Hurdling the American Muslim Challenge, by Imam Luqman Ahmad

One thing that we must keep in mind is that we are a diverse community; however, that diversity is only a virtue if we navigate it correctly by coming together.

American Muslims have perhaps the best chance to alter the narrative of rage, extremism, tribalism, and Muslim on Muslim killing that’s been going on in the Muslim world. We have among us, Muslims from all over the world, from all cultures, backgrounds, languages, and math’habi or theological leanings. We have it within our grasp to change the status quo of sectarianism, intra-religious hostility, and classism based upon race, and ethnicity. In addition to that, we have the freedom to practice our faith, the freedom to dialogue in sincerity, to freedom to employ critical discernment in addressing our problems, and we have the freedom to make important decisions about what we want our future to look like. We should do everything possible not to waste this opportunity.

I’m not saying that it will be easy; but I do believe that it is well within the realm of possibility. However, it will require that we address issues of race, racism, ethnic separation, and religious sectarianism within our own ranks. It will also require that we learn to respect each other’s differences, cultures and social norms, and not impose upon each other practices that have been added to the religion that were not from it originally. One thing that we must keep in mind is that we are a diverse community; however, that diversity is only a virtue if we navigate it correctly by coming together. American Muslims have done extremely well in adjusting to a multi-cultural society and to get along with their neighbors, co-workers and fellow citizens. We just need to transfer that success to the way we deal with each other.

The biggest hurdle by far I think will be to reconcile between immigrant and indigenous American Muslim communities. People don’t like to admit it but we are still living with the tale of two Muslim Americas; one, made up of indigenous American converts and second generation Muslims, and the other, immigrant communities who by and large view indigenous American Muslims, most of whom are African-American, as subordinates. We don’t like to talk about this or even acknowledge it; nevertheless relations amongst the two groups of Muslims need work.

The very first snapshot of the Muslim community was not only multi-racial, it was egalitarian, as characterized in the hadith of Ammar; “I saw Allah’s Apostle and there was none with him but five slaves, two women and Abu Bakr”[1] (i.e. those were the only converts to Islam then).[2] The Prophet had little regard for anyone’s race, social status, wealth, ethnicity, influence, looks, physical prowess or defects when it came to his choice of associates, and neither should we. He preferred the company of the believers whomever they happened to be, and he valued those who possessed good character.

We have to be concerned not just about the future of Islam, but the future of Islamic civilization as we know it, and have to realize just what it is that we as Muslims have to offer to the world. Muslims all over the world are dependent upon the west; for technology, for military armaments and advanced weaponry, for systems management, for advanced education and for industrial advance.  The greatest asset that Muslims have to offer the world is Islam, that is, if we decide to believe in it, practice it and apply its moral principles to the emerging world civilization. I’m not talking about Taliban, or Salafi style imperialism here. I’m talking about the greater Islamic ideal of moral fortitude, justice, egalitarianism, and human rights.

Muslims must embrace the theory of Islamic idealism based upon justice, fairness and righteousness and apply it to our emerging civilization. We must demonstrate our ability to not only get along with each other but to work together a people of faith, as partners, and not as masters versus subordinates. Moral action during the Prophet’s time (SAWS) began with social justice at home and amongst your own people; it’s an idea whose time has come. Let us begin now. .

Imam LuqmanAhmad

American born Imam, Luqman Ahmad has been serving since 1996 is the Imam and Executive Director of a Northern California Mosque, [Masjid Ibrahim Islamic Center]. He is a classically trained Imam who is a graduate of Omdurman Islamic University in the Sudan and has also studied at Umm al-Qura University in Mecca Saudi Arabia. He a memeber of NAIF [North American Imam’s Federation], a founding member of COSVIO [Council of Sacramento Valley Islamic Organizations] and a prominent and active member of the Sacramento Muslim community. He can be reached @ imamabulaith@yahoo.com., or read his blog @ imamluqman.wordpress.com.


[1] Collected by Bukhaari.

[2] Collected by Bukhaari.

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An Intelligent Conversation about Muslim Rage, by Imam Luqman Ahmad

Negative emotions tend to take on a life of their own. We have become so accustomed to employing anger as an organizing staple, that many Muslims leaders are finding that the only platform upon which they can motivate masses of Muslims is by tapping into their reservoir of fury. The danger here is that many Muslims are starting to define themselves by what they hate, instead of what they love.

Muslim rage has reached epidemic levels in many parts of the world. It seems almost uncontrollable that Muslims rampage through the streets at the drop of a hat, or fight and kill each other over religious differences seemingly without forethought; it manifests itself publicly as violent demonstrations, terrorism, suicide bombings, Muslim on Muslim killing in the name of Allah, and almost unending contentious and vociferous, sectarian debates often resulting in fighting and killing.  Even when the physical manifestations of rage aren’t present, there is still that undercurrent of anger and negative emotion that hisses like a powder keg waiting to explode. A very dangerous trend is in play, and has been in many parts of the Muslim world; many Muslims are starting to identify themselves by what they hate, more than by what they love.

This does not bode well for the future of Muslim morality. Being too easily enraged is not a commendable trait in Islam, and it is more a sign of moral weakness than it is of moral fortitude; the Prophet (SAWS) said that “The strong is not the one who overcomes the people by his strength, But the strong is the one who controls himself while in anger[1] Even Allah sub’haanahu wa ta’ala, tempers His own anger, and no one is more in control of himself than Allah the Almighty. In the hadith of Abu Hurraira, the Prophet (SAWS) reported that Allah has written over his throne the words; “verily my mercy precedes my anger”.[2]

Rage is a blinding emotion that cancels out patience and inhibits one’s ability to see the truth, or to act justly in important matters. Patience, justice and fair dealing are at the heart of any fair and just society. The pre-eminence of anger and rage in Muslim societies undermines the realization of the Islamic ideal of civilization, and god-centered society. When rage is nurtured and placated, we end up with mobs running through the streets, burning, shouting, looting, destroying property, and taking lives.  When patience, justice and temperance are championed instead of rage, we end up with rational decision-making, justice, and civil order.

Although remotely possible, it is very unlikely that ration will evolve out of rage, and without ration, righteousness will suffer, because in Islam, in order to have righteousness, you must have intent, and in order to have intent, you must have ration, thus, when there is rage, the intention is subverted, and ration becomes non-existent.  In the hadith of Aisha (RA), she reported that the Prophet (SAWS) said: “There is no divorce and no manumission in the event of ighlaaq,[3] and according to Shaykh Bin Baaz, a divorce pronounced at the time of rage, is not valid, and this is the position of the majority of scholars. Prisons are full of men and women who acted out of rage and anger only to decry later that it wasn’t their intention to do what they did.  Intense rage borderlihnes insanity, and the standards of Muslim morality necessitates that we control our anger so it doesn’t lead us to rage and lead us to do things that we regret later on.

Obviously there are underlying factors that contribute to these frequent bouts of Muslim rage; repressive governments, economic stress, foreign occupation in Muslim countries, a deep sense of inferiority and resentment towards the West, and faulty clerical teachings which contradict scripture. However that doesn’t mean that enraged Muslims who rampage the streets, burning, looting, and destroying property, and even fighting each other over real or perceived insults, or religious and theological differences, should be given a free pass. They, like everyone else need to be held to a minimal standard of not just morality, but moral maturity. No matter how much we try to avoid taking responsibility for our actions and behavior, the matter of collective ethical responsibility will always come back to bite us.

It is imperative that we address the issue of Muslim rage in the world because rage is a catalyst for so many of our current civilizational woes as Muslim people; Muslim on Muslim killing and sectarianism,  mobs rampaging in the streets, terrorism, violent religious extremism, an inability to forgive and make amends, and constant interreligious and inter-tribal warfare. If we are going to have to teach each other all over again how to forgive and be just, then let that be the mission at hand. However, this is an issue that we cannot afford to ignore.

Rage results when anger goes unchecked, and the first step in getting a handle on Muslim rage is to gain control of anger. It is not possible to remove the emotion of anger from the human being all together. However, anger is something that needs to be avoided; especially in light of the growing and uncontrollable amounts of Muslim rage present in our times. [“Those who spend (freely), whether in prosperity, or in adversity; who restrain anger, and pardon (all) men;- for Allah loves those who do good”. 3:134 ] This is why when the man came to the Prophet (SAWS) seeking advice, he said: “Do not get angry”, and when he came back repeatedly the Prophet (SAWS) responded by saying: “do not get angry”.

If we are going to use Islam as our raison d’être, we must then also accept Islamic standards as governing criteria for our actions and behavior. Episodes of moral immaturity erode moral capital, and invoke divine consequences upon us, and unless we face up to it, we’ll be repeating this episode time and time again for many years to come. It was the practice of the Prophet (SAWS) to control his anger and to encourage clemency. Anger by itself is not necessarily a problem; it’s when anger goes unchecked and escalates that leads to the problems. This is why the Prophet (SAWS) when he would see people exhibiting anger; he would direct them to temper it, or to at least not act upon it. For example, when Umar Ibn al-Khattaab became angry with Haatib ibn Abi Balta’a for divulging sensitive information to the Meccans, shortly before the conquest of Mecca, Umar wanted to kill him and said: O Messenger of Allah let me cut off the head of this hypocrite! The Prophet (SAWS) replied, “no Umar, for He (i.e. Haatib) has witnessed the Badr battle and what could tell you, perhaps Allah looked at those who witnessed Badr and said, “O the people of Badr (i.e. Badr Muslim warriors), do what you like, for I have forgiven you.[4].

Abu Bakr as-Siddiq the beloved companion of the Prophet was so angry at his relative; Mistah ibn Abi Athaatha after the latter’s unflattering comments about Aisha (RA) who was the wife of the Prophet and the daughter of Abu Bakr that he cut him off from expenditures, as Abu Bakr used to pay for his upkeep. Allah responded to this situation with the revelation of this verse;  “Let not those among you who are endued with grace and amplitude of means resolve by oath against helping their kinsmen, those in want, and those who have left their homes in Allah’s cause: let them forgive and overlook, do you not wish that Allah should forgive you? For Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” 24:22. In other cases, the Prophet (SAWS) offered a remedy to people whose anger was at risk of elevating;  in the hadith of Sulayman ibn Sard, he said: “I was sitting with the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), and two men were slandering one another. One of them was red in the face, and the veins on his neck were standing out. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, `I know a word which, if he were to say it, what he feels would go away. If he said “I seek refuge with Allah from the Shaytaan,” what he feels (i.e., his anger) would go away.”[5]

Positive emotions such as love, caring, clemency, forgiveness, and benevolence are more controllable and have greater moral capital than emotions such as anger, rage, hate, and vindictiveness. Anger, hate and rage, are often uncontrollable and lends to extremes more than their opposites. This is why there are so many warnings in the Quran and the sunna with regard to anger, hatred and enmity than there are with respect to love, forgiveness. For example; [“O ye who believe! stand out firmly for Allah, as witnesses to fair dealing, and let not the hatred of others to you make you swerve to wrong and depart from justice. Be just: that is next to piety: and fear Allah.” 5:8]   Again and again, Allah sub’haanahu wa ta’ala reiterates that acting upon anger and rage is not always the best choice; [“Nor can goodness and Evil be equal. Repel (Evil) with what is better: Then will he between whom and thee was hatred become as it were thy friend and intimate!”] 41:34

Negative emotions tend to take on a life of their own. We have become so accustomed to employing anger as an organizing staple, that many Muslims leaders are finding that the only platform upon which they can motivate masses of Muslims is by tapping into their reservoir of fury. The danger here is that many Muslims are starting to define themselves by what they hate, instead of what they love, and this phenomenon has terrible implications for future Muslim civilization. Find a common enemy, or common target of anger, you’ve got yourself thousands in the streets. Make an appeal for Muslims unity or curbing sectarianism and you get lip service, and photo-ops. Muslims need to rediscover the virtues of forgiveness, mercy and conciliation, and that may require a major behavioral change; because even if we win the battle of expression with our amplified rage, our large and boisterous demonstrations and condemnations, and our egregious statements through wanton violence, we will lose the war of faith and moral resolve in the process, and that’s the war that will matter the most in the end. And Allah knows best.

Imam Abu Laith Luqman Ahmad

American born Imam, Luqman Ahmad has been serving since 1996 is the Imam and Executive Director of a Northern California Mosque, [Masjid Ibrahim Islamic Center]. He is a classically trained Imam who is a graduate of Omdurman Islamic University in the Sudan and has also studied at Umm al-Qura University in Mecca Saudi Arabia. He a memeber of NAIF [North American Imam’s Federation], a founding member of COSVIO [Council of Sacramento Valley Islamic Organizations] and a prominent and active member of the Sacramento Muslim community. He can be reached @ imamabulaith@yahoo.com.


[1] Collected by Bukhaari.

[2] Collected by Bukhaari.

[3] The hadith was collected by Ahmad, Abu Dawood and Ibn Majah, and the majority of scholars consider the word ‘ighlaaq’, to mean intense anger or rage.

[4] Collected by Bukhaari and Muslim.

[5] Collected by Bukhaari.


[1] Collected by Bukhaari.

[2] Collected by Bukhaari.

[3] The hadith was collected by Ahmad, Abu Dawood and Ibn Majah, and the majority of scholars consider the word ‘ighlaaq’, to mean intense anger or rage.

[4] Collected by Bukhaari and Muslim.

[5] Collected by Bukhaari.

Free Audio Khutba: The Psychology of Gratitude According to the Quran and the Sunna, by Imam Luqman Ahmad

One thing for certain beloveds; a person will never find true happiness, until they learn to be grateful for what Allah has given them. Many times if you scratch below the surface of misery, you will find ungratefulness.

One thing for certain beloveds; a person will never find true happiness, until they learn to be grateful for what Allah has given them. Many times if you scratch below the surface of misery, you will find ungratefulness. The amount of gratitude and appreciation we exhibit for the good that Allah has bestowed upon us has a direct impact upon the quality of life and the quality of living. In this khutba delivered at Masjid Ibrahim Islamic Center on Friday September 21st, in sha Allah, by the grace of the Almighty, We talk about the importance of gratitude according to the Quran and the Sunna.  Click on the link below to listen

001_A_019_abulaith_The Pychology of Gratitude_2012_09_21

The Anger Games, Putting The Brakes on Muslim Rage, By Imam Abu Laith Luqman Ahmad

There will always be people, groups and institutions who will do, say, or write something that we can consider an affront to the dignity of the beloved, Prophet of God, Muhammad (SAWS). Should Muslims therefore assume a perpetual state of protest? On second thought, How about we just appoint a group of people whose job will be to hunt down and protest every insult to the Prophet (SAWS). That way the rest of the Muslim world can concentrate on other matters.

This article was published shortly after Ramadan in 2006. Interestingly enough, here it is, right after Ramadan, six years later, and this issue of Muslim rage keeps coming back to haunt us, or delight us, depending upon your preference. I came across this article today while I was writing another blog post, and to tell the truth, it’s a little scary how history keeps repeating itself. I’m reposting the article here, word for word, without any editing except that I changed the title. It was originally entitled; [The Rage Game]. Read on if you like and tell me if it doesn’t look like we’re going around in circles. Remember, this was six years ago! Imam Luqman Ahmad

The Anger Games
Anyone who hasn’t capitalized on the recent malicious caricature portrayal of the Prophet (SAWS) to express their outrage, promote their organization, get their name in the paper, pontificate the loftiness of Islamic ideals, start a membership drive, indulge in a little political posturing, to open dialogue, or defend the Prophet (SAWS) has missed their opportunity. The cartoon issue has officially become a non-issue. There was no fatwa, no official sounding consensus of scholars declaring cessation of protest, hastily prepared press conferences. On the contrary, the media puppeteers, knowing what motivates Muslims to action, simply turned off the cameras and directed them to another venue. Muslims are well in tailoring activity based on subliminal media directives, and it looks like we were duped once again. In other words, ladies and gentlemen, we’ve been had. Or as al-Hajj Malik Shabaaz (Malcolm X) used to say, we were conned, bamboozled, hoodwinked, and flimflammed.

Of course, there are those in denial and that has to be expected. After all, Islam has become our universal adapter. All we need to do is preface an action with; “this is for the sake of Allah” or, “this is for Islam”, or, “this is in defense of Islam” and it assumes immediate legitimacy irregardless of whether it’s fair, Islamic, prudent, or in agreement with the shariah. Since as Muslims, everything we do is ostensibly in the name of Islam, for Islam, for the Muslims, for Allah, in defense of Islam etc., we are never wrong about anything, ever. Perhaps this is how we justify suicide bombings where the innocent (including women and children) are casualties. If the world was unaware how sensitive Muslims are about our Prophet (SAWS), then our recent response to a singular incident, not only erased any ambiguity, it showed how malleable the global Muslim community has become.

By even the most conservative accounts, we’ve proven beyond a shadow of a doubt, that we are unpredictable, volatile, rage driven, and that a little name calling and scribbling on a piece of paper can stir us into frenzy. People have been attempting to demean and ridicule the Prophet (SAWS) ever since the first revelation of the Quran saturated his pure heart. When has that ever warranted a full-scale campaign? What are we going to do the next time someone demeans the prophet of Allah? Why was this incident singled out for response when there are hundreds of negative references to the Prophet Muhammad in circulation? A couple of years ago a well-known television evangelist from California gave a series of lectures in which he vilified the Prophet (SAWS) much more insidiously than this heretofore-unknown cartoonist (whom we have now made famous and probably wealthy from his future book deals). Why wasn’t there an outpour of condemnation and rage then?

Since this issue surfaced, these insidious and demeaning images of the Prophet (SAWS) have been reprinted in at least 143 newspapers in 56 countries. In defiance of Muslims umbrage, many media publications have stepped up their parody of not only the Prophet himself (SAWS) but also the hypersensitive way that we have responded to the issue. There will always be people, groups and institutions who will do, say, or write something that we can consider an affront to the dignity of the beloved, Prophet of God, Muhammad (SAWS) especially since we are so adept at interpreting words and events as anti-islamic. Should Muslims therefore assume a perpetual state of protest? On second thought, that might not be the most efficient use of labor. How about we just appoint a group of people whose job will be to hunt down and protest every insult to the Prophet (SAWS). That way the rest of the Muslim world can concentrate on other matters.

Whether we care to admit it or not, we are slowly, and dangerously I might add, evolving into a people so consumed with self-righteousness; rage, indiscipline, and intolerance, we have lost our collective ability to acknowledge our own wrongs. Let us grow up folks. Even Adam (AS) admitted his mistake and conducted a healthy self-assessment. To say that we overreacted to the cartoons is not only an understatement; it also raises questions about who we are, what we stand for, and how we interpret our belief system. Let me see if I got this right. A three month old negative caricature of the Prophet (SAWS) and we take to the streets by the thousands, protest, throw rocks, issue death threats, tear down buildings, blame whole nations and contort our angriest and most menacing facial expressions for the cameras. In the process, scores of Muslims are killed, hundreds more injured, countless man hours are expended, and after the dust settles, there is no measurable tangible gain we can claim from the experience.

Ironically, when Muslims bomb Masaajid while people are worshipping in Iraq, or when fratricidal lunacy claims the lives of at least 400 Muslims in the last week alone, there is hardly a whimper! We allege that we must protect and defend the honor of the Prophet (SAWS). Meanwhile in America alone, Muslims contribute upwards of twenty million dollars per year towards cable and satellite TV industry which broadcasts every imaginable abomination opposed by the Prophet (SAWS); homosexuality, pornography, blasphemy, gambling, infidelity, deception, gluttony, you name it, cable’s got it. I have not detected any mass rush to cancel our cable subscriptions. Bridges TV, a Muslim orientated cable station had to almost beg for the marginal support it receives from the Muslim community.

We clamor for tolerance yet we, after invoking the name of Allah, be He forever exalted, are notoriously intolerant. Discriminate against a Muslim and there is immediate outrage, yet we unabashedly champion nepotism, tribalism, and racial discrimination within our own organizations, boards, masaajid.and Muslim controlled lands. We want parity and inclusion in the world arena yet we cannot stop fighting each other long enough to create our own alternative industries. We vehemently protest the killing of Muslims by the Americans, the British, the French, the Russians, the Israelis, or any other so-called infidel. However, we are curiously silent about Muslims killing each other. It’s as if we are saying; hey, don’t kill Muslims! Let us kill each other! Don’t hate the Muslims! We have enough hate not only to hate you, but plenty left over to hate ourselves. Don’t disrespect the Prophet (SAWS)! We can do that ourselves by ignoring the standards of civility, fairness justice to which he commanded us.

The Muslim motto is becoming; ‘you disagree with me, therefore you are my enemy’. Some of us take the mantra a bit further; ‘you disagree with me, therefore I must kill you and your children’. The internet and print media are, full of one or another Muslim group, leader, scholar or imam, condemning the other, calling each other names, or inciting hatred and malice toward one another. Have we simply lost our minds? Somebody turn on the lights! Does it occur to anyone that the Muslims in the world are in a weakened, dependant and shamefully subordinate state? There is no doubt that there are multitude of organized and formidable seen and unseen forces confronting the Muslim peoples in this new and perhaps last millennium . Is there some law somewhere that says we are obligated to contribute to our own malaise? Can we call an emergency moratorium on inter-religious conflict between Muslims? Do you think that we can come up with better stratagem than our irritatingly redundant self-victimizing blame and complain modality? I thought that only juveniles did that. We are turning into complainaholics (okay I made the word up). The world’s crybabies.

Holding western democracies accountable to standards of law, fairness, civil liberty, and inclusion, has merit. Self-serving as it may be, there is some merit there. After all, publishing the cartoons in the first place was a criminal offence under sections 140 and 266b of the Danish Criminal Code. However, what is the Muslim standard? Do we have one? Of course, the unanimous response to that is; Islam is our standard! This, ladies and gentlemen, is my point. If Islamic law, ethics, protocol, morality or to put is bluntly for those of us who haven’t had their coffee this morning, the Quran and Sunna are the standards by which Muslims must be held accountable, are we then obligated to address errant behavior of Muslims perpetrated in the name of Islam? I’m not referring to contentious issues about which there is legitimate scholarly disagreement, or the triangulated fatwas cloaked in ambiguity. What I’m referring to are the incontrovertible standards of behavior, law, civility, honesty, good character, and fairness which all Muslims or most of us agree are the foundations of our faith. Are corruption, nepotism, racism, bribery, fratricide, inter-religious sectarianism, spousal abuse, issues that as Muslims we are obligated to address? You darn right they are! Does our failure to collectively and consistently enforce the Prophetic standard of conduct in government, community, business, religion, politics, and lifestyle, effect our overall condition and standing in the world? What do you think!
90% of Muslims in the West get their news from commercial broadcast networks. We only know what the media tells us. It seems like our group responses to issues are so scripted and choreographed, we might as well be paid for it and become members of the Screen Actors Guild. At least they have retirement benefits! Oh and speaking of boycotts; We have threatened boycotts of western products for years, yet our own division, short attention span, and intolerance of each other, prevents us from coming up with viable alternatives. Every six months or so, some Muslim scholar, organization or politician calls for a boycott of American, British, Israeli or another western countries products. . A recent fatwa from a well-known Muslim scholar (whom I happen to like), demanded that Muslims boycott all American Products. I guess that means Chinese products too since a lot of the product sold in American are made in China. While we are at it, let’s add Dubai to the list since they will now have a hand in managing several US ports. And aren’t we still supposed to be boycotting the French because of the Hijaab ban? I guess we might as well boycott Turkey too since they also ban hijaab. Boycotting Sweden may be tough. I mean, who can compete with IKEA’s prices and ingenuity? By the way, who’s keeping track of the boycott targets? Where is the list? Can they email Muslim enemy of the week list to my Treo handset? Like to keep track of such things you know.

If the sum of what we are saying is, ‘do not portray Islam in a negative way’. Are we not then responsible for ensuring that we as Muslims do not portray Islam in a negative way? If the answer is no, then we’ve abdicated responsibility for our own behavior, which to do so is unislamic. If the answer is yes, then the negative portrayals of Islam which we ourselves exhibit, i.e. the killing of innocents and non combatants, collective blaming for individual acts, racism within the Muslim community, rampant corruption, Muslim on Muslim killings, the proliferation of Muslim owned liquor stores, the absence of Muslims in the social services arena, inter-religious intolerance, public mudslinging, and unbridled rage are all issues for which we bear responsibility. In other words, if Joe Abdullah straps a bomb to his back, strolls into a grocery store, yells out the name of Allah (Allahu Akbar) then blows himself up along with twenty innocent bystanders who were just out doing a little shopping, and the Muslim community says and does nothing about it, any outsider could reasonably conclude that Joe Abdullah’s actions represent Islam. After all, he did it in the name of Islam, and the Muslims sanctioned it through silence. In Islamic law, the acquiescence (iqraar) of the Prophet (SAWS) towards an action, essentially sanctions it. Doesn’t this rule apply to the rest of us?

No matter how much we try to avoid taking responsibility for our actions and behavior, the matter of collective ethical responsibility will always come back to bite us, erode any moral capital we have left, and invoke divine consequences upon us, unless we face up to it. We do after all; have a higher authority (Allah) to answer to. Oh yeah, remember Him? Well He’s not going anywhere, and guess what? He has standards, and rules that govern behavior. We can’t have our cake and eat it too. If we are going to use Islam as our raison d’être, we ,must then also accept Islamic standards as governing criteria for our action and behavior.

When was the last time that Muslims came out and apologized for anything, or admitted that we might be mistaken about some of our methods, or choice of priorities, or assumed any responsibility for our condition? I know, even hinting that Muslims could be wrong about anything is risky, and possibly hazardous to one’s health. But hey, I’m feeling a little adventurous these days. Besides, somebody’s gotta say it. No one besides Allah’s Prophets (ASA) is immune from occasional lapses in judgment, blunders, mistakes, sins, or outright stupidity. If the life and practices of our beloved Prophet, Muhammad (SAWS) serve as any standard for Muslims, as Imam Zaid Shakir adeptly elucidated in a recent article, .hatred, anger, revenge, rage, and puritanical oppression, are not always the best catalysts for action. Anger has its place. However, it was not something the Prophet (SAWS) prioritized. In fact, he emphasized the contrary. A man came to the Prophet (SAWS) and asked for advice. The Prophet replied: “Do not get angry”. The man returned repeatedly and each time the Prophet replied: “do not get angry”.

Negative emotions tend to take on a life of their own. We have become so accustomed to employing anger as an organizing staple, that many Muslims leaders are now finding that the only platform upon which they can motivate masses of Muslims is by tapping into their reservoir of fury. Find a common enemy, or common target of anger, you’ve got yourself thousands in the streets. Make an appeal for Muslims unity or curbing sectarianism and you get lip service, and photo-ops. Perhaps we’re suffering from post traumatic stress disorder at the loss of the caliphate, or maybe we’re still a little light-headed from fasting during the month of Ramadan or who knows, maybe we’re bored. I am certain that with a billion Muslims on the planet, we can come up with some issues on our own, or sustainable, practical agendas to better our condition with Allah’s help. I guess until that happens, we’ll just have to wait and see what the next issue of the week is going to be. As a parting note, I do have one humble request; next time, can we schedule our response closer to the actual time of the occurrence? I like my issues fresh. And hold the mustard please.
Imam Abu Laith Luqman Ahmad, an American born Muslim, is an Imam and freelance writer and lecturer.

A Worldwide Open Letter from Imam Abu Laith Luqman Ahmad to the Muslim Protesters and Demonstrators Against the negative film about the Prophet Muhammad (SAWS)[1],

The legacy and dignity of Rasoolillah lives through our actions and is carried on in following his way of good charachter, and tolerance for those who disparage him, and in bringing the light of faith and strong moral foundation to the world. The Prophet (SAWS) is under no threat of any human being; he is safe with Allah sub’haanahu wa ta’ala, and in the best company. Billions of Muslims praise him and send salutations upon him, and his position with Allah is secure. There is nothing that anyone can say, write, or put on film that will ever change that.

                        Al-humdu lillahi Rabbil aalameen wa salaatu wa salaam alaa Rasoolillah, salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam wa alaa aali’hi wa sah’bihi wa salaam. amma ba’ad

Assalaamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakaatuh, dear beloved Muslims throughout the world. I pray that this message reaches you with open minds, receptive hearts and that Allah guides you and us all to the best of this life and the hereafter. My first advice to you and to myself is to fear Allah and have taqwa, for surely taqwa is the best provision.  [O ye who believe! Fear Allah, and (always) say a word directed to the Right: 33:70]

As Muslims, we all love the Prophet (SAWS) dearly and we hold him very close to our hearts. Loving the Messenger of Allah (SAWS) is a principle of our faith; as our beloved Prophet (SAWS) has said, “None of you (truly) believes, until I am more beloved to him that his son, his father and all other people”. No Muslim wants that the Prophet (SAWS) is vilified, called names, or disparaged, and it distresses us all that people would make fun of the Prophet (SAW) and assail his noble character.

There will always be people who mock the Prophet (SAWS) and who speak ill of our great religion. You should not be surprised by this; [Mocked were (many) apostles before thee: but I granted respite to the unbelievers, and finally I punished them: Then how (terrible) was my punishment! 13:32]  Allah be He Exalted and Glorified, has decreed that people will be different. They will have different beliefs, different cultures, different political views, and different loves and hates.  However, demonstrating in the streets in my view has done nothing to change the negative views in the western world, of our Prophet (SAWS), and of the religion that he has come with. On the contrary, it only embellishes the image that Muslims are a people with very little control of their anger, and a weak moral resolve.  I advise you all to let Allah deal with those who scorn and mock the Prophet (SAWS); He is well Aware of what they say, and Capable of protecting the dignity of His Messenger (SAWS); [O Messenger. proclaim the (message) which hath been sent to thee from thy Lord. If thou didst not, thou wouldst not have fulfilled and proclaimed His mission. And Allah will defend thee from men (who mean mischief). For Allah guideth not those who reject Faith. 5:67]

Dear beloved Muslims of the world; we recognize that many of you have lived under terrible dictators and ruthless leaders in the past and still now in the present, some of you endure under tyranny, greed and corruption. We pray to Allah that He relieve you of the weight of oppression, the burden of poverty, and the melancholy of despair, and that He gives you leaders that will deal with you justly, and grants you the liberty whereas you can pursue what is good and lawful to you.  As your brethren in faith, we remind you that our Lord, be He Exalted and Glorified, will not change the condition of a people until they change the conditions of themselves. [Verily never will Allah change the condition of a people until they change it themselves (with their own souls). 13:11.]

The images that are streaming around the world of Muslims rampaging in the streets, and the reality that accompanies it; burning cars, burning flags, and destroying property, do a disservice to the true cause of Islam, and to the legacy, and dignity of our beloved Prophet (SAWS). Such actions undermine the purpose of life and death; which is to see who is better in deeds. [He Who created Death and Life, that He may try which of you is best in deed: and He is the Exalted in Might, Oft-Forgiving; 67:2]– The Prophet (SAWS) did not sanction such behavior which amounts to a waste of time and energy, and a shameful loss of life, property and honor. Some of your leaders have said that you must show the world your anger and your rage. I am saying to you that you must temper your anger and temper your rage, and direct your energy towards ridding your countries of corruption, Muslim on Muslim killing, and on working towards peace and justice using permissible means. If you follow the guidance of the Prophet in this matter, outsiders will not harm you; [O ye who believe! Guard your own souls: If ye follow (right) guidance, no hurt can come to you from those who stray. the goal of you all is to Allah. it is He that will show you the truth of all that ye do. 5:105]

In the United States, and in other parts of the Western World, there are Muslims who believe in the Prophet of Allah (SAWS) and love him as you do, there are those who do not believe in the Prophet (SAWS) and there are many others who do not know him. Your calls for death to America include those who are believers, and who are people of the book [Jews and Christians] who live here, and others, who have done you no harm. People in the Western World will not change their negative views of Islam, Muslims, and the Prophet (SAWS) because of your shouting, your demonstrations in the streets, and your rampaging. They will not hear your voices; they will only see the shaking of your fists in the air, and the wanton violence and destruction of property, none of which represents the patience and forbearance of the Prophet of Allah, who you claim to defend.

The hearts of men belong to Allah sub’haanahu wa ta’ala; He guides whom He please and He leads astray who He please. However, we advise that you vent your frustration, your pain, and your concern about the defense of the Prophet (SAW) to Allah sub’haanahu wa ta’ala, who hears all supplications whether it is the loud thunderous voices in the streets or the almost silent, hushed voices that cry out in the still of the night. The legacy and dignity of Rasoolillah (SAWS) lives through our actions and is carried on in following his way of tolerance for those who disparage him, and in bringing the light of faith and strong moral foundation to the world. The Prophet (SAWS) is under no threat from any human being; he is safe with Allah sub’haanahu wa ta’ala, and in the best company. Billions of Muslims praise him and send salutations upon him, and his position with Allah is secure. There is nothing that anyone can say, write, or put on film that will ever change that. The rage, the anger and the violence that result from demonstrating in the streets, only threatens to extinguish the true light and guidance of the Prophet (SAWS) who was sent as a mercy to mankind.

Imam Abu Laith Luqman Ibn Abdulkarim Muhammad Ahmad

Imam and Executive Director, Masjid Ibrahim Islamic Center,

Sacramento, California, The United States of America

You may contact Imam Abu Laith Luqman Ahmad @ imamabulaith@yahoo.com.


[1] [May the peace and blessings of God (Allah) be upon him)

Defend the Prophet (SAWS) by following His Way, not by Following Our Emotions, by Imam Luqman Ahmad

In the din of condemnation of free expression of a negative statements and views directed towards Islam and Muslims, we forget to condemn as well, the misguided overreactions of the world’s Muslims to criticisms of our faith that is only meant as a test of our own moral resolve. Even if we win the battle of expression with our large and boisterous demonstrations and condemnations, we lose the war of faith and moral resolve in the process.

Some misguided Muslims have come into the modern world with the expectation that we, and the religion of Islam which we profess, are not to be offended. This is a false and unrealistic expectation, as Allah has decreed otherwise; [Ye shall certainly be tried and tested in your possessions and in your personal selves; and ye shall certainly Hear much that will grieve you, from those who received the Book before you and from those who worship many gods. But if ye persevere patiently, and guard against evil,-then that will be a determining factor in all affairs. 3:186].

People are free to either believe in the Prophet (SAWS), and what he has come with or to disbelieve in him, [Say, “The truth is from your Lord”: Let him who will believe, and let him who will, reject (it) 18:29] The Prophet (SAWS) withstood all kinds of verbal abuse, accusations and invectives from the disbelievers and the polytheists while he was alive, and he endured, owing to his lofty character and high moral constitution [And thou (standest) on an exalted standard of character. 68:4] When the Prophet (SAWS) was negotiating the famed treaty of Hudaibiyyah, the Meccan delegate Suhail ibn Amr did not accept the Prophet’s title (Muhammad Messenger of Allah) to be written on the contract and only agreed to the Prophet’s name; Muhammad ibn Abdullah, on the document. Suhail justified the slight by saying; “If we actually thought that you were indeed the messenger of Allah in the first place, we would not be fighting you”. If everyone on earth believed that the Prophet (SAWS) was the Messenger of Allah, then no one would criticize him. However, that is not the case, and many Muslims need to accept that, and move on.

Muslims around the world can either keep on working themselves up into frenzy every time someone criticizes or makes fun of Islam or Muslims, and keep pretending that this is the proper method to defend Islam, and the Prophet (SAW), or we can opt to follow our own scripture on the matter (Quran and Prophetic tradition), and save ourselves a lot of anxiety, frustration and misdirection; [“And endure with patience whatever people may say [against thee], and avoid them with a comely avoidance. 73:10]  Patience and magnanimity is better than carrying on in the streets, as if we are devoid of guidance. The Prophet Muhammad (SAWS) is dead, and his place with Allah sub’haanahu wa ta’ala is assured by the word of Allah Himself; [Allah and His angels send blessings on the Prophet: O ye that believe! Send ye blessings on him, and salute him with all respect. 33:56]

Following our raw emotions when religious texts dictate otherwise, does not represent what our religion is about.This insulting film about Rasoolillah (SAWS), which people are clamoring about, is not the first time that the Prophet (SAWS) has been disparaged, and it will most likely not be the last time. Defending the Prophet (SAWS) entails believing in him, obeying him and following his way. Not demonstrating in the streets, burning cars, chanting slogans, or killing people. Knowing what we know about the life and struggle of the Prophet (SAWS), he would not sanction the amount of visible rage, rioting, slogan chanting, and wanton destruction that some of us resort to in different parts of the world any time one of the many criticisms leveled against the Prophet (SAWS) mysteriously comes to surface.

If anyone wants to defend the Prophet (SAWS) from those who would criticize him, and assail him, then they would be better served by making every effort to live up to the standards of devotional worship, good character, kindness to the neighbor and the neighbors, charity and upright living that was practiced by the Prophet (SAWS). The legacy and dignity of Rasoolillah (SAWS) lives through our actions and is carried on in following his way of tolerance for those who disparage him, and in bringing the light of faith and strong moral foundation to the world. The Prophet (SAWS) is under no threat from any human being; he is safe with Allah sub’haanahu wa ta’ala, and in the best company. Billions of Muslims praise him and send salutations upon him, and his position with Allah is secure. There is nothing that anyone can say, write, or put on film that will ever change that. The rage, the anger and the violence that result from demonstrating in the streets, only threatens to extinguish the true light and guidance of the Prophet (SAWS) who was sent as a mercy to mankind.

A Muslim is not responsible for anyone’s negative opinion of the Prophet (SAWS) except when that Muslim engages in misguided actions in the name of Islam, and in the name of following the Prophet (SAWS). People can become more alienated and more antagonistic of Islam when they see the unfettered outpourings of rage and anger in different parts of the world resulting from a stupid, ill-conceived film about the Prophet (SAWS).

Historically, these demonstrations and rampages has done nothing to lessen the criticism and negative attitudes that people have towards Muslims and or Islam, and have only buttressed the view that Muslims have an unhealthy appetite for rage and violence.  Many, if not most times, Muslim rage has only resulted in innocent people, most of whom have been Muslim, being killed or injured. This current incident has not only resulted in the deaths of the American Ambassador to Libya along with three others of the diplomatic staff; there were a number of Libyan Muslims killed while trying to defend against the onslaught, and in addition, four [Muslim] protesters were killed in Yemen and at least nineteen people were injured in Cairo as of this writing.

In the din of condemnation of free expression of a negative statements and views directed towards Islam and Muslims, we forget to condemn as well, the misguided overreactions of the world’s Muslims to criticisms of our faith that is only meant as a test of our own moral resolve. Even if we win the battle of expression with our large and boisterous demonstrations and condemnations, we lose the war of faith and moral resolve in the process. The Prophet (SAW) was dispatched as a mercy to mankind and a bearer of glad tidings. It is ironic that so many are repelled from Islam due to our inability to bear criticism. Misguidance is misguidance, no matter who perpetrates it, and I remember being taught even before I entered grade school; that two wrongs don’t make a right. The true irony of this whole matter is that many of us have arrived to a point where we actually believe that the proper way to defend Islam is to go out in the street and disgrace it with our actions. I wonder what the Prophet (SAW) would say about that? Wal Allahul Mus’ta’aan.

Imam Luqman Ahmad

Imam Abu Laith Luqman Ahmad is the Imam and Executive Director of Masjid Ibrahim Islamic Center in Sacramento California. You can reach him @ imamabulaith@yahoo.com