What Every Muslim Man Should Know About Being a Man, Imam Abu Laith Luqman Ahmad

A lot of sisters came out of the dunya ready to practice Islam to the fullest, but when brothers started to play games and act like little boys, things went sour. Let’s not forget that part. Too many of our men these days, especially Black Muslim men in Muslim America, are falling apart. That is not good. I’m not making light of men’s feelings and emotional and mental issues. I’m just saying that it’s not good, and it’s not good for our children to see so many of our men falling apart and broken. I guess it could happen to any of us. I just hate to see so many of our men go out like that. We’ve even started to applaud men for speaking publicly of their brokenness, and at the same time, we attack men who show strength. The culture of man-bashing and self deprecation is starting to tale it’s toll. Weakness is the new normal, giving up is the new Muslim vogue. I don’t understand how we let this happen. Something is terribly wrong. Black American Muslims have an absence of manhood pandemic on our hands.

Don’t think for a moment that the Prophet (SAWS) and his companions (RA) didn’t suffer from grief, from loss, from hunger, from fear, trauma, from depression, from anger issues, from marriage issues, from suffering or from oppression. However, they did not give up, and they did not abdicate their manhood and sense of responsibility. Sometimes they came close to giving up, but they held on. What they didn’t do though, is act as a mob. They had amirs, imams, teachers, workers, soldiers, builders, businessmen and women, who made commitments, made pledges and took responsibility for things. They actively participated in the affairs of the Muslims. So whenever we talk about getting things done, and men being men, following the methodology of the Messenger of Allah is a good start. Seriously, if Muslim men went sahaba style, it would greatly mitigate our manhood problem. There is a reason why the Prophet ص called them the best generation. Despite their hardships, struggles and shortcomings, I can find nothing in seerah or early Muslim history that indicates that Muslim men or the companions of the Prophet (SAWS) simply gave up from striving in the path of Allah. Men can be rebuilt by Allah’s permission but it’s very very difficult, once they are broken. Once a grown man is rendered a child, it is hard to come off of that. You don’t get too many chances in life to become a man. This is why it’s important that males learn to be men early on, especially before they get feminized.

I was taught that a Muslim man is supposed to stay strong despite adversity and hardship. To trust in Allah and keep moving forward no matter what. To maintain courage, do what is right, and obey Allah and His messenger to the best of your ability, to have good character and repent often, and to speak the truth, even if the people don’t like it, or don’t like you for it. That is what my father Shaykh Abdulkarim Ahmad, taught me. Jazaaka Allahu khairan Abu. May Allah reward and preserve you.

We should not be a people who celebrate weakness. During the time of the Prophet (SAWS), the weak were led, aided, and championed by the strong, The Prophet (SAWS) acknowledged both and place each in his proper place so that the train could still move. When Bilal was a slave under torture, the Prophet (SAWS) commanded Abu Bakr to purchase and free him. When Umar ibn al-Khattaab (strong) converted to Islam, the Muslims established the salat at the Ka’aba. When the weak and appressed were not safe in Mecca anmore, the Prophet (SAWS) ordered the Muslims to made hijrah to Abyssinia, their Amir was Ja’afar ibn Abi Talib, and the strong stayed in Mecca.

When the time came for battle, the weak and the sick were excused but the strong had to go forward and fight. And at no lime were people left without a head except for the provisions of the treaty of hudaybiyyah where a weak Muslim outside of the community could be left alone and not join the jamaa’aat (congregation). After that treaty was broken by the Meccans, the women who made hjrah were not allowed to return to be under their kuffar husbands.

During the time of the Prophet (SAWS) and hence forward, the Muslims did not move and act as a mob. Even when Muslims (sadly) fought each other, each side had an amir (leader). A strong Muslim man can carry ten weak men, and help strengthen them by the permission of Allah. Although there is good both, a strong Mu’min (believer), is better and more beloved to Allah than a weak Mu’min.

Now if you were not taught that, or not taught how to be a man, then that is not my fault. And if you don’t know these things, then you should learn them now. These are things that every Muslim man should know, Period. Muslims in the 15th century of the hijrah, should not be going back and forth about who, and what is a real man like they don’t know what a man is, when we are supposed to be following the best man in the messenger of Allah. And Allah knows best.

Imam Abu Laith Luqman Ahmad

Imam Abu Laith Luqman Ahmad delivers the Friday Khutba, and is an Associate Imam and Resident Scholar at the Toledo Masjid of Islam in Toledo, Ohio, He is a writer, lecturer and the author of the book; “Double Edged Slavery“, a book about the condition of African American Muslim converts in America, and   ‘TheDevil’s Deception of the Modern day Salafi Sect’.  You can support this project through Cash app to: $abulaith. He can be reached at, imamabulaith@yahoo.com

Why Do Fools Fall in Love and Why Do People Play Games With Marriage? Imam Luqman Ahmad

Marriage is one of the most important contracts that a person will enter into this life. It can impact much of your life, your future, and the future of your children. I keep hearing about ‘game’ between Muslim brothers and sisters when approaching and entering into marriages. I know what game is, I’m not that naieve, but I was trying to figure out the why. Why play games about marriage? Why would a man do it? Why would a woman do it? Who the heck does that, and why? Marriage is a simple contract. Billions upon billions of people have gotten married without game. Game? In marriage? That’s crazy

So why do I hear about so much playing games in marriage these days? I think I finally figured out where all this “game” that sisters talk about is coming from regarding brothers, and that brothers talk about regarding women. I knew there was an answer and I think I finally figured it out by the permission of Allah. Why people have so much game coming to a marriage.

The basis of game in marriage is dishonesty, breach of contract, ignorance of contract, no contract, false testimony, lying and ulterior motive. Game comes from three things. First is the upbringing. If were raised by street rules, or you were taught that it’s okay to lie, to manipulate, to bear false witness, to use someone to see what you can get from them, or to get something from the opposite sex (mostly men) under false pretenses, then you’re more likely to bring that methodology to a marriage. Two, fornication, pre-marital sex, and playing house without a marriage contract. If you are used to having sex with people, without having a marriage contract, then the idea of a long-term contract could be totally foreign to you as far as a relationship goes. You may be used to a fornication contract (committed relationship), and not even get that marriage is a totally different kind of contract.

As soon as the sex wanes, or as soon as there is no benefit for one or the other, then the goal becomes get what you can get for yourself and get out. It is every person for themselves. If that is what you are used to, then you are more likely to come with game in a marriage. Thirdly, it’s upbringing, and jaahiliyyah lifestyle amongst us. There are many consequences to fornication and it’s lifestyle. From the beginning to the end, haram relationships between men and women in our society, especially Black are all about plating games, pretending, lying, ulterior motives, slickness, and dishonesty. It is all game. Lying itself, unless it done where permissible, is pure game. We need to address our own game playing ways. As Black American Muslims, we need to rid ourselves of the notion that we are incapable of coming up with any answers on our own. As for why do fools fall in love? I don’t have the answer for that.

Imam Abu Laith Luqman Ahmad

Philadelphia born, Shaykh Luqman Ahmad is an Associate Imam and Resident Scholar at the Toledo Masjid al-Islam Toledo, Ohio where he teaches and delivers Friday sermons. He is the author of the new Book, ‘Killing Marriage in Black Muslim America’. He can be reached @ imamabulaith@yahoo.com

MALIK ANBAR THE 17TH CENTURY TALE OF A BLACK SLAVE WHO MADE IT BIG.

MALIK ANBAR, THE 17TH CENTURY TALE OF A BLACK SLAVE WHO MADE IT BIG.

Little is known by Muslims about the millions of East African slaves bought to India between the 10th and the 18th century who lived in and helped build and maintain Muslim dynasties in what we know to be modern-day India and Pakistan. Many of them converted to Islam and their descendants still live in many parts of the Indian subcontinent today.

One of the most famous of them was Malik Anbar. He was born free, then a slave, later, an ex-slave, a convert to Islam, a revolutionary, a leader, a general, hailed as a king, and an all in all uppity Black man. His life was no less than extraordinary. He was born in 1549 or 1550 in Harar Abyssinia. His parents named him Shambu but because of poverty, they, like many other parents during those times, sold him into slavery in the Red Sea port of Mocha, which is in modern day Yemen.

Later he was transported to the Baghdad slave market where he was purchased by Mir Qasim al-Baghdadi who treated him like a son, taught him Arabic, finance, and public administration, and eventually sent him to the Deccan Sultanate of India to serve as the slave of Chingiz Khan or Malik Dabir. Chengiz Khan just happened to the Regent Minister of the Sultan of Nizam Shahi Dynasty which was part of the Ahmadnagar Sultnate. Chingiz Khan also happened to be a black Ethiopian who had converted to Islam. He treated Anbar, who had converted to Islam by then, like his own son, even though he was his slave.

Ambar served as a slave with distinction under Chingiz Khan for 20 years. During this period, Ambar took on various duties in the Nizam’s court where he witnessed and learned military strategy, political organization, and diplomacy; essential training that would serve him later as a free man. When Chingiz Khan died in 1594, Malik Anbar’s days as a slave were over. Being no longer a slave, he left the employ of the Sultan to seek his own path. He ended up gathering a mercenary army that consisted at first of about 150 Arab immigrants, but grew to an army of thousands who were ferociously loyal of him. His command of such a large force of mercenaries earned him the title of Malik (king) Anbar.

The greatest regional power at the time was the Mughal empire. By the year 1600 Malik Anbar was a major figure in the resistance movement against Moghul expansion of their empire into the Deccan (in modern day Pakistan). His mastery in guerilla warfare techniques prevented the Mughals from capturing the southern half of India, he repeated fought back their invasion and the empire’s rulers called him the “rebel of black fortune.” By 1620, Malik Anbar commanded an army of 50,000 soldier mercenaries. About 10,000 of them were black ‘Habashis’ Ethiopians. He was considered a political and military genius who effectively took control of the Sultanate of his time.

He lived to be 80 years old and is hailed as a hero across the Deccan. Till this day Malik Anbar remains one of the best-known African Muslims on the Indian subcontinent. He died on the 18th of Sha’baan in the year 1035 of the Hijra. His tomb still stands in the city of Khuldabad in modern day Pakistan.

The Gujarat coastline is also home to significant numbers of Siddi, otherwise known as Zanji or Habshi, descendants of Africans. Some are Royal Habashis who are descendants of ex-slaves from Africa who intermarried with Indian aristocracy.

Hundreds of years ago such Africans living in communities on the west coast of India were called Sidis, (higher class) and those living in the interior were called Habshi. Today, the terms refer generally to Indians of African descent and are used interchangeably.

Note: The bulk of the Muslim world had huge numbers of slaves from mainly east Africa who helped build cities, work the land, served in armies and governments, and took care of households. From Yemen, to Oman, to India, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Morocco, Libya and other places, there are black Muslims today who, similar to African Americans are descendants of slaves and who are at the bottom of their societies. I know that this is part of Muslim history that we are encouraged to forget about but believe it or not, these histories have a great impact on our current situation as Muslims living in the United States. Yeah. And that’s how it happened folks. Our history has lessons for all of us.

Imam Abu Laith Luqman Ahmad

Imam Abu Laith Luqman Ahmad is a associate Imam and resident scholar at the Toledo Masjid al-Islam, housed in the first building built originally as a Mosque in the state of Ohio.  He can be reached at: imamabulaith@yahoo.com Like this article? Support @ Cash App to: $abulaith2

Muslim Pre-Marital Sex: Sampling the Goods Before Nikah, Imam Abu Laith Luqman Ahmad.

Idiom of the Week: Elephant in the Room - US Adult Literacy

First things first. Fornication and adultery are sinful, prohibited acts in the religion of Islam and there is no amount of triangulated reasoning that can change that fact. We live in a highly sexualized society and that is not going to change anytime soon. Marriage is the primary way that we render sex permissible. There are many other benefits to marriage, but right now we’re talking about sex. Our approach and moral psychology with respect to sex outside of marriage is of tantamount importance. Sex within marriage is an issue all by self. However, sex outside of marriage (zina) is even more important because we are at risk of being the first self-bastardizing civilization of Muslims in the history of Islam. An estimated 7 out of 10 adult Muslim woman in the United States are not married. A lot of them seem to be having sex because they are bearing children, children without fathers in the home.

Good sex is at the top of the list for many Muslim sisters as a ‘condition‘ of marriage. Many Muslim women are very clear, adamant and even graphic about their sexuality. In the culture of jaahiliyyah (pre-Muslim ignorance) a woman’s sexuality is a major selling point, and men are expected, at least wished to perform like a porn-star. Muslim women do not have the legitimate option of pre-marital testing of penis potencies until they find the right one for them. So if good or great sex is deal-breaker, a sister will tell you up front; “you’ve got to maintain me sexually” or she might even tell you that she is a nymphomaniac. Men already assume that nymphomaniacs are more inclined to cheat on their spouses, or often think about cheating. Many men fantasize about at least taking a shot at a nympho, but very few want to marry one. Most men have been schooled about nymphos, which is why most of them are not married.

Women can be just as anxious, ready and willing to sample the goods before marriage as the men are to oblige, if not more so. Even if the man turns out not to be marriage material in other areas after all, job, education, money, already married, religion, or character, if the sex is good, the beat can go on, even without marriage. Especially if the sex is real good. For many heading into marriage, sex rules. Many of us do not like to admit it just like we don’t like to admit a lot of things, but as i just stated, we live in a highly sexualized society and Muslims are not immune to it.

Lots of times Muslim brothers are pressured to prove that he can hit the spot, before any contract is considered. He has to either give a convincing verbal argument that he is fully up to the task, or he has to prove it. That is our situational reality. It is better in my view, that we just be real and honest about it, and stop accusing brothers of taking sexual advantage of these otherwise ‘virtuous’ women. It takes two to tango. Women can be predators too. Zina (sex) before marriage will always have its consequences. Al-humdu lllaah, Allah forgives, but there is usually some damage done, which is why we are commanded not to even approach zina. Many children are born out of sampling the goods before marriage. Many. It’s a vicious cycle. We can keep going on pretending.

When a Muslim sister, not wanting to test the waters unlawfully, tells you up front; “you’ve got to maintain me sexually” or will tell you that she is a nymphomaniac, both statements can scare the heck out of an otherwise good man and potential husband. I’ve even seen people say that if a husband fails to satisfy his wife sexually, it’s okay for her to seek satisfaction outside the marriage. Men already suspects that nymphomaniacs tend to cheat, or often think about cheating. Many men would like to take a shot at a nympho, but very few want to marry one. Most men have been schooled about nymphos, which is why most of them are not married.

Men, however, should be honest about their sexual potency, or lack thereof, especially since according to the Massachusetts Male Aging Study, 52% of men experience some form of ED. A recent, 2019 study sponsored by the NIH (National Institute of Health) determined that 26% of men under the age of 40 in the United States, suffer from some sort of ED. This would indicate that sexual virility in a man is at a premium. It also means that we have to approach the issue of erectile dysfunction as part of the overall conversation about marriage. If a man knows that he is very capable in the area of sexually satisfying a woman, he is very unlikely to let his sexual prowess go to waste; he is likely to use what he has either by marriage, or by fornication.

Some Muslim women get caught up in “cougar culture“‘ finding a younger man who can satisfy them sexually with presumably no strings attached. Although he’s not necessarily marriage material, he can easily fill the sexual need, a sort of ‘fornication agreement, or contract’. Now, their contract is with shaitaan. Unofficial Fornication Contracts are taking the place of marriage contracts. That might just be the tip of the iceberg. There is no easy answer to our sexual woes as a Muslim people. We are only beginning to have the conversation. It’s just one elephant in an increasingly crowded room full of elephants.

Imam Abu Laith Luqman Ahmad

Imam Abu Laith Luqman Ahmad is a associate Imam and resident scholar at the Toledo Masjid al-Islam, housed in the first building built originally as a Mosque in the state of Ohio.  He can be reached at: imamabulaith@yahoo.com Like this article? Support @ Cash App to: $abulaith2

As America Talks About Racism, is Muslim America Ready to Talk About It’s Own Racism? Imam Abu Laith Luqman Ahmad

Muslim Senegalese American Fatou Goumbala takes part in a World Hijab Day rally held in front of New York City Hall in Manhattan, New York, US, February 1, 2018 [Amr Alfiky/Reuters]

Has the time finally come for Muslim Americans where they have to address Racism in their own community?

As American battles its own racial problems, Muslim America has its own festering racial discord between Black American Muslims and converts, and between the larger Muslim American immigrant community. The question of Racism in Muslim America has never been fully unpacked as a national American Muslim conversation. Sure, it has been hinted at, pointed to, glossed over, generalized, and even headlined in articles here and there. Still, the issue has never been domestically unwrapped and laid bare so it could be subject to critical and compartmental examination.

One of the challenges facing American Muslims in dealing with racism in our mosques and in our own communities is that you cannot approach racism with a one-size fit for all method. Our own dealings with race and racism in the United states should have taught us that. Racism in Muslim America lives in the trappings of Islam and under cover of the masaajid (mosques). It is as delicate as it is insidious, it’s refined as much as it is profane. It is a wide topic that spans the globe in breadth and is as diverse in its manifestations as the rainbow of races, and colors of the peoples who inhabit the nations mosques. If America is an experiment, then Muslim America with two distinctly different civilizational trajectories; one Black and indigenous, and the other, recent (50 years or less) immigrants, is even more of an experiment.

Racism in Muslim America has its own historical evolution. Negative attitudes against Blacks has deep roots in Muslim history. From the enslavement of Blacks from east Africa during the time of the Abbasids, to the importation of slaves to the Sultanates and dynasties of the Indian sub-continent, to the slaughter of Blacks by Salahuddin al-Ayoubi after he conquered Egypt from the Fatimids. It has cracks and crevices where it hides, masquerades and blends in with the scenery. It can act like a chameleon and go undetected until you look closely, or it can unabashedly bite you in the face. It will migrate from one institutional host to another institutional host.  Sometimes you must hunt it down like a wild animal and corner it, and even then, it will fight you back. Racism does not back down easily except where there is taqwa (piety).  It takes a certain amount of moral courage the likes of which we as Muslims I am afraid, are in short supply for now, to tackle racism in our ranks. We can only do it in my view, as a morally mature people, but tackle it we must, and tackle it we will if it be God’s will.   

Racism in Muslim America may not look exactly like racism in America in general or racism in the Arab world or in Europe, or in Asia, Africa or anywhere else. Racism in Muslim in America has its own unique historical and civilizational nuance which is why it deserves more than just a casual, anecdotal glance. Racism in Muslim America is the proverbial elephant in the room, and that elephant is poised to let out a big fart that will stink from New York to Washington state, if we do not take the time and courage to meet it head on.

My first article about racism in Muslim America[i] was published in 2002, on the heels of 9/11. It was a taboo topic then, and admittedly I was very careful in the way I worded the topic, and here we are 18 years later, and the issue of racism in Muslim America sits on our door step, like unopened mail.

Racism Muslim America is a heartfelt letdown for Black American Muslim converts and their accompanying generations. While at the same time, marginally acknowledged by the American Muslim immigrant community. Within the Black American Muslim and convert community, the conversation about racism in Muslim America has been well under way, but relatively one-sided.  Any Black American Muslim will tell you unequivocally that racism is alive and well in Muslim America, as well as any other Muslim who is willing to be honest and not bound by the chains of political correctness.

As the conversation about race again take center stage in the national news feed of the United States with the death of George Floyd at the hands of a white police officer in Minneapolis MN the opportunity has again presented itself for Muslim Americans to catch up with the rest of the country on the matter of race, racism and race relations within our domestic faith practice. If we don’t rise to the occasion, we threaten to undo years of carefully orchestrated public relations portrayal of American Muslims as a new an unblemished citizenry who are part of the American experiment.  

American Muslims are an accepted part of American society. However, we are not the go-to community for moral leadership. The main deterrent to that is our failure as a general body, to openly address the issue of racism within our ranks. Black American Muslims are willing to have this conversation and have been having it amongst ourselves to the point of disgust, protest and revolt. Imams and leaders of the American Muslim immigrant community must be willing to reciprocate in a way that is past lip service photo-ops, and billboards. If we are to ever have hope in being an advanced civilization, we must be willing to engage in advanced conversation, no matter how painful.

Imam Abu Laith Luqman Ahmad

Imam Abu Laith Luqman Ahmad is a associate Imam and resident scholar at the Toledo Masjid al-Islam, housed in the first building built originally as a Mosque in the state of Ohio.  He can be reached at: imamabulaith@yahoo.com


[i] https://www.islamicity.org/1813/racial-politics-in-muslim-america/

Should a Muslim follow a Particular Madhhab (school of religious law)? By Imam Abu Laith Luqman Ahmad

Should a Muslim follow a madhhab (school of law)? Does he or she have to? Does following a madhhab make practicing Islam easier? The word madhhab comes from the Arabic word tha-ha-ba (ذهب)which means to go. Madhhab (مذهب) means path. In Islamic terminological usage, the word implies, madhhab shar’i (مذهب شرعي) or legal path or madhhab for short.

There are more than four paths or legal philosophies within the boundaries of Muslim legal orthodoxy, however, there are four schools about which people are most familiar. The Maliki, Shaafi’ee, Hanbali, and Hanafi schools of law, Each school is named after the scholar that founded it. Of the four major schools I mentioned here, there is agreeance on 75% of the issues of law. They only disagree on the other 25%. The differences of opinions between the four schools are rarely theological; they are more interpretational in nature. Many times the differences are in how each scholar looks at the very same verse, hadith or tertiary evidences. Sometimes the difference of opinions between the schools is traced back to what each of the scholars considers acceptable evidence on a given issue, or the strength of the evidence itself. Other times. there have been geo-political considerations that underscored differences of opinion such as when the seat of the caliphate changed from Madinah to Iraq, and then later to Syria which was a far cry from the simple sedentary life of Madinah, the city of the Prophet (SAWS).

Nevertheless, the madhaahib (plural) are here to stay, and madhabism (adherence to a particular madhhab. is gaining traction in the Black American and covert communities. It’s even n some circles, taking on fanatical proportions where people pressure others to adopt a madhhab almost like one adopts a sports franchise to root for. The irony of it all is with al the fanfare about madhaahib, the overwhelming majority of vocal madhhab advocates o social media, have no idea what their adopted madhhab position is on most issues except the holding of one’s hands to the side as in the Maliki madhhab, or perhaps the audible enunciation of bismillah in the salat in the Shaafi’ee madhhab.

The purpose for having a madhhab is for following, not for proclaiming. The existence different madhaahib (schools of Islamic legal thought) had more to do with maintaining order and having a congruent legal philosophy to follow so that there would be governance, and order in one’s life and Islamic practices than it had to do with “Crips and Bloods” type bragging rights, or for simply proclaiming that you have a madhhab.

When the student of Abu Hanifa, Abu Yusuf, became the chief judge under the Abbasid Caliph Haroon, he chose regional judges that adhered to the Hanfi position on the variant issues of law. That’s how the Hanafi madhhab was popularized amongst the subsequent Abbasid dynasty. Abu Yusuf wrote extensively on issues of taxation and state finance which were Issues on which there had to be one opinion in play, otherwise you couldn’t run a government. If you are an advocate of people following a madhhab, then you should also be an advocate for congregation, communal governance, and of people following Islamic law in their every day affairs, where applicable. You can’ say that your all for following a madhhab, but not for following the legal conclusions of your madhhab as it relates to you and your dealings.

When it comes to social intercourse and affairs of Muslim people like marriage, divorce, custody, inheritance, conflict resolution, criminal matters, contracts, business and profit, and issues that require legal resolution, distinct ruling and judiciary discretion, you or someone you have access to, needs to have an more thorough understanding of the law. The average person does not have the time or capacity to research every occurrence or expected occurrence of their life to come up with a correct detailed and accurate ruling, and its proofs. That is one reason that the different schools of legal thought and interpretation were developed and employed by Muslim rulers. There was never a time in the history of Islam when there were no rulers, no judges, no leaders, no Imams, no Calipha, no Sultan, no one in charge of anything. And rulers would employ judges to render the law. The buck always had to stop somewhere. Laws had to be written and codified.

As Muslims, we are required to follow our scriptures (Quran and Sunna), and our scriptures have laws in them. However, you cannot expect people to dig up all the available proofs on every fiqh issue in their life. That would be utter chaos. Even if everyone did their own research for every single issue as some suggest, life is forever changing, and when it does, applicable religious law sometimes do too.

I advocate that people have qualified imams and proper governance, and that the Imams and governing Islamic bodies have a madhhab, or some acceptable minhaj and methodology by which proper religious order and governance can be established amongst the common people who really want to practice Islam. The applicable product of a madhhab is hukm shar’iy (Islamic ruling). Historically for centuries, everyday people knew very little about the madhhab, usool, adilla (proofs) or the history of their scholars, they simply depended on their leaders, local Imams, and scholars, to teach them the right way. How do I pray? How do I fast? How do I divide my inheritance? What constitutes a marriage contract? What’s incumbent on me on this or that matter? What’s the ruling on food? Et cetera.. It is therefore better, in my view, that people do follow an accepted madhaahib when it comes to religious law if they are able. That way the buck would stop somewhere.

People should not be in a perpetual state of research about their every day life issues as far as sharia law is concerned. The voluminous amounts of proofs and detail that go into extracting law for a particular madhhab is ore than just a simple one volume book of law. When you read that the Shaafi’ee position on an issue is so and so, or that a Maliki or Hanbali position on an issue is so and such, what you’re reading is a summery of research that has been checked by hundreds and hundreds of scholars. Furthermore, the official position of the madhhab on an issue of law, does not necessarily reflect the position of the founder of that school of law. Scholarship in Islam is evolutionary, For example, after the death of Imam Muhamad Idris al-Shaafi’ee, other Shaafi’ee scholars uncovered and new evidences for some pervious rulings, unbeknownst to Imam Shaafi’ee, and when Abu Yusuf became the chief judge during the Abbasid period, he differed with his teacher Abu Hanifah on about a third of the latter’s rulings. Sometimes there can be more than one position on a particular issue, within the same madhhab. Historically, regular Muslims were never tasked with or expected to perform scholar level research for each issue of fiqh (which there are hundreds) of their life. That is completely absurd.

However, it would be even better if Muslims, particularly converts or reverts living in a society like the United States, had competent imams and orderly governance of their (religious) affairs so they would have order and so that they could inter-function as a group. There was a time up until the 1960s where each madhhab of the four madhaahib prayed separate prayers at the Haram in Mecca. However each prayer had it’s own Imam and there was order. No civilization has ever advanced or survived without order. Not ever in history. Not that I know of. For most of Muslim history, people have respected each other’s different madhhab persuasions, although that has not always been the case, People fought and even waged war over legal opinions all throughout Muslim history. When the Ottomans banned slavery of Blacks, the Mufti in Hijaz declared their blood halal.

Popularization of the madhaahib had more to do with establishing order in worship, and in governance than it did with veneration of a particular scholar. When the student of Abu Hanifa [d. 767 CE], Abu Yusuf, became the chief judge under the Caliph Haroon, he chose regional judges that adhered to the Hanafi position on the variant issues of law. That’s how the Hanafi madhhab was popularized amongst the subsequent Abbasids. Abu Yusuf [d. 798 CE] wrote extensively on issues of taxation and state finance which were Issues on which there had to be one opinion, otherwise you couldn’t run a government. According to the historian, Imam Adhabi, when the partisan Shaafi’ee judge, Abu Zar’ah at-Thaqafi [b, 915 CE], became chief judge of Damascus his influence led to Shaafi’ee law becoming the law of the land there. That remains until this day. Before that, they showed a preference for the fiqh of Imam Abdul-Rah’maan al-Awzaa’ee [d.774 CE].

Even our judiciary system in the United States, mirrors in some way the traditional state judiciary system that existed amongst previous Muslim nations. Except that in Black Muslim America today, there is little governance, just a mob, where everyone is their own Shaykh and just about any shaykh is given governing authority. Even those who are unknown. The evolution of the different madhaahib had more to do with maintaining order and having a congruent legal philosophy so that there would be governance, than it had to do with “Crips and Bloods” type bragging rights, like it is now in parts of our community. Wild, wild west.

In conclusion, . When it comes to just performing your prayer, and the every day functions of conduct, and basic religious practices, you can get by with simply following what’s clear and generally agreed upon in the hadith of the Prophet. Even in hadith there are differences in interpretation and strengths, weaknesses and variations of the uses of the evidences, but your personal salat (prayer) affects only you. So whether you pray with your hands to your sides or folded across your chest, is a matter that affects on you. It is between you and Allah.

However, following a madhhab if done beyond a mere proclamation, could make life simpler and in the long run, and allow you to practice more of your Islam correctly without having to personally research each and every step in your life, which frequently leads to frustration and burnout. And Allah knows best.

Abu Laith Luqman Ibn Abdulkarim Muhammad Ahmad

Imam Abu Laith Luqman Ahmad is an Imam and Resident Scholar at the Toledo Masjid al-Islam in Toledo Ohio. He can be reached at imamabulaith@yahoo.com. Support @ Cash App to: $abulaith2

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