The Massacre in Paris; Assessing the Muslim Response, by American Imam, Luqman Ahmad

Iterror-attack-paris-510x287 do not regard lightly, the loss of any innocent life that Allah has made inviolable. Innocent life is sacred, regardless of race, creed, color, religion, nationality, or ethnicity. It is Allah who grants life to whomever He pleases, and no one has a legitimate right to take that life unjustly. When people die, other people’s lives are affected. When innocent people are mercilessly killed, slaughtered, gunned down, beheaded, massacred, blown up, suicide bombed, or droned for no sense at all, it amplifies the tragedy.

I agree wholeheartedly that condemning violence against innocent souls is an appropriate Muslim response as it falls into the category of enjoining the good and forbidding the evil (al’amr bit a’roof wal nahyi an al-munkar). However, condemning selected instances of violence, while remaining silent about others that are equally if not more heinous, only perpetuates the widely held notion that Muslims living in the West are disingenuous, and self-serving. If Muslims are in fact, morally outraged about the terrible slaughter in Paris, then we should be equally outraged when it happens in Beirut, North Africa, Palestine, in suburban Connecticut, or in a Chicago slum.

There is a difference between taking a firm, unequivocal, morally principled position against injustice and murder of innocent lives of any kind, and taking episodic stances against occurrences of extreme violence’s against innocent civilians, according to hyperbolic pressure from the media, or our own political, and public relations considerations. This recurring, and seemingly automated Muslim reaction to these types of selected and sensationalized acts of extremism only takes us deeper into an ostentatious black hole, with no foreseeable ending or win game.

If we still believe that selective condemnation of Muslim violent extremism will somehow convince the media and vocal critics of Islam, and Muslims, to put the brakes on their vitriol, and give the rest of us a break, then history has shown that we are terribly wrong, and have not succeeded by any measure.

That we continuously find ourselves in the circuitous predicament of feeling compelled to condemn yet another incident of Muslim violence, and then complaining with the same frequency that no one’s listening, is testimony enough that just as violent extremists have hijacked the image of Islam, our politics has hijacked our morality.

We cannot continue to calibrate the shelf life and intensity of our moral consciousness based upon the length of a news feed or the broadcast schedule of the news media. Politicizing our Islam has virtually eviscerated Muslim moral credibility in the West. If people believed that we were truly a people of conscious and not a people of convenience, there would be no expectation of Muslims to condemn selected instances of violence, nor would we feel any compulsion to do so.

Imam Abu Laith Luqman Ahmad

Imam Luqman Ahmad has been the Imam of Masjid Ibrahim Islamic Center in Sacramento California, for close to 20 years. He is the author of the Book: ‘The Devils Deception of the Modern Day Salafiyyah Sect, a detailed analysis of extremist salafiyyism, which is the mindset of the modern ISIS extremists. Available on Amazon.com. He can be reached at imamluqman@masjidibrahim.com

Lunacy in the Levant: Deconstructing the ISIS Crisis, by Imam Luqman Ahmad

ISIS flagGenocide, murder, rape, mass executions, beheadings, the persecution of Christians, the persecution of Muslims, the persecution of Yazidis, a religion that most of us have heretofore never heard about, and a level of Muslim extremism that sends chills down your spine. This is the burgeoning reality of the ISIS phenomena which many people call a crisis. Despotic, blood thirsty leaders, foolish followers, whole families slaughtered, and the image of a prepubescent Muslim boy holding up a decapitated head as if it were a fish that he might have caught in the local creek. Such are the workings of people who claim to be the puritans of Islam, sanitizing the path. Babies, shot point blank in the head, and scenes of outright savagery, all in the name of Islam. Thanks to world-wide (and largely controlled and censured) broadcast and social media, this is part of what makes up the images of Islam and Muslims in the 21st century.

The ISIS crisis in the Levant is not the only episode of Muslim ideologues run amok, or of Muslim on Muslim fratricide or of tribal wounds flared into full scale civil war; it’s going on in many places, and it just didn’t start during this century, or the last century for that matter; this is centuries old behavior and a chronically diseased spiritual and mental state that has always plagued parts of the Muslim world, and which traditionally has largely been ignored by the rest of it. The gruesome scenes of bloodshed that we are witnessing today are just individual examples of a much larger issue, which is total lack of regard for the most sacred things of our faith by people who claim to act in the name of our faith.

It seems that the most prominent casualties in all of this carnage, specifically in the case of ISIS, are the very things that our Prophet ﷺ had declared sacred on the day of Arafat during his Farwell khutba (sermon); Innocent blood, honor, and wealth and property. The very things that we were commanded to hold dear, are the very things that have become casualties of sacrilege. This is not to dismiss the carnage that recently took place in Gaza or the sectarian violence of Muslim on Muslim killing and strife that is going on in Syria, Libya, in the Mali, and in Northern Nigeria with Boko Haram.

There are so many theaters of violent and visceral discord going on in the Muslim world that if you were to pay attention to or weigh in on any one of them, you run the risk of being accused of ignoring the other. Some of it is Muslim against non-Muslim and some of it is Muslim against Muslim. If you talk about the carnage in Iraq, then someone will say; well what about the Palestinians in Gaza (another tragedy), and if you talk about the civil war going on in Libya, that seems to be engineered by the West, then someone will say well, what about BOKO Haram, and their kidnappings and murders, and so on.

The sad reality is that there is a very deep rooted mindset in parts of Muslim world, and even amongst Muslims living in the West, that is prone to dismiss the sacredness of blood, honor and wealth, in favor of your group, your sect, your spiritual leader, your race, your ethnicity, or your nationality, or your profit margin. There is a pandemic culture of sectarianism that drapes the Muslim world and that has extended well beyond its borders. It represents itself as racism, tribalism, nationalism, regionalism, terrorism, sect, sub-ideology, and political aspirations, all with the same result; Muslim killing, violence, savagery and butchery, all in the name of Islam, in the name of Allah, or in the name of, of all things, justice. People make, break, and change alliances and allegiances all the time in the Muslim world, so many times, we don’t even know the difference between the good guys and the bad guys. We’ll cheer on one group one moment and demonize them the next. We never really know who is paying who, to do what, who is supplying who, who’s selling out to who, who is lying and who is telling the truth, who it is that are simply misled, who it is who are profiting, and who is it that are just plain evil.

Most of us are just online, and media driven spectators to all of this, for various and sundry reasons. Some of us are drawn to the sensationalism but indifferent to the underlying problem, others are truly concerned and looking for answers and still others have given up, and see no hope to the problem of widespread Muslim on Muslim killing and what it means to our civilization. Still, this confluence of spectacularly violent, and unconscionable incidents of Muslim savagery, all converging at once in real time, is leaving its mark of death, trauma, suffering, anger, and confusion. Yes, it is enough to make your head spin and propel you into a complete state of apoplexy. In the middle of it all, some of us are concerned, and rightfully so, about the image of Islam and Muslims in the world. On this point, I got news for you; what we need to be really concerned about is not just our public image; but about the people that we have become, and the state of our collective morality. This is not about public relations here; what we are dealing with is a severe and seemingly growing moral dysfunction in our ranks.

I’m not ignoring the horrendous acts of violence, aggression, and political manipulation directed at Muslim groups and countries by non-Muslim actors, states, and military corporations; the bombs, bullets, grenade launchers, armored personnel carrier, flak jackets, goggles, boots and uniforms, and all the instrument s of war and mass destruction cost money, and their non-stop use is making some people very wealthy. Some of these instances of violence going on in the Muslim world is simply a matter of pre-orchestrated warfare engineered and financed by outside entities, where they supply all the tools of carnage and sit back and watch as Muslims kill each other, while wealthy financiers, greedy contractors, and unscrupulous weapons manufacturers count their profits.

Network and cable television is replete with political analysts opining about which Muslim group should be armed to fight another Muslim group, and with what kinds of weapons, and how many advisors, at what level of technical assistance. Knight to King’s rook four; like a chess game with the Muslim people as pawns. After the destruction of homes, towns and infrastructure, they send in contractors to profit again at the expense of poor indigenous Muslim populations. Why so many of us fail to see the pathetic irony in that, is beyond me. But that’s a topic for another article.
The bottom line is that there are more Muslims killed, maimed, and made homeless refuges by other Muslim than by anyone else. There is absolutely no justification for rape, the killing, torture and maiming of the innocent, for murdering women, children, and elderly men tending to their farms, no matter what their race, religion, nationality, or ethnicity.

There is no moral justification for forced conversion to Islam; not ever. We have become almost completely desensitized and nearly oblivious to our own moral failings as a Muslim civilization. Muslims certainly are not the only people with modern moral challenges. However, as Muslims, we are responsibly for our own moral condition. I’m relatively certain that these sad but news worthy events we are talking about will soon fade into history and will be all but forgotten about in our short term memory, but the diseases of violent, Muslim on Muslim sectarianism, and the unhealthy penchant for massacre and the taking of innocent lives, will remain, only to raise its ugly head again in the near future. I don’t claim to have the solution to all of this but I will say this; things will not change for us, until we change. And Allah knows best.

Imam Luqman Ahmad
imamluqman@masjidibrahim.com

The Dangers of Making things Haraam, Without Having Clear Evidence, by Shaykh Luqman Ahmad

6/21/19 I’m selling my car to visit my terminally ill brother in the hospital. See details at the end of the this blog post.

haran and halal.Look, if something is clearly prohibited in the religion of Islam, then it is prohibited, and there is no need to go and try to make it otherwise. Likewise, if something is clearly permissible according to our scriptures and the practice of the Prophet (SAWS), then no one should be hard pressed to find a reason to make it prohibited. One area where people have become very unstable in their religion, is when they become obsessed with making things haraam, which were not previously haraam by the Book or the Sunna.  Granted there are things in the religion of Islam which God has clearly made prohibited; fornication, stealing, lying, intoxicants, murder, backbiting, paganism, and so on, where there is clear textual evidence. However, there are other things, for which there is no clear evidence from the Book or from the Sunna, which renders it prohibited. Yet, people insist upon making them prohibited using triangular reasoning, as if Allah somehow forgot to make these things prohibited. The Prophet said, “Verily, Allah has made duties obligatory, so do not neglect them; and He has set limits, so do not transgress them; and He has remained silent concerning things as mercy for you, not out of forgetfulness, so do not search them out”.[1]

There are far more things that are permissible in Islam, than there are prohibited. This is by Divine design, since it would be nearly impossible for someone to know the exact ruling, on everything they do in life, and it would be unreasonable for a person to research each and every action in their life, to try to find a justification for it in our religious texts.  It is much more important for people to be acutely aware of what is prohibited than it is for them to be acutely aware of what is permissible[2]. Therefore, the scholars of Islamic law, have come up with a principle of law that says that the legal basis of all things (except for acts of worship) is permissibility. The textual foundation for this rule is the verse:   “O ye people! Eat of what is on earth, Lawful and good; and do not follow the footsteps of Satan, for he is to you an avowed enemy”.[3]

The above verse mentions two things; lawful (halal) and good (tayyib). In other words, God places an even greater burden upon anyone who wishes to declare something on the earth as unlawful, because not only does He declare the lawful nature of things, he also clarifies that those natural things on the earth that he made lawful, are also good and wholesome. Thus when a person makes something prohibited that God has made permissible without proof, not only is he is contradicting God’s law, he is impugning God’s divine judgment, by insinuating that it is not good and wholesome, which is like saying that God makes bad choices.

This is why scholars with better discernment, and the Imams of the four schools of law, were very reluctant to render something prohibited without strong irrefutable evidence. They used to say things like, ‘I do not like so and so a thing’, or I would discourage so and so a thing’, without prohibiting it outright, because of their fear of rendering something prohibited after God has made things upon the earth permissible.

An example of how Allah looks at someone who makes haraam what Allah has rendered halal is seem in his dealing with His Beloved, the Prophet himself, after the Prophet made something prohibited upon himself, that Allah had already allowed him. “O Prophet! Why holdest thou to be forbidden that which Allah has made lawful to thee? Seeking to please thy spouses. But Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful”.[4]  This is in the case of the Prophet who Allah loves more than anyone else of our ummah. Thus, even the Prophet was not exempt in the prohibition of making things prohibited that Allah has made permissible.

Some Muslims are nearly obsessed with going around searching into things that are already permissible, to render them haraam, and then try to hold people as moral hostages, to these newly prohibited things that they have found some way to make prohibited. We have to counteract the cultural mindset that makes Muslims eager, and seemingly overjoyed, when they find something new, that they can declare haraam. There is enough prohibited activity in people’s lives today to keep us busy for the rest of the century.

There is no need to go about searching for new things to declare haraam. If people simply focused on avoiding the things that are already haraam by the Book and by the Sunna, they would be better off. Don’t be one of those people. The Prophet , said, “the worst Muslim criminal amongst other Muslims, is the one who asks questions about something that was not made prohibited on the people, then it becomes prohibited as a result of his questioning”.[5]

When people go about trying to find new things to make haraam, they have usually overlooked many things that were already haraam. If you become one of those people, you are very likely to be unsuccessful in the area of faith, and understanding of religion, because by doing so, you are bound to anger Allah in a very personal way. As Allah has said: “But say not – for any false thing that your tongues may put forth,- “This is lawful, and this is forbidden,” so as to ascribe false things to Allah. For those who ascribe false things to Allah, will never prosper”.[6]  Unless something is specifically prohibited in the Book or in the Sunna, it is better to leave it alone. Don’t be the person who jumps on the bandwagon, every time people get excited when they find something else that can call prohibited.

There is a certain legal threshold that is needed when we say that something is haraam. Something can be unethical but not haraam, or undesirable, but not haraam, or disliked, but not haraam. Many Muslims today, unfortunately, are inclined towards extremism and fanaticism, so we have to be more careful when we say something is haraam without evidence. There have been numerous instances, where Muslims, killed or maimed other Muslims for celebrating the Prophet’s birthday (which there is difference of opinion of scholars whether it is haraam or not), or where Muslims were condemned by other Muslims for visiting their families on certain days, and a few years ago, Muslims were shot dead in their homes, by other Muslims for watching the World Cup soccer match on television. Muslims routinely call each other infidels, fight and kill each other, and argue back and forth, other over issues newly made haraam issues, such as, Thanksgiving, Baby showers, birthdays and the like.

When things were doubtful, scholars of our Salaf (early generations) used to use the phrase; I do not like this or do not like that, without rendering something haraam without evidence. Notwithstanding that rendering something haraam without evidence is a major sin (kabeerah). Our goal as Muslims, should be to base our faith upon knowledge, and to try to curb the tide of extremism, and moral dysfunction in our ranks, and to stay focused upon what is clear in our revealed texts.

Therefore, never be in a rush to render something prohibited that is not already prohibited in the Book of Allah or in the Sunnah of the Prophet , but concentrate first, upon those things, that we know for a fact, and that are confirmed by textual evidence (Quran and Sunna), to be haraam. If you stay focused upon these things, you won’t have time to go about searching for things to make prohibited.  Wal Allahul Musta’aan.

Luqman Ahmad

Shaykh Luqman Ahmad currently delivers the khutbatul Jum’ah is the Islamic Society of Folsom in California. He can be reached at imamabulaith@yahoo.com. He is also the author of the book: “The Devils Deception of the Modern Day Salafi Sect”, available at Amazon.com.


[1] Authentic hadith, collected in the Sunan of ad-Daraqutani.

[2] Except in the case of ibaadah (worship). Matters of worship need to be cleared by textual evidence, since the Prophet said, “Pray in the manner in which you have seen me pray”.

[3] Quran, 2:168.

[4] Quran, 66:1.

[5] Collected by Bukhaari and Muslim.

[6] Quran, 16:116.

An Open Message to Al-Shabaab; Change your name from al-Shabaab to al-Shayaateen, by Shaykh Luqman Ahmad

Serpent and the appleThe criminal insanity of your al-Shabaab youth that stormed the mall in Kenya and killed 64 innocent people and counting, represents the height of moral depravity. It is ironic that you were asking people if they were Muslim or not and then letting the Muslims go, while killing the non-Muslims, when in reality, you are the ones whose religion and adherence to Islam needs to be questioned. What you fail to realize is that murder is murder, and that those of you who sanction and engage in wanton murder are thugs, murderers and criminals of the worst kind. Even though you claim to represent Islam, You epitomize some of the worst examples of errant Muslim behavior. My suggestion is that in the interest of clarity, you should change the name of your group from al-Shabaab to al-Shayaateen (the demons). By the way, in your rage, you ended up killing a lot of Muslims as well.

I’m completely perplexed at how you go out and violate something that Allah Himself holds so sacred, which is innocent life, and then have the audacity to say that you are doing it in the name of Islam! Nor take life – which Allah has made sacred – except for just cause. And if anyone is slain wrongfully, we have given his heir authority (to demand qisas or to forgive): but let him nor exceed bounds in the matter of taking life; for he is helped (by the Law).” 17:33. You swear by Allah that you are fighting for Allah and defending Allah. Well I got news for you al-Shabaab, oops! I mean al-Shayaateen; you definitely are not fighting for Allah because Allah prohibited you from violating the sanctity of innocent life, and by the way, Allah needs no defending because He can defend Himself. So thanks but no thanks.

When you go into a mall and shoot people who have done nothing to you, said nothing to you, and weren’t even thinking about you, and then say that you are working for Allah, whom Muslims and even yourselves consider to be Lord of the worlds, then you really should consider qualification of your own teachers; the ones you are taking your information from. Do you young brothers honestly believe that after you massacred innocent women and children while they were shopping in a mall, that Allah will come to you on the Day of Judgment and say; well-done lads? I don’t think so, and if you do, it goes to show how much you don’t know about the Lord that you say you worship and claim to hold dear. If memory serves me correctly, you are the same guys that burn down schools that teach girls and shoot up people’s homes because they watch the world cup on television?

Since you guys say that you are so brave and so bold, and say that you are interested in the truth, why don’t you simply say who it is you are really working for; that you are working for none other than Iblis (the devil) himself. Why don’t you go ahead and rename your group “as-Shayaateen”, since it seems beyond a shadow of a doubt at this point that your real inspiration is coming from the demons that have descended upon you. When people decide that they should slaughter anyone who disagrees with them or anyone who in their view does not subscribe to their version of Islam, they have fallen down a very dark hole that will likely end in the hell-fire. Once you go down that hole, it is very hard to come out. However, Allah is Merciful, and He does accept repentance. I advise you all to repent, to reform your ways, and to begin to make amends for your actions. In the meantime, you should know that what you did in Nairobi was a crime against the Almighty Allah be He Exalted and Glorified, and that He is well aware of what you have done. Be assured that He will extract from you His Divine Justice; in this life or the next.

Do you honestly believe that our Prophet (SAWS) would have sanctioned your violent assault upon a shopping mall where people were out with their children and families?  Well consider this hadith: “Whoever killed Muaahadan (a term used in Islamic state to refer to non-Muslim citizens), will not smell Paradise. And its scent can be smelled from a distance of 40 years (a term in Arabic means far distance). (Narrated by Al-Nasaie) If any of you are believe or are saying that our Lord, be He Exalted and Glorified, far above what you ascribe to Him, or our Beloved Prophet (SAWS) sanctions wanton murder of innocent people, then you should be aware that you have already left the religion of Islam. Adieus

Imam Luqman Ahmad

Shaykh Luqman Ahmad is an American born Imam, and the Imam of Masjid Ibrahim Islamic Center in Sacramento California. He can be reached at imamluqman@masjidibrahim.com. He is also the author of the book: “The Devils Deception of the Modern Day Salafi Sect”, available at Amazon.com and http://www.imamluqman.com.

 

New Book Release! The Devil’s Deception of the Modern-Day Salafiyyah Sect, by Imam Luqman Ahmad

salafi book cover amazonThe modern-day Salafiyyah, or Salafiyyism, or the Da’wah Salafiyyah has done much to highlight the Sunna of the prophet (SAWS), and its importance. However, in the process of spreading the new ideology of, “The modern-day Salafiyyah, many of its proponents have perhaps unintentionally made casualties out of the very persons for whom the so-called “da’wah Salafiyyah” was intended.

Excerpts: “For many practicing Muslims, Salafiyyah is a bitter dose of questionable medicine. No one committed to this religion rejects the Salaf as-Saalih or the principles on which they agreed. However, the Salafis and their modern-day da’wah do not suit the tastes of all the righteous. Too much of their methodology revolves around character assassination, claims of monopoly on Allah’s guidance, a fanatical obsession with uncovering the faults of the Muslim”.

Another Excerpt: [Salafiyyism as presented by its modern-day adherents is not a simple methodology; it is a myriad of ideals, slogans and tendencies which burdens the average Muslim with understanding complex issues of theology, jurisprudence, exegesis, hadith methodology, language etc. It effectively abrogates the simplicity of tawheed and gradual assimilation of the Quran and Sunna, and replaces it with unreasonable demands of immediate perfection] -Imam Luqman Ahmad.

[Taken from the new book from Lotus Tree Publications; ‘The Devil’s Deception of the Modern-Day Salafi Sect’ by Imam Luqman Ahmad] available now @ imamluqman.com. Get your copy of this important and pertinent book today!
Go to imamluqman.com to order your copy. Or you can get it at Amazon.com.

Dismantling the Culture of Muslim Sectarianism, by Shaykh Abu Laith Luqman Ahmad

By Shaykh Luqman Ahmad

In Afghanistan it’s dreadful enough that the U.S. military machine has blown the country to smithereens, now obvious obstacles to rebuilding has been augmented by the violently competitive warlords, fighting each other for power. In Iraq, intermittent violence between Sunnis and Shiites boils like a volcanic crescendo waiting to erupt should the American forces ever decide to leave. In Kurdistan another powder keg is slowly igniting between the Kurds, the Arabs and the Turkmen.

In Tajikistan after the recent fall of the Russian empire, the country capitulated into a vicious civil war. Tens of thousands of Muslims were killed and close to a million were displaced in a conflict that although ostensibly was between fundamentalist Muslims against Marxist Muslims, was really about clan rivalry and ethno-nationalism. Whether it is civil strife in Uzbekistan, sectarian violence in Somalia, Wahhaabi-Shi’ite, or Tuareg darker-skinned Muslim clashes in Mali, or Mosque bombings in Iraq, the tragedy of Muslim on Muslim violence and intolerance in the Muslim world goes unabated.

Such is the culture of sectarianism. While hardly a Muslim innovation, we seem to have perfected it in the modern age. It’s the “my race is better than your race, my nationality is better than your nationality, my politics are better than your politics, my tribe is better than your tribe, my Islam is better than your Islam” mentality. This mindset has led us to either depend on despotic, ruthless rulers to keep us from each other’s throats, or set about trying to kill, control and marginalize each other in the name of Islam, region, political party, tribe or race. If the notion of tribal, ethnic or racial preference taking precedence over Islamic solidarity became outdated with the advent of the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, then certainly, now in the 21st century, it should have become an ancient relic of antiquity. By now, we should be laughing at our since discarded ignorance the same way that Umar Ibn Al-Khattaab once laughed at himself for the time when, overcome by hunger, he ate one his idols for lunch.

Alarmingly, this culture of Muslim-sectarianism is gradually finding its way into America. Perhaps there is nothing wrong with a little ethnic, tribal or even racial pride. Unbridled however, it swaggers into racism and very easily graduates into the type of sectarian modality that we are burdened with today. Instead of sheepishly reminiscing how once upon a time in America there were such things as an Afghani Mosque, an Afro-American Mosque, or an Arab Mosque, we find ourselves foolishly trying to relive an undignified and disastrous past of sectarianism, based on tribal, ethnic or racial loyalty. Destined for failure, the sectarian trend of American Muslims communities must be eradicated before it gets out of control. Anecdotally, it should come as no surprise to Muslims in America that we are met with intolerance when we fail at tolerance amongst ourselves. The American civil war, the numerous race riots throughout American history, and the civil rights protests of the sixties, has convinced much of America that racism, segregation and narrow-minded bigotry is counter-productive. Even biracial marriage, once considered intolerable, has become an innocuous, accepted social practice. Ironically, amongst Muslims living in America, inter-racial marriage is still largely taboo. The Prophet, peace be upon him, saw the self-destructive pattern inherent in sectarian proclivities and the potential damage that it posed to the Muslim peoples. This is why he opposed it from the very beginning. After the conquest of Mecca, the Prophet, peace be upon him, commanded Bilal, the freed African slave, to climb atop the Kaaba to make the call to prayer. After Bilal did so, someone remarked, “Muhammad couldn’t find anyone to be a muezzin except this black crow!” Others uttered similar derisive statements about Bilal. When the Prophet, peace be upon him, was informed of these remarks he summoned the men who made them and they admitted their statements. Then the verse was revealed; “Oh you people, surely We have created you from a male and a female. And We have made you into tribes and nations in order to know one another. Surely the most righteous amongst you to Allah is the most pious.” Regrettably, these types of sentiments still prevail amongst us.

During the seventies and eighties, America’s response to racismand bigotry was to embark on an elaborate, slogan-laden campaign of re-education and behavior modification. African American history entered public schools, anti-discrimination and anti-segregation policies were adopted in employment, education, finance, and politics. It took a while for people to catch on and it is still a work in progress but here we are, a generation later, and those efforts have been largely successful. Thirty years ago, sexual harassment in the work place was commonplace. However, through public awareness, extensive re-education, and aggressive prosecution, most Americans now consider sexual harassment unacceptable. There was a time when a husband could brutalize his wife, send her to the grocery store with two black eyes and not receive anything more than a furtive scowl from his neighbor. Now after a generation, a hearty bruise bearing slap in the face will get someone jail time.

In six-century Arabia, idol worship was widely accepted. However after re-education in the form of wahy (divine inspiration), not only was it abolished but never again since that time have statues been worshipped in the Arabian peninsula. Re-education, a successful tool employed by the Prophet, peace be upon him, still has merit. Muslims in America and elsewhere will never achieve the desirable standards of unity and cooperation established by our revealed texts, unless we dispassionately address the underlying causes of our malaise.

In the United States, a domestic culture has emerged that allows us to agree to disagree. We are accustomed to being able to work together, side by side for a common good. From kindergarten we are taught to get along, to work together, to play together and mend our differences. Even in the ruthless world of American politics, opposing forces frequently find common ground and build coalitions. Thus, we need to amplify the message that we neither want nor need the type of sectarianism, intolerance and racism practiced by Muslims in the Muslim world, here in the United States.

Americans as a group increasingly abhor racism. African American Muslims are exceptionally appalled by it and resist it so defiantly because for over four hundred years, they have lived through some of the worst examples of racial bigotry and subjugation in history. Much like the oblivion of many white racists in earlier times to their deranged attitudes about race and ethnicity, many immigrants Muslims fail to perceive the indifference shown to African American Muslims, or Muslims of color. Likewise, many African American Muslims also fail to realize the inherent dangers of Black Nationalism.

In the early 1960s when some of the first modern mass waves of Muslim immigrants came to the United States, an alliance between converts and immigrant Muslims was forged. They needed each other as they do now. It is lamentable that after gaining a secure foothold in American society, many immigrant communities have started to show an unhealthy indifference towards the indigenous African American and to a degree, the white American Muslim population. Obviously that is not the case for all immigrant Muslims. However, this ominous drift is strong enough that there is widespread consensus amongst those affected that it is a growing crisis. We are slowly moving away from unity and moving towards separation and disunity. This is why there is an imminent need for reeducation. Unity, like faith, needs to be taught by imams in their sermons and teachers need to address it in schools. New converts to Islam and newly arriving Muslim immigrants need to be oriented towards it from the very beginning. Although older Muslims tend to be deeply entrenched in sectarian tendencies, much hope prevails for the coming generations. However the time for re-education is now while we as Muslim peoples in America are still in our adolescence. Otherwise we may find ourselves twenty-five years from now in the same pathetically fragmented condition that haunts the Muslim world today.

Continue reading “Dismantling the Culture of Muslim Sectarianism, by Shaykh Abu Laith Luqman Ahmad”

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