existence of Islam in the U.S.

Sadly enough, amidst this ambivalence and nonchalance all and sundry cry foul when Trump is selected!

SMH!

#RIS2016

Coolnessofhind – SCHOOL USES PREVENT TO THREATEN MUSLIM PARENT WHO REQUESTED PUPIL REMOVAL FROM CHRISTMAS ASSEMBLY

Christmas, it seems is another issue which annually crops up to force the “Muslim Question”, whilst curiously obviating the uncomfortable issue of religious rights to hold, and by implication exclude particular beliefs and practices. Of course, this discriminatory focus on Muslims (the Jewish minority, for instance, are comparatively absent from this discourse) has consequences. Over a week ago, it was reported that a Muslim woman in Australia was subjected to a brutal verbal and physical attack after she replied “happy holidays” to the attacker’s “merry Christmas”. Incidentally, I doubt Louise Casey would regarding uttering “merry Christmas” as a sign of vulnerability to “extremism” and consequently, “violent extremism”.

There are milder but still manifestly detrimental consequences here in Britain too.  Last year, Police Commander Mak Chishty moronically stated that children who regarded Christmas as religiously prohibited were subscribing to an “Islamist” view.  They were therefore not “moderate”. As I highlighted at that time, this absurd notion was discriminatory as other religious groups, such as orthodox Jews and Jehovah’s Witnesses, whom regard Christmas as deriving from pagan customs, held similar views, but were not tarnished with the rhetoric of securitisation.  It seems however, that this dangerously irresponsible statement is seeing some manifestation in the education context.

My sources have heard from parents that teachers have been overly keen to get Muslim children involved in Christmas celebrations.  Until recently, however, I have not been able to obtain any hard evidence to corroborate this anecdotal evidence.  My sources have now forwarded startling information in the form of a letter which disturbingly issues a PREVENT-based threat to a Muslim parent for effectively requesting that his child be removed from the school Christmas assembly.  The assembly entails singing the Christmas carol called a “Silent Night”, a poem written by the priest Joseph Mohr in 1816. Part of the poem includes the following:

Silent night, holy night
Son of God, love’s pure light
Radiant beams from Thy holy face
With the
 dawn of redeeming grace
Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth
Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth

My sources in London state that the distraught father, who does not speak English as his first language, simply stated that he did not want his child to join in with Silent Night, as it is for Christians. This however, has been interpreted “intolerance” and therefore contrary to “British values”.

The letter, signed by the head teacher, states that,

“I am writing to you to express my disappointment about the tone of your conversations a number of staff (sic), where I believe you expressed views that do not match the vision and values of the school. As you know we are by law required to uphold out statutory duty to promote British values…”

After citing Department for Education guidance which is irrelevant to the specific case of withdrawing children from religious assemblies, the head teacher highlights the “British value” of “mutual tolerance and respect”.  Noting that assemblies of different faiths are also conducted, the letter continues,

“I believe your comments, which you have now made on more than one occasion in front of others, about Christmas celebrations being for ‘people like us’, by which I believe you to mean teachers and others of a different faith than yours does not show what the statutory guidance terms as:

“An acceptance that other people having different faiths or beliefs to oneself (or having none) should be accepted and tolerated.

The head teacher then iterates various celebrations of different faiths and then states that there is an expectation that “all children… take part in these events whatever the religion they practise out of school in the same way I expect all staff to.”

The head teacher follows this with the threat:

“It is one thing to disagree but quite another to make assumptions about others. This type of behaviour shows, what appears to be, such blatant intolerance of other people’s belief that should this happen again I will have no other alternative but to refer the matter to the authorities. 

Attention for further information is drawn to the “PREVENT Strategy”.

My sources state that the “expressed views” which the head teacher is taking an issue with includes the removal of the child from the Christmas assembly. This is corroborated by the head teachers “expectation” that all children partake in “these events”.

The father feels he is unable to have his child removed.

Parents have a right, enshrined in School Standards and Frameworks Act 1998, section 71, to withdraw their children from religious education lessons as well as acts of collective worship at all schools. Furthermore, parents are not obligated to give a reason why.  This is not exactly controversial. There are Jewish schools where Christmas is banned, and even wrapping of Hanukah presents in paper which represents the Christmas tradition is prohibited. Last year parents at a school in Devon protested over the school taking their children to the mosque, based on their negative perceptions of Islam. Whilst their reasons are questionable, having their children removed is completely in concert with their rights as parents. Would the head teacher threaten these Jewish and Christian parents with a PREVENT referral for exemplifying “blatant intolerance”?  Acceptance and tolerance of different faiths does not mean having beliefs of different religions forced down children. How many orthodox Jewish parents are willing to let their children sing a poem declaring the Prophet Jesus, peace be upon him, as the Son of God? On the contrary, this is a violation of parental rights and coerced indoctrination.

And coercion is a quality intrinsic to PREVENT, which demands mental configuration to the state-defined beliefs.  The broken and blunt predictive toolthat is PREVENT is being used as a weapon of intimidation to bully parents into compliance by seemingly zealous head teachers.

It is yet another demonstration of just how deeply problematic the PREVENT Duty is.


Note: I have, for the moment, deliberately withheld information on the school and the head teacher.  This may change provided consent is obtained from the source.

Are White Muslims Racist?

basmillah

O you who have believed, be persistently standing firm in justice, witnesses for Allah , even if it be against yourselves or parents and relatives. Whether one is rich or poor, Allah is more worthy of both. So follow not [personal] inclination, lest you not be just. And if you distort [your testimony] or refuse [to give it], then indeed Allah is ever, with what you do, Acquainted.
Quran translation, Surah an-Nisa, 4:135

hamza-yusufAssalaamu Alaykum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuhu,

I know most of you reading this have listened to or at least heard of the recent terrible comments by Hamza Yusuf on the subject of race at the 2016 RIS conference and maybe you are shocked someone you’ve maybe loved or followed for years could speak these words, perpetrate these racially charged and yes racist myths.

Here is the clip in question for those who have missed it, yes it is that bad. Yes he really does say “It actually makes me a little sick to my stomach to see all these people rising up about… white privilege.” 

I am not so shocked myself though. I ‘grew up’ in terms of the deen as a new Muslim listening to many Hamza Yusuf talks, but over the years I’ve gone off him as my own views came closer to the authentic scholars of ahlus sunnah and drifted away from the traditionalist-ish approach he brings up, as well as when my views on world affairs clashed more and with his pro-western speeches.

You may differ, that’s fine but that is just me and my views of him and I don’t think this particular speech is way out there really, that he was only tired after a long flight as some have tried to suggest, it fits into the same themes he’s been pushing for the past 10 years at least.

Now I’ve been wanting to write an article about the racism of many white revert Muslims for a while now, so rather than devoting a whole article to trashing someone who has already been thoroughly rebuked by so many powerful voices in the Muslim community over the years as well as more recently I want instead to use this incident to ask another more general question about are his views somewhat typical of white Muslim attitudes…

ARE WHITE MUSLIMS RACIST?

Now those who know me personally or have just read my blog over the time it has been up will know I normally complain of discrimination towards reverts (or converts if you like) but in this particular case I want to ask the question are Hamza Yusuf’s comments more indicative of a wider problem among white reverts towards other Muslims, especially black Muslims but also other nationalities, races and cultures?

I would argue they are and as a white revert, involved in new Muslim support activities and Dawah one of my responsibilities to check that racism so it cannot just be dismissed as another bitter rant by an angry person of colour.

WHITE PRIVILEGE

Due to the inherent racism and still colonized minds of so many in the Muslim community, my voice as a white Muslims is heard whilst so many others who are perhaps far more qualified to speak on this topic are ignored and I would be ignoring my own duty as a Muslim if I did not speak out when I am given the opportunity.

You (true believers in Islamic Monotheism, and real followers of Prophet Muhammad and his Sunnah) are the best of peoples ever raised up for mankind; you enjoin Al-Ma‘roof (i.e. Islamic Monotheism and all that Islam has ordained) and forbid Al-Munkar (polytheism, disbelief and all that Islam has forbidden), and you believe in Allah.
Quran translation Surah Al ‘Imraan 3:110

This is one of the things I did take from a Hamza Yusuf talk years ago, when he was asked in a Q&A session about the way new Muslims are treated especially well by some parts of the Muslim community, and how it was a responsibility in such circumstances to speak out for the truth and treat that position as an amanah, a trust.

Saying that, it struck me back then and even more so now that that privileged position only really applies to white reverts, the experience of black reverts and other non-white reverts I’ve come to understand is somewhat different.

When some Arab or Asian Muslims is telling a new Muslim he or she is better than them as they’ve reverted, so are ‘like the sahabah’ this is usually addressed to white faces not brown or black ones.

I’ve never met a white revert who has not had this experience probably more than once in one form or another, and I’ve never met a black Muslim who has been treated in this manner… unless you count constantly being compared to and even called Bilal because Bilal is the only black Sahabah or Prophet they know about.

The treatment of white and black (and other ethnic minority) reverts is not the same in our community, that is a fact. If as a white, Arab or Asian Muslim reading this you are suffering from some sort of cognitive dissonance at this point and you are not willing to accept that self-evident and obvious truth then stop reading now because everything else from here on in is going to get even more uncomfortable for you.

I am not saying white reverts don’t suffer some discrimination, they do and dealing with it and the aftermath all the time is part of my job but it’s no-where near on the same levels as other ethnic groups are getting and I’ve known black brothers and sisters leave Islam over this crappy totally anti-Islamic treatment.

It’s not a small thing and nor should we brush it under the carpet because ‘it put people off accepting Islam’ if they are only going to leave later anyway once they experience the reality.

White reverts are treated sometimes as status symbols by the Muslim community, so when a Masjid wants pictures of reverts to put on a fundraising brochure to go to the gulf, who gets called upon to help out?

Who gets the invites (few as they are for reverts) for iftar and Eid with Muslim families or for sitting with visiting scholars from the Muslim lands? Who gets pushed forward as a speaker or even for training to become a scholar and then gets easily accepted as such?

Who then being advantaged in these small but meaningful ways, being known by the community then gets pushed forward for marriage when that time comes and someone has expressed an interest in their son or daughter marrying a revert?

Though white reverts do suffer some discrimination, we should recognize it’s mixed up with a large dollop of privilege as well so it is a duty for us to use that privilege to break down the barriers for those left to one side, to speak out for those who are often silenced or ignored in the masjid and wider Muslim community.

So there is racism towards most reverts, falling least of all upon the whites, but as a section of the Muslim community are we guilty of this most heinous of modern sins? Are many white reverts themselves racist?

roast-beef-dinnerROAST BEEF DINNERS

Get two or more white reverts together in the UK and most likely one will bring up their dislike of curry, or some other ethnic cuisine, or dislike of certain types of clothing and they’ll then have a good moan about how they wanted to become Muslim, not an Arab, Pakistani or a Malay, etc and why cannot they just wear normal English clothing, the worst of them will then explain their need / want to free-mix, listen to music, do Christmas and birthdays etc with their families.

I remember one meeting we had over 10 years ago for the New Muslim Project in Sheffield, where a Masjid was providing us venue and free food for new Muslims and their families and all some of the reverts could do was moan all the way through the meeting about how I bet it’s curry again, why can’t we have have a nice roast beef dinner instead and why do we always get expected to eat Asian / Arab food?

The level of ungratefulness was something ugly to behold, and I am not just saying that because I like curries, I also like roast beef dinners as well but if someone is putting on free food and help for you then don’t whinge and whine about what gets cooked.

There is so often a sense of cultural superiority about a lot of these conversations and meetings and it’s not just white reverts who the only ones guilty of this either.

dont-tell-me-what-they-say-about-meBigoted Asians will often share in their conversations with white reverts some of their own twisted views towards black people, and Arabs the same towards the Asians and blacks in the Muslim community. They attempt to draw you into their conspiratorial little world views as if you will come onto their side or you must already be there purely because of your skin tone, as if these others are ‘not quite the same as us,’ not really Muslim enough, almost other, a lesser being.

They must be used to having such talks with and around white Muslims they meet and know and not being challenged over it, because when it is challenged they are shocked and outraged to be called up over it or else try to claim they meant something else.

So readers, especially reverts but also others please start responding and challenging such attitudes and behaviors or be prepared to face the consequences of potentially sharing in those sins on the day of judgement.

On the authority of Abu Sa’eed al-Khudree (radiallahu anhu) who said: I heard the Messenger of Allah (saw) say, “Whosoever of you sees an evil, let him change it with his hand; and if he is not able to do so, then [let him change it] with his tongue; and if he is not able to do so, then with his heart — and that is the weakest of faith.”
Sahih Muslim

BIGOTRY IN MARRIAGE

I know a lot of black reverts get annoyed that it is only when it comes to marriage that bigotry is brought up in the Muslim community but it’s a topic I did want to bring up as an example, showing the racism of many white reverts and how far we have yet to come as it is an experience they know themselves.

I know as best as I can that it’s not the once in a lifetime issue of marriage which is the main problem, it’s the one hundred and one other little acts of racism and prejudice which cause more day to day problems for black Muslims in our community, the number of times the salam is neither initiated or responded to, the way people stick to their own or those they see like them or like who they would like to be, the way white culture is looked up-to and emulated by the culturally colonized Asians and Arabs especially those brought up in the west but black brothers very quickly get told they need to leave their culture at the door or else told they have jahiliyyah and a chip on the shoulder.

But you ask any white revert just about, and all of them will tell you they’ve struggled to get married, had rejections based on race, culture etc, but ask these same people whether their own children could marry a black revert… and all of a sudden all the racist stereotypes come out.

It’s not just the revert themselves either, sometimes their born Muslim spouse will have bigoted attitudes as well. Saying such a partner is unsuitable for their offspring, they are too strong a character, too lustful,  they are lazy, or have a chip on the shoulder, or else won’t be accepted in our community as if these reverts now they’ve made it and been accepted find it then acceptable to turn their back on others who are still to some degree held on the periphery of the Muslim community.

IT’S TIME TO END THIS

We know that racism whether in subtle or overt forms can be stopped, Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alayhi wa Salam) did so, and provided the Prophet model on how it can be done but it requires action and speech from everyone to do so as a community and as individuals.

We need to really challenge the racist trash when you hear it and not let it go, ESPECIALLY WHEN IT COMES FROM OUR MUSLIM BROTHERS AND SISTERS. We need to reach out in brotherhood, genuine brotherhood to those around us, and pull together as a community and that means listening and acting upon the concerns of others.

It also means slapping people down occasionally when they say something incredibly silly and / or racist. Stop making excuses just because fulan fulan is an imam, or your neighbour or your uncle, just stop it.

O you who have believed, be persistently standing firm in justice, witnesses for Allah , even if it be against yourselves or parents and relatives. Whether one is rich or poor, Allah is more worthy of both. So follow not [personal] inclination, lest you not be just. And if you distort [your testimony] or refuse [to give it], then indeed Allah is ever, with what you do, Acquainted.
Quran translation, Surah an-Nisa, 4:135

We need to listen to those voices who are telling us that things are not OK, just because it’s sometimes mostly alright for the white reverts like Hamza Yusuf or myself, that doesn’t mean everyone else is sharing the same experience or that we need to belittle their complaints as it doesn’t seem to fit in how we see ourselves and our lives.

Stop making excuses for racism, whether it is within or without the Muslim community. Just stop it, there is no justification. When you hear that Munkar stand firm against it.

We need to encourage the imams to speak up, to challenge this sort of thing just as they do so when the dhulm, oppression affects them or their own people whether here or around the world. Especially those of us who are listened to because of privileged position, use that privilege to put a stop to the conditions that brought it about in the first place if you know it is not really justified.

We say we are one Ummah, one nation but if one section of the Muslim community is being affected massively by a serious problem, but we don’t see it as our problem because it doesn’t hurt us then we’re not really a community are we?

An-Nu’man ibn Basheer reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “The parable of the believers in their affection, mercy, and compassion for each other is that of a body. When any limb aches, the whole body reacts with sleeplessness and fever.”
Sahih al-Bukhari 5665, Sahih Muslim 2586

Even if we don’t have these attitudes ourselves, if we the white Muslims turn our backs on others, their problems and experiences because they do not share our own background are we not then guilty of helping perpetrate a racist system?

 

 

 

Hamza Yusuf and the Dangers of Black Pathology

Article written by ‘Strugglinghijabi’ and the original is linked here

Ya know, I’m not very familiar with Sheikh Hamza Yusuf. When I say “not very familiar,” I mean I used to think he was the guy who formerly went by the name Cat Stevens. (Embarrassing, I know.) So when it comes to his reputation and character, I think it better to suspend my initial impressions and rely on the Muslims I know (mostly black) who are acquainted with him. What I’ve gathered seems to boil down to three basic viewpoints:

  • Those who have followed him/known him for years and believe him to be good, kind and absolutely not racist.
  • Those who have followed him/known him for years and think he’s a decent Islamic teacher but have always felt uncomfortable about his commentary on race and politics.
  • Those who could never bring themselves to follow him because his commentary on race and politics always seemed racist and out of touch.

So what do I do with that? How do I reconcile the divergence? Well, it seems he’s probably not an avowed racist, but clearly his thinking is misguided and very much affected and infected by the mythology of black pathology. (Shout out to activist, scholar, artist Su’ad Abdul Khabeer for putting this on my mind.) White supremacy, which results in the othering/devaluing of blackness, is so pervasive that even the most well-intentioned people can suffer from it without even knowing. We can probably all think of racist things that have flown out of the mouths of people we generally love and agree with. In fact, we (black people) can probably think of some of our own statements that have been either tinged or deeply stained with this implanted self-hatred. I’m tryna tell you, it’s deep, son.

image

Sheikh Hamza Yusuf, speaker at RIS2016

As a cousin of mine so eloquently put it, our brainwashing has been complete. There is no part of our thinking or experience that has not been affected, influenced and tailored. So when a well-respected, well-loved scholar like Hamza Yusuf gets on a grand stage and tries to counter and discount black justice movements (BLM and the like) by citing the myth of black on black crime and then tops it off with a statement like, “It actually makes me a little sick to my stomach to see all these people rising up about… white privilege,” we see exactly what we’re dealing with and how no one, no matter how popular, is exempt from inheriting diseased thinking.

For those who Stan for Yusuf and cannot and will not accept these comments as anything more than the result of his intense fatigue, I (kinda) understand your pain. I say this because I know how hard it can be to swallow the idea that a person you have revered for years—a person whose teachings brought you deeper into the fold of Islam—can have racist views. I get that you experience it as a loss, and I get that there is a bit of grieving involved for the image you once held. But after the shock subsides, recognize and acknowledge the danger of black pathology and how it was wound all up and through Yusuf’s RIS 2016 rhetoric.

Black pathology is the idea that black people are—perhaps simply by virtue of being born black—steeped in pathology, unable to think and behave normally, healthily, sanely. Black pathology states that we are inherently flawed, not in a “all of mankind is flawed” sort of way, but in a “something is specifically wrong with those people” sort of way. So the many problems that have befallen black people have nothing to do with concerted efforts of concentrated racism and everything to do with our messed up wiring, which prevents us from pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps like so many others.  Yes, I know Yusuf never made such bold and direct claims, but there was definite danger in his words.

Why? Because he had an opportunity to educate a mass of mostly non-black Muslims on the oppression of their black brothers and sisters but instead spoke on black on black crime and how America’s anti-discrimination laws are top notch. Translation: “The problem is them.” To borrow a tweet from Su’ad Abdul Khabeer,

Black pathology is used to explain away structural racism by claims of “bad” behavior, culture, morals, etc

And then to add insult to injury, Yusuf brought up the racism “in our own communities” but only addressed anti-Jewish sentiment and Arab vs. non-Arab (i.e., South Asian) racism. He made no mention, not even in passing, of the very real and visible issue of anti-blackness in Muslim communities. Please tell me you see something wrong with that.

But that was late Friday night. He was tired and wasn’t exactly thinking clearly. He had Saturday to clarify. However, what came Saturday night wasn’t much better. Though he apologized explicitly about his comments directed toward Sheikh Yasir Qadhi and the Muslim Brotherhood, he did not directly apologize about his comments on black people. Instead, he explained how he couldn’t possibly be racist because of his proximity to non-white people. Really, bro?

What’s crazy is that most people didn’t even expect him to come out and say, “I apologize for being a racist.” Brother, only you and Allah (SWT) know your heart. If you say with sincerity that you love all of humanity and are not racist, I’ll accept that you believe that, but know that having a Mexican wife and a mother in the Civil Rights Movement doesn’t excuse you from being held accountable when you say racist things. We all must accept correction.

All that was required was a sincere apology, an admission of insensitivity, an acknowledgment of the fact that you don’t have the understanding or cultural sensibilities to speak to such issues.

But that’s not what happened. Instead, you crawled deeper into the cave of black pathology by saying the breakdown of the black family is the greatest issue facing black Americans, not racism. I must ask, how on earth can any person with any bit of black history under their belt discuss the tearing apart of black families, which is a real thing, WITHOUT centering the structural racism that was put in place specifically to do just that? There is no clear picture of one without the other.

Otherwise, you end up sending the message that black men and women are being incarcerated at alarming rates just because. That’s black pathology. You end up sending the message that black people are killed and mistreated (by others and themselves) just because. More black pathology. You end up sending the message that black people tend to be less financially stable just because. Another statement powered by black pathology. This type of thinking attaches itself to existing ideologies of racism and supports them as they grow, further blotting out black humanity. Ergo, it is a very big deal.

So if you are going to discuss such complex topics, be willing to make space at the table for all relevant aspects, including those that make you uncomfortable. And humble yourself enough to admit where you lack knowledge. If you cannot do that, silence is better.

Ibn al Qayyim – Ruling on Saying Merry Christmas or Similar

“As for congratulating the disbelievers for their religious ceremonies that have kufr (disbelief) attached to it, then it is not permissible according to the consensus. For example congratulating them for their holidays or their fasts, so the person says, ‘May you have a bless holiday’, or he wishes them well for their holiday or something like that. So this, if the one who says it escapes from falling into kufr (disbelief), is (still) from the impermissible things. And it is on the same level as congratulating them for prostrating to the cross. Rather it is a greater sin with Allah. And it is a more severe abomination than to congratulate them for drinking alcohol and killing someone, committing illegal sexual intercourse and things of this nature. And many of the people who don’t have any religion (or respect for the religion) fall into this. And he doesn’t know the ugliness (evil) of what he has done. So whoever congratulates a person for committing sins, or innovations, or disbelief, then he has exposed himself to the hate, wrath (anger) of Allah.”

Ibn Al Qayyim

Do Your Part, No Matter How Small and Futile It May Appear

storm-end-times

There’s a Hadith I’ve been replaying in my head again and again over the past twenty-four hours. And every time I remember it, it takes my breath away.

The Prophet, peace be upon him, said in an authentic narration: “If the Resurrection is upon you and there is a seed in your hand and you are able to, then plant it in the ground.”

Now that is an extraordinary expression of faith and hope.

Even in the face of the most intimidating moments humankind will ever know — the end of life and sealing of the universe — our Prophet encourages us to plant a seed.

Rationally, it appears to be the most futile action a human being could possibly take, but our religion encourages that sense of purpose and optimism even when the greatest and most powerful forces seem to be acting against us.

After all, what greater force is there than the coming of the Day of Judgment? The laws of physics will change, the order of the universe will shift, the heavens will fold, the mountains will crumble into air, the seas will surge wildly and fires will spread through the lands.

Despite that, do your part.

Plant it and leave the rest to Allah. Trust Him, He will account for it. He will do it justice. He will do you justice in ways you will not understand.

Just trust Him.

So, in an age of chronic Muslim hopelessness grounded in a century of failure and humiliation, this Hadith is very relevant. But considering what has happened in Aleppo in the past few days, this Hadith needs to be burnt into our collective memory.

Do your part, no matter how small and futile it may appear. Others may mock and reject it, it may appear silly and pointless, and you may not impact a thing for as long as you live — but do it with faith in Allah if you believe it to be the right thing.

That is the spirit of Islam: courage and action born out of certainty in the promise of Allah.

~ Abdul-Latif Halimi

Participating in Non-Muslim Celebrations – Sheikh Feiz Muhammad

At this  time of year especially many Muslims living in the west, especially reverts (new-Muslims) are faced with a dilemma of whether to join in with the festivals of the disbelievers, or whether to remain distinct and apart from such even if that may offend their work colleagues, friends, neighbours and even family members.

Here Sheikh Feiz Muhammad explains the Islamic ruling on this important topic, may Allah reward him abundantly and keep us all steadfast upon the true deen, ameen

A Tap On the Shoulder…

Assalaamu Alaykum brothers and sisters,

So turned out I did alright in my interview and it’s been over a month since I started my new job at the call-centre in the evenings.

The location is really, and I mean REALLY convenient for me. Being near my existing work and new home and so save me some mega money in shoe leather and so far I’m enjoying it, or content as possible at least when working.

However one of the more unsettling niggling matters about starting a new job is learning about how different all the processes and procedures in your new role. It seems things just change, sometimes dramatically from company to company even when they’re vaguely in the same business.

So in some customer service roles I’ve worked in, everything right down to the breaks is strictly regimented, even down to having to a time limit on going to the toilet,  in others you are free to come and go as long as the work gets done.

muftifaith-prayer-room
Multi-faith prayer rooms (used almost exclusively by Muslims) are increasingly common in larger UK businesses

My new job seems to fall somewhere in the middle, but in one respect I have to credit them in that they are very easy when it comes to Salaat, even having a dedicated prayer room and not having to struggle and strive to get this facility and already having it in place is a big blessing.

It makes good business sense for them to do this, probably about 40% of the workforce at least are Muslim and keeping your workers happy is the key to keeping them productive but can you imagine the reward of whichever brothers / sisters it was who asked for this from their workplace?

How they probably needed to push over and over with different managers until finally they succeeded in establishing a room in the workplace so that everyone who came after them including myself earned them more and more good deeds on their scales on the day of judgement?

Saying that… it still shocked me that even though the facility is there, time can be taken for prayers even if it’s not a break time, still some of the brothers and sisters don’t pray.

…Indeed, the prayer is on the believers
prescribed (at) fixed times.
From Surah an-Nisa, 4:103

How lazy do you have to be with your salaat to actually not bother even when allowed by your workplace, they set out a place to make it easy for you and even give you a few minutes off outside of your regular break times?

A TAP ON THE SHOULDER

Anyway, so first week out of training I am just sitting taking calls minding my own and all of a sudden I get a tap on the shoulder and turn around and it’s one of the managers who tells me to pick up my notes and headset and to follow, no explanation, other than that and with a great deal of trepidation and annoyance at being touched by a ghair-mahram woman I follow to the managers duty desk and am told to sit down.

Immediately I am thinking what did I do?
Am I being fired?
Have I done something badly wrong and need retraining or disciplining?
Has a non-Muslim or even a Muslim said something about me talking about the deen?

I was fairly sure it wasn’t the last one as I had read up on the companies policies on such matters to make sure I stayed with the rules but you never know who you might annoy and a long time employee can easily make things difficult, even impossible for a temp should they choose to do so.

So I sit down, I’m told to plug in my headset and without warning the manager hits play on the computer and all of a sudden I am listening to one of my calls from during the week,  I think it was actually the second call I ever took.

Not only am I listening but the playback in front of me is giving me absolutely everything I did on screen during the whole call, the way my mouse cursor wandered aimlessly from tab to tab, button to button as I sought to find the access to each function and screen at what I hoped was the right moment in the call.

She then asked me how I felt the call went, no feedback straight away. I needed to analyse the call myself first, tell her what mistakes I feel I have made, what I did well, where I could improve and it was definitely something quite different compared to any job I have done before.

It was a very unsettling moment, and since that time and subsequent two other call reviews I have been more than a little conscious that every single call is recorded and can and will be used against you if that particular call gets listened to where you make a total mess of it, then it does come back on you.

Inversely, knowing that when calls and actions are well thought through and carried out successfully then that success will be rewarded, and known about.

NOW FOR A REMINDER…

I’m struck though by the way we don’t take our daily lives as seriously as this as Muslims should.  Are all our actions not monitored and we will not be answerable to and be questioned by Allaah for every little thing we do in our lives?

Indeed, your Lord (is) surely Ever Watchful.
Quran translation, Surah al Fajr, 89:14

We believe as Muslims that Allah is Al-Basir, the All Seeing, that Allah is As-Sami’, the All Hearing, that He sees and hears all we do and all everyone does, but does this belief reflect in our actions and if not what does that say about the strength of our belief?

Abu Dharr and Mu`adh bin Jabal (May Allah be pleased with them) reported that: Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, “Fear Allah wherever you are, do good deeds after doing bad ones, the former will wipe out the latter, and behave decently towards people”
Recorded in At-Tirmidhi

That tap on the shoulder can come at any time for us, except then there is no returning to your desk to live on, to try harder, then it is the end of your life on this world and then only a time awaiting in your grave waiting for your judgement before Allah.

Then every one of your deeds will be brought before you, you will answer for all you have done so it is important we correct ourselves in this life, before the end of time here, make tawbah often for our mistakes and sins and ask Allah sincerely for his forgiveness where we fall short.

May Allah make us all among the heedful, those who remember the purpose of this short life, making tawbah where we fall short, ameen