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Hamza Yusuf and Black Lives Matter

Qa'im

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As a Muslim Canadian outsider, the U.S's race problem is blaring and obvious to me whenever I visit. Even in the more liberal states, whites and blacks live in separate neighbourhoods, and the black neighbouroods are poorer and not looked after by the city. Whites and blacks have very different jobs and roles in society.

After over 300 years of slavery, 99 years of segregation, and 52 years of tumultuous race relations, the race issue still dominates public discourse in America. While most of the world has normalized relations with the descendants of former slaves, the Trans-Atlantic slave trade in America was unique in its shear brutality. African Americans were stripped of their names, languages, cultures, and religions, and were deprived of a knowledge of self that other peoples had. "Black" became synonymous with cruelty, ugliness, and bleakness, while Social Darwinist whites put themselves in a position of natural superiority.

African Americans fought long and hard to gain the same civil rights and liberties as ordinary Americans. Since the Civil Rights Act was passed in 1964 however, the race issue has remained salient, with spikes in relevance every so often. In general, black people still suffer indiscriminately from police brutality, high rates of incarceration, the breakdown of the family, and lower access to education, health care, and high-paying jobs. Some of these issues stem out of policies that overlook African American issues, while others are more social. Several movements were established to redress these serious issues, such as the NAACP, Urban League, the Rainbow PUSH coalition, as well as the Nation of Islam and other religious organizations. In recent years, Black Lives Matter (BLM) has become the leading activist group on the streets and on social media, bringing awareness to issues in the African American community and seeking to redress them through progressive policies.

Hamza Yusuf recently suggested that Muslims should not join BLM, in fear that more identity politics would exacerbate race relations in America. The Shaykh went on to naively use trigger phrases like "black on black violence", "more whites are shot by police", and "police are not all racist", which had him labelled as a racist by legions of hipster Muslims on Twitter. As many have pointed out, Shaykh Hamza Yusuf comes from a pretty privileged background - he grew up in a wealthy neighbourhood, his relatives were wealthy, his parents were well-educated, and he went to private schools (see here). His family marched with the civil rights movement and against the Vietnam War, and explored different world religions, but like a lot of 60-70s hippies, the Shaykh is probably still a bit more out of touch with the working class than the average person. Still though, Shaykh Hamza Yusuf has actually lived in with bedouins in Africa, and he has spoken about poverty, inequality, and the civil rights movement on multiple occasions. His resume, as a Shaykh that balances the best of Western education with traditional Sunni scholarship, is far more impressive than that of most Western Muslim speakers.

On one hand, Hamza Yusuf could have worded himself better to address the very real race problem in the United States. Yes, there are anti-discriminatory laws in place, but clearly a lot more needs to be done to redress the race issue - body cameras on cops, judicial reform, and affirmative action in police departments in minority communities are a good step. But the onslaught against Shaykh Hamza has a few people scratching their heads - first off, why don't we get the same outrage when a Muslim speaker says something insensitive about Shiites, or when a speaker gleans over racist or sexist injustices in the Muslim world? More pertinently though, is what Shaykh Hamza said wrong? Hamza Yusuf is a Sufi, which attracts a lot of liberal ears to listen to him, but he is a traditionalist and a conservative at his core, and so every now and then he will say something that will get this type of reaction (this time being the climax).

Hamza Yusuf's argument is, if BLM is just an angry rebuke to the system, with few clear policy goals, then it has the potential of making problems worse - more violence against police officers (more police have died in 2016 than in the last 5 years, some during BLM protests), and worse race relations in coming months and years. BLM is more than just the issue of police brutality - it is a living, breathing organization with its own motives and goals. For the purpose of this article, it is important for our minds to mentally separate BLM and police brutality for a moment. BLM in essence is a cadre of identity politics, which highlights one's race or gender as an essential quality in a person (rather than an accidental quality), and very much sees everything through the lens of racism. Hamza Yusuf said that this only helps create the type of "whitelash" we saw with the election of Trump, which will only make things worse for minorities and not better. Hamza Yusuf once said, ethics should be rooted in verbs and adverbs, not nouns and pronouns. I agree with this, and while racism and white privilege is real, we should talk about the *issues* that plague society and not just about identity.

This controversy has caused me to think on multiple fronts. With regards to the Muslim community, it is clear that most Muslim youth identify with leftist politics, since it is multicultural and inclusive. Unfortunately, that comes with baggage: secularism, individualism, naturalism and religious skepticism, identity politics, LGBT rights, hookup culture and the normalization of sex, third wave feminism, body positivism, political correctness, and in general pro-revolutionary sentiments in almost every situation where even mild grievances exist. Balancing this with the Islamic tradition, which can be opposite on most of these issues, is particularly troublesome. The hipster Muslima with a rainbow scarf and a Guevara shirt marching at a Sl*tWalk is becoming increasingly more normal in Western Muslim communities.

I also began thinking about how Black Lives Matter differs from earlier black organizations. There's no doubt that BLM is the cool kid on the block, whom every Muslim revolutionary wants to embrace (Jonathan AC Brown, Linda Sarsour, Suhaib Webb to name a few). However, are their goals the same as the black community, and are they consistent with Islam?

In the 1990s, we saw another spike in relevance of the race issue, and this time, it was the Nation of Islam (NOI) under Louis Farrakhan that was the primary "race communicator" for black people in America. The NOI is a black nationalist American Muslim sect that differed from traditional Islamic views on theology and race. Irregardless of where the NOI may have deviated, the Nation of Islam organized a grassroots movement that brought black civil rights groups, religious groups, and activists together at the 1995 Million Man March. The Million Man March was a historic rally at Washington DC that brought leading African American figures together to demand justice and reproach, including Rosa Parks, Betty Shabazz, Jesse Jackson, Jeremiah Wright, Shaykh Ahmad Tijani Ben Omar, and Minister Farrakhan.

The Million Man March approached the issue of African American suffering in a very different way than BLM. First off, the March was only for black males, who were seen as the major agents of potential change in the Afro-American community. Over 72% of black children are born out of wedlock. Fatherlessness, which Hamza Yusuf mentions in his later apology lecture, is detrimental to any family, and leads to higher rates of poverty, drug and alcohol abuse, and mental health problems. Considering the high rates of gang violence, incarceration, drug abuse, and unprotected sex among black males, any solution to the plight of African Americans must include black men. Secondly, the Million Man March sought to bring all religious organizations together to seek repentance and God's support. As people of faith, we don't see all suffering simply as a result of natural causes; rather some suffering can be a divine trial or chastisement, by which we must seek God's succor. The event's major themes were "Lessons from the Past", "Affirmation and Responsibility", and "Atonement and Reconciliation", and it was believed that the very real injustices that exist in America would only be solved through a return to traditional values. Thirdly, the Million Man March gave the means for thousands of black people to register as voters, making the black community a strong political bloc in the American electoral system. The event ended with a pledge to God that they would be good community members from that day forward.

Black Lives Matter, on the other hand, has a very different vision for black America. It is, of course, absolutely secular, and blames the collective suffering of black people on white supremacy. Furthermore, not only does BLM sideline black fathers, but it ignores them completely on their website. BLM has a lot to say about the LGBT community and [presumably single] mothers, its guiding principles leaves straight black males out completely, despite the documented problems that fatherless homes can cause in the lives of youth. BLM even sees traditional "nuclear families" as somehow white supremacist, even though families in Africa are largely patriarchal and nuclear. Yusra Khogali, the leader of the Toronto chapter of Black Lives Matter (remember, Hamza Yusuf made his comments in Toronto), infamously tweeted about "killing men and whitefolks", and shared articles telling women to avoid conscientious black men. Khogali recently protested against Dr. Jordan Peterson, a professor of psychology at the University of Toronto, for refusing to use genderless pronouns like "xe" instead of "he" or "she". BLM also hijacked the Gay Pride Parade until their demands on the Pride organization were met, and hijacked a Bernie Sanders event in 2015. Millennial organizations like BLM are the reason why the alt-right exists, who also use the same frame of identity politics to identify as white nationalists to attack Muslims, blacks, women, and others. Contributing to the frame of identity politics can awaken the sleeping white-nationalist giant in Europe and North America, and awaken far right-wing voices that want to push all minorities away.

Not only does BLM stand for things that are totally irreconcilable with Islam, such as the LGBT issue, but it is devoid of the religiosity found in other black movements, the participation of straight black men, and it does not responsibly address issues within the black community. It is focused on "fighting the system", rather than clamping down on a hookup culture that is destined to plague another generation with fatherless households and STDs. Rather than solving the problems related black fathers, it ignores their issues and fails to address them. It is common to find feminist circles that paint black fathers as irresponsible misogynists that are part of the problem and not the solution - this attitude can only make things worse.

At the very least, the Nation of Islam encouraged a self-help approach: they promoted strong family values, they started rehabilitation programs for those affected by drugs and alcohol, they deployed their Fruit of Islam unit to stop riots and gang violence, they established their own schools and curricula, and they rid their community of the social ills that affect other black communities. BLM on the other hand is a Soros-funded intersectional liberal organization with an agenda that does not jive with Abrahamic religion.

When women, Latinos, blacks, Muslims, and homosexuals began popularizing identity politics, it was a natural consequence that right-wing whites would start doing the same. Some people honestly believe that unless you are black, then you aren't capable of commenting on anything to do with the black community. A white person commenting on black affairs, even to defend black people, is considered a racist by liberals because he is "whitesplaining". Franchesca Ramsey recently appeared in a video arguing that very point. The result of this thinking however is potentially devastating. It means that white people will no longer speak up against racism, because they don't want to appear racist or patronizing. It also means that educated people with legitimate views will be silenced simply due to their race. It also limits outsider perspectives, which are always necessary in a democracy, as every group should be critiqued and held accountable by outsiders. Strange enough, it's also kind of contradictory to multiculturalism - by saying only black people can speak about black issues, and women can only be feminists, and males are inherently privileged, you end up segregating society further. A white male like Hamza Yusuf speaking about race relations or women's issues does not contradict the ethics of our religion - I'm not saying he's right or wrong, I'm saying that he has the right to speak on these issues especially as a trained scholar.

Let's keep in mind that the Muslim community in America in the 60s and 70s was largely an organic one (the biggest being Warith Deen Muhammad's movement), made up of working-class African Americans and white converts. The early Muslim immigrants to America even joined these communities and worked closely with them. But the big influx of bourgeois Muslim immigrants in the 80s and 90s, with their foreign funding (from Saudi and elsewhere), established their own separate communities, bought out the existing communities / swallowed them up, then ostracized the native population, until they almost fizzed out completely. Now, some of those same upper-middle class children of immigrants think they can be pro-black because of their liberal arts degree, a Malcolm quote and a BLM march, yet they themselves would never marry a black person, or volunteer with the homeless or at a prison, or mingle with working-class people in general. As someone who has decent connections within the African American Muslim community in the U.S, I can tell you that these second-generation Muslims really mean nothing to them, and often do more harm than good.

Overall, I agree with Mehdi that Muslims need to be doing more outreach with other communities - that includes the black community. We should also address racism in our own communities, which is more outward than in the average white community. In Trump's America, we cannot afford to stand alone; we need to do more for our cities and our Muslim and non-Muslim communities. We can reach out to black churches, support black businesses, and join civil rights organizations. At the same time, we cannot fall into the trap of supporting causes that are antithetical to our tradition.

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Now you should send this post to Mehdi, and Hamza Yusuf, somehow. And post it 'out there' I.e. On so Yusra's Twitter page or some BLMs profile, and let this get retweeted. 

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@E.L King That's what I used to think, but now I'm halfway between isolation and outreach. On the one hand I prefer isolation and a sort of "all Muslims getting together and being told the above post and immunising themselves and families against all the tidal waves of LGBT feminism and ant family propaganda", but on the other hand I sometimes feel that might not be enough, if we are to truly protect ourselves we need to 'reach out' and try and attack or change the views of others (seculars, liberals, non Muslims) and perhaps that could lead to an overall change in attitudes/ideaologies amongst "them", and this will then make things much more relaxed and easier for us. We won't have to worry about ourselves or our kids or brothers or sisters being sucked in by any of these ideaologies too much. 

An example I can give is the simple fact that the old generation feminists (70/80s) many of them are now (already have) turned on feminism, and say that they were told a lie about having it all I.e climbing the career ladder, doing the long 'wall street' hours, and maintaining her marriage, and maintaining her house, and raising her kids, and keep relations with her other family. They tried this, failed, and many of them are depressed and the broken families and missed opportunity of loving and raising their kids. I know this specific example because in my office which I work in we have a white British woman in her 40s, and she just blurted out one day ""I READ THIS BOOK TITLED "you can't have it all" AND THIS IS TRUE! WE WERE TOLD A LIE IN THE 80s and 90s THAT YOU CAN HAVE IT ALL!!"" ( we what does Islam say about this all?!? Exactly.) 

Islam is Allah's wisdom. So imagine 'out reaching' to the woman like the one in my office. About what Islam says about marriage and work and wife and husband. And imagine reaching out to millions women like these, and students, and making a major stand against the LGBT feminist and no identity and no nuclear family sillyness. 

But, then sometimes I think isolation is best first simply by how bad the state of the Muslims is. Let's first fix our house and make sure it is water proof, wind proof and proof from all the other satanic crap. 

Edited by YAli

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17 minutes ago, YAli said:

@E.L King That's what I used to think, but now I'm halfway between isolation and outreach. On the one hand I prefer isolation and a sort of "all Muslims getting together and being told the above post and immunising themselves and families against all the tidal waves of LGBT feminism and ant family propaganda", but on the other hand I sometimes feel that might not be enough, if we are to truly protect ourselves we need to 'reach out' and try and attack or change the views of others (seculars, liberals, non Muslims) and perhaps that could lead to an overall change in attitudes/ideaologies amongst "them", and this will then make things much more relaxed and easier for us. We won't have to worry about ourselves or our kids or brothers or sisters being sucked in by any of these ideaologies too much. 

An example I can give is the simple fact that the old generation feminists (70/80s) many of them are now (already have) turned on feminism, and say that they were told a lie about having it all I.e climbing the career ladder, doing the long 'wall street' hours, and maintaining her marriage, and maintaining her house, and raising her kids, and keep relations with her other family. They tried this, failed, and many of them are depressed and the broken families and missed opportunity of loving and raising their kids. I know this specific example because in my office which I work in we have a white British woman in her 40s, and she just blurted out one day ""I READ THIS BOOK TITLED "you can't have it all" AND THIS IS TRUE! WE WERE TOLD A LIE IN THE 80s and 90s THAT YOU CAN HAVE IT ALL!!"" ( we what does Islam say about this all?!? Exactly.) 

Islam is Allah's wisdom. So imagine 'out reaching' to the woman like the one in my office. About what Islam says about marriage and work and wife and husband. And imagine reaching out to millions women like these, and students, and making a major stand against the LGBT feminist and no identity and no nuclear family sillyness. 

But, then sometimes I think isolation is best first simply by how bad the state of the Muslims is. Let's first fix our house and make sure it is water proof, wind proof and proof from all the other satanic crap. 

This is to me also a problem. Some Muslims might say the first wave of feminism was good, I say they are all bad. Whether it was in the 1800s or in 2016, very much the same, just more extreme.

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7 minutes ago, E.L King said:

This is to me also a problem. Some Muslims might say the first wave of feminism was good, I say they are all bad. Whether it was in the 1800s or in 2016, very much the same, just more extreme.

I didn't say it was good. My view is the same as yours, they were and are all bad. One step which the devil put which only led to step two and step three.  

If anyone wants rights, whether they are a man or woman, look at the Quran, at what Allah has commanded and ordained. And also look at the prophet and his family. That is more than enough, and also more correct. Simple. 

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@E.L King BLM and feminist movements are funded by the likes of George Soros. Watch the below video of him and you will see this vampire would only love to play with society like his is some sort of God. 

 

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2 hours ago, E.L King said:

I don't believe Muslims should outreach to other people at all. I think isolation is the best thing, we shouldn't be troubled by the problems of the others. 

So I guess we can forget about dawah and spreading the message of Islam; The only way you can accept the prophethood of Muhammad (saws), the wilayah of Ali (as) and the sacrifices of the Ahlulbayt (as) is to be born into it.

No more reverts either, we can't be troubled by people who take the time to explore and accept our deen.

No more speaking out against far-right clowns, Islamophobia and Zionist politicians and their policies. 

After all, we can't be bothered according to you. Isolation is the best policy, right. 

I'm sorry to say but I am offended by what you said. This is nothing more than a slap in the face to me as a revert.

I might make a personal struggle to get rid of ignorant thinking like yours in the Ummah because I didn't convert to Judaism 2.0, I converted to Islam which rejects such nonsense like a chosen race and being born into religion through and through.

Before you accuse me of twisting your words out of their context, reread what you wrote and understand what I wrote above is exactly how I perceived it.

Wording is everything if you don't want to want to be misunderstood, brother. 

I'm very disappointed in you, that's all I can say.

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14 minutes ago, Gaius I. Caesar said:

So I guess we can forget about dawah and spreading the message of Islam; The only way you can accept the prophethood of Muhammad (saws), the wilayah of Ali (as) and the sacrifices of the Ahlulbayt (as) is to be born into it.

No more reverts either, we can't be troubled by people who take the time to explore and accept our deen.

No more speaking out against far-right clowns, Islamophobia and Zionist politicians and their policies. 

After all, we can't be bothered according to you. Isolation is the best policy, right. 

I'm sorry to say but I am offended by what you said. This is nothing more than a slap in the face to me as a revert.

I might make a personal struggle to get rid of ignorant thinking like yours in the Ummah because I didn't convert to Judaism 2.0, I converted to Islam which rejects such nonsense like a chosen race and being born into religion through and through.

Before you accuse me of twisting your words out of their context, reread what you wrote and understand what I wrote above is exactly how I perceived it.

Wording is everything if you don't want to want to be misunderstood, brother. 

I'm very disappointed in you, that's all I can say.

What does what I said have to do with Da'wah? My post has nothing to do with religious preaching and preaching against sin.

All I said is that Muslims shouldn't be involved in liberal vs conservative battles. 

Pro-police vs pro-BLM is another one of these useless issues that Muslims don't need to be into. IMO

I believe isolation from politics is a good thing for Muslims in the West in the current time. Don't you?

Edited by E.L King

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7 minutes ago, E.L King said:

What does what I said have to do with Da'wah? My post has nothing to do with religious preaching and preaching against sin.

All I said is that Muslims shouldn't be involved in liberal vs conservative battles. 

Pro-police vs pro-BLM is another one of these useless issues that Muslims don't need to be into. IMO

I believe isolation from politics is a good thing for Muslims in the West in the current time. Don't you?

No, not really but you should have mentioned that earlier in your comment to prevent people like me from misunderstanding you. 

It's common sense. 

If we want a decent life in the West, we must speak up and not let liberals or conservatives use us or oppress us. Does that make sense to you?  You understand where I'm coming from with this? 

All it takes for evil to succeed is for good men to do nothing, brother. 

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1 hour ago, Gaius I. Caesar said:

No, not really but you should have mentioned that earlier in your comment to prevent people like me from misunderstanding you. 

It's common sense. 

If we want a decent life in the West, we must speak up and not let liberals or conservatives use us or oppress us. Does that make sense to you?  You understand where I'm coming from with this? 

All it takes for evil to succeed is for good men to do nothing, brother. 

I do understand you, but that's not how things have played out. Heck, half the people on this website were all out for Bernie Sanders.

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9 minutes ago, YAli said:

@E.L King That's why I said we also need to fix our own house first. All of these liberal pro LGBT feminist Muslims without any wisdom or clue. 

They aren't pro-gay Muslims. They are Muslims with proper beliefs like me and you, Shi'a, and support liberal politicians/policies because they might help the Muslim community. At the same time, many are in solidarity with movements like BLM and what not, even though they are religious Muslims with solid beliefs.

Isolation is the way to go I believe.

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5 hours ago, E.L King said:

At the same time, many are in solidarity with movements like BLM and what not, even though they are religious Muslims with solid beliefs.

Are you stating this in a positive or negative way? 

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36 minutes ago, Gaius I. Caesar said:

Why and how would isolation work

I fail to see how it makes sense or how it would work out. Please explain it to me. 

Comments by brothers @Abu Hadi, @baradar_jackson and @roya1b100d on the following thread is similar to where I stand.

http://www.shiachat.com/forum/topic/235039813-muslims-in-the-west-seperation-vs-integration/?page=1

Edited by E.L King

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31 minutes ago, E.L King said:

I see, well I am sorry to say this but there are only two feasible options that I see. 1.) Intergration while keeping the deen,it will save a lot of heartache and frustration  and 2.) Hijrah, although not everyone can go  or willing to adapt to  Iran, Lebanon, Iraq or Kuwait. Can't go to Qatar or Saudi Arabia obviously or really any Sunni majority country. 

Heck, I read a post saying that Western converts are not really wanted in the Middle East. If there's any truth to it, where will we go now? So that would just leave intergration and we can do it while remaining true to Islam.

I really don't see separation working too well for us unfortunately @E.L King

 

Edited by Gaius I. Caesar

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I thought I may have missed it, but a quick word search showed no reference to this factor, so I thought I'd mention the role of music.

In addition to all the other issues that Bro Qa'im identifies that afflict Black American culture, their heavy involvement with music in all respects must be a factor contributing to the situation in which they find themselves.

Obviously I take the view that all music is wrong. But even if we go along with a non-Muslim set of values, it's possible to identify research which shows that some of the music to which black people listen can have a negative impact:

Quote

One systematic examination of popular music found six major themes: men and power, sex as a top priority for males, objectification of women, sexual violence, women defined by having a man, and women not valuing themselves (Bretthauer, Zimmerman, & Banning, 2007). 

http://digitalcommons.macalester.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1030&context=psychology_honors

 

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15 hours ago, Gaius I. Caesar said:

I see, well I am sorry to say this but there are only two feasible options that I see. 1.) Intergration while keeping the deen,it will save a lot of heartache and frustration  and 2.) Hijrah, although not everyone can go  or willing to adapt to  Iran, Lebanon, Iraq or Kuwait. Can't go to Qatar or Saudi Arabia obviously or really any Sunni majority country. 

Heck, I read a post saying that Western converts are not really wanted in the Middle East. If there's any truth to it, where will we go now? So that would just leave intergration and we can do it while remaining true to Islam.

I really don't see separation working too well for us unfortunately @E.L King

 

Why are those the only two options? Maybe in America, but go to Britain and similar countries and you will see Muslims living together, sometimes extremely seperated from non-Muslims.

The Western media sometimes call them "Sharia Zones".

Edited by E.L King

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11 hours ago, E.L King said:

Why are those the only two options?

Because either option prevents the media from the vilification of our communities. 

Living separated from the rest of society is exactly what  the media wants so they can rile people up about the "decay" of "Western/Christian/American, etc."

It puts a big target on our backs, it gives the far-right an enemy and someone to blame for society's ills.

11 hours ago, E.L King said:

The Western media sometimes call them "Sharia Zones".

This language is exactly what you don't want the media saying. People have been enough lies to fear "Sharia Zones ", they are afraid of them because the media tells them to be afraid.

You have no idea what I see or hear about Muslims from my friends and family who are Christian or right wing. It's really scary and a ticking time bomb. 

I don't know how I can make it any clearer for you. Why do you think Europe has Pegida or Golden Dawn? Where do you think Britain First  or the English Defence League popped up from? 

They are all opposed to the so-called "Islamification" of Europe.

It's an big societal issue when the media which is more powerful than it has ever been, gives them a reason or justification to attack, spray paint and vandalize mosques, antagonize hijabis and burn Qurans as a political statement.

 If we are separate from society,we make ourselves easy pickings for these people.

And if we remain isolationist, it sends a message of "Go ahead, we're not going to fight back" and then it will get worse from here.

You might not agree with me, but you have to admit,  these are all pretty valid concerns and that we are at a point where we cannot afford to isolate ourselves any longer. We have to speak out.  

Edited by Gaius I. Caesar

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Black Lives Matter (BLM), as the writer astutely high-lighted, is a well-funded liberal mechanism to control African-American activism. I don't support the movement, but that does not mean that Muslims shouldn't have anything to say about injustice, oppression, and exclusion from resources and opportunity.

One of the goals of the liberal and BLM, in my opinion, is to relate LGBT with the struggles of Black people. However, the two issues are on opposite poles of the moral compass. Islam is clear on this issue. Their is no inherent superiority of one people over another in Islam, and family - the core family being a married man and woman - is the foundation of the Ummah.

Also, we should speak out about injustice, exclusion, and lack of opportunity in society. Are we afraid of a White backlash? Don't fear men .. fear Allah (swt). People of European descent should understand that their system does not work and is the root cause of the social ills that plague society

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On 12/31/2016 at 10:52 PM, Gaius I. Caesar said:

Because either option prevents the media from the vilification of our communities. 

Living separated from the rest of society is exactly what  the media wants so they can rile people up about the "decay" of "Western/Christian/American, etc."

It puts a big target on our backs, it gives the far-right an enemy and someone to blame for society's ills.

This language is exactly what you don't want the media saying. People have been enough lies to fear "Sharia Zones ", they are afraid of them because the media tells them to be afraid.

You have no idea what I see or hear about Muslims from my friends and family who are Christian or right wing. It's really scary and a ticking time bomb. 

I don't know how I can make it any clearer for you. Why do you think Europe has Pegida or Golden Dawn? Where do you think Britain First  or the English Defence League popped up from? 

They are all opposed to the so-called "Islamification" of Europe.

It's an big societal issue when the media which is more powerful than it has ever been, gives them a reason or justification to attack, spray paint and vandalize mosques, antagonize hijabis and burn Qurans as a political statement.

 If we are separate from society,we make ourselves easy pickings for these people.

And if we remain isolationist, it sends a message of "Go ahead, we're not going to fight back" and then it will get worse from here.

You might not agree with me, but you have to admit,  these are all pretty valid concerns and that we are at a point where we cannot afford to isolate ourselves any longer. We have to speak out.  

You have a point here. But the so called integration has gone totally wonky. It has been muslims jumping open arms into western ideals, drinking, smoking, fornicating etc. If you just defined these people by their behavior, it would be hard to call them muslims.  

Instead we need muslims who will integrate and not turn into liberal, kind of muslim, kind of pro LGBT, kind of okay with drinking, kind of fasting ramadan people. So we really need to teach our young generation to be like many of the muslims i see on this forum; good, solid, intelligent humans that don't give a damn about anything if someone or a government were to break the law of Allah. They will stand strong. 

I also want to give you an example; i work for a company that has a head office in the US. They hold meetings and gathering every now and then, and all employees are expected to attend. We have the meetings at places such as hotels etc, and then we go out for dinner, and it is all free mixing, people swear, and morals are very low. They all drink, and talk crap. And we are also expected to fly to the US a couple times a year for meetings, and my last trip there... well daytime at office went by, and then evening time we had a ''office quiz'', They were all drinking, men and women all mixed, sometimes making sexual remarks, and then some guy gets up and starts stripping (luckily not fully naked). And you are really expected to attend these. 

So in terms of integration... honestly... if my wife wanted to work in a corporate company, i would so NO WAY IN HELL. NO. I DON'T GIVE A DAMN. I HAVE SEEN ENOUGH OF WHAT GOES ON. Even today i have heard enough sexual remarks, including a banana being paraded around as a penis by some very very senior colleague. And let me tell you, the company i work for is really, really tame. Really bloody tame. Other companies are much more wild. 

So bro we are stuck in between a rock and a hard place. On the one hand we want to integrate, but on the other how much are you willing to risk. For me, i certainly would never risk my wife working for a corporate. 

It's tough. And it only gets tougher for the more practicing and Allah fearing muslim. The only other way around it is if you have your own business, then you set your own rules. No worries in that case. Especially if you are very wealthy (million/billion). Then no worries. Stop your car and pray in a field. Because you have the flexibility to organise your schedule/timetable and surroundings and tailor them to make your islamic duties very very easy. 

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@Gaius I. Caesar btw I want to emphasise again that I do certainly agree that we need to .... Hmm perhaps a better world than integrate is 'engage'. Our scholars and strong knowledgable Muslims certainly must engage the western secular society, and they must do it without being shy and without bending the words of Allah e.g. The sin of homosexuality, Islamic laws, roles of men and women and their respective rights assigned to each of them etc. And they better not changed their words or back down. We need this constant engagement from the higher level such as politicians, and also on the ground with strong Muslims like you, where you engage with your Christian friends and work colleagues etc. 

Again, all without compromising what Allah has made halal and haram. 

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      Ali b. Muhammad – Salama b. al-Khattab – Ali b. Hassan – Musa b. Bukayr: I was in the service of Abi al-Hasan  عليه السلام. Nothing [of the monetary dues] used to reach him [from any other route] except through Mufadhal b. Umar. I would sometimes see a man bringing something to the Imam directly and he [the Imam] would refuse to accept it and say: take it to Mufadhal.   
      That he was an important figure who exerted considerable influence on the Shi’ite community is undeniable. This can be glimpsed from the number of narrations under his name and the books attributed to him. 
       
      A Controversial Narrator
      However, there is a controversy about his status. A controversy which probably began in his own lifetime. Some saw him as the bearer of the ‘secrets’ of the Imams who was understandably misunderstood by the laymen who could not bear them, while others saw him as a crypto-syncretist who distorted the teachings of the Imam.
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       وأمّا أبو يعقوب إسحاق بن محمد البصري، فإنّه كان غالياً، وسرت إليه إلى بغداد لاكتب عنه وسألته كتاباً أنسخه، فأخرج إليّ من أحاديث المفضّل بن عمر في التفويض ، فلم أرغب فيه فأخرج إليّ من أحاديث مشيخته من الثقات
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      ‘A Khattabi. A lot of fabricated material has been attributed to him. The Ghulat have launched a full-scale attack on his narrations (i.e. they have invaded his original corpus infiltrating it with their own ideas)’
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      وقد ذكرت له مصنفات لا يعول عليها، وإنما ذكرنا للشرط الذي قدمناه
      ‘A number of books are listed as authored by him but they are not to be depended upon. I only include their names because of the condition which we have mentioned before [i.e. to list the titles of all Shi’i authors]’
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      What can be asserted without doubt is that the historical Mufadhal was at one point in time connected to Abu al-Khattab and the Khatabiyya [there is even a splinter-sect of the Khatabiyya which was named after Mufadhal i.e. the Mufadhaliyya]. They are accused of deifying al-Sadiq in some way and of believing in continuation of prophecy. We have some narrations which indicate Mufadhal’s links with such beliefs:   
      حدثني الحسين بن الحسن بن بندار القمي، قال حدثني سعد بن عبد الله بن أبي خلف القمي، قال حدثني محمد بن الحسين بن أبي الخطاب و الحسن بن موسى، عن صفوان بن يحيى، عن عبد الله بن مسكان قال: دخل حجر بن زائدة و عامر بن جذاعة الأزدي على أبي عبد الله عليه السلام فقالا: جعلنا فداك، إن المفضل بن عمر يقول إنكم تقدرون أرزاق العباد ...
      al-Husayn b. al-Hasan b. Bundar al-Qummi – Sa’d b. Abdallah b. Abi Khalaf al-Qummi – Muhammad b. al-Husayn b. Abi al-Khattab and al-Hasan b. Musa from Safwan b. Yahya from Abdallah b. Muskan who said: Hujr b. Zaida and A’mir b. Judha’a al-Azdi entered upon Abi Abdillah عليه السلام and said to him: May we be made your ransom, Mufadhal b. Umar says that you are the ones who allot the Rizq of the slaves …
      علي بن محمد، عن صالح بن أبي حماد، عن محمد بن أورمة، عن ابن سنان، عن المفضل بن عمر قال: كنت أنا والقاسم شريكي ونجم بن حطيم وصالح بن سهل بالمدينة فتناظرنا في الربوبية، قال: فقال بعضنا لبعض: ما تصنعون بهذا نحن بالقرب منه وليس منا في تقية قوموا بنا إليه، قال: فقمنا فوالله ما بلغنا الباب إلا وقد خرج علينا بلا حذاء ولا رداء قد قام كل شعرة من رأسه منه وهو يقول: لا لا يا مفضل ويا قاسم ويا نجم، لا لا بل عباد مكرمون لا يسبقونه بالقول وهم بأمره يعملون
      Ali b. Muhammad – Salih b. Abi Hammad – Muhammad b. Awrama – Ibn Sinan – al-Mufadhal b. Umar who said:  I, al-Qasim al-Shariki, Najm b. Hutaym and Salih b. Sahl were in Madina when we disputed each other over the divinity [of the ‘Aimma]. He [Mufadhal] said: We said to each other - why are we speculating on this when we are nearby to him [the Imam] and he is not in Taqiyya with us [does not answer us in dissimulation], let’s go meet him. He [Mufadhal] said: We headed towards him - by Allah we had not reached the door before he came out bare-footed, without a cloak and all the hair on his head stood on end [in apprehension] saying: No - O Mufadhal, Qasim and Najm, No! “rather mere honored slaves, never preceding Him (Allah) in word, and they always follow His orders” (21:26-27)
      حدثني حمدويه وإبراهيم ابنا نصير، قالا: حدثنا محمد بن عيسى، عن علي ابن الحكم، عن المفضل بن عمر أنه كان يبشر أبا الخطاب وفلان أنكما لمن المرسلين
      Hamduwayh b. Nusayr and Ibrahim b. Nusayr – Muhammad b. Isa – Ali b. al-Hakam: That he [Mufadhal b. Umar] used to give glad tidings to Aba al-Khattab and one other saying: ‘verily you are messengers’
      قال الكشى: وذكرت الطيارة الغالية في بعض كتبها عن المفضل: أنه قال لقد قتل مع أبي اسماعيل يعني أبا الخطاب سبعون نبيا ... وأن المفضل قال: أدخلنا على أبي عبد الله عليه‌ السلام ونحن اثنى عشر رجلا، قال: فجعل أبو عبد الله عليه‌ السلام يسلم على رجل رجل منا ويسمي كل رجل منا باسم نبي، وقال لبعضنا: السلام عليك يا نوح، وقال لبعضنا: السلام عليك يا ابراهيم، وكان آخر من سلم عليه وقال: السلام عليك يا يونس، ثم قال: لا تخاير بين الانبياء
      al-Kashshi said: The Tayyara Ghulat say in one of their books that al-Mufadhal said: Seventy prophets were killed with Aba al-Khattab … Mufadhal is also supposed to have said: Twelve of us entered in to see Abi Abdillah عليه‌ السلام. He [the Imam] began greeting each one of us individually and calling each one of us by the name of a prophet, saying to one of us ‘peace be upon you O Noah’ to another ‘peace be upon you O Ibrahim’, he greeted the last one of us saying: ‘peace be upon you O Yunus’. Then he [the Imam] said: do not distinguish between the prophets! 
       
      Mufadhal, The Khattabiyya and Ismail
      The Khatabbiya seem to have taken Ismail the son of al-Sadiq as their figure-head and pinned their hopes on him as the next Imam. It is hard to discern from the meager sources available whether Ismail’s participation in this was of his own volition or not.
      رجال الكشي: حمدويه بن نصير، عن يعقوب بن يزيد، عن ابن أبي عمير، عن هشام بن الحكم وحماد بن عثمان، عن إسماعيل بن جابر قال: قال أبو عبد الله: ايت المفضل قل له: يا كافر يا مشرك ما تريد إلى ابني تريد أن تقتله
      Hamduwayh b. Nusayr – Ya’qub b. Yazid – Ibn Abi Umayr – Hisham b. al-Hakam and Hammad b. Uthman –  Ismail b. Jabir who said: Abu Abdillah عليه السلام said: Go to Mufadhal and say to him - O Kafir, O Mushrik, what do you want for my son Ismail? Do you want to kill him!?
      The narration above has the Imam using very harsh language with Mufadhal in the context of the latter’s ‘grooming’ of Ismail which al-Sadiq felt was dangerous. 
      On the other hand, there also exists a countervailing narration as below:

      الكافي: محمد بن يحيى، عن أحمد بن محمد بن عيسى، عن علي بن الحكم، عن يونس بن يعقوب قال: أمرني أبو عبد الله عليه السلام أن آتي المفضل واعزيه باسماعيل وقال: اقرأ المفضل السلام وقل له: إنا قد اصبنا بإسماعيل فصبرنا، فاصبر كما صبرنا، إنا أردنا أمرا وأراد الله عزوجل أمرا، فسلمنا لامر الله عزوجل
      Muhammad b. Yahya – Ahmad b. Muhammad b. Isa – Ali b. al-Hakam – Yunus b. Ya’qub who said: Abu Abdillah عليه السلام ordered me to go to Mufadhal and condole him for [the death of] Ismail. He [the Imam] said: Convey my greetings of peace to Mufadhal and say to him: We have been tried through Ismail and have remained patient, so be patient the way we have been patient. We wanted something but Allah Mighty and Majestic wanted something else so we have submitted to the command of Allah Mighty and Majestic.   
      This one is much more warm. The Imam condoles Mufadhal on the occasion of Ismail’s death - the two must have been especially close - and commends him to be patient in emulation of the Imam’s own patience.   
      How can we explain this difference in tone?
       
      A Rapprochement?
      It seems that one way to reconcile between them is to posit that Mufadhal had a period of estrangement from the Imam - because of his involvement with the Khattabis and their intentions for Ismail, however, he later repented from this and broke away with Abu al-Khattab, consequently the relation with the Imam improved.
      Evidence for this can be found in the narration below:
      جبرئيل بن أحمد قال: حدّثني محمّد بن عيسى، عن يونس، عن حماد بن عثمان قال: سمعت أبا عبداللّه عليه السلام يقول للمفضّل بن عمر الجعفي: يا كافر يا مشرك ما لك ولابني، يعني إسماعيل بن جعفر، وكان منقطعا إليه، يقول فيه مع الخطابية، ثم رجع بعد
      Jibrail b. Ahmad – Muhammad b. Isa – Yunus – Hammad b. Uthman who said: I heard Aba Abdillah عليه السلام saying to al-Mufadhal b. Umar al-Ju’fi: O Kafir, O Mushrik, what do you have to do with my son - meaning Ismail b. Ja’far? - and he [Mufadhal] was loyal to him [Ismail], believing about him [that he is the Imam and much more] together with the Khatabiyya, then he returned afterwards.
      That Mufadhal returned back to the truth after deviation can be proved also by the fact that he was not among those followers of Abu al-Khattab who died with their leader when they were attacked by the men of Isa b. Musa [the Abbasid governor of Kufa] after barricading themselves in the central mosque as part of an aborted revolt.
      Another piece of evidence for this view is that Mufadhal seems to have a more cordial relation with al-Kadhim after the death of al-Sadiq [indeed there are no censures against him quoted from this Imam, which would tally with his reform in his later years]. 
      محمد بن مسعود، قال: حدثني عبد الله بن خلف، قال: حدثنا علي بن حسان الواسطي، قال: حدثني موسى بن بكير قال: سمعت أبا الحسن يقول لما أتاه موت المفضل بن عمر، قال: رحمه الله، كان الوالد بعد الوالد، أما انه قد استراح
      Muhammad b. Masud – Abdallah b. Khalaf – Ali b. Hassan al-Wasiti – Musa b. Bukayr who said: I heard Aba al-Hasan saying when he was informed of the death of al-Mufadhal b. Umar - May Allah have mercy on him, he was a father after the father [al-Sadiq i.e. a second father to him]. Verily he is now resting in peace.
       
      Summary 
      The case of al-Mufadhal is a complicated one. More needs to be done to collect all the relevant evidence and formulate a coherent position, if at all possible. This is obviously not the place for an in-depth study. Such research should also consider the provenance of famous books attributed to him like Tawhid al-Mufadhal, al-Ihlilaja etc. Having said all this, caution must be exercised as regards narrations attributed to him, specifically if the contents have to do with Imamology.
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