Posts

Imam al-Ghazali on Guarding the Tongue

Shaykh Walead Mosaad presents Imam al-Ghazali’s thoughts on guarding the tongue to protect the heart from nonsense and make room for dhikr of Allah.

Imam al-Ghazali puts a particular emphasis on the importance of guarding one’s tongue and that the tongue is indeed like a double-edged sword. It can do much good but it can also do much harm. There are two major things we need to know about what we say.

    1. 1. What we say is significant, it’s not insignificant.

 

    2. It has an effect.

It affects other people who are in earshot of it. It can affect people who may not even be in earshot of it, by hearsay. Someone might say, “Well, I heard NN say this and this about you.” And if you actually said that or you disseminated that, then it does have the potential to do a lot of damage.

Speech Is Not Just Verbal

While the pre-modern books such as the Ihya are talking about things we actually say, that we pronounce [verbally], obviously, that extends to any which way we may communicate. That includes not just what we say, but what we write, what we tweet, what we disseminate. Even what we retweet. What we propagate. We may not have said it, we may not have originated it, but if we contribute to its dissemination, then we have a role in whatever they said or what is retweeted in affecting other people. It’s significant.

How often have people’s reputations been completely maligned, if not destroyed, based upon something that happened on the social media, or something along the lines of the Internet? This is particularly important because as some of our ulama have stated, there’s this type of call you out, gotcha, culture that we have going on. Many people assume that somehow that’s supported by our Islamic principles. That if someone makes a grievous error, then we need to name and shame.

If they’re caught on camera doing something or saying something or maligning someone or even saying something that’s racist or abusive to other people, and we catch them on camera, then there’s this automatic assumption: name and shame. Let’s make these people famous. Let’s put them out on the Internet. Let’s get their photo everywhere, so everybody knows who they are.

When I see stuff like that, my next question is, and then what? Now we know who they are. Now what? Are we supposed to completely erase them from humanity, because they said something under their breath, even if it was to one of our Muslim sisters that was offensive? Does that fit the offense? Can they be completely maligned and destroyed, and lose their job, and publicly humiliated?

It’s a very powerful tool, especially now when we have access to these tools that – depending on how many followers someone may have or other people may have – within a matter of minutes something can exponentially be spread to all parts of the globe. That power, and it is powerful, wasn’t there ten years ago, let alone 20 and 30 and 40 and and 50 years ago.

The Book and the Wisdom

I think it behooves us to be even even more careful. To heed the words of our Imams, of our ulama, like Imam al-Ghazali and others, who pondered these issues and studied the Qur’an and Sunna very closely. They arrived at this articulation of the hikma, the wisdom. And the Qur’an refers to the Sunna itself as hikma, as wisdom. Everything about our Sunna is wise. Everything about what the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, did – the way he acted, his mannerisms, the way he treated people. There was a wisdom about it. Nothing was done in vain. Nothing was haphazard.

One of the Sahaba asked him, “Are we taken to task by what we say?” You read the hadith and it is as if he’s surprised. Is that like a big deal? The Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, replies back very emphatically: “Are people not dragged on their noses [or on their faces] to Hellfire as a result of what their tongues harvest?” In other words, it does have an effect. The Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, talked about the night of ascension where he saw some of the types of punishment people go through. Among them were the people who backbite, who slander. They will have punishments that reflect what they did in the dunya.

Think of the dunya the life that we live now. It’s representative of something that is more figurative and metaphoric. When we get to the Akhira, those things that are metaphoric will now be literal. The one who slanders will, literally, be carrying the weight of his tongue. It will become huge and he’ll have to carry it on his back like a satchel or a burdensome thing. Why? Because that’s exactly what happened in the dunya.

Speak Only of What Concerns You

Sura al-Hujurat 49:12 gives us a very physical description of the person who backbites. “Would you like to eat the dead flesh of your brother?” One of the hadith mentions that there were two women who were fasting and they started backbiting people and they became very ill. Then they regurgitated, they threw up, and the hadith says that meat and bones and blood came out. And the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, said: “These two were backbiting.” It became literalized within them, because that’s how ugly it is in the eyes Allah, Exalted and Most High.

Imam al-Ghazali goes in an order of least worst to the worst. From the one that is it’s bad but not really bad to the last thing he talks about; the one that’s really bad. He says, “The first one is to speak about those things that do not concern you.” We know the hadith. “From the good Islam, the good din, of the person – the woman or the man – is to leave that which does not concern one.”

The question will be, “What is it that concerns me then?” Well, the Sunna makes tafsir of the Qur’an, and the Qur’an makes tafsir of the Sunna. So when the verse says, “There is no good in their private conversations (najwa),” talking about the Quraysh, “except for three things: to enjoin to charity or something that is good or to rectify between two people or two parties; ” (Sura al-Nisa 4:114) This is good speech. These are examples of things that would concern us. It means that pretty much everything else is going to fall at least in the category of not concerning us.

Giving Yourself a Break

Obviously, there is the other concept also. What we call istijmam (recreation), which is like tarwih (relief). You do need to go to less serious times in order to have aid and help for your more serious times. We are human beings. We can’t be very on 24/7. We’re not angels in that regard.

Some of the Sahaba complained to the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him. They said, and I paraphrase, “You know, when we’re with you we find that we are on, but when we go back to our families and our homes and so forth it’s not the same thing. Is this a sign of nifaq (hypocrisy)?” – Even Umar ibn al-Khattab and Abu Bakr al-Siddiq, Allah be pleased with them, were part of this conversation. – The Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, said, “No. If you were to do that, then, the Angels would have greeted you in the streets as you walk, but some time for this and some time for that.”

So there is a halal type of taking a break, istijmam, and things like this. But we have to be careful that that thing of itself doesn’t lead us to falling into something that would be blameworthy, something that would be either makruh, disliked, reprehensible, or haram. People want to take a break and watch a little bit of the game, and enjoy the athleticism of the athletes. I’m not going to say that’s wrong. Athleticism and paying attention to one’s physical prowess and things like this, that is part of the din. We can’t deny that. If you’re not healthy physically, it’s going to be very difficult for you to be healthy spiritually. They go hand in hand.

At the same time we should recognize that it’s very easy to fall into a cycle where these things dominate our thoughts and our attention and our time. It’s about indibat. It’s about trying to do it in a way so that we’re not falling into a place where we lose sight of what’s important.

Excessive Speech

So fudul al-kalam, it’s about leaving that which is doesn’t concern one. It’s better to err on the side of caution. The Sahaba used to count the number of words they would say in the day. I’ll bring up social media again because social media makes you feel like whatever you have to say is important. It also makes you feel like “I need to have an opinion about this thing.” If you see other people putting their opinions, “Well, I have more followers than them I should have an opinion too. I should be getting those likes and comments as well, because I have to say when I need to say and so forth.

We have to be very, very careful with that impulse and recognize it as a nafsani impulse. It’s an impulse of the nafs. It’s an impulse of the ego. It’s not something that the din is going to exhort you to. The din will tell you that you have good counsel for the people, no matter where it comes from. It doesn’t have to be you, and actually, preferably, it shouldn’t be you. I prefer it not to be me. I prefer that it be someone else who can do a better job than I can.

Imam al-Ghazali is strict in that sense. He’ll say, “Where you went on your trip and who you saw and what you did and how much you pay for the onions at the market are all things that are in the category of not that important.” Obviously, he’s addressing people who are not from the awwam. He’s addressing people who have made a commitment to living a life dedicated to the prophetic principles and ideals.

If that’s what you want to do, then what it’s saying is, if you’re going to go that route, then go all in. Do it the right way. Don’t just focus on the ritual aspects of the din: the number of prayers and number of days that you fast and things like this, and then neglect what really is the important underpinning of the whole thing altogether, which is to avoid those things that the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, avoided. Avoid the haram and embody the character of the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him.

What Distinguishes the Awliya

How many of the people who can boast of their ritual prayers, how many prayers they’ve done, how many days they’ve fasted, how much money they give to sadaqa. Then this comes emblematic of the din. It’s an aspect of the din, even pillars of the din, but it doesn’t mean that that’s the measure of where one is with one’s relationship with Allah Most High. Especially if you want to have a committed, dedicated, principled way about living your life. These are the things one has to be aware of. These are the things that separate the people who are true awliya and then those who just make claims.

Another thing is talk that is a trivial or repetitive of something that’s not important. Sometimes people just speak so that they can bring people’s attention to themselves. They’re looking for people’s attention. This is called fudul al-kalam. Remember these are in increasing order, so these are the two least bad ones. As we go to the three, four, five, six, all 20 of them, they get worse and worse.

The third one is to talk about things that are actually haram to be doing. Haram to do, but then you go speak about them. You talk about some illicit type of gathering that took place. “I couldn’t believe I saw that roulette wheel on TV, and look at how much money that guy made from a slot machine, and wow, that’s interesting. Look at that drunk person and how much of a fool he made out of himself,” and things like this.

That’s talking even in a condemning way. To talk about it in a praiseworthy way is even worse. I would also include in this, the mushahadat, the things that we see, that we look at, that also depict things that are haram. They should also be avoided. There’s a general principle: “Everything that is not permissible to speak about, it’s also not permissible to look at or to engage with. The images that enter us, we think that are innocuous and don’t have a long-term effect, they do have an effect. They stay with you. Especially images, pictures, or video, because any type of simple reminder will have you recollect them, as long as they’re imprinted on your heart.

Free Up Your Memory

Ibn Ata’illah al-Sakandari says, “How are you going to reach a greater understanding of the divine, Allah Most High, and the pictures of the forms are imprinted on your heart?” They occupy your thoughts. Your subconscious works continuously and your subconscious can work for you or against you. You may not be actively watching that last movie or listening to that last pop song or rock song but your subconscious may be busy with it. And when your subconscious is busy with it that means it’s not busy with other things.

One of the things about creative people is that even when they’re not actively doing something creative their subconscious is helping them do that creative thing. That’s why ideas come to them sort of spontaneously, but they’re not really that spontaneous, because in the background you were working on it to begin with. If we’re going to use an example of software: you have an app running in the background. Your subconscious is kind of like that app. It’s running in the background. If you have too many other apps open that are nonsense, then they’re taking up all of your computer power, your RAM, your memory, and as a result the thing that’s in active mode doesn’t run that well.

The app that you’re on right now which is you as well as the things that you’re doing. I would venture to say that this is one of the the secrets of dhikr, of the remembrance of Allah Most High. It is one of the reasons why the ulama say that it’s better to do dhikr and with no hudur, no presence of mind, than to avoid dhikr. It’s obviously better to have dhikr and have hudur or presence of mind and heart, but that doesn’t preclude you from doing dhikr even without that, because that has a benefit as well.

Even when only the tongue is working it’s at least getting you on a spiritual level, so that even when you’re not doing the dhikr actively with your tasbih or reading the Qur’an, it begins to get imprinted upon the conscious of your spirit. Then it’s working for you even when you’re not actively doing it. And the adverse is true. When you’re working with nonsense things, those things are also working against you even when you are not actively doing them.

Increasing Presence with Allah

That’s why when people ask, “How do I have more presence of mind and heart in the prayer? I just get in the prayer and I’m just busy and I can’t focus and I can’t concentrate.” The problem is not your prayer, the problem is what you’re doing outside of the prayer. When you begin to have hudur or presence outside of the prayer, then you have presence inside of the prayer, because they feed off one another.

That is why in the hadith of Bukhari, the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, mentioned that “If the prayer time is upon us and the food is ready at the same time, then begin with the food.” Why begin with the food? Because that is what’s keeping you busy. You’ll be not focused in your prayer. So when you go into the prayer and you’re not focused on the food, you’ve at least removed the busyness and the lack of focus at least with the food.

During Ramadan for example ,also a hadith of Bukhari, the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, would single out a particular space in the Rawda, in his masjid, and pray in that space consistently, because it helps one focus better. All the things that would lend us to focus more not just in the prayer but outside of the prayer, if it leads us to a greater focus, then that thing becomes meritorious in and of itself.

Imam Malik is reported to have said, “If I knew that sitting on a pile of trash would bring my heart closer to Allah, then I would do it.” Because the point is to bring you closer to Allah Most High. That’s the whole idea. Sometimes a sin brings you closer to Allah. Ibn Ata’illah al-Sakandari said, “Perhaps a sin that breeds within you, that engenders within you humility and a sense of poverty towards Allah Most High, a sense of a need of Allah Most High, is better than obedient acts that breed within you arrogance and haughtiness.” If it makes you arrogant and it makes you feel like you’re better than everybody else, and that you have a degree over others. If that’s what your ‘ibada is doing for you, it’s having the opposite effect.

Humility Is the Child of Dhikr

The effect it should have is to make you more humble, to make you more agreeable with people. Not more difficult with people. More agreeable, more humble, easier to get along with. The Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, said, “The closest people to me on the day of judgment will be the ones who are best in character,” the ones who get along with people very easily and people get along very easily with them “and they lower their wing for people.” He always had a smiling face. He always greeted people with a smiling face. He had that quality about him, Allah bless him and give him peace.

So, aimless disputatious and arguing about things that may in and of themselves be haram to argue about and discuss. These would be discussion many people have about political realities or political situations and things like this, and then people have heated arguments. It happens in Ramadan so much too, because our routines are upended a little bit and we see each other more often and so there’s more of a opportunity for people to start talking about things like that. That has a you know a damaging effect on the heart. You come away with conversations like that and you feel constricted.

Obviously, it takes two people to to engage in it. What do you do when somebody is talking about things like that? How do you disengage? Either you try to change the topic or you could say, “You know what? I rather talk about something else.” Sometimes you just have to walk away, but exhaust the other possibilities first. Do it in a nice way, but if that doesn’t work … at the end of the day we’re all responsible for ourselves.

 


How Should Muslims Engage With Politics? [Video]

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Question: Assalamu alaykum

How should Muslims engage with politics?

Answer:  Wa’leykum Salam,

Here is a video answer by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani to this question:

Shaykh Faraz Rabbani is a scholar and researcher of Islamic law and Executive Director of SeekersHub Global After ten years overseas, Shaykh Faraz returned to Canada in the Summer of 2007. In May 2008 he founded SeekersHub Global to deal with the urgent need to spread Islamic knowledge—both online and on the ground—in a reliable, relevant, inspiring, and accessible manner. He has been repeatedly listed as one of the world’s 500 most influential Muslims (The Muslim500).

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.


[cwa id=’cta’]

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.
[cwa id=’cta’]

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.

taheraahmad2

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…

mufti-mohamed-umer-esmail

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.

sana-saeed

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.

farazrabbani

Shaykh Faraz Rabbani, Executive Director of SeekersHub Global

Truth will trump falsehood, as and when God wills.

omid-safi-480-321-s

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.

mendes

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.

mona-rahman

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.

abdullah-bin-hamid-ali

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.

lindasarsour

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.

hina-khan-mukhtar

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.”

Dalia Mogahed’s debut at TED met with standing ovation

What do you think when you look at me?

When you look at Muslim scholar Dalia Mogahed, what do you see: a woman of faith? a scholar, a mom, a sister? or an oppressed, brainwashed, potential terrorist? In this personal, powerful talk, Mogahed asks us, in this polarizing time, to fight negative perceptions of her faith in the media — and to choose empathy over prejudice – TED

Resources for seekers:

Lessons From Medina – The Creed, Politics, and Ethics of Islam

When the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) entered Yathrib, it was renamed ‘Medina’, meaning ‘city’. This change marked the beginning of a shift of focus in revelation; the foundations of faith laid in Mecca would now rapidly take on many new pillars of outward practice. In other words, the city of Medina would become a manifestation of the inward beliefs of the Early Muslims – personally, and civilizationally.

In this talk, Shaykh Faraz Khan of Zaytuna College discusses the three changes that the Prophet (May Allah bless him and give him peace) used to transform Yathrib: the building of the mosque, the brotherhood between the Muslims, and the treaty with those of other faiths.

Excellent Interview with Muslim Woman Removed From Trump Rally

On Friday night, Muslim flight attendant Rose Hamid was escorted out of a Donald Trump rally in Rock Hill, South Carolina after she stood silently for a few moments, wearing a t-shirt that said “Salam: I Come In Peace,” as well as a yellow star-shaped badge reminiscent of the patches worn by Jews in Nazi Europe.

“Do you have a bomb?”

After her ejection, Hamid told CNN’s Don Lemon about the experience, which she said included Trump supporters asking her “Do you have a bomb?” (to which she replied “No, do you have a bomb?”).
Hamid said she attended the rally with the “sincere belief if people get to know each other one-on-one they will stop being afraid of each other and we can get rid of the hate in the world…There were people who were very nice and sharing their popcorn. It was very nice, people around me, the people I had conversations with. But then what happened when the crowd got this hateful crowd mentality as I was being escorted. It was really quite telling and a vivid example of what happens when you start using this hateful rhetoric, and how it can incite a crowd where moments ago were very kind to me. One woman reached over and shook my hand and said “I’m so sorry this is happening to you.””
See also, Hamid’s interview with Marie Claire magazine.

Resources for seekers:

Is it Permissible to Study in a Western Country?

Answered by Ustadh Salman Younas
Question: I told a friend that I intend to pursue master in the west. He then quoted a Hadith of our Beloved Prophet Peace be upon Him. I don’t remember the words exactly but it is something like: “I have nothing do with a muslim who lives in a non-muslim country…”
Could you please shed some light on it and tell me what is the ruling about travelling to the west for studies?
Answer: assalamu `alaykum
It is permissible to travel to a non-Muslim country for the purpose of education.
The Hadith on the Issue
The prophetic tradition that your friend has mentioned states, “I am free from every Muslim who settles among the polytheists.” [Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi, Nasa’i] This statement, however, applies to those non-Muslim lands where it is not possible for one to practice his or her religion, as stated by Ibn Hajar al-`Asqalani and others. It is not to be understood as a general and unconditional prohibition for Muslims to reside in the West.
The only situation wherein which it is necessary to move from a non-Muslim country to a Muslim country is when one is unable to practice their religion and possesses the means to actually move to a Muslim country where he can practice his religion without hardship. Otherwise, it would not be impermissible to remain in the non-Muslim country that one is resident in.
In other words, like other issues, the ruling of living in a non-Muslim country differs based on the person and situation, and may range from being permissible to recommended to impermissible.
Our Contemporary Context

Additionally, it should be kept in mind that classical legal rulings pertaining to such discussions were formulated within a particular political context that may differ from the one we find ourselves in.
Thus, in countries like America and the United Kingdom, there are not only sizable Muslim communities, but also mosques, religious seminaries, and so forth, which effect the legal rulings surrounding Muslim residence in non-Muslim lands as well as broader questions concerning the concept of Dar al-Islam and Dar al-Harb.
For this reason, it is not always sufficient to simply quote a particular proof-text or classical legal work on such issues. Rather, it is the responsibility of living jurists with a sound understanding of contemporary contexts to shed light on this issue in light of the principles of the religion.
Please see also: Obeying the Law of the Land in the West and: Muslim Participation in Non-Muslim Governments
Salman
Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

Muslim Participation in Non-Muslim Governments

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Question: Is it permissible to take part in non-Muslim governments with the intention of letting the Muslims have a voice in domestic and foreign politics?

Answer: In the name of Allah, most merciful, compassionate

Walaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh

Yes, it is not only permitted but praiseworthy and practically needed. However, such participation should be part of a larger vision for the Muslim community in the particular area or country.

Faraz Rabbani