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.
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”.
1- Imam Hussein did not rise up to fight, and he did not declare war. He simply responded to a letter to go to Kufa and address injustices. He said it clearly that he is only leaving to Forbid Evil and Encourage Good. For this reason, he took his family with him.
2- Imam Hussein explained to Yazid’s troops about who he is, he made it clear who he was and what were his plans. He did not start any fight. For this reason, Hurr (a high ranking commander in Yazid’s troops) left his post and joined Imam Hussein.
3- Hurr was not the only person who changed his mind. Others who changed their minds were executed.
4- To the last minute, Imam Hussein tried to have a truce and told them to hold back. But he did NOT agree to their terms which was accepting Yazid as a Caliph (ruler).
5- The women in Imam Hussein’s tents fought and defended themselves and defended the children, some were martyred.
6- Zainab, Imam Hussein’s sister, saved Imam Sajjad’s life.
7- Zainab, Imam Hussein’s sister, played a major role in continuing Imam Hussein’s message.
8- Imam Hussein was known for being gentle, compassionate, calm, generous, and forgiving.
9- Imam Hussein’s daughter, estimated to be 4 or 5 years old, wept over his father’s murder. But her words were so strong that it shook many soldiers and made them regret what they did. She died of her wounds.
The message of Imam Hussein is not unique to Shias or to Iraqis and Iranians.
Here are some interesting video clips from around the globe:
In urdu (these are non-Muslims who commemorate Imam Hussein’s martyrdom)
When the Kharijites had camped for a battle against Imam Ali, one of the Kharijites started reciting Qur’an with a very beautiful voice. A man came to Imam Ali with doubts asking: “Are we to fight this guy?” Imam Ali answered in confidence: Yes, we are to fight against these people.
The next day when the battle was over and the Kharijites were defeated, Imam Ali called the man who was questioning the mission. As the soldier approached Imam Ali, the Imam pulled a dead body with spear from mud, maggots and filth. He then pointed and said: “This is the man who was reciting Qur’an with a beautiful voice last night. This is his state in this world, and his state in hereafter is much worse!”.
So I wonder, after so much pain, confusion, and suffering that Osama bin Laden caused on Muslims and non-Muslims, and after his abuse of Islam, Qur’an, and Sunnah … what is his status now?
As I was raised by two orphans I always wondered:
Prophet Adam had no father. Neither did Prophet Isa. Prophet Ibrahim had an evil step-father, who is mentioned in the Qur’an, other than that, his biological father was not there. There is a mention of Prophet Musa’s mother but no mention of his father. Prophet Yusuf had a father, but he grew up apart from his father. Prophet Muhammad’s father died before he was born.
Peace upon them all.
Orphans are special people.
There is so much blessings in helping them, not because we should feel sorry for them, but because they are very special to God.
Sponsor an orphan today with one of the most transparent NGO’s in the world: Islamic Relief.