Assalaamu Alaykum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuhu,
I am just starting to take exercise a bit more seriously again in my life and there is a point where you are lifting weights or indeed doing any exercise where your muscles start to burn, it hurts and it is not pleasant.
Your instincts are to quit that particular activity, take a break or do something else at least, anything else but if you know anything about how muscles and your body as a total system works you know this is the time not to quit, this is the time to carry on for as long as you can.
At that point your body is going to be getting signals to start convert fat to burn, your muscles are gaining the most use and will correspondingly get their best work out, you’re at the point where you are starting to gain real solid benefits from your exercise.
It’s not that doing less than this isn’t beneficial, it’s just a whole lot less effective then carrying on even when hurting and feeling the burn.
Likewise there are times when we attempt to strengthen our spiritual, emotional or mental state or preferably all three where we suffer, we feel in pain or at least massive discomfort and it is hard to see the benefits of carrying on in that moment, so easy to quit, or at least find something else which benefits us in a lesser way but at least doesn’t hurt so much.
But these are not the times to quit, these are the times to push through, strengthen our emaan, our character, our minds and through momentary suffering and sacrifice become a better person on the other side.
There are parts of you and me, disgustingly fat slothful parts of our minds and character which desperately need a workout or burning out entirely to clear space for more productive growth and habits in our lives.
I and and I know many people reading this are physically unhealthy in the damage done to our bodies through years of neglect and ill-treatment, we do need to feel that burn to strengthen our physical bodies, our vessels that Allah has given us as a trust here on this earth.
But how many of us are equally guilty of doing little or maybe only just enough to sharpen our intellect, to build true meaningful character or to make our emaan a shining light?
Discipline begets discipline, the more we strengthen one aspect of our lives, the easier it is to bring that discipline in elsewhere to transform ourselves into the best versions we can be.
Assalaamu Alaykum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuhu,
Assalaamu Alaykum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuhu my few readers,
I am writing this primarily for myself, few people come to this blog anymore, well even fewer than before and that’s okay, this is being written mostly for my own benefit, to get my thoughts in order, set them down so I can read this later in life and if I help others sort out the mess in their own heads that is a bonus.
It’s been over a year since I semi-retired from this blog, as well as most of my da’wah activities and events and withdrew myself somewhat from life to reflect and think about where I am going, how I am moving forward or not in life.
I did at the time write a long ish post on the matter, linked in the pic here –>
Since then it’s been been dark but interesting times as I’ve gone through every section of my life, evaluated it and ruthlessly thrown out everything which was not True or didn’t bring any genuine benefit to me.
But on the truth, it’s so often the case that we’re all lies, deceptions, built upon half truths, built upon misconceptions and we rarely truly do anything of real value because we are not willing to admit how much of that surface stuff and even a lot of the under surface stuff is just false facing for others and more often to ourselves.
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
So I’ve scrapped, pulled, cut and at times ripped mask after mask away to see the person within. Peeling back layer after layer to see new layers of lies underneath because Allah knows all this other stuff was not true and how much I was harming myself and being unable to help others around me because of the years of crap built up which just wasn’t me and wasn’t true.
It’s also been a painful time, lying is always wrong but I have found the hardest lies to admit to are the ones we tell ourselves. Some of them really didn’t want to go, they seemed a part of me and in a way they were, they’re comforting but anything not true had to go.
So I told myself I was a da’ee, a caller to Allah and that this may compensate for my shortcomings in other areas of the deen. Now when I look back, I’ve examined my actions truly and deeply so much of it was riya, showing off either at the time or I would destroy my deeds later by talking about them to draw attention to myself, or allow others to do so on my behalf and big me up in a way which was not at all justified.
These stories we tell ourselves and tell others are how we interact with the world, but that doesn’t make them true or useful and they can often be the barrier holding us back from doing anything meaningful.
I told myself I was morally a good man, but much of the good I did I did out of an expectation that others would behave likewise towards me, it was selfish and often self destructive emotionally when it was not reciprocated, causing me to lash out and hurt others which in turn I think showed people at times on some level my good deeds lacked sincerity.
How often can we say we truly do a good deed just for the sake of seeking the reward of Allah and not in seeking reward or praise from others? In that I would also include self-praise, self-deception, fooling ourselves, flattering and fattening up our egos which is one of the most long term damaging forms of showing off.
In failing to be a ‘good man’ I also admit I was also not much of a man, falling short in my obligations to myself, my family and my community. I am not a good man, or much of a man at all, and I am okay with that because acknowledging that is the first step to changing and learning what manhood really is again then living that.
I am having to slow things down for a time, I have to reexamine every deed I do now to see if I am genuine or not, then correct my intention and if I cannot then don’t do it because there is no reward in this action.
Now for the last couple of months after what has seemed like an age of effort I finally feel I’ve hit bedrock, the real me below all the other crap and hitting rock bottom is actually not such a bad place to be if you’ve prepared for it and aimed for it deliberately and there is a purity of vision, a simplicity that has it’s own beauty and attraction.
I can also with out all the fluff in the way see the hurt and damaged parts of myself I need to fix, and more easily see negligence and even malice that caused or still causes me that hurt and I have become much less tolerant of it.
I am cold, naked and vulnerable, it’s kinda uncomfortable but it is the real me. Being uncomfortable is valuable, it tells us something is off, we shouldn’t be avoiding such feelings or smothering them down but embracing them, contemplating them and finding out how to change ourselves to make sure we’re not uncomfortable with that aspect of ourselves in the future because we’ll have achieved permanent change.
An easy example of this is my physical health, my body itself is not just a bit out as I would convince myself previously for many years. I am not just fat, I am technically in the obese range, I am a fat man’s fatty. I have to lean forward to see my toes.
I was gifted with a frame which allowed for physical strength, fought my way through school, played rugby but I have done nothing since, I am not strong or tough and the inner impression of who I was was off, way off with who I actually was in reality.
I absolutely should feel that is wrong, it’s uncomfortable knowing I’ve let things go so far, so do I allow myself to push such feelings down, go for good quick emotional highs with time with others, or food or escape in a book, documentary or computer game or do I get out walking, do some jogging on the spot or some weights?
I am not who I should be. I know now given I’m in my early forties I will never be the man I could have been but now I must concentrate on being the best man I can be from here on out.
For those who know me personally I may seem withdrawn but that is because all the other stuff I did or said was not me and now I am ready to start growing again in a more productive way.
This time without all the lies, to others and to myself.
I am going to try to write more, on this blog and elsewhere to document my growth and it is this potential growth that allows me to see my failures, my product of past lies and see a way forward, that I am going to be able to choose a different path this time if I keep myself spiritually, emotionally and mentally strong.
Assalaamu Alaykum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuhu,
Critiquing ideologies is often mired by oversimplification. And, such critiques, likewise, result in the terms under scrutiny being stigmatized along with their advocates. This applies to ideological targets like Marxism, socialism, feminism, and critical race theory. Whenever one wants to make short work of another’s perspective, all one needs to do is scream, “Marxist”, “Feminist,” or “Critical Race Theorist.”
The problem with ad hominem aspersions is that these ideologies contain ideas, which conform with the values of their audiences. Had those ideas not been present, the ideologies would not be attractive. Take, for instance, the fact that feminism, especially in its earliest waves, promoted women’s agency, self-determination, suffrage, and the right to own and earn wealth. There’s no fundamental or valid reason to believe that Islam is opposed to such aims. So, it makes sense that many Muslim women, unwittingly, refer to themselves as feminists. One, however, must take care not to assume that such a label sufficiently summarizes the mission of the Prophet Muhammad in light of his embrace of the betterment and social well-being of women. Such characterizations are a danger, which could lead one to blasphemy.
One must, also, remain skeptical of the putatively inherent and universal applicability of such overarching ideologies since one can mistake the forest for the trees, considering that their epistemic foundations often clash with Islam’s moral vision and truths. Like other egalitarian ideologies, critical race theory has its own metaphorical wheat and chaff. And, there seems to be a growing interest in CRT among Muslims in activist circles. Many have adopted its assumptions unwittingly, completely oblivious to what guides the decisions of their so-called political “allies.”
For these reasons, I’ve decided to pen together a few words that will, hopefully, provide a
shimmer of guidance on this topic. Critical race theory (CRT) is an analytical approach employed by certain activist scholars, such as CRT’s intellectual father, Derrick Bell, professor of law at New York University. CRT theorizing started during the mid 1970s. Its main goal is to transform the way race, racism, and power in Eurocentric cultures interact. CRT is concerned with creating an egalitarian sociopolitical, cultural, and economic order, while taking direct aim at white cultural imperialism and deconstructing its philosophical foundations. CRT builds on the efforts and insights of a number of minority civil rights activists; critical legal studies; radical feminism; and European philosophers, such as Antonia Gramsci and Jacques Derrida.1
According to scholars Richard Delgado and Jean Stefancic, CRT is founded upon the following six moral assumptions:
• Racism against “colored” people is endemic to Eurocentric societies (“colored” being a
synonym for “non-white i.e. non-European” peoples, rather than its original reference to
indigenous, Black and Native Americans).
• White over “colored” ascendancy serves important purposes, physic and material.
• Races are social constructions, not biological facts.
• Differential racialization, i.e. the calculated alternation of discriminatory policies between
one racial minority to another depending upon time and circumstance, happens “in
response to shifting needs in the labor market.”
• Intersectionality and anti-essentialism, which means that “each race has its own origins
and evolving history” and no individual member of a racial group can be presumed to be
the same as any other group member. Rather, one is always distinguished by a multiplicity
of factors that contribute to one’s identity such as sex, sexual orientation, political
affiliation, and social class. (These facets of one’s “identity” in today’s world determine
the degree of severity of one’s oppression on a continuum of “least” to “most
• The “unique voice of color” thesis which posits that every “group” due to their experience
with the white supremacist order has developed a unique stand point for explaining one’s
socio-political and economic status. That standpoint is considered superior to that of
whites, who are presumed to, generally, lack the capacity to see the privilege with which
2 CRT’s greatest utility, like certain other aspects of postmodern philosophy, is its ability to
deconstruct and identify “problems” and “social inequities.” Also, like other postmodern
philosophies, it is not good at re-constructing after it deconstructs. In other words, the fixes
offered to society’s problems are almost always superficial and fundamentally undermine the very project of CRT.
1 For more information, see Richard Delgado and Jean Stefancic, Critical Race Theory (New York: New York University Press, 2001, pp. 6-8).
The most glaring example of this is in CRT’s insistence upon redefining “racism.” The oldest
definitions of racism in English posit that any “race” can be guilty of racism and that it is
fundamentally the “belief” in one’s superiority to another on the mere basis of race or color. While one may agree that contemporary “race” is “largely” a social construct (biology does play a limited role), CRT’s definition conflicts with Islam in that after rejecting notions of race or colorbased behavioral determinism for “coloreds”, CRT’s proponents suggest and sometimes aver that to be white is to be “privileged” and “racist”, knowingly or unknowingly. In other words, while it is a goal of CRT to dismantle white supremacy and white privilege, it reinforces and solidifies it by claiming that the members of one “race” of people are motivated and guided by things the other races are not and cannot be. This solidifies the otherization of “whites” who cannot truly be white without the existence of their “colored” opposite(s) who in turn become permanent counterpart(s) also.
This is both racist and essentialist. It is racist because it reinforces biological race and behavioral determinism, two things that CRT alleges to disavow. It is essentialist because it lumps all “whites” together into a shared experience vis-à-vis “coloreds” such that there is no distinction between the English, Scottish, French, German, Russian, Slav, Irish, Italian, Swede, Jew, etc.3 They are all equally complicit in the oppression of “colored people.”
They all enjoy white privilege as a birthright. This is so even though the critical theorist claims to be opposed to essentialism. It seems that one is allowed to be an essentialist if it relates to allegations against “whites.” That’s not to mention the essentialism involved in considering the counterpart of “whites” to be a single unified collective as well.
A critical race theorist would never accept the notion that he/she is being racist against white people. That’s because the theorist has convinced him/herself that only whites can be racist due to the fact that only whites have power. That is to say that racism can only be racism if and when you have the power to oppress others. And, since only white people have this power according to the critical race theorist, only they can be racist. This means that even if I were to say, “White people are born with tails”; “The white man is the devil incarnate”; Or, “White people smell like dogs when they’re wet”, none of that is racist because I’m black. And, black people have absolutely no power to oppress others (sigh). The lack of sincerity to this principle is exposed every time blacks or others cry foul, demanding punishment for whites who accost them using racial epithets such as calling black female basketball players things, “Nappy headed hoes.”
* Keep in mind that many of those considered “white” were inducted into whiteness between 19th and 20th centuries.
“All” power is wielded by white people “absolutely.” If a colored person is ever in a position ofpower, he/she is wielding “borrowed” power, not inherent power. So, they can never bear full culpability for any crimes they commit. That’s because all might and power belong to the “white man.” Of course, this last sentence is meant to show how absurd and idolatrous this belief is to the Islamic teachings. The truth is that colored people all around the world have power, many of them significantly more than millions of white people. If the teachings of CRT are taken to their logical end, this would mean that not one dictator in the Arab world is responsible for the carnage they create every time they massacre their people. Nor are the Chinese, Burmese, or any other person, group, or government represented by a particular ethnic enclave.
This is not to say that the European political elite are not in fact culpable for great carnage, oppression, and savage treatment of others for many centuries. They are responsible for what they did and do. However, every soul is mortgaged for it earns. And, no bearer or burdens bears another’s burden.
In Islam, all human beings are the children of the same mother and father, Adam and Eve. Our only permanent and avowed enemy is Satan. And, Satan is not a man. We all are susceptible to the same forms of vice and shortcomings; Our impulses, appetites, and emotions make us malleable. And, our ignorance of objective fact and the moral path expose us to manipulation.
In other words, Islam assigns the same nature to every human being. And, it considers every individual to be redeemable regardless of race, color, sex, sin, religion, or political affiliation. Every person regardless of race can be guilty of racism, even if we acknowledge that a racist with power is more dangerous than one without that power.
All societies have a conception of race. And, that conception influences very much how one
differentiates between outsiders and insiders. As Muslims have embraced the legitimacy of their status as citizens of western countries, many have also taken on some of the baggage of racial polarization. Does Islam have something unique to offer societies plagued by ethnic bigotry?
If so, will Muslims employ that perspective to heal humanity? Or will they contribute to the
widening rift between racialized factions in society? When did this racialization process begin?
What parallels exist in the Islamic tradition? And, will Muslims redeem their faith before it is
permanently rendered into a race and drained of its transformative and conciliatory spirit?
In the time of Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alayhi wa Salam) was it the Muslims who threw trash, stones, blood and entrails upon their opponents to shut them up or was that the disbelievers?
If your arguments are good enough, you don’t need Milkshake.
“Down with the patriarchy!” she posts on a social media platform invented by a man, using a computer developed by men, powered by electricity possible through a vast infrastructural system designed by men, built, and maintained on the back of men and through the blood and sweat of men. She sips her herbal tea, growing angrier by the minute.
“Men only care about themselves. Who needs them anyway?!” she muses, as she lounges in her college dorm room in a building built by men, in her final semester studying “Gender and Sexuality Studies,” her $55,000 per year tuition being paid for by her father — a man. She gets up to go to the corner store to buy some lip gloss at 1AM at night.
“Patriarchy is just about perpetuating rape culture!” she thinks, as she walks alone in the middle of the deserted street that is brightly lit due to street lamps installed by men, in a neighborhood that is completely safe because of a massive police presence ready to use deadly force at a moment’s notice, a police presence consisting of men. She buys the lip gloss and heads back to the dorm.
“Toxic masculinity is the worst,” she sighs, as she tosses the lip gloss packaging into the trash, trash that is collected and disposed of by men in landfills maintained by men as part of a massive network of utilities and services provided by men, in a country that is defended from the possibility of foreign invasion because of an army of men willing to die for the protection of the nation’s interests, including its women and children. She applies the lip gloss and picks up her $800 iPhone for a selfie.
“Things would be soo much better if women ruled the world,” she smiles contentedly, as she posts her selfie to Instagram, hoping that that rich, smart, good-looking guy in her network of friends will notice and show interest in her, maybe send her a flirty message, maybe one thing leads to another, maybe he sweeps her off her feet, but in a way that totally respects her independence and her lack of need for men in any way, shape, or form. Instead that “ugly” guy who drives an old Camry DMs her, asking if she is interested in going out.
“OH MY GOD, what is this creep doing, trying to get in my DMs, pushing himself on me?!” she sneers, as she hastily prepares a #metoo social media post about sexual harassment, male privilege, and perpetual female victimhood, once again typing angrily on a $3000 laptop developed and paid for by men. She decides to go to bed.
She closes her eyes, but she is seething with rage. She tosses and turns, hatred keeping her up later into the night. Finally, she dozes off as one last thought crosses her tortured mind: “Men are trash!”
~ Daniel Haqiqatjou
Assalaamu Alaykum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuhu,
Saw the above article, and yes it’s not telling us we don’t already know deep down as human beings, that we need nature. We need to experience something of the the beauty of the creation of Allah and to appreciate that if we are to be healthy as human beings.
So have a read, reflect then get out into and enjoy those beautiful autumn woods and fields.
Excellent reply from our brother Hussain Thomas, an active Da’ee from London who regularly attends speakers corner on why the statement from Abu Ibraheem was so problematic to our black brothers and sisters, and why he is going to find it so hard to get over these words.
O you who believe, be persistently standing firm for Allah as witnesses in justice, and do not let the hatred of a people prevent you from being just. Be just, for that is nearer to righteousness. Fear Allah, for verily, Allah is aware of what you do.
Quran translation, Surat Al-Ma’idah, 5:8
Assalaamu Alaykum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuhu,
A large number of people on social media, including myself have been critical on our respected brother Abu Ibraheem Hussnayn for his racism during his otherwise very admirable efforts to forbid the munkar during ‘Chaand Raat’ celebrations in Birmingham. This is a cultural celebration with no basis in Islam which takes place the night before Eid and often involves many blameworthy acts.
His words if you’ve not heard or seen them yet were,
‘Brothers, we’re not black; let’s stop talking like we’re black! Let’s talk in a decent way, with decent manners.’
Though this was one comment in a long night, we need to be clear about this, using black as synonymous with gangster-ism is extremely insulting, it’s degrading of a whole people and yes it’s racism and anyone saying it is racist to some degree and I am surprised people cannot see this clearly.
It also turns out this is not the first time he has done this, so it cannot be excused as just a slip, as some have tried to do on his behalf. More comments have been found and exposed from a talk he gave in the past entitled ‘Evil Effects of Music’ when he makes similar comments, “When they are out on the streets they are gangsters, they talk like Jamaicans, they walk like Jamaicans but the man was born in like heartlands hospital.”
WHY IS THIS RACIST – SURELY HE DIDN’T MEAN TO BE?
Using black, or Jamaican as shorthand for all the worst shortcomings of urban living is racist, it shows an individual is at best on a subconscious level taken on and then perpetrating these harmful stereotypes that these negatives are due to blackness or black culture.
Now no one is saying a person who does this is a Nazi, or National Front level racist, but it is a form of racism and the person who does this is a racist. Racism is not a binary, either you’re a good person or you’re Adolf Hitler, it’s instead a spectrum.
Racist is defined as: showing or feeling discrimination or prejudice against people of other races, or believing that a particular race is superior to another.
Being racist therefore does not require active intent or feelings of superiority as some claim, many good people or those at least striving to be good as Muslims should be, will fall into it unintentionally from time to time.
Some reading this might also be uncomfortable and defensive upon hearing this label being used here in it’s correct and right place, as people you know and love or perhaps you yourself have made similar comments.
Asians and Arabs … Yes I am talking to you now or many of you at least, and yes, you the white reverts. Your discomfort is because you’ve probably heard racial slurs, negative stereotypes from people around you often as you grew up or attended madrasah or the masjid, or sat or ate with your friends and family. You most likely never challenged it, many of you thus normalised it, maybe yourself you internalised it and you don’t now want to feel you or those around you are evil or wrong.
That discomfort of yours’ should not stop us addressing the issue, we cannot excuse it but also should be clear that is not the same as saying you or these other people are irredeemably evil or might not be good in many other ways.
STANDING FIRM IN JUSTICE
O you who believe, be persistently standing firm in justice as 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. Follow not your desires, lest you not be just. If you distort your testimony or refuse to give it, then Allah is aware of what you do.
Quran translation, Surat An-Nisa 4:135
We also need to be fair, we cannot throw someone under the bus for what is in most cases probably unintentional bias, coming from decades of living among people who also have such biasses on a day to day basis.
Racism is from jahiliyyah and needs to be corrected in our hearts, speech and actions as Rasoolullah (Salallahu alayhi wa salam) said to Abu Dharr when he insulted Bilal (May Allah be pleased with them both) “You are a man in whom there is still some jahiliyyah.”
Abu Ibraheem is a brother who has helped hundreds through his Ruqya and thousands, including myself through his many beneficial lectures and talks on the evils and dangers of Sihr, the jinn as well as many other topics.
He’s a brilliant speaker, a da’ee, calling people to Islam and to the practice of Islam and I don’t doubt his intentions were good during these talks. But even if you don’t like his style or delivery, or content of his reminders most would at least say he does not mean to be racist or sees himself as such.
Another form of Jahiliyyah is use of profanity, cursing others, being unjust and people have been going way over the top when it comes to this matter and it’s reaching the levels of mob justice.
But even if they were saying evil things in response, it doesn’t justify the original comments and besides we hold our respected teachers, activists and imams to a higher standard than general laypeople but still we need to be fair also and not throw the baby out with the bathwater.
It certainly looks to me that he’s catching the flak for the whole Asian community right now which is unfair on him, and those around him but is the nature of the beast when it comes to public speaking and being a public figure.
RACISM IS JAHILIYYAH NOT KUFR OR NIFAQ
Though this is not kufr or nifaq, unless like some other sins it becomes justified or taken to extremes but this is still not a small issue, just a minor sin, a slip up or casual mistake as people have said who have tried to defend their brother, themselves or those they know, or their own culture when they’ve shown these traits.
Our black brothers and sisters are leaving the deen or leaving off practicing Islam partially over the way they are treated by Arabs and Asians (and yes white reverts) in the Masaajid and the wider Muslim community in the UK and too many of those crying foul now this has been brought to light were silent when it was not causing them issues personally before.
But we still have to be fair, and if someone falls into error on some matter it does not mean we cannot benefit from them elsewhere, even whilst we urge them to change their ways, this is especially true when their error be on a subconscious level, i.e unintentional.
Though this has been a very ugly episode, especially coming right after Ramadhan if we process and work through this problem correctly then Allah willing all of us, and I mean all, including those who have fallen into this mistake can when matters calm a little use this episode to move forward after a period of reflection.
To do that though requires bringing this problem into the light, so we can then check ourselves, check those around us and make sure racist attitudes are never again tolerated in our community no matter who is the perpetrator.
Assalaamu Alaykum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuhu,