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Donald Trump and the Triumph of Islam, by Shaykh Abdal-Hakim Murad

In the aftermath of Donald Trump’s shock election, Shaykh Abdal-Hakim Murad urges us to consider where this dramatic shift in global politics is headed.


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Resources for seekers:

Soul Searching in the Hour of Chaos, by Shaykh Jihad Brown

In the aftermath of the 2016 U.S. presidential election and the surprise victory of Donald Trump, Shaykh Jihad Brown asks some tough questions and paves a way forward for American Muslims.

Its 3:00 a.m.; there is a hollow feeling in the chest, but I have family, I have students. We all knew this could very well be a possibility—never inevitable but certainly possible. While there is a silver lining up there somewhere, make no mistake, it is a rain cloud. Inclement weather does not deter the “deadliest catch”. It is what we signed up for, no? Did the believers think they had yet tasted the surat ankabut that we so relish citing from the manabir for years now? Let’s find our hearts in the resolve that has led even some Alaskan and North Pacific fisherman to embrace the Deen of Islam. The job must get done and the Prophet (Allah bless him) never promised you a rose garden.
Make no mistake; this has been a victory driven by a fear for loss of white privilege. A comforting imperceptible entitlement that seems to be slipping away with a nostalgic ‘Norman Rockwell’ America that ceased to exist long before the canaries keeled over. For some Americans it certainly never existed; and Rockwell himself—as he painted—seemed to realise that in his later years. But our question must be this, will the ‘Muslim establishment’ take this moment to realise this and reconsider their taking ‘white upper middle-class suburbia’ as their ideal? Will they address the disconcerting racism and classism so prevalent in our mosques? It is a victory made possible by a regime of dumbing down the electorate. Will Muslims reconsider their more recent insistence on dumbing down all and every aspect of Islamic discourse? An electorate devoid of critical acumen will buy anything offered as panacea; as will a Muslim community believing themselves nourished by slogans and spectacles.
Yes, the ‘elites’ of Spiro Agnew and the Editor of the Harvard Law Review have been defeated. But don’t think that this is a cattle call that the ‘herd’ shall inherit the earth. Now more than ever, intelligence is important. But it will be a grounded intelligence coupled with empathy that only Islam can bring. Wisdom, hikma and a kind word, is never data, never rhetoric. An ‘information age’ is dangerous at worst, empty at best, without the third dimension. Let us desist from our cheeky courtship of post-modern nominalism—that reality and truth lies only within the words we utter. Let us consider the compelling merit of the realism offered by a human rational soul—that principles have meaning and there is a reality independent of our thoughts and language. That Allah and truth is, regardless of whether there is a human mind to conceive it.
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What our Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him) wanted for new shores

We are on the cusp of a period of intense soul-searching for this country. Muslims now have an opportunity forced upon them to begin a process of soul-searching as well. Will they be able to find the authenticity of perspective, direction, and contribution this society needs so deeply from them? The programme moving forward will be to ask ourselves what our Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him) wanted for new shores; and what healing the Deen of our Creator would bring to a new society that is thirsty and suffering from its own particular forms of pain. Can we also be physicians of hearts and minds. As well as honest custodians of truth and fidelity for our own children and families?
The modern Muslim community has been one of extremes to this point. Now more than ever before we need engaged participation without assimilation; care, concern, and empathy, without sentimentality and emotionalism; authenticity and leadership without triumphalism. Here is a mā’idah disguised as a disappointment; a pasture of opportunity disguised as a tragedy. A call to what will give you life—for those who would respond. Every path to the mountain top can only begin with, “physician heal thyself.” Let’s invite one another to discover Islam as it is and not as entertaining or self-congratulating ideal; bismillah People.

Silver linings

The expectation is that matters should—in general—be safer than assumed for minorities, in that the Right Wing got what it wanted. There would have been more danger on the streets in the case of a Hillary win. Will xenophobes be emboldened—it is possible. Will there be new unfair policy initiatives, maybe. These things are uncertain still. But there will be no barrel-bombs. Rather than looking for the sky to fall just yet, let us focus instead on strengthening our hearts. Muslims will have to explore the merits of real, tangible, and true fraternity, solidarity, and community, not just as cozy buzz words and idealistic slogans—the furniture of our own form of jingoism. If you haven’t understood this then know that the 1980s called and said it wants its 1950s dinosaur figures back.
We all know privately, that there is a more privileged segment within the American Muslim community that has always leaned Republican; conflating economic conservatism with moral conservatism. Conflating prophetic istiqama with evangelical ‘moralising’. This ‘kool-aid’ of uncritical Muslim-establishment faith in the mythology of a Protestant Work Ethic will be a major obstacle to authenticity; if decision making weight on matters of theology, social well-being, and community direction continue to remain in such hands.

The need for real humanity

If ‘new Americans’ want to participate in basic mainstream American conversations—as ‘basic’ Americans—by all means, welcome. But Muslim please, don’t do so on the dime of ‘Islamic daawa’. Americans have historically been hopeful in the healing and uplifting promise in the Deen of Muhammad (Allah bless him). Take it outside if you don’t mind—get a room if you must—but  please don’t deny us that. Americans ask—explicitly or with the tongue of their condition—for that enrichment and sophisticated depth and warmth of real humanity and godly, rabbani, insight that only you can offer; not for the cold technology or mechanical management techniques that they already have. We do not tend to expect that working class Americans are going to be saved by this enterprise they have sunk their votes into. Do you have the respect, compassion, integrity, and resolve your neighbours hope for? I still find that I am unable to relinquish my hope that you do; even though its been hard. Just really, really hard.
Know that the world turns for people who put impressing Allah and His messenger first. Everything else is window dressing. Don’t get side-tracked. The ‘labeeb’ understands that when we say we dig your taste in drapes, that we’re just making small-talk to keep it down to earth.
For those who have been optimistically looking toward ‘hope’ and ‘change’, then know that it comes in phases—and recognise phase II for what it is. Take a moment, take a deep breath, and then put on your rain poncho, grab your galoshes, and be a part of building phase III. Inclement weather doesn’t prevent the fisherman from going out on deck when the job must still get done. Look up. Downpours are an inevitable part of the open seas and the waves will get rough, and the tumult of the ocean intimates uncertainty. But look up, the constellations continue to shine with their reassuring serenity and constancy; and the heavenly bodies continue to swim in their orbits—and by the stars they are guided.

Donald Trump is President. 12 of the best Muslim reactions.

In a historic and shocking turn of events, Donald J Trump has been elected president of the United States of America. How are Muslims in and out of America reacting?

Shaykh Walead Mosaad

Shaykh Walead Mosaad, Sakina Collective

Donald Trump has won this election and it would be a mistake on our part to attribute it merely to the racism, sexism, and xenophobia of uneducated rural whites. Many people came out to vote for him in unprecedented numbers because they are fed up with a system that continually enriches a ultra-small elite at the expense of the masses who no longer have adequate access to well paying jobs, healthcare, and education. The neoliberal system that has been in place for much of our history is showing signs of wear and is probably long beyond its expiry date. Yes, Trump may be a false prophet, but when people have to choose between the continuance of a status quo that has impoverished them and between the false promise of a conman, desperation has a way of finding hope in the dimmest of places. The best article I have read analyzing the phenomenon of this year’s election: The Republicans and Democrats failed blue-collar America. The left behind are now having their say.

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Tahera Ahmed, Director of Interfaith Engagement/Associate Chaplain at Northwestern University

So if you didn’t vote because you said it was “haram” and argued to wait until somehow you created a Khilafah system…. well then mubarak on your new Khalifah Donald Trump… It’s time to wake up, its time to work hard, it’s time to love, it’s time to heal and it’s time to push forward. Whenever someone says ‘I just ain’t gonna vote cuz the system is jacked’ or when a Muslim says, ‘I don’t vote cuz I think it’s haram’ although they continue to live here and reap the benefits and reject agency to implement change. What they don’t realize is how privilege has blindspots. Its so easy to dismiss the many lives who shed their sweat and blood, particularly our Black brothers and sisters so that we can vote. If you’re not voting because you reject this so-called ‘kafir system’….Really? We are living and eating and breathing in this system and rather than work towards making it better you’re easily dismissing what others have shed their blood for. We need to check our privilege…

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Mufti Mohamed-Umer Esmail, Imam at Nueces Mosque.

As we near the dawn of a Trump presidency, my advice to my Muslim brothers and sisters is to exercise patience and caution, and continue to be positive and optimistic despite the negativity as this is the tradition of Islam and Muslims. Let’s transform the challenges of a Trump presidency facing us into opportunities; opportunities of understanding and dialog, as was the habit of our Prophet (peace be upon him) and demonstrate utmost forbearance, courage, and wisdom in the face of all difficulties and calamities. We pray that God guides Donald Trump to be merciful to all His creation; especially muslims and minorities, and let this be a wake up call for us.

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Sana Saeed, Producer/Host at AJ+

A Trump presidency will impact everyone but it’s really going to hurt the poor and people of color – we’re gonna need to be and have allies. Be there for your black, latino, immigrant, muslim, undocumented, undereducated, lgbtq, sikh, low income neighbours tomorrow & every day. Be ready to protect places of worship – black churches, mosques, sikh temples, synagogues. I’m a believing woman, I have faith in goodness – but the propensity *all* human beings have towards chaos and hate is real. Even if Clinton had won this hate would be there. With Trump, it’s at the highest level in a system that wasn’t built to protect any of us. Many marginalized communities live in a quiet fear everyday of what can or will happen to them & their communities. A Trump presidency takes it to another level. More than a President Trump in and of himself, I’m worried about how for many [white] Americans – any means to ‘make America great again’ will be possible. Hold onto your loved ones tightly. And get ready to march, tear down and build up.

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Shaykh Faraz Rabbani, Executive Director of SeekersHub Global

Truth will trump falsehood, as and when God wills.

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Omid Safi, Director, Duke Islamic Studies Center at Duke University

Let us stop saying “How could this happen in America”, “Who are these voters.” This, my friends, is America. This is the racism and bigotry that has been with us in America, wrapped right around all that is good and beautiful about this country. But all we have to do is ask Native Americans, African Americans, and all who have seen the terrible side of America know that this too is America. If we want to see an America that we are proud of, we have to build that America. It is not in our present, and was not part of our past, it can only be in our shared future. Yes, so many of us feel fear and dread. But we refuse to give up on hope. Let us be what scripture calls us to be: Prisoners of Hope. That hope has to come by reaching out and embracing all those who are fearful and vulnerable right now, and tomorrow, and day after tomorrow.

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Shaykh Muhammad Adeyinka Mendes, Founding Director at AHAD Institute

Maybe, just maybe, a Trump regime…I mean presidency, will rouse some of us from our apathetic slumber.

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Mona Rahman, Islamic Society of Kingston

Sent the kids to bed and they were worried then. What will we tell them in the morn? That the bully won? For all of those who are sitting on their couches saying “I told you”. Know this….those words do not do anything. Sitting and stating that the white supremacists are back does not do anything. And that is why it is frustrating. Don’t be a couch commentator…go and pray and then do something to change this world. We trust in Allah…but tie that camel and do your part by changing what is in yourselves so we can then change the world.

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Ustadh Abdullah Bin Hamid Ali, Senior faculty at Zaytuna College; Founding Director of the Lamppost Education Initiative

Don’t be a sore loser. Don’t be a cry baby either. One thing that Americans take pride in is sports. Both teams cannot win, and definitely not all the time. If you think your world has come to an end, it is only you who can make that a reality. You can only control “your” reaction. You can defend yourself from another’s. Life will continue. But how good and safe that life will be depends largely on your own decisions, your own courage, and your own level of commitment. Many of you prayed and worshiped hoping that God would give victory to your champion. But God does not take sides in such competitions, especially when the tool of prayer is misused. The Qur’an teaches us, “No affliction befalls you on Earth nor to yourselves except that it is in a record before We bring it to light; verily, that is easy for God; in order that you are not grieved by what has passed you nor that you are overjoyed by what has come to you. God does not like any conceited boaster” (Q 57:23). If your faith in God has dwindled for not receiving what you asked for, it is your own fault. God always answers prayers. His answer sometimes is simply, “No!” Humiliation is often a means for elevation. Take advantage of this opportunity to introspect and reform your deeds. Look deep into the core of your heart to discover what truly has priority. Life will carry on. Death will certainly come in its time. The refuge is with God.

Mona Hagmagid, student at University of Pennsylvania

I love my father for many reasons, but one of them is that he always has and continues to guide me through moments that are really hard to process. Tonight, I called him needing healing and comfort. He reminded me of the story of the Prophet (saw) and Abu Bakr (ra) in the cave of Thawr together, and Abu Bakr (ra) was so scared because the enemy was right outside. The Prophet (saw) told him that though they were two, Allah was their third. Our Prophet Muhammad (saw) went through extreme suffering, far greater than what many of us can imagine, and he is now the beloved leader of one of the largest, most diverse faiths on the planet. He was taken to heaven and promised his place in it because he worked tirelessly to make the world a better place, and to promote justice to everyone. All the while Allah was by his side. Change has never happened in this country simply by submitting a ballot and hoping it all works out for the better. Systematic and meaningful change requires work, and resources. Change is strategic and purposeful, change occurs when people decide to take a chance and sacrifice their time and energy for the sake of Allah. Change begins in our masajid, our schools, in our MSAs and in our households. Change takes to the streets and to the microphones and to the publishing houses. Change is continuous and it is tiring. Sometimes change doesn’t even show herself until years after the tears and sweat have dried, and bodies have decomposed. We do not live our lives for The Change. It is the process and the purity in struggling for it that brings us closer to Allah (swt). The ballots we cast today only decided what battles we will be fighting for the next four years, not who wins them. Let’s move.

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Linda Sarsour, Co-Founder/CEO at MPower Change, Executive Director at Arab American Association of New York

Listen. I am feeling determined. This is a wake up call. I know, it seems like the end of the world but it’s not. Don’t despair. I know we feel disappointed. But now it’s all just a bit more clearer. No matter what happens tonight, we will get up tomorrow and organize harder and more than we have ever organized before. I am more committed now than I ever was. Hope. There’s always us and hope. We are hope. Abdullah Hammoud, young Arab American Muslim just won a state legislature seat in Dearborn. Ilhan Omar just became the first Somali American woman in the country to win a State legislature in Minnesota. Hope. I still have it. Heart. I still have it. Mind, skills, courage – I still have it. We all have it. No more silent majority. Now its time to get bigger and louder than ever. We are not a people moved by fear. We are a community moved by love, compassion and justice. Keep your head up and show up when you are called to the streets, called to action. I am not committed to any political party or person, I am committed to us, to our families, to our communities. We are what matters.

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Hina Khan-Mukhtar, ILM Tree in Lafayette, California

One of my son’s shuyukh wrote this text to his students just now: Time to celebrate. I just gave cake to my kids and am having cake myself. My daughter asked me, “Why are you celebrating?” I told her, “I am celebrating because Allah is in control no matter who the President will be.”

#‎Blacklivesmatter Because Our Lord Demands It – Ustadh Salman Younas

‪#‎Blacklivesmatter‬ because our Lord has “ennobled all the children of Adam” (17:70) and commanded us to “stand firmly for justice.” (4:135), writes Ustadh Salman Younas.

‪#‎Blacklivesmatter to me not because it is politically prudent for Muslims to side with African-Americans.
They matter to me not because it’s viewed by some as the new countercultural trend that people should hop on.
They matter to me not because it is a convenient and beneficial alliance for my community.
They matter to me not because of a mere desire to be integrated into mainstream society and its indigenous people.
Why do they matter to me? Because my Lord has “ennobled all the children of Adam” (17:70) and commanded me to “stand firmly for justice.” (4:135)
They matter to me because my Prophet (God bless him) said that when his followers become “afraid to say to the oppressor that you are an oppressor, they will be abandoned by God.” [Ahmad, Musnad with a rigorously authentic chain]
They matter to me because my Prophet (God bless him) spent his entire life serving the weak, underprivileged, and those treated unjustly. His justice and mercy extended to all regardless of their religion or color. His teachings condemned racism as he stressed that virtue lay in doing good and being pious, not through possessing “white skin over black skin.” [Ahmad, Musnad with a sound chain].
They matter to me because oppression, killing, racial injustice and the systematic abuse of a people is a heinous crime in my religion. I dread the day I have to stand in front of my Lord and in front of my Prophet having witnessed police brutality against a black father, the shooting death of an innocent black teenager, the mass and oppressive incarceration of an entire black generation, the racial inequality experienced daily by the black community, and say I did nothing to fight this plague that occurred every day in front of my eyes.

These lives must matter to Muslims because our Lord demands they do, our Prophet (God bless him) demands they do, and our religion demands they do. This is what being a Muslim is about. We will continue to strive for justice and to rid this world of all forms of oppression through whatever noble means we can.

We ask everyone to support such movements in keeping with the directives of God to “cooperate with one another in righteousness” (5:2) and the directive of our beloved Prophet (God bless him) who advised us to “make such alliances in order to return rights to their people, that no oppressor should have power over the oppressed.” [Musnad al-Humaydi]
We ask God to give us the strength and courage to stand up against all forms of injustice in the way our Prophet Muhammad (God bless him) did. May His blessings descend upon us and all those suffering throughout the world.
Follow Ustadh Salman Younas on Facebook.

Resources for seekers

Thoughts on the Orlando Shooting Tragedy, from Shaykh Walead Mosaad

Our apologies for the quality of this recording.  

Shaykh Waleed will teach at SeekersHub for part of Ramadan 2016. Details can be found here. Our thanks to Sakina Collective for this recording, where Shaykh Walead Mosaad is scholar in residence. Visit their Facebook page and Soundcloud.

Photo from Beck Diefenbach (Reuters)

Arabic, an asset or liability in schools?

America - Speak EnglishThis week, an American school’s foreign language department arranged for the US Pledge of Allegiance to be read in a different language each day for a week. The day it was Arabic’s turn, things didn’t go down very well. The school district superintendant, Joan Carbone, told the Times Herald-Record newspaper that the Arabic pledge had “divided the school in half” and that she had received numerous complaints.

A statement from the local district apologised “to any students, staff or community members who found this activity disrespectful” and said the reading was intended to “promote the fact that those who speak a language other than English still pledge to salute this great country”.

The Council of American-Islamic Relations  (CAIR), said: “The meaning of the Pledge of Allegiance is the same regardless of the language in which it’s recited. When a simple student activity designed to promote mutual understanding receives such a negative reaction and the school in which it takes place is forced to issue a public apology, all Americans who value our nation’s history of religious and ethnic diversity should be concerned. One has to wonder if such an intolerant response would have resulted from reading the pledge in a language other than Arabic.”

Also in response, the British Council opined that Arabic should not only be celebrated in public schools, but systematically taught as part of the curriculum: “A study of Arabic opens up endless possibilities and opportunities for those who embark upon it. A rich and sophisticated language, spoken in many varieties throughout the Middle East and North Africa, it is both challenging and rewarding to learn. A knowledge of Arabic is instrumental to gaining a real understanding of the peoples, societies and politics of the Arab world, and accessing a range of employment opportunities in the region’s finance, media and commercial sectors. As its social, political and commercial importance increases, demand to learn Arabic is set to grow.

“Knowledge of Arabic among young people in the UK also brings wider benefits, including a deeper mutual understanding between our communities and the chance to restore much of the trust that has been erased over the last decades as a result of political circumstance and military interventionism. Those who learn Arabic will move beyond the shallow media stereotypes to a fuller, more authentic awareness of the Arab world.”

 

Resources for seekers:

Arabic is Easy for the Brain – Shaykh Riyad Nadwi
Hans Wehr and the Arabic Language
Seeking Arabic from Auckland to Amman