Isis. Daish. Al-Qaeda. The Caliphate. So many different Muslim groups in our times that have been labelled ‘terrorists’! Are these groups truly rightly guided, merely because they claim to stand up in the face of oppression? Or are they doing more harm by killing innocents, and thus demonstrate ‘Kharijite’ tendencies (the group that exemplifies Islamic fanaticism, as per the hadith)?
In this scintillating look at the past, Shaykh Dr. Yasir Qadhi examines the histories of these movements, tracing their development to the turbulent times of the early 70’s in Egypt. In fact, some of the people alive now that are involved in current movements were active in these past movements of three decades ago as well. What lessons can we glean from the precursors to these very movements? How can we avoid committing the same mistakes that those movements did?
This is a *must* lecture to listen to in light of today’s volatile circumstances. The lecture is followed by a very frank and controversial Q and A session. Recorded 14th April 2014
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.
Dr. Tariq Ramadan provides a clear and blunt clarification for the concept of jihad in Islam- its meaning, objectives, and application. Many Muslims and non-Muslims err in understanding it correctly and many misuse it. The screaming example of ISIS will be explained and the position towards its claims.
During the reign of Omar, peace and prosperity reigned supreme through the lands. Some have questioned that prosperity and how it was attained. Is it accurate to say Islam was spread by the sword? Is jizyah a penalty for being non-Muslim? How are non-Muslims supposed to be treated under Islamic law? This session will delve into these issues as well as some other rulings and sayings of Omar that we will analyze.
The present storms in which Muslims currently go through, the types of temptation to which they are painfully exposed, and the unfavorable social trends closely growing around them have caused religion to become something strange so that those who adhere to it are likened to something weird. The Messenger ﷺ described our current time saying: “The one who holds onto his religion is like one who holds on to burning coal.” There is no doubt that Muslims today need the means of steadfastness standing for their Islamic principles and beliefs more than their predecessors among the salaf did, and that the effort required is greater because of the corruption of our time and the scarcity of help. How can we successfully weather the storm and stand firm for our principles and beliefs till the last moments of our life?
The Prophet (pbuh) said, “Help your brother, whether he is an oppressor or he is an oppressed one. People asked, “O Allah’s Apostle! It is all right to help him if he is oppressed, but how should we help him if he is an oppressor?” The Prophet said, “By preventing him from oppressing others.” (Bukhari)
Truth becomes manifest in every human being’s life at one point or another. What should one do at that point? The story of these people makes it clear. Once truth became clear to them, they didn’t hide, they didn’t retreat, they were not afraid. They became firm in their faith. They stood up for what they believed in. Quran expresses this state with the words “Qamoo”, i.e. they became firm and stood up for what they believed. They declared their faith as in “Fa-Qaloo” — They declared the truth as in “Rabbuna Rabbu Assamawati Wal-Ardh” (our lord is the lord of heavens and Earth). We should never be satisfied with the status-quo. The forces of evil maybe gigantic and seemingly powerful, but can never stand to the inherent power of truth (“Haque”). Falsehood (“Baatil”) is inherently week no matter how powerful it may seem.
Did Islam spread by the sword? Mufti Menk answers this question. He discusses the rights that were bestowed upon those in war, and the limitations that were placed upon fighting in the path of Allah. Prophet Muhammad, acting upon revelation, placed boundaries and rules limiting unnecessary loss of life or damage to the environment.
Shaykh Muhammad Al-Yaqoubi presents an important and enlightening talk based on his new book, “Refuting ISIS.” The book details how ISIS bases its ideology on a superficial and literalist approach to the sacred texts of Islam; and concludes that ISIS does not represent Islam, that its declaration of a caliphate is invalid, and that opposing ISIS is an obligation upon Muslims.
In this Khutbah (sermon), Shaykh Dr. Yasir Qadhi discusses the recent trials facing the Muslims at the eve of Anti-Muslim rhetoric in the American Election run-up and the backlash after the recent Paris bombings. Dr. Qadhi provides two practical ways Muslims can face and overcome such trials and challenges in America (and globally).
Our duty as Muslims is to represent the true meaning of Islam by reaching out to the broader community we serve, the underprivileged and underrepresented. As tensions continue to increase throughout the world, we as North American Muslims have a unique opportunity rarely found elsewhere to serve our community with assurances of security and freedom. Using the Prophet Muhammad (May peace be upon him) as our shining example, this session aims — through diverse informed and unique speakers — to motivate inspire and move us beyond mere words and rhetoric, to truly living a way of life dedicated to serving God by serving humanity.
“Verily we have honoured the Children of Adam. We carry them on the land and the sea, and have made provision of good things for them, and have preferred them above many of those whom We created with a marked preferment.” Quran 17:70
One of the popular phrases found in activist circles is “speaking truth to power.” The importance of doing so is alluded to in the prophetic hadith, “The best Jihad is a word of truth in the face of a tyrannical ruler.” However, to really bring an Islamic voice to bear on the issues of the day we are going to have to build power. In this lecture, Tariq Ramadan, one of this generation’s towering intellectuals, addresses these twin issues. Why must we continue to speak truth to power, and what are the means by which we can build our own moral, spiritual and intellectual power? Finally, what are some of the avenues open to us to join our strength with other communities to help create a moral counterweight to an increasingly amoral politics?
A lecture for those seeking the correct understanding of the utterly misunderstood concept of jihad. Zaid Shakir, addressing an audience at Northwestern University in Chicago, takes a comprehensive look at this truly noble and important concept in Islam. He first analyzes the word itself: its linguistic meaning, its derivatives, and its meaning as described in the Holy Qur’an. He then looks at the practical and normative application of jihad (or struggle) in the everyday life of the Muslim: the struggle of purifying the soul, the struggle of physically fighting in the way of Islam, the struggle with non-antagonist non-Muslims, and the struggle with the devil. Along the way, he explores many related topics such as terrorism, situations that justify the use of violence, various tools one can utilize in struggling against the self, love and compassion with non-Muslims, and the struggles within the family. And he concludes with a commentary on the role of Muslims in non-Muslim lands. An ideal talk for schools, libraries and Muslim student organizations. Other topics discussed: the destruction of the Buddha statues in Afghanistan, the Muslim response to pacifism, jihad in defense of non-Muslims, and the need to establish institutions that can help eliminate root causes of violence. (Duration: 1 hour, 22 min)
The region of the Middle/Near East and North Africa has witnessed numerous wars and armed conflicts since ancient times up to the present. Some were a result of territorial expansion by imperial states or nomadic invasions; others were triggered by local competition for resources between two or more countries of the region. Still others were intended or unintended outcomes of broader geopolitical confrontations, such as WWI and WWII and, later on, the Cold War between the Soviet Union and the Western world. Military technology evolved from the first use of camels and chariots to gunpowder and canon, more recently, also to chemical weapons. Slave armies and feudal military have been replaced by the mass conscripted armies of modern nation states. On the ideological plane, wars and military conflicts have been justified by reference to a wide variety of causes, from the “liberation” of the Holy Land from an “infidel” enemy to Europe’s “civilizing mission”; from establishing the homeland for a people that did not have one to stopping the proliferation of WMD, to the spread of nationalism, Socialism, Islamism, democracy, and so on.