American Muslims vs. Islamophobia, Round 9, and He’s punching hard as ever!

I wrote this article 8 years ago, and haven’t altered a single word, except the title. [see original ] During the same period, we haven’t altered our approach to dealing with Islamophobia, except that we changed the definition of Islam from submission, to peace. Some of us are still sticking to the theory  that we can convince our Country to change the way it looks at Muslim Americans, while still maintaining that there is absolutely nothing in us that needs to change. I’m afraid that we’re going to have to change folks. There’s no way of getting around that.. Or we could simply keep using the same strategy, making the same demands, and thinking the same way, and in another 8 years, can have this conversation all over again.


 

Coverage of Muslims and Islam is a bread and butter media commodity. First amendment guarantees and free speech provisions in Western countries limit censorship based upon sensitivities of a particular religious group. Favorable coverage and dispassionate, objective editorial regarding Muslims and Islam is not an entitlement in the real world of the free press. Such is usually accomplished through paid advertising. Journalistic integrity competes with ratings and circulation value, and responsible reporting from one perspective is unwarranted media bias from another. Such happens when people think for themselves. Thus, it stands to reason that negative portrayal and contemptuous commentary of Muslims, and Islam in western media is an inextricable certainty of the industry, particularly in light of global events. Although it frequently angers Muslims, and evokes protest and condemnation, it is unlikely to go away. Nevertheless, as Muslims our concern is legitimate and the matter requires attention. The question is what type of attention?

Despite condemnation, various public relations overtures, civil rights actions and legal maneuvers, the anti-Muslim comment has not vanished. When will it end? How can we stop it? The truth is, there is no foreseeable end in sight, and if we continue to employ the same reactionary methods to change public opinion, or quell anti-Muslim statements, the problem will only exacerbate. Part of the conundrum is our reluctance to assume collective accountability for our condition. Another cause of the problem is conspicuous absence of Quranic and Prophetic guidance in our choice of tactics.

Slander, ill treatment, and negative perception of Muslims are not simply public relation challenges requiring conventional image re-tooling. Or a mere civil rights dilemma remedied by protest and letters to the editor, and certainly not just a constitutional infraction requiring a Bill of Rights refresher course. There are numerous geo-political, theological, and socio-environmental factors which determine how Muslims living in the United States are spoken of, spoken to, and treated. Overstating the scale and breadth of ill sentiment toward Muslims in America is counter productive. Disregarding the root causes is irresponsible. Ignoring it completely is a missed opportunity. Expecting positive results while failing to employ an Islamic ethical approach is a fantasy existing only in the quilt of our minds woven together with the threads of wishful thinking.

Ill sentiment and verbal attacks against Islam and some Muslims in the United States does occur. However, considering that there are about 5 million Muslims in America, the ratio of reported incidents of anti Muslim bias reported by CAIR is 40 out every 100,000, which is too low[1][1] to warrant priority one status.

Countering verbal disparagement with protest is a tactically flawed approach. In this year alone; there has been at least three major incidents (the cartoon satirizing our Prophet (SAWS), the Pope’s repeating a centuries old quotation, and the eight Imams who were unceremoniously escorted off an airplane) of verbal or public insult of Islam, the Prophet (SAWS) or Muslims. In each case there was protest, vociferous indignation, and demands for retraction or apologies. Yet, in each case, indignation yielded no measurable improvement of Muslim image or cessation of anti-Muslim bias or speech. Additionally, the principal sentiment fueling the response was anger. In all but the last incident, response resulted in the loss of innocent life. It is ironic that anger is the very emotion that warrants suppression according to the islamic ethical code.

A greater irony is that in each case, media characterization of Muslim response was replete with words like, “rage”, “fury”, and “anger”. I personally do not recall any headlines that captioned; “Muslims love for their Prophet caused them to… “or the love of Allah fuels protest”, or, Muslim expresses their love for Islam by boycotting….” Thus from a strategic perspective, response netted negligible dividend. To consider whatever dialogue that followed as tangible gain is a misleading since doctrinal polemics between Islam and other faiths have existed for over 1400 years. In the game of image politics, celebratory elation when a detractor agrees to your petition to dialogue is a sophisticated and sanitized form of humiliation. It messages a craving for legitimacy. The compulsive rush to defend criticism implies that there is truth in it.

Islamic canonical law does not prescribe recrimination as a response to verbal affront which carry no judicial or legal consequence. Unflattering words are not repelled by the same; on the contrary, evil is only repelled by justice. “Nor can goodness and Evil be equal. Repel (Evil) with what is better: Then will he between whom and thee was hatred become as it were thy friend and intimate!”[2][2] Ibn Abbaas said: “Allah (God) summons the Muslim community to exercise patience when angry, benevolence in the face of ignorance, and pardon when offended. If people did that, Allah would protect them from the Devil”[3][3]. If countering verbal disparagement with protest and reciprocal assault is righteousness, then to do the opposite constitutes unrighteousness. Obviously, such a hypothesis contradicts Prophetic guidance. The example of the Prophet (SAWS) in responding to verbal disparagement against himself, His Lord, or Muslims was to exercise restraint.

The dangerous theological implications of the protest approach seem to escape consideration. Understandably we are frustrated by the incessant degrading, slaughter, and humiliation of Muslims. However, although anger, insult and frustration are causes of moral infraction in Islamic law, they are unacceptable justifications for it. Otherwise, emotion would outrank divine injunction as the primary criterion of good conduct. Such a notion is heresy according to orthodox Muslim theology

Prioritization of anti-Muslim bias as a premiere issue over Muslim intra-religious hostility and sectarianism transposes the divine contractual assignment of Islamic law. It creates a reverse moral assumptive whereas intra-religious sectarianism is an acceptable paradigm while anti Muslim bias is not. The latter is declared intolerable to the degree of public protest, indignant response, and central billing in Friday sermons, while the former warrants no such attention, although it ranks amongst the category of major sins in Islam. Stoicism in the face of verbal invective is virtue while the Muslim slander of Muslim is depravity and Muslim on Muslim killing approaches heresy. “Slander of a Muslim is depravity and killing him is heresy”.

Therefore, by what moral rationale do we address anti-Muslim sentiment in the press, which by itself bears no spiritual penalty for Muslims if left unattended, and not devote similar attention to Muslim on Muslim killing and slander which register sin by occurrence, and sin when allowed to continue. “Verily the believers are a single brotherhood therefore make peace between your brethren and fear Allah so ye may receive mercy”[4][4].

Since verbal disparagement against Muslims and Islam is an inevitable occurrence, Islamic spiritual etiquette emphasizes preparing in advance for its contingency and utilizing deflective buffering if and when it happens. “Ye shall certainly be tried and tested in your possessions and in your personal selves; and ye shall certainly Hear much that will grieve you, from those who received the Book before you and from those who worship many gods. But if ye persevere patiently, and guard against evil,-then that will be a determining factor in all affairs!”[5][5] Hence, no shock or dismay should follow slanderous, negative, or degrading statements about Muslims especially in environments where we are religious minorities, such as the United States. As a rule Muslims should resist grieving over verbal insult, “Let not their speech, then, grieve thee. Verily We know what they hide as well as what they disclose[6][6]

When verbal and media denigration occurs, there are scriptural analgesics that buffer and counteract psychological, emotional, or spiritual irritation. “And have patience with what they say, and leave them with noble (dignity)”[7][7]. Dignified detachment rekindles spiritual fortitude and prioritizes inner jihad. Self control and spiritual focus does more to convey the noble attributes of Islamic teachings than hypersensitivity and angered reaction to disparagement. It brings forth divine assurance of blessing and guidance which in significantly more rewarding than emotional capitulation to antagonist sentiments. “Those who, when afflicted with calamity say:To Allah We belong, and to Him is our return. They are those on whom (Descend) blessings from Allah, and Mercy, and they are the ones that receive guidance”.[8][8] Blessings and mercy is better than anguish and consternation.

Frenzied retort to anti-Muslim speech underscores the need for Muslim moral attentiveness, and bolsters the argument for reform. Not reform of Islam as suggested by many, but reform of the Muslim heart so that behavior response conforms to Islamic teachings and pleasing the Creator takes precedence over pleasing the created. If there is truth in the verbal invectives launched against us, then reminder is a timely utility since remembrance benefits the believer. If it is false, with no basis in truth, we praise Allah that we are free of it. Demanding that people not insult or speak ill of Muslims only bolsters animosity. It may occasionally silence the tongue, but it has little effect on the heart of the antagonist. Public criticism when muffled turns into whispers (was’wasa) which though lower in decibel, is exponentially more insidious. Let’s leave response to insult to Allah and concentrate on our own salvation. “If good fortune comes to you, it grieves them; and if evil befalls you, they rejoice in it. But if you are patient in adversity and conscious of God, their guile cannot harm you at all: for, verily, Allah encompasses [with His might] all that they do.[9][9]” The sooner we do this, the better. Otherwise we will find ourselves inducted into a war of words in which entry itself assures moral casualty.

Imam Abu Laith Luqman Ahmad

Imam Luqman Ahmad

Imam Luqman Ahmad is the Imam and Executive Director of Masjid Ibrahim Islamic Center in Sacramento, California. He is also a founding member of COSVIO (Council of Sacramento Valley Islamic Organizations), and the author of the book; ‘The Devils Deception of the Modern Day Salafi Sect’ available on Amazon.com. He can be reached at imamluqman@masjidibrahim.com. http://www.masjidibrahim.com.

[1][1] 1972 incidents of anti-Muslim bias were reported in 2005 according to a 2006 CAIR Report.
[2][2] Quran, 41:34.
[3][3] Jaami’ Ah’kaam al-Quran, al-Qurtubi, Vol. 10, p. 236 Darul Kotob al-Ilmiyyah.
[4][4] Quran, 49:13
[5][5] Quran, 3:186
[6][6] Quran, 36:78
[7][7] Quran, 73:10
[8][8] Quran, 2:156-157
[9][9] 3:120

 

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.

 

The Anger Games, Putting The Brakes on Muslim Rage, By Imam Abu Laith Luqman Ahmad

This article was published shortly after Ramadan in 2006. Interestingly enough, here it is, right after Ramadan, six years later, and this issue of Muslim rage keeps coming back to haunt us, or delight us, depending upon your preference. I came across this article today while I was writing another blog post, and to tell the truth, it’s a little scary how history keeps repeating itself. I’m reposting the article here, word for word, without any editing except that I changed the title. It was originally entitled; [The Rage Game]. Read on if you like and tell me if it doesn’t look like we’re going around in circles. Remember, this was six years ago! Imam Luqman Ahmad

The Anger Games
Anyone who hasn’t capitalized on the recent malicious caricature portrayal of the Prophet (SAWS) to express their outrage, promote their organization, get their name in the paper, pontificate the loftiness of Islamic ideals, start a membership drive, indulge in a little political posturing, to open dialogue, or defend the Prophet (SAWS) has missed their opportunity. The cartoon issue has officially become a non-issue. There was no fatwa, no official sounding consensus of scholars declaring cessation of protest, hastily prepared press conferences. On the contrary, the media puppeteers, knowing what motivates Muslims to action, simply turned off the cameras and directed them to another venue. Muslims are well in tailoring activity based on subliminal media directives, and it looks like we were duped once again. In other words, ladies and gentlemen, we’ve been had. Or as al-Hajj Malik Shabaaz (Malcolm X) used to say, we were conned, bamboozled, hoodwinked, and flimflammed.

Of course, there are those in denial and that has to be expected. After all, Islam has become our universal adapter. All we need to do is preface an action with; “this is for the sake of Allah” or, “this is for Islam”, or, “this is in defense of Islam” and it assumes immediate legitimacy irregardless of whether it’s fair, Islamic, prudent, or in agreement with the shariah. Since as Muslims, everything we do is ostensibly in the name of Islam, for Islam, for the Muslims, for Allah, in defense of Islam etc., we are never wrong about anything, ever. Perhaps this is how we justify suicide bombings where the innocent (including women and children) are casualties. If the world was unaware how sensitive Muslims are about our Prophet (SAWS), then our recent response to a singular incident, not only erased any ambiguity, it showed how malleable the global Muslim community has become.

By even the most conservative accounts, we’ve proven beyond a shadow of a doubt, that we are unpredictable, volatile, rage driven, and that a little name calling and scribbling on a piece of paper can stir us into frenzy. People have been attempting to demean and ridicule the Prophet (SAWS) ever since the first revelation of the Quran saturated his pure heart. When has that ever warranted a full-scale campaign? What are we going to do the next time someone demeans the prophet of Allah? Why was this incident singled out for response when there are hundreds of negative references to the Prophet Muhammad in circulation? A couple of years ago a well-known television evangelist from California gave a series of lectures in which he vilified the Prophet (SAWS) much more insidiously than this heretofore-unknown cartoonist (whom we have now made famous and probably wealthy from his future book deals). Why wasn’t there an outpour of condemnation and rage then?

Since this issue surfaced, these insidious and demeaning images of the Prophet (SAWS) have been reprinted in at least 143 newspapers in 56 countries. In defiance of Muslims umbrage, many media publications have stepped up their parody of not only the Prophet himself (SAWS) but also the hypersensitive way that we have responded to the issue. There will always be people, groups and institutions who will do, say, or write something that we can consider an affront to the dignity of the beloved, Prophet of God, Muhammad (SAWS) especially since we are so adept at interpreting words and events as anti-islamic. Should Muslims therefore assume a perpetual state of protest? On second thought, that might not be the most efficient use of labor. How about we just appoint a group of people whose job will be to hunt down and protest every insult to the Prophet (SAWS). That way the rest of the Muslim world can concentrate on other matters.

Whether we care to admit it or not, we are slowly, and dangerously I might add, evolving into a people so consumed with self-righteousness; rage, indiscipline, and intolerance, we have lost our collective ability to acknowledge our own wrongs. Let us grow up folks. Even Adam (AS) admitted his mistake and conducted a healthy self-assessment. To say that we overreacted to the cartoons is not only an understatement; it also raises questions about who we are, what we stand for, and how we interpret our belief system. Let me see if I got this right. A three month old negative caricature of the Prophet (SAWS) and we take to the streets by the thousands, protest, throw rocks, issue death threats, tear down buildings, blame whole nations and contort our angriest and most menacing facial expressions for the cameras. In the process, scores of Muslims are killed, hundreds more injured, countless man hours are expended, and after the dust settles, there is no measurable tangible gain we can claim from the experience.

Ironically, when Muslims bomb Masaajid while people are worshipping in Iraq, or when fratricidal lunacy claims the lives of at least 400 Muslims in the last week alone, there is hardly a whimper! We allege that we must protect and defend the honor of the Prophet (SAWS). Meanwhile in America alone, Muslims contribute upwards of twenty million dollars per year towards cable and satellite TV industry which broadcasts every imaginable abomination opposed by the Prophet (SAWS); homosexuality, pornography, blasphemy, gambling, infidelity, deception, gluttony, you name it, cable’s got it. I have not detected any mass rush to cancel our cable subscriptions. Bridges TV, a Muslim orientated cable station had to almost beg for the marginal support it receives from the Muslim community.

We clamor for tolerance yet we, after invoking the name of Allah, be He forever exalted, are notoriously intolerant. Discriminate against a Muslim and there is immediate outrage, yet we unabashedly champion nepotism, tribalism, and racial discrimination within our own organizations, boards, masaajid.and Muslim controlled lands. We want parity and inclusion in the world arena yet we cannot stop fighting each other long enough to create our own alternative industries. We vehemently protest the killing of Muslims by the Americans, the British, the French, the Russians, the Israelis, or any other so-called infidel. However, we are curiously silent about Muslims killing each other. It’s as if we are saying; hey, don’t kill Muslims! Let us kill each other! Don’t hate the Muslims! We have enough hate not only to hate you, but plenty left over to hate ourselves. Don’t disrespect the Prophet (SAWS)! We can do that ourselves by ignoring the standards of civility, fairness justice to which he commanded us.

The Muslim motto is becoming; ‘you disagree with me, therefore you are my enemy’. Some of us take the mantra a bit further; ‘you disagree with me, therefore I must kill you and your children’. The internet and print media are, full of one or another Muslim group, leader, scholar or imam, condemning the other, calling each other names, or inciting hatred and malice toward one another. Have we simply lost our minds? Somebody turn on the lights! Does it occur to anyone that the Muslims in the world are in a weakened, dependant and shamefully subordinate state? There is no doubt that there are multitude of organized and formidable seen and unseen forces confronting the Muslim peoples in this new and perhaps last millennium . Is there some law somewhere that says we are obligated to contribute to our own malaise? Can we call an emergency moratorium on inter-religious conflict between Muslims? Do you think that we can come up with better stratagem than our irritatingly redundant self-victimizing blame and complain modality? I thought that only juveniles did that. We are turning into complainaholics (okay I made the word up). The world’s crybabies.

Holding western democracies accountable to standards of law, fairness, civil liberty, and inclusion, has merit. Self-serving as it may be, there is some merit there. After all, publishing the cartoons in the first place was a criminal offence under sections 140 and 266b of the Danish Criminal Code. However, what is the Muslim standard? Do we have one? Of course, the unanimous response to that is; Islam is our standard! This, ladies and gentlemen, is my point. If Islamic law, ethics, protocol, morality or to put is bluntly for those of us who haven’t had their coffee this morning, the Quran and Sunna are the standards by which Muslims must be held accountable, are we then obligated to address errant behavior of Muslims perpetrated in the name of Islam? I’m not referring to contentious issues about which there is legitimate scholarly disagreement, or the triangulated fatwas cloaked in ambiguity. What I’m referring to are the incontrovertible standards of behavior, law, civility, honesty, good character, and fairness which all Muslims or most of us agree are the foundations of our faith. Are corruption, nepotism, racism, bribery, fratricide, inter-religious sectarianism, spousal abuse, issues that as Muslims we are obligated to address? You darn right they are! Does our failure to collectively and consistently enforce the Prophetic standard of conduct in government, community, business, religion, politics, and lifestyle, effect our overall condition and standing in the world? What do you think!
90% of Muslims in the West get their news from commercial broadcast networks. We only know what the media tells us. It seems like our group responses to issues are so scripted and choreographed, we might as well be paid for it and become members of the Screen Actors Guild. At least they have retirement benefits! Oh and speaking of boycotts; We have threatened boycotts of western products for years, yet our own division, short attention span, and intolerance of each other, prevents us from coming up with viable alternatives. Every six months or so, some Muslim scholar, organization or politician calls for a boycott of American, British, Israeli or another western countries products. . A recent fatwa from a well-known Muslim scholar (whom I happen to like), demanded that Muslims boycott all American Products. I guess that means Chinese products too since a lot of the product sold in American are made in China. While we are at it, let’s add Dubai to the list since they will now have a hand in managing several US ports. And aren’t we still supposed to be boycotting the French because of the Hijaab ban? I guess we might as well boycott Turkey too since they also ban hijaab. Boycotting Sweden may be tough. I mean, who can compete with IKEA’s prices and ingenuity? By the way, who’s keeping track of the boycott targets? Where is the list? Can they email Muslim enemy of the week list to my Treo handset? Like to keep track of such things you know.

If the sum of what we are saying is, ‘do not portray Islam in a negative way’. Are we not then responsible for ensuring that we as Muslims do not portray Islam in a negative way? If the answer is no, then we’ve abdicated responsibility for our own behavior, which to do so is unislamic. If the answer is yes, then the negative portrayals of Islam which we ourselves exhibit, i.e. the killing of innocents and non combatants, collective blaming for individual acts, racism within the Muslim community, rampant corruption, Muslim on Muslim killings, the proliferation of Muslim owned liquor stores, the absence of Muslims in the social services arena, inter-religious intolerance, public mudslinging, and unbridled rage are all issues for which we bear responsibility. In other words, if Joe Abdullah straps a bomb to his back, strolls into a grocery store, yells out the name of Allah (Allahu Akbar) then blows himself up along with twenty innocent bystanders who were just out doing a little shopping, and the Muslim community says and does nothing about it, any outsider could reasonably conclude that Joe Abdullah’s actions represent Islam. After all, he did it in the name of Islam, and the Muslims sanctioned it through silence. In Islamic law, the acquiescence (iqraar) of the Prophet (SAWS) towards an action, essentially sanctions it. Doesn’t this rule apply to the rest of us?

No matter how much we try to avoid taking responsibility for our actions and behavior, the matter of collective ethical responsibility will always come back to bite us, erode any moral capital we have left, and invoke divine consequences upon us, unless we face up to it. We do after all; have a higher authority (Allah) to answer to. Oh yeah, remember Him? Well He’s not going anywhere, and guess what? He has standards, and rules that govern behavior. We can’t have our cake and eat it too. If we are going to use Islam as our raison d’être, we ,must then also accept Islamic standards as governing criteria for our action and behavior.

When was the last time that Muslims came out and apologized for anything, or admitted that we might be mistaken about some of our methods, or choice of priorities, or assumed any responsibility for our condition? I know, even hinting that Muslims could be wrong about anything is risky, and possibly hazardous to one’s health. But hey, I’m feeling a little adventurous these days. Besides, somebody’s gotta say it. No one besides Allah’s Prophets (ASA) is immune from occasional lapses in judgment, blunders, mistakes, sins, or outright stupidity. If the life and practices of our beloved Prophet, Muhammad (SAWS) serve as any standard for Muslims, as Imam Zaid Shakir adeptly elucidated in a recent article, .hatred, anger, revenge, rage, and puritanical oppression, are not always the best catalysts for action. Anger has its place. However, it was not something the Prophet (SAWS) prioritized. In fact, he emphasized the contrary. A man came to the Prophet (SAWS) and asked for advice. The Prophet replied: “Do not get angry”. The man returned repeatedly and each time the Prophet replied: “do not get angry”.

Negative emotions tend to take on a life of their own. We have become so accustomed to employing anger as an organizing staple, that many Muslims leaders are now finding that the only platform upon which they can motivate masses of Muslims is by tapping into their reservoir of fury. Find a common enemy, or common target of anger, you’ve got yourself thousands in the streets. Make an appeal for Muslims unity or curbing sectarianism and you get lip service, and photo-ops. Perhaps we’re suffering from post traumatic stress disorder at the loss of the caliphate, or maybe we’re still a little light-headed from fasting during the month of Ramadan or who knows, maybe we’re bored. I am certain that with a billion Muslims on the planet, we can come up with some issues on our own, or sustainable, practical agendas to better our condition with Allah’s help. I guess until that happens, we’ll just have to wait and see what the next issue of the week is going to be. As a parting note, I do have one humble request; next time, can we schedule our response closer to the actual time of the occurrence? I like my issues fresh. And hold the mustard please.
Imam Abu Laith Luqman Ahmad, an American born Muslim, is an Imam and freelance writer and lecturer.

A Worldwide Open Letter from Imam Abu Laith Luqman Ahmad to the Muslim Protesters and Demonstrators Against the negative film about the Prophet Muhammad (SAWS)[1],

                        Al-humdu lillahi Rabbil aalameen wa salaatu wa salaam alaa Rasoolillah, salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam wa alaa aali’hi wa sah’bihi wa salaam. amma ba’ad

Assalaamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakaatuh, dear beloved Muslims throughout the world. I pray that this message reaches you with open minds, receptive hearts and that Allah guides you and us all to the best of this life and the hereafter. My first advice to you and to myself is to fear Allah and have taqwa, for surely taqwa is the best provision.  [O ye who believe! Fear Allah, and (always) say a word directed to the Right: 33:70]

As Muslims, we all love the Prophet (SAWS) dearly and we hold him very close to our hearts. Loving the Messenger of Allah (SAWS) is a principle of our faith; as our beloved Prophet (SAWS) has said, “None of you (truly) believes, until I am more beloved to him that his son, his father and all other people”. No Muslim wants that the Prophet (SAWS) is vilified, called names, or disparaged, and it distresses us all that people would make fun of the Prophet (SAW) and assail his noble character.

There will always be people who mock the Prophet (SAWS) and who speak ill of our great religion. You should not be surprised by this; [Mocked were (many) apostles before thee: but I granted respite to the unbelievers, and finally I punished them: Then how (terrible) was my punishment! 13:32]  Allah be He Exalted and Glorified, has decreed that people will be different. They will have different beliefs, different cultures, different political views, and different loves and hates.  However, demonstrating in the streets in my view has done nothing to change the negative views in the western world, of our Prophet (SAWS), and of the religion that he has come with. On the contrary, it only embellishes the image that Muslims are a people with very little control of their anger, and a weak moral resolve.  I advise you all to let Allah deal with those who scorn and mock the Prophet (SAWS); He is well Aware of what they say, and Capable of protecting the dignity of His Messenger (SAWS); [O Messenger. proclaim the (message) which hath been sent to thee from thy Lord. If thou didst not, thou wouldst not have fulfilled and proclaimed His mission. And Allah will defend thee from men (who mean mischief). For Allah guideth not those who reject Faith. 5:67]

Dear beloved Muslims of the world; we recognize that many of you have lived under terrible dictators and ruthless leaders in the past and still now in the present, some of you endure under tyranny, greed and corruption. We pray to Allah that He relieve you of the weight of oppression, the burden of poverty, and the melancholy of despair, and that He gives you leaders that will deal with you justly, and grants you the liberty whereas you can pursue what is good and lawful to you.  As your brethren in faith, we remind you that our Lord, be He Exalted and Glorified, will not change the condition of a people until they change the conditions of themselves. [Verily never will Allah change the condition of a people until they change it themselves (with their own souls). 13:11.]

The images that are streaming around the world of Muslims rampaging in the streets, and the reality that accompanies it; burning cars, burning flags, and destroying property, do a disservice to the true cause of Islam, and to the legacy, and dignity of our beloved Prophet (SAWS). Such actions undermine the purpose of life and death; which is to see who is better in deeds. [He Who created Death and Life, that He may try which of you is best in deed: and He is the Exalted in Might, Oft-Forgiving; 67:2]– The Prophet (SAWS) did not sanction such behavior which amounts to a waste of time and energy, and a shameful loss of life, property and honor. Some of your leaders have said that you must show the world your anger and your rage. I am saying to you that you must temper your anger and temper your rage, and direct your energy towards ridding your countries of corruption, Muslim on Muslim killing, and on working towards peace and justice using permissible means. If you follow the guidance of the Prophet in this matter, outsiders will not harm you; [O ye who believe! Guard your own souls: If ye follow (right) guidance, no hurt can come to you from those who stray. the goal of you all is to Allah. it is He that will show you the truth of all that ye do. 5:105]

In the United States, and in other parts of the Western World, there are Muslims who believe in the Prophet of Allah (SAWS) and love him as you do, there are those who do not believe in the Prophet (SAWS) and there are many others who do not know him. Your calls for death to America include those who are believers, and who are people of the book [Jews and Christians] who live here, and others, who have done you no harm. People in the Western World will not change their negative views of Islam, Muslims, and the Prophet (SAWS) because of your shouting, your demonstrations in the streets, and your rampaging. They will not hear your voices; they will only see the shaking of your fists in the air, and the wanton violence and destruction of property, none of which represents the patience and forbearance of the Prophet of Allah, who you claim to defend.

The hearts of men belong to Allah sub’haanahu wa ta’ala; He guides whom He please and He leads astray who He please. However, we advise that you vent your frustration, your pain, and your concern about the defense of the Prophet (SAW) to Allah sub’haanahu wa ta’ala, who hears all supplications whether it is the loud thunderous voices in the streets or the almost silent, hushed voices that cry out in the still of the night. The legacy and dignity of Rasoolillah (SAWS) lives through our actions and is carried on in following his way of tolerance for those who disparage him, and in bringing the light of faith and strong moral foundation to the world. The Prophet (SAWS) is under no threat from any human being; he is safe with Allah sub’haanahu wa ta’ala, and in the best company. Billions of Muslims praise him and send salutations upon him, and his position with Allah is secure. There is nothing that anyone can say, write, or put on film that will ever change that. The rage, the anger and the violence that result from demonstrating in the streets, only threatens to extinguish the true light and guidance of the Prophet (SAWS) who was sent as a mercy to mankind.

Imam Abu Laith Luqman Ibn Abdulkarim Muhammad Ahmad

Imam and Executive Director, Masjid Ibrahim Islamic Center,

Sacramento, California, The United States of America

You may contact Imam Abu Laith Luqman Ahmad @ imamabulaith@yahoo.com.


[1] [May the peace and blessings of God (Allah) be upon him)

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