Category Archives: Town and City

Mohammad Hijab – Controversial Questions and Official Retractions of Ust. Abu Taymiyyah

Assalaamu alaykum brothers and sisters,

Listened to this reminder and postcast between Mohammad Hijab and Ustadh Abu Taymiyyah recently. This was thanks to the super-salafi types for highlighting this on social media and stating what a terrible discussion it was… any time those guys start criticising another salafi it’s usually a big indication that there is some benefit for the rest of us.

In this discussion Abu Taymiyyah explains where he differed respectfully in some of the positions taken by other Da’uat in the UK regarding Sheikh Haitham al Haddad and even where strongly disagreeing with the positions Sheikh Haitham has taken it is important we do so we good manners and justice and that this was the advise of the ulema he has studied with in Medinah.

Ustadh Abu Taymiyyah is someone I have met with personally on a number of ocassions and sincerely hope and ask Allah when he finishes his studies in Medinah he will return back to us in our city of Leicester where we can benefit from him and his classes and he can carry on his da’wah to the youth and the rest of the Muslim community here.

Would advise any of my readers who want to learn more about the deen to follow him on youtube, twitter, facebook etc and he is one of those of those teachers who leaves you with your emaan uplifted as well as passing on beneficial knowledge.

Youtube – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCpgJmGV319I-qNm5x40viTQ
Twitter – https://twitter.com/AbuTaymiyyahMJ
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/Abu-Taymiyyah-Mj-1103012796377213/

Assalaamu Alaykum,

Gingerbeardman

Christian Silence on Reading Stabbing Attack

I was really moved by all the apology videos christian ministers and activists were doing over the Reading stabbing attack when it was revealed he was a convert to Christianity… no wait… that never happened did it?

Only Muslims are expected to apologise for things they’ve never done and never agreed with in the first place and like muppets we reinforce that narrative and go along with it every time.

MEMORIES OF SHEIKH NAZIM’S NAQSHBANDI TARIQA

Shortly after embracing Islam and moving to Sheffield, back in 2002 I started attending a dhikr circle run by a mureed of Sheikh Nazim in Sheffield, which was held in an old converted nunnery they owned in Nether Edge.

OK, I’ll bring up the good points first, they were friendly nice people, their leader Kamran was often smiling, especially when talking about Sheikh Nazim who it was clear he loved very much and the brothers and sisters from Sheffield would sometimes make the pilgrimage to visit their Sheikh in Cyprus and then come back and share his ‘wisdom.’

The Biryani was also excellent, one thing you can say about ahlul bidah in Sheffield is they cook some truly wonderful food and they even offered to find me a wife to cook for me, nice people in that sense.

But…

Even as a very new Muslim it was clear these brothers and sisters (they sat behind the curtains and barriers) were very messed up in their understanding and practice of the deen.

Not only would they do group dhikr, but as they sped up the pace of their chanting some of them would start rocking, either side to side (hippies) or backwards and forwards (head bangers), going faster and faster.

I found this very odd, but hey what did I know? I mean I’d only been in the deen for 5 minutes, maybe this really was the way to spiritual enlightenment?

They would often also mention other odd teachings, regarding Allaah, his Messenger (saw), pious men of the past which just didn’t sit right with me.

I’d embraced Islam because it was pure and clean from contradictions but these guys contradicted the Quran and what I knew of the Sunnah on a regular basis.

What finally killed off my relationship with Naqshbandi-Haqqani’s in Sheffield was when one night, another brother asked why Sheikh Nazim was better than all the other Naqshbandi Sheikh’s out there.

The reply was shocking, and I never went back again.

You see explained Kamran, when Sheikh Nazim’s teacher was dying, all the students got together to witness his death and started arguing over who was going to be the next leader but not Sheikh Nazim.

No, he stayed at the side of his teacher, mopping his dying brow, looking after him and then at the moment he died, squeezed the dead man’s sweat into a cup and drank it all! so absorbing all the secret knowledge held by him, going all the way back to Abu Bakr!

Later on, as I learnt more about the deen, I heard other strange things about these people and on reading their own books found so much misguidance and kufr I warned people away from them as it is my sincere belief they are far from Islam in their beliefs and how they practice the deen.

Mirror Newspaper Corona Virus Casual Racism

There are obviously bigger concerns than casual racism in newspapers at the moment, and yes the tabloid newspapers are trash we shouldn’t read but instead use as emergency bum wiping supplies in case we can’t get enough of the proper stuff because of  the moronic hoarders, and yes the people who own them and write for them are partly responsible for dumbing down the public discourse on just about every issue they poison with their idiotic 5 or sometimes 6 letter word coverage but…

It is sometimes worth noting they are part of the problem when it comes to racism in society, to see the casual racism that these educated, middle class, liberal-elite writers pump out along with their celebrity gossip columns, horoscopes, and football coverage which then seeps into the subconscious brains of the millions of people who read such trash who might, just might generally be fairly decent and where they are not are certainly a whole lot less racist than some assume and are doing a lot better than they were 20 or 30 years ago.

Here is an image lifted from the Mirror website, thanks to Mohammed Sadiq on facebook for spotting this one. This was a stock image taken from online and then they’ve found or made a ‘white-washed’ version to remove all the visibly ethnic faces which might offend the sensibilities of their readers, who would freak out to see a cartoon image of the doctors who happen to not look like them (or most of the journalists and chattering classes for that matter).

The top image is lifted from the mirror, the bottom is the original.

In this we shouldn’t blame the working classes who make up the majority of the readership of this waste of tree pulp, rough substitute bog roll, who are not blind and are well aware the NHS workforce is made up of many different ethnic groups. I blame this on the actions of a well meaning, lefty journalist who perhaps working from home may have looked down from their hip, Islington, penthouse flat Ivory tower and thought “The working classes… they’re a bit thick and racist and voted for Brexit, no way could they bring themselves to show the support of the NHS whilst their nan dies of Corona virus if too many darkies are in the picture, let me do something about that.”

Remember this is the Mirror, the ‘good’ tabloid, the lefty one, supposedly non-racist one, according to many at least and whose articles are shared repeatedly at election times by certain types on social media and they’ve managed in these times of shortened staff to go the extra mile, get someone to put in the effort to cock up the most simple of messages, to support the medical professionals in these troubled times and taint it with racism, oh and insult the intelligence of their working class readers. To aim the proverbial shotgun at their corporate foot and pull the trigger on both barrels.

Ethnic minorities are massively represented in the NHS, and increasingly so and most people are glad of it accept for the real knuckle-draggers out there (yes you ‘Gary’).

It’s not just towns and cities, even little villages like the one my parents live in in Leicestershire has ethnic minority medical staff in the pharmacies and nearby GP surgeries. Even 30 years ago, the coal mining village in South Yorkshire where I grew up and which was at least back then pretty racist had an Asian doctor and black medical staff and all but the most moronic would still happily put their prejudices aside back then if it meant getting seen sooner.

People for the most part rarely care who serves them, especially when it comes to the their health and the well-being of those they love, where they want the best qualified person whatever colour, race or creed they happen to be.

Don’t get me wrong there is still racism out there, sometimes shocking instances of it, but things would probably get better sooner if the tabloids, part of a dying medium hurried up and went the way of the Dodo. We can only hope if there is a recession after Covid 19, the likes of the Mirror are the first to go bankrupt as people cut back on paying for this rubbish and get their news elsewhere instead.

 

Closing the Masaajid, Covid 19, Herd Immunity and Herd Mentality

 

Assalaamu Alaykum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatahu,

In our lives we often unfortunately end up taking polarised positions or no position at all out of a fear of offending  the extremes on either side.

So in the wider society are you pro or anti abortion?
Brexit or anti-brexit?
Pro or anti Democracy?

In the deen we see similar sentiments regarding being pro or anti Madhab, what aqeedah position someone follows or what is the ruling regarding x or y matter.

Now there is usually some merit on both sides, mostly as individuals we fall somewhere in the middle and so even if you feel one is correct and the other on balance incorrect, because of the fear of offending the extreme faction on ‘our side’ of the argument most end up keeping silent.

The extremists then are given free reign to resort to belittling and attacking each others positions, with the moderate majority’s voices being somewhere in the middle do not get represented or more accurately fail to represent themselves.

PREFERENCE FALSIFICATION

Social media instead of building networks across lines has in modern society led to further exacerbate this group polarisation effect and people sticking to their ‘own side’ even when they may disagree with large aspects of what is considered correct, indeed orthodox by their in-group.

This concept is known as preference falsification where we hide our more nuanced views, or even lie about them to keep in with the crowd we most closely identify with. People do this to avoid social stigma, even isolation and being cast out, unfriended, shouted down etc.

PROTECTION OF LIFE VS PROTECTION OF DEEN

In the recent heated masjid closure dispute there was merit on both sides for keeping the masaajid open or closing them down during the start of Covid 19 pandemic which is sweeping the UK and the rest of the world.

Yes, one of the primary purposes of the Shariah is to protect life, this is a valid argument and there are examples throughout the history of our Ummah of decisions being made going against the general ruling, where necessity was required to protect life.

Likewise there is merit in the argument that taqwa is the strongest defense, that the problems which befall the world are from the will of Allah, and only by returning to His worship in the best of ways will we triumph in this life, and more importantly the next.

But questioning the intelligence or imaan of the proponents of the opposition in this discussion or indeed any discussion is usually counter productive, even if you were correct on this matter, shouting moron or idiot, or kafir, or munafiq at your opponent rarely brings them to your point of view.

Likewise if we are wrong on a matter, if we put up this wall of noise for our position, or hide behind one generated by others on our behalf by the self appointed gate keepers of our community, we are unable to hear what others have to say and so change our position.

All of the Salafi masaajid in my city are now closed, as well as the modernist and iqwaani types as well choosing to protect the lives of those who would normally attend the jammat, especially the elders, and of-course the wider community.

I disagree myself, and my closest masjid, a traditionalist Deobandi one remained open (now closed several days later as government advice has changed) so I still had somewhere to pray and to attempt to increase my imaan and return back to Allah if I wished.

But those who were calling for masaajid to close are not abandoning the deen, they were calling for this to be a time of contemplation and prayer in our homes and those who were calling for them to remain open are still attempting to limit the spread of the disease otherwise.

HERD MENTALITY 

I found it interesting however that as in general society we saw a similar disagreement between those who called for immediate closure of schools and wider society, and those supporting the government plans to build herd immunity and isolating the old and infirm. Thus allowing a greater level of infection and then immunity among the masses,  allowing the more vulnerable to be protected from what are likely to be further outbreaks of this virus later this year, and in subsequent years.

Interestingly we saw many of the same Muslims on social media who were shouting for school closures, now shouting for the closure of masaajid.

Many of these same loud online voices took a dim view of the UK governments following of scientific advice on building herd immunity (as they take a dim view of this government in general) and said we should follow the continental European example of shutting down all social institutions, these same voices shouted loudest against Brexit so are they genuinely looking at the evidence or just following their in-groups perceived ‘wisdom’ on this one?

If this is you and you are offended I have accused you of a herd mentality, ask yourself this, if Jeremy Corbyn had won the election, and followed the same scientific advice (as the government would have changed not the scientists and civil servants who advice it) would you be so strongly and vocally against this position?

If Europe and Britain had taken opposite views and the continent went for herd immunity and Britain for lock down would you now be as strongly supporting the government as you attack it right now?

Some of you were even applauding those public officials who used their position not just to disagree but to attack the government, and called for civil disobedience to it even in this time of crisis and neither approach works if everyone goes their own way.

HERD IMMUNITY

As I’ve said repeatedly here, there is merit on both sides in most arguments and that is as true for the science in this case as it is for the deeni discussion we’re having on opening or closing masaajid.

The general view point of the government is that this virus is with us to stay for good or at least years to come, if we go into lock down as soon as we have an out break each time there will massive disruption to the economy every year going forward and many more deaths in the long run.

They are following the theory, that if you isolate the vulnerable, whilst allowing the masses to be infected to some degree and then become immune we can cut the transmission chains in future outbreaks so save lives then, by sacrificing a smaller number of lives now than would die in the end.

If they go into shutdown too early, herd immunity will not develop and then as soon as society reopens we have another outbreak, or perhaps in subsequent years more and more outbreaks will return and the more vulnerable, the elderly and those with certain conditions will be picked off year by year.

This is rational even if it carries risks, and though I see the merit of the opposite approach being taken in Europe I think that carries far greater harms to society in the long term and if the deen is also about saving lives as the pro-closing types rightly state then these future lost lives also matter.

As a Muslim calling for people to follow Islam, not secularism, the Prime Minister Boris Johnson, or as he is rightly called ‘Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson’ is not my first choice as leader, but he happens to be the head of the government right now, in this crisis, we are all in and it is important we all pull together in the same direction at this time.

Now we may not like our leaders, but they are the ones we’ve got and when you’re heading into a storm, attempting to change captain or even call for a mutiny is hardly wise other than in the most extreme circumstances.

 

StreetOrDeen – “STOP ACTING BLACK” MY REPLY AS BLACK REVERT TO ISLAM

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.

Abu Ibraheem Hussnayn and Standing Firm for Justice

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,

Gingerbeardman