Tag Archives: Marriage

Keep The Partitions Up

Gender mixing (ikhtilat) leads to flirting. Flirting leads to touching. Touching leads to zina. Zina leads to the destruction of marriage. The destruction of marriage leads to the downfall of family. The downfall of family leads to the end of humanity. Keep the partitions up.

~Daniel Haqiqatjou

Advertisements

The Polygamy Catch-22

And if you fear that you shall not be able to deal justly with the orphan girls then marry (other) women of your choice, two or three, or four; but if you fear that you shall not be able to deal justly (with them), then only one or (slaves) that your right hands possess. That is nearer to prevent you from doing injustice.
Quran translation, Surah an-Nisa’ 4:3

Assalaamu Alaykum,

Confession time: I am no Sheikh or imam, I have no formal qualifications to speak about the deen. I am just someone who is active in Da’wah and working in the Muslim community helping others. Those I help are usually new Muslims who come to learn about the basics of Islam but also then later on when they need help if / when they get into personal difficulties in their lives.

So given I only have the one wife and my own my lack of deeni educational paperwork, feel free to ignore any or all of what you are about the read.

However it is based upon my own experiences in over 10 years of community activism, counselling others, reverts and non-reverts with their many difficulties and from asking questions myself from the people of knowledge I know and learn from and I would hope it carries some weight to those who are considering polygamy (or Polygyny for those wanting to be more precise in their English usage).

 


 

MY ADVICE REGARDING POLYGAMY

Now those who know me personally can confirm that I am quite pro-Polygamy. It’s a beautiful part of the sunnah and I post about it on this blog often. Polygamy  is a blessing to those families I know who are involved when it is done correctly and could solve many of the ills facing the Muslim community so why do I almost always find myself talking brothers out of  the idea of adding another wife to their home life?

Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “The rights of one Muslim over another are six.” It was said: What are they, O Messenger of Allah? He said: “If you meet him, greet him with salaam; if he invites you, accept the invitation; if he asks for advice, give him sincere advice; if he sneezes and praises Allah, say Yarhamuk Allah (may Allah have mercy on you); if he falls sick, visit him; and if he dies, attend his funeral.”
Sahih Muslim

It’s because the men wanting to take up this are for the most part not ready for it. It’s not necessarily something which is their fault but there is reason polygamous marriages fail at such a disastrously high rate.

Most men are not ready for this responsibility, they cannot do justice or sometimes even provide for two or more wives. Some are outright malicious and just want what they want and don’t care if people get hurt in the process.

 


 

A BIRD IN THE HAND…

Some may think they are ready for polygamy, hope they are ready, but they are almost always not but carry on regardless and marry again anyway. Especially with all the other brothers are telling them, “JUST GO FOR IT BRO!”

This is not the sincere advice mentioned in the hadith above, and none of us would want our own sisters, daughters or mothers treated in such a flippant manner by their husbands.

Sisters and those with waliya over them need to be asking the potentially polygamous husband-to-be whether he has spoken to the people of knowledge and what they say regarding his suitability for handling polygamy. Usually they don’t bother speaking to the people of knowledge first, and if they haven’t then don’t even consider this man.

Though some ill-advised polygamous marriages somehow manage to succeed, almost always they don’t and they often end up damaging not just the new wife’s life and prospects but their first wife’s also along with all the children from these marriages into the bargain.

So this is the first type of brother who falls into mistakenly thinking polygamy is for him and the least harmful, though by far the most numerous.

It’s not like he has bad intentions. They wish to fulfill their desires in a halal manner and don’t realize what damage they will do just jumping in unprepared and sadly I’ve seen so many of them come crying (sometimes literally) and asking for help and advice from the masaajid, imams or activists like myself after ending up divorced from one or even both wives, or close enough to it there is little anyone can do to help them fix this mess they’ve got into.

This problem is becoming sadly too common and the olde-English saying ‘A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush’ definitely applies more often than not to most brothers because most lack the requisite traits to fulfill polygamy.

LEARNER DRIVERS

The second type of brother is like someone thinking the best way to learn to drive is by just buying a car, then crashing it, then buying another and crashing again, over and over until he gets it right. This is sadly how some take marriage, especially polygamous marriage which is a whole other difficulty level to marrying the first time and often a miskeen long suffering wife is somewhere in the background picking up the pieces each time things go badly wrong for this type of brother.

Rasoolullah (Sallallahu alayhi wa salam) said: “The best of you are those who are the best to their wives, and I am the best of you to my wives.”
Narrated by al-Tirmidhi, 3895; Ibn Maajah, 1977; and classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Tirmidhi

They have a callous attitude to others to some degree and need to fear Allah regarding our sisters in Islam. But unlike the last group I’ll mention they not outright malicious and if they get the right wife for them, or somehow manage to learn along the way without breaking things totally then they’ll at least make a half decent effort at it even if they might fall short in some areas.

Usually these brothers can be found out as they don’t have much of a clue on how to handle polygamy, probably never even read a book on it never-mind sat with the people of knowledge, or else have a series of ex-wives in the background as a big sign post to avoid.

Brothers, these are our sisters in Islam, someone else’s daughter or sister, the fragile vessels and you don’t treat them in this way, Ever.

I think regular brothers have way too easy-come, easy-go an attitude to polygamy and you can see it in the way they speak about it among themselves and this is the fault for the rest of us who do not pull them up often enough when they start to discuss sisters in this way.

I genuinely think most of these brothers are giving advice not out of sincere intentions on whether polygamy is best for this particular brother, but because they selfishly wish to push polygamy so it becomes something more easily accepted in the community and so available for themselves.

BANDITS AHEAD…

The final group who go in for polygamy… marriage bandits or on their way to being such who actively don’t care about hurting their wives if it serves their needs and desires, or if they do care it’s not enough to actually stop them.

Such a ‘brother’ will sadly marry and divorce far too easily, his gaze constantly moving on to something new. As if this new wife, someone who is meant to be their sister in Islam, who intends herself to be his partner for life and the hereafter is nothing more than a latest girlfriend or baby-mama to be discarded after use for a time when he becomes tired or bored with her, or else she doesn’t fit an exact match to his criteria of what a perfect woman should be, an ideal which can never realistically be met.

The problem with the last group is that their personally flaws are often hidden well, as they know their own failings but don’t care about hurting others.

They’ll lie, cheat, hide all their ex-wives from you, and sometimes even other brothers especially if they are in the same hizb will lie for them also and cover their many past mistakes and sins. Others may often be impressed by their level of knowledge of the deen, even if there is not always more than a surface level implementation of that knowledge in their lives.

I’ve posted about marriage banditry before and it’s another reason (other than regular badly behaved brothers) why sisters should never speak to a man alone and why it’s important that a sister has a good wali doing the talking for them especially in the initial stages.

A man that is able to not just speak to a brother once or twice but check his references back to front. If a man has skeletons in his closet someone will know about them usually and these men are experts at manipulating sisters, but brothers can sniff them out more easily and anyway… if they meet resistance they will often move onto easier prey.

 


 

CATCH-22

And herein in the character of our polygamous brothers in the community lays the Catch-22 in the title.

Though I like the idea of polygamy and would love to see it practiced more, those who usually do ‘just go for it’ or are callous or even downright malicious in their intent are most likely to fail or don’t care if  they fail and continue to tarnish this aspect of the sunnah in the eyes of the majority of the people.

Those who fear Allah  the most in regards to their womenfolk are likely to stick to one even though they are the most likely to be able to succeed in leading and supporting two or even more wives and attached families.

I was present when a brother was speaking to a Sheikh in my city regarding polygamy, and whether he should seek a second wife or not. He’s known as an upstanding and just brother but yet he feared hurting his first wife and the Sheikh advised him this is what made him best suited to polygamy and that given his character if he could not do justice then none of us could.

I doubt the same advice would be given to any brothers falling into the three groups I’ve listed above if they’d gone to this Sheikh themselves.

 


 

THE THREE TRAITS

Being close to the masaajid in my city, and getting the chance to speak to many brothers I’ve seen the good, the bad and ugly in the community when it comes to polygamy and I’d like to end on a more positive note or at least more productive one and show how polygamy can work and succeed.

From my observations and speaking to those are successful polygamy requires three traits in a man to make it work well. Those that have all three of these traits will Allah willing make good polygamous husbands.
Two will probably work out OK, especially the later two.
One you’re pushing it… really don’t risk it bro, bird in the hand remember.
Zero and you’ve got little to no chance and anyone who knows you well, or doesn’t know you at all and is telling you to ‘just go for it’ is an idiot and should be told he is an idiot. Actually tell him I told you to tell him he’s an idiot.

If you wish to pursue polygamous marriages in the future you will need to cultivate these traits, train your mind and mold your character to something new and better and what’s more into the bargain you’ll become a better all round better husband to wife number one, a better Muslim and human being as well.

1. MONEY

OK not technically a character trait but yes money, dollars, pounds, dinars, whatever your local currency happens to be. This is part and parcel of being able to support and maintain more than one wife, actually to support even one wife.

And this attitude of working your butt off to earn a halal income is something I’ve seen in many successful polygamous husbands. However a lazy workshy brother is almost never going to provide properly for one wife, never-mind two plus so yes this does relate to character as well.

Men are in charge of women by [right of] what Allah has given one over the other and what they spend [for maintenance] from their wealth. So righteous women are devoutly obedient, guarding in [the husband’s] absence what Allah would have them guard. But those [wives] from whom you fear arrogance – [first] advise them; [then if they persist], forsake them in bed; and [finally], strike them. But if they obey you [once more], seek no means against them. Indeed, Allah is ever Exalted and Grand.
Translation of the Quran. Surah An-Nisa 4:34

So if you’re not willing to spend on your wife or wives, you are giving up a large portion of your authority and in this I am not talking about brothers who make effort but still fall short, sisters need to be patient with such brothers, I am talking about those who don’t even put in the effort at all.

Yes I know the salaf used to marry again when in need of rizq and that Allah states in the Quran:

And marry the unmarried among you and the righteous among your male slaves and female slaves. If they should be poor, Allah will enrich them from His bounty, and Allah is all-Encompassing and Knowing.
Translation of the Quran. Surah An-Nur 24:31

But most brothers do not have those levels of tawakkul, reliance upon Allah, or have some other barrier from their sins or actions they’ve placed between themselves and the help of Allah coming to them. Some are frankly using this as an excuse to marry and not care about the consequences.

Yes the rizq comes from Allah, but brothers tie your camel also, do not expect wealth to fall into your lap with no effort or planning on your part.

I do know brothers with more than one wife who are poor, or at least less well off, but they strive and struggle in some form either in some deeni field and their wives are patient with that but is the exception, not the rule and sisters expect, and quite rightly so that we as husbands provide for them or at least try our hardest to do so.

2. MANLINESS

There are reams and reams of words written upon how to be manly from a point of view of Islam or non-Muslim society and these days especially as a counter to the feminist movement written by Muslim and non-Muslim alike.

(not to be taken literally…)

Manliness is not something most find easy to pin down, especially the meaning I am using here in relation to polygamy but it is something some people know when they see it in themselves or another brother.

So I want to be clear I am referring to being a man from the point of view of Islamic traditions here. This is nothing to do with the men’s rights movement and if you start quoting some badly written trashy articles by barely pubescent boys over on 4chan or reddit on how to be an alpha male trust me, if that’s your thing then right now polygamy is not for you and you’ve got major issues you need to resolve.

Nor is it forcing your wife to walk ten paces behind you pushing a buggy weighed down with bags whilst you breeze on ahead without a care in the world or bullying and pushing the women in your life around until their will is crushed and they obey automatically.

This ummah is meant to raise up strong women, as well as strong men. If you cannot handle a strong women, or feel you need to bully her or even beat her down, you need to dominate then no this is not manliness, or at least not any Islamic version of it.

For me the manliness I am talking about here for those who are successfully polygamous is being a leader or having leadership potential. Having that effortless confidence in their own abilities and inspiring good out of those around them, an air of command without needing to shout or bully others, an ability to quietly get things done without whinging or whining.

Though we might have difficulty pinning it down, women seem to be able to pick up on parts of it it straight away especially issues such as confidence, self-belief and this is one of the reasons why some brothers get easy marriage offers, even offers to take a second wife when some  otherwise good brothers struggle for years even a decade or more to marry.

Though it requires more than just confidence to be a man, women feel attraction towards such men in ways they cannot always get their head around and when other men see not just confidence but other admirable traits in a brother they trust in him being able to look after their daughter in terms of marriage.

Let me ask you brothers, if a man came to you with a weak, anemic personality would you really feel he going to look after your daughter properly? Times that lack of confidence in his manliness by 10 when it comes to polygamy.

Women need to be certain the man in their life is going to get things done, to just deal with things. This is obviously an even greater requirement in polygamy where shaitan, and all his little helpers among the jinn and mankind will be keeping the gossip going, running to each wife whispering in their ears trying to cause a rupture in the man’s marriages.

3. ‘PERSISTENTLY STANDING FIRM IN JUSTICE’

The final and most important trait of the three is being just towards others. Especially the women in your life. So much so that the condition Allah places on polygamy in the Quran is whether a man can be just or not.

And if you fear that you shall not be able to deal justly with the orphan girls then marry (other) women of your choice, two or three, or four; but if you fear that you shall not be able to deal justly (with them), then only one or (slaves) that your right hands possess. That is nearer to prevent you from doing injustice.
Quran translation, Surah an-Nisa 4:3

How many times does Allah mention being just in the Quran?

If you know yourself you are not a just man, then stay clear of polygamy as it will destroy you and destroy your deen, and possibly contribute towards doing the same of your wives and children when they see you behaving in an oppressive manner.

O you who have believed, be persistently standing firm in justice, witnesses for Allah, even if it be against yourselves or parents and relatives. Whether one is rich or poor, Allah is more worthy of both. So follow not [personal] inclination, lest you not be just. And if you distort [your testimony] or refuse [to give it], then indeed Allah is ever, with what you do, Acquainted.
Translation of the Quran, Surah An-Nisa 4:135

All believers have to strive to be just, towards each other and in this case especially towards their wives, Allah is saying if you cannot be just then one is better for you and dhulm, oppression is forbidden to us and can have grave consequences here in the dunya and in the hereafter.

It was narrated from Abu Dharr (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, narrating from Allah, may He be glorified and exalted: “ ‘O My slaves, I have forbidden dhulm to Myself and I have made it haraam among you, so do not wrong one another.”
Sahih Muslim (2577)

All successful polygamous marriages I know of the man is just, known to be just to those around him in the community, just to Muslim and non-Muslim, just to all.

This is the most important trait of a polygamous husband’s character and without it either one or more of the marriages will break or else it will cause misery in his spouses even if he himself is happy and content in his life.

Narrated Ibn ‘Abbas: The Prophet sent Mu’adh to Yemen and said, “Be afraid, from the curse of the oppressed as there is no screen between his invocation and Allah.”
Sahih Bukhari

Touching on justice, some men think they are automatically superior in the marriage / marriages, by default of being the man in the home. That the degree that Allah gives them over women in Surah Al-Baqarah is because of what hangs between their legs, but this couldn’t be further from the truth.

Ibn Abbas and others in their explanation of this ‘darajah’ degree of men over women, this superiority is in an man being lenient towards his wife or wives, and that when he is able to do this even when a woman is being unjust, as they are likely to be from time with even the best of wives then he gains this degree over women, and that this was part of ‘rujulah’ manliness in Islam.

Gingerbeardman – The Meaning of Men Have A Degree Over Them

 


 

CONCLUDING REMARKS

This is a long article but that’s not the only reason it’s taken me a while to write and it’s been even longer coming in my mind, that something needed to be put down on this subject.

As I said at the beginning, I am not anti-polygamy, I am very much in favour of it, it is just I am in favour of the right people doing it and the rest of the males in the ummah not listening when other brothers tell you ‘Just go for it bro!’

Those brothers who give polygamy a bad press both to the Muslims and the non-Muslims around us. As someone active in Da’wah for many years there are few things as annoying as seeing someone who is close to the teachings of Islam but has been put off by seeing some bad character, some injustice or evil taking place in the community.

So I am not trying to attack those brothers who are taking part in polygamy or put off those who are seriously thinking of it, just giving some thoughts on how it can be done successfully, what traits you need to build up to make a success of this so we avoid so many painful clashes in the community when it goes pear shaped.

And by successful, I don’t mean still married after a year or two, or even cancer survival rate ‘success’ chances of 5 years. I am talking life-long happy unions with all the ups and downs such marriages bring but mostly bringing that beautiful sense of sakinah to the husband and all his wives, that marriage is meant to bring.

There are so many unmarried sisters in the community, divorcees, widows, even young and now not so young single sisters who have just not been able to find suitable husbands and one of my forthcoming pieces is going to cover why this and why this is a particular problem in the Muslim community.

Polygamy is Allah’s solution to this problem and all the follow on issues it causes, and when done correctly can help bind the community together. Some of the stories I have gathered from those who have grown up in polygamous households, or in communities where it is common are awe-inspiring to someone like myself striving to practice Islam as a whole way of life.

My final comment is to those brothers out there, who find themselves feeling they would like to take another wife, and reflecting on themselves after reading this article think they have most if not all of these traits is that you first sit with a Sheikh, discuss this and whether he thinks you are ready, whether you are suitable for this type of marriage.

After you’ve done that, speak to your family and yes of-course your wife and be just in letting her know what you are thinking. Yes, she will most likely cry and there will be difficulties, but she is helper, your garment, you should be consulting with her on this matter as on all things and letting her know her opinion is valued and listened to is what will make it easier for her to accept.

The after all of this, you are still convinced this is for you then not to let the horror stories stop you from going ahead and may Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala put baraqah in your all your marriages and grant you goodness from it, ameen.

And those who pray, “Our Lord! Grant unto us wives and offspring who will be the comfort of our eyes, and give us (the grace) to lead the righteous.”
Translation of the Quran. Surah Al-Furqan 25:74

Assalaamu Alaykum,

Gingerbeardman

Abu Abdurrahman – An Advice To Married Students

“An advice to married students from me, a married student

1.)Understand that your wife has given up some integral rights that she is due, in order for you to seek knowledge. So be even more kind to her and show your appreciation more.

2.) If she is living away from you, do not be too quick to judge and undermine her decisions and actions. Remember a persons decisions and actions are cultivated by the environment around them. Compare your environment to hers and show mercy and try not to demand too much from her.

3.) She is constantly reminded that her husband isn’t there. Whether intentionally or unintentionally from her family and peers there is a constant reminder that her husband is MIA. While her friends return from the masjid to the loving arms of their husbands she returns home to a husbandless home. Be aware of this and try to do what you can to counteract this feeling. Msging, Calling, Email, SnailMail (“TheNoteBook” style) All these things can help lessen the burden from her.

Finally my brothers remember you said “قبلت”
You accepted her and all burdens that she would come with. Be smart and wise when you say and do regarding her.

I ask Allah to unite all the students of knowledge who are currently away from their wives.”

Marrying a Second Wife When the First Wife Does Not Agree – Shaykh Saalih as-Suhaymee

An excellent response from the Sheikh on this important topic, seriously brother if you’re not man enough to tell you’re first wife then don’t think you’ll be man enough to care for, protect and honour two or more women.

 

Question:

“Is it allowed for me to marry a second wife, without the first one knowing it? Because, my first wife will not accept it.”

The Shaykh responds to a remark from someone in the audience:

“Why is he scared? Why?” (Laughter from audience)

Shaykh:

“The majority of us are somewhat scared when it comes to this matter. Don’t inform the woman, or she won’t even accept the narration concerning this.” (Shaykh laughs)

Shaykh:

“Dear brother, the first woman does not have the right to prohibit you, or come between the marriage. As for you, ask yourself… ‘Are you a man who sees in himself the strength to treat them justly? With a strong heart, and can you endure what you will get to hear. And making an effort to treat them justly in the first place?’ Accept it then, and marry more. But if you are convinced that you can’t do this, or you fear the bad consequences, then don’t. I think if it has come to the point that you are scared to inform her about it, then the situation is serious. Yes, it is for you to be gentle in behavior toward her. And comfort her with the right words. Try to get her in the right mood, and make her happy by buying something for her etc. If it is the case that she still rejects it, and you are not able to come to the point that she agrees with it; it isn’t obligatory that she agrees with it. Yes.”

Shaykh continues:

“And revive this Sunnah! The women of the believers are sitting at home. The age to get married has passed. And in some houses there are 10 women, of which some have reached 40 or 50 and still aren’t married. And we have imitated the West (in this regard). And we keep hearing their bad characters, and the confusion that they incite, to stop the polygynous marriage. And Allah says:

{Marry women of your choice, two or three or four.}

Allah started with 2 (women). That is why our Shaykh Ibn Baaz (May Allah have mercy on him) said, and he has Predecessors (Salaf) in this matter, he said: “(That) the principle is to do polygyny.” And that it is only waived if you fear what? For not treating them justly.”

Shaykh Saalih as-Suhaymee, may Allah preserve him

Reference: Question was asked during a lesson in the Prophet’s Masjid, translation taken from Youtube video.

The importance of identifying your own mistakes…

“In all of my counselling, I have never seen a couple in which both were not at fault to some degree. One may have committed the overt act of adultery or lived an egocentric lifestyle with little concern for the needs of the spouse, but the spouse also had failures. It is easy for us to identify the failure of our mates, but more difficult to admit our own. I have often given individuals a sheet of paper and asked them to list the faults of their spouses. They will write profusely for ten or fifteen minutes. Some have even asked for more paper. The lists are magnificent and detailed.

When I ask them to make a list of their own faults, they immediately list their one big fault. That is followed with a long period of silence as they try to think of number two. Some never find it, and seldom has anyone come back with more than four personal faults. What does that tell us? That the spouse really is the problem? Hardly, for each spouse has a grand list of the other’s faults. It tells us that we tend to see ourselves through rose-coloured glasses. Our faults do not look very big to us because we are used to them, we attribute the real problem to our mates’s behaviour…

Failures come in two basic areas. First we fail in meeting the needs of our partners, and second we fail by doing and saying things that actually are designed to hurt them. We fail to do what we should do for them and end up doing what we should not do toward them. Certainly it was not our desire to fail. We had dreams of making our mates supremely happy, but when our own needs we’re not met, we became cool and later hostile.”

Gary Chapman: Hope for the separated

 

Salafi Feminist – “How Would You Feel If It Was Your Daughter?”

Taken from Salafi Feminist Blog – http://thesalafifeminist.blogspot.co.uk/2016/12/how-would-you-feel-if-it-was-your.html

“Brothers, how would you feel if someone abused your mother/ sister/ wife/ daughter?”

Guys.
Guys.

You don’t get it. Dearest shuyookh, your intentions are sweet, but you don’t get it.

Men DO abuse their mothers, sisters, wives and daughters. They watch their mothers, sisters, wives and daughters be abused.

And they let it happen.

Maybe they don’t always approve of it. Maybe they feel bad. Maybe they genuinely think it’s terrible.

But they let it happen.

“She’s married now, we can’t interfere.”
“She needs to be more patient, all men get angry sometimes.”
“She just needs to stop being stubborn and get used to it.”
“Divorce is the most hated thing in the sight of Allah.”
“Men will handle their own business, we can’t get involved.”

And so another generation of sons, brothers, husbands and fathers grow up watching their womenfolk being lashed at with both words and fists. It’s normal, after all.

Some will break the cycle, recalling the horror they witnessed; these men, the true qawwam, will block the blows rained down upon their mothers and protect their daughters and show their wives only the greatest respect.

But many will not, because gheerah is no longer about protecting one’s womenfolk from harm, but about protecting male ego and so-called honour built upon insecurity.

“Brothers, how would you feel if someone abused your mother/ sister/ wife/ daughter?”

Not enough to make it stop.

Treat Your Wife As You Would Want Your Daughter To Be Treated

Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymin rahimahullah said:

“Know that when you deal and interact with your wife then it is mandatory that you think of a [scenario] where a man is the husband of your daughter. How does he treat her? Would you be pleased for him to treat her with harshness and sternness? The answer is no. Therefore, do not be content with treating the daughter of another person in a fashion that you would not be pleased for your daughter to be treated. This principle should be known by all people.”

[Ash-Sharh Al-Mumti’, (12/381)

Are White Muslims Racist?

basmillah

O you who have believed, be persistently standing firm in justice, witnesses for Allah , even if it be against yourselves or parents and relatives. Whether one is rich or poor, Allah is more worthy of both. So follow not [personal] inclination, lest you not be just. And if you distort [your testimony] or refuse [to give it], then indeed Allah is ever, with what you do, Acquainted.
Quran translation, Surah an-Nisa, 4:135

hamza-yusufAssalaamu Alaykum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuhu,

I know most of you reading this have listened to or at least heard of the recent terrible comments by Hamza Yusuf on the subject of race at the 2016 RIS conference and maybe you are shocked someone you’ve maybe loved or followed for years could speak these words, perpetrate these racially charged and yes racist myths.

Here is the clip in question for those who have missed it, yes it is that bad. Yes he really does say “It actually makes me a little sick to my stomach to see all these people rising up about… white privilege.” 

I am not so shocked myself though. I ‘grew up’ in terms of the deen as a new Muslim listening to many Hamza Yusuf talks, but over the years I’ve gone off him as my own views came closer to the authentic scholars of ahlus sunnah and drifted away from the traditionalist-ish approach he brings up, as well as when my views on world affairs clashed more and with his pro-western speeches.

You may differ, that’s fine but that is just me and my views of him and I don’t think this particular speech is way out there really, that he was only tired after a long flight as some have tried to suggest, it fits into the same themes he’s been pushing for the past 10 years at least.

Now I’ve been wanting to write an article about the racism of many white revert Muslims for a while now, so rather than devoting a whole article to trashing someone who has already been thoroughly rebuked by so many powerful voices in the Muslim community over the years as well as more recently I want instead to use this incident to ask another more general question about are his views somewhat typical of white Muslim attitudes…

ARE WHITE MUSLIMS RACIST?

Now those who know me personally or have just read my blog over the time it has been up will know I normally complain of discrimination towards reverts (or converts if you like) but in this particular case I want to ask the question are Hamza Yusuf’s comments more indicative of a wider problem among white reverts towards other Muslims, especially black Muslims but also other nationalities, races and cultures?

I would argue they are and as a white revert, involved in new Muslim support activities and Dawah one of my responsibilities to check that racism so it cannot just be dismissed as another bitter rant by an angry person of colour.

WHITE PRIVILEGE

Due to the inherent racism and still colonized minds of so many in the Muslim community, my voice as a white Muslims is heard whilst so many others who are perhaps far more qualified to speak on this topic are ignored and I would be ignoring my own duty as a Muslim if I did not speak out when I am given the opportunity.

You (true believers in Islamic Monotheism, and real followers of Prophet Muhammad and his Sunnah) are the best of peoples ever raised up for mankind; you enjoin Al-Ma‘roof (i.e. Islamic Monotheism and all that Islam has ordained) and forbid Al-Munkar (polytheism, disbelief and all that Islam has forbidden), and you believe in Allah.
Quran translation Surah Al ‘Imraan 3:110

This is one of the things I did take from a Hamza Yusuf talk years ago, when he was asked in a Q&A session about the way new Muslims are treated especially well by some parts of the Muslim community, and how it was a responsibility in such circumstances to speak out for the truth and treat that position as an amanah, a trust.

Saying that, it struck me back then and even more so now that that privileged position only really applies to white reverts, the experience of black reverts and other non-white reverts I’ve come to understand is somewhat different.

When some Arab or Asian Muslims is telling a new Muslim he or she is better than them as they’ve reverted, so are ‘like the sahabah’ this is usually addressed to white faces not brown or black ones.

I’ve never met a white revert who has not had this experience probably more than once in one form or another, and I’ve never met a black Muslim who has been treated in this manner… unless you count constantly being compared to and even called Bilal because Bilal is the only black Sahabah or Prophet they know about.

The treatment of white and black (and other ethnic minority) reverts is not the same in our community, that is a fact. If as a white, Arab or Asian Muslim reading this you are suffering from some sort of cognitive dissonance at this point and you are not willing to accept that self-evident and obvious truth then stop reading now because everything else from here on in is going to get even more uncomfortable for you.

I am not saying white reverts don’t suffer some discrimination, they do and dealing with it and the aftermath all the time is part of my job but it’s no-where near on the same levels as other ethnic groups are getting and I’ve known black brothers and sisters leave Islam over this crappy totally anti-Islamic treatment.

It’s not a small thing and nor should we brush it under the carpet because ‘it put people off accepting Islam’ if they are only going to leave later anyway once they experience the reality.

White reverts are treated sometimes as status symbols by the Muslim community, so when a Masjid wants pictures of reverts to put on a fundraising brochure to go to the gulf, who gets called upon to help out?

Who gets the invites (few as they are for reverts) for iftar and Eid with Muslim families or for sitting with visiting scholars from the Muslim lands? Who gets pushed forward as a speaker or even for training to become a scholar and then gets easily accepted as such?

Who then being advantaged in these small but meaningful ways, being known by the community then gets pushed forward for marriage when that time comes and someone has expressed an interest in their son or daughter marrying a revert?

Though white reverts do suffer some discrimination, we should recognize it’s mixed up with a large dollop of privilege as well so it is a duty for us to use that privilege to break down the barriers for those left to one side, to speak out for those who are often silenced or ignored in the masjid and wider Muslim community.

So there is racism towards most reverts, falling least of all upon the whites, but as a section of the Muslim community are we guilty of this most heinous of modern sins? Are many white reverts themselves racist?

roast-beef-dinnerROAST BEEF DINNERS

Get two or more white reverts together in the UK and most likely one will bring up their dislike of curry, or some other ethnic cuisine, or dislike of certain types of clothing and they’ll then have a good moan about how they wanted to become Muslim, not an Arab, Pakistani or a Malay, etc and why cannot they just wear normal English clothing, the worst of them will then explain their need / want to free-mix, listen to music, do Christmas and birthdays etc with their families.

I remember one meeting we had over 10 years ago for the New Muslim Project in Sheffield, where a Masjid was providing us venue and free food for new Muslims and their families and all some of the reverts could do was moan all the way through the meeting about how I bet it’s curry again, why can’t we have have a nice roast beef dinner instead and why do we always get expected to eat Asian / Arab food?

The level of ungratefulness was something ugly to behold, and I am not just saying that because I like curries, I also like roast beef dinners as well but if someone is putting on free food and help for you then don’t whinge and whine about what gets cooked.

There is so often a sense of cultural superiority about a lot of these conversations and meetings and it’s not just white reverts who the only ones guilty of this either.

dont-tell-me-what-they-say-about-meBigoted Asians will often share in their conversations with white reverts some of their own twisted views towards black people, and Arabs the same towards the Asians and blacks in the Muslim community. They attempt to draw you into their conspiratorial little world views as if you will come onto their side or you must already be there purely because of your skin tone, as if these others are ‘not quite the same as us,’ not really Muslim enough, almost other, a lesser being.

They must be used to having such talks with and around white Muslims they meet and know and not being challenged over it, because when it is challenged they are shocked and outraged to be called up over it or else try to claim they meant something else.

So readers, especially reverts but also others please start responding and challenging such attitudes and behaviors or be prepared to face the consequences of potentially sharing in those sins on the day of judgement.

On the authority of Abu Sa’eed al-Khudree (radiallahu anhu) who said: I heard the Messenger of Allah (saw) say, “Whosoever of you sees an evil, let him change it with his hand; and if he is not able to do so, then [let him change it] with his tongue; and if he is not able to do so, then with his heart — and that is the weakest of faith.”
Sahih Muslim

BIGOTRY IN MARRIAGE

I know a lot of black reverts get annoyed that it is only when it comes to marriage that bigotry is brought up in the Muslim community but it’s a topic I did want to bring up as an example, showing the racism of many white reverts and how far we have yet to come as it is an experience they know themselves.

I know as best as I can that it’s not the once in a lifetime issue of marriage which is the main problem, it’s the one hundred and one other little acts of racism and prejudice which cause more day to day problems for black Muslims in our community, the number of times the salam is neither initiated or responded to, the way people stick to their own or those they see like them or like who they would like to be, the way white culture is looked up-to and emulated by the culturally colonized Asians and Arabs especially those brought up in the west but black brothers very quickly get told they need to leave their culture at the door or else told they have jahiliyyah and a chip on the shoulder.

But you ask any white revert just about, and all of them will tell you they’ve struggled to get married, had rejections based on race, culture etc, but ask these same people whether their own children could marry a black revert… and all of a sudden all the racist stereotypes come out.

It’s not just the revert themselves either, sometimes their born Muslim spouse will have bigoted attitudes as well. Saying such a partner is unsuitable for their offspring, they are too strong a character, too lustful,  they are lazy, or have a chip on the shoulder, or else won’t be accepted in our community as if these reverts now they’ve made it and been accepted find it then acceptable to turn their back on others who are still to some degree held on the periphery of the Muslim community.

IT’S TIME TO END THIS

We know that racism whether in subtle or overt forms can be stopped, Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alayhi wa Salam) did so, and provided the Prophet model on how it can be done but it requires action and speech from everyone to do so as a community and as individuals.

We need to really challenge the racist trash when you hear it and not let it go, ESPECIALLY WHEN IT COMES FROM OUR MUSLIM BROTHERS AND SISTERS. We need to reach out in brotherhood, genuine brotherhood to those around us, and pull together as a community and that means listening and acting upon the concerns of others.

It also means slapping people down occasionally when they say something incredibly silly and / or racist. Stop making excuses just because fulan fulan is an imam, or your neighbour or your uncle, just stop it.

O you who have believed, be persistently standing firm in justice, witnesses for Allah , even if it be against yourselves or parents and relatives. Whether one is rich or poor, Allah is more worthy of both. So follow not [personal] inclination, lest you not be just. And if you distort [your testimony] or refuse [to give it], then indeed Allah is ever, with what you do, Acquainted.
Quran translation, Surah an-Nisa, 4:135

We need to listen to those voices who are telling us that things are not OK, just because it’s sometimes mostly alright for the white reverts like Hamza Yusuf or myself, that doesn’t mean everyone else is sharing the same experience or that we need to belittle their complaints as it doesn’t seem to fit in how we see ourselves and our lives.

Stop making excuses for racism, whether it is within or without the Muslim community. Just stop it, there is no justification. When you hear that Munkar stand firm against it.

We need to encourage the imams to speak up, to challenge this sort of thing just as they do so when the dhulm, oppression affects them or their own people whether here or around the world. Especially those of us who are listened to because of privileged position, use that privilege to put a stop to the conditions that brought it about in the first place if you know it is not really justified.

We say we are one Ummah, one nation but if one section of the Muslim community is being affected massively by a serious problem, but we don’t see it as our problem because it doesn’t hurt us then we’re not really a community are we?

An-Nu’man ibn Basheer reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “The parable of the believers in their affection, mercy, and compassion for each other is that of a body. When any limb aches, the whole body reacts with sleeplessness and fever.”
Sahih al-Bukhari 5665, Sahih Muslim 2586

Even if we don’t have these attitudes ourselves, if we the white Muslims turn our backs on others, their problems and experiences because they do not share our own background are we not then guilty of helping perpetrate a racist system?

 

 

 

Analysing Anti-Muslim Neocon Caroline Cox’s Discriminatory Religious Marriages Amendment

Assalaamu Alaykum,

For those who have not come across it yet, the CoolnessofHind blog offers excellent analysis on the UK governments destructive and counter-productive anti-extremism Prevent Agenda and the host of characters supporting it and is well worth following.

Here CoolnessofHind shows what seems like a small change in the law, which may have been missed by Muslim organisations could actually lead to the criminalization of most Muslim marriages here in the UK.

May Allah reward the brother / sister behind CoolnessofHind and all those involved in taking on the usually thankless, dirty business of combating the Islamophobia of the Government, political parties, the media and wider British establishment, ameen.

Assalaamu Alaykum,

Gingerbeardman

CoolnessofHind

carolinecoxmarriageamendment

The atmosphere of political Islamophobia, anti-Muslim hatred and media stigmatization of Muslims and Islam, is something that has become normalised today. Interference with Islam, its beliefs and practices has reached such heights that one wonders whether the vaunted secular distinction of the public and private sphere actually exists. It increasingly represents an arbitrary distinction which moves with the prejudices and hatred of those in power of an increasingly penetrative state.

We now have non-Muslim judges that have become Mujtahid Imams,[1] formulating fatwas on the basis of a single reading of the Qur’an, Sayyid Qutb’s Milestones and a dossier compiled by a half-baked “expert” concerning which beliefs are regarded as “extreme”.  The courts have, in other words, regulated the beliefs of Muslims without expressly doing so through the notoriously nebulous “extremism” discourse.

The regulatory colonialism continues into the final bastion of Islam in a post-colonial, legally fictitious world of nation states: the…

View original post 2,529 more words