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ISIS: More About Meaningless, Dysfunctional Lives Than Jihad – Imam Zaid Shakir

A Norway Town and Its Pipeline to “Jihad” in Syria

When a known group of young trouble-makers from a small Norwegian town stopped having run-ins with the local police, law enforcement authorities were relieved but unfortunately, this was short-lived. The boys had moved on from their dysfunctional lives in  straight into the hands of ISIS henchmen in Syria. There, amidst the anarchic murder and destruction, most of them have now died.
Imam Zaid Shakir reflects on this deeply disturbing phenomenon in this video, courtesy of Al Madina Institute.

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Cover photo by Daniels Lee.

What is a "Caliphate"? Does an ISIS Caliphate Really Exist?

The 2016 presidential race has been loaded with rhetoric about a so-called “ISIS caliphate.” But what exactly is a caliphate? And what does it mean to say that ISIS claims to have one? WNPR invited Dr. Feryal Salem to unpack these terms.
Listen to the full interview here.

Hijacked

Dr. Salem said the term “caliphate” refers to a monarchy or kingdom, which does not equate to a “theocracy.” The term “caliphate” has been appropriated by the Islamic State, she said, “to legitimize their way of thinking” and their “gross misinterpretation of Islam.”

The Rights of Religious Minorities

Dr. Salem referred listeners to the Marrakesh Declaration that a large group of Muslim scholars gathered to discuss in January 2016. The declaration confirms the rights of religious minorities in Muslim-majority countries based on the tradition of religious tolerance established by the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ.

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Head Shot Feryal SalemDr. Feryal Salem is an assistant professor of Islamic Scriptures and Law and co-director of the Islamic Chaplaincy Program at Hartford Seminary. She received her Ph.D. in Islamic Studies from the University of Chicago’s Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations.
In addition, Dr. Salem has studied Islamic studies from various classically trained scholars in the Muslim World. She received her certification (ijaza) in Qur’anic recitation from the late Syrian scholar Abu al-Hasan al-Kurdi in 1998. She was also certified in recitation by Shaykh Kurayyim Rajih in 2013. She has studied a number of related Islamic sciences including: Shafi’i and Hanafi jurisprudence (fiqh), Islamic theology (aqida), early Islamic history, Arabic grammar, Muslim inheritance law, classical logic, Qur’anic sciences (ulum al-Qur’an), and Islamic legal methodology (usul al-fiqh).  In 2009, she received a degree in the hadith sciences from the Nuriyya Hadith Institute of Damascus attached to the ancient Umayyad Mosque complex and whose curriculum includes studying a range of classical Islamic texts along with their commentaries.
Committed to furthering Islamic scholarship, Dr. Salem has been actively working within the Muslim American community to establish the Nur Foundation for Sacred Sciences, which focuses on providing opportunities for education in the Islamic sciences for Muslims living in the West.

Does an ISIS Caliphate Really Exist?

Cover photo by Adrien Sifre

The Crisis of ISIS: A Prophetic Prediction, A Sermon by Shaykh Hamza Yusuf

Allah has given certain people to fight, to defend themselves and others. Who are they and to what end should they fight? Shaykh Hamza Yusuf explains in this sermon.

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"Stop Cherry-Picking From Islamic Texts To Justify Hatred"

SeekersHub seminars are unmissable. Broadcast live from Toronto, anyone, anywhere can log in and benefit. To receive a reminder before the next seminar on Refuting Radicalism, register your interest today.
In the meantime, watch a brief teaser of what’s in store. Shaykh Faraz Rabbani speaks unequivocally on the dangers of cherry-picking hadiths and verses of the Qur’an to further an understanding that goes against the spirit of Islam.

Remember to register to take a course with SeekersHub online academy. There are over 30 brilliant ones on offer and no one is turned away for lack of funds.

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The Modern Extremists – Who Are They? What Are The Consequences?

Who are the modern extremists and are they a recent phenomenon? How can we understand them and their motivations? And what are the utterly devastating consequences of their words and actions?
Shaykh Ahmed Sa’ad Al-Azhari, Director of the Ihsan Institute, gives a detailed and engaging explanation at this event hosted by SimplyIslam of Singapore.

Send Your Zakat To Besieged Scholars of Sacred Knowledge

Did you know SeekersHub actively provides financial support to traditional scholars whose lives – and ability to teach, have been utterly devasted or disrupted by the acts of violent extremists? These scholars are zakat-eligible – contribute your zakat today and earn the rewards from these noble efforts.

sh_saadShaykh Ahmed Sa’ad Al-Azhari is the Founder and Director of the Ihsan Institute of Arabic & Islamic Studies (United Kingdom). He was born into a family of scholars whose lineage goes back to the Prophet, peace be upon him, and became a master of the Qur’an at a very young age. Shaykh Ahmed was the SeekersHub Ramadan Scholar in Residence in 2015 and much of the content can be found on the SeekersHub archives.

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Is orthodox Islam possible without Sufism? Shaykh Abdal-Hakim Murad

Ever wondered how Sufism relates to classical or orthodox Islam and vice versa? Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad (Dr. Timothy Winter) will take you on a journey with much needed clarity. This video was recorded at an event by Sufi World at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, in the Netherlands.

An Age Of Compassion and Ease

Shaykh-Abdul-Hakim-Murad“Khilafa is there by the acclaim of the scholars. If the scholars do not accept somebody to be a khalifa, then this person is not a khalifa. The scholars will only accept that somebody is a khalifa if that person is implementing the Islam of the scholars, which means not some individual full of white hot rage following the American destruction of Iraq, but someone who’s in control of their emotions.

Tasawafa – someone who recognises the weaknesses of the peole of this age and reaches for their most compassionate of the available fatwas rather than the most extreme and the most outrageous. That’s the sign of the authentic khilafa. That which reaches for the most extreme is automatically discounted as being a legitimate member of sunni Islam.

“Every Muslim has to have the aspiration and it’s there in the books of aqida to live in a just political order, one that implements what God really wants for the earth, but that has to be on the basis of what the sharia’a truly is in this age which represents something that has to acknowledge people’s weaknesses. People find it hard to wear even hijab nowadays, if you try to impose niqab on everybody and beat them if they don’t, that’s just not the correct fatwa and scholars will not acknowledge that. So this is an age of taysir, an age of takhfif.”

 

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Is orthodox Islam possible without Sufism? Shaykh Abdal-Hakim Murad

Ever wondered how Sufism relates to classical or orthodox Islam and vice versa? Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad (Dr. Timothy Winter) will take you on a journey with much needed clarity. This lecture was recorded at an event by Sufi World at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, in the Netherlands.

Nothing more American for American Muslims

American-Flag-Hijabi

Simply Continue

There is nothing more American for American Muslims to do at this time than to simply continue remaining as Muslims.

Foundations

This country was founded by those who escaped religious persecution and insisted on practicing their deen in the manner in which they deemed important.

No Apology

They did not compromise, apologize or feel they had to change their beliefs and actions in order to thrive.

In Good Company

This country’s history is also filled with many religious groups who faithfully maintained their religious practices and beliefs.

Compromising is Un-American

It is not only unbecoming for American Muslims to compromise their Islam, but it is the most un-American thing they can do right now.”

Statement from Shaykh Mohammed Amin Kholwadia
Founder & President, Darul Qasim

 

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Modern Day Khawarij: Dissociate Yourself from them! – Dr. Hamid Slimi

Imam Hamid SlimiA khutbah delivered by Dr. Hamid Slimi, of the Sayeda Khadija Center, Canada, stressing on understanding the similarities and common ideas between the historical khawarij/kharijites (secessionists) and today’s new groups that claim to do things on behalf of Islam including breaking the laws of the countries where they live or visit, killing innocent people – Muslim and non-Muslim – as well as doing takfir (excommunicating Muslims from their faith). The message here is loud and clear: learn who we are dealing with and dissociate yourself and your families and loved ones from such people and such dangerous ideologies.

 

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A Guide to the Confused of Our Times, by Imam Zaid Shakir

imam_zaid_shakirimage181The seeming tsunami of negativity unleashed by the dastardly actions of terrorists, some claiming to act in the name of Islam, and the nefarious reactions of an assortment of bigots, racists and opportunistic politicians, have combined to create an environment that has demoralized many Muslims, terrified others, and left many confused and desperately searching for direction. This state has increased exponentially in the aftermath of the shootings in San Bernadino, California.

In light of this situation, we need to step back and remind ourselves of some fundamental Qur’anic teachings. First of all, we are told that this world is the abode of trials and tribulations (2:155; 2:214; 3:186; 21:35; 29:2-3; 67:2). This world is not our permanent home. We are passing through and we are tested along the way. If we endure the tests with unshakable faith, patience and dignity, we eventually return to our ancient, yet permanent, home –Paradise.

One of the verses referenced above asks, “Do you think that you will enter the Garden (Paradise) without there coming to you the like of that which befell those who passed away before you? Misfortune and hardship afflicted them, and they were so shaken that the Messenger [of that time] and those who believed with him cried, “When will God’s Help come ?!” Surely, God’s Help is near” (2:214). The times we are experiencing are not unprecedented in human affairs, nor are they novel for believers. There will be times when we will be shaken, however, despite the severity of the convulsion, we should never forget that God’s Help is near. With prayer and patience, we access that Help.

Oftentimes, when the Qur’an mentions the trials and tribulations we will encounter in the world, it mentions the importance of patience. As mentioned above, trials are to be borne with patience. In this case, patience has two aspects: one involves being undaunted by the verbal abuse, discrimination and other forms of mistreatment we might suffer from ignorant people; the other involves bearing the hardships that might come in persevering in doing the good things we do. Continue to be a good neighbor. Continue to be a good coworker. Continue to be the person you know you are, and do not allow the situation to lead you to doubt in yourself or to become someone who you aren’t.

In light of the ongoing anti-Muslim propaganda blitz, there will be those who might question you. “How can I trust you?” “How do I know you do not harbor ill-will towards me?” Try to understand the fearful place such comments may emanate from, but also understand that God knows who you are and He knows your innermost thoughts and motivations. If you are right with God you are right, and most people will appreciate your light. Live a life that radiates the truth you represent. Life a life defined by the love that you share and do not allow anyone to prevent you from living and loving as only you can. Be who you are, and, first and foremost, be with God.

Never despair of God’s justice. There is surely a lot that is wrong in the world, however, eventually, God will set things right; of that we can be sure. Quoting a 19th Century theologian, Theodore Parker, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. would frequently say, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” The suffering of so many innocents all over the world will not continue forever. Wherever they are, one day, they will be delivered from their oppressors. Live for that day. Work for that day. Pray for that day, knowing that the end of the circle is its origin and we were created to live in peace. Do not allow anyone to lead you to believe otherwise.

King would also quote William Cullen Bryant, who said, “Truth crushed to earth will rise again.” Sometimes it feels like the truth of Islam –a religion that has brought people together like no other force, a religion that has played an integral role in the ongoing march of human civilization– has been crushed to earth. Distorted by its ostensible friends as well as its actual foes, that truth will rise when you stand up and give voice to it. That must not be with words of frustration, anger, hatred and victimization, but with words of encouragement, joy, love and forbearance.

End of Part One

This was first published on Imam Zaid Shakir’s blog New Islamic Directions.

 

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