Ramadan: When Feeding Others in Need Supersedes Our Own Hunger and Greed – Shaykh Hamza Yusuf – Sandala Productions

Originally Published on: Aug 8, 2011


Ramadan: When Feeding Others in Need Supersedes Our Own Hunger and Greed


As Ramadan moves along, we realize the rapidity with which the month travels. The word “month,” derived from “moon,” essentially measures one lunar cycle: the roughly 28.5 days it takes the moon to circle the earth. A lag time is involved due to the earth’s spin and its own movement around the sun. The Qur’an tells us that fasting is prescribed so we may learn to ward off evil, and then reminds us of the “limited days” (ayyaman m’adudat) before fasting comes to an end (2:183-184). The plural form used for “days” is known in Arabic morphology as a “plural of paucity,” meaning the number is not large. In other words, Ramadan is a limited time of spiritually powerful days.

During Ramadan, one can achieve spiritually what would take far longer during other times of the year. But restraining our zest for food is a prerequisite. In his book Hujjat Allah al-Balighah, Imam Shah Wali Allah al-Dahlawi explains that our faith provides special times of blessing that have enhanced spiritual power, and only a receptive soul will experience great openings during such times. To prevent the openings from blockage, he recommends, among other things, ensuring that the stomach is not sated. This advice is in the prophetic tradition. The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “The worst vessel the son [or daughter] of Adam ever fills is his [or her] stomach.” He also said, “It is enough for the son of Adam to eat a few morsels that will maintain his back’s uprightness. But if he must add more to his stomach, then let it be one third for food, one third for water, and one third for air.” The Persian scholar Sahl al-Tustari was asked about a man who ate once a day, and he replied, “This is the way of the prophets.” Asked about someone who eats twice a day, he said, “This is the way of the righteous.” Finally, he was asked about someone who eats three meals a day, and he replied, “Build for him a trough!” Abu Madyan al-Ghawth, who laid the foundations along with Imam al-Ghazali for the way of Shaykh Abd Allah al-Haddad of Hadhramaut, remarked that his own path was one of hunger.

Ramadan is an especially opportune time to reflect on the blessings of food and satiety. When we eat less, our stomachs shrink, and we feel full after a few bites at the end of the day. Fasting allows us to experience once a year what many throughout the world experience almost daily. Hunger, for them, is not a choice; it is simply a fact of life. Currently, Somalia and other parts of East Africa are gripped by a devastating drought, and the lives of millions of men and women — and sinless children — hang in the balance. Such tragedies make some people ask, “Where is God?” But God may very well answer with a question: “Where are you?!” After all, these catastrophes are avoidable. A recent study of global food wastage indicates that we waste millions of tons of food each year. Even a portion of that would ward off any potential famine.

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Somalia has gone through great tragedies of late. We should not forget that in the not too distant past, Somalia was a wonderful pastoral society of profoundly spiritual people. The occasional clashes of clan and feuds over water were usually resolved by the elders without bloodshed. Somalis had an irenic culture largely bilingual due to their love of Arabic and immersion in a classical training in the Yemeni tradition of islam, iman, and ihsan. They were people who would wake before dawn to call on their Lord before setting out for a rural day’s work. I know this both from my own elderly Somali friends whom I cherish, and also from my time in a very similar society in West Africa. In fact, the Somali of Mauritania are descendants of Somali migrants from East Africa. Some of the most brilliant scholars I met in Mauritania are from the Somali people. In the San Francisco Bay Area, our own dear Shaykh Abdar Rahman Tahir, a brilliant scholar of Arabic from Somalia, was a student of the great master of Arabic, Muhyiddin Abdul Hamid.

Somalia’s recent history has unfortunately been one of political upheaval and the collapse of civil society and functional government. As it emerged from the weight of colonialism, it fell victim to Cold War politics and international intrigue due to its important strategic spot in the Horn of Africa. Now the persistent poverty has been compounded by drought and famine, even as internal violence makes everything far worse. Yet Africans in general are always low on the so-called world community’s list for help. Higher up on the list are the bailouts of Wall Street firms or the financial institutions of Greece or Italy or Spain because those have consequences for people in the West. But when it comes to starving Africans, one hears the refrain, “When are they going to help themselves?” That is the thinking of Iblis. The Qur’an quotes the mentality of such people; they say, “Shall we feed those whom had God could have fed if He willed?” (36:47). The Prophet, peace and blessings upon him, said, “You are aided by aiding the weak among you.”

Somalia deserves to have the aid of all of us.

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It is Ramadan, a time when our own self-induced hunger should bring us a bit closer to those whose hunger is caused by circumstance, not choice. I am in the Emirates now and have seen the generosity of the government and its people here in coming to the aid of Somalia; they have sent about 900 tons of food and have begun well-drilling operations. But much more needs to be done. The Red Crescent is extremely active there, as are other charitable organizations.

Charity conquers the greed of our souls and actualizes the solidarity of humanity, as those who have reach out to those who have not with love, compassion, and faith. Let us all remember them tonight at iftar as we break our fasts and pray for them. Let each of us find it in our hearts to do something, no matter how small, to address the problem. And let us not forget to pray for our brothers and sisters in Libya, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and Afghanistan, whose Ramadan is filled with trials and tribulations, while most of ours are filled with relative ease and comfort.

In this blessed month of Ramadan, let us do what we are able for those in need, whose hunger and pain is likely to outlast this brief month.


Where are the “No Smoking” signs in Medina? – Shaykh Hamza Yusuf – Sandala Productions

Where are the “No Smoking” signs in Medina? – Shaykh Hamza Yusuf – Sandala Productions

Note to readers: I want to thank everyone who wrote recently and inquired about my health. I had a terrible fall a few weeks ago and had a mild concussion from it. I appreciate the wisdom of wearing a turban more. I am better, and the headaches have subsided – thanks be to Allah.

Unfortunately, it prevented me from writing much. I have been in Medina and am traveling to Turkey for the Rihla program. Please keep me in your prayers. I appreciate it greatly. I want to write soon in a more substantial way, in sha Allah. But for now, I would like to share my thoughts on some unpleasant recent developments and also share some observations from my recent stay in Medina.

I have been troubled by the attacks made on several notable scholars, especially the slanderous material written about my own teacher, Shaykh Abdallah bin Bayyah. He never pays any attention to them, but I have lived with him and witnessed his piety, decency, virtuous character, and genuine love for the Prophet’s Ummah, and I fear for those people who so lightly attack him, or who attack others, like Shaykh Sa’id Ramadan al-Buti, simply because they disagree with them.

We ought to know that such criticism of learned people is not a good sign. As recorded in al-Hakim’s Mustadrak, the Prophet of God, peace and blessings be upon him, is reported to have said, “When the Muslims begin to loathe scholars and are preoccupied with commerce and its development, obsessing over accumulation of wealth, God will then direct at them four tribulations: loss of productivity, oppressive rulers, corrupt justice systems, and enemies who find them easy prey.”

Islam has been a knowledge-based tradition from the start, with the first word revealed: “Read!” And scholars, more than any others, have carried that tradition forward through the centuries. Inquiring minds should peruse Franz Rosenthal’s Knowledge Triumphant: The Concept of Knowledge in Medieval Islam, a wonderful study on the centrality of knowledge in the Islamic world. When Abu Dawud narrated hadith, it was said, hyperbolically perhaps, that as many as 70,000 inkpots filled the mosque. Men and women from rich families and poor ones vied to be students of knowledge. Books were written in gold ink with stunning calligraphy, and are now displayed in Western museums as great works of art. Scholars filled our community centers, and a love of language, literature, and all things shining – thus Islamic – was the hallmark of our lost Muslim societies.

This is well documented in the travelogues of scholars such as Ibn Jubayr, which is available in English. About Damascus, Ibn Jubayr recounted that the sound of Qur’an recitation was akin to the buzzing of bees in their hives due to the vast numbers of people reciting. Circles of knowledge covered the mosque, and he was surprised to find that even the ordinary folk were listening to high levels of discourse. In other words, people strived to learn and increase their knowledge and understanding, and they looked to the mosques and community centers to quench their thirst.

In today’s mosques, we often hear stories of the righteous that are related in an attempt to inspire people. Imam Malik, however, did not allow storytelling in the Prophet’s mosque; he saw it as an innovation and as antithetical to real knowledge, which is incumbent upon every adult Muslim, male and female, according to the well-known hadith related in Ibn Majah’s collection. Today, however, such a position is often viewed as “elitist,” and scholars are expected “to get down with the common people.” Things have become topsy-turvy. In the past, it was understood that the common people needed to seek knowledge and be elevated – Shaw’s Doolittle had aristocratic pretentions to speak like Higgins, whereas today Higgins is wearing designer torn jeans and speaking in the debased vernacular of Doolittle, pretending to be hoi polloi. Today, the burden is on the scholars to downgrade their discourse so the common people can “get it.” Hence, rap replaces poetry, music replaces the maqams, stories replace study, and ideology replaces creed.

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How Do We Respond? Part 3 – Shaykh Hamza Yusuf – Sandala Productions

How Do We Respond? Part 1 – Shaykh Hamza Yusuf

How Do We Respond? Part 2 – Shaykh Hamza Yusuf

How Do We Respond? Part 3 – Shaykh Hamza Yusuf


6. Strengthen our community centers. One of the most important things we must do is strengthen our community centers, but this is not possible without wise leadership in our centers. A major problem is that, notwithstanding their sincerity, unqualified people too often take the helm. Our centers need a level of professionalism that is grossly lacking today. Albeit, a change is in the air. Many young people who have grown up in this environment and learned the ways of more astute institutes are emerging, but they must be empowered, and those of a previous generation need to stand aside and let these young and talented Muslims do their work, unimpeded by the antiquated ways of a bygone era.

For example, when the media comes to interview someone from one of our centers, we need to put forth active spokespeople who don’t have foreign accents. Studies show that one-fourth of American viewers stop paying attention when they hear a person speaking with a strong foreign accent. I know this from first-hand experience, as my own father has a very hard time understanding South-Asian and Arab accents.

When we put forth Muslims with strong foreign accents as our spokespeople, people often assume all Muslims are foreign-born nationals and that our allegiances lie elsewhere, whereas in actuality, we are comprised of a largely diverse community that includes American-born natives as well as immigrants. American Muslims are indigenous and have always been indigenous, and in that way, WE ARE AMERICANS, so let Rush, Bill, Ann, and all those other bigots put that in their pipe and smoke it. We have never been a recent immigrant community, as there are now third and fourth-generation immigrant Muslims here in large numbers, not to mention native American converts as well as African and Euro-Americans. Moreover, African-American and Euro-American converts and their offspring are an excellent resource for immigrant Muslims to better understanding the mainstream population.

Cultures are highly nuanced, and even many first generation natives who grew up here often do not fathom all the depths of the dominant culture, as the homes they grew up in were immigrant homes. I recently saw a commercial aimed at reaching the mainstream American community. The commercial seemed as though it was produced by well-intentioned immigrant or first generation Muslims, as it was clear the producers did not have a deep understanding of this culture; the commercial depicted nice, smiling Muslims with foreign accents, little children with headscarves, and even some speaking in foreign languages. Unfortunately, such images actually engender fear in many of the very people the images are meant to reach. Such attempts at reaching alienated Americans should involve indigenous American Muslims and first generation immigrant Muslims in order to normalize the community as part of the tapestry of America. This is my personal opinion, and I am very aware of the different strategies that can be applied to this vexing problem. However, the Qur’an reminds us, “We only send messengers with the tongue of the people they are sent to, in order that they may present the message clearly” (14:4). Notice that the Qur’an uses the word “tongue” (lisan) here and not “language” (lughah); the tongue includes not only knowledge of the language but also its nuances, not to mention the accent that goes with that native tongue. Hence, we say, “English is my native tongue.”

For example, in my opinion, Adil Jubair, the Saudi ambassador, is a much better spokesperson for the Saudis than someone with a heavy accent. Having said that, on the other hand, Prince Turki bin Faisal, who was educated at Cambridge, has only a slight accent, but he was, in my opinion, as an educated, erudite royal, who breaks the stereotype of the ignorant desert Arab, even more effective. So I don’t think one should be axed as a spokesperson merely due to a slight accent. A case-by-case assessment is necessary. However, I think that very heavy accents are problematic. Nota bene: the Israelis almost always front people with perfect American accents as their spokespeople. Even the current ambassador, a Princeton historian who was raised in the U.S., has no hint of a foreign accent. When Americans hear such people, they hear themselves, as the accent is the same, and it is much easier for people to listen to one of their own than to a complete “other,” which is how people with foreign accents are usually viewed.

Alterity, for now, is no longer an alternative. Common ground must be built and done so quickly. The theme of the RIS this year is the Ten Commandments, a bridge-building topic, which provides Muslims with tools we can use to convey our message in a language that makes sense to people here in the West; interestingly, someone from – I wont identify which religion – in Toronto claiming to represent that religion wrote an op-ed criticizing our “co-opting” the tradition of “another” people. Certain groups don’t want people here to see Muslims as sharing commonalities with Jews and Christians. These groups want to maintain the foreign and negative perception of Islam and Muslims in order to successfully demonize us. Once that is accomplished, it is easy to bomb Muslims into obliteration with impunity. Note how unsuccessful the anti-war movement has been as of late. Who cares about a bunch of crazy Arabs and Afghans who’d kill themselves anyway if we didn’t do it? Just read Chris Hedges for a good analysis of how this has been done.

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How Do We Respond? Part 2 – Shaykh Hamza Yusuf – Sandala Productions

How Do We Respond? Part 1 – Hamza Yusuf

How Do We Respond? Part 2 – Hamza Yusuf

This is the second part of the blog I posted on November 4, 2010, laying out ways in which Muslims can respond to the problem of anti-Islamic sentiments in America, which I wrote about in my earlier blog “When You’re a Statistic” posted on October 17.

4) Seek common ground with conservatives too. As Muslims, we don’t have a political party. We are morally committed to a sound ethical system that demands an uncompromising adherence from us. The principles, ethics, and values that demand our allegiance do not fit neatly into a particular political school of thought. Thus far, too many Muslims have tried to ally mostly with the Left, but in the current dialectic, the Left is unlikely to win the battle for the hearts of Middle America, especially when it comes to accepting Muslims as full-fledged members of the American tapestry. But there are many intelligent and influential people within the philosophical conservative movement, and some of them know what Islam is and some don’t. We need to make strategic alliances with them and recognize that we share a lot of common ground, as we are also concerned about losing moral foundations in an increasingly secularized, and even worse laicized, world that is downright hostile toward public faith. For example, the conservatives are as troubled as Muslims are about the predominance of premarital and extramarital sexuality, the breakdown of the family, and the proliferation of pornography and drugs. On the other hand, the truly progressive Left and not mainstream Tweetle Dee Left to the Tweetle Dum Right, despite its moral ambiguity on many such personal and social issues, has a far better track record of standing firmly against warmongering, arms proliferation, and American aggression in countries where we don’t belong – but there is also a progressive Right that we forget about best embodied in Ron Paul, who is one of the most outspoken critics of warmongering and American foreign wars and misadventures. So in some things, we are more with the Left and in others we are more with the Right, which puts us somewhere in the middle, as we comprise the Middle Nation.

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Pilgrims with a Purpose: Turtles Make Hajj Too – Shaykh Hamza Yusuf Blog at Sandala Productions


Sandala Productions

There is no animal on earth, nor yet a bird on the wing, but forms communities like you. We have not neglected anything in the Book; and they will ultimately be gathered to their Lord. Those who repudiate Our signs are deaf and dumb, in the dark. God confuses whomever God wills, and places whomever God wills on a straight path.

Qur’an, Sura 6, Cattle, (38-39)

Pilgrimage is one of the profound manifestations of humanity, a materialization of our spiritual nature. The word pilgrim is from a Latin term, peregrinatio, which means “to journey about.” An early English word peregrine meant “a falcon.” Like our feathered friends, human beings also tend to flock, driven by an inner force towards a specific destination. Historically, people have always flocked to places of devotion for spiritual rebirth.

The word Hajj means “to intend a journey,” which connotes both the outward act of a journey and the inward act of intentions. In his Mufradat, Raghib says that Hajj became associated in the sacred text with visiting the House of God. From the same root, we get the derivative hujjah, which means “a proof,” and also a mahajjah, which is “a clear path that is straight.” Related to this word through the greater derivation is the word hajab, which means “to be prevented from arriving at one’s destination.” This is important in relation to those who are spiritually veiled (mahjub) by a material hijab from arriving at their true destination.

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Pilgrims with a Purpose: Turtles Make Hajj Too – Shaykh Hamza Yusuf Blog at Sandala Productions

See also: Eid Mubarak: Eid Message from SeekersGuidance

When You’re a Statistic – Shaykh Hamza Yusuf

When You’re a Statistic – Shaykh Hamza Yusuf

Shaykh Hamza Yusuf, a leading American Muslim scholar, argues that American Muslims need to wake up and realize how Islam is being systematically distorted in American consciousness. Drawing on his extensive experience he exposes long-ignored areas of concern and begins to discuss ways to potentially reverse this problematic trend.

It’s been said that a liberal is just a conservative that hasn’t been mugged yet. Sometimes it takes something traumatic to wake us up to the realities of our situation, and to force us to rethink our beliefs and behaviors.

Americans are essentially civil and decent people and not prone to violent reactions, but now millions of Americans are being exposed to a profoundly radical and extremely distorted view of Islam, which is that 1) Islam is an evil religion; 2) it was born in the crucible of violence, and engenders violence in its followers; and 3) a significant number of American Muslims are actively working to undermine the government of this country, and to establish shariah law.

These ideas may sound outlandish and farfetched, but some of the major websites promoting such views get hundreds of thousands of visitors each month. The trouble with such misinformation is that when someone wants to learn about Islam and Googles, for instance, shariah law and women, they’re likely to see an image of a girl with her nose cut off. Worse yet, most of the top ten articles returned from such a search are not expository articles explaining what shariah actually is ­­– they are articles propagating the idea that the shariah is evil.

Hence, even if people sincerely search for information about Islam, they are likely to get misinformation and anti-Islam propaganda. Moreover, even educated people are having a harder time sorting the wheat from the chaff, distinguishing what is accurate from what is propaganda against Islam. There are also a lot of very negative emails circulating on the Internet either misquoting Qur’an and hadith or quoting out of context.

In fact, if you walk into a bookstore today and simply browse under the subject of Islam, about half the books are anti-Muslim or written by apostates from Islam who actually hate Islam. If a person scans the shelves for a book on the Qur’an, the best looking book that catches their eye could very well be The Infidel’s Guide to the Koran, and so one starts to read it, and it distorts Islam using the sources of Islam, such as Qur’anic verses or hadith. The verses quoted are explained without historical context, and are used to distort the holistic message of the Qur’an.

It is easy to make Islam look like the most evil religion on the planet using quotations from primary sources. It is also easy to do the same with Christianity, Judaism, or any other world-religion, but most people, Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins notwithstanding, know that Judaism and Christianity are not evil. However, they do not know that about Islam because we have allowed other people to define Islam. Look in the bookstore sections about other religions, and you’ll see a vastly different set of books. For instance, you will find nothing negative about Judaism in the section on Judaism, and if you did, rest assured that major Jewish activist organizations would soon have a slew of volunteers writing to the publishers and the bookstores and have the book pulled from the shelves in record time. The Christian section is so vast as to overshadow the few titles that present Christianity in less than a positive light. Even the section on Wicca and Paganism comprises of titles mostly like, How I Found Inner Peace by Worshipping the Moon and How Satan Can Cure Your Migraines.

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In Alice in Wonderland, when Alice questions Humpty Dumpty about his usage of words, he says, “When I use a word, it means just what I choose it to mean – neither more nor less.”

Alice responds, “The question is whether you can make words mean so many different things.”

Humpty Dumpty replies, “The question is which is to be master – that’s all.” That is, which definition is going to be definitive?

When we say “Islam,” is it the beautiful religion of peace and spiritual elevation that sustains millions and millions of people during their journeys through life and inspires countless good deeds, or is it the violent, misogynistic, anachronistic medieval madness that is now infecting America?

When we say “jihad,” does it mean an honorable struggle for social justice and the internal struggle with our own selves against the ego, envy, pride, miserliness, and stupidity, and the universal right to defend one’s land or one’s home from aggressors, or does it mean brutally and barbarically chopping off heads, cutting off noses, lopping off ears, flogging women, or blowing up innocent people for simply not being part of the faith?

Who is going to define the words? Is it going to be every Tom, Dick, and Humpty Dumpty? Are we going to leave it for those who have passed through the looking glass and are living in Wonderland where black is white, up is down, and right is wrong, and where, like the queen reminds Alice, “Sentence first – verdict afterward” is how things work? Who is going to decide?

This unrelenting and hateful messaging is taking an effect over time. We can see this in the changes in public views of Islam. In polls taken immediately after 9-11, most people did not have a negative view of Islam. That has changed dramatically now. The majority of people in the United States do have negative views of Islam now. This is because the people who want to propagate that narrative have been working hard. They have been funding organizations, funding the publication of books, getting anti-Muslim messages on TV shows, and in general, they have been the only voices heard by most Americans. Muslims have been sleeping through this, or else simply watching in horror as the propaganda takes hold.

Here is what happens. Most people out there who do not like Islam or have a negative view of it are not going to do much, as most people mosey along through life and do not think about much other than their own concerns and preoccupations. However, talk-show hosts, editorial writers – what Malcolm Gladwell in The Tipping Point calls “mavens, connectors, and influencers” – are reading the negative books on Islam that are best sellers, such as Islamic Infiltration; Muslim Mafia; Muhammad: Founder of the World’s Most Intolerable Religion; Infidel’s Guide to the Qur’an; Why I am Not a Muslim; Infidel; Islamic Invasion – and a lot of these books are being sent to congresspersons and senators. The majority of people in this country do not read books or even newspapers, but many watch Fox News. They listen to talk-show hosts. They listen to Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, and Bill O’Reilly. And these pundits have access to millions of Americans and for many of them, this is the only view of Islam they’re getting.

Now, you have some media figures, such as Keith Olbermann, who do attempt to present another view, but he and those like him are more often than not preaching to the choir. You also have court jesters who can speak the truth without losing their heads, such as Jon Stewart, and millions tune in to such programs, but such audiences are considered either pinheads or potheads according to the other camp. These shows do not reach the large segment of Americans who are conservatives (or even moderates) and who need to hear a different and more accurate portrayal of Islam. I don’t want to be Manichean about this, as many of the right-wing voices also address other issues that are necessary to address and are often ignored by the left. They are not hearing any counter voices because we have not made strategic alliances in the conservative community.

According to a recent study, over 50 percent of Evangelicals believe that people outside of Christianity can go to heaven, but only 34 percent of that same group believes that Muslims can go to heaven. There are millions of people out there who think that all Muslims are hell bound.

Among that segment of society, there are people whom the Qur’an terms sufahah. These are the fools, the idiotic people – the jahilun: people of ignorance, impetuousness, and zealotry. Every community has such people in it. The Muslims have them; the Jews have them; the Christians have them; the secular humanists have them. Every community has sociopaths or irrational people who may even slit the throat of a Bengali taxi driver because he said, “Yes, I am a Muslim.” Those people are going to be empowered increasingly. And people are more susceptible to new villains during times of economic hardship. As the unemployment rate rises and crimes increase, and people are looking for new targets for their aggression, why not a Muslim? Already, we’ve had “Burn the Qur’an Day” – will it be “Mug a Muslim Day” next?
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Our choices are clear. We can sit here and watch all that is happening and think that things are fine. We can think to ourselves, “My neighbors are fine; everybody is nice to me at work.” But if that is what you think, you are living in a bubble. And your bubble is about to burst. I have been watching a trend that is getting worse and worse. And if something is not done, if there is nothing done to countervail, no other mitigating force, things are headed in a dangerous direction. Newton’s law of physics applies here as well: Bodies at rest will remain at rest, and bodies in motion will remain in motion, unless acted upon by an external force.

We have a body of messaging in motion, and it is hateful, it is effective, it is well-financed, and it is having its impact on opinions that were at rest before 9-11. The Prophet, peace be upon him, said, “Civil strife is asleep, and may God curse the one who wakens it.” This hadith indicates that calamities are waiting to happen, and people’s passions are easily aroused. This is a recurring phenomenon over the ages and all around the world. Just ask a Bosnian refugee in America how his Serbian neighbors turned on him and his family after being friends for all their lives. This happened through a powerful and violent campaign of propaganda waged by Serbian nationalists allied with certain extreme elements in the Orthodox Church. The result was tragic, but people thought then as we do now: that could never happen here.

Unless there is another force out there to counter this, Muslims are going to wake up in a very different America, an America that has drifted far from its own admirable and noble ideals, and they are going to wonder what happened.

What happened was that you were asleep. Just like people slept before. People forget that the 1920’s in Germany was one of the most liberal periods. But there was hyperinflation, high unemployment, a lot of social problems, and before they knew it, they democratically elected fascists into power. The fascists did not seize power; they were democratically elected. Right now, we have several angry and hateful candidates in close races in the House and the Senate and even governorships. You can say, “Oh, well, they are only a handful of people.” But this is how it starts. And in hard times, people turn to demagogues. And they are waiting in the wings.

I plan on writing next about what Muslims can and should do to counter this wave of anti-Islam propaganda.

[Shaykh Hamza Yusuf]

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