The Islamic Ruling Regarding praying salaatul Jum’ah over the internet during the COVID-19 pandemic, Imam Abu Laith Luqman Ahmad

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QUESTION: Because of the COVID-19 virus pandemic, many local and state governments have ordered people to stay in their houses, self-quarantine, practice social distancing, and not gather in clusters of ten or more, for fear of spreading the virus. In some cases such as Saudi Arabia, entire countries have been ordered to close all masaajid for prayer of any kind including salatul Jum’ah. In the United States, many, if not most masaajid are closed for the daily and Jum’ah prayers. Some masaajid in the United have begun to stream Jum’ah services over the internet and people who are affected by the advisory to stay at home, are participating in these online streams as congregants and praying behind the Imam over the internet. Some Muslims have started to criticize this practice and say that it is prohibited or that the prayer is not valid. Can you give us some guidance on this matter according to the Quran and the sunnah and our religious laws (fiqh) as Muslims?

ANSWER: Al-humdu lillahi Rabbil aalameen. The idea that’s it’s haram/prohibited to pray a streaming Jum’ah salat behind an Imam in special circumstances is unfounded. The salat and salatul Jum’ah, like other acts of worship has rules of wujoob, and rules of sunnan. The first rule of Jum’ah is that you pray it, not that you don’t pray it. “O you who have believed, when [the adhan] is called for the prayer on the day of Jumu’ah [Friday], then proceed to the remembrance of Allah and leave trade. That is better for you, if you only knew.” 62:9 al-Jum’ah. Seeing the imam in person is not a condition (shart), wujoob (incumbent) o If you can hear the Imams voice, you can pray behind him. People prayed behind the Prophet (SAWS) during the farewell hajj and they could not see him, nor hear his voice. Deeds are according to intention, and fiqh is according to daleel and circumstance. If you can hear the imam and share the same time zone and have the intention of following the imam in the same Jum’ah prayer (during the duration of the viral pandemic) then such is permissible and the prayer is valid. However if the masjid is reachable there is nothing preventing (no health restriction, fear or cessation of physical attendance to the masjid), then the normal pre-pandemic rules still apply. This is only in the case of daroora (necessity) or special circumstance, I this case, a viral pandemic. .

What is a rukhsa? Plural; (rukhas)

Rukhsa is a sharia (Islamic law) terminology meaning dispensation or facilitation of something. In the Arabic language, the word rukhsa (plural rukhas) means making easy or to facilitate. Dispensations are exceptions to the rule or an allowance to alter a procedure or modality of worship because of circumstance. Worship in Islam is strictly regulated by religious texts (Quran and sunna), and by the eventualies and conclusions of sacred law (fiqh) also known as Islamic jurisprudence. This is especially true with respect to the salat, as in the hadith; “pray as you have seen me pray“. Rukhsa allows one to alter the modality or procedure of worship owing to mitigating circumstances.

For example, salatul Thuhr (the midday prayer) is four rak’aats. However, if one is travelling, they are allowed to pray two rak’aats instead of four rak’aats; this is a rukhsa. Another example is fasting during the month of Ramadan. If a person is sick on any given day during Ramadan, or travelling, then they are allowed to break or suspend their fast and make it up at a later date. “And whoever is sick or travelling, then make it up on later days“, 2:185 al-Baqarah. Another example is performing tayammum (dry ablution) in the absence of water; “If you are sick or traveling or one comes from relieving himself and cannot find water, then (perform) tayammam from pure dirt” 5:43 al-Maa’ida

Understanding The Islamic Ruling Allowing Following and Praying Behind the Imam over the Internet

Note: The current COVID-19 pandemic is a particular circumstance affecting movement, health, safety, congregational worship, continuity of the Friday prayer, and even freedom of the world at large. No one denies that. The ruling here is a provisional ruling based upon this circumstance only. and not a general ruling for all times, when there is no such emergency.

Listening to the Jum’ah khutba and the salat over the internet and praying behind the Imam through streaming is permissible during this pandemic according to the allowances of the sharia and the foundations of ease and facilitation according to the law. There is no contention amongst contemporary scholars of Islam regarding internet streaming of salaatul Jum’ah accross the internet. The contention seems however by some to be whether or not salaatul Jum’ah by a long distance congregant participating through he internet, is valid. The answer as we have stated, is that such prayers are valid and can serve as an alternative to physical attendance of Jum’ah during the length of this current crisis.

It would take an overabundance amount of proofs to invalidate such prayers in light of our current circumstances and in light of the prevailing legal axiom in Islamic law to make things easy on the believers within the boundaries set scriptural law. “Allah wishes ease for you and does not wish difficulty for you“, 2:185 al-Baqara.

The same rukhsa (dispensation) principle that allows the legitimate cessation of Jum’ah or opting out because of the coronavirus, is the same principle that allows Jum’ah prayer through streaming. It would be implausible to dispense with Jum’ah because of the virus by use of a rukhsa (dispensation) but disallow Jum’ah in altered fashion because of the same virus by using a rukhsa. That is not the way sharia law works.
You can’t use medical technology as a reason to legitimately stay home from Jum’ah despite it being an obligation, and then disallow internet technology as a means to fulfill the religious obligation that has been disbanded because you were forced to stay home in the first place, or in times of dire necessity.

The prevailing principle in fiqh is that if an action of worship cannot be completed fully, then partial completion is allowable in extenuating circumstances. This is based upon the verse; “And what I have commanded you to do, do of it what you are able”, [Muslim]. Physical connection to the congregation is full completion of all tenants since closing gaps in the rank is waajib. However, when that is not possible due to particular sharia supported circumstance, prayer while disconnected from the physical rank is permissible.

People prayed behind the Prophet (SAWS) during the farewell hajj and they could not see him, nor hear his voice. Deeds are according to intention, and fiqh is according to daleel (proof) and circumstance. Seeing the Imam in person is not a condition of performing salatul Jum’ah behind an Imam. People perform salaatul Jum’ah at the Holy Sanctuaries (Mecca and Madinah) outside of the physical sight of the imam all the time without any objections from our scholars. additionally, people perform salaatul Jum’ah in Egypt and other places where there are thousands of worshippers for blocks around the Masjid and the Imam is blocked by buildings , streets, cars and even traffic at time, and their prayers are held to be valid without question, and this is without a state of emergency.

The purpose and value of using a rukhsa

One of the objectives of using a rukhsa is ease for the Muslim and so that the worship of Allah is not forgone, curtailed, suspended or eliminated because of circumstances. For example, in the current crisis, some masaajid have eliminated Jum’ah completely, which in accordance with he allowances of Islamic law, it would have been prudent to provide alternatives to physical attendance at Jum’ah by use of rukhsa. This point was missed by many Imams and scholars.

Another objective of the rukhsa, is that it is considered divine charity (sadaqa) from Allah sub’haanahu w ta’ala. In the hadith of Yahya ibn Umaiyya, the Prophet (SAWS) characterized the rukhsa as “Sadaqa that Allah spends upon you, therefore accept His charity” [Muslim]. This provisional ruling should serve as clarification until the circumstances change. If you accept that there is an emergency, then you must also accept the plausibility of contingency, and Allah knows best.

Imam Abu Laith Luqman Ahmad, Associate Imam Toledo Masjid al-Islam, Toledo Ohio. imamabulaith@yahoo.com.

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WHY MUSLIMS SELLING LIQUOR IN THE HOOD IS SUCH A BIG DEAL, Imam Abu Laith Luqman Ahmad

Muslim owned liquor stores is an important issue. It’s perhaps the most visible contribution of American Muslims to inner city America, and arguably the most deadliest and destructive. It’s affect on the trajectory of the Black American Muslim and convert civilization has been more devastating than many of us care to imagine. It is the major cause of anti-Muslim sentient in inner city America. Still it’s an issue that we are nearly completely stuck in the sand about, and have not yet mustered the courage to address it an a domestic ummah.

We don’t get too riled up about Muslim liquor stores in the hood but it’s actually a major deal. In every major city where it exists, it totally sidetracks the da’wah. The visual take away is that Muslims are parasites in the community and a necessary evil that profits on people’s addictions and treat the locals like crap and the Black American Muslim converts are good hearted and somewhat sincere but just plain castrated men in their own religion.

Of course this sounds harsh and crass but I’ve been an Imam for more than 20 years in the hood and that is the perception. Even worse. Of course Muslims thrive in the hood because that is our hood, many of us are from there, our family is there. Many of us are in and out of these penal institutions alongside the people from our neighborhoods where we wield authority and are formidable. But the perception in the neighborhood is that we are cool but we don’t have much to offer, even many who convert feel that way. We are viewed as subordinate Muslims and they generally view immigrant Muslims as racists with the disposition of slave overlords.
Now of course some of you may hem and haw about this, and may even feel insulted (typical response) lol. But many of you if not most of you are completely unaware of this reality. If you were then you would understand exactly what I mean. If you ventured for yourself and took a good look, you’d see for yourself.

Pick a city, Los Angeles, St. Louis, Detroit, Sacramento, here in Toledo, Oklahoma city, the Carolinas, New Orleans, Chattanooga, Montgomery Alabama, Houston Texas and many other cities where Muslims hold sway in the liquor and party store business, the da’wah to Islam is tanked. Even when Muslims go out on the street, first thing people say is; “what about your brother over there selling liquor? (Sometimes they even sell drugs). Philly has been somewhat an exception because only the State of Pennsylvania can sell liquor in Pennsylvania. However, elsewhere, wherever the law allows. The American Muslim liquor, crack pipe, meth pipe, blunt rollers and lottery business continues to thrive and shamelessly eats away at the fabric of inner city society, while the rest of us looks away. Imam Abu Laith Luqman Ahmad

Gender Wars, Feminist Thought, and the Attack on Muslim Marriage. Imam Abu Laith Luqman Ahmad

CONSIDER THIS.

Imam Abu Laith Luqman Ahmad

Shaitaan/Satan has found a new home amongst Muslims. Radical feminism is now one of the most socially and spiritually lethal internal threats we have in our domestic ummah. Radical feminism is the vanguard of the LGBTQ movement and it has surreptitiously found it’s way into modern Muslim domestic dialogue and intellectual underpinning. It is anti-male, anti-marriage, anti-family, anti-shariah, anti-scripture, and anti-polygamy, all at the same time. We respect our women, and quite frankly, modern-day feminism is beneath them.

Anytime shaitaan finds a home within an ideology, he runs with it. On the issue of feminism, we have to side with the Lord and our scriptures,. Nothing personal. .The feminist ideological onslaught on the Black American Muslim population was specifically engineered to corrupt and destroy the Muslim family, to fan the flames of the gender wars, and to corrupt our concept of marriage. This occurred on multiple levels. It didn’t happen overnight; it was a slow surreptitious incursion that caught a lot of us off guard. One door-way was in the guise of saving Black Muslim women from their men, who were labeled oppressive, misogynist, controlling, deadbeats, stingy and generally unworthy.

Image result for the gender wars

The gender wars between Muslim men and Muslim women was designed to get our women to openly complain about men, not just their men, but all Muslim men; to demean them, declare them unworthy and useless, to be openly hostile towards them, and to exhibit so much disdain, hatred and disgust with men that no sane man would marry them even if he were the best or most desperate of men. Also, so that more and more Muslim women would start to look at women, even non-Muslims for mates and partners. It goes without saying that if you hate men, find them unworthy, hate marriage or at least dislike it, then what’s next?

Excessive anti-man sentiment and a basic cynicism towards marriage, has left many of our women unmarriageable or at least undesirable for marriage. I’m not against women, I’m for them, and incidentally I’m for our men. However, I’m just explaining how I believe that many Muslim women (and men) have been tricked. And if you don’t think that Iblis is in the business of tricking people, then you have already become a casualty of his trickery.

Allah is the ally of the believer, He takes him or her out of the darkness’ss and puts them in the light of guidance. When we make up new laws, conditions, norms, rights and paradigms for marriage that were not already there, or not ordained by Allah, or His Prophet (SAWS), or remove ones that Allah placed there from the start, we effectively turn marriage into Iblis’s or someone else’s test tube creation and not the noble institution that Allah made it from the beginning. We effectively subvert our moral psychology regarding marriage without even realIzing it. This is one of the by products of dajjalism.

We literally twist the concept of marriage, and infuse it with jaahiliyyah and or dajjaali thinking, thereby weakening it, and then wonder why all the confusion, turmoil and chaos. The answer is right in front of us. “corruption has appeared on land and sea by what people have wrought with their own hands. To give the a tasted of some of what they have done, so perhaps they may return (to Allah). 30:31 87. The Book of Allah is clear on this for those wanting the truth.  Now is the time to return to Allah in all of our affairs.

Look, the gender wars, the attack on marriage, the attack on polygamy, and the mass demonization of Muslim men constitutes one of Shaitaan’s greatest  and most successful recent incursions into our religion, our aqeeda (creed) and one of the foundations of stability in our ummah (the family), He chose to go primarily through the women because we were at a point where, because since many women were victims of abuse, mistreatment, and neglect, they, as a group were nearly all labeled victims and survivors and  became totally exempt from any moral accountability, recrimination, or even our religious laws. As victims, they were given a pass by Iblis (Satan). They were victims, they needed support, it’s the mans fault, and that was and still remains the popular (yet tired) narrative. 

Most of us were caught nearly completely off guard. Brothers, sisters and even Imams were blindsided and paralyzed and didn’t see it coming. Many of our men, (Imams included) felt compelled to go with the trend to maintain popularity, and not be accused of being anti-woman. As a chess player (haven’t played in years), it was a masterful strategy on the part of Iblis. He simply played on our ignorance of our own laws, and second guessing or straight out rejection of our own scripture. Worship, forgiveness and reconciliation were all discouraged, even till this day.

The problem was that  after promising our women that the feminist agenda would save them from their men, (us) and that quite frankly, they don’t need men anymore, Shaitaan abandoned them, and our women are no better off than they were before the gender wars and the anti-man agenda. Hardly no one save a few, was watching our ideological borders, so pretty much, any new trend, thought or ideology can be pumped in our dialogue and political correctness and heedlessness of our scriptures prevents any defense.

Nevertheless, I’ve been monitoring the situation to the best of my ability, and what preceded are some of my findings, and Allah knows best.   And no, I don’t subscribe to political correctness and don’t mind being laughed at, or going against the grain. Pay attention beloveds, we will be witnessing fitna after fitna after fitna. It will fall upon us like a string of pearls. This is not the time to be heedless of the Word of Allah. This is not the time to continue the gender wars. This is not the time to reject scripture. This is not the time for Muslim men and women to be enemies of one another. It is during these times that we turn to Allah in repentance, that we follow His word, the we adhere to the congregation, that we be aware of His signs, that we hold to the Book and to the sunnah.

Note: Al-humdu lillaah with the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic, feminism and anti-male rhetoric has taken a back seat in our domestic dialogue. It’s clear that it has nothing to offer us at this juncture. In sha Allah, this article will help put the nail in the coffin.

I stand for Allah, and what He revealed. He is my Wakeel. Bear witness. Nothing personal. Imam Abu Laith Luqman Ahmad

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The Islamic Ruling on Acknowledging, Celebrating, or wishing someone happy birthday, by Imam Abu Laith Luqman Ahmad

I never been too big on birthday in that I didn’t go all out. However, being away from most of my family, and getting birthday wishes from my children, grandchildren and my beloved sister especially, and going out to differ with my two small children, was a special treat.  Being born is a necessity of human existence. If you were not born, you would not exist. Except for Adam (AS), every single human being who ever walked the earth had a day of their birth, and every one of them was born upon fitra, based on the hadith of the Prophet (SAWS), “each child is born in a state of fitra” [Bukhaari].

Birthdays are milestones of life; it tells you when you’ve reached a certain age. Acknowledging a birthday is a fundamental chronological function of a human being as well as a necessary function of fiqh. It was reported in the hadith of Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) that he said: “Command your children to pray at the age of seven and spank them for it at the age of ten (if they do not pray).” [Al-Albaani: Sahih] Without recognizing the day of the child’s 7th birthday, you would not be able to engage the command of the Prophet (SAWS) in it’s appropriate time. If a child turned 7 but the parents didn’t know it, then the parent would be negligent in their duty to Allah for failing to institute a command of the Prophet (SAWS) in its proper time. If they were left to guess and command the child to pray when they had not yet turned 7, then they would be instilling a Sunna, outside of its contextual time. or if they spank them for not praying when they turned 10, they would be spanking them for no reason which is transgression, and unlawful punishment (thulm). If they guessed and he or she had already turned 7, then they would be delaying a command of the Prophet (SAWS) until past its time which is also an infraction of deen. For example, In Islam, calling the iqama is done before the prayer, that’s like calling the iqama a until after the prayer.   

From a child’s perspective, knowing their birthday helps then know when the principle obligation of faith (the salat) become due upon them. As far as birthdays, when I turned 7 years old, that’s when I was given my first prayer rug. It was then that I knew that prayer was something that I must do. On a personal note, I knew that the salat was part of my religion before then. However, at 7 and with the receipt of my first prayer rug, given to me my Beloved sister and Fareedah (friend of my parents) which I kept for about 25 years until it was lost. Sister Fareedah is in her eighties now and lives in New Jersey, she still speaks of that first prayer rug she gave me, it is part of the bond of Islam between us that is kept until this very day.

From an adult perspective, it is mash’roo (part of shariah law) that a person repents, re-affirms their Islam and thanks Allah sub’haanahu wa ta’ala at the age of forty years old. “And We have enjoined upon man, to his parents, good treatment. His mother carried him with hardship and gave birth to him with hardship, and his gestation and weaning [period] is thirty months. [He grows] until, when he reaches maturity and reaches [the age of] forty years, he says, “My Lord, enable me to be grateful for Your favor which You have bestowed upon me and upon my parents and to work righteousness of which You will approve and make righteous for me my offspring. Indeed, I have repented to You, and indeed, I am of the Muslims.” 46:15 al-Ah’qaaf. T

This du’aa (supplication), the du’aa of ar’ba’een is part of the religion of Islam and it is required to know the time of your fortieth birthday in order to fulfill birthday action. The above three examples (and there are many more), sow conclusively that at least acknowledging one’s birthday and celebrating it by establishing prayer, making du’aa, repenting and showing thanks to Allah and to one’s parents are all a part of Islam.

Distinguishing Birthdays between aada (Cultural practice) and ibaada (worship).

In the United States of America, as in most of the world, acknowledging or celebrating a birthday is not intended or considered an act of worship. People do not worship people on their birthday except perhaps in the case of Christmas, on which case, people who worship Jesus (AS), worship him every day of the year. Thus, we must take the worship aspect out of the equation, at least for Muslims living in the united states. Secondly, we already stablished the legitimacy, even the necessity of recognizing the day that you were born if for nothing else that it is tied to initiating things that we are required to do by Islamic law, namely the salat.

Ruling: The permissibility of celebrating one’s or someone else’s birthday

We’ve Already established that acknowledging birthdays is a necessary part practicing our laws and our religious milestones. Now let’s look at the fact that birthdays are not considered a religious tradition in the United States of America, but instead a cultural practice. No sensible person, or Muslim in the United States of America considers acknowledging, or celebrating one’s birthday as an act of worship , that brings them closer to outlook although, we will show and this ruling that there are practices that one may do on his or her birthday that may bring them closer to outlook search as being grateful for another year of life

Permissibility

It is permissible in the religion of Islam to acknowledge someone’s birthday by way of greeting, prayer for them, celebration, wishing joy and happiness, gratefulness, gatherings, expressions of love, expressions of remembrance, giving gifts, eating cake and ice cream, going to dinner, taking a day off from work, congratulations, or any other activity that in of itself is deemed permissible according to the laws of Islam. It is prohibited o celebrate or acknowledging one’s birthday by participating in prohibited acts, just like those acts are prohibited during the rest of the year.

It is not permissible in Islam to prohibit any of the above allowable actions because of a particular day, except with proof. Doing so would be making prohibited what Allah has left allowable. This is particularly true if the birthday serves as a means to become closer to whom Islam warrants closeness, to give allowable gifts, visit with family, strnfgthen the onds of family or brotherhood and sisterhood in Islam, to make amends, to intiate contact where contact has been cut off, r as a reason to thank Allah sub’haanahu wa ta’ala.

Nor is it permissible to haram or prohibit someone’s birthday, even the birthday of a tyrant or an unbeliever for all the days and all the nights are decreed by Allah sub’haanahu wa ta’ala and owned by him.  You can deems prohibited the prohibited actions that you or someone else does on any given day accrding toor laws, but prohibiting a day because someone was born it? No. Such is of the practices of modern-day jaahiliyyah (ignorance). Your prohibiting or even cursing that day does nt negate it from beig the day of their birth and he day of oher people’s birth as well.  

The Prophet (SAWS) said that, “verily deeds are (reckoned) by intentions”.  The word and concept of celebration to Americans differ from person to person. People, not just Muslims but human beings celebrate millions of things throughout the course of life, that is inevitable. A birth of a human being who are all born upon fitra, alone is worthy of acknowledgement and celebration by people who and care about them.

Note: My du’aa from February 11th (my birthday)

Al-humdu lillaah praise to Allah for granting permission that I be born on this day, and to be granted two believing parents, who loved me, who fed me, sacrificed for me, clothed me, housed me, comforted me when I was sick, encouraged me to be righteous, advised me, protected me, taught me the way of the Lord, and raised me upon the noble religion of Islam, so that I could raise my children upon the same, and they, their children, and they, their children, if it be your will.


Yaa Rabb, I cannot count Your blessings or Your grace which you have bestowed upon me, but I ask that You grant us permission to continue to strive in Your path for the days we have left in this world, and that You count me, my parents who raised me, and my offspring, as amongst Your believing and grateful servants. Ameen.

Imam Abu Laith Luqman Ahmad

Black American Sunni Muslims and Their Leaders, Contextually Speaking, by Imam Abu Laith Luqman Ahmad

In consideration of the trials that we currently find ourselves in, there are issues that need revisiting. This is one of them. Black American Sunni Muslims and converts to Islam are arguably the most leaderless Muslim demographic on the the planet. And what Imams there are, are the lowest paid imams in the United States of America, and that’s if they get paid at all. Many aren’t compensated at all. Yet, they get the lion’s share of the blame for the woes of Black Muslim and convert America. Can we blame that on the Muslim leaders themselves? Is anyone to blame? What contributes to the absence of leadership? Do the few leaders we have get the support of the people? Do they deserve it? All these questions cannot be answered in one article. However, it behooves us to at least unpack the conversation. One thing for sure, being leaderless is not a good disposition for believing Muslims in America. It is said that it is better for people to endure 100 years under a tyrannical ruler then to endure one night without a leader.


Although Muslim leaders and teachers (of any race) are obligated to call to and teach the truth, an imam or Muslim leader is no more obligated to be righteous or to follow scripture than the average Muslim. It cannot be left up to a leader or an Imam to get people to trust them. True, his style, knowledge, demeanor and other factors may play a part, however, there were people who didn’t trust prophets or who didn’t trust the Prophet himself (SAWS).

There is an arrogance amongst our people that convinces us that we cannot go or be astray and many of our people are astray in many key areas of the religion, and think that we are somehow immune to falsehood. Some of us (a minority I reckon) feel that our being Black, or converts makes us true and righteous, and that we can move forward as a civilization without leaders or leadership.

As far as leadership, any Muslim leader that calls to what we know to be right by Kitaab and the Sunna, it would seem to any reasonable believing person that you would follow or support him in what is correct. Just about any hadith about leaders and leadership would easily suggest that; Patience with your leaders, obeying those in authority, obey only in what is obedience to Allah, if you differ in a matter return it Allah and His Messenger (SAWS), the best leaders are those who you love them and they love you, hadith about the end times when people would take ignorant leaders who lead them astray, and they themselves (leaders ) are astray, the virtue of just leaders, dying without bay’at being the death of jaahiliyyah , are all concepts supported by Quran and authentic hadith of the Prophet (SAWS). I didn’t mention the verses and hadith here because it would be too long.

The issues Black Muslims have with leadership has more to do than our general state than it has to do with any leader. We routinely attack our leaders, even the best of them. We do this knowing that any of our leaders who is truthful, forward, or effective will be subject to opposition, persecution, and attack. We know that by our own history. The average Black Muslim family that has cable, spends roughly 100 bucks a month. When was the last time you heard a Muslim attack a cable company for bad service? Or they’ll complain but still subscribe. .People have abandoned the jamaa’at or their community for the most minor of infractions, only to see themselves and their families go back into jaahiliyya. I’ve seen it myself, hundreds of times.

We come up with all kinds of beautiful and inciteful suggestions and projects that we think our imams should do, or could do, or shoulda done. However, hardly ever is there any mention or offering of resources by which to embark on these lofty and inciteful suggestions. People think Imams are Leprechauns. We’re not. And when you talk about Black American Imams cooperating with the greater Muslim community’s Imams on issues, that is a great idea. However, you have to keep in mind that as Black American imams, we have maybe 1/10th of the resources they have. Cooperate how? By serving the tea at meetings? Most of our Imams are nearly dead broke, and live from week to week. Most don’t have budgets for projects, and as a group we can’t even afford to hold our own regional meetings or summits, let alone cooperate with other Imams and Muslim leadership organizations that have 10 times our resources and backing. We are invited to a seat at the table, but that is usually only to ratify what’s already been decided or to simply assume a subordinate position.


Leadership, just like following, having a Muslim leader, and everything else, comes down to believing in Allah, Hs word, and following His Prophet (SAWS), and his sunnah. On the day of rising, a leader will not be held accountable for his people, and people will not be held accountable for their leaders. That is proven by Quran and the Sunna. The Prophet (SAWS) will see some of his followers approaching the houdh of Kauthar, and will call out to them, my ummah, my ummah! And it will be said, “but you don’t know what they did after you”, and they will be shoed away. Eesa ibn Maryam will be asked about his followers, but not held accountable for them. The followers of Sayyina Musa (Moses) AS, worshipped a calf in his absence, but he was not held accountable for them. Did that make them bad leaders? Bad teachers? Musa was a chosen by Allah. Yet, his people abused him. The Prophet was the Beloved of Allah, yet, people apostate after his death, and innovated in religion.

Both, Muslim leaders and people who follow them are accountable to Allah sub’haanahu wa ta’ala. A leader has his duty, and people (who are not leaders), or followers have their duty. That is the point. So we can dig ourselves out of a lawless situation.

I know many, many Imams, none of them were or are perfect including myself. However, every single one of them from amongst our people were and are dedicated servants to the cause. Whether they had big plans or simple plans, they all stood their ground and were dedicated. Some had much help, some had little help. Some were endowed with wealth and most are poor. Most have small circles, 2-5 people whom they can trust or depend on. Imams are also targets. The more he is liked, the more effective he is, the more he is a target.

Back in the day we used to give bay’at to the Imam. Some of us still do. Bay’at means that you tell him straight, but you got his back, and that you support him in what’s right openly. The imam is a shield, and when a person makes bay’at to an imam, it strengthens that shield because people know that he is not alone. The laws regarding Imams and Amirs in Islam are strict very strict. In todays time, most people couldn’t handle what Islam says about Imams or Amirs. Our view of Imams is different today. We hardly give them the honor that pastors have in the church. People expect Imams to be like stage performers. We hardly support Imams anymore. We clap for them, or excoriate them, and ever so ready to tear them down.

An Imam has to trust his wife, people around him. He wouldn’t be a good Imam if he didn’t start off giving the benefit of the doubt. He as no choice. One of the worst possible things for an Imam is when he trusts you, and you are deceiving him. The Messengers of Allah were Imams too. Most of them were betrayed or deceived. Even Jesus, the son of Mary (AS). People will find every reason in the world not to support an Imam, even when he is upright and calling to the truth. This is why the Prophet (SAWS) said, “whomever dies and does not have a bay’at attached to his neck, (has no bay’at) then he has died the death of jaahiliyya. It doesn’t mean that you’re going to hell, it just means that you died in a state of ignorance.

And Allah knows best. – Imam Abu Laith Luqman Ahmad. Support at cash app to: $abulaith2

Random thoughts on Black Muslims and Black America

NON FLUFFY TRUTHS THAT PEOPLE DON’T LIKE TO READ.
Yes, Black Muslims are part of the Black community, and we share their struggle. So it would seem we have reason to work together for the betterment of all. However, In my lifetime, the only thing I have seen us do with the Black community, other than engage with them in wrong doing, and as family, is march, participate in sports and cheer the same teams, occupy the same jails, go to the same schools, sit in the same court rooms, pay the same child support, live in the same neighborhood plantations, and share the same tastes in music.
Many non-Muslim Blacks have no trust in our faith (Islam) anymore because they see how it has turned us to a colony with multiple spheres of foreign influence, and they see that we don’t even trust each other anymore. They are still building black churches from the ground up and have governance in their religious organizations and they see that we can’t even come together to build our own institutions. Let alone establish any sort of governance. Notwithstanding we’re at zero growth and still debating every point.
We ourselves don’t even know who’s in charge of us. Lol. However, Blacks, especially active Christians might still welcome us to join them, in Jesus’s name. We talk about sitting with shaykhs in Africa, Black churches are building orphanages in Africa. I’m not sure we even have the guts or the will anymore to do anything but talk about what we need to do. 50 years and counting. I could be wrong. I hope I’m wrong, I wish someone proves me wrong. But I don’t think so.

Imam Abu Laith Luqman Ahmad

imamabulaith@yahoo.com

MALIK AMBAR, AN EXTRAORDINARY CONVERT TO ISLAM: by Imam Luqman Ahmad

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 Indian subcontinent today. One of the most famous of them was Malik Anbar. (he was the one baaaadest Muslim converts who ever stepped foot on Indian soil.) 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. And that’s how it happened folks. Our history has lessons for all of us.

Imam Abu Laith Luqman Ahmad

Killing The Imam, by Imam Abu Laith Luqman Ahmad

The only time in my life I was ever attacked without warning or was sucker punched, was on November 9th 2018, by a Muslim, outside the masjid, right after salaatul Jum’ah, while I wasn’t looking. In fact, I was shaking someone else’s hand (the khateeb), when it happened. I had three broken bones in my face. It took me a full year to realize the effect it has had on me. Since then, I’ve come to know another Imam who was shot several times by a Muslim without warning, and nearly died and I’ve talked to another Imam who was attacked at a masjid. You don’t realize the effect these things have on you until later.

I’m still sifting through it. I’ve also known three scholars of Islam who were killed by Muslims right here in the United States.
There is nothing new about Imams, scholars, or Muslim leaders being attacked or killed by other Musims. I remember when Dr. Saeed Ramadan al-Bouti was killed in Syria in 2013. By a damn suicide bomber no less, who blew up the Masjid. I never met him but I benefitted from His knowledge. He was amongst the top echelon of Islamic scholars, and they killed him, thinking they going to jannah. Senseless.

We have a lot of weirdos in the Ummah. A person will know you twenty years and you say one thing, and they’re online calling you a possible unbeliever, you blood is borderline halal. I know brothers who I taught aqeeda from alif, baa, taa and they turn around six months later and tell me my aqeeda is shirked (my word). This is one reason why I have zero tolerance for ignorant extremism and cut and paste takfeeris (also my word). And being attacked makes you less trusting, especially of novices who have no respect for Islamic scholarship.

Imams endure more than a lot of people would ever realize. I have no complaints, this is the work that chose me and I (very reluctantly) after many years, accepted. But when I occasionally snap on a mo fo, try not to get all self-righteous on me, you may not know the whole story.

Imam Abu Laith Luqman Ahmad Support @ Cash app to $abulaith1, or through Messenger. Still gotta eat.

The Islamic Ruling Regarding Muslim Women Following Funeral Processions, by Shaykh Luqman Ahmad

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

Al-humdu lillahi Rabbil aalameen, wa salaatu wa salaam alaa Rasoolilllah, wa alaa aalihi wa sah’bihi wa sallam

Some time ago there was a death in the Sacramento area when I lived there and after the janaazah prayer, the women were told to stay away from following the funeral procession to the burial site. Among those present were the wife and female children of the deceased. The announcement was disheartening to them, and to others who then asked me what my opinion on the matter was. Al-humdu lillah we were able to redress the issue and allowed them to accompany us to the grave yard to offer their du’aa and to pay their last respects to their husband and father, and they did so without any wailing, any misconduct and without losing control of themselves in any way. However, I became aware that this is a prevalent understanding of many Muslims in the United States that women are not allowed to accompany the funeral procession to the grave site under any circumstances. Thus, we release the following statement in order to clarify the question. Wal Allahul Musta’aan wa bihi tawfiq.

Women following the funeral procession and going to the grave site

This issue is both a matter of urf (local custom) and fiqh (Islamic law). The part of it that deals with urf , is; what is the local custom amongst Muslims in America is with regard to women’s role and behavior at funerals, and whether or not that behavior is permissible based upon the Quran, the sunna and the analysis of our scholars.  The other part of the matter is the definitive understanding of this issue by our Prophet (SAWS), his companions, the Salaf of our ummah and the people of knowledge. Wa Allahul Musta’aan, wa bihi tawfiq.

The objective of understanding the religion and the proper practice thereof is not served when we apply a ruling to a condition that does not exist. When people say: women following the funeral procession, and going to the grave site, what is meant here in the United States and elsewhere is when after the janaazah prayer is over, they follow the burial procession to the grave site, and stand and be witnesses to the body of the deceased being lowered into the ground and put to rest while they make du’aa, and stand quietly, and allow the men to do the actual lowering and speaking if any. This is the practice as it occurs here in the United States and therefore this is what the ruling needs to apply to.

The reason women were prohibited from the graves

The prohibition and disliked nature of women attending the gravesites is not simply a matter of a female presence at the grave; it is a matter of unlawful and unislamic behavior, some of which would harm the deceased and add to their punishment, as mentioned in the hadith; “Indeed the deceased will be tortured for those who wail over him.”[1] This understanding is also taken from the hadith; “There are four things from the affair of the days of ignorance that my nation will not abandon; boasting about one’s status, criticizing people’s lineage, seeking rain from the stars, and wailing over the dead. And if the wailing woman does not repent before she dies, she will be made to stand on the Day of Judgment wearing a garment of tar and a mangy coat of armor.”[2]  In the days of jaahiliyyah (ignorance), before the guidance of Islam, the women during that time used to tear their clothes and beat their cheeks and make unlawful utterances upon the death of someone, and the Prophet (SAWS) used to disavow such behavior; “They are not from us; those who beat their cheeks, tear open their garments, and call out with cries from the days of ignorance.”,[3]

Understanding of the scholars regarding this prohibition

The textual prohibition of women going to the graves is found in the hadith of Umm Atiyyah; :”We have been forbidden to accompany funeral processions but it wasn’t strict upon us[4] In explaining this hadith, Ibn Hajar al-Asqalaani says: “The phrase ‘but it wasn’t strict upon us’ [wa lam yu’zam alainaa] means; he didn’t make it a firm prevention for us like he made other things that were prohibited. So it’s as if she [Umm Atiyyah] said; he disliked for us to follow the funeral procession without making it prohibited”.[5] In this respect, Imam al-Qurtubi said: “the apparent wording of Umm Atiyyah indicates that the nahiy [prohibition] here is nahiy tanzeeh[6][prohibitively disliked]. The hadith is also a daleel (proof) that there are degrees in prohibition and that not all statements of prohibition from the Prophet (SAWS) have the same meaning. Imam al-Qurtubi goes on to state: This is the position of the majority of people of knowledge, and Imam Malik leans towards it being permissible outright, which was the position of the people of Medina.

The permissibility of women attending the gravesite is further supported by what was related by Ibn Abi Shayba in the hadith of Abu Hurraira that the Messenger of Allah was at a funeral and Umar saw a woman (following the funeral procession). He yelled at her, but the Prophet (SAWS) said to him: “Leave her alone, `Umar! Verily her eyes shed tears, the soul feels the pangs, and the promised hour is near.”[7] According to Abu Hasan ad-Dawudi[8] the meaning of the Prophet’s statement “and it wasn’t strict upon us” is so that we do not go to the family of the dead, console them, and invoke blessing upon their deceased and then not follow the funeral procession. The majority if not all of the hadith regarding the prohibition of women attending funeral processions, except for the hadith I mentioned from Sahih al-Bukhaari, are weak. However what it prohibited, is unlawful behavior such as wailing, tearing the clothing, jumping into caskets, cursing Allah’s decree, beating one’s self, and like behavior.

The Islamic ruling regarding women attending the funeral procession and visiting the graves

Following the body of the deceased to the grave yard is a right of the dead upon the living according to the hadith: “the right of a Muslim over a Muslim are six” and at the end of the hadith is the phrase; “and when he dies, follow him”. This is the agreed upon position of Ahlus sunna past and present. The ruling of whether or not women should be allowed to accompany the funeral procession to the gravesite is predicated upon whether or not unislamic behavior will occur as a result of their grieving. What constitutes normal behavior occurring during funerals varies from country to country and sometimes even from region to region. Because of the tumultuous conditions in many parts of the Muslim world, many deaths of Muslims are a result of bombings, terror, war, retaliation and factionalism. These are all circumstances where emotions may run high and wailing is more likely to occur. Additionally, many funerals accompany protest which is another reason for high emotions.

In the United States, at this juncture in our history, most deaths of Muslims are due to illness, old age, accidents, and natural causes. In cases where death is from homicide, it is usually one or two persons. Amongst American Muslims, there has never been an accepted tradition of wailing over the dead, tearing clothing, jumping into the casket, cursing Allah, or questioning His decree with regards to someone’s soul being taken. Some of these practices did exist in jaahiliyyah before people entered into Islam, and some of it still exists amongst non-Muslims. However, this type of behavior amongst Muslim Americans was addressed and stamped out early on, and the Islamic prohibition on these things has been pretty well known across the board by the general Muslim population here in the United States.

Furthermore, we do not have a history of paid mourners, wailing parties, and mass hysteria during funerals amongst the Muslim women folk here in our country.  Although it has happened on occasion that one or two persons would get out of hand, this is has been usually corrected immediately by others who are present. I have been present at scores of funerals and have seen the women present at scores of burials and have never witnessed or even heard of women wailing, yelling, cursing, tearing their clothes, or beating their cheeks at funerals.

Similar moral progress occurred during the time of the Prophet (SAWS) with regards to visiting the grave sites. In the beginning of the Prophetic era, there was a need to prevent the women from the gravesites because of their recent habit to jaahiliyyah practices, and later as people gained greater understanding, the prohibition was rescinded. In the hadith of Abu Hurraira, the Prophet (SAWS) said: “I used to prohibit you from visiting the graves, now (I say) visit them for verily it will remind you of death[9]. In another tradition, the Prophet (SAWS) saw a woman crying at a grave so he told her: ‘Fear Allah and be patient.[10] It is duly noted in this hadith that the Prophet (SAWS) did not forbid her from staying at the grave. The Mother of the Believers, Aisha (RA) continued to visit the graves after the death of the Prophet (SAWS), as mentioned in the hadith of Abdullah Ibn Abi Mulaykah, who said: `Aisha came one day from the graveyard, so I said: “O Mother of Believers, from where have you come?” She said: “From the grave of `Abdul-Rahmaan Ibn Abi Bakr.” I said: “Did not the Prophet (SAWS) forbid visiting the graves?”She said: “Yes, then he commanded us to visit them.”[11]

Therefore, based upon the fact that Muslims in America, as a rule do not engage in the practices of wailing, tearing clothing, beating the cheeks, and hollering out bad statements at funerals, and the evidence from the sunna of the Prophet (SAWS) and the view of the scholars we have mentioned, it is not haram for Muslim women to accompany the funeral procession to the grave sites as long as they are able to control themselves from the unlawful types of behavior that we have mentioned in the hadith. If there is a probability that attendance at the burial will stir emotions to a degree where unlawful behavior will likely occur, and If the standards of adab and decorum cannot be maintained when following the funeral procession to the gravesite, then it is prohibitively disliked. And Allah knows best.

Shaykh Abu Laith Luqman Ahmad

Imam Abu Laith Luqman Ahmad, a Philadelphia native, is a writer, an associate Imam, khateeb, at the Toledo Masjid al-Islam in Toledo, Ohio. He is a former executive committee member of the North America Imams Federation (NAIF). He is also and the author of the book, “Double Edged Slavery “, a critical 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 look at the ideological underpinning of modern Salafist extremism. He blogs at imamluqman.wordpress.com, and can be reached at imamabulaith@yahoo.com.


[1] Collected by Bukhaari and Muslim.

[2] Collected by Muslim.

[3] Collected by Muslim.

[4] Collected by Bukhaari.

[5] Fat’hul Bari, vol. 3, p. 489.

[6] The difference between nahiy tah’reem [prohibitively unlawful] and nahiy tanzih [prohibitively disliked] is that the former makes something haram and therefore a sin while the latter makes it disliked but not sinful in and of itself.

[7] Collected by Ibn Majah and an-Nisaa’ee.

[8] Abu Hassan Abdurrahman ibn Muzaffar ad-Dawudi (d. 467).

[9] Collected by Abu Dawood in the Sunan and by Imam Ahmad in the Musnad, this hadith is also in Sahih Muslim but with a slightly different wording

[10] Collected by Bukhaari.

[11] Collected in the Mustrad’rak of al-Haakim, and in the Sunan of al-Baihaqi

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