Mr. Hamza Yusuf said that there is no word for “racism” in classic 7th century Arabic, and that the closest word is “Jahl” (ignorance).
However, that is not the case.
The Holy Qur’an (2:34 | 15:33 | 38:76) tells us:
God created Adam from hot clay and told Iblees to prostrate to Adam.
Iblees said: “I am better than him! You created me from fire and him from clay”. Iblees became “arrogant” and refused to bow to Adam, disobeying God’s direct command.
This is the first case of racism, where Iblees (Satan) believed that his race (made from fire) is superior over a race made from mud. The word used for it in the Qur’an is “arrogance” (Istikbar) إستكبار
Another word for “racism” that is used in Prophetic traditions (Hadith) is Asabya عصبية (believing that one is superior over another based on tribe or race).
These terms are encompassing and go beyond race, it would include tribe, culture, even gender, or anything that would make you feel superior over another human being.
May God the Almighty protect us from the evils of Satan, arrogance, and any type of supremacy.
1- The concept of Volunteering and working for free.
2- The concept of an Imam being an employee or even a freelancer (instead of a leader)
3- Thinking that a mosque should be run like a country (democracy, dictatorship, and other similar dumb discussions)
4- Emphasis on worldly matters; little focus on the consequences in hereafter.
5- Underpaid staff (if paid anything at all), drawing unqualified and underpaid people to manage an organization.
6- Mosque as a cultural oasis rather a place of worship, hence the in-fightings: the goal is not necessarily worshipping God, it is to push one own’s agenda.
7- Intolerance towards other religions and sects of Islam. A mosque would never allow Christians celebrate Christmas. However, there are plenty of Churches that allow Muslims hold Friday and Eid prayers.
8- Run mostly by sectarian bigots. Self-proclaimed “progressives” versus traditionalists. Shias versus Sunnis. Old school versus new school. Sufi versus Salafi… it never ends!
9- No flexibility in management, boards, etc.
10- Board members lack experience in religion, non-profit, and running organizations.
|سُبْحَانَكَ وَتَعَالَيْتَ عَمَّا يَقُولُ ٱلظَّالِمُونَ
Eid Mubarak … if it were easy, they wouldn’t be calling it “sacrifice”.
and when you do step forward to sacrifice for Truth, God is there to save you and defeat your enemies … a proven track record from Kaaba to Karbala to the shores of the Persian Gulf.
Eid Mubarak … you did it! You got ridiculed, mocked, stoned, rejected, and tortured, but you prevailed with the weapons of endurance, patience, and integrity.
Eid Mubarak … you understood that worshipping God cannot be completed without feeding the hungry, the orphans, and the needy.
Eid Mubarak … you are a new person, focused on serving mankind, God’s creation, and focused on hereafter.
If not … then … you have no Eid!
Bitter poison of separation I’ve tasted, don’t even ask
Pains in love I’ve endured, don’t even ask
I’ve searched both worlds, and
some beloved I’ve picked, don’t even ask
For a glance at my beloved’s door
So tearful I am, don’t even ask
Last night, I heard something
From my beloved’s lips, don’t even ask
Without You, in my need for You
I’ve endured so much pain, don’t even ask
Like Hafez on the path of Love
I’ve reached such dwelling, don’t even ask!
درد عشقی کشیدهام که مـپرس
زهر هجری چشیدهام که مـپرس
گشـتـهام در جـهان و آخر کار
دلـبری برگزیدهام کـه مـپرس
آن چـنان در هوای خاک درش
میرود آب دیدهام کـه مـپرس
مـن به گوش خود از دهانش دوش
سخـنانی شـنیدهام که مپرس
سوی من لب چه میگزی که مگوی
لـب لـعـلی گزیدهام که مپرس
بی تو در کـلـبـه گدایی خویش
رنـجهایی کـشیدهام که مپرس
همـچو حافـظ غریب در ره عشق
بـه مـقامی رسیدهام که مپرس
Mr. Qadhi in his Facebook post said that immigrant Muslims ignore inner-cities with a hashtag on Ferguson. Mr. Yasir Qadhi has a history of making erroneous statements (before and after his “reform”). It makes it more troubling when such a person with large following continues on misrepresenting our religion and communities:
1- Ferguson, Missouri is not “inner city”. Just because a young black man was shot and killed, it does not make Ferguson “inner city”. This goes to reveal how Mr. Qadhi thinks in terms of race and geography, which is sad and alarming.
2- Immigrant Muslims from Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, and Bosnia revived South and North St. Louis. They changed it with businesses, turning homes around, and cleaning up places from gang activities.
It is still work in progress. Their contribution should not be ignored in such broad statement.
When I lived in St. Louis, Pakistani immigrants were active in providing all kinds of support to inner-city youth with donations and volunteer time. A number of immigrant physicians have established free clinics, food pantries, and many other facilities. They routinely visit inner-city neighborhoods and work hard especially in education sector.
There is a large unnoticed Indo-Pakistani immigrants who work with NGO’s on gang abatement programs mostly with donations and fundraising events. We have also been involved with police training, speaking against police brutality, discrimination, and fighting for civil liberties. More work needs to be done, indeed, this will always be work in progress.
When in St. Louis, we always noticed that it was the ISNA-types who ignored the poor, the weak, and the needy. The problem with the types of Mr. Qadhi are a few things:
1- Their bandwagon statements: if it’s in headlines, they feel the urge of making a broad statement. Before that, where were they?!
2- These types of “shaykh”s or “shuyukh” are either too busy with their heads buried in ancient books or they’re busy preaching at podiums. Which leaves them no time for any meaningful action.
3- Qadhi and his types appear to be very nice and kind people and have impressive resumes. It becomes puzzling as to why they continue making such erroneous broad statements, false analysis of history, ignore our future, and only focus on reading and speaking. We don’t want to make any conjectures, but let’s keep this question in mind whenever we pick a “leader”.
“Unmosqued” is a documentary film covering how Muslims in the US stop coming to mosques, especially the youth. I haven’t seen the documentary because it keeps getting screened at mosques – this irony alone speaks volumes of mosques’ disconnect.
Many cite masjid politics or control freak “uncles”. as the reason why people stop coming to the masjids. However, here are the reasons why many of us don’t:
1- Most of them are influenced by Saudi propaganda and Salafi poison.
2- Not enough room for women and no accommodation for children.
3- Demotivating and uninspiring imams and preachers. Even the rockstar ISNA preachers seem to have more time for Facebook and Twitter than actually dealing with real community issues.
4- Imams and preachers who are not approachable.
5- No spiritual experience. It’s mostly about mechanics of prayer or potluck or a speech about a topic we’ve heard a million times.
6- No where to park.
7- Even if you find a place to park, some “brother” blocks your car and you’ll get late for work.
8- Youth gathering events are more like speed-dating events.
9- Closed and locked doors (needs no explanation). Has an operating hour like a coffee shop!
10- Majority of mosques in the US are poisoned enough by Salafi hate that minority Muslims such as Shias and Sufis can’t go without getting harassed.
Sheikh Al-Radhi (الشيخ حسين الراضي), one of Ayatollah Khoei’s leading and front line students, took it upon himself to dig deeper into the authenticity of modern day “Ziarat Ashura“. For those who may not know what “Ziart Ashura” is: it is a prayer piece that praises Imam Hussain and his sacrifice on the day of Ashura. The word “Ziarat” means “Visit”, and in our Shia doctrine there are several of them which we recite to visit, honor, and remember the heroes of Ahlul Bayt (Prophet’s grandchildren and household).
Ziarat Ashura is normally cited to justify the cursing of the first Islamic Caliphs (Abu Bakr, Omar, and Utham – may God be pleased with them). Because in that Ziarat, a line says: “And may God curse the first, the second, the third, and the fourth oppressor who oppressed Prophet Muhammad and his family”. I personally always skipped this line because I’d like to know whom I’m cursing and damning! Until I came across this book (image above).
Sheikh Al-Radhi, after years of study and obtaining the oldest versions of this Ziarat from Qom (in Iran), he discovered that those original texts did not have this part of damning and cursing anonymous first, second whatever. His book is available, has images of original texts published, and has caused a heated debate over the authenticity of Ziarat Ashura that we recite today.
Lesson learned: do your homework, and don’t believe everything you see or hear without proper research and insight. There is no such thing as blind faith in our religion of Islam – Shia or Sunni.