Tag Archives: Arab

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

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Arab Nationalism in the Masaajid

Assalaamu Alaykum,

I help out in a Masjid in my local area, they give me a spot to run new Muslim activities, mentoring etc, as well as store Dawah materials and I help them out in terms of admin tasks in the Masjid. It’s a pretty good relationship for everyone.

However several times in the past couple of years of helping out some brothers have asked for help or favours or leniency from those involved in the running of the Masjid, implying they are more deserving as Arabs.

Leading to them perhaps getting a little more terse a response than perhaps they are used to from myself.

Ahmad (22978) narrated from Abu Nadrah: Someone who heard the khutbah of the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) on the second of the days of at-Tashreeq told me that he said: “O people, verily your Lord is One and your father is one. Verily there is no superiority of an Arab over a non-Arab or of a non-Arab over an Arab, or of a red man over a black man, or of a black man over a red man, except in terms of taqwa. Have I conveyed the message?” They said: The Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) has conveyed the message.
Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in as-Saheehah (6/199).

We need to clear to the ignorant among us, that our Masaajid and Islamic centres are upon the Quran and Sunnah, even better to be upon the best of understanding of that, the Salafi Manhaj.

We can be pretty tolerant of others as well, but if they wish to have a place of worship for their arab nationalism I suggest the Masaajid is not the right place for them to push that ignorance upon the rest of us.

Now here is a fatwah from a person of knowledge, who has used his understanding of arabic as a language to push back against asabiyyah in the arab community.

https://islamqa.info/en/182686

Is the Arab Muslim better than the non-Arab Muslim?

A while ago I read a hadith from the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him): It was narrated from ‘Utbah ibn ‘Abd that he said: A man said: O Messenger of Allah, curse the people of Yemen for they are tough fighters and great in number, and their fortresses are well fortified. He said: “No.” Then the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) cursed the non-Arabs, and the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “If they come to you, with their women and carrying their children on their shoulders (then show kindness to them), for they are of me and I am of them.” Narrated by Ahmad, and also by at-Tabaraani, except that he said: The Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) cursed the non-Arabs, the Persians and Romans (Byzantines), and the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “If the people of Yemen pass by you, with their women and carrying their children on their shoulders (then show kindness to them), for they are of me and I am of them.” The isnaads of both reports are hasan, and Baqiyyah clearly stated that each narrator heard it from another.

My question is:

Why did the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) curse the non-Arabs, the Persians and Byzantines? Didn’t many of them become Muslim after the conquest of Syria and Iraq, and even as far as China? Is the hadith proven to be sound and of a high level of authenticity? Why did he not say, O Allah, curse the disbelievers, and leave it at that? Is the Arab Muslim considered to be better than the non-Arab Muslim? I am from Syria and am not fully Arab; does this mean that my Islam is less than the Islam of those who are fully Arab among you? Were there any of the Sahaabah who were not Arabs?

Praise be to Allah

Firstly:

We have explained previously that Islam does not pay attention to differences in colour, race or lineage. All people are descended from Adam, and Adam was created from dust. Rather according to Islam, superiority of some people over others is measured by faith and taqwa (piety, mindfulness of Allah), doing what Allah has enjoined and refraining from what Allah has forbidden.

At-Tirmidhi (3270) narrated from Ibn ‘Umar that the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) addressed the people on the day of the conquest of Makkah and said: “O people, verily Allah has taken away from you the arrogance of Jaahiliyyah and its pride in forefathers. People are of two types: righteous and pious, who are dear to Allah, and doomed evildoers, who are insignificant before Allah. People are the descendants of Adam, and Allah created Adam from dust. Allah says (interpretation of the meaning): ‘O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted’ [al-Hujuraat 49:13].”

Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh at-Tirmidhi.

Ahmad (22978) narrated from Abu Nadrah: Someone who heard the khutbah of the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) on the second of the days of at-Tashreeq told me that he said: “O people, verily your Lord is One and your father is one. Verily there is no superiority of an Arab over a non-Arab or of a non-Arab over an Arab, or of a red man over a black man, or of a black man over a red man, except in terms of taqwa. Have I conveyed the message?” They said: The Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) has conveyed the message.

Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in as-Saheehah (6/199).

Al-Bukhaari (4898) and Muslim (2546) narrated that Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) said: We were sitting with the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) and Soorat al-Jumu‘ah was revealed to him: “And [He has sent the Prophet to] others of them who have not yet joined them” [al-Jumu‘ah 62:3]. I said: Who are they, O Messenger of Allah? He did not answer him until he had asked three times. Among us was Salmaan al-Faarisi and the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) put his hand on Salmaan and said: “If faith were at the Pleiades, some men from among these people [the Persians] would get it.”

Al-Bukhaari (5990) and Muslim (215) narrated that ‘Amr ibn al-‘Aas said: I heard the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) say, out loud and not secretly: “The family of Abu Fulaan (the Father of So and so) are not my friends. My friends are Allah and the righteous believers.”

Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allah have mercy on him) said:

The Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) was speaking of a clan that was closely related to him, and pointed out that mere lineage did not make them his friends; rather his friends were Allah and the righteous believers of all backgrounds.

End quote from Iqtida’ as-Siraat al-Mustaqeem (144).

See also the answers to questions no. 12391 and 3793.

Secondly:

Imam Ahmad (17195) narrated: Haywah ibn Shurayh told us: Baqiyyah told us, Baheer ibn Sa‘d told me, from Khaalid ibn Ma‘daan, from ‘Utbah ibn ‘Abd that he said: A man said: O Messenger of Allah, curse the people of Yemen for they are tough fighters and great in number, and their fortresses are well fortified. He said: “No.” Then the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) cursed the non-Arabs, and the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “If they come to you, with their women and carrying their children on their shoulders (then show kindness to them), for they are of me and I am of them.”

The commentators on Musnad al-Imam Ahmad (ar-Risaalah edn., 29/194) said:

Its isnad is da‘eef (weak). Baqiyyah – who is the son of al-Waleed – is mudallis [i.e., he engaged in tadlees, which is when a narrator narrates a hadith that he did not hear directly from his shaykh, without mentioning the name of the third party from whom he did hear it, using wording that may or may not give the impression that he heard it directly], and narrated by saying ‘an (“from”, without clearly stating that he heard the hadith himself from another narrator). His hadith cannot be accepted unless it is clearly stated that each stage of the isnad that one narrator heard it directly from another.

It was also narrated by Ibn Abi ‘Aasim in al-Aahaad wa’l-Mathaani (2280); at-Tabaraani in al-Kabeer(17/304) and in ash-Shaamiyyeen (1139), via ‘Abd al-Wahhaab ibn Najdah al-Hooti; and by Ibn Abi ‘Aasim (2280) from Hishaam ibn ‘Ammaar, both of whom narrated it from Baqiyyah ibn al-Waleed with this isnaad. In ash-Shaamiyyeen it mentions Ismaa‘eel ibn ‘Ayyaash instead of Baqiyyah, and we think it most likely that this is an error on the part of the copyist. End quote.

Even if we assume that the hadith is saheeh (sound), it is to be understood as referring to those among them who are deserving of being cursed, namely the disbelievers, evildoers and their ilk. These people were only singled out for mention because in most cases they were disbelievers and were misguided, especially at that time.

Thirdly:

In the answer to question no. 115934, we noted that Ahl as-Sunnah wa’l-Jamaa‘ah are unanimously agreed that the Arabs are superior to others in terms of descent and lineage, and that regarding the Arabs as superior is in general terms, and does not apply at the individual level. So a non-Arab who is pious and righteous is better than an Arab who falls short in his duties to Allah, may He be exalted.

Therefore an Arab Muslim cannot be superior to a non-Arab Muslim just because he is an Arab. Rather superiority is based on taqwa (piety, mindfulness of Allah). So whoever is more mindful of Allah and obedient to Him is better than his counterpart, regardless of whether he is an Arab or a non-Arab.

So the fact that you are not fully Arab does not mean that you are less than one who is fully Arab in terms of virtue and status simply because of that. As is clear from what we have mentioned above, the real standard is faith and righteous deeds.

Fourthly:

There were some of the Sahaabah who were not Arabs, such as Salmaan and Miqsam, who were Persians, Bilaal al-Habashi (who was Ethiopian) , Zunayrah ar-Roomiyyah (who was Byzantine), Barakah al-Habashiyyah (who was Ethiopian) and others such as Suhaym the freed slave of Banu’l-Has-haas, Ya‘eesh the slave of Banu’l-Mugheerah, Khaalid ibn al-Hawaari, and Tamaam al-Habashi.

Al-Haakim (8194) narrated that Ibn ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) said: The Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “I saw (in a dream) many black sheep who were joined by many white sheep.” They said: How did you interpret it, O Messenger of Allah? He said: The non-Arabs will join you in your religion and your lineage.” They said: The non-Arabs, O Messenger of Allah? He said: “If faith were at the Pleiades, some men from among the non-Arabs would get it.”

Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in as-Saheehah (1018).

Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah (may Allah have mercy on him) said:

The confirmation of that is seen in the many Persians, both free men and freed slaves, among the Taabi‘een and those who came after them, such as al-Hasan, Ibn Sireen, ‘Ikrimah the freed slave of Ibn ‘Abbaas, and others, and those who came after that of people who were prominent in faith, religious commitment and knowledge, until these prominent figures became better than most of the Arabs.

Similarly, among types of non-Arabs, such as the Ethiopians, Byzantines, Turks and others, there are people who excelled in faith and religious commitment, too many to be counted, which is something well known to the scholars, because true virtue is in following that with which Allah sent Muhammad (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) of faith and knowledge, both inwardly and outwardly. So the more strongly a person adheres to it, the better he is, and virtue is only in terms of the praiseworthy qualities mentioned in the Qur’an and Sunnah, such as Islam, faith, righteousness, taqwa, knowledge, righteous deeds, ihsaan and so on.  There is no virtue in a person simply being an Arab or non-Arab, or being black or white, or being a city dweller or desert dweller.

End quote from Iqtidaa’ as-Siraat al-Mustaqeem (p. 145)

And Allah knows best.
Islam Q&A

ISLAM21C – WHY WE MUST BE MASTERS OF OUR OWN COUNTER CULTURE

Taken from Islam21C – http://www.islam21c.com/politics/why-we-must-be-masters-of-our-counter-culture/

Written by Imran Shah

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When we think of counter culture, we mostly think of it as things that are niche, contrary to the status quo, but entirely recreational. Whilst counter culture always has its expressive and artistic side, to only acknowledge this manifestation is to only scratch the surface of a system of values and set of attitudes that define a people’s state of being.

The use of counter culture, and culture overall, is the management of people, their norms, perceptions and their relationship to various things. Therefore, the management of a people’s culture is to manage their capacity as people and their direction.

It is for this reason that counter culture is so pivotal to any freedom struggle and even any real change we see in society. It is almost impossible without it and power structures know that all too well.

Whilst we see counter cultures manifest in what we traditionally see as culture itself, it broadly defines alternative socio-political dispositions, whether it is revolutionary, drug and gun culture or more mundanely in innovative workplaces. Nowadays, working culture is part of any manager’s toolkit to boost performance at work, whereby they manage people’s behaviour and enforce rewards and accountability to increase and instil the right emotional and mental habits that are specific to the workplace setting. Anyone who wishes for social change has to utilise this to galvanise a disenfranchised and marginalised public who do not identify with the status quo and who, at least, want to invest their life into something else, in exactly the same way.

Key examples include how Gandhi, regardless of rumours of his personal life, rallied the masses of Indians against British rule mainly by values of self-dignity, peaceful resistance and self-determination. Another is how the Black Panthers turned the poverty-stricken, dog-eat-dog world of the ghetto into inclusive, collective communities who supported each other and helped the vulnerable.

These examples illustrate how social reformers create a space in society where the disenfranchised can be mobilised in similar ways that is standardly easy for the status quo.

However the use of culture is also used by power structures to manage the behavioural norms of their society. By ensuring that various organs of our society all act and sing from the same hymn sheet, power structures can consolidate their power, deliberate on their agenda and rule.

They do this in a number of ways:

Sustaining the Status Quo

One of the obvious ways is that the state can utilise various media, legal and private agencies to sustain a certain world view, so pervasive and dominant that a human being will be affected at some level. An obvious example was the “American Dream”. So dominant was this ideal, that people of colour, whether Black, Latino or Arab, would believe in it so much so that they would invest their entire life into it, no matter how much they experienced the “American Nightmare”. So influential was the idea of “success” and so narrowly defined by the nation’s elite, it led people into assimilating into that ideal. In the US case, a White Supremacist ideal.

However, power structures do not just use “normative” and respected sides of society to maintain control. Where power structures see they are losing leverage or desire more, they would employ radical counter culture in society for the same effect. This was and still is being used to great effect by the neo-conservatives’ Islamophobia Industry during the War on Terror, as well as the use of state-sponsored Islamophobia by military juntas against Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and support of the 969 Monks who persecute Rohingya Muslims.

Destroying and subverting the counter culture

If a movement gets out of control, one of the first actions a power structure undertakes is to root out the elements that enable the movement’s masses to organise effectively.

The assassination of black civil rights leaders did more than just create a crisis of leadership. The messaging and narratives they promoted set the direction as well as the tone, values of equality, and mind-sets in which people demanded their freedom. The cultural expression of “black is beautiful” actually encapsulated the natural political expression of the demand for black equality in the US. The embrace of that cultural narrative would not only urge that individual to demand and struggle for their freedom, it also created a focus on work that would be beneficial to the community as a whole.

With the jailing and assassination of groups like the Black Panthers, the War on Drugs that followed was the State’s initiative to destroy all the cultural development that made the ghetto a sanctuary for black people and returned it back to the dog-eat-dog world it was once known for.

Further to this, with the assassination of leaders such as Malcolm X and Martin Luther King there was no other leader that could command and tell the Black American story so powerfully. This vacuum enabled room for the white power structure to do it for them; to define the term of black equality and when progress is seen to be made, thus, subverting the struggle from within.

Manufacturing their own

Sometimes a power structure can foresee what would occur if such an action was taken by themselves. Whether through an uprising, organisation or through economic self-sufficiency, if they could see it coming they would take steps to pre-empt them.

Perhaps the most lasting example of this was the Sykes-Pico agreement that was taken between the winning allies of WWI. They declared that the spoils of war would split the now ex-Ottoman empire into their annexation. Turkey gained Russia and what is now called Syria and Lebanon went to France and lands of Palestine. Transjordan and Egypt went to Britain. The 3 sons of the Meccan chief who were British-sponsored and led the Arab uprising were allowed to inherit Iraq, the Arab Peninsula and Egypt. However, a British sponsored coup ensured that it was the Saudis that retained power and created a colonial state in the Arab Peninsula until this day.

Across the Arab world, two things happened. Lands that were consumed by Western colonialism either before or after WWI were divided by artificial borders and the manufacturing of Arab nationalism by “Lawrence of Arabia” became regimented with these borders. Once colonial powers were kicked out, the powers always ensured that military juntas ruled over them, helping to manage the region’s self-determination by proxy. This was the case with the Alowites in Syria, Saudis and other Arab principalities in the Arab peninsula and Egypt, Libya, Algeria and Tunisia.

However, the brilliance of soft power was that the Arabs no longer saw themselves as a singular, united people, but as separate people with different identities distinct from each other. Those who, only a few generations ago, saw themselves as fundamentally Arab and would have resisted as one people, now saw themselves as a myriad of identities (Egyptian, Syrian, Tunisian, Algerian etc.)  and only struggled politically for that particular identity. The military dictatorship was there to ensure resistance was controlled but also that the culture of Arab nationalism persisted. And, until this day it does.

The Arabs are perhaps today the most oppressed people in the world and yet also the most divided. It all came down to managing their own perception of themselves and their own culture as a people.

What Can Social Reformers Do?

The first thing that social reformers must be aware of is how power structures manage and shape culture through their own agendas. Consequently, one creates an intelligence of what will occur and gain power to strategise against any power structure that wishes to subvert your efforts.

The second thing is to start designing a culture that would suit your aims. What values, ideas and impact would it have, to rally people and ready them for a possibility that all of us are eager for. All in all, it must be holistically enriching, urging the well-being and emancipation of our political, social and spiritual encapsulation in Brotherhood and Sisterhood. There has to be an appreciation that whilst we need political emancipation, the real strength, colour and diversity of that movement comes from the society they draw effort upon and of course the values, capacities and mind-sets that are codified in their culture.

It must be a big-tent for effective change, focused on pragmatism and a “safe-space” to discuss ideas. Social reformers should not make the mistake that all counter cultures fit all sizes. It would perhaps be most wise to create various counter-cultures to activate various diverse parts of our people, but ensuring they all share fundamental aims. This de-centralised approach would also mean a greater resistance to subversion and neutralisation from the Establishment.

The third and final point of attention is that the vanguards of the counter culture need to stir, educate and direct the people. They must keep channels of expression open and endeavour to create support networks to aid development, innovation and to ensure that work is firmly ingrained in every part of society, ensuring the most inclusive path to freedom as possible.

Source: www.islam21c.com

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