Imam Luqman Ahmad

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The Lotus Tree Blog

African American Muslim Emancipation

African American Muslim Emancipation

It’s not permissible in Islam for any Muslim to surrender his or her ability to reason and to critically examine information. “Have they never learned to think for them­selves? Allah has not created the heavens and the earth and all that is between them without [an inner] truth and a term set [by Him]: Allah and yet, behold, there are many people who stubbornly deny the truth that they are destined to meet their Sustainer!”<!–[if !supportFootnotes]–>[1]<!–[endif]–> Without reasoning and critical discernment, the distinction between truth and falsehood is impaired. One of the reasons intoxicants are prohibited is that it clouds the reasoning faculty. “All drinks that intoxicate are unlawful (to drink)<!–[if !supportFootnotes]–>[2]<!–[endif]–>. All people are required to reason except for the insane, the child, and the sleeping or unconscious which is why there is no accounting upon them in such states. “There are three whose actions are not recorded: a lunatic whose mind is deranged till he is restored to consciousness, a sleeper till he awakes, and a boy till he reaches puberty

Abandoning reason is one of the central causes of African American Muslim dysfunction and stagnation. African American Muslims have a unique spiritual and evolutionary trajectory that naturally resists assimilation of a carbon copy just add water version of Islam. We need to see ourselves as we are and not as others imagine us or tell us we should be. When reason is abandoned, the first casualty is the knowledge of yourself. Without the knowledge of self, it is difficult to understand our needs and where we need to place our priorities. My father gave me a little white book when I was fifteen or sixteen years old written by Imam Abu Hamid al-Ghazaali in which he said: “Know, nothing is nearer to thee than thyself, and if thou knowest not thyself how canst thou know anything else? I am still elated from the MANA conference because I saw us being honest about ourselves and openly addressing difficult issues.

As converts, we try to base every decision upon Islamic principles, subsequently we cannot risk borrowing someone else’s reasoning and or agenda at the expense of our own; when we do, we mis-diagnose our priorities and that affects everything; our marriages, our children, our masaajid, how we deal with our society, and how we teach our children. Just consider the widely adopted Saudi based aqeedah matrix. I mean, just how many Mu’tazilas have we debunked and saved? When was the last we had a Rafida invasion in the hood? Is falling into idol worship our number one threat? African American Muslims do not need a post idolatry, witch hunt curriculum. Blatant idolatry, outside of the trinity has never been big with African Americans.

Looking back we can see that the Saudi aqeeda curriculum was an overdose of medicine prescribed without any examination. It unnecessarily damaged relationships between evolving African american Muslim communities while at the same time, more immediate threats to our well being to continue went ignored. It was like, here’s some aqeeda, now go out there and kick some butt. People get to know Allah by worshiping Him, calling upon Him, fearing Him, seeking forgiveness from Him after realizing that it is you who need rectification before anyone else. You won’t find Allah arguing about where He is or where He Isn’t.

When one abandons reasoning, he ignores the possibility of irrationality in his thinking. This has affected the scholars of Islam in great proportion and since we depend on them to check our understanding of a very simple religion, it affects us. Modern day scholars did not start to modify their methods of legal deduction and application until they started to re-assimilate reasoning and critical analysis as a result of western education. Forty plus years after the immigration act, we are starting to see broad differences between rulings of immigrant scholars who have decided to take up permanent residency in America and scholars from Saudi Arabia, and Yemen. Saudi Arabia and Yemen, have been the two major conduits of modern day Trojan Horse, Salafist methodology.

The difference between immigrant communities affected by this onslaught and African American Muslims communities affected by it is that the former are bribed with financial assistance, and marble laden masaajid, and the latter do it for free. Consider that thousands of African American Muslim youth have spread throughout the country praising their scholars, imposing their opinions as divine law and launching a ‘Borg’ style blitzkrieg upon the entire body of African American Muslims in America. They assailed and discredited every African American Muslim group, every organization, and every single one of our leaders without exception! Brothers and sisters! I want you to realize what has happened. They took our youth, from our homes, masaajid and neighborhoods, and gave them orders to attacked us, and they didn’t even pay them!

Let’s take a closer look at this; they have us so we don’t even argue about the Quran and the Sunna, both of which are entirely rational and makes sense to us. We argue and split from each other based upon elaborate theological deductions, triangular ill informed fataawa, words and views taken from singular individuals who lived hundreds of years ago, slogans, and words of meticulously selected groups of scholars, their books, their commands and their prohibitions . They tried to change the name of our religion from Islam to the Minhaj of the Salaf, and change our name from Muslim, to Salafi.

The very last straw for me is when they issued a fatwa, that regarded saying ‘takbir’ exhorting people to mention the name of our Guardian Lord, Creator, and Sustainer, Allahu sub’hanahu wa ta’ala, as a prohibited, evil innovation! As if Allah is going to say: ‘hey’ one at a time! No one, no one in the creation has the right to tell a Muslim where and when he or she can utter the Glorious name of Allah, or call people to his praise, except His Prophet (SAWS) who prohibited calling upon Him while relieving one’s self! How they managed to convince us that wearing a wedding ring is an evil imitation of the kuffar, while there is a Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant in walking distance from the Ka’ba that’s not considered imitation?

We are citizens of a society that is better educated, better organized, and more critically discerning than any of the Muslim countries. Muslims come to our country from all over the world for education and to grow and prosper as human beings. Mur’haban wal humdu lillah! Our country doesn’t send thousands of people to Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen to learn biology, medicine, anthropology, mathematics, engineering, and computer science, all of which require high levels of intellectual prowess and critical discernment. It doesn’t make us better, but it makes us different.

Thus, we dumb down our intelligence to understand supplemental restrictive add-ons. Like telling people when they can raise their hands to their Lord as if Allah is going to say: ‘I was going to answer your prayer but you raised your hands in earnest, petition denied!’ Or restrictions on adding anything to facilitate practice like thikr beads. Too many small things are being added to the moral CAT scan and new Muslims are finding it increasingly difficult to keep. We don’t want to descend into pettiness.

We need to re-examine and perhaps modify certain aspects of religious norms and supplemental rules which have proven harmful and counterproductive to our communities. We need to re-examine the role of Muslim women in our communities. They are the better educated, more organized and come with a broader skill set than the brothers, and are more organized and detailed. We also need to examine the prohibited actions that we do not find prohibited in the book of Allah and the Sunna of our Prophet (SAWS). Foreign influences have legitimized back biting, slander, speaking ill of the dead, showing joy, buying gifts for expectant mothers, treating addictions, visiting your mother on Thanksgiving day, and joining organizations, and prohibited thikr, patience with new converts, handling grief, preventing harm, visiting certain masaajid, reading certain books, a host of other things that we in America fight about. How can they rant and rave that the religion is complete and we dare not add to it and then say:’by the way, we added ten conditions to he shahaadah and you dare not reject them.

Introduction of religious laws to people who are new and unfamiliar with the Arabic language, legal jargon, and religious rites is done with graduation, not immediate compliance and regiment. For some, it works and in those cases al-humdu lillah. For most, it’s repelling. This is a religion not a boot camp. As we grow, we learn. Emphasizing conduct issues instead of technical variables works best for first time believers and it eases them into submission. That was closer to the methodology of the Prophet (SAWS). In the al-Aqba pledge the Prophet (SAWS) tasked them with simple moral tasks that are easily understood by anyone; Swear allegiance to me for: 1. Not to join anything in worship along with Allah. 2. Not to steal. 3. Not to commit illegal sexual intercourse. 4. Not to kill your children. 5. Not to accuse an innocent person (to spread such an accusation among people). 6. Not to be disobedient (when order,d) to do good deed.” The Prophet added: “Whoever among you fulfills his pledge will be rewarded by Allah. And whoever indulges in any one of them gets the punishment in this world, that punishment will be an expiation for that sin. And if one indulges in any of them, and Allah conceals his sin, it is up to Him to forgive or punish him (in the Hereafter).” ‘Ubada bin As-Samit added: “So we swore allegiance for these.” (points to Allah’s Apostle)<!–[if !supportFootnotes]–>[3]<!–[endif]–> People, entering Islam for the first need directions tailor made for them by the people who know deen and know them. That is why we need to evaluate scholarly opinions and differences, and protect our own religious best interests (maslaha deeniyya). We might want to also require that those who issue, ridiculous, second grader fatwas, are fined and must submit themselves to a psychological evaluation.

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Filed under: American Muslims, Black American Muslims, Fatwas and American Muslims, History, Muslim converts, Muslim Thought, , ,

One Response

  1. Abu Zaynab says:

    Very nice piece akhi! I look forward to reading more!

    Abu Zaynab

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