In the near lawless state of Black Muslim and convert America, many foreign based Islamic rulings and scholarly opinions directed at American Muslims and converts are absolutely useless and only add to our problems. Scholars in the Middle East and elsewhere in the Muslim world, despite the best intentions, are not in a position to make determinations of what’s good or best for us. However we as American Imams, scholars, first responders in Islam, and qualified religious thinkers and leaders, are in a much better position to know what’s worked and what hasn’t worked, because this is our country, where we grew up and live and practice the noble religion of Islam. We are people who are intimately familiar with our people, our history, our struggles, and cultural nuances. This places us in a much better position to determine how some of these fatwas (especially the one paragraph fatwas written for illiterate people) work to our advantage or disadvantage.
Anyone familiar with our history knows that debating over conflicting foreign based rulings has caused more harm than benefit over the last 50 ears. Especially since 90% of the time, the scholars who issue rulings from abroad directed at Americans, sometimes specifically at Black American Muslims, are not present to respond to questions, or to receive additional information, or to explain their often confusing verbiage or to verify whether the translations of their rulings into English are even accurate.
Notwithstanding that many times foreign scholars, may Allah preserve them, are woefully unaware of our situational reality as Black American Muslims and converts. This is with all due respect to them and their knowledge and their humanness . The accuracy of any scholarly ruling should not ever be impacted by racial, or anti-American bias, or willful or negligent and conspicuous omission of pertinent facts and realities that are germane to said ruling. Not ever. When this happens, the ruling is flawed by default.
Imam Abu Laith Luqman Ahmad
Imam Luqman Ahmad is an Imam and Resident Scholar at the Toledo Masjid al-Islam in Toledo Ohio. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org