Dr. Khaled Abou El Fadl begins by reminding of the anchor of every day and age, the Qur’an, and that those who make it part of their soul will thrive; those who do not will remain in confusion at a minimum. He reminds that the Quran calls upon us to “Strive in the way of your Lord,” and that struggle and striving require time, energy, investment and effort. He cites verses from the Quran that tell us that God has selected Muslims–not based on racial, ethnic, tribal, or linguistic factors, but based on a relationship. It is a commitment based on the understanding that: you are among those who struggle in the path of God; you are committed to the struggle; if you find God, you will find the true source of happiness, tranquility and meaning; you are among those who understand that existentially, without Allah, nothing makes sense; with Allah your life has a purpose, and it has consequences, which is a foundational principle for morality itself. If you are among those, then you are among those God has chosen. He cites another Quranic verse that tells us that our relationship with God should lead to peace and tranquillity, not rancor, anger, envy or other human emotions that harm the soul and cause hardship.
He points out that one of the critical tasks that we are called to perform as Muslims is to bear witness upon people. Bearing witness was a sacred job and a moral task that predated Islam, Christianity and Judaism. God knows that bearing witness is a difficult task because it can bring profound consequences as people do not like to be confronted with the truth, especially those in power. However, if you want to create a society that is ethically consistent with Islam, you must create a society in which bearing witness does not lead to hardship. When bearing witness and telling the truth create hardship, human nature is to avoid pain, and will naturally tend to justify behavior that avoids pain. This leads to hypocrisy in the heart. It takes real struggle to go against this natural instinct, especially when it means bearing witness on the side of God and the Prophet in truth in opposition to those in power.
He explains that today, Wahhabism is no longer the problem, rather the theology of obedience to the state that is being propagated as an Islamic imperative all over the world. Under this theology, a Muslim learns that Islam is not intended to create autonomous, active, dynamic, thoughtful, and moral human beings, but rather, creates subservient and obedient human beings, whose relationship to politics is simple obedience. He points out that a society built on such despotism and obedience will breed hypocrisy and cowardliness. This type of Islam will ultimately lead to Islam’s death. This type of hypocrisy is what turns Muslim youth away from the faith.
He gives important examples of how this theology of obedience has resulted in devastation all across the Muslim world, and how it has made Muslims, particularly many Muslim “leaders” begin justifying and supporting the obscene acts of those in power, even to the point of suggesting that Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem is not holy in Islam. He gives examples of how ultimately, this quietist, pacifist, obedience theology leads to moral relativism, patriarchy and even the justification of slavery. It teaches people that the most important parts of their religion are prayer, fasting and charity, and that all else is unimportant. He draws the analogy to Karl Marx’s assertion that religion is the opiate of the masses, and demonstrates how this version of Islam–an Islam without ethics, without a vision, without a commitment to justice–would be exactly that. Delivered 23 August 2019.
How do we tow the line between the voice for justice and call for peace? How do we handle conflicts in our communities with healthy solutions? Sh. Omar Suleiman explores conflict resolution through the lens of the Seerah.
One of the biggest issues facing Muslim Americans today is Islamophobia. All around us, Muslims are targeted simply for being Muslim, making it incredibly hard for the youth of our generation to practice their faith comfortably. Allah ﷻ tells us in the Quran, “وَلاَ تَهِنُوا وَلاَ تَحْزَنُوا وَأَنتُمُ الأَعْلَوْنَ إِن كُنتُم مُّؤْمِنِينَ” “And do not grieve and do not be sad, for you are the higher ones if you were believers.” How can we get Muslim youth to have strength in who they are, without needing to run away or hide?
Standing firmly for justice is a core value in Islam which should be given a priority in managing our resources and planning on both individual and community levels. Our efforts in standing for justice should be principled, not exploitative, and should observe Allah’s ﷻ limits. What are the features of our “Standing for Justice” which might differentiate us from other Social Justice and Advocacy movements? What should American Muslims do to deliver to this religious responsibility?
Imamr Omar Suleiman reminds us that as Muslims we must speak the truth in the face of injustice and stand up with those who are oppressed and in need. In this particular case he tells us the stories of many individuals who were murdered due to racism, bigotry, etc.
Dr. Jonathan Brown, a professor at Georgetown University, is the son-in-law of a former political prisoner Dr. Sami Al-Arian. Dr. Brown spoke at an event called “Caged & Forgotten: Muslim Political Prisoners in Post 9/11 America”, July 19, 2018. Sponsored by the Coalition for Civil Freedoms.
The Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon, mentioned in a hadith that one of the signs of the Day of Judgement is that there will be increaed “al-Harj”. What is “al-Harj”? Shaykh Yaser Birjas explains.
We cannot talk about justice without speaking about race. In fact, Prophet Muhammad ﷺ characterized racism as the remnants of Jahiliyyah. Today’s Black Lives Matter movement is integral to our human, American, and Muslim identity. In this session we will discuss how we can get involved what Islam says about fighting for justice for all.
Dr. Altaf Husain delivers a Khutbah about social order from social justice and our religious obligation to uphold justice on the individual level. This sermon was delivered at the Muslim Community Center – East Bay (MCC East Bay) in Pleasanton, California on Friday, October 12, 2018.
We are searching for mercy on the month of mercy, Ramadan, but how do we attain mercy? What do we need to do? How should we act? Mufti Menk explains. Post Taraweeh talk at Masjidul Furqaan at Islamia Complex in Cape Town. Day 5 of Ramadhaan 1439
Nelson Mandela was arguably the most beloved statesman and leader of our generation. Why do so many people praise him irrespective of their political leanings? What was it about Mandela that transcended politics? This session will examine the life, times, and struggles of this South African leader that reveal, in the light of Islamic teachings, why our Prophet’s Sunnah, when practiced even by those outside of our faith, engenders love and respect in others. Mandela, for example, resorted to violent resistance only after he exhausted all non-violent means to end the oppression of his people. Even those on the far right of the political spectrum have defended his advocacy of violence. Newt Gingrich, for instance, recently wrote that Mandela was “deeply committed to a non-violent approach, until you had a South African dictatorship … which made it impossible to have anything that was purely non-violent.” Gingrich went as far as to compare Mandela to the Founding Fathers of America. What were the qualities and characteristics that made Mandela so unique and drew such approbation? More importantly, what is the role of patience, principle, purpose, forgiveness, and magnanimity in effecting change in human hearts and society?