Does engagement have its own risks—or is it a valuable tool for social change? Conversely, is an empty seat an effective political strategy?
Shaykh Hamza Yusuf speaks on a panel with Salam Al-Marayati, Qamar-ul Huda and Hala Hijazi.
In our extremely polarized time, where do Muslims fall in on conservative or progressive values, especially when it comes to gender roles and masculinity in particular? Dr. Brown discusses where Islam fits in with modern issues around gender.
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. Khaled Abou El Fadl reminds of the tradition of the Prophet Muhammad in which human beings are told not to surrender, rely upon, become pacified, embrace or turn oneself over to the unjust. He reminds us of the weight and seriousness of “the Word” and the moral and ethical obligation upon human beings through their relationship with the Word. He recalls to the tradition that the word is light, the pen is light, the intellect is light and the ink is light–a symbolic construct of the relationship between Creation and the Word. In a moving and powerful testimony, Dr. Abou El Fadl recounts the tragedies taking place around the world against Muslims, and his own wrestling of the conscience to speak out for truth and against injustice as if in the wilderness. He presents the cases of horrific human rights violations in Syria, in Egypt and in places all around the world where Muslims are suffering, and the associated complicity of Muslim governments and the reactions of Muslims around the world. He laments the ironies of the invitation and subsequent refusal of the U.S. singer Nicki Minaj to perform in the Hijaz, the land of the Prophet in Saudi Arabia. He juxtaposes her moral stand against the abuses being committed in Saudi Arabia to that of fellow Muslims, particularly those who refuse to take a stand and prevent others who want to take a stand, as in the local case of the Islamic Center of Southern California most recently. Lastly, he addresses the establishment of the U.S. Commission on Human Rights this past week and the clear implications and hypocrisies of such a commission given the Trump Administration’s stated positions and actions, as well as the ideological positions of those appointed to the commission. He addresses the appointment of Hamza Yusuf to the commission and its implications for Islam and Muslims, particularly in the West. Powerful and eye-opening. Delivered 12 July 2019.
Shaykh Yasir Qadhi shares his comments and thoughts on the terrorist attack on two masaajid in Christchurch, New Zealand. This talk was delivered at Rhodes College, a vigil for the victims of the New Zealand massacre.
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.
Muslims through ages are always committing a big mistake connecting the Seerah of the Prophet ﷺ to only the series of battles he fought and ascribing the Islamic History to only the conquests. One of the common features for all lands Islam entered is building local infrastructure and governing system by utilizing the local resources compared to the western colonizers who used to steal the resources of their colonies. Throughout the golden age of the Islamic History, Islam created civilization hubs spreading the knowledge and technology for all humanity such as the bright examples in Baghdad, Damascus, Egypt, Qairawan, Andalusia, Persia, etc. How can we study, understand and teach the Seerah and Islamic History beyond the battles and conquests?
Imam Suhaib Webb joined the MCC congregation in which he offered his thoughts and spiritual insights on where to go now and addressed post-election jitters. HIs talk was given at the Muslim Community Center – East Bay in Pleasanton, California on Sunday, November 27, 2016.
The nation-state and nationalism are both modern phenomena. In his article for Renovatio, Zaid Shakir writes that Islam contains clear arguments against the most important elements of nationalism. This conversation explores the contents of his article, Where Islam and Nationalism Collide, to be published in Vol I, Issue II of Renovatio: the Journal of Zaytuna College: https://renovatio.zaytuna.edu/article/where-islam-and-nationalism-collide
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.
Whether we live in a small town or big city, a predominantly Muslim neighborhood or are the only Muslims on the block, it’s important to be involved and engaged in society as a whole. And that’s where our civic obligations come in. As Muslims, our Islamic duties are what push us to be involved. Whether we are temporary guests, visitors, or citizens, Islam mandates that Muslims should be an integral component part of society.
Shaykh Yasir Qadhi advises us to be aware while participating for social reform and social justice we should not forget about our Islamic values and morals. He reminds us that we should link our spirituality and our deen to providing solutions to modern social issues such as the #metoo movement. Morality is changing with each generation and if we do not speak up then what may be prohibited for us will be acceptable and what is acceptable today might be prohibited tomorrow.
What is the expected impact on civil rights and civil liberties as president-elect Donald Trump prepares his cabinet? What steps should the American Muslim community take to ensure not only Muslim rights but the rights of other marginalized groups? Join us as our speakers discuss one of the most controversial events in modern American History.
Ivy Muslims Conference 2018 Keynote Speech. Martin Luther King spoke passionately about the beloved community. It’s a vision for a nation that has been picked up by so many over the past six decades, but what does it mean today. With political fragmentation across the country, and increasing fragmentation and tension within Muslim communities, what does the beloved community look like? What do our sacred ethics say about our role in building such a community? How is the language of beloved community reflected in our tradition and in the life of the Beloved of God. Imam Khalid Latif digs deep to give us some perspective and some answers which ought to change the way we think about our role in America and beyond.
Postmodern worldviews intrinsically challenge the authority of scripture and create a bubble of sacredness around human rights ground in public reason. How do we achieve the balance of staying modern while cherishing the Divine text?
The portrayal of Muslims and other minorities has led many to be confused about Muslims, Islam, and other minority groups, who are at the receiving-end of discrimination and prejudice in this country. However, discrimination not only affects marginalized groups, but affects all Americans whether or not we realize it, and only perpetuates fear and misunderstandings of the ‘other’.
Brown’s presentation addresses not only Islamophobia, but other forms of discrimination that takes place–whether it is at your local grocery store or on campus–and how education alone will not work to change the current situation. Brown’s talk sheds light unto how Islamophobia–or any other type of marginalization — is detrimental to a pluralistic society and in addressing broader issues plaguing our society. Brown speaks on how, especially as Americans, it is essential that we have the same fervor our Founding Fathers envisioned towards respecting and ensuring our inalienable rights and freedoms — for all.
It is reported in the Sahih of Imam Muslim that one day our Prophet Muhammad(S) was once sitting on one of the houses of Medinah. He looked around and said to the Sahabas: “Do you see what I’m seeing” They said “What oh Messenger of Allah” The Prophet answered: I see trials and tribulations falling upon your houses like the drops of rain. The frequency , the quantity will affect everybody”
In another Hadith, our Prophet(S) said that towards end of time, trials would become repetitive by nature. Every time a trial/calamity would come, the believers would become scared and terrified. They will say that we cannot pass this trial. The Prophet(S) said Allah will open up the doors and let it go away. Then another will come, they will say “ This is my destruction” and so on and so forth.
Nowadays when we look at how many incidents are taking place, how many issues that are rising day by day. We can see the difference of the how the world was before and what it has become now!
The American Muslim community is under pressure to conform and let go of its morals and beliefs. Due to the negative climate and constant barrage of Islamophobia, many Muslims lose hope or suffer trauma and anxiety. This session will help up to identify this crisis and offer solutions.
On the eve after Trump’s win, Nov 10th 2016, Shaykh Dr. Yasir Qadhi gave a frank talk about his thoughts on Trump’s election, why it happened, what our reaction should be, and what lessons we can learn from it.
America was founded in part on the concept of religious freedom. Many today consider Muslims a grave threat to that founding principle. Is Islam incompatible with the free exercise of religion?
Recently, Shaykh Hamza contributed to the writing of the Marrakesh Declaration (2016) in Morocco affirming the rights of religious minorities in Muslim-majority countries, and met with Pope Francis in Rome to discuss the implications of this declaration.
This talk was part of a 2016 event at The Ignatian Center for Jesuit Education at Santa Clara University, where Professor Farid Senzai moderated the Q&A session.
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).
In this halaqah, Imam Suhaib Webb reflects on the current political and social environment Islam and Muslims currently face in America and the West in general regarding Islamophobia and violent extremism.
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?
Hamza Tzortzis presents the role of Islam in society from a number of different perspectives during Day 1 of his powerful lecture series “Classified” held at Fanar – Qatar Islamic Cultural Center on 7th – 10th of December 2012.
With the rise of “Islamophobia” in the past ten years, we have also seen a drastic rise in converts to Islam. Our distress has brought da‘wah to our doorsteps. In this lecture Shaykh Yasir Qadhi teaches us how to rise from the shadows and preserve our dignity through the truth of Islam.
Hamza Yusuf, President and Co-founder of Zaytuna College delivers in which he addresses four topics chosen by our online audience. From the Zaytuna conference, Reclaiming Our Faith: Negotiating Modern Theological Fault Lines held in Anaheim, California on May 25, 2013.
“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
Muslims have always lived as minorities in predominantly non-Muslim lands. And, in the best of times, they have lived well and peacefully with peoples of other faiths. This lecture will examine the European experience of Muslims after the collapse of the Ottoman sovereignty, how they fared, why they failed when they did, and the lessons they can teach us in our current situation.
One of the slogans of the Occupy Movement is, “We are the ninety-nine percent.” In this provocative lecture, Dr. Abdul Hakim Quick examine this slogan in light of global realities, with specific reference to his time in Africa, to show how North Americans, rich or poor, collectively are the global 1%. We are the beneficiaries of schemes of economic and political exploitation and oppression. What is our collective responsibility to our less fortunate brothers and sisters in humanity? This is just one of the many questions Dr. Quick will address in this presentation.
Modern societies have become fundamentalist in their secularism and have effectively banned religion from the public square. Religion has been relegated to the status of a personal hobby, to be practiced behind closed doors. Does public morality suffer as a result? Is religious morality inherently divisive and disruptive as many believe?
The Irony of Democracy, can it be resolved? A Zaytuna Faculty Lecture by Imam Zaid Shakir.
The Zaytuna Faculty Lecture Series presents lectures by Zaytuna College faculty members exploring a variety of contemporary topics. http://www.zaytunacollege.org/
Fons Vitae Publishing presents – fonsvitae.com
Hamza Yusuf Hanson on “The Critical Importance of Al-Ghazali in Our Times” incl. an introduction to the Fons Vitae Al-Ghazali Ihya Ulum Al-Din Series [Galt House, Louisville, Kentucky, November 3rd, 2011] facebook.com/fons.vitae
Where are we going? This is a question that is relevant for both Muslims and Americans. Beyond certain jingoistic slogans we may regurgitate during moments of contrived patriotism, do we really have a sense of destiny? What is our vision for the sort of world we would like to see coming into being and what actions can we realistically take to begin actualizing that vision? These are some of the questions Shaykh Hamza Yusuf will address during the concluding lecture of this conference.
It was narrated that ‘Ai’ishah said: The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “O people, you should do whatever good deeds you can, for Allah does not get tired (of giving reward) until you get tired. And the most beloved of good deeds to Allah is that in which a persons persists, even if it is little. If the family of Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) started to do something, they would persist in it.” (al-Bukhaari, 43; Muslim, 782) As Muslims in tumultuous age, we must develop the methods and tools necessary to improve our community’s condition. How can we utilize our various individual strengths and approaches to jointly propel our community into a brighter era? What can we do today to energize and mobilize ourselves? How do we get ourselves moving? What are ways that we can ensure the continuity of our actions? From ISNA 2009 convention, “Life, Liberty & the Pursuit of Happiness”, in Washington, D.C.
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?
Islam is often presented by its detractors as a religion that is void of mercy. In this lecture, Imam Zaid Shakir will examine how mercy is fundamental to Muslim theology, law and life. He will also present the outlines of a practical plan that allows a Muslim to manifest that mercy as he or she interacts with the wider society. This lecture will also demonstrate the fundamental relationship between mercy and unity.