Tag Archives: Deen

Saajid Lipham – Muslim Twitter, Protests, Born Muslims vs. Converts

An excellent reminder on the problems of using twitter, of protesting being the first thing on people’s minds in the current crisis and how for many Muslims, especially born Muslims in America (and I would argue the UK also) social activism is their connection to the deen and the problem with this.

He also covers the necessity of returning to Allah if we want to enact a positive change, may Allah reward the brother for his efforts, ameen.

Du’at or Social Media Celebrity / Televangelists?

 

I am going to have to say it…

Most of the Islamic speakers I listened to and respected 10 years ago have one by one stopped talking about anything meaningful at all in public and instead morphed into some weird hybrid social media celebrity / Televangelist, constantly begging money for the latest project.

It’s embarrassing, as when you see them, in person at least, at the Masjid, or where they are just in the audience and chatting at the sidelines of events they are the same people on a personal level or seem to be at least, that we all knew and loved, back when they used to have some fire, calling to Allah, calling to Tawhid, calling to the deen as a whole way of life.

But their public persona now… when they get on the platform or worse on social media, pushes me away every time, their need to speak about every news topic without saying anything much at all, it’s so bland and grey.

Only… becoming animated… smiley… like they’re talking… in bullet points… when… getting cash… for their latest project.

As the genuine scholars say and some of these speakers used to repeat, “The men are known by the truth and the truth is not known by the men.”

I am not saying they are necessarily scamming people or raking it in, and I know we’ve all got bills to pay with times are difficult in the Islamic charity sector, but it is hard to respect anyone who behaves this way and the memory of who they were fades along with their reputation as each cringe-worthy video hits our screens.

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.

 

I’m Not Running Away But…

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,

Gingerbeardman

Mohammad Hoblos – Loving the Dunya

“Today look at our lives, myself included, we’re in love with this world. All of my efforts and all of thikr and all of my stress and everything I do is for this world, and deen… Deen gets the scraps.”
Mohammad Hoblos,
Khutbah for Masjid At Taqwa, 05/05/2017

https://soundcloud.com/masjidattaqwa/loving-the-dunya…

May Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala reward the brother Mohammad Hoblos for this storming Khutbah he did last week at Masjid At Taqwa and all his other efforts, ameen.

May Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala also reward the uncles at the Masjid who inviting him in and all their efforts in proactively promoting the deen, ameen.

This was a reminder we all need desperately to hear and everyone should have a listen.

WHY CAN WE NOT GET THAT SWEETNESS OF IMAN?

Three reasons why our iman is probably still low even though we pray and worship.

Ahmad bin Harb.(رحمه الله) said: “I worshiped Allaah for fifty years, I wasn’t able to find the sweetness of worship until I forsake three things:

1. I forsake seeking the acceptance of people, so I was able to speak the truth.

2. I forsake the companionship of the sinner, so I was able to accompany the righteous.

3. I forsake the sweetness of the life of this world, so I was able to find the sweetness of the afterlife.”

Siyar A’lam An Nubalaa, 11/34.

YASIR QADHI ADMITS TO STILL HAVING DOUBTS FROM STUDYING AT YALE UNIVERSITY

 

Warning: The video linked in this post has a sister who has not covered herself fully, so would request brothers who wish to listen to the video to avert their gaze and fear Allaah. Easiest way is to hit play then open another tab on your browser so you can listen without the need to watch the video.

https://www.youtube.com/shared?ci=Hj7yX6W8SJw

We learn as we study some of the most basic aspects of aqeedah (Islamic belief) that the statement ‘La ilaha ‘illa Allaah’  has conditions for it’s acceptability before Allaah and that one of the conditions is ‘Al-Yaqeen,’ meaning certainty.

But here Yasir Qadhi himself admits to still having doubts and that these doubts developed whilst studying Islamic studies with the Kuffar at Yale University.

“Wallahi I’ll be honest with you, the shubahaat I was exposed to at Yale, some of those I still don’t have answers to.”
Yasir Qadhi

For some people the position of Yasir Qadhi has already become clear, for some blind following fan-club members nothing, not the released emails confirming his doubts, nor this video with a direct confession to those doubts will be enough but I hope that for most of you who are in worried about whether it is permissible or good to take ilm from Yasir Qadhi that  this video will be sufficient for you.

May Allaah guide Yasir Qadhi and us all to the Haqq and keep us firm upon it with Yaqeen, bring us back the Yasir Qadhi of old, pre-Yale days we loved so much and help this ummah as we strive and struggle to establish our deen, ameen.