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,
“ONLY GOD CAN JUDGE ME!”
…Said no scholar ever.
These are actually the words of Tupac, who the youth seem to quote in matters of sin and transgression more than the book of Allaah or the Sunnah of His Rasool (salallahu alayhi wa salam)
Assalaamu Alaykum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuhu,
I’ve been going through a period of introspection lately, as I often do, every few months or year or two but this time it’s been much deeper and broader in scope than anything I’ve probably done since I said my Shahadah nearly 16 (lunar) years ago and indeed has lasted months not the days or weeks it has before.
Normally I pause, I reflect, maybe do a bit of research and ask people I trust around me and I correct my course slightly but still moving onward and upward again in the same direction more or less but this time it I find myself unable to move on again, I am frozen in place, and think I must choose a different path to what I’ve been on before.
Do they not think deeply about themselves? Allah has created not the heavens and the earth, and all that is between them, except with truth and for an appointed term. And indeed many of mankind deny the Meeting with their Lord.
Quran translation, Surah Ar-Rum, 8:8
I’ve come to realise the image of myself I have in my head, which in some ways is a reflection of what others think of me in the community and that I’ve taken their word for is not actually true. It is not me as I know me truly or a accurate reflection of how I feel in my interactions with others and I am not being honest with them, or my family or myself to continue this lie, and it is a lie in part at least.
Until now I thought myself in some ways a deep thinker, an activist, a Da’ee, a caller to the truth, the community reformer, even if only on a very modest scale but the truth is I am far from these things, I barely have mastery of my own household and it’s development or reform, or indeed of myself which is where the heart of this problem I think comes from.
Like many other reverts, almost since I said my Shahadah I’ve been pushed into this role, and that’s not to blame others, I’ve relished it, and ran with it from the beginning, and the mistake of faking becoming this thing I am not, of fooling myself is my own and no one else’s.
This has really hit home this ramadhan and especially last night at a community iftar meal, when I was speaking to an elderly brother who I know thinks a great deal of the work I do in the community. We spoke about family, and also homeschooling and he made mention how it must be good for the kids to benefit from a father who is able to teach them so much in terms of the deen and life.
I had to be truthful, tell him straight up this is not me, I do a little, but barely anything in terms of my kids Islamic education, or indeed other educational needs other than offering words of advice as any father would, that such lessons are taken up by my wife, my children’s devoted mother who has in her efforts to become a better home-schooler educated herself in ways I have not over the years.
This conversation, though brief prayed upon me all night, stopped me sleeping even the little hours I had to sleep, though the migraine which came in the middle which jammed the on-switch on my brain probably didn’t help, but this discussion played over and over in my mind summed up neatly my thoughts through many wakeful nights these past few months.
I know my own weaknesses, I cannot allow the assumptions of others that I am someone good or great at what I do to hide the truth, at least to myself that I am not that person they think I am. Allah knows the truth, I know the truth and I am not really helping anyone, least of all myself to continue to pretend otherwise.
In the past I’ve fooled myself I would change, become this person as time went on as I lived it, but looking back to my recent past this has just not happened, and I think for the past few years I’ve known this and hidden it deep within myself.
“It is in the nature of the human being to seek a justification for his actions.”
– Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago, 1918-1956: An Experiment in Literary Investigation V-VII
I am only child in the fields I dabble in, fundamentally lacking in anything more than basic knowledge and so unable to enact change in anyway like the effectiveness I wish I could achieve.
My self development over the years has been severely lacking, forget learning arabic I am still struggling with reading the Quran fluently after 16 years of Islam and though languages is the one major area of learning I struggle with, I’ve allowed this difficulty to stop me even trying in anything like a meaningful way.
This Ramadhan has been the first time in years I have regularly prayed my sunnah prayers, rather than just the fard ones, my practice and knowledge is severely lacking yet the classes, the access to knowledge and skills was out there, I allowed myself to be distracted by being busy, but in an ineffectual manner.
In other fields I have a cursory understanding and knowledge, and being the one eyed man I’ve allowed myself to be setup as a ruler or at least and adviser among the blind when I know I can be, and should be far more.
In every aspect of my life I am falling short, deeni and other education, health and fitness, character and moral fibre, family and home, community and social life, career and wealth.
I am spread thin, running from area to area, helping this person or that project at an individual or small scale yes, but failing to build systems which could help enact change on the level on which it needs to take place.
It’s just not enough. I need to withdraw, reeducate myself, strengthen my being, redefine who I am internally and then have that reflected externally, so I become the man I know I could be, which others now wrongly think I am.
If I don’t the alternative is to know I ultimately fail in life. Myself, my family, my community and ultimately Allah who has the parameters of my being and how far I could truly go if only I pushed myself as I should and who knows how short I fall in reaching those limits.
So I am not running away, not exactly. I cannot stop everything which I have been doing, the need is too great and others are not yet willing to pick up those burdens but I am over the coming months going to be withdrawing from some activities where I can, taking up less new projects, freeing up the time I need, the space I need to grow and learn and become who I know I need to be.
I need my space each month, my time away in the cave of Hira, relaxation and reflection and not to be so busy with life and activism that I am stuck in being the role rather than becoming the man who can truly fulfill it as it needs to be filled.
For those worried about such things, I am not burned out, far from it, I am more determined than ever but I know continuing the way I have been for so long would ultimately lead me to that end, I’ve seen enough activists fall over the years to see the warning signs in myself and to take steps to avoid them if Allah wills it.
Writing is also something which I have neglected and I’ll probably be blogging more over this time also, I find I need to vent, and find the truth in what psychologists say, that far from thinking before we speak, instead giving word to my innermost thoughts helps me clarify what is true and good for me and others. I need to hear the words, or see them written to see the truth in them or not.
It is my sincere hope, that if Allah wills it, I can come back in a few years as a better man, someone people can genuinely look up to but I am not willing to keep living right now as someone I am not and if not at least I will have tried.
Assalaamu Alaykum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuhu,
Important topic for the Muslims to learn about, something the jahil ignorant Muslims are ignorant about, to the extent they are falling into arguments and fitnah.
Especially with the disbelievers using this topic to attack the emaan of Muslims, and even one well known speaker expressing doubts about the Quran because of this topic.
May Allah guide us all to the truth, firm understanding and protect us from doubt, ameen
Imām Ibn Qayyim Al-Jawziyyah (رحمه الله) said:
‘And the Religion revolves around 4 principles; i) Love, ii) Hate; and which result in either, iii) Action or iv) Abandonment.
And so whomsoever loves, hates, acts or abandons for the sake of Allāh, then they have perfected their Īmān. As in, if they love; they love for Allāh, if they hate; they hate for Allāh, if they do an action; they do it for Allāh and if they abandon something; they abandon it for Allāh.
And īmān will decrease in direct correlation to its defficieny in these 4 principles.”
Ar-Rūh “The Soul”, Publisher: Al-Maktab Al-Islāmī – page 490.
Assalaamu Alaykum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuhu,
So mawlid time again…
We all know the arguments, backwards and forwards on youtube, social media, with work colleagues and friends in the masaajid, we do it every year and others have refuted mawlid much better than myself so I am just going to leave the mawlid tree out there again just to show how ridiculous this whole celebration can get.
The rest you can get from those who are more knowledgeable than myself out there and why we should not celebrate this custom, which was introduced into Islam 300 years after our Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wa salam) passed into the life of the grave.
Mawlid as a newly innovated matter into our deen, Islam Q&A
How to deal with those around us celebrating Mawlid, Islam Q&A
Assalaamu Alaykum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuhu,
For those who see the cultural practices Saudi Arabia of the criterion of right and wrong in our deen…
“There is no such thing as modern Islam, liberal Islam, Islam is Islam.”
A brilliant talk by Dr Bilal Philips on how in reality, the problems faced by the Muslims today are the same as those faced by the Muslims in the past, that the answers to our problems are in the Quran and the Sunnah, just as they have always been.
One of the best speeches from one of the best speakers out there, who has not compromised on the message in all his years calling to Allah, unlike so many other du’at in the English language.
All praise is due to Allah alone, and may peace and blessings be upon his Messenger, and his family and his companions.
Having read the post from Sunni Path, supporting the use of ta’weez, I think that there is a need for a clear and simple response to the issues raised.
Before delving into the points made in the article, I would like the reader to consider the following questions:
We regularly hear people defending ta’weez that contain the Qur’an and Allah’s names and attributes, but what do you think about the following:
■ Ta’weez that contain the names of shaytaan?
■ Ta’weez that contain the aayaat of Allah written backwards?
■ Ta’weez that contain symbols associated with the worship of the shaytaan, such as the so-called star of david, and the pyramids?
■ Ta’weez that contain illegible writing?
■ Ta’weez that contain pictures of the human body with words and symbols written over the top?
■ Ta’weez that contain the aayaat of Allah scribbled and not given proper respect?
Ta’weez that contain nothing except tables of numbers?
These are the vast majority of the ta’weez that we open every single week, with most of them issued by imams, scholars, and so-called ‘pious people’. Now you have to make a choice between one of two things; either you defend these ta’weez, claiming that they are actually ‘Qur’an’ or that it is permissible to disgrace the words of Allah by scribbling them, or the reader has no choice but to admit that these ta’weez are by consensus of the scholars, haraam.
I estimate that I have opened somewhere between 500 and 1,000 ta’weez in my course of being a raaqi, and at the current count, less than ten of them contained clear Qur’an or the names of Allah, with nothing else written on them. In reality, this is just another example of the magicians hiding behind respectable scholars and their opinions.
We say to the people who make these so called ta’weez from the Qur’an: would you let the sick person simply print a page of the Qur’an and tie it around his or her neck? By Allah, you would not allow it. Instead, they have to use your ‘special’ writings, which they are not allowed to see or open, and often have to pay money for. If you really hold the opinion of ‘Amr ibn al-‘Aas (may Allah be pleased with him), why don’t you allow the people to print a copy of aayat-ul-kursi from quran.com and tie it around their necks? It is the greatest aayah in the Qur’an, so why would it not protect them whilst your secret writings and scribbles can protect them? Has Allah given you something greater than aayat-ul-kursi, or is it that you seek help from the shaytaan? Where did you learn what those numbers and symbols mean? Why don’t you share your books with us that tell you how to ‘cure’ someone with pictures of the pyramids and the star of david?
My brothers and sisters, these people hide behind legitimate opinions, in order to confuse you and take you away from the path of Allah. Let me give you an example:
■ The Sunni Path post quotes those who allow ta’weez:
Sa’id ibn al-Musayyib, ‘Ata’, Mujahid, Abd Allah ibn ‘Amr, Ibn Sirin, ‘Ubayd Allah ibn Abd Allah ibn `Umar, and others (Allah be well pleased with them all). [Musannaf, 5.439]
How many of you looked at that list of people and believed them all to be from the companions? By Allah, there is only one companion mentioned in that whole list; all the rest are from the generations who came after them.
Furthermore, all of the narrations from that companion are weak. They contain Muhammad ibn Is-haaq, who is someone whose narration is not accepted unless he clearly states that he heard the hadith directly from his teacher (the Arabic term is: mudallis), which in this case he did not.
So, let me say explicitly that there is not one single companion from the companions of the Messenger of Allah (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, and may Allah be pleased with them) who allowed ta’weez of any kind, whether from the Qur’an or not!
■ Let us quote the author of the Musannaf in full:
“The Chapter of those who allowed the hanging of Ta’weez”
“The permissibility of this was reported from Sa’eed ibn al-Musayyib, ‘Ataa’, Mujaahid, Abu Ja’far al-Baaqir, ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amr, Muhammad ibn Seereen, ‘Ubaydullah ibn ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar, and ad-Dahhaak and IT IS NOT AUTHENTIC from ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amr, ad-Dahhaak, Mujaahid, and Ibn Seereen, and the rest are authentic.”
The author himself says that there is no companion who this is authentically reported from, and that half of the taabi’een mentioned are also not authentic. This is in the very same passage that the author of the post quoted – so why did he choose to stop just before the part where the author says that it isn’t authentic?
So out of that long list, we are left with ‘Ataa, Abu Ja’far, and ‘Ubaydullah – three people, none of whom were companions of the Messenger of Allah (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), and even their view says that the permissibility is limited to that which is from the Qur’aan alone!
On top of that, the very same book (al-Musannaf) mentions other narrations which state that all ta’weez are haraam, even if they come from the Qur’an (authentically narrated from the companions Ibn Mas’ud, Ibn ‘Abbas, Hudhayfah, ‘Uqbah ibn ‘Aamir, and Ibn ‘Ukaym – may Allah be pleased with them all). Why didn’t the author include those narrations? Is it perhaps because he doesn’t want you to know?
Even if we accept some or all of the narrations from people who allowed ta’weez, these people are talking about writing a simple aayah of the Qur’an, or some of the names of Allah, clearly and in a way that can be understood by everyone who reads it.
Don’t be fooled by statements such as ‘the vast majority of the scholars’ and ‘it is mentioned in such-and-such a book’ – anyone can write words like these. Why don’t we talk about something quantifiable, and say ‘the vast majority of the companions, if not all of them, considered ta’weez to be haraam, in all of its forms’.
Finally, we say to the author of the Sunni Path post and his supporters: Do you know why some of the scholars allowed ta’weez from the Qur’an? Because it is the uncreated speech of Allah, and therefore cannot be considered shirk. Would you like to share with the brothers and sisters what you really believe about the Qur’an that we read, and that you claim to write on the ta’weez?
Allah knows best, and all praise is for Allah alone, and may peace and blessings be upon our messenger Muhammad, and his family and his companions.