Bargaining from a position of moral clarity


ramadanThat’s what Tariq Ramadan says should be the attitude of Muslims in the West and anything less than that is unacceptable.

The leaders of ISNA can boast a proud record of service to American Muslims, for which they must be thanked and congratulated. The annual ISNA convention is an important gathering, featuring a multiplicity of participants and a broad cross-section of activities. In recent years, however, the political positions taken by the organization’s leadership have not always been clear-cut. Though it is essential, I believe, to remain open to dialogue with the authorities, it is likewise essential that positions of principle must be maintained, re-affirmed and defended. Not simply for the good of the Muslims, but in the name of the contribution of American Muslims to their society. Criticism of the domestic policy of the current administration, like those that preceded it, is a moral obligation. Summary arrests, arbitrary prison terms, inhuman psychological torture and solitary confinement, the shadowy role of informers and the deeply troubling and unacceptable methods used by the FBI, which has provoked young people to engage in extremist actions, must be unconditionally condemned. Not in the name of Islam, but in the name of the values proclaimed by the United States. However, the ISNA leadership is too often silent, as if paralyzed by fear. It fares no better with respect to American foreign policy. Its silence over American support for the outlaw and inhuman policies of Israel cannot be justified, even less so after attending an iftar organized by the White House during which President Obama defended Israel while the Israeli ambassador tweeted his delight! We cannot be forever silent: what kind of active and responsible citizenship does the ISNA leadership offer young American Muslims? What kind of example? That of silent, fearful sycophants–or of free, public-spirited citizens who, while defending the values of human dignity and justice, serve their country in the most sincere and critical way? That of the unconditional loyalty of the timorous, or the critical loyalty of free individuals? To attend the ISNA convention would be to endorse their silence.

American Muslims carving their own niche


muslimsIslam has always been in America; it’s almost as American as apple pie, just like its sister religions, Judaism and Christianity.  However, with it has come the historical baggage of these three great monotheistic religions, each taking its turn on the sacrificial altar of distrust and dislike against the other two.  Since Islam in America is a homegrown phenomenon, its adherents have had the luxury of defining themselves and what they think their mission is, yet that definition has sometimes been at odds with what other Muslims not native to America have had in mind, and the result is the two groups have butt heads a time or two.  I ran across this letter that speaks to that confrontation and the resulting frustration that has arisen as a result. Hat tip to Muslim Matters!

So Very Tired

Dear brothers and sisters in Islam, and specifically you in North America who will understand this best.

I have a problem.

I know where I came from, I know who I am, and I have a pretty good idea of where I want to go.

But I am tired.

Tired of the Muslim Identity Crisis Conferences.  Tired of Muslims in America conferences.  You’re a human being that was created for the sole purpose of worshipping the One who created you.  Get over it and move on.

Tired of confused pseudo-intellectuals who keep trying to legitimize their deepest, darkest insecurities under the cover of academic acceptance.  Women can’t lead men in prayer, and homosexuality will never be acceptable.

Tired of the explicit condemnation of Muslim terrorists that comes without the explicit condemnation of all terrorism, particularly against Muslims.  Can the Ummah of Muhammad please unite, the Ummah of the likes of Umar ibn al Khatab, Khalid ibn Waleed, Sad ibn abi Waqqas, and Hamza please find the necessary pieces of spine required to call George Bush et al what they are?

Speaking of which, I’m tired of the games Muslim politicians and political organizations play to put a position forward that deludes no one except yourselves for believing they’d believe you.

Tired of victim-culture fatwas that turn every situation into a necessity, and that coddles our ummah into weakness for the sake of ease and some overarching goal of dawah that never seems to be properly articulated in simple, coherent language.

Tired of Islamic teachers of any calibre who complain about the adab and khuluq of people and are badly in need of it themselves, in all forms of communication.

Tired of all the acronymed organizations and their leadership, and their inability to establish an agreed upon method for moonsighting.  Really.  All the opinions are correct, so please, just put them all in a hat, draw one out, and if you all unite on it, we’ll follow it.  Even me.  I promise.

Tired of the word Islamophobia.  Who came up with this ridiculous word?  Whoever it was, they need to be shot…with a super soaker.  I want to curl myself up in the fetal position every time I hear that word.

Tired of you telling me we need fiqh of minorities, and that we should combine prayers in the work place.  This isn’t Muslim Spain, we have rights that can be exercised – please stop cowering in the corner, or at least stop trying to get us to join you there.

Tired at your exasperation over Barack Obama not wanting to talk to you during the election.  Who would want to talk to a pack of sniveling lackeys who have no respect for themselves and act as though they are embarassed at the religion they profess to follow?

And I’m tired of you acting like Obama’s theMahdi incarnate.  We only rooted for him because we wanted to stick it to GWB, not because we like his politics of homosexuality, late term abortions, and worst of all, restarting the war in afghanistan.

I’m so, so very tired of it all.  And if you looked at the list above, you may be tired of it as well.  But you know what?  I’m tired of you too.

Tired of you sitting behind your computer, writing in a style that makes you sound like ranting and raving lunatic.

Tired of you complaining about everything and doing absolutely nothing.

Tired of the online chickenhawk hate brigade who hates everything about America and happily pay their taxes after clicking “Submit” on their latest online rant against it.

Tired of people who call for Hijrah and never go, citing the reasons of the people who are against hijrah – “But dude, there are no ANSAR on the other end, otherwise, like, I’m sooo there!”  It’s called planning, genius, see lessons of the Prophet’s (SAW) escape from Makkah for a primer on how to plan AHEAD.

Tired of your open hatred of all nonMuslims / kafirs in the name of al wala w’al bara.  Yes, I said kafirs.  Does that make you feel better?  Then I’m also tired of your pettiness.

Tired of your delusions of mind and intention reading.  Don’t you see the potential aqida problems here?

Tired of your PDF refutations.  I have absolutely no idea who the author of the document is, or his credentials to say and interpret as he has.  Please tell me what you understand, or don’t bother.

Tired of you taking every fiqh issue and making it an aqeedah issue such that if it’s not in accordance with what the scholar du jour spoonfed you yesterday, that person must most certainly either be off the manhaj, a sell-out, or both.

And I’m tired of you not knowing anything about the fundamentals of Islam, like, for example, the Seerah!

Tired, tired, tired.

Did you like the list above?  Really?  I’m tired of you too.

Tired of you expecting everyone to follow you blindly and stupidly.

Tired of you looking down your nose at people who are far more qualified to deal with logic, analogy, and argumentation and telling them, “But you don’t know Arabic.”  Yeah, I don’t know latin either, but if I have a medical condition, my doctor will still explain it to me, and if he’s any good, he’ll tell me to get a second opinion if I have doubts.

Tired of your partisanship, and tired of you calling it a mercy.  Really?  Coulda fooled me.  Visit my community on the first and last day of Ramadan, I’ll show you mercy.

Tired of you expecting me to disconnect my mind on fiqh, believe the most ridiculously esoteric ideas about God, and then strive for spiritual ecstacy.  Are you kidding me?

But I’m not done yet, oh no – I’m tired of you too.

Tired of you prioritizing your career, your family, and all your weaknesses over the worship of Allah.

Tired of you complaining to scholars about what a victim you are.

Tired of you saying you need to live in a house.  You liar.  You can rent a house – you just don’t want to lose money.  Admit it.

Tired of you looking for easy fatwas rather than picking yourselves up by the bootstraps and working at being a Muslim, and struggling with the challenges.

Tired of your back home mentality that keeps the child you think is fair from marrying an African American.  The only thing black here is your heart.

Tired of you believing your donations entitle you to run the masjid.

Tired of the way you run the masjid.  It stinks, figuratively and literally.

Tired of you complaining about the poor ethics of Muslim governments, while you have the same ethics, the only thing separating you and them is the scale of the violation.

Tired, tired, tired, so very tired.

The ironic thing of all this is that despite all that, I still love you for the sake of Allah.  As I said to begin this letter, you are my dear brothers and sisters in Islam.  I have my flaws, I have my weaknesses, and I am by no means perfect.  At any point in my life, I could have fit into multiple categories in that complaint list.

But do you know why I’m tired?  I’m tired because we have so many issues, and I feel obligated to do something about all of it.  I want to fix it.  I want to make it right.  You probably do too.

In the end, we are here to worship Allah.  I don’t know a lot, but I know that much.  All I can do is ask Allah to guide us all to come together, to be the people whom He Loves, to be people whom He will be pleased with.