The Philadelphia Negroe Muslim, by Imam Abu Laith Luqman Ahmad

 

city-hall-philadelphia-pennsylvania-usa_mainThis article is a generalization but it is not, by any stretch of the imagination, a fabrication. I happen to be from Philadelphia, and even though I have not read the entire book, “The Philadelphia Negro”, By W.E.B. Dubois, I always liked the title. So I used the title for this article although my article here has little if anything to do with the book written by W.E.B. Dubois. This article is about growing up as a Muslim in Philadelphia. One thing about growing up in Philadelphia is that you never forget where you came from. Now that may be true for many places but if you are from Philly, no matter where you move to in the country or the world, you still consider yourself from Philly and a Philly person. There is something that can be said that is the Philly vibe. Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t think so.

It is not one characteristic. It is many characteristics rolled up into one. And all those characteristics do not go for everyone. It all depends where you grew up, and how you grew up in Philadelphia; what kind of home, what kind of lifestyle, what kind of parents, what neighborhood, and one combination of home and street values where you raised upon. All that goes into who you are as a Philadelphian, and of course like I said, this is not just for Philadelphia, but I just happened to be from Philadelphia.

I grew up in a working-class, two-parent Muslim household. For the most part, we were always the only Muslims in the schools, the only Muslims on the block and for most years the only Muslims in the immediate neighborhood. Both of my parents were heavily involved in Islamic work. Our lives as I remember it, revolved around Islam. Does that mean that we were perfect Muslims, or the perfect Muslim family? No, of course not, and there’s no such thing by the way. It is just that Islam was a focal point of our lives and our identity growing up in Philly. Every city and region has it’s own personality when it comes to culture, politics, and religion. Philadelphia is no different, and when it comes to the religion of Islam in the United States, to IslamI grew up in the area of the city called Germantown. I grew up at a time where we had gangs in the neighborhood, and if you did not know anything else, you had to know how to fight, you had to know how to stand up for yourself and to stand up for your religion which was frequently under attack. Philadelphians tend to speak straight to the point, and tend to take a stand on things; for or against, with you or against you, agree with you or do not agree with you, your friend or your foe. I do not know about now, but back in the day people did not tend, at least the people that I know, to be wishy-washy.

Then there were always the con artists, and the con games, and the people who would always like to BS. I never had too much of a stomach for those types. Once you are known as a con artist and everybody tends to look at you as a con artist, and if you were a con artist you had to take your chances, if you got over, got over. If he got caught, then there were consequences and you just had to live with that. Those were the rules back then, and I do not know what the heck the rules are today. If you had a butt whuppin coming, (or worse) because of your actions, the police couldn’t save you. If you conned somebody, set someone up, or where treacherous, most likely, you had to pay the consequences for that.

I do not ever recall having to live under the guise of political correctness. I do not even think that they had the terminology back then. You would say what you meant, and you meant what you said. One of the worst things that a person could be back then was to be two-faced, to run your mouth too much about other people’s business, to be wishy-washy, or to be a coward.

Philadelphia was always a city of uppity Negroes who would dare to speak up, to keep coming back, and to not give up, and the Philadelphia Muslim Negro is an uppity Muslim who will fight off the yoke of second-class Muslim citizenry. There were times when our city was very racially polarized and we used to fight for respect. Many brothers from Philadelphia have went overseas and study Islam. There are many graduates from Islamic universities who were from Philadelphia.

The first indigenous American Muslim who memorized the Quran, Shaykh Anwar Muhaimin, is from Philadelphia. Some of the oldest indigenous American Muslim families who have four, five, and six generations in Sunni Islam are from Philadelphia. Our country was founded in Philadelphia. The Declaration of Independence was signed in Philadelphia. The underground railroad came through Philadelphia. Frederick Douglass and the abolitionist movement thrived in Philadelphia. Martin Luther King was influenced by Philadelphia during his time in Chester, Pennsylvania. Noble Drew Ali and the Moorish American Science Temple flourished in Philadelphia. The African Methodist Episcopal Church was founded by Richard Allen in Philadelphia. John Coltrane settled in Philadelphia. Will Smith is from Philadelphia, Pattie Labelle settled in Philadelphia, Grover Washington Jr. was from Philadelphia.

The religion of Islam has a very rich history in Philadelphia. We were taught from a very young age to take our Islam seriously. Although much of the history has yet to be written, Islam in America amongst indigenous American Muslim converts has a lot to do with Muslims in Philadelphia who spread out and strengthened other communities, and established communities. Philadelphia is a city of courage, and

So when I wrote the book Double Edged Slavery about the modern-day colonization of African American Muslims, you have to keep in mind that I am very much a product of Philadelphia. You may or may not understand what that means but Philly people understand what I’m saying. I was raised not to be afraid to say what I have to say. I learned this from my mother and my father, and this is what you see reflected in my writings. Much of the passion that I drew upon in writing my book, had to do with me growing up and being a son of Philadelphia, and about the willingness to call a con-game, a con-game, and that what my book is about. It’s about liberation, and removing obstacles from between you and Allah.

Imam Abu Laith Luqman Ahmad

American born Luqman Ahmad is a Sunni Muslim, the son of converts to Islam. He is a Philadelphia native, a writer, consultant, patriot, and until recently, has been the Imam of a Northern California mosque for twenty years. Currently he delivers the Friday sermon (khutba) at the Islamic Society of Folsom in Folsom California. He is a former executive committee member of the North America Imams Federation, a founding member of COSVIO, (the Council of Sacramento Valley Islamic Organizations), and the author of the new book “Double Edged Slavery“, a critical and authoritative look at the condition of African American and convert Muslims in the United States. He also authored, “The Devils Deception of the Modern day Salafiyyah Sect”, a detailed look at modern-day extremist salafiyyism, the ideology which in part formed the mindset of ISIS. He blogs at, imamluqman.wordpress.com, and can be reached at imamabulaith@yahoo.com.

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Top Ten Priorities For American Muslims in 2016, by Imam Luqman

image2016 Top Ten Priorities for American Muslims

(faith based list)

  1. Remove politics from the practice of our faith, and give the religion back to Allah. Everything we do in the name of our religion should be for the sake of Allah and not for the sake of our public image, for the sake of popularity, or for the sake of defraying criticism.
  2. Have an open and honest discussion about the racial divide in Muslim America. We have to be true to our faith and candidly address the issue of racial division in Muslim America. This will be a sober conversation. However, we can get through it and we will be much better off at the other end. It will free us from denial.
  3. Separate politics from the religion. We cannot serve two masters. In the midst of decrying that ISIS has hijacked our religion, our politics seems to have hijacked our morality.
  4. Give American Muslim Imams the autonomy to shepherd their communities according to what their own knowledge and experience tell them and not based upon some national consensus. The ones in America who need to be representing Muslims are the imams, not our political leaders. We need to let our imams assume their rightful roles as stewards of our faith, and not silence them or control what they can and cannot say.
  5. Stop emphasizing ‘American’ in everything we do and say. It doesn’t have to be; American Muslims do this, or American Muslims did that, or look at us; we are American Muslims! We need to stop that. At this point it’s overkill, and It getting old.
  6. To national Islamic, political, advocacy, and policy organizations; Stop presenting a single narrative of Muslim America that excludes indigenous African American, White, and Latino Muslims. No one has to right to represent all American Muslims. We are too diverse of a group with a diverse history, sentiments, understanding of moral priority and  different sense of politics.
  7. Stop sloganizing our religion and cease from using these stupid slogans and talking points; “somebody hijacked our religion”, “Islam is peace”, “ISIS has nothing to do with Islam”, “Islam is as American as apple pie”, “Islam is just like Chistianity”.
  8. Give up the idea of crafting a singular identity for American Muslims. Each Muslim American, if they don’t already have one, needs to simply get their own identity. It’s not that difficult you know. Making or crafting an identity summons images of Frankenstein, the Borg, or impersonating God, and I’m pretty sure its haram anyway.
  9. Stop denying that there are two Muslim Americas, one for immigrants and one for indigenous Muslims. The sooner we can accept our reality and deal with what needs to be dealt with, then the sooner we can move on as a people of faith.
  10. Stop thinking that you have to respond to every insult, and every criticism of Islam and Muslims.
  11. Find out the true identity of the person or persons who are in charge of the anti-Islamophobia campaign.

Top Priorities for American Muslims (Politically based list)

  1. Defeat islamophobia and crush the islamophobes once and for all.
  2. Do more networking with non-Muslim organizations so that we can defeat islamophobia.
  3. Do more charity work and get good press and pictures so that we can defeat islamophobia.
  4. Register one million voters so that we can create a Muslim voting block to target islamophobic politicians and defeat islamophobia.
  5. Make sure that America knows that Muslims are afraid of islamophobia so that people can take pity on us and we can defeat islamophobia.
  6. Hold more conferences with themes centered around islamophobia so that we can defeat islamophobia.
  7. Get more people to say good things about Muslims and perhaps target some celebrities and prominent Americans for this so that we can defeat islamophobia.
  8. Shut down any dissent from within the American Muslim community about the insanity in how we fight islamophobia so that we can defeat islamophobia.
  9. Keep talking about islamophobia so that Muslims will stay focused on islamophobia so that we can defeat islamophobia.
  10. Do more interfaith work, pray in more churches, consider celebrating Easter, and get better at denouncing terrorism, so that we can defeat islamophobia.

American born Luqman Ahmad, is a life long Sunni Muslim, the son of converts to Islam. He is a writer, consultant, and has been the Imam of a Northern California mosque for twenty years. He is a former executive committee member of the North America Imams Federation, a founding member of COSVIO, (the Council of Sacramento Valley Islamic Organizations), and the author of the book “The Devils Deception of the Modern day Salafiyyah Sect”, a detailed look at salafiyyism the ideology which forms the mindset of ISIS. He has written blog posts challenging ISIS, Anwar Awlaki, and BOKO Haram on his blog, imamluqman.wordpress.com.  The sentiments shared in this article are his own and not representative of any of his professional affiliations. He can be reached at, imamluqman@masjidibrahim.com

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

Audio Khutba: Explanation of the Hadith: “The Most Beloved People to Allah”, by Imam Abu Laith Luqman Ahmad

waterdrops2The Prophet said: “The most beloved people to Allah are those that bring most benefit to other people, and the most beloved of deeds to Allah be He Exalted and Glorified, is bringing happiness upon a Muslim or removing a worry from him, or to pay his debt, or to remove his hunger, . It is more beloved to me that I walk with my brother to fulfill his need, than if I performed i’tikaaf for a month in the masjid, and whoever holds back his anger, Allah will cover his faults, and whoever keeps his anger to himself, and if he wants to just let it go and lets it go, Allah will fill his heart with satisfaction on the Day of Judgment”. And whoever walks with his brother to fulfill his need until he secures it for him, Allah will secure his feet for him on the day when feet are unsteady, and bad character will spoil a deed just like vinegar spoils honey”. [ Hasan, Collected by Abu Ya’lah]

Click on the link to listen to a very nice explanation of this hadith by Imam Abu Laith Luqman Ahmad, recorded at Masjid Ibrahim Islamic Center, Sacramento California.

Is Shaitaan targeting our children? By Imam Abu Laith Luqman Ahmad

temtationA surprising number of young Muslim children are virtually blindsided by the early onset of moral confusion and spiritual dysfunction.  While they are still in a state of fitra (natural submission to Allah), they find themselves under attack from an enemy that they cannot see, and who they are woefully unprepared to deal with. That enemy is no other than Iblis himself. In an ideal world, Shaitaan would wait, and leave our children alone until they had the opportunity to grow up a little, learn about their faith, and about consequences. However, Shaitaan doesn’t play fair. In fact; he’s not playing at all. He’s dead serious about the souls of our offspring. Our children are forced to take sides on issues of sexuality, boy girl relationships, political correctness, family values, and religious freedom (or lack thereof) years before they even approach adolescence.

There is no excuse for a Muslim parent, after having children and Allah placing them under your care and authority, to not teach them their religion, or to raise them in any faith or creed other than Islam. Making sure that your children learn their Islam early is one of the most valuable investments you will ever make on their behalf, and one that you will be glad that you made. It is also one of the things that you will regret later on if you fail to do it. You have to make certain that your children have a sure moral footing and that they know who they are early in life, because unbeknownst to them, they are being attacked from many sides.

The Shaitaan is coming after our children at a younger age these days; they are exposed to alternative lifestyles and homosexuality in the first and second grade, and children are given condoms in school as early as the fourth grade. Children are taught about name calling, backbiting, stealing and disobeying their parents, by the time they are 5 and 6 years old. They are introduced to Greek mythology, other gods, and witches and warlocks as super heroes as early as 3 and 4 years old. In some schools, children are performing sexual acts with each other in elementary school grades, and they are taught to be gender neutral while they play in their sandboxes. Therefore, do not think for a moment that Iblis does not have your children in his sights.

Children are exposed to adult material and start thinking that they are grown at a much earlier age than they did in the past, the key is to infuse them with the correct ideology and ways of thinking and acting before their thinking is corrupted by the public school system, cable television, and modern societal trends. All of these avenues have been heavily infiltrated by the Shaitaan, and he uses each one of them to advance his program.

Don’t wait to teach your children about Islam because while you are waiting, Iblis is already teaching them and calling to them. You should begin to prepare a defense for your children from the time of conception by making the du’aa of the Prophet (SAWS) before intercourse; Allahumma jannab’naa as-Shaitaan wa jannaba Shaitaan maa razaq’tanaa (Oh Allah sidetrack us from the devil and sidetrack the devil from what you bestow upon us (children))   You should then pray over them while they are still in the womb, call the athaan in their ear when they are born, and start teaching them about Allah as soon as they start to make baby sounds. They should have an idea about how to make salat (by watching you), when they are still in diapers, and they should know how to return the salaams soon after they are able to make a complete sentence.  By the time they can eat on their own, children should know how to say Bismillah before they eat, and they should know about istin’jaa by the time they are potty trained.

Your children should be familiar with the inside of a Masjid, and have stood in the congregational prayer line by the age of four. They should know about the Shaitaan (Satan) and that he is their enemy by the age of four or five. Don’t think that your children are too young for this; by this time, he has already appeared to them in cartoons, toys and people. Your daughters should have already worn a hijab by the age of 7 or 8, and should be wearing it full-time by the time they reach puberty.  They should know that they are Muslim by the time they enter pre-school. Instruct them to pray when they are 7 and spank them over prayer when they are 10. Teach them about wudu (ablution) when they first learn how to wash themselves, and teach them about itisgh’faar (asking for forgiveness), long before they approach puberty. At least they will be somewhat prepared for life as we know it these days.

It is true that the deeds of children are not recorded on their scale until they reach puberty. However, that does not mean that Shaitaan will not work to ensure that by the time they reach puberty, that have already started on the path to following him, or that he won’t wreak havoc in their upbringing before the angels even start to write down their deeds. Just because the angels aren’t writing doesn’t mean that the Shaitaan isn’t working.This is all the more reason why Muslim parents must be proactive in waging war against the devil.

I have found that if you insist on parenting, and being an adult, the child will capitulate to being a child. The television, the media, and the new world order mindset tells them that they are grown people; at par with their parents, but their fitra tells them that they aren’t. It’s up to the parent to not give in to the new age crap philosophy and stick to the tradition that the parent is different from the child.

May Allah reward all of the hardworking and dutiful parents, and those who truly care about the well-being of our precious children, and the sacred trust that we have with regards to them. Raising children is not just a one day, or a weekend affair; it is a lifetime effort. You only get one opportunity to do it. So you might as well give it your best shot. Whether you are heavily equipped or lightly equipped, rich or poor educated or not educated; just do it.   There is no perfect way to raise children and there is no guarantee that your kids will be super upstanding Muslims. However, it is important that we as parents make a sincere and sustained effort to teach them who they are, why they are here, and what is expected of them; especially in light of modern trends and the approach of the Dajjaal.

Imam Abu Maryam Luqman Ahmad 

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An Intelligent Conversation about Muslim Rage, by Imam Luqman Ahmad

Muslim rage has reached epidemic levels in many parts of the world. It seems almost uncontrollable that Muslims rampage through the streets at the drop of a hat, or fight and kill each other over religious differences seemingly without forethought; it manifests itself publicly as violent demonstrations, terrorism, suicide bombings, Muslim on Muslim killing in the name of Allah, and almost unending contentious and vociferous, sectarian debates often resulting in fighting and killing.  Even when the physical manifestations of rage aren’t present, there is still that undercurrent of anger and negative emotion that hisses like a powder keg waiting to explode. A very dangerous trend is in play, and has been in many parts of the Muslim world; many Muslims are starting to identify themselves by what they hate, more than by what they love.

This does not bode well for the future of Muslim morality. Being too easily enraged is not a commendable trait in Islam, and it is more a sign of moral weakness than it is of moral fortitude; the Prophet (SAWS) said that “The strong is not the one who overcomes the people by his strength, But the strong is the one who controls himself while in anger[1] Even Allah sub’haanahu wa ta’ala, tempers His own anger, and no one is more in control of himself than Allah the Almighty. In the hadith of Abu Hurraira, the Prophet (SAWS) reported that Allah has written over his throne the words; “verily my mercy precedes my anger”.[2]

Rage is a blinding emotion that cancels out patience and inhibits one’s ability to see the truth, or to act justly in important matters. Patience, justice and fair dealing are at the heart of any fair and just society. The pre-eminence of anger and rage in Muslim societies undermines the realization of the Islamic ideal of civilization, and god-centered society. When rage is nurtured and placated, we end up with mobs running through the streets, burning, shouting, looting, destroying property, and taking lives.  When patience, justice and temperance are championed instead of rage, we end up with rational decision-making, justice, and civil order.

Although remotely possible, it is very unlikely that ration will evolve out of rage, and without ration, righteousness will suffer, because in Islam, in order to have righteousness, you must have intent, and in order to have intent, you must have ration, thus, when there is rage, the intention is subverted, and ration becomes non-existent.  In the hadith of Aisha (RA), she reported that the Prophet (SAWS) said: “There is no divorce and no manumission in the event of ighlaaq,[3] and according to Shaykh Bin Baaz, a divorce pronounced at the time of rage, is not valid, and this is the position of the majority of scholars. Prisons are full of men and women who acted out of rage and anger only to decry later that it wasn’t their intention to do what they did.  Intense rage borderlihnes insanity, and the standards of Muslim morality necessitates that we control our anger so it doesn’t lead us to rage and lead us to do things that we regret later on.

Obviously there are underlying factors that contribute to these frequent bouts of Muslim rage; repressive governments, economic stress, foreign occupation in Muslim countries, a deep sense of inferiority and resentment towards the West, and faulty clerical teachings which contradict scripture. However that doesn’t mean that enraged Muslims who rampage the streets, burning, looting, and destroying property, and even fighting each other over real or perceived insults, or religious and theological differences, should be given a free pass. They, like everyone else need to be held to a minimal standard of not just morality, but moral maturity. 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.

It is imperative that we address the issue of Muslim rage in the world because rage is a catalyst for so many of our current civilizational woes as Muslim people; Muslim on Muslim killing and sectarianism,  mobs rampaging in the streets, terrorism, violent religious extremism, an inability to forgive and make amends, and constant interreligious and inter-tribal warfare. If we are going to have to teach each other all over again how to forgive and be just, then let that be the mission at hand. However, this is an issue that we cannot afford to ignore.

Rage results when anger goes unchecked, and the first step in getting a handle on Muslim rage is to gain control of anger. It is not possible to remove the emotion of anger from the human being all together. However, anger is something that needs to be avoided; especially in light of the growing and uncontrollable amounts of Muslim rage present in our times. [“Those who spend (freely), whether in prosperity, or in adversity; who restrain anger, and pardon (all) men;- for Allah loves those who do good”. 3:134 ] This is why when the man came to the Prophet (SAWS) seeking advice, he said: “Do not get angry”, and when he came back repeatedly the Prophet (SAWS) responded by saying: “do not get angry”.

If we are going to use Islam as our raison d’être, we must then also accept Islamic standards as governing criteria for our actions and behavior. Episodes of moral immaturity erode moral capital, and invoke divine consequences upon us, and unless we face up to it, we’ll be repeating this episode time and time again for many years to come. It was the practice of the Prophet (SAWS) to control his anger and to encourage clemency. Anger by itself is not necessarily a problem; it’s when anger goes unchecked and escalates that leads to the problems. This is why the Prophet (SAWS) when he would see people exhibiting anger; he would direct them to temper it, or to at least not act upon it. For example, when Umar Ibn al-Khattaab became angry with Haatib ibn Abi Balta’a for divulging sensitive information to the Meccans, shortly before the conquest of Mecca, Umar wanted to kill him and said: O Messenger of Allah let me cut off the head of this hypocrite! The Prophet (SAWS) replied, “no Umar, for He (i.e. Haatib) has witnessed the Badr battle and what could tell you, perhaps Allah looked at those who witnessed Badr and said, “O the people of Badr (i.e. Badr Muslim warriors), do what you like, for I have forgiven you.[4].

Abu Bakr as-Siddiq the beloved companion of the Prophet was so angry at his relative; Mistah ibn Abi Athaatha after the latter’s unflattering comments about Aisha (RA) who was the wife of the Prophet and the daughter of Abu Bakr that he cut him off from expenditures, as Abu Bakr used to pay for his upkeep. Allah responded to this situation with the revelation of this verse;  “Let not those among you who are endued with grace and amplitude of means resolve by oath against helping their kinsmen, those in want, and those who have left their homes in Allah’s cause: let them forgive and overlook, do you not wish that Allah should forgive you? For Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” 24:22. In other cases, the Prophet (SAWS) offered a remedy to people whose anger was at risk of elevating;  in the hadith of Sulayman ibn Sard, he said: “I was sitting with the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), and two men were slandering one another. One of them was red in the face, and the veins on his neck were standing out. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, `I know a word which, if he were to say it, what he feels would go away. If he said “I seek refuge with Allah from the Shaytaan,” what he feels (i.e., his anger) would go away.”[5]

Positive emotions such as love, caring, clemency, forgiveness, and benevolence are more controllable and have greater moral capital than emotions such as anger, rage, hate, and vindictiveness. Anger, hate and rage, are often uncontrollable and lends to extremes more than their opposites. This is why there are so many warnings in the Quran and the sunna with regard to anger, hatred and enmity than there are with respect to love, forgiveness. For example; [“O ye who believe! stand out firmly for Allah, as witnesses to fair dealing, and let not the hatred of others to you make you swerve to wrong and depart from justice. Be just: that is next to piety: and fear Allah.” 5:8]   Again and again, Allah sub’haanahu wa ta’ala reiterates that acting upon anger and rage is not always the best choice; [“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!”] 41:34

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 finding that the only platform upon which they can motivate masses of Muslims is by tapping into their reservoir of fury. The danger here is that many Muslims are starting to define themselves by what they hate, instead of what they love, and this phenomenon has terrible implications for future Muslim civilization. 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. Muslims need to rediscover the virtues of forgiveness, mercy and conciliation, and that may require a major behavioral change; because even if we win the battle of expression with our amplified rage, our large and boisterous demonstrations and condemnations, and our egregious statements through wanton violence, we will lose the war of faith and moral resolve in the process, and that’s the war that will matter the most in the end. And Allah knows best.

Imam Abu Laith Luqman Ahmad

American born Imam, Luqman Ahmad has been serving since 1996 is the Imam and Executive Director of a Northern California Mosque, [Masjid Ibrahim Islamic Center]. He is a classically trained Imam who is a graduate of Omdurman Islamic University in the Sudan and has also studied at Umm al-Qura University in Mecca Saudi Arabia. He a memeber of NAIF [North American Imam’s Federation], a founding member of COSVIO [Council of Sacramento Valley Islamic Organizations] and a prominent and active member of the Sacramento Muslim community. He can be reached @ imamabulaith@yahoo.com.


[1] Collected by Bukhaari.

[2] Collected by Bukhaari.

[3] The hadith was collected by Ahmad, Abu Dawood and Ibn Majah, and the majority of scholars consider the word ‘ighlaaq’, to mean intense anger or rage.

[4] Collected by Bukhaari and Muslim.

[5] Collected by Bukhaari.


[1] Collected by Bukhaari.

[2] Collected by Bukhaari.

[3] The hadith was collected by Ahmad, Abu Dawood and Ibn Majah, and the majority of scholars consider the word ‘ighlaaq’, to mean intense anger or rage.

[4] Collected by Bukhaari and Muslim.

[5] Collected by Bukhaari.

Defend the Prophet (SAWS) by following His Way, not by Following Our Emotions, by Imam Luqman Ahmad

Some misguided Muslims have come into the modern world with the expectation that we, and the religion of Islam which we profess, are not to be offended. This is a false and unrealistic expectation, as Allah has decreed otherwise; [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. 3:186].

People are free to either believe in the Prophet (SAWS), and what he has come with or to disbelieve in him, [Say, “The truth is from your Lord”: Let him who will believe, and let him who will, reject (it) 18:29] The Prophet (SAWS) withstood all kinds of verbal abuse, accusations and invectives from the disbelievers and the polytheists while he was alive, and he endured, owing to his lofty character and high moral constitution [And thou (standest) on an exalted standard of character. 68:4] When the Prophet (SAWS) was negotiating the famed treaty of Hudaibiyyah, the Meccan delegate Suhail ibn Amr did not accept the Prophet’s title (Muhammad Messenger of Allah) to be written on the contract and only agreed to the Prophet’s name; Muhammad ibn Abdullah, on the document. Suhail justified the slight by saying; “If we actually thought that you were indeed the messenger of Allah in the first place, we would not be fighting you”. If everyone on earth believed that the Prophet (SAWS) was the Messenger of Allah, then no one would criticize him. However, that is not the case, and many Muslims need to accept that, and move on.

Muslims around the world can either keep on working themselves up into frenzy every time someone criticizes or makes fun of Islam or Muslims, and keep pretending that this is the proper method to defend Islam, and the Prophet (SAW), or we can opt to follow our own scripture on the matter (Quran and Prophetic tradition), and save ourselves a lot of anxiety, frustration and misdirection; [“And endure with patience whatever people may say [against thee], and avoid them with a comely avoidance. 73:10]  Patience and magnanimity is better than carrying on in the streets, as if we are devoid of guidance. The Prophet Muhammad (SAWS) is dead, and his place with Allah sub’haanahu wa ta’ala is assured by the word of Allah Himself; [Allah and His angels send blessings on the Prophet: O ye that believe! Send ye blessings on him, and salute him with all respect. 33:56]

Following our raw emotions when religious texts dictate otherwise, does not represent what our religion is about.This insulting film about Rasoolillah (SAWS), which people are clamoring about, is not the first time that the Prophet (SAWS) has been disparaged, and it will most likely not be the last time. Defending the Prophet (SAWS) entails believing in him, obeying him and following his way. Not demonstrating in the streets, burning cars, chanting slogans, or killing people. Knowing what we know about the life and struggle of the Prophet (SAWS), he would not sanction the amount of visible rage, rioting, slogan chanting, and wanton destruction that some of us resort to in different parts of the world any time one of the many criticisms leveled against the Prophet (SAWS) mysteriously comes to surface.

If anyone wants to defend the Prophet (SAWS) from those who would criticize him, and assail him, then they would be better served by making every effort to live up to the standards of devotional worship, good character, kindness to the neighbor and the neighbors, charity and upright living that was practiced by the Prophet (SAWS). 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.

A Muslim is not responsible for anyone’s negative opinion of the Prophet (SAWS) except when that Muslim engages in misguided actions in the name of Islam, and in the name of following the Prophet (SAWS). People can become more alienated and more antagonistic of Islam when they see the unfettered outpourings of rage and anger in different parts of the world resulting from a stupid, ill-conceived film about the Prophet (SAWS).

Historically, these demonstrations and rampages has done nothing to lessen the criticism and negative attitudes that people have towards Muslims and or Islam, and have only buttressed the view that Muslims have an unhealthy appetite for rage and violence.  Many, if not most times, Muslim rage has only resulted in innocent people, most of whom have been Muslim, being killed or injured. This current incident has not only resulted in the deaths of the American Ambassador to Libya along with three others of the diplomatic staff; there were a number of Libyan Muslims killed while trying to defend against the onslaught, and in addition, four [Muslim] protesters were killed in Yemen and at least nineteen people were injured in Cairo as of this writing.

In the din of condemnation of free expression of a negative statements and views directed towards Islam and Muslims, we forget to condemn as well, the misguided overreactions of the world’s Muslims to criticisms of our faith that is only meant as a test of our own moral resolve. Even if we win the battle of expression with our large and boisterous demonstrations and condemnations, we lose the war of faith and moral resolve in the process. The Prophet (SAW) was dispatched as a mercy to mankind and a bearer of glad tidings. It is ironic that so many are repelled from Islam due to our inability to bear criticism. Misguidance is misguidance, no matter who perpetrates it, and I remember being taught even before I entered grade school; that two wrongs don’t make a right. The true irony of this whole matter is that many of us have arrived to a point where we actually believe that the proper way to defend Islam is to go out in the street and disgrace it with our actions. I wonder what the Prophet (SAW) would say about that? Wal Allahul Mus’ta’aan.

Imam Luqman Ahmad

Imam Abu Laith Luqman Ahmad is the Imam and Executive Director of Masjid Ibrahim Islamic Center in Sacramento California. You can reach him @ imamabulaith@yahoo.com

Fatwas and the Responsibility of Muslim Scholars in America, by Shaykh Abu Laith Luqman Ahmad

Islamic scholars occupy an important place in Muslim society. They are the guardians of sacred law and are often considered to be amongst the elite of our faith. In one tradition, the Prophet (SAWS) stated; “The Scholars are the inheritors of the Prophets[1]. The preservation and transmission of sound Islamic knowledge and guidance is compromised without the works and efforts of our scholars. Without them, people are destined to being misinformed about their religion, and to be misled by Iblis in handling their affairs. In another tradition, the Prophet (SAWS) said: “One Scholar is harder against the devil than a thousand worshippers[2]. The Quran states that people are elevated by their religious knowledge “Allah will rise up, to (suitable) ranks (and degrees), those of you who believe and who have been granted (mystic) Knowledge. And Allah is well- acquainted with all ye do.” Quran 58:11. As teachers, guardians and interpreters of sacred law, Islamic scholars deserve our respect, support, and our gratitude.

Scholars of Islam are responsible for upholding the sacred trust that accompanies the acquisition of religious knowledge; which is to explain the religion clearly and concisely and not cover up any part of it, “Those who conceal the clear (Signs) We have sent down, and the Guidance, after We have made it clear for the people in the Book,-on them shall be Allah’s curse, and the curse of those entitled to curse” 2:159. In today’s turbulent times, the role of Muslim religious scholars and qualified[3] teachers takes on a special significance for three reasons;

  1. The first being; the scarcity of people who possess sound and accurate islamic knowledge; It was related in the hadith of Anas ibn Malik that the Prophet (SAWS) said: “From among the portents of the Hour are (the following): 1. Religious knowledge will be taken away (by the death of Religious learned men). 2. (Religious) ignorance will prevail. 3. Drinking of Alcoholic drinks (will be very common). 4. There will be prevalence of open illegal sexual intercourse[4]. We      are living during times of pervasive ignorance of religion, and in the United States, we are the only major religious group where our political and advocacy groups eclipse religious groups as the de-facto leaders of the Muslim community, and who routinely take upon ourselves religious edicts (fataawa) from scholars in faraway lands with limited knowledge of our domestic customs, our history and our condition.
  2. The second reason is that religious scholars have the responsibility to stand as barriers between ignorant Islamic      leadership and the Muslim people themselves; “Verily, Allah does not take away knowledge by snatching it from the people but He takes away knowledge by taking away the scholars, so that when He leaves no learned person, people, turn to ignorant as their leaders; then they are asked to deliver religious verdicts and they deliver them without knowledge, they go astray, and lead others astray[5]. Scholars of today need to not only address the condition of the general public; they must also be willing to address those who are in authority,      and those who make decisions for and on behalf of Muslims.
  3. The third reason is that the world has changed, and in today’s globalized environment, Muslim people are mixing cultures, ideas, ethnic tendencies, and beliefs into one big melting pot in America.       Muslim scholars are tasked not only with helping to help break down the obvious and sometimes intractable barriers between the diverse Muslim peoples living here in the United States, they are also (the ones who make our business, their business), charged in helping to maintain the religious and spiritual nature of the American Muslim trajectory, and making sure that our politics does not trump our morality. That means that they have to understand Islam in a morally applicative sense, understand what’s going on in the land in which we live and work, and understand the people upon whom they deliver critical rulings of law. Scholars of Islam have to take the added step whenever and wherever  possible, to familiarize themselves with the common people, and the intricacies of American life and culture, about which they render judgments and opinions. The Prophet (SAWS) said, “The Muslim who mixes with the people and is patient with their ills is better than the Muslim who does not mix with the people and is not patient with their ills.[6]

Some Islamic scholars residing in the Muslim world, find themselves either woefully unfamiliar, or subtlety indifferent to America in general, and towards American people specifically, and in the process, issue unfair and unrealistic rulings towards Muslims Americans who are socially integrated into our country’s fabric. For example, the fatwa ruling that it is not permissible for any Muslim to even reside in the United States. Some, due to their ignorance of American culture and her people, and often operating from abroad, have managed to demonize virtually every aspect of American culture and way of life. Sports, birthdays, Thanksgiving, family photos, decorating homes, designer clothing, thikr beads, wearing jeans, baby showers, attending graduation ceremonies, saying what’s up brother to a stranger on the street, being in a good mood during Christmas season, wedding rings, visiting graves of relatives, bereavement practices, women entering Masaajid, loving one’s country, and a host of other things have ended up on the prohibition list of one scholar or another. Other scholars have done great disservice to Muslims and to Islam by issuing verdicts that allow the sale of intoxicants in our cities, despite the Quranic ruling against it.

Some Muslim Americans find themselves apologizing for being born in this country of ours as if it were a curse. Because of irresponsible law rendering, the average Muslim, especially the convert, who simply wants to worship his or her Lord, and live an Islamic lifestyle, is often left in an almost perpetual state of confusion. Because of the multitude of conflicting and sometimes nonsensical religious rulings, such as the fatwa that American Muslims wage military jihad upon our own neighbors, or the fatwa that selling intoxicants in American is permissible as long as the buyers are not Muslim, many Muslims are resigned to a state of moral dysfunction. Scholars, as they learn more about American society alternately prohibit things in one instance and then make them permissible according to their own evolutionary knowledge of our country, our culture and our way of life.

Anti American oratory has surreptitiously made its way into the modern canonical dialogue of Islam. Many American Muslims have been morally blackmailed into having to repudiate American culture in order to find acceptance as Muslims by immigrant scholars. Even today, rhetoric from a minority of Muslim scholars and some imams are replete with anti-American invectives or rallying cries against so called ‘western culture’ or values. It is ironic however, that from an Islamic theological perspective, morality has no hemispheric basis; “to Allah belongs the east and the west, wherever thou turnest, you shall find His (God’s) Face”.

Thus, Islam for many Muslim Americans has become too complicated to be user friendly. The dozen or so, often conflicting spheres of scholarly influence has created a virtual merry-go-round of Islamic thought in America, and we need to do something about it. Understanding how to apply Islamic law and morality, in the United States, require a thorough understanding of the shariah, the culture norms of the people, as well as the inclusion and consultation of indigenous American Muslim imams, laymen and intelligentsia.

The famous 14th century jurist, Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya[7] alluded to this issue very succinctly; when commenting of the necessity of understanding people’s cultural practices, he said: “This is a major foundation that every mufti (legist) or ruler needs; he must be both well-versed (in peoples traditions) as well as matters of command and prohibition and then apply them both simultaneously. Otherwise he will do more harm than good. If he is not intimately aware of an issue in which people have particular understanding, a transgressor will appear to him as the transgressed and the truth will appear to him as falsehood and vice versa.”

Ibn Qayyim went on to say: “Because of his ignorance of the people, their traditions, their conditions and their habits, he will not be able to distinguish (between truth and falsehood), Thus, it is imperative that (the scholar) understands the machinations of the people, their deceptions, their cultural traditions and their habits because fatwa (religious rulings) change with the changing of time, place culture and condition, and all of this is part of the religion of Allah.”[8]– Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya (D. 751 A.H.) quoted from: “Ii’laan al-Muwaqqi’een an Rabbil aalameen” vol. 4, p. 157

American Muslims need to realize that this is our country, and for indigenous American Muslims, and others who intend to stay here permanently, this is our homeland. We don’t have a “back home” to go to. So we need to be certain that Islamic rulings for and about american Muslims  are not tainted by anyone’s political prejudices, cultural sensitivities, or ignorance about America and our way of life. Granted, this is a difficult topic. Nevertheless, it is one that must be addressed if we have any hope from curbing the undercurrent of extremism that still germinates in the minds of some of our youth. As Muslim Americans, our first duty is to our Lord, and our number one priority is our own salvation. As American Muslims, we have the god given right to look out after our own spiritual self-interests.

Imam Luqman Ahmad

Shaykh Luqman Ahmad is a freelance writer and the Imam of Masjid Ibrahim Islamic Center in California. He can be reached through email at imamabulaith@yahoo.com


[1] Collected by at-Tirmithi, Ahmad, Abu Dawood and others.

[2] Collected by at-Tirmithi and Ibn Majah.

[3] We mention qualified teachers because unqualified teachers should refrain from teaching religion.

[4] Collected by Bukhaari.

[5] Collected by Muslim.

[6] Mish’kaat al-Masaa’bih.

[7] Died 751 A.H.

[8] I’laan al-Muwaqqi’even an Rabbil Aaalameen, vol. 1. P. 157.

The Importance of Sincerity in Religion by Shaykh Luqman Ahmad

The central purpose for which we as human beings were created, is to worship Allah sub’haanahu wa ta’ala; وَمَا خَلَقْتُ الْجِنَّ وَالْإِنسَ إِلَّا لِيَعْبُدُونِ [I have only created Jinns and men, that they may worship Me.[1]] Additionally, just any type of worship is not accepted; Allah commanded that when people worship Him, they do so with sincerity; وَمَا أُمِرُوا إِلَّا لِيَعْبُدُوا اللَّهَ مُخْلِصِينَ لَهُ الدِّينَ حُنَفَاء وَيُقِيمُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَيُؤْتُوا الزَّكَاةَ وَذَلِكَ دِينُ الْقَيِّمَةِ [And they have been commanded no more than this: To worship Allah, offering Him sincere devotion, being true (in faith); to establish regular prayer; and to practice regular charity; and that is the Religion Right and Straight.[2] ] Without ikhlaas, worship of any kind has no spiritual benefit. Too commonly we perform deeds in Islam with the intention of showing off, pleasing others, or to receive worldly reward or praise. Then as soon as we don’t get the praise or reward that we are seeking, or when there is no one around to show off for, we abandon the deed. Any act of religious devotion, should not be for the intention of show or showing off. When showing off becomes a part of a deed, it renders it from being praiseworthy, to being blameworthy, as in the case of those who pray to be seen; [So woe to the worshippers, those who are neglectful of their prayers, those who [pray] only to be seen[3]]

The primary condition for Allah’s acceptance of a good deed is ikhlaas (absolute sincerity). And when it comes to ikhlaas in the religion of Islam, the intention is the foundation. Even before we consider whether the deed is done correctly or not, we have to take into consideration it’s intention. If the intention is sound, the deed is on its way to being sound. However, if the intention is insincere, then the deed will never be sound, no matter how it looks or feels.This is based upon the hadith of the Prophet (SAWS), “verily deeds are reckoned according to the intention, and every person shall get that which he has intended[4].

The prophet (SAWS) pointed to the importance of the intention in several ahaadeeth. In the hadith of Abu Hurraira, the Prophet (SAWS) said: “people will be resurrected (on the day of judgment) according to their intentions”.[5] It was reported about some of the salaf; “whoever would like his deeds to be complete, then let him make good his intention” (with sincerity).[6] Ibn Aj’laan[7] said: “A deed is not sound except by three things; taqwa, good intention, and correctness”, and Abdullah Ibn al-Mubaarik[8] said: “perhaps a small deed is magnified by the intention, and perhaps a great deed is minimized by the intention”. The meaning here is that a person may do what seems on the surface to be an insignificant deen, but because of his sincere intention to please Allah, the deed is magnified in Allah’s sight, and similarly, a person may do what on the surface seems to be a monumental deed, but because his intention was not sincere, that deed has little or no significance in the sight of Allah.

The word ‘ikhlaas’ comes from the Arabic word akh-la-sa, which in the terminology of deen, means to render a deed free of ostentation (ri’yaa) so that there is no other consideration except Allah. This meaning is found in the words of Allah be He Exalted and Glorified: [إِلاَّ الَّذِينَ تَابُواْ وَأَصْلَحُواْ وَاعْتَصَمُواْ بِاللّهِ وَأَخْلَصُواْ دِينَهُمْ لِلّهِ فَأُوْلَـئِكَ مَعَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَسَوْفَ يُؤْتِ اللّهُ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ أَجْرًا عَظِيمًا] “Save those who repent and amend and hold fast to Allah and make their religion pure for Allah (only). Those are with the believers. And Allah will bestow on the believers an immense reward. [9]  The purpose of true Islam is that it remains the religion of Allah and that it is solely for His sake. Islam does not belong to us, we are not free to make it what we want or add to it or take away from it whatever we like. Thus, every deed in order to be khaalis (sincere) to Allah has to begin with the correct intention (niyya). A person’s intention is more profound than his action.

True sincerity can be difficult

Sincere intention can be a difficult undertaking for many of us, and it is common that a person is ignorant of what sincerity is, or that a person fools his own self into believing he is sincere, when in fact, he is not.  It was reported that Sah’l ibn Abdullah at-Tustari[10] said: “there is nothing more difficult for the self than ikhlaas (sincerity).”  Of the many reasons that people suffer spiritual dysfunction and go back and forth in their religion, there are two worth mentioning here; first is that many Muslims do not consider that they will be tested in their Islam. They want everything to be to their liking all the time without any challenges. This is unrealistic as Allah clearly states: [أَحَسِبَ النَّاسُ أَن يُتْرَكُوا أَن يَقُولُوا آمَنَّا وَهُمْ لَا يُفْتَنُونَ ] “Do men think that they will be left alone on saying, “We believe”, and that they will not be tested?[11] The reality is that faith must be tested by action, to confirm or disprove the claim of the one who declares it. وَلَقَدْ فَتَنَّا الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِهِمْ فَلَيَعْلَمَنَّ اللَّهُ الَّذِينَ صَدَقُوا وَلَيَعْلَمَنَّ الْكَاذِبِينَ “We did test those before them, and Allah will certainly know those who are true from those who are false.”[12] Another cause of spiritual dysfunction when it comes to sincerity, or lack thereof is that when a person is unaware of what sincerity is, and therefore oblivious to its importance. This is seen in many people who take their Islam as a passing fad. Just like faith is learned behavior, so is sincerity. When people are not sincere in their faith, they too easily capitulate whenever things do not turn out the way they like;

وَمِنَ النَّاسِ مَن يَعْبُدُ اللَّهَ عَلَى حَرْفٍ فَإِنْ أَصَابَهُ خَيْرٌ اطْمَأَنَّ بِهِ وَإِنْ أَصَابَتْهُ فِتْنَةٌ انقَلَبَ عَلَى وَجْهِهِ خَسِرَ الدُّنْيَا وَالْآخِرَةَ ذَلِكَ هُوَ الْخُسْرَانُ الْمُبِينُ

“There are among men some who serve Allah, as it were, on the verge: if good befalls them, they are, therewith, well content; but if a trial comes to them, they turn on their faces: they lose both this world and the Hereafter: that is loss for all to see!”[13]  Another problem is that many people want to appease all sides, or to remain neutral in all matters that affect issues of faith, and when it comes to Allah ta’ala, that is not an option. In order to be a sincere servant of Allah, one must be willing to remain steadfast during hardship as well as ease.

We are quickly entering into the time of the Dajjaal (Anti-Christ). Truth is taken for falsehood and falsehood masquerades as truth.  My advice to myself, and to us all is that we remain steadfast and sincere in our religion during these times and during the times that are upon us, and that we do deeds of faith for Allah’s sake. Otherwise we will be blown back and forth according to whatever gust of wind happens to come our way. Ikhlaas can free a person from being a confused soul, a slave of men and make them an enlightened soul, a slave of Allah Only. When a person is not sincere about his or her religion and their religious actions, they will find themselves perpetually disappointed and disillusioned, because spiritual reward for righteous deeds can only come from Allah; no one else has the ability to compensate your soul for what it does. Such persons will often find themselves complaining about how they did this and they did that and that no one appreciates them. Disingenuousness and insincerity is a sure recipe for spiritual bankruptcy.

Allah only accepts sincere actions

Allah will not accept a deed that is not done for His sake and His sake alone as clarified in the hadith of the Prophet (SAWS): “Verily Allah does not accept anything except what was done exclusively (for Him) and for which His pleasure was sought”.[14] That is because Allah has no partners, and refuses to accept partnership when it comes to worship, service, or religious acts. In the hadith of Abu Hurraira, he reported about the Prophet (SAWS) that Allah said: “Of all partners, I am the most not in need of partnership. Anyone who performs a deed and associates a partner with me in it, then I have left him alone, as well as his partner[15]. Simply put, Allah does not need, nor will he accept partnership, because He is the only True God, and there is no other god besides Him.and one of the ways to ensure ikhlaas within yourself is that when you perform an action, whether it is prayer, zakat or sadaqa, feeding food, giving advice, working at the masjid, assisting someone in need, or a random act of kindness, you do the deed without expecting any reward, recompense, or even a thank you from any human being.

Know beloved that actions done for other than the sake of Allah are of three categories:

The first is an action that is done completely for show, in that it is done only to be seen of other people or for worldly gain. These types of actions have absolutely no spiritual reward whatsoever, by agreement of all the scholars of Islam.

The second is an action that is done for Allah’s sake but some showiness (ri’yaa) is added to it. According to many of the Salaf, including, from amongst the companions of the Prophet (SAWS), Ubaadah Ibn Saamit, and Abu Dar’daa, and from amongst the taabi’een , Hasan al-Basri and Sa’eed ibn al-Musayyib, the Imam of the Taabi’een, such actions are considered spiritually worthless[16]. Excluded from this are deeds that are done for Allah’s sake, but performed publicly so that others are encouraged to do so, or so that they can learn from the good example. This is based upon the hadith: “Whoever does a good deed, for him is it’s reward, and the reward of the one who does it (based upon his example).[17]” And Allah knows best.

The third is an action that a person does for the sake of Allah, but they seek other things during the course of, or as a result of that action; like the one who makes Hajj, but want to buy and sell things while they are on Hajj, or the person who fights jihad but wants to gain from the spoils of war as well. These actions are accepted by Allah sub’haanahu wa ta’ala but, their spiritual reward is depleted a little by the extent of their secondary considerations for the deed. In the hadith of Abdullah ibn Amr, the Prophet (SAWS) said: “when combatants partake in the spoils of war, they have appropriated two-thirds of their reward, but when they do not take any of the spoils of war, their reward (with Allah) is complete”.[18]

Still anytime an action is done other for the sake of Allah, one runs the risk of that action being spoiled, and its reward vanishes. The only area of deen where the Shaitaan is unable to gain mastery (sultan) over the slave is in the area of complete ikhlaas for Allah be He Exalted and Glorified. When you do something sincerely for Allah sub’haanahu wa ta’ala, you become unconcerned with receiving praise or reward from anyone. You do not care who sees you and who doesn’t see you. In areas of a’maal saalaihaat (righteous deeds), the value of a deed is in removing any secondary or tertiary consideration from the deed so that it is done exclusively for Allah sub’haanahu wa ta’ala. As Allah says; فَمَن كَانَ يَرْجُو لِقَاء رَبِّهِ فَلْيَعْمَلْ عَمَلًا صَالِحًا وَلَا يُشْرِكْ بِعِبَادَةِ رَبِّهِ أَحَدًا “whoever expects to meet his Lord, let him work righteousness, and, in the worship of his Lord, admit no one as partner.”[19]

Sincerity is a protection from Shaitaan’s dominance

Every Muslim needs to be concerned about Iblis (the Devil) entering into the practice of his or her faith. In order to protect one’s deeds from being hijacked by the devil, one must stick to being sincere in faith and action. “[Whereupon Iblis] said: “O my Sustainer! Since Thou hast thwarted me, I shall indeed make [all that is evil] on earth seem goodly to them, and shall most certainly beguile them-into grievous error. [all] save such of them as are truly Thy sincere servants” 15:39-40

We are living in a time where the images and reality of insincerity have entered full throttle into the religion of Islam. Fake sajda marks on people’s foreheads, Muslims shacking up and calling it family, people flaunting their fornication and adultery, getting tattoos with bismillah on it, and religious works like feeding the poor and community service are engineered as public relations campaigns. Being sincere in one’s faith is the only guaranteed safe haven for the true believer. We are in the midst of a moral catastrophe, and the only answer is to be truly sincere in our faith and return our practice of religion to be for who it is intended, Allah sub’haanahu wa t’ala. The beautiful thing about ikhlaas lillah (sincerity for the sake of Allah) is that it never leaves you disappointed, and it is only through sincerity that the servant of Allah will experience the true inner beauty, spiritual bliss, and reward of what it means to be a practicing Muslim. Wal Allahu al-Musta’aan.

Shaykh Luqman Ahmad

The Lotus Tree Institute, Sacramento Ca

imamabulaith@yahoo.com


[1] Quran 51:56.

[2] Quran 98:5.

[3] Quran 107-

[4] Collected by Bukhaari

[5] Collected by Ibn Majah

[6] Jaami’ Uloom wal Hikam

[7] Died, 148 H.

[8] Died, 181 H.

[9] Quran 4:146

[10] Abu Muhammad Sahl ibn ‘Abdullah at-Tustari, he died in the year 283 of the Hijra.

[11] Quran 29:2

[12] Quran, 29:3

[13] Quran, 22:11.

[14] Collected by an-Nisaa’i, with a good chain, in the hadith of Abu Umaamah.

[15] Collected by Muslim, in the hadith of Abu Hurraira.

[16] Jaami’ Uloom wal Hikam, p. 24

[17] Collected by Muslim.

[18] A sound hadith, collected by Muslim.

[19] Quran, 18:110

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