Sacramento Muslims Not Afraid to Take on Racism in our Ranks

SacramentoSacramento California-When American Muslims finally get around to fully unpacking the topic of racial prejudice within the American Muslim faith practice, it will be the most difficult, yet most self-redeeming conversation that we will have with ourselves to date. Racism in Muslim America is real, it is pervasive, and it has taken a terrible toll upon Muslim America, particular converts to Islam. It impacts virtually every aspect of Muslim life, politics, anti-Muslim sentiment, assimilation, the and spiritual well-being Muslims in the United States.

The first article that I wrote about Racism in Muslim America was in 2002. It was less than a year after the World Trade Center attack on 9/11. The country was still reeling from the  shock and many Muslims Americans, especially immigrant communities suddenly found themselves the target of blame, mistrust and increased scrutiny. I strongly suggested then, that if we addressed the racial issue amongst Muslims and the divide between the immigrant and the convert communities, it would aid our struggle against anti-Muslim sentiment or what some call islamophobia. The article received mixed reviews. One CAIR official said to me; ‘yes racism is a problem in our community but your article is ahead of its time’. He proved to be correct, but he was paying attention. In 2016, thirteen years later, things have not changed much. Anti-Muslim sentiment in America is about the same as it was then. The relationship between the immigrant and the convert communities has worsened.

There is no easy way to address racism in Muslim America. However, rest assured, it is not by any measure a hopeless situation. In Sacramento, there is an underlying commitment and determination by many of our area’s imams, activists, and leaders to confront this issue without fear. Local imams, Imam Kashif, Imam Azeez, and others have emphatically and intrepidly spoken from the minbar about our battle with racism in Muslim in America.

Other Sacramento Muslim leaders such as Basim Elkarra, and T. Sami Siddiqui  from CAIR, Dr. Metwali Amr, from SALAM, the leadership of the Muslim Community of Folsom, brothers from Masjid Nur, brother Bassam Asfoor, Editor of Crescent magazine, Dr. Irfan Haqq, President of COSVIO, and countless others, have taken definitive stances against racism, and swung the doors of dialogue and communication wide open. Other are following as many individual Muslims, businessmen, civic and religious leaders in our city have been on board this issue for quite some years. As Sacramento Muslim leaders, we all share a common thread; we care about the well-being of Muslims in Sacramento, and we do not hide from the challenges facing our community.

Sacramento is a relatively large metropolis with an estimated 40,000 Muslims. Still despite our size, we are very much a village, we are very much a family, and we as a community, time and time again have risen to the occasion when it comes to challenges. We do not always agree, and we may have our spats every once in a while, but we get over it. This fraternity of Muslims, and willingness to listen to each other that exists in Sacramento, has prepared us to tackle a tough matter such as racism and the racial divide amongst Muslims.

Every Muslim community has its problems, conflicts, and challenges, and that will always be the case. At the end of the day, we are only human, and there is no need for us to pretend that we are any more than that. Many African-Americans who still suffer from the effects of slavery and the slave mentality find themselves further victimized through marginalization, and mistreatment by many American Muslim immigrants still suffering from the effects of colonization and western domination upon their societies.

The issue of racial and ethnic bias and intrareligious sectarianism are the defining issues of our time. How we confront it will determine our civilizational trajectory as we move forward. During last Ramadan, I gave a talk at a Muslim Community of Folsom Ca. After we had broken our fast, a few brothers came to me and said: “Imam, Muslims have a race problem, we realize it, and we admit that we do not have al the answers, but are determined to do something about it.”

I cannot speak about what other cities are doing. Racism in Muslim America is a problem that will no go away without a fight. However, the Sacramento Muslim community is not a racist community. Sacramento is a Muslim community and a family that faces its problems with faith, courage and resolve, and that takes care of their own. That has been my experience for the last twenty years. In Muslim Sacramento, there are believing people who are ready and willing to take on the challenge of unifying our community and bridging the racial and ethnic divides that plagues, and stagnates us. Of this I am sure.

Imam Luqman Ahmad, Masjid Ibrahim Islamic Center

Donate to Masjid Ibrahim’s New Masjid Construction Fund here

American born Luqman Ahmad is a life long Sunni Muslim, the son of converts to Islam. He is a writer, consultant, patriot, and has been the Imam of a Northern California mosque for twenty years. He is a former executive committee member of the North America Imams Federation, a founding member of COSVIO, (the Council of Sacramento Valley Islamic Organizations), and the author of the book “The Devils Deception of the Modern day Salafiyyah Sect”, a detailed look at the ideology which forms the mindset of ISIS. He has written blog posts challenging ISIS, Anwar Awlaki, and BOKO Haram on his blog, imamluqman.wordpress.com. The sentiments shared in this article are his own and not representative of any of his professional affiliations. He can be reached at imamluqman@masjidibrahim.com

What it Doesn’t Say in Our Scared Scriptures, by Imam Abu Laith Luqman Ahmad

quran laid out.jpgIt doesn’t say anywhere in our scriptures that we should condemn some atrocities while remaining silent about others. It doesn’t say anywhere in our scriptures that we try to convince people that Islam is a religion of peace; and not try to make peace between the Muslims who are arguing fighting and killing each other in such large numbers. It doesn’t say in our scriptures that we should work so hard to convince people how tolerant we Muslims are when we all know full well how intolerant we are of each other even in things such as beards, hijabs, birthdays, and having a personal opinion. It doesn’t say anywhere in our scriptures that we pretend to be unified knowing full well that we are woefully divided according to race, ethnicity, class, tribe and economics.

It doesn’t say anywhere in our scriptures that liking something is better than doing something. It doesn’t say anywhere in our scriptures that getting people to like us is a praiseworthy goal. It doesn’t say anywhere in our scriptures that wealth, fame and material success are the ways to obtain Allah’s pleasure. It doesn’t say anywhere in our scriptures that we should blame all criticism of Muslims and islam on islamophobia and not consider that perhaps there are some things about our own behavior that contribute to people’s negative attitudes.  It doesn’t say anywhere in our scriptures that the dead and living scholars about whom we fuss and argue and sever relationships are infallible or have been promised paradise.

It doesn’t say anywhere in our scriptures that the best of you is the one who is the cutest, most handsome, has a perfect body or has the most money. It doesn’t say anywhere in our scriptures that men should assume the roles of women and women should assume the roles of men. It doesn’t say anywhere in our scriptures that we need to refute every detractor, chase after every insult, or complain about every hardship. It doesn’t say anywhere is our scriptures that we demand our rights from society and ignore the rights of the poor, the needy , the oppressed and the indigent.

It doesn’t say anywhere in our scriptures that we question the words of Allah, and His Messenger (SAWS) but do not question the words of our politicians. it doesn’t say anywhere in our scriptures that one race of people are better than the other. It doesn’t say anywhere in our scriptures that we curse each other, and reveal what goes on in our bedrooms on the internet.  It doesn’t say anywhere in our scriptures that we should work so hard to change others and not admit or even entertain the idea that perhaps we need to change. Our scriptures are the Quran, and the authentic sunna of the Prophet (SAWS), and It doesn’t say any of that. – Imam Luqman Ahmad

American born Luqman Ahmad is a life long Sunni Muslim, the son of converts to Islam. He is a writer, consultant, patriot, and has been the Imam of a Northern California mosque for twenty years. He is a former executive committee member of the North America Imams Federation, a founding member of COSVIO, (the Council of Sacramento Valley Islamic Organizations), and the author of the book “The Devils Deception of the Modern day Salafiyyah Sect”, a detailed look at salafiyyism the ideology which forms the mindset of ISIS. He has written blog posts challenging ISIS, Anwar Awlaki, and BOKO Haram on his blog, imamluqman.wordpress.com. The sentiments shared in this article are his own and not representative of any of his professional affiliations. He can be reached at imamluqman@masjidibrahim.com

 

What Muslim Americans need to understand about America, by Imam Abu Laith Luqman Ahmad

“America is more than what many Muslims think of her. I’m not blind to her faults but it is wrong to believe that our country and our history is without virtue’. – Imam Abu Laith Luqman Ahmadfreedom of speech

These are the United States of America, and I respect the right of every American to have his or her own opinion, and to speak their mind.  The Prophet (SAWS) said: “Amongst those receiving the most severe punishment on the Day of Judgment, is the two faced person. The one who goes to one group bearing a face, and to another group bearing another face“.

Speaking of having your own opinion, I personally do not like it when people immigrate to America, benefit immensely from what our country has to offer, make a few dollars, buy a house in the suburbs, and then starts trashing our country saying that America does not live up to their expectations. I’m not knocking anyone for expressing their views or criticisms. I’m talking about the one who completely trashes everything about our country and insinuates that there is no good here and thesis just an awful evil place. That’s just my personal opinion, and some of you may have your own opinions about my opinion and that’s your right. There’s no need for anyone to be offended, to be in a tizzy, or to unleash upon me a tirade of indignation. However, you can if you want to, just try not to make it personal. If you have a problem with my previous statement, then you’ll probably feel some kind of way about what I’m about to say next. Especially those to whom it applies.

New American Muslims should stop complaining so much about their new country and perhaps use the freedom and liberty afforded to them as American citizens to to ask the hard questions about how we practice Islam outside the din of polemical debate, political rhetoric, and public relations considerations.  Immigrant dominated national Islamic political and advocacy groups as well as the new class of Muslim activists — while advancing the argument that American Muslims are as American as apple pie — demonstrate in many ways, especially in the way they confront islamophobia, that they do not quite understand America.

While declaring that the principle cause of islamophobia (a term that I do not agree with) is that Americans do not understand Muslims and Islam, there needs to be a parallel acknowledgment by American Muslim immigrants, and anyone else who supports such an oversimplified, nonsensical notion, that there are lots of things they need to understand about America, and Americans whose acceptance they crave.

There is hardly any other personal liberty dearer to us than the right of every individual to speak his or her mind and to have our own personal views or opinions. To put it simply, we do not like being told what to think, or who we can like or dislike, or which religious group we can or cannot talk about. In America, if someone talks negatively about Christians, the whole of Christian America does not come down on them. It doesn’t elicit a nationwide, multi-denominational Christian rebuke, nor does it catapult the matter onto the American Christian agenda as the suggested topic for next Sunday’s sermon. That’s just not the way we do things in this country. Jews are criticized just as much as Muslims and are probably the most parodied religious group in America. The whole Jewish nation does not come down on every alleged anti-Semite, or scour the news hunting down people’s campaign worthy biases. Even if some Jews address it or some organizations say something (and that’s a big if), it doesn’t become a nationwide rabbinical campaign.

However, if someone, especially a prominent person or politician says something about Muslims, or God forbid articulates what Muslims activists believe to be an islamophobic sentiment, Muslim advocacy organizations capitalize on it and feeds it to the Muslim community as a campaign worthy issue, and from there it wafts into our nations mosques. That’s not cool. Not cool at all. If someone talks about Muslims, the whole Muslim community should not come down on them. That’s so freakin un-American.

When some people in our country demonized Muhammad Ali, he withstood it with dignity, now he is loved by some of those same folks. We excoriated al-Hajj Malik Shabazz (Malcolm X), he withstood our criticism and we ended up making a movie about him. We said bad things about the Mormons. They withstood it and got their own state. I could go on and on but the point is, no one in the history of the United States has succeeded in silencing their critics simply by complaining and calling them bigots, racists, islamophobes, nigger-lovers, or any other verbal counter-punch.

With all the degreed and advance degreed professionals we have in the American Muslim advocacy department,  it should be well understood that American Muslims will never succeed in shutting down all criticism of Islam and Muslims in America. We love that freedom of speech clause in the constitution and we’re not going to give it up. Even though some people may hold their tongue just to avoid the drama, Americans will continue to think and believe as we please, and there is nothing that anyone can do about it. For every so-called islamophobe who cowers, or is silenced though bribery, professional censure or public pressure, another one pops up under the radar; in part due to the censure of the former. Some Muslims are still responding to statements made by Donald Trump more than three weeks ago.

During his Farwell Sermon, the Prophet (SAWS) re-emphasized Islam’s moral stance against racial and ethnic prejudice, and never once mentioned that we should concern ourselves with public image, chasing after peoples’ negative statements, or seeking acceptance of the people.  What a pathetic irony, that more than 1400 years after the Prophet’s last sermon, some American Muslims find themselves obsessed with the image of Islam, having to challenge every act of bigotry, and getting approval of the people, while almost completely ignoring our own debilitating racial, and ethnic prejudices that violate the moral code of our religion, and fuel the negative images of Islam and Muslims, that we find ourselves so obsessed with. – Imam Luqman Ahmad

Epilogue: So what do you suggest we do Imam? Answer: I suggest that we shift from responding to things politically to responding according to the dictates of our scriptures (Quran and Sunna). Simply put, we need to shift from political Islam to the religion of Islam and understand that they are not entirely the same. Yes, politics is a part of our religion, however, politics should be subordinate to religion, not the other way around. As Muslims we need to be more concerned with obeying Allah, and following the Prophet than we are with obeying our egos,  and following our political action handbooks. It’s that simple. More on this later. In the meantime, God bless the United States of America.

American born Luqman Ahmad is a life long Sunni Muslim, the son of converts to Islam. He is a writer, consultant,  patriot, and has been the Imam of a Northern California mosque for twenty years. He is a former executive committee member of the North America Imams Federation, a founding member of COSVIO, (the Council of Sacramento Valley Islamic Organizations), and the author of the book “The Devils Deception of the Modern day Salafiyyah Sect”, a detailed look at salafiyyism the ideology which forms the mindset of ISIS. He has written blog posts challenging ISIS, Anwar Awlaki, and BOKO Haram on his blog, imamluqman.wordpress.com. The sentiments shared in this article are his own and not representative of any of his professional affiliations. He can be reached at imamluqman@masjidibrahim.com

 

 

 

 

American Muslim converts; looks like you are on your own. By Imam Abu Laith Luqman Ahmad

basmala

The Prophet ‫ﷺ said, “No people ever went astray, after they were guided, except that they were overcome by  arguing”. [at-Tirmithi]

Indigenous American Muslims seem to have developed an unhealthy appetite for arguing amongst one another, and it is certainly not just limited to us living here in the United States. Arguing and disputing with one another takes up an incredible amount of time.  We argue about aqeeda, we argue about food, we argue about clothes, we argue about family ties, we argue about who has the most hate for the kuffaar, who is imitating the kuffaar, and we argue what constitutes kufr and who’s faith is at risk. We argue about who is on the haqq, and who is not. We argue about Allah, we argue about His Holy names and attributes, we argue about His mercy, who deserves it and who doesn’t. We argue about who is guided and who is astray, and we don’t stop arguing, night or day.  We argue about the length of our pants, the shortness of our beards, and we even argue about the sajda marks on our foreheads.

Historically, everyday  Americans do not argue back and forth a whole lot about religion and religious doctrine. We live in a country where people are free to believe in whatever they like, and if a person is comfortable with his or her faith, they don’t feel the need to argue about it or defend it over and over to others. Baptists and Methodists don’t go back and forth arguing about doctrine, calling each other names, and neither do Jews and Christians.

Arguing back and forth about religion is a relatively new phenomenon that entered Muslim America along with the culture of sectarianism which Muslims have yet to resolve. The culture of arguing and sectarianism has made it pass our borders, and found a home amongst indigenous American Muslims. It seems that fourteen century’s worth of debates around theology, Islamic law, worship, faith, heresy, Muslim politics, and who should be in charge — which have taken place during the course of Muslim history — have all been resuscitated and given new polemical life here in the good ole USA.

We argue about groups, we argue about gatherings, and we argue about saying hello to a stranger. We argue about alliances and disavowal and we argue about friends as well as enemies. We argue about sects of Islam that do not even exist anymore. We argue about words, we argue about the meanings of words, and we argue about the meanings of the meanings of words. We argue about class, we argue about race, and we argue about titles that we make up and proclaim to be sanctified. We invent new titles and then argue about those.

So while we were busy arguing

So guess what Muslim American converts? While we were busy arguing amongst one another about shoes and socks, and madhhabs and minhajis, and sparring with one another using the views of your sheikhs as if you’re playing Rokem Sockem robots, something extraordinarily consequential has occurred. Actually, a few things have happened, but I don’t want to drop it all on you in one reading. It didn’t happen overnight, so you might not have noticed at all, but while we were engaging in theological proxy wars on the internet, trying out different identities, different paths, tariqas, movements, and championing every Muslim cause that was handed to us, (except our own of course) something has happened. And for many of us, it slipped right by without the slightest notice. Are you sitting down? Okay, I’m going to tell you.

A new group of Muslims leaders, communities and organizations have arrived on the scene who are better educated, have larger, stronger communities, are more organized, have more money (lots of money) and spread out across the nations cities and suburbs. They are the new American Muslims. Many of us complain that the narrative of Muslim America portrayed in the media, on national television, in commentaries, from the pens and mouths of many national Muslim leaders, activists and pundits, does not include the American Muslims who’ve converted to Islam. You know the ones I mean; The ones who are not searching for an identity, are not trying to figure out how to assimilate , who are not afraid of deportation, who do not have a “back home” to go to. Yeah, the converts to Islam and their children, and children’s children, and their children’s children.

The convert narrative is missing  because the convert community, many of whom are African American, are not included in the future plan being concocted for Muslim America. In fact, you are hardly mentioned except anecdotally. And you, the American Muslim convert community; of African American, White and Latino Muslims, are more of a novelty, a showpiece and a passing mention, than a serious part of any national conversation about Muslims. The tremendous amount of monetary and other resources coming from inside and outside of the United States in support of the new Muslim America, is not being funneled into your communities.

You should have seen this coming

Now don’t be alarmed, you should have seen this coming but you were preoccupied worrying about everyone else except yourselves. Some of you even believed them when they said you cannot be yourself, think for yourself, do for yourself, or even love yourself.   Some of you believed it when it was said that its not necessary to build your own masaajid, establish your own local communities, and to be honest, there was some Kool-Aid served and yes, some of us did take the drink. So while many of you were trying to figure this out, the new American Muslims, through their powerful organizations, began to speak for you (even though they don’t know you), tell you what issues should have priority, and even out the kindness of their hearts offered you a new identity. Now isn’t that nice.

It is appreciated that you were kind enough to put your own issues and more immediate needs on hold,  such as family issues, building Islamic schools for your children, building masaajid in your neighborhood where you live, addressing poverty issues were you live, crime in your communities where you live, and partnering with people and organizations where you live,  just to support the causes of the international Muslim community. That was darn good of you. Your service and commitment to the causes and agendas of Muslim peoples all around the world is duly noted. You championed Palestine, you championed Egypt and the Arab spring — which ended up being the Arab nightmare — you championed Darfur, you championed Libya, and when they told you to curse Gadhafi, you cursed him. When they told you to worry about ISIS, you started to worry, even though we have the strongest military in the world to handle ISIS. All in all,  your dedication and your commitment to the greater good of the world’s Muslims is admirable. It would have been needed if the world’s Muslims were just as concerned about you. Sadly they aren’t, except for a few. Today’s American converts to Islam will be remembered and recorded in the annals of history. At one point in history there was a need for you by the greater body of Muslims, and there is still a need for you in photo ops, cameo appearances, and of course a must item for every mega masjid to have at least 1 or 2 token African American or Caucasian Muslims.  However, at this point the convert community has outlived our usefulness to the larger community of the new American Muslims.

Yes converts, you are on your own but you are not by yourselves

Now you must deal with the reality that you are on your own as converts to Islam. Your communities are declining, many of your masaajid have closed its doors, and in the last 20 years as hundreds of new masaajid have been built around the country, there have been less than five new masaajid built in your communities. Some of you al-humdu lillah have stuck to the Masaajid and communities, and have stuck it out through thick and thin. Others amongst you who have converted to Islam found yourselves in a state of shock. You were immediately told that you have to give up your identity, give up your reasoning, give up your spirituality, your common sense, and even your Americanism, and for that we owe you a sincere apology. The Islam you were invited to is not the Islam that was shown to you after you converted.

So dear convert community, understand that you are on your own. However, you are not by yourselves. Remember that it was Allah who guided you to Islam, and it was His divine will that you become a Muslim. He didn’t do it because He wanted you to to be a colony in your own country, or a slave to anyone else besides Him. Allah did not bring you to Islam simply to fight the same fights, argue the same arguments, and perpetuate the same bigotries that have plagued Muslims worldwide. He didn’t guide you to Islam to buy into anyone’s sect, schism, or parochial version of Islam, or to become second class Muslims in your own country. He didn’t bring you into Islam to ague back and forth with islamophobes while your children are dying in the streets, or to spend your time trying to change people’s hearts, when you could be working on your own hearts. Allah called you to Islam to lift you, to purify you,  to dignify you, to strengthen you, and for you to be true to the principle that religion belongs to Allah, it is for His sake, and that we worship Allah alone without partners.  Believe that He will continue to guide you if you remain true to Him. You must realize that you are free to think, free to challenge, free to ask questions, free to resist any so-called Islamic authority that is not of your ranks and who does not represent your best interests.

There are many Muslims in America from all backgrounds who agree with me. Some people get it,  some people are in denial, and some people will catch up later in sh Allah. Many Muslims are just as sick of Muslim sectarianism  and marginalization of the American convert community as I am. There are many Arabs, Pakistanis, Indians, Afghanis, Asians, Africans and European Muslims, who understand the need for real unity and equality amongst Muslims, and they are plenty. They will stand with you but you as the convert community must speak your mind, you must not be afraid to work for what’s in your best interest in this life and in the hereafter, speak for yourself, and stand for yourself. You might have you go into rebel mode. The slave traders took away your identity once, and you got it back through Islam, don’t let other Muslims take it away now. It is okay if you disagree with me, it s okay if believe that I am rocking the boat.  It’s okay if you want to argue, but please argue with yourself, or with someone else besides me. This is only my advice. I am a free American Muslim man and I am liberty to speak my mind and offer my advice to my fellow Muslims. Wal Allahul Musta’aan, wa sallalaahu alaa Muhammad wa alaa aalihi wa sah’bihi wa sallam.

Luqman Ahmad

American born Luqman Ahmad, is a life long Sunni Muslim, the son of converts to Islam. He is a writer, consultant, and has been the Imam of a Northern California mosque for twenty years. He is a former executive committee member of the North America Imams Federation, a founding member of COSVIO, (the Council of Sacramento Valley Islamic Organizations), and the author of the book “The Devils Deception of the Modern day Salafiyyah Sect”, a detailed look at salafiyyism the ideology which forms the mindset of ISIS. He has written blog posts challenging ISIS, Anwar Awlaki, and BOKO Haram on his blog, imamluqman.wordpress.com. The sentiments shared in this article are his own and not representative of any of his professional affiliations. He can be reached at, imamluqman@masjidibrahim.com

Next: Part II – Moving forward

Top Ten Priorities For American Muslims in 2016, by Imam Luqman

image2016 Top Ten Priorities for American Muslims

(faith based list)

  1. Remove politics from the practice of our faith, and give the religion back to Allah. Everything we do in the name of our religion should be for the sake of Allah and not for the sake of our public image, for the sake of popularity, or for the sake of defraying criticism.
  2. Have an open and honest discussion about the racial divide in Muslim America. We have to be true to our faith and candidly address the issue of racial division in Muslim America. This will be a sober conversation. However, we can get through it and we will be much better off at the other end. It will free us from denial.
  3. Separate politics from the religion. We cannot serve two masters. In the midst of decrying that ISIS has hijacked our religion, our politics seems to have hijacked our morality.
  4. Give American Muslim Imams the autonomy to shepherd their communities according to what their own knowledge and experience tell them and not based upon some national consensus. The ones in America who need to be representing Muslims are the imams, not our political leaders. We need to let our imams assume their rightful roles as stewards of our faith, and not silence them or control what they can and cannot say.
  5. Stop emphasizing ‘American’ in everything we do and say. It doesn’t have to be; American Muslims do this, or American Muslims did that, or look at us; we are American Muslims! We need to stop that. At this point it’s overkill, and It getting old.
  6. To national Islamic, political, advocacy, and policy organizations; Stop presenting a single narrative of Muslim America that excludes indigenous African American, White, and Latino Muslims. No one has to right to represent all American Muslims. We are too diverse of a group with a diverse history, sentiments, understanding of moral priority and  different sense of politics.
  7. Stop sloganizing our religion and cease from using these stupid slogans and talking points; “somebody hijacked our religion”, “Islam is peace”, “ISIS has nothing to do with Islam”, “Islam is as American as apple pie”, “Islam is just like Chistianity”.
  8. Give up the idea of crafting a singular identity for American Muslims. Each Muslim American, if they don’t already have one, needs to simply get their own identity. It’s not that difficult you know. Making or crafting an identity summons images of Frankenstein, the Borg, or impersonating God, and I’m pretty sure its haram anyway.
  9. Stop denying that there are two Muslim Americas, one for immigrants and one for indigenous Muslims. The sooner we can accept our reality and deal with what needs to be dealt with, then the sooner we can move on as a people of faith.
  10. Stop thinking that you have to respond to every insult, and every criticism of Islam and Muslims.
  11. Find out the true identity of the person or persons who are in charge of the anti-Islamophobia campaign.

Top Priorities for American Muslims (Politically based list)

  1. Defeat islamophobia and crush the islamophobes once and for all.
  2. Do more networking with non-Muslim organizations so that we can defeat islamophobia.
  3. Do more charity work and get good press and pictures so that we can defeat islamophobia.
  4. Register one million voters so that we can create a Muslim voting block to target islamophobic politicians and defeat islamophobia.
  5. Make sure that America knows that Muslims are afraid of islamophobia so that people can take pity on us and we can defeat islamophobia.
  6. Hold more conferences with themes centered around islamophobia so that we can defeat islamophobia.
  7. Get more people to say good things about Muslims and perhaps target some celebrities and prominent Americans for this so that we can defeat islamophobia.
  8. Shut down any dissent from within the American Muslim community about the insanity in how we fight islamophobia so that we can defeat islamophobia.
  9. Keep talking about islamophobia so that Muslims will stay focused on islamophobia so that we can defeat islamophobia.
  10. Do more interfaith work, pray in more churches, consider celebrating Easter, and get better at denouncing terrorism, so that we can defeat islamophobia.

American born Luqman Ahmad, is a life long Sunni Muslim, the son of converts to Islam. He is a writer, consultant, and has been the Imam of a Northern California mosque for twenty years. He is a former executive committee member of the North America Imams Federation, a founding member of COSVIO, (the Council of Sacramento Valley Islamic Organizations), and the author of the book “The Devils Deception of the Modern day Salafiyyah Sect”, a detailed look at salafiyyism the ideology which forms the mindset of ISIS. He has written blog posts challenging ISIS, Anwar Awlaki, and BOKO Haram on his blog, imamluqman.wordpress.com.  The sentiments shared in this article are his own and not representative of any of his professional affiliations. He can be reached at, imamluqman@masjidibrahim.com

An Open Letter to American Muslim Imams Regarding The San Bernardino Incident, by Imam Luqman Ahmad

minbarIn light of the recent attacks in San Bernardino which were declared as acts of terror, we as American Imams and khateebs must resist being swept away by the wave of emotions and fear of backlash from dedicating our Friday prayers or our Friday sermons to anything or anyone except Allah Be He Exalted, for this would constitute a breach in our commitment to tawheed (Islamic monotheism). For our Lord has declared;

فَمَنۡ كَانَ يَرۡجُوۡالِقَآءَ رَبِّهٖ فَلۡيَـعۡمَلۡ عَمَلًا صَالِحًـاوَّلَايُشۡرِكۡ بِعِبَادَةِ رَبِّهٖۤ اَحَدًا

“And whoever wishes to meet his Lord then let him work deeds of righteousness and not associate anyone in the worship of his Lord”. 18:110

Our Lord demands, and our congregations have a right that Imams are honest, forthright, sincere, and unhindered in what we impart to our communities in the way of scriptural exhortations, religious instructions, and advisements on the sacred day of Jum’ah. The faithful congregations that we serve in our nation’s mosques have placed in each of us their trust that we speak as free men. It is their right that we speak according to our knowledge of the Book and of Prophetic tradition (Sunna) and not according to the talking points suggested by Muslim politicians.

We should be reminded that Allah has ordained the Friday prayer to be for the remembrance of Allah. Thus it cannot serve as a memorial for any person living or dead;

 يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِذَا نُودِي لِلصَّلَاةِ مِن يَوْمِ الْجُمُعَةِ فَاسْعَوْا إِلَى ذِكْرِ اللَّهِ وَذَرُوا الْبَيْعَ ذَلِكُمْ خَيْرٌ لَّكُمْ إِن كُنتُمْ تَعْلَمُونَ

“O you  who have attained to faith! When the call to prayer is sounded on the day of congregation,  hasten to the remembrance of Allah, and leave all worldly commerce: this is for your own good, if you but knew it.” 62:9

Therefore, speak as you will dear brethren, on whatever topics that you see beneficial at this time, but deliver your sermons as free believing men of conscience, inspiration and choice, being obligated to no one except Allah, be He Exalted and Glorified. For it is hypocritical, and disingenuous for any of us to say that we stand for freedom of choice, freedom of speech, or liberty, and for the best interests of our religion, and our country, if we allow anyone, including Islamic organizations, Muslim leaders outside of our congregations, law enforcement agencies, the media, or politicians, to control the messages we deliver from the pulpit.

Lastly one of the most egregious forms of tyranny, is to restrict the words of a khateeb while he is speaking on Friday inside of the House of Allah. The message we deliver in the Friday sermon, should never be compromised, sold, auctioned or bartered, or loaned to anyone, at any time, in any mosque. If we allow that to happen, then we have betrayed our country, our community, our religion and ourselves.

Imam Luqman Ahmad

Imam Luqman Ahmad is the Imam and Executive Director of Masjid Ibrahim Islamic Center in Sacramento, California. He is also a founding member of COSVIO (Council of Sacramento Valley Islamic Organizations). This article represents his views, and not those of any other person or organization. He can be reached at imamluqman@masjidibrahim.com

 

The Conning of the American Muslim, Imam Abu Laith Luqman Ahmad

bamboozledNo one likes to admit that they’ve been conned. Nevertheless, there comes a time when you have to cut your losses and get out of the game which is what most victims of scams are advised to do. It seems that many American Muslim leaders have trouble recognizing a con job; even when they are conning themselves.

Just for the record; the practice of speaking on behalf of others without their permission, and without authority, is fundamentally un-American, not withstanding that it is wholly un-Islamic. When one or two Muslim organizations speak on behalf of all American Muslims about our fears, our politics, our emotions, our faith, our patriotism

, or our response to this incident in San Bernardino, it undermines, and contradicts everything previously expressed about wanting to assimilate, or having already assimilated, or that we are just like other Americans, that we’re not a fifth column, or that we believe in freedom.

It says that we all think the same, feel the same, are of the same mind, in the same condition, have the same priorities, and accept the same absurdities. It also sends the message that we are disingenuous, and not to be trusted. When have you every seen or heard of a Christian or Jewish political or advocacy organizations get on national television and say they are speaking for all Christians or all Jews. Even our beloved Prophet (SAWS) allowed the Arab tribes to speak for themselves in many matters.

American Muslims are the only so-called religious demographic that allows their political and advocacy organizations to speak on behalf of their religious congregations. When these organizations bring along highly respected scholars such as Dr. Muzzamil Siddiqui and religious leaders to a press conferences as window dressing while they do all the talking, it confirms for many Americans that Islam is a political ideology more than it is a religion. It says that we are fundamentally secular with little moral fortitude.  It also s the message that we are dishonest, have no stable identity and that we practice a moral code other than what our scriptures teach. All of this is dangerous and fuels the very thing [islamophobia] that we say we trying to stamp out.

Now I’m a Muslim, I love Muslims and this is all abundantly clear to me. Imagine those who are not Muslim, or those who never had a problem with Muslims but come to a negative conclusion about us because of the way our politics have hijacked our morality. You may not agree with me but you do not have to look very far to read what many ordinary Americans say about Muslims as they bring up these very points as well as many others. The sad irony about us is that we are so arrogant, so pompous, so blinded by ego and wanting to be accepted we do not even believe anymore that we could possibly share some culpability for the anti-Muslims sentiment that plagues us so much.

We complain so much that they do not understand Islam while we make it abundantly clear that perhaps we do not understand Islam. Not even enough to know that the word Islam means submission and not peace. We think that the press is doing us a favor when they convey our message to the entire country how all Muslims Americans are now in fear, dismayed, disheartened, disappointed, that America has let us down, that we’re bracing for the backlash. When in reality what the media is doing is showing the extent of our moral immaturity.  We may be cheering, but others are seething with disdain, many are laughing, and some of us are crying.  At least if we took an Islamic approach to these matters we would have the hope of spiritual growth, and reward from Allah. Attempting to craft a pre-packaged sanitized Muslim identity through the very media that we blame for distorting our identity is like trying to beat the devil at his own game; we have nothing to show for it except disappointment. I know that certain groups of American Muslims have a lot of education and we think we’re really smart, and maybe some us are, but not that smart if we think we can play poker with Shaitaan and win.

We have our children and teenagers crying that we cannot practice our faith anymore because of all this islamophobia. People read these types of statements and conclude that Muslims are so full of themselves that they cannot see the forest for the trees. There is nothing, nothing at all that prevents any Muslim living in the United States from believing in Allah and the Last Day, from praying five times a day, from giving zakat, or from fasting during Ramadan. People practiced Islam here while they were slaves! Yet we cry anytime our ego is bruised. The sad reality is that we’ve raised a whole generation of Muslims Americans who cannot distinguish between Muslim political hype, and actual Islam. Ask your child or teenager the meaning of Islam. If they say ‘peace’, then you have deceived them already, and if we think that on the Day of Judgment, Allah will accept the excuse of Islamophobia for not praying, not giving charity, and not fasting, we have deceived ourselves. – imam Luqman Ahmad

Imam Luqman Ahmad

imamluqman@masjidibrahim.com

 

 

 

 

 

The Massacre in Paris; Assessing the Muslim Response, by American Imam, Luqman Ahmad

Iterror-attack-paris-510x287 do not regard lightly, the loss of any innocent life that Allah has made inviolable. Innocent life is sacred, regardless of race, creed, color, religion, nationality, or ethnicity. It is Allah who grants life to whomever He pleases, and no one has a legitimate right to take that life unjustly. When people die, other people’s lives are affected. When innocent people are mercilessly killed, slaughtered, gunned down, beheaded, massacred, blown up, suicide bombed, or droned for no sense at all, it amplifies the tragedy.

I agree wholeheartedly that condemning violence against innocent souls is an appropriate Muslim response as it falls into the category of enjoining the good and forbidding the evil (al’amr bit a’roof wal nahyi an al-munkar). However, condemning selected instances of violence, while remaining silent about others that are equally if not more heinous, only perpetuates the widely held notion that Muslims living in the West are disingenuous, and self-serving. If Muslims are in fact, morally outraged about the terrible slaughter in Paris, then we should be equally outraged when it happens in Beirut, North Africa, Palestine, in suburban Connecticut, or in a Chicago slum.

There is a difference between taking a firm, unequivocal, morally principled position against injustice and murder of innocent lives of any kind, and taking episodic stances against occurrences of extreme violence’s against innocent civilians, according to hyperbolic pressure from the media, or our own political, and public relations considerations. This recurring, and seemingly automated Muslim reaction to these types of selected and sensationalized acts of extremism only takes us deeper into an ostentatious black hole, with no foreseeable ending or win game.

If we still believe that selective condemnation of Muslim violent extremism will somehow convince the media and vocal critics of Islam, and Muslims, to put the brakes on their vitriol, and give the rest of us a break, then history has shown that we are terribly wrong, and have not succeeded by any measure.

That we continuously find ourselves in the circuitous predicament of feeling compelled to condemn yet another incident of Muslim violence, and then complaining with the same frequency that no one’s listening, is testimony enough that just as violent extremists have hijacked the image of Islam, our politics has hijacked our morality.

We cannot continue to calibrate the shelf life and intensity of our moral consciousness based upon the length of a news feed or the broadcast schedule of the news media. Politicizing our Islam has virtually eviscerated Muslim moral credibility in the West. If people believed that we were truly a people of conscious and not a people of convenience, there would be no expectation of Muslims to condemn selected instances of violence, nor would we feel any compulsion to do so.

Imam Abu Laith Luqman Ahmad

Imam Luqman Ahmad has been the Imam of Masjid Ibrahim Islamic Center in Sacramento California, for close to 20 years. He is the author of the Book: ‘The Devils Deception of the Modern Day Salafiyyah Sect, a detailed analysis of extremist salafiyyism, which is the mindset of the modern ISIS extremists. Available on Amazon.com. He can be reached at imamluqman@masjidibrahim.com

The Islamophobia Charade ; American Muslim Leaders Just Don’t Get It

I wrote this blog post in January of 2011, and as of November of 2015, five years later we are still stuck in the same predicament that we were then. I would rather that my predictions were wrong. Sadly, they weren’t. Read it for yourself. I reblogged it without changing a single word.

The Lotus Tree Blog

One of the most perplexing dilemmas faced by Muslim Americans is what is seen as the rising tide of anti-islamic sentiment. It tops the agenda of virtually every mosque, Islamic center, and Muslim political or religious organization in the country.
Whether or not the negative views of Islam and Muslims held by some Americans amounts to a civil rights crisis of the magnitude that some American Muslim leaders claim, is doubtful. When Americans think about civil rights, we summon the images of blatant discrimination, such as, denial of housing, employment, and education. We don’t usually think of name calling and negative sentiment as a civil rights issue.
Nevertheless, many Muslim American leaders and organizations have declared fighting islamophobia as the number one priority for Muslim Americans, and to make matters worse ; they are trying to sell it to the rest of us. Quite frankly, I’m just not buying it.

View original post 908 more words

Twenty Tactical Defenses against the Shaitaan, by Imam Luqman Ahmad

shaitan-is-your-enemyShaitaan is a different kind of enemy than a human enemy. With a human adversary, one can bargain, show kindness in order to soften the heart, fight him and either kill him, over-power him, or take him as a prisoner. With the Shaitaan, there is no room for negotiation. You cannot fight him or take him prisoner and you certainly cannot kill him. The best offense against Shaitaan is an Islamic defense. There is no greater protection against the Shaitaan then by obeying Allah and following the Sunna of our beloved Prophet. The character of Rasoolillaah the sacred law of the Quran and the Sunna, and the prophetic example, embody all of the traits necessary to thwart the plan of the Shaitaan. Shaitaan is not the kind of enemy that is defeated with a sword. Instead, it is by aligning oneself with Allah, obeying His commands, following His Prophet and becoming closer to Him by remembering and glorifying His holy names, that a person defends his or herself from Iblis. “And remembrance of Allah is the greatest (thing)[1].” Following are some of the tactical defenses a person can use to protect themselves from Iblis.

One: Sincerity in Religion (Ihklaas):

Sincerity is a very powerful weapon against the Shaitaan. A Allah must always check his heart and check his intentions. Sincerity is doing good deeds for Allah’s sake and not so that people will praise you. Even the Shaitaan himself acknowledges that he has no power over the sincere. “Oh Lord,” he said, ‘Since you have led me into error, I’ll beguile them with the pleasures of this world and lead them all astray. Except for the sincere ones from amongst your servants.”[2] Sincerity or Ikhlaas is the only absolute protection against the Shaitaan. Ikhlaas is a learned behavior. Many people are deceived into believing that sincerity is an entitlement or inherited. On the contrary, what appears to you as sincerity, many times is not sincerity at all. I teach a course called “Spiritual Etiquette” the first lesson is the lesson on sincerity. Many of my students were surprised to learn that what they thought was sincerity was just another form of deception. For example, a person gives charity that they believe they are giving sincerely for the sake of Allah. Then later they will go back to the person and say: “remember when I did so and so for you and gave so and so to you?” All of a sudden, the reward and spiritual value of their charity disintegrates into nothing. It turns out that their charity was not sincere after all. “Oh you who believe, do not nullify your charity with reminders (of your charity) and ill treatment (to the recipient).” Sincerity is in the heart, when the heart is infected, sincerity is elusive. Practice religion with sincerity, learn what sincerity is so you will not be deceived.

Two: Al-isti’aatha (Seeking refuge in Allah from the Shaitaan):

It is advisable to seek refuge in Quran from the Shaitaan often by saying, “A’oothu billahi min ashaitaanir rajeem.” We are safe from the Shaitaan only with the help of Quran and there is no refuge from Quran except through Quran. And there is no refuge from anyone else except with Quran’s help. Some of the particular places and times where one should seek refuge in Quran from the Shaitaan are: at the beginning of the salaat; before entering the bathroom; before reciting Quran; at times of anger; and when one hears the braying of a donkey or the barking of a dog.

Three: The five daily prayers:

Steadfastness in the five prescribed prayers is a powerful tool against the Shaitaan. Allah says: “Verily the salaat prevents that which is shameful and forbidden.”[3] Umar ibn Abdul-Aziz used to tell his workers: “As far as I’m concerned, the most important of your duties is the salaat. Whoever guards and maintains it, he’ll be more mindful of other things, and whoever leaves it will be more neglectful of other things.” Establishing the salaat creates a spiritual barrier between worldly pursuits and devotion to his or her Lord, instead of worldly pursuits creating a distraction from the prayer. “Men who are not distracted by commerce nor business from the establishment of the prayer, the paying of zakaat.” It was related that the Prophet (SAWS) said: “No three people (or more) shall be in a village or in the desert and not establish the salaat in congregation except that the Shaitaan will overpower them. So I enjoin you to be with the group (jamaa’at), for verily the wolf devours the stray sheep.”[4]

In contrast, the Shaitaan encourages the very things that the salaat prevents. “O you who believe! Do not follow the footsteps of the Shaitaan, for he who follows the footsteps of the Shaitaan will be induced by him to what is shameful and forbidden.”[5] The salaat itself is effective against Shaitaan. However, salaat in congregation is even more effective. Furthermore, failure to establish the salaat in congregation is not only sinful by agreement of the scholars but it is also a clear invitation to Shaitaan’s dominance over people. What occurs when one is steadfast in prayer is that his or her daily routine is interrupted five times a day and he turns his attention to Allah. Thus, the prayer becomes a distraction from the dunya, and not vice versa.

Five: Not traveling alone:

Travelling alone can become a door by which the Shaitaan tempts one to evil. Many times when a person travels alone they are more likely to be susceptible to evil suggestion then they would be if they were with a companion, or in the case of a woman, a mahram (a non-marryable). The Prophet said: “If people knew (the danger) that I know about traveling alone, then no rider would travel at night by himself’. [Collected by imam Bukhaari]. The Prophet also said: “One rider (traveller) is a Shaitaan, two riders are two shaitaans, three riders are just riders”. (Collected by Malik in the Muwatta, and Imam Ahmad in the Musnad]. Of course what the Prophet meant was travel whereas the likelihood of evil or wrongdoing is prevalent, or travel at night specifically. It is confirmed in the Sunna that the Prophet sent people on expeditions and prophetic errands where they were by themselves. However, the general risks to religion and dangers of a person traveling alone are well known. There is no need to argue about it here.

Six: Reciting sura alBaqara:

It was related in the hadith of Abu Hurraira that the Prophet (SAWS) said: “Do not turn your houses into graveyards. Verily, the Shaitaan does not enter the house in which sura al-Baqara is recited.”[6] If you have turmoil and fitna in your house, recite sura al-Baqara, either by yourself, or by recording, and the Shaitaan will be forced to leave your house. In the hadith of Anas, our beloved Imam and example, the Prophet Muhammad (SAWS) was reported to have said: “The Shaitaan leaves the home if he hears sura al-Baqara being recited in it.”[7] It is no harm if someone asks an Imam or a reciter to come to their house to recite sura al-Baqara.

Seven: Reciting the last two verses of sura alBaqara:

Our Lord is a Merciful one. Some of us may find difficulty in reciting the whole of sura al-Baqara. Allah out of His mercy has[8] placed in the last two verses of sura al-Baqara, the power to repulse the Shaitaan. It was related that the Prophet (SAWS) said: “Whoever recites the last two verses of sura al-Baqara, it will suffice him.[9]” Ali ibn Abi Taalib once remarked, “I never saw any anyone whom I thought had any sense go to bed without reciting the last two verses of sura al-Baqara.”

Eight: Reciting alMu’awwathaat (the last three suras of the Quran):

This is a simple tool that works wonders. I used to use it on my children all the time with excellent results. It works well for minor illnesses also. You open your hands like you are praying, then recite sura al-Ikhlaas, 112, sura al-Falaq, 113, and sura al-Naas, 114, in that order. Then very lightly spit into your hand and wipe your hands over your body, starting with the head and face, and work your way down. You may feel a little tingle because this is a powerful du’aa, but that’s okay. It works better if you are in wudu (ritual ablution). It is good for nightmares, temperament and general protection. It was related in the hadith of Aisha that she said: “Every night when he went to bed, the Prophet (SAWS) used to gather the palms of his hands, spit in them, and recite qul huwa Allahu Ahad, and qul a’oothu bi Rabbil falaq, and qul a’oothu bi Rabbinnaas[10] then he would wipe his hands over whatever he could of his body. He would start with his head and his face and the front of his body, and he would repeat the process three times.”[11]

Nine: Guarding the tongue:

There is not a word he utters but an observer is ready (to take note of it).”[12] The vexations of the tongue are a vehicle that the Shaitaan rides upon. Bad words, whether backbiting, lying, cursing, insults, yelling, superfluous speech, or bragging, have severe negative consequences, which is why Allah says: “And the example of a bad word is like that of a bed tree; it is rotten from the core and has no foundation.[citation] Guarding the tongue requires diligence as most people speak without regard to the consequence of their words.

Ten: Obeying Allah and His Prophet:

Obeying Allah in sincerity and busying yourself with good deeds and righteousness keeps you in Allah’s service. This is the keys to success. “Worship your Lord and do good (deeds) so that you will be successful.”[13] It was related in the hadith of Abu Hurraira that the Prophet said: “When the son of Adam, (man) recites the (verse) of prostration and prostrates the Shaitaan backs away and cries saying: ‘Oh woe for the son of Adam was commanded to prostrate, he prostrates, and for him is paradise. And I was commanded to prostrate but I disobeyed so for me is the fire.”[14] Dear Muslim, know that obedience to Allah has its own rewards. If you have turmoil in your life and want it to end, obey Allah. Obedience to Allah will stop Shaitaan dead in his tracks. It puts you out of his reach. It also secures you Allah’s grace, which is only obtainable by a select few. “And whoever obeys Allah and His Apostle shall be amongst those on whom Allah has bestowed His grace from amongst the Prophets, the Sincere, the Martyrs, and the Righteous, and how excellent a company are they![15] Certainly there will not be trials in one’s life. However, obedience to Allah brings a peace, grace and security that cannot be achieved by anything else.

Eleven: Remembrance of Allah:

In general the remembrance of Allah forms a spiritual unseen shield around a person. It was related in the hadith of Abu Hurraira that the Prophet said: “Whoever says: ‘There is no god except Allah, alone without partners, and to Him is the Kingdom and to Him is the Praise and He has power over all things one hundred times in a day, he will get the reward of freeing 10 slaves, will have 100 good deeds recorded for him, will have 100 bad deeds erased from his record, and will have protection (hirz).” Remembrance of Allah pulls one back from Shaitaan’s grasp and turns him towards Rabb’il aalameen (the Lord of the worlds). The Quranic verses and Prophetic traditions regarding the remembrance of Allah and its value and reward are more than plentiful and duly recorded in the books of hadith despite the attempt by some modern day Muslims to discourage it.

Twelve: Mentioning the name of Allah upon entering one’s home:

Don’t give Iblis or shayaateen an opportunity to follow you into your home. Stop them at the door by giving salaams to your family and mentioning the name of Allah upon entry. It was reported that the Prophet said: “When a man enters his home and mentions Allah the Most High upon his entry and before his meal the Shaitaan says: You have no place to stay tonight nor any supper.’ If he enters and does not mention Allah the Most High upon his entry, the Shaitaan says [this reference got cut off!]

Thirteen: Mentioning the name of Allah before going to bed:

It is Sunna for a person to mention the name of Allah before he or she goes to bed. It was reported that the Prophet said: “When a person goes to bed and says: ‘I seek refuge in Allah who there is no god except him the Living the Self Subsisting, and I repent to Him’ (three times), Allah the Most High forgives him for his sins even if it is amount of the suds of the ocean, and even if they are the number of stars, and even if they are the amount of the grains of sand, and even if they are the number of days in this world”.

Fourteen: Be wary of nighttime activities:

Shayaateen like to circulate during the night. This is the time when many crimes against Allah occur. It was reported that the Prophet said: “When the wings of the night (spread) or it is night, restrain your children (from going out), for the Shaitaan is abroad at that time and when a part of the night is passed, free them, and shut the doors.”[16] It is well known that the shayaateen disburse and roam during the night more than they do during the day. The Prophet used to like to go to bed shortly after the Ishaa’a prayer. We are aware of the dangers of roaming the streets during the night where people are more prone to wrongdoing. Therefore, people should confine themselves to the home during the night unless they have to go out for a legitimate purpose.

Fifteen: Warn your children about Shaitaan:

When children become old enough to know about Allah sub’hanahu wa ta’ala, they are old enough to know about the Shaitaan. “Said (the father): ‘My (dear) little son! Relate not thy vision to thy brothers, lest they concoct a plot against thee: for Satan is to man an avowed enemy![17] This doesn’t guarantee that a child will not be influenced by the Shaitaan in any way. However, it allows the child to know as he grows up, who his enemy is and to detect his attack.

Sixteen: Prepare your home for the night:

It was reported that the Prophet said: “Cover vessels, water skins; close the doors and extinguish the lamps, for the Shaitaan does not loosen the water skin, does not open the door, and does not uncover the vessels. And if one amongst you fails to find (something) to cover it well, he should cover it by placing (a piece of) wood across it.” This prevents satanic jinn from having access to your food supply or potentially harmful open elements like fireplaces, candles, and open flame while you are sleeping. Therefore, food should be covered, leftovers put away, and fireplaces and candles should be extinguished.

Seventeen: Adherence to the community of Muslims:

Every Muslim should align his or herself with a community of Muslims, whether it is an Islamic state, a tribe, a village, a Masjid community, or a national minority community of Muslims. Each one of these meets the definition of a jamaa’at or group. There should always be other Muslims who are in contact with you, who can give you advice and help you stay on the correct religious and spiritual path. The groups of Muslims are not immune from satanic infection; however, being in the group is better than being by one’s self. “Verily the Shaitaan is with one person but he is further away from two people.[18]” The nature of the jamaa’at changes with the passing of time. However, the ruling to adhere to the main body of Muslims is without abrogation and still stands. It was reported that the Prophet said: “I enjoin you to be in a group (jamaa’at), for verily the wolf devours the stray sheep.”[19]

Adherence to the group has two aspects;

First aspect:

To adhere to the creed of the Muslims; you cannot consider yourself adhering to the group of Muslims while you possess an ideology that is different than that of traditional Islamic orthodoxy; i.e. the people of sunna and group (ahlus sunna wa jamaa’at). These are the righteous predecessors of our umma (the Salaf as-Saalih) and what they agreed upon. They are the righteous traditional scholars of Islam; the people of hadith, the people of knowledge. For example, you cannot say that you follow the Quran but not the hadith, or that you are a Muslims but you are gay, or that you are a Muslim but you don’t believe in prayer, or heaven and hell are not real. You cannot be a Muslim `

The second aspect:

Is to adhere to the body and ranks of the Muslims, in mind body and spirit, by aligning yourself with the jamaa’at or group. They are the people of prophetic tradition (hadith) and traditional Islamic scholarship.

The group is one of the best protections for the Muslim against full attack from the Shaitaan. Muslims who have no community and no jamaa’at tend to practice Islam less than those who are a part of one because there is no one around to encourage them to pray, to fast, or to teach them about Islam in general. When Huthaifa ibn al-Yamaan questioned the Prophet about what should he do if the Last Days were upon him, the Prophet’s advice to him was to: “Stick close to the community of Muslims and a righteous Imam.[20]” Don’t be deceived by those who say that local masjid communities do not constitute a ‘group’ in Islamic law. There is no basis for this assertion and this statement and statement like it is part of the plan to destabilize the Muslim community. If you do not have an imam, find one! If you are not a part of a Muslim community, find one! Do not be a lonely floater with no direct religious leadership or community. It will only weaken you and your family’s defense against the Shaitaan. .

Eighteen: Take Away His Tools:

The Shaitaan as we have shown cannot work without tools, and a weak heart. Take away his tools and you increase your defense against him. For example, envy is a tool of the shaitaan so be careful when doing things that will instill envy in others. Be careful not to boast about your home, your car or your accomplishments because doing so incites envy in others. This is why the father of Yusuf (AS) gave this advice to him: “Oh my young son, do not relay your dream to your brothers for they will devise a plan against you. Surely the Shaitaan is a manifest enemy to mankind[21].” Stay away from temptation; don’t listen to backbiting, if you cannot resist television all together, be wary of what you watch. Also be very, very wary and mindful of what you post on social media.

Nineteen: Use Islamic Behavioral Responses Instead of Emotional Responses.

The shaitaan is an emotional being that uses emotion, whim and ego to entice people to follow his way. He uses our anger, our pain, our fear, our greed, our envy, our cowardice.

Ignorance need not be met with ignorance. Muslims in today’s times have been conditioned to respond to external stimuli emotionally, without regard for what is proper. For example when disparaging caricature portrayals about our beloved Prophet  were publicized in a Danish news paper some years ago, it evoked a full blown agitated response that ranged from demonstrations, to recriminations, to violence against innocent people, to Muslim on Muslim violence! When in reality there are hundreds of disparaging remarks levied against our beloved Prophet on a daily basis. The Islamic behavior response to disparagement, is not an agitated reaction, it is patience. “Have patience with what they say.” 50:39

Twenty: Guarding and Lowering the Gaze.

The eyes are an entry point for the Shaitaan. What we see enters and affects our heart. What’s worse is when we act upon what we see in ways that break the commandments of Allah. Which is why we are commanded by Allah to lower the gaze.

Five benefits from lowering the gaze

  1. Lowering the gaze is obedience to Allah be He exalted and Glorified. “Tell the believing men to lower their gaze (from looking at forbidden things), and protect their private parts (from illegal sexual acts). That is purer for them. Verily, Allah is All-Aware of what they do”. 24:30
  2. Lowering the gaze is obedience to the Prophet
  3. Lowering the gaze is one of the principle ways of guarding one’s chastity. Notice how in the above verse, Allah ta’ala mentions lowering the gaze before He mentions guarding chastity.
  4. Lowering the gaze is a form of self-purification which is something that is warranted for every Muslim, and as Allah mentions it also in the aforementioned verse; “that is purer for them”, meaning; purer for their hearts. In other words; it is purer for your heart that you lower your gaze, and as the heart becomes purer, it is less susceptible to invasion by the devil.
  5. Lowering the gaze is a way of thanking Allah for the grace (ni’mah) of having sight in the first place. It is considered a sign of thanks because the servant refrains from using his or her sight, which is a gift from Allah, in disobedience to Allah, the God who has granted sight in the first place.
  6. Lowering the gaze is part of good character.

May Allah protect us, our families, our communities, and our nation from the Devil, and his deceptions, and evil plans. Ameen. Wal Allahul Musta’aan. Imam Luqman Ahmad

Imam Luqman Ahmad is the Imam and Executive Director of Masjid Ibrahim Islamic Center in Sacramento, California. He is also a founding member of COSVIO (Council of Sacramento Valley Islamic Organizations). He can be reached at imamluqman@masjidibrahim.com

[1] Quran, 29:45

[2] Quran, Al-Hijr, 15:39-40

[3] Quran, 29:45.

[4] A sound hadith collected by Abu Dawood.

[5] Quran, Al-Nur, 24:21

[6] A sound hadith collected by Muslim and Ahmad.

[7] Collected by Abu Ubaid with a good chain.

[8] Collected by Muslim, at-Tirmithee, and others.

[9] Collected by Bukhaari.

[10] The last three suras of the Quran respectively.

[11] Collected by Bukhaari.

[12] Quran, 50:18

[13] Quran, Al-Hajj, 22:77

[14] Collected by Muslim. The hadith also shows that Shaitaan has feelings and that obeying Allah is a source of discomfort for him. This is exactly what a Muslim wants to accomplish.

[15] Quran, Al-Nisaa, 4:69

[16] Collected by Muslim.

[17] Quran, Yusuf, 12:5

[18] Collected by Ahmad and Tirmithee.

[19] A sound hadith, collected by Abu Dawood.

[20] Collected by Bukhaari.

[21] Quran,