It is very difficult for an outsider to understand the challenges and dynamics of Black American Muslim manhood, marriages, and family issues in inner-city America and more specifically, Muslim America, unless you come from the places that we come from. The breakdown and failure of the Black American Muslim family and with it, our religious communities in these inner-city plantations that we live on is usually attributed to the inadequacy or failure of the Black Muslim man. Full stop.
That is the go to narrative, and the standardized fall-back position, and we, as Black Muslim men, are used to that. We live with being demonized, with being the objects of scorn, and some of us even accept that notion. However, that characterization does not tell the true story nor the whole story. The only ones that truly know our story, is us, and those of our women who are awake.
Out of thousands upon thousands of black American Muslim men that I know personally, it has never been the stated intention of any of them to abandon our women or our children or our people. We don’t even talk like that. True, many us us have given up, but not all of us. Not by a long shot.
As husbands, fathers, stepfathers, prisoners, ex-cons, intellectuals, professionals, foot soldiers, and imams and amirs of past snd present, we’ve taken on the full dose of generational trauma, slavery in all its forms, a history of abuse, abandonment, addiction, altered psychology, pent up emotional baggage and everything else that comes with our women and children who are products, like ourselves of the lifestyle of jaahiliyya that exists in the controlled plantations that we live in.
We know who we are, and we know who our women are, better than any outside Shaykh, scholar, imam, or layperson would ever know. We take on our women, our children, our failures, and our successes (when not stolen) despite our history, despite the challenges, and despite overwhelming odds and make a go of it as husbands, as Fathers, as stepfathers, as uncle’s, as mentors, as activists, as providers, as teachers as imams, amirs. Why do we do it?
We do it because of Allah. We do it out of faith, and out the belief that through Islam things can work. And because no one else is going to do it for us. And It’s not all about chasing ass and running game like people say. Perhaps for some little boy men it is, but not the bulk of us. Y’all got us twisted.
I married a sister who had four children when I was barely 22 years old. Although I loved her, and she was a good wife, and I think I was a good husband, it did not work out. However, it was not before I was able to teach my wife, and her children some of the Islam that I knew, and those children are grown today with their own Muslim children by the grace of Allah. My last wife had six children when I married her. Overall during my lifetime I’ve helped raise at least 19 children who were not my biological children and have mentored dozens more. For some of them, I am the only father that they have ever known. And this is not rare at all. I’m not thr only Muslim man who’s done this. I might not have been the perfect dad or step dad, but I paid bills, they were safe in my care, and no one will say otherwise..
Black American Muslim men have taken on much more than we will ever be given credit for and quite frankly we aren’t looking for credit. We don’t talk about everything that we do because if you are not of our world, it’s really none of your damn business. But we do take on marriages with hurt, traumatized, broken and sometimes halfway crazy women and everything that they come with. I mean everything. And they take us on too, knowing that many times it’s going to be an uphill battle because of our circumstances, and because of our history. Why? Because we have faith in Allah, and we have faith in our women who demonstrate faith.
When we see our women struggling, or abandoned, we take on the task of looking for answers and plugging leaks even though we ourselves are struggling. We take on other men’s children who themselves many times have been abused, traumatized, neglected, abandoned, and even taken away from their mother in her previous life. Sometimes we know the details, and sometimes we don’t. Sometimes we don’t ask the questions because we already know the answers to those questions.
We’ve taken on these responsibilities because we believe in Allah, we believe in Islam, and we believed for a long time that Islam will point us at solutions if we follow our laws. We’ve learned by our own experiences that it is a little bit more complicated than that. it’s not like we had a civilizational handbook on how to survive as Black American Muslim men in this corrupt, rigged, racist, feminized system that we live in.
We are an entirely new and different civilization of Muslims, in a situational reality unlike an faced by a previous Muslim people. The last thing we need is somebody from the outside trying to play Monday morning quarterback, sometimes not even knowing the game, the language of the plantation, or who we are in reality. so unless you have something concrete and beneficial to offer us at this juncture, stay off our backs. And that goes for you women too, who are still under the spell. And by the way, I’m single, unattached and quite marriage-worthy.
The beginning. Imam Abu Laith Luqman Ahmad.
Shaykh Abu Laith Luqman Ahmad, a veteran 20 plus year Imam, is an Associate Imam and Director of Islamic education at Masjid al-Islam in Toledo Ohio. He is a Philadelphia native, a writer, a former executive committee member of the North America Imams Federation (NAIF), and the CEO of ‘Mosque Without Borders’, an organization that addresses American Muslim issues in the United States.
He is also and the author of the book, “Double Edged Slavery“, a objective and authoritative look at the condition of African American and convert Muslims in the United States, and the book: “The Devil’s Deception of the Modern Day Salafi Sect “, a critical look at the ideological underpinning of modern Salafist extremism. The views expressed in this article are his own. He blogs at imamluqman.wordpress.com, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.