Imam Luqman Ahmad


The Lotus Tree Blog

The Make Believe World of Political Islam

No one is exactly sure just how many American Muslims there are in the United States. Estimates are anywhere between three and nine million. According one national Muslim advocacy organization which labels itself as the largest civil Muslim rights organization in the country, there are close to 9 million Muslims in the United States. This same organization reported that there were a little bit less than 3000 incidents of anti Islamic, or anti Muslim sentiment occurring in the United States for the entire calendar year of 2008. Interesting enough, many of these incidents were in the form of anti Muslim, or anti Islamic rhetoric, some of which bear the legal definition of hate speech. This means that a full .03% of the American Muslim population have been victimized by anti-Muslim sentiment. Sounds like a civil rights crisis folks.
One of the dangerous paradoxes of national American Muslim civil rights organizations is that it mixes politics with religion, obfuscating the boundary between the two, in a way that morally bankrupts our practice of Islam as a religion, and replaces it with the triviality of tribal based politics. Political Islam in America has put on a convincing, Broadway caliber performance as the defender of the faith and the bedrock of Muslim morality. Unfortunately, for most practicing American Muslims, Islam is meant as a way to personal salvation, and a path to righteousness, both of which are antithetical to the real intention of political Islam. Before it was; convert to Islam, purify your soul, and get right with your Lord. Now it’s; convert to Islam, join the tribe, take over the world.
Political Islam is arguably the most crippling and spiritually debilitating element confronting Muslims in America. It effectively derails the virtuous aspirations of Islam as a faith, re-colonizes indigenous Muslims of color, and removes looking out for our own spiritual best interests as an option. Political Islam undermines the foundations of our morality as people of Muslim. It even has its own enchanted language, and interpretations.
In political Islam, there is no mention of the Devil, no reference to the signs of the last days, and no upward spiritual trajectory. In the lexicon of political Islam, anti Muslim sentiment, in the form of verbal disparagement, or rhetoric, is characterized as a civil rights crisis for American Muslims. How about that for an irony! I remember learning in kindergarten that sticks and stones may break your bones and that names will never hurt you. “Let not their words worry you. We know well what they say secretly and privately” [36:76 Quran]. In the philosophy of political Islam, Muslims and Islam are one and the same. In other words, we don’t aspire to practice Islam; we are Islam! Thus, since Islam is perfect, we as Muslims are also perfect, and cannot be criticized. We have it all worked out. Criticize us; you criticize Islam.
Political Islam has no spiritual endgame. In the magical world of political Islam, American Muslims have no moral deficiencies. We have reached the pinnacle of our spiritual potential; gone as far as we can go, and the only thing left for us to do, is to bring everyone else up to our level. We accomplish this by pointing out every possible deficiency we can find in the West, in the non Muslim, in Europe, in American foreign policy, in the media, and so on. We spend the rest of our time arguing amongst ourselves. Political Islam is so convincing that even American Muslims who were born in the west, and think with critical discernment as westerners often do, criticizing being western as anti Islamic.
The political process of political Islam in America is to think as a tribe. When American Muslim Communities were first formed in this country, we would have Imams as our leaders. You knew his name, where he lived, and knew what he looked like. Now that political Islam seems to be in charge, American Muslims don’t have too many individual religious leaders. Instead, we have tribal councils. These tribal councils tell us which issues are important, and which issues are not important. They issue suggestions as to what Imams should speak about during their Friday Sermons, and they tell Muslims around the country when and where they should stage demonstrations. These tribal councils, the most influential of which is CAIR, are the ones which have designated responding to the American Muslim civil right crisis and fighting islamophobia, as the issues most deserving the attention of Muslims in America.
How about that? American Muslims, go to work, go to school, and open liquor stores virtually anywhere they like, buy cars, sell cars, purchase homes, open businesses and engage in the pursuit of happiness without fear or fanfare. Unless of course you’re part of the 33% who are African American, in which case there may be some statistically disproportionate socio-economic obstacles to overcome. This is something I find very interesting since, the national American Muslim “grassroots” organizations tend to avoid addressing tissues that disproportionately affect the darker hued, indigenous third of the American Muslim demographic. However, the tribal council says that we have an American Muslim civil rights crisis on our hands, so let’s get with the program.
This is not your father’s type of civil rights crisis mind you; no church bombings, no lynchings, no fire hoses and dogs set loose upon the innocent, and no Jim crow laws.(except amongst the tribal leadership councils). On the contrary, my friend, we’re living in a virtual age. We have virtual Islam, virtual Muslim communities, and a virtual civil rights crisis. You can summon your American Muslim civil rights crisis on your schedule. Once you get home, make your prayers, check the mail, and pick up the kids from soccer practice, all you have to do is click on your computer, or cell phone, check your inbox, and presto! You can enjoy your civil rights crisis, while you are having dinner with the family. You can even share it with your friends.
Concerned about boredom? No problem, we’ve got four-hundred million souls here in the land of the free. Finding anti Muslim sentiment is easier than finding a tourist in the middle of Times Square on New Year’s Eve. This assures that, maintains a full complement of issue options in our jihad to defend Muslim civil rights in America.
Granted, anti Muslim speech can become monotonous, so for those who also want variety, here are some other potential targets of our scorn; an obscenity blurted out by a passer-by, a co-worker ordering someone a ham hoagie when you specifically asked for albacore tuna on Jewish rye, somebody pressured into lip syncing Christmas carols at the companies’ ‘holiday party’, tribal council not getting advanced notice of an FBI investigation, a water meter reader guy not taking off his shoes when he walked into the Masjid, and anti-terrorism laws that make spending charity on poor Muslims and non-Muslims living in the United States, easier than sending all your zakaat abroad, (talk about crisis!).
As a self serving political strategy, hyper-sensitizing American Muslims to random occurrences of anti-Islamic rhetoric is perfect. In a country of 400,000,000 people, where people are free, to speak their mind, finding someone with a negative opinion of Islam, or Muslims, or Arabs, is a no brainer. It could be a city councilman in Iowa, a screenwriter in Hollywood, a citrus grower in Florida, a syndicated talk show host, a civil service employee, a small town newspaper reporter in Kansas, or a third grade schoolteacher in Arkansas. You simply pick the disparaging statement which you believe will generate the most indignation in the American Muslim cyber community, and you got yourself a campaign. Throw in a press conference or two, followed by several hundred thousand e-mail alerts, and you got yourself a miniature golf version of an American Muslim civil rights crisis. Gil Scott Heron was right; the revolution would not be televised, it will be in your inbox! Lions and tigers and stares, oh my!

Imam Luqman Ahmad


Filed under: American Muslims, Black American Muslims, Fitna, Islam in America, islamophoia, Muslim converts, Muslim Thought, , , ,

The Enslavement of the Black American Muslim

The Enslaement of the Black American Muslim

Filed under: American Muslims, Fatwas and American Muslims, Islam in America, Muslim converts, Muslim Thought, Trials of the End of Days, , , , ,

Islamophobia; The Phobia Bogeyman

I was thinking about this jihad against islamophobia and anti Muslim hate speech, and to be honest, it really wasn’t making any sense to me. But then I started thinking, maybe I just don’t get it. After all, I’m not the sharpest kufi in the drawer, and if our Muslim leaders say that this is the most important thing that we need to be doing with our time and our money, maybe I better take a second look at it and start asking some questions.

My first question; is islamophobia, and anti-Muslim and anti-Islam hate speech synonymous with each other? Or are they two separate things, or three separate things? Because the people who make the anti-Muslim hate speech don’t sound like they are afraid of Islam or Muslims. Some of them even sound ready to fight. So I imagine they’re not islamophobes; just anti-Muslim and anti-Islam spokespeople. By the way, can we make up a nifty sounding name for the anti Muslim an anti Islam spokespeople? We are after all are Muslims, and Muslims don’t discriminate. We should be fair to the people that we’re doing this jihad against, and give them all trendy sounding nicknames. Maybe for the Islam and Muslim hate spokes-people, we could call them; ‘deen haters’, or something like that. Somebody please pass this suggestion.

I’m still confused about the meaning of the two terms; anti Islam hate speech, and anti Muslim hate speech. Are they synonymous? Because as far as Islam goes; ya gotta love it! But as far as anti Muslim hate speech, we have a lot of Muslims that do that against each other. Sometimes they do more than speech; Muslims have been known to bomb a market place, with innocent woman and children in it, or launch a grenade into a masjid upon unsuspecting worshippers. Is that hate speech, or is that just plain murder. So I guess my question is, since it seems that anti-Islamic hate speech is different from anti-Muslim hate speech, do we want to stop all types of anti Muslim hate speech, whether it’s Muslim against Muslim, or non Muslim against Muslim? Should we focus on anti Muslim hate speech that comes from non Muslims first? Or focus on the anti Muslim hate speech that comes from a Muslim? And just what do we mean by anti Muslim? Does that mean that if you say anything against a Muslim that sounds hateful, regardless of the reason that you said it? You’re guilty of anti Islamic hate speech?

Does someone who has a good reason to speak out against something a Muslim does, or is doing, fall in the category as an anti Muslim hate spokesman? Or is such a case an exception? By the way, is there an anti Islam/ anti Muslim hate speech manual? If it is, can somebody e-mail me one so I can catch up on the jargon of this jihad?

I was wondering something else; if the campaign to stop anti Muslim hate speakers from hate speech is successful, then how will we know who hates Islam and Muslims, and who doesn’t? This could become a big problem down the road, because if we stop the hate speech maker from making hate speech against Islam and Muslims, then all that hate is going to build up and express itself some other way. Americans do something called venting their anger. We express ourselves freely to get things off of our chest. After that, were okay, and everything’s back to normal. We’ve been trying as a nation to move away from hating too much, because you never know when you may need to work with that person, or live next to the person. So we try to let people say whatever they want to say, and if they want to keep on saying hateful things, even if it’s about Islam and Muslims, we just let them. Sometimes people need to say things to keep from doing things. If we stop people free people from expressing themselves, I don’t think people are going to take too kindly to that, and there is a very good chance it could backfire.

I was born and raised as a Muslim in America. There were many people who used to say hateful things about Islam and Muslims. We were the only Muslim family in our neighborhood in Philadelphia, in a section called Germantown. I remember a Muslim woman in Philly who hosted a radio talk show, I’m not going to mention her name but I hope she somehow reads this post. She invited me through a third party to be a guest on her show during the month of Ramadan. When I arrived at the station, we recognized each other as we both attended the same junior high school 12 or 13 years prior. The first thing she did when she recognized me was to apologize for making fun of me and my religion when we were teenagers in junior high. She said: “all the time that we used to laugh at you and think you were crazy with your prayers and your strange faith, you were following the truth, and I was in darkness”.

The Prophet had a neighbor who used to not only subject him to anti Muslim and anti Islamic hate speech on a daily basis; she used to throw excrement on him. The Prophet made no attempt at all to silence her anti Muslim and anti Islam speech. One day he noticed that she was not outside of her house cursing him. He inquired about her and was told that she was ill. Being that she was his neighbor, the Prophet visited her, asked about her health and that mention that he missed seeing her outside. His kindness (SAWS) affected her and Allah guided her to Islam. I guess that’s why the Prophet never bothered to wage war against anti Islamic, anti Muslim hate speech. It seems that there is no guidance in it.

I do have another question. Whose idea was this? Or what is the name of the consulting firm who came up with this ridiculous plan? Because I believe we should get a refund. I want to file a complaint. Who’s in charge of this campaign? I mean who’s the boss, the head honcho, the leader of the pack, the chairman of the board, the imam, or the Amir? Whatever his title is, American Muslims have the right to know who is leading the islamophobia campaign. Since CAIR is collecting the money for it, then CAIR needs to answer some questions. Because I am having trouble understanding how they are promoting civil rights, by trying to curtail peoples constitutional right, not to like Muslims. Notwithstanding, people are given the freedom by God to say what they want, and if they want to speak against Islam and against Muslims, who cares? That’s why we have a Lord to handle hate speech. Let not their words grieve you; surely we know what they say in secret and in what they say openly”. 36:76 Even if somebody were able to silence all the public hate speech, it will still continue in private.

Another question; can someone tell me how do you know whether or not a person is an islamophobe? Because if people are afraid of you, they don’t usually say anything about it; they just bide their time, until they can do something about it. I’m just trying make sense of the strategy to make people not afraid of Islam and of Muslims, because if I is successful, we won’t have any way of knowing who is afraid of Islam and Muslims, and who is not? Unless we get a secret weapon to look inside hearts to find out who is afraid of the Muslim and of Islam. I haven’t looked that the polls lately but I didn’t see the one that said how many Americans are afraid of Muslims.

As a Muslim, I’m not afraid of Muslims. However, I’m afraid what the bogus, self serving; incompetent immigrant Muslim leadership would do, if we let them have some power in America. I hate the way immigrant Muslim leaders are attempting to take control of the direction of Islam in America without having the slightest idea of what they’re doing, and not even bothering to ask the Muslims who were here first, is this the right way to go about things.

I have another question, because if stopping most important thing that Muslims in America need to be concerned with, does it come before or after zakat and hajj? I mean is it fighting hate speech, give charity to the poor, and then make hajj? Or is it give charity, make hajj and then fight hate speech? Which is first? The economy is getting worse and people need to know how to budget their hate speech money. I’m just fascinated with this hate speech thing. In fact the whole islamophobia phenomena amazes me? It and actually frightens me how so many of us is going for this. But then I started thinking; maybe I’m just not getting it, and why I’m asking so many questions. If someone can help me out here, I will be very grateful.

In the meantime, how about stopping hunger, eviction, and power shutoffs? I’m the Imam of a community in Sacramento California that has poor people. So Instead of wasting money fighting Islamophobia, how about sending it to Masjid Ibrahim Islamic Center? We can make better use of it in ways that are truly legislated in our religion. What an idea!

Imam Luqman Ahmad

Masjid Ibrhim Islamic Center

3449 Rio Linda Blvd.

Sacramento, Ca 95838

Filed under: American Muslims, Black American Muslims, Islamophobia, Muslim converts, Muslim Thought, , , ,

Islamophobia; Is That Our Only Answer to Criticism?

I wrote this article two years ago. I thought I’d give it another dance…

Confronting Islamophobia, It’s No Dog and Pony Show

By Imam Abu Laith Luqman Ahmad,

Recognition of islamophobia as the irrational and unwarranted fear of Muslims and Islam lingers in lexical incubation. Some accept the term fully while others discount its validity. Whether this neologism will gain currency as a bona fide social pathology, or be viewed simply as a marginally legitimate term, moonlighting as a public relations tool, remains to be seen. Phobias, according to the American Psychiatric Association are mental disorders characterized by persistent and irrational fear of a particular thing, situation, or animal. The word islamophobia, and the operative definition applied to it, is far from clinical recognition. However, I must admit, it is a catchy term; and certainly trendy sounding enough to fuel circulation. Like; “what are you guys doing this weekend? “We’re going to fight islamophobia!” Its etymology insures seamless placement in the “for Islam”, “saving the deen”, “for Allah” category.

Islamophobia has a diabolical, sinister ring to it. You can almost picture a young Muslim mother sending her child off to public school; “Now son, remember to drink your milk, look both ways when you cross the street, don’t forget to say your prayers on time, and be sure to watch out for any islamophobia! We’ve used the term with such frequency and with such self serving overtones that it has started to lose it effectiveness if it even had any. Picture the scenario of a man who utters an anti-Muslim remark causing outrage in the Muslim community; he’s rushed to a licensed islamophobist for diagnosis, after submitting to a few diagnostics, the man turns to the doctor in anxious trepidation and says; “well Doc, tell me! What is it? Racism? Psychomotor agitation? Bipolar disorder? Bird flu? The doctor, clipboard in, hand, gazes solemnly into his eyes and says: “no Pat, what you have is a mild case of islamophobia”. The man wiping the sweat off his brow says: “That’s all? Thank God, for a moment, I thought it was something serious”.

As Muslims, accurate and responsible use of categorical verbiage is a moral obligation, and in this case, a vital tactical adjunct for Muslims in America. This is why it is critical that before we wage jihad against islamophobia, we accurately define the terminology. Perhaps, we can avoid misdirecting our energies in what may very well be another fruitless pursuit, frocked in Islamic trappings that fails to address the root of our problems as Muslims. Sure there is discrimination against Muslims and yes, it should be addressed, but not manipulated. I don’t see crowds of rednecks chasing down Muslims in the streets. (no offense to rednecks).

Let’s set aside American foreign policy for a moment, thats a Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: American Muslims, Black American Muslims, immgrant muslims, Islam in America, Muslim converts, Muslim Thought, , , , ,

American Muslims Openly Address Racism in Muslim America

Sacramento California Tuesday, May 6th, 2008 – Masjid Ibrahim Islamic Center, a Northern California American Muslim community, took an unprecedented step towards addressing racial and ethnic division amongst American Muslims by convening the first public community debate that centered on racial, ethnic and religious division. While American Muslims are nationally engaged in efforts to reach out to the non-Muslim community; very little attention is paid to the racial, ethnic and doctrinal divisiveness that exists among American Muslim Communities Nationwide.

On Saturday, April 24th, Imam Luqman Ahmad, a second generation American Muslim whose parent’s converted to Islam in the 1950s, spoke before a packed audience about the issue of racial, ethnic and religious sectarianism amongst Muslims in America. Sectarianism and division along tribal, racial, ethnic, and religious lines has plagued the Muslim world for generations. American Muslims along with their immigrant Muslim brethren, who have settled in the United States from all parts of the Muslim world, have a unique opportunity to candidly address the division, which lies at the root of many of the problems in the Muslim world. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: American Muslims, Black American Muslims, Muslim converts, Muslim Disunity, Muslim Thought, Muslim Unity, Muslm Division, Racism, Trials of the End of Days, , , , , ,

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. Read the rest of this entry »

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

The Islamic Ruling Regarding Baby Showers in America

The United States, like other countries is a culturally dynamic environment. Understanding how to apply Islamic law and maintain the required limits of Islamic protocol (adab) require a thorough understanding of the shariah and the culture, as well as the inclusion and consultation of indigenous American Muslim intelligentsia when rendering legal edicts. Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya alluded to this issue very succinctly; when commenting of the necessity of understanding people’s cultural practices, he said: “This is a major foundation that every mufti (legist) or ruler needs; he must be both well-versed (in peoples traditions) as well as matters of command and prohibition and then apply them both simultaneously. Otherwise he will do more harm than good. If he is not intimately aware of an issue in which people have particular understanding, a transgressor will appear to him as the transgressed and the truth will appear to him as falsehood and vice versa.”

Ibn Qayyim went on to say: “Because of his ignorance of the people, their traditions, their conditions and their habits, he will not be able to distinguish (between truth and falsehood), Thus, it is imperative that (the scholar) understands the machinations of the people, their deceptions, their cultural traditions and their habits because fatwa (religious rulings) change with the changing of time, place culture and condition, and all of this is part of the religion of Allah.”- Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya (D. 751 A.H.) quoted from: “Ii’laan al-Muwaqqi’een an Rabbil aalameen” vol. 4, p. 157 Read the rest of this entry »

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

Recording History for American Muslim Generations

Tabaqaat al-Amrikiyyeen


طبقات الامريكين

By Imam Luqman Ahmad

Biographical stationing is an important part of Muslim historiography. Referencing in Islam is frequently based upon ranking and association; whether it is predicated upon precedence, or upon levels of religious knowledge, or length of service to Islam and the Muslims, each group or person is accorded a status according to his or her designated ranking. In the hadith; “The best generation is my generation. Then those that follow them. Then those that follow them”[1], there is a reference to biographical stationing. Hence, the best generation after the Prophet (SAWS) by agreement of the scholars is the generation of the companions because of their own achievements and because according to Ibn Hajar al-Asqalaani; of their proximity to the Prophet (SAWS).

Early Muslim historians used to employ a biographical recording method whereas the ranks of the Muslim were chronicled by ranking and category. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: American Muslims, History, Muslim converts, ,

Where is the love?

It occurred to me recently that many Muslims do not feel safe inside a Masjid. I don’t mean physically safe, although in some Muslim countries that is the case. I mean safe from criticism, rejection, judgment, belittlement, or malice. The average convert is tasked with a laundry list of religious practices, philosophical adjustments, and immediate lifestyle changes that he or she must complete before they can are full members of the group. Then they are gradually introduced to numerous and often conflicting notions about what type of Muslim they are to be, who they should like and dislike, and what is correct or incorrect about their prayer, their dress, their speech, their friends and associates, the pictures in their house, their dog. (Rover has to take a hike) . It is simply too much for the average convert. .This perhaps explains why the average American convert, after their initial conversion, the ensuing euphoria and congratulatory pleasantries, and receipt of their initial marching orders, is petrified about returning to the Masjid.Many Muslims in America come to Islam with many unresolved issues in their life. For many ths is on eof the things hat led them to Islam in the frst place. The shahaadah removes all sin from a persons record. However, it does not remove the effects of it or it’s temptation. Nor does conversion to Islam change their condition. People have to go back to whatever situation they came from. Whether it is a bad relationship or an unlawful one, addiction, pain , loneliness, low self esteem.This is especially true for African American Muslims . The primary reference that we have about houses of worship and religious communities are the churches. everybody knows that in a chucrh, if you don’t get nothing else, you will get some love and you’ll get fed. It is painfully clear that many of our Masaajid are ill equipped to give people what they need. You don’t throw a prayer book or a tawheed manifesto at someone who just needs to talk, or needs a friend or a confidante.Roberta Flack said it with resonance; “where is the love.” More on this later

Filed under: Muslim converts, ,