Faith, and Culture
Here's the Latest Episode from SWISSCAST with Suhaib Webb:
Religion is baked not microwaved, yet often, in our zeal for the truth, we forget that. In this Hikam, the writer warns us of two powerful impulses and how to treat them. You can take this class with me at suhaibwebb.com./swiss
Look for SWISS cast every Monday, inshallah. To enroll in my online education experience, visit suhaibwebb.com/swiss
The text, إضاءة الضجنة في اعتقاد أهل السنة is a crucial, intermediate text that covers issues of belief and studying theology. I teach it to fourth-year students at my school, SWISS, which is online. I am currently running a summer session that I broadcast live on my Facebook wall Tues-Thursday at 430 pm, Eastern Standard Time.
Imām al-Harawi leads us to the next stops on the straight path, repentance and accountability.
As Ramadān quickly approaches it is vital to get in the zone: to be prepared before the month starts. Since it is the month of the Qur'an, it is essential that we reflect on one of its central components: knowledge. As our numbers grow in the West, our public engagement is going to increase, forcing us to move our faith from a private setting to the public square. How? Without education, we risk losing our faith in the name of acceptance, and without understanding society, we risk muting our voice from public spaces it could benefit.
From time to time, I will post focus groups I've facilitated with different demographics of Muslims. Listening is essential; perhaps one of the best ways to learn about the needs of people. By listening, educators are able to hand-tailor the needs of learners.
The MSA at The John Jay College of Criminal Justice invited me for a series of talks on dawa. Instead of starting with a lecture, they broke up into groups and focused on the following:
- What kind of dawa would help me reach my potential
- What are my personal dawa needs
- What are my environmental dawa needs
Their thoughts are valuable, as I told them, "gold" for anyone working with college students and engaged in religious education and ministry.
I left with a lot to think about, and I appreciated their sharing. If you like the work I do, please support me by signing up for my online institute, SWISS at suhaibwebb.com
The great secret of creation rests in front our eyes. Yet, with so much "going on" we may fail to see it. God's love is manifest in disruptive moments - success or trials, that remind us to look deeper and see with ihsān that secret: that all things are powered by one God; Allāh who is the only one worthy of worship.
How can we understand Allah's love and what are its signs?
To watch, visit my youtube channel!
To take this class with me in a more personal setting, please sign up at suhaibwebb.com
To take this course with me in a more personal way, sign up at suhaibwebb.com
Allah's love is an indication of His every lasting will. What are its signs and why is being aware of sin one of His greatest gifts?
Intimidating! Is a word a lot of people share with me when they express why they find a relationship with faith and the Qu'ran. listen to this and get started. You can do it, inshjallah.
Rashid Salim al-Khuri was a 2oth century poet and thinker. Of Lebanese descent, he lived in Brazil amongst a fledging immigrant community of Arab Christians and Muslims. Years ago, Muslims in San Palo invited him to come and speak about the birth of the Prophet (sa).
In this episode, I share parts of his speech.
It is common for pious, passionate people to try and quell creativity in mosques and organizations. A mantra they commonly use is "The Prophet didn't do it!" Why is that a problem and how can we reorient our minds to a proper understanding of Islam, while tethering our passions to the balance of religious knowledge and understanding.
Moving Towards God: Sheikh Ahmed Zaruq’s Foundations of the Seeker #6
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Moving Towards God: Sheikh Ahmed Zaruq’s Foundations of the Seeker #3
Moving Towards God: Sheikh Ahmed Zaruq’s Foundations of the Seeker #2
In an age marked by outrage and trauma, keeping an eye on God is difficult. Sidi Ahmed Zarquq wrote about this five hundred years ago, laying down the foundations of the spiritual path, rooting them with our imaginations, understandings, and Islam’s sacred sources.In this course, you will learn how to understand the differences that rock the Muslim community, how to organize your time and set yourself up for a life of service and travel upon the path to God, “And to your Lord is the final stop.” Qur’an 53:42
As the American Muslim community has swerved from its early course, one that was led by passionate activists who were tethered to religious foundations, to one thirsting for acceptance, it may, out of an attempt at survival have adopted attitudes that run contrary to its faith's foundations. What are those challenges and how can we tend to them with compassion and discipline?
Sura Yasīn flips the scrip; it moves from addressing the Prophet and his community, to a story about a city similar to his; and now, suddenly it returns to teaching his community. Why? What does that tell us about the sophistication of the Qur'anic message and the deliberate excellence we need if we want to stand in the office of Prophethood?
How can we free our theology from the bounds caste in the late 60's, and most recently after 9/11? By releasing it, I mean, as Vincent W. Lloyd wrote, "To attempt to speak honestly in God's name."
Why are efforts to wrestle our faith until it submits its voice to the notions of the left or the right a failure to uphold the balance and truth of prophethood,; and why are unchecked identity politics a threat to our unity as a community as well as the country when they are not nuanced and cleansed with the language and foundations of Faith and our scholarly heritage? That and more.
The names of Allah give a colourless, cold life meaning by allowing us to tone the world around us with the filter of diving guidance. In this sermon I share two names that will help college students start the year off right.
Being religious without investing in good character is high treason. The Prophet (sa) was sent to complete and perfect good character. This section of sura al-Hujurat instructs us on how to have a good character with faith.
What does it mean when
Locating yourself and Qur'an on the map of life is a challenge. What are the virtues of the Qur'an and how do you envision your relationship with it?
Adversity comes with faith, and between them, both lie tests and trials. What are some important qualities we can take from the earliest chapters of the Qur'an sent to the Prophet (sa) that will carry us through success and challenges?
Umma is a word we say often without consideration for its components and investment. While financial donations are still robust in communities, the numbers of trained, disciplined and organized volunteers are not. I address that, as well as a number of contemporary concerns around religious freedom in light of Sura Yasin
In this short section I address four components of religious education: Effective communication when teaching religion, benefiting and investing in communities, understanding and caring about issues important to those we live with and finding shared causes and humility in leadership.
God created the earth and the heavens as a home for us, filling it with infinite resources and talents. How can that serve us as we frame our attitude towards life, our talents and service to others?
In this podcast, I share an important poem by one of the greatest Arab poets of the modern age, a short intro to his life and impact, as well as some lesson we can take from one of his poems.
In the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries Senegambian Muslims were led by their sheikhs to revolt across the Western Hemisphere against Spanish slavery. In their efforts rests the earliest liberation theology put to work: An approach that refused to accept bondage as anything but antithetical to faith; and saw faith synonymous with freedom.What followed was a legal logic that justified mass-murdering those Muslim slaves, banning them from those lands, sending many back to Africa and mass incarceration.As those policies morphed, and the world changed, we are facing a different type of slavery under a system that has graduated from mass incarceration to what Vincent Lloyd called ”hyper-incarceration” and still focuses on black people. As Muslims, we have a religious duty to stand against this modern-day slavery as our ancestors did three hundred years ago, working for justice and a fair system.In this episode, I sit down with Margarita Rosa to discuss those revolts and how faithful people must push for prison abolition and justice people of colour here and abroad. Did you know that even though they we in bondage, those brothers and sisters paid zakat to free other slaves?In this episode, I sit down with Margarita Rosa to discuss those revolts and how faithful people must push for prison abolition and justice for all people.
On June 1st Razan al-Najjar sat off, as she had done before, to serve her land and her people. She was a self-educated, first responder in one of the most dangerous places in the worldShe was exhausted. The day before she came home covered in blood, and it was Ramadan, so she was fasting. But her bravery and passion could not be extinguished. She was resilient, braveSadly, as many of you know, she was murdered that day. Shot by an Israeli sniper, who until now remains free and uncharged. Razzan was only twenty-one years old.As soon as it happened, I knew that it was essential to share Razan’s story. She stood for female empowerment, education, peace and an end to occupation and genocide, so I reached out to her familyIn this week’s episode of SwissCast, I talk with Dalia al-Najjar, Razan’s cousin. In an emotional interview, we discussed life under Israeli occupation, what it feels like to be Gazan, Razan’s life and legacy and how we can support her foundation for empowering and educating young girls in Gaza @launchgoodShe was exhausted; the day before she came home covered in blood; it was Ramadan; she was fasting, but her drive and passion could not be extinguished. She was resilient, strong and she loved lifeSadly, as many of you know, she was murdered that day. Shot by an Israeli sniper, who until now remains free and uncharged. She was only twenty-one years oldAs soon as it happened, I knew that it was essential to share Razzan’s story. She stood for female empowerment, education, peace and an end to occupation and genocide. I was worried that her legacy would be manipulated, retold and reconstructed to justify her death. So I reached out to her family to get her storyIn this week’s episode of SwissCast, I talk with Dalia al-Najjar, Razzan’s cousin. In an emotional interview, we discussed life under Israeli occupation, what it feels like to be Gazan, Razan’s life and legacy and how we can support her foundation for empowering and educating young girls in Gaza @launchgood
"Who are your people?" is an important question because it forces us to think, not only about "our people," but ourselves; if we don't know who we are, then we cannot identify our folk; and if we can't do that, then we are not living up to our responsibility as a Prophetic community. That relationship locates us as spiritual and social agitators, empowered by faith to call to the truth. The opening verses of Sura Yasin compel us to think about that and other important concepts.
كَاَنَّ أَخْلاقَكَ فِي لُطْفِهَا وَرَقَةٌ فِيْهَا نَسِيْمُ الصَّبَاحْ
Your character, in its subtleness and grace, is like to leaves, touched by a soft, mild, morning breeze.
kanna aklaqaki fi lutfiha waraqatun fiha nasimu al-Sabah
Oppression (in Arabic) comes from the word (ظلم). Dhulm means to put something where it does not belong. So, sin (because it places a person’s nature where it should not be, sinful) is a form of oppression; as is associating partners with God (since the norm is to worship God alone).
However, in this article I will address injustice and oppression amongst people: a person transgressing the rights of others through environmental injustice by torture, injury or death, economic injustice by force, plunder or theft or personal injustice by shaming, intimidating or false accusations.
لَا تَظْلِمُونَ وَلَا تُظْلَمُونَ (279)
رَبَّنَا أَخْرِجْنَا مِنْ هَذِهِ الْقَرْيَةِ الظَّالِمِ أَهْلُهَا وَاجْعَل لَنَا مِنْ لَدُنْكَ وَلِيًّا وَاجْعَل لَنَا مِنْ لَدُنْكَ نَصِيرًا (75) }
عَطْفٌ عَلَى اسْمِ اللَّهِ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ، أَيْ وَفِي سَبِيلِ الْمُسْتَضْعَفِينَ، فَإِنَّ خَلَاصَ الْمُسْتَضْعَفِينَ مِنْ سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ.
(وَلِيًّا) أَيْ مَنْ يَسْتَنْقِذُنَا (وَاجْعَلْ لَنا مِنْ لَدُنْكَ نَصِيراً) أَيْ ينصرنا عليهم
وَاجِبٌ عَلَى النَّاسِ أَنْ يَفْدُوا الْأُسَارَى بِجَمِيعِ أَمْوَالِهِمْ
While the harm injustice and oppression cause is apparent to most people, where they differ is the degree win which they oppose it. Consider the pagan Qur’eish: consistently rocked by large numbers of claimants to power, and those claimants continued jockeying for authority, they were left with no central authority to settle their disputes. As a response, they allied (حلف الفضول) in the home of ‘Abdullah bin Jad’an to collectively repel injustice and intervene to protect the oppressed. The Prophet (sa) witnessed that alliance as a young man. After he became a prophet and settled in Medina, he said,
لَقَدْ حَضَرْتُ فِي دَارِ ابْنِ جُدْعَانَ حِلْفًا لَوْ دُعِيتُ إِلَيْهِ الْآنَ لَأَجَبْتُ
“I witnessed in the home of ‘Abdullah bin Jad’an alliance. If I were called to join something similar to in Islam, I would accept.”
Ibn al-Athir mentions that they named it the alliance of virtues, honoring an ancient association of the same name, which took place at a time when the Meccans stood united for justice and the defense of the marginalized. Imam Fayruzabadi wrote that they gave it that name because each of its participants swore that they would not allow another person to use his status (fall) to oppress another person.
Once Islam arrived, it made opposition to oppression as one of its aims. The Prophet (sa) further emphasized that when he said, “Fear committing oppression because oppression will bring oppression In the Hereafter.” The ancient Arabs used to say, “Help you, brother, if he is oppressed.” The Prophet (sa) added, “Help you, brother, if he is oppressed or an oppressor.” He (sa) was asked, “We can help an oppressed person, but how do we help an oppressor?” The Prophet (sa) clarified that saying, “Stop him from his oppression, even if you have to take him by his hand. That is how you help him.”
The early Caliphs of Islam would confront oppression and injustice head-on. However, during the reign of the first four Caliphs injustice was handled largely by reminding people of their responsibility to God. But, as the Muslim empire grew, the number of Muslims swelled, and life became more complicated. Thus, during the reign of Abd al-Malik bin Marwan, he chose a day to listen to the concerns of the oppressed. If their concerns were problematic or required a judgment, he sent them to al-Qadi Abu Idris al-Awaydai.
During the reign of ‘Umar bin ‘Abd al-Aziz after Sulayman bin ‘Abd al-Malik was buried, Caliph ‘Umar sat and had a caller inform the people that anyone mistreated by Sulayman should make their claim. By the time he was done, everything acquired by Sulayman and his family (The Umayyads) unjustly was returned. Such that a friend said to ‘Umar bin ‘Abd al-Aziz, “Do you not fear the wrath of those you’ve punished?” He responded, “Each day that I fear their wrath instead of the wrath of the Hereafter,
Then the Abbasi Caliph came to power, and it continued that tradition with al-Mahdi, then al-Hadi, then Rashid, the al-Mamun until the reign of al-Muhtadi in the year two hundred and fifty-five after the Migration of the Prophet (sa). It did not stop them, but because of volume, the state delegated the responsibility to judges who appointed case workers who could look into the claims each day. Eventually, these cases were taken to the high court where they were settled.
أن الأمير نوح بن (أسد) أحد الولاة على ما وراء النهر ،لما فرض الخراج على أهل سمرقند ،بعث بريدا اليهم بذلك ، فأحضر أمير سمرقند الأئمة والمشايخ وأعيان البلد وقرأ عليهم الكتاب ،فقال الفقيه أبو منصور الماتريدي: قد أديت رسالة الأمير فاردد إليه الجواب وقل له: زدنا ظلما حتى نزيد في دعاء الليل ،ثم تفرقوا،
فلم تذهب إلا أيام حتى وجدوه قتيلا ، وفي بطنه زجَّ رمح مكتوب عليه :
بغى وللبفي سهــــامٌ تنتـــــظر......أتته من أيدي المنـايا والقــدَرَ
سهام أيدي القانتات في السحر......يرمين عن قوس لها الليل وتَرَ
There are numerous examples of leaders who opposed injustice in Islamic history. I would like to mention one noteworthy example here. Once a man came to the court of al-Mansur ibn abi ‘Amir, claiming that one of al-Mansur’s servants had wronged him. He expressed that he had the man subpoenaed by the court, but he refused to come. Al-Mansur turned to his servant, ordering him to go and stand with the man making the claims. There, in front of al-Mansur, the case was heard. After it was over, the Caliph ordered the servant taken away to “The person in charged of the oppressed,” sentenced and removed from his post. That was in Spain, al-Andalus. What is remarkable is that there was a person, “In charge of the affairs of the oppressed.”
During the Caliphate of ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Nasir, the Caliph was looking to purchase some property. He approached al-Qadi Mundhir bin Sa’id al-Buluti, offering to purchase an orphanage attached to al-Buluti’s home. The Qadi noted that the house was in excellent condition and that the Orphans were financially well off (Implying that the price would not be low): “If you offer them a price that will make them happy, I will command the person in charge of their trust to sell it to you.” The Caliph balked, refusing to offer even fair price. Al-Buluti, fearing that the Caliph would try to usurp the property, had it demolished, selling what was left over for an excellent amount: enough to suffice the orphans. When the Caliph inquired why, al-Buluti read the verse,
“Regarding the boat, it belonged to a group of poor sailors, so I decided to damage it because there was a king chasing them who had taken previous boats for plunder.” Qur’an 18-79
Sheikh Hamuda al-Rikli was a scholar from Tunis. During hit time, the government of Tunis was kind to scholars, keeping them close to power, showing them with patronage and doing what every it could to keep them happy. One night, he was sitting the president of Tunis who said, “The kings before us killed scholars, but we honor them and bring them close to power.” Sheikh Hamuda responded, “This reality is clear: The kings of old committed atrocities, the scholars repudiated them, so they killed those scholars. We are quiet because of your patronage so why would you kill us?” The leader became upset, returned to his quarters and ordered all the scholars to return to their homes to save Sheikh Hamuda. As they left, they were certain that Sheikh Hamuda would be punished. After a little while, the leader came out, thanked the sheik for his honesty and gifted him a private car.
Abu Bakr TarTusha advised the leader of the Andalusian army, “Fix the barrier by helping the oppressed.” And Salim bin “Abdullah sent a letter to ‘Umar bin ‘Abd al-Aziz saying, “If you can, come off the last day without any oppressed person making a claim against you.”
As we exit the month of fasting, we are commanded to perform one last act; one more sacrifice: Zakat al-Fitr. What is Zakat al-Fitr, how do we pay it and what are some of the issues around it that are important to American Muslim Communities?
In this short reflection, I share three powerful lessons we can take from the twentieth chapter of the Qur'an.
It is dangerous to reduce spirituality to fashionable styles of dress and talk or an abstraction, where a seeker lives his faith vicariously through concepts, a group or holy men. Spirituality is work; hard work and discipline.In this episode, I chat with Monna Bennani about an act of spiritual resistance that is important: living a zero waste lifestyle
This podcast is important, and it will address three things related to the signs of the hour. The first deals with the authenticity of a text, while the second deals with the principles needed to understand what scholars called transmission related to the signs of the Hour or the transmission of trials. That will formulate what we will talk in this podcast. Our second podcast will address the order of the signs in brevity, inshallah.
General Principle for engaging hadith related to this subject.
الاقتصار في التنزيل على نصوص الوحيين, والتأكد من صحتها لفظاً ومعنى
“The signs of the hour are restricted to revelation while ensuring their soundness and correct understanding.”
a) Their Soundness – Meaning the Hadith is authentic
فُسْطَاطُ الْمُسْلِمِينَ يَوْمَ الْمَلْحَمَةِ الْغُوطَةُ، إِلَى جَانِبِ مَدِينَةٍ يُقَالُ لَهَا: دِمَشْقُ
There are four narrations of this hadith
- Abu Darda – it is not strong because between the companion who narrated is not mentioned. There is a connected narration of it, but it is weak because of a weak narrator, Ibn Abi Maryam
- The Hadith of Muadh – It has narrators well known for lying, and some of them were even considered abandoned.
- The hadith of Abu Huraira – It is extremely weak for some reason
- There is some confusion about this narration, some claiming it is sahih. However, this is a mistake in combining two narrations, one narrative that does not state anything about Ghuta is sahih, while the other narration that does, as noted above is weak.
An extension of an authentic hadith is the opinions of the companions on issues that are related to the unseen. This includes the companion’s explanations and thoughts on issues where personal opinion is impossible. Meaning, their opinion rested on revelation. Ibn Hajar wrote,
والحق أن ضابط ما يفسره الصحابي إن كان مما لا مجال للاجتهاد فيه, فحكمه الرفع وإلا فلا، كالإخبار عن الأمور الماضية من بدء الخلق وقصص الأنبياء, وعن الأمور الآتية كالملاحم والفتن والبعث وصفة الجنة والنار, والإخبار عن عمل يحصل به ثواب مخصوص أو عقاب مخصوص، فهذه الأشياء لا مجال للاجتهاد فيها فيحكم لها بالرفع
“The correct principle in this regard is that explanation of the companions, specifically regarding issues where personal opinion is impossible ….such as events from the past, like the beginning of creation, stories of previous prophets, prophecy related to fitna, resurrection, the description of paradise and hell, and actions that bring about specific rewards or punishments. Those type of things to not permit opinions, so they are considered something taught to them by the Prophets (sa).”
If a Hadith is acceptable, then it must be interpreted correctly, not in a sloppy way or in a way that makes its application impossible.
The First Principle
أن الأصل في تنزيل أحاديث الفتن على الأزمان والأشخاص الرد
“Its is not allowed to apply prophetic hadith about the end of times to specific times, places and people.”
That does not mean we reject the application of those hadith, nor should we be taxed in their application. What it means is that their application is guided by the scholars. During the Prophet’s time, there were a group of companions who thought it was a man named Ibn al-Sayyad, some even swearing so. During the time of Hajjaj, Asma said,
حَدَّثَنَا أَنَّ فِى ثَقِيفٍ كَذَّابًا وَمُبِيرًا, فَأَمَّا الْكَذَّابُ فَرَأَيْنَاهُ وَأَمَّا الْمُبِيرُ فَلاَ إِخَالُكَ إِلاَّ إِيَّاهُ أَمَا إِنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ
“The Prophet (sa) told us that from the tribe of Thaqif there would appear a liar and a ruined person. We have seen the liar. As for the ruined person, you are in no confusion regarding him.”
Imam al-Nawwawi noted that scholars agree the liar was al-Mukhtar al-Thaqafi, who claimed Gabriel came to him, while the ruined person was al-Hajjaj bin Yusuf for obvious reasons.
A recent example is scholars interpreting the hadith,
“From the signs of the hour, time will move quickly.”
The Second Principle
الأصل حمل النصِّ على ظاهره
“The literal meaning of a text is the default of interpretation, while the figurative meaning is an exception.”
Perhaps the greatest misapplication of this is the hadith, “The hour will not start until the sun rises from the West.” Scholars, old and new agree that this is a literal hadith. Recently, however, some people have claimed it is converted from the West. Another example was that the Dajjal was laptop computers. Both interpretations run contrary to the scholarly consensus, and even if someone tried to apply the principle of an explicit or implicit meaning, have no support.
The Third Principle
أن يكون التنزيل بعيداً عن التكلُّف
“The interpretation is not overly complicated or burdensome.”
Meaning: it is not a stretch or places an unreasonable burden on people to understand. See the example above. There are some principles related to religious responsibilities: They are not beyond people’s scope, they are not overly difficult to understand, and they don’t cause harm.
The Fourth Principle
التحقق من طبيعة الواقعة واستكمالها للأوصاف الواردة في النصّ
“Verifying that a situation, time place or person completely agrees with they text.”
There are three conditions for a text related to the end of times:
- the text
- the situation
- the action that should take place during that period.
For texts related to the end of time to be matched with a given period or person, all three must align completely. That implies that first, there must be a match tatabuq, and second, a person cannot be ignorant of the optics – jahil.
فإذا لم يكن هناك تطابق بين الواقع الحاصل وبين جميع أوصاف النصّ لم يصح التنزيل حينئذٍ, فلا يصح جهل شيء من أجزاء الواقع
“If there is no corroboration between the time and the text in regards to every description in the text, then it is not allowed to apply it to that situation, nor is it allowed to be ignorant of the situation.”
An example of this is the sloppy application of the dajjal and the sun rising from the west, and is often applied to the coming of Imam Mehdi.
Is there an example of its application?
لَا تَقُومُ السَّاعَةُ حَتَّى يُقَاتِلَ الْمُسْلِمُونَ التُّرْكَ قَوْمًا كَأَنَّ وُجُوهَهُمْ الْمَجَانُّ الْمُطْرَقَةُ، يَلْبَسُونَ الشَّعْرَ، وَيَمْشُونَ فِي الشَّعْر
“The Last Hour would not come until the Muslims fight with the Turks-a people whose faces would be like hammered shields wearing clothes of hair and walking (with shoes) of hair.”
Imam al-Nawwawi wrote,
وهذه كلها معجزات لرسول الله فقد وجِدَ قتال هؤلاء الترك بجميع صفاتهم التي ذكرها..... فوجدوا بهذه الصفات كلها في زماننا
“All of those (narrations about this) are miracles of the Prophet (sa). The fighting with the Turks has occurred, and they had every description the Prophet (sa) mentioned….thus we find every one of those descriptions of them applicable and present.”
Another recent example, “Tall buildings.”
The Fifth Principle ومراجعة أهل
Extenuating this is a wonderful narration from Hafs ibn Ghayyath. He noticed that people were stating that the Mehid had come so he asked Sufyan al-Thawri (ra) who responded,
يا أبا عَبْد الله إن الناس قد أكثروا في المهدي فما تقول فيه؟ قال: إن مرَّ على بابك فلا تكن منه في شيء حتى يجتمع الناس عليه
Signs of Sloppiness
- Misplacing the order of something.
- Not collecting all the relevant hadith about a subject
The Sixth Principle
لا تعجل الأشراط لتسرع ما بعدها
It is not allowed to try and rush the a sign of the Hereafter, hoping for another one that comes after it.”
From time to time, during Ramadan, I plan to share some reflection on what the Imam will recite in Taraweeh prayers. That to bring you closer to its meaning and to enhance your experience.
In this episode, I chat with Imam Marc Manley of the Middle Ground Podcast and Community. Imam Marc leads that community in Southern California where he teaches, gives Friday sermons and guides others. We discuss a host of issues in this podcast from being an Imam in America, the Month of Ramadan and how to make it special.
Being woke is a term popularized recently popularized by activists. In my first podcast "Being Woke" I noted that the idea of wakefulness appears deep in Islam's spiritual tradition. But what next? The tradition is not meant to be accepted and romanticized. It should serve as an inspirational guide for us to write traditions for those who will come after us. Thus, in this podcast, I begin to address what lies "Beyond woke."
The Qur'an is heavenly constructed but socially located. Meaning we are responsible for thinking about it and reflecting it on our lives, and the communities around us. And just as the heart is central to our physical health, Sura Yasin is central to our faith!
LIving the prophetic legacy of love and care for neighbors requires investment, talent and a strategy. In what turned out to be more than an interview, I spent an evening watching and learning from Councilmen Basheer Jones as he lived that legacy.
What are some foundational principles we can take from the Qur'an's eighteenth chapter? How will establishing our early life on those principles help us as we move from student to worker?
I chat with Dr. Khalid Beydoun to discuss his latest book, American Islamophobia. In what turned out to be an almost hour-long conversation, we touch on his definition of Islamophobia, what a post-racial, post-religious Obama world means for American Muslims, Trump and white supremacy, anti-blackness in the American Muslim community, CVE, the fear that some religious leaders have of the left, and much more
There are numerous lessons we can take from the Night Journey of the Prophet (sa). This sermon shares some of them, along with some conditions to ensure a person's activism is aligned with Prophetic values..
Consumption and population growth have gravely impacted our world, wreaking havoc on ecosystems and resources, while creating strains on communities who struggle to access those resources, while relying on them for survival. How can we be allies to the underserved, seeing our care and concern for the environment as an essential weapon in defense of it while guaranteeing hat communities will have fair access to its benefits?
In this lesson, I focus on one of the greatest threats to our earth: consumption. As I reflected over Ibn Jawzi's words on the dangers of gluttony and opulence, I began to ask myself, how can religious ethics guide me to shop and eat so I can reduce our negative impact on the environment? If I were to plug the ethics presented in the text, how would they address living responsibly as a resident on earth?
Drake's video for "God's Plan" is powerful, showing him giving away nearly $1 million throughout the city of Miami. It is moving; the artist said, "It is the most important thing I've ever done." And while it has generally received praise from pundits, fans and religious leaders, some voiced concerns with it. I address that and more in this podcast.
Scholars of Islam noted that the first stop on the path to a relationship with God is being "Woke." Woke is a term organizers popularized, especially since the presidential election of 2017. What is Islam's idea of woke, what are its components, guidelines, and potentials?
SwissCast #2 al-Ghazzali on Being Woke
قُلْ إِنَّمَا أَعِظُكُمْ بِوَاحِدَةٍ أَنْ تَقُومُوا لِلَّهِ مَثْنَى وَفُرَادَى ثُمَّ تَتَفَكَّرُوا مَا بِصَاحِبِكُمْ مِنْ جِنَّةٍ إِنْ هُوَ إِلَّا نَذِيرٌ لَكُمْ بَيْنَ يَدَيْ عَذَابٍ شَدِيدٍ
“Say, I’m only here to awaken you: to arise for Allah two or one of you.” Qur’an 34:46
الْيَقَظَة من سنة الْغَفْلَة والنهوض من ورطة الفترة
“Woke from negligence and falling into destructive weakness.”
Being Woke is the First Station of Worship
فَأَوَّلُ مَنَازِلِ الْعُبُودِيَّةِ الْيَقَظَةُ وَهِيَ انْزِعَاجُ الْقَلْبِ لِرَوْعَةِ الِانْتِبَاهِ مِنْ رَقْدَةِ الْغَافِلِينَ، وَلِلَّهِ مَا أَنْفَعَ هَذِهِ الرَّوْعَةَ، وَمَا أَعْظَمَ قَدْرَهَا وَخَطَرَهَا، وَمَا أَشَدَّ إِعَانَتَهَا عَلَى السُّلُوكِ! فَمَنْ أَحَسَّ بِهَا فَقَدْ أَحَسَّ وَاللَّهِ بِالْفَلَاحِ
“The first stop on the path of “You alone we worship” is woke. Woke is a disturbance of the heart that compels it to guard falling into a permanent slumber of negligence. By Allah, it is the most beneficial state, the greatest and most honorable. Nothing helps a person with the same strength on the path (like it), and whoever experiences it, experiences true success.
قُلْ إِنَّمَا أَعِظُكُمْ بِوَاحِدَةٍ أَنْ تَقُومُوا لِلَّهِ مَثْنَى وَفُرَادَى ثُمَّ تَتَفَكَّرُوا مَا بِصَاحِبِكُمْ مِنْ جِنَّةٍ إِنْ هُوَ إِلَّا نَذِيرٌ لَكُمْ بَيْنَ يَدَيْ عَذَابٍ شَدِيدٍ
“Say, I’m only here to awaken you: to arise for Allah two or one of you.” Qur’an 34:46
إِشَارَةٌ إِلَى جَمِيعِ الْأَحْوَالِ فَإِنَّ الْإِنْسَانَ إِمَّا أَنْ يَكُونَ مَعَ غَيْرِهِ أَوْ يَكُونَ وَحْدَهُ، فَإِذَا كَانَ مَعَ غَيْرِهِ دَخَلَ فِي قَوْلِهِ: مَثْنى وَإِذَا كَانَ وَحْدَهُ دَخَلَ فِي قَوْلِهِ: فُرادى فَكَأَنَّهُ يَقُولُ تَقُومُوا لِلَّهِ مُجْتَمِعِينَ وَمُنْفَرِدِينَ
“Alludes to all situations because either you are with others, or you are alone. If you are with others, then “by twos” applies to you, and if you are alone, “alone” applies. Thus, it is as though God is saying, Awaken together or alone.”
وكلام العشاق في حال السكر يُطوَى ولا يحكى. فلما خف عنهم سكرهم وردوا إلى سلطان العقل الذى هو ميزان الله في أرضه
“The words of those overcome by love while intoxicated should not be shared. When the sober up, the sovereignty of their reason will return, and reason (coupled with a proper understanding of faith) is God’s scale on earth.” Mishkat al-Anwar pg. 57
The Path to Sobriety
Type of Intoxication
- With Faith
- With the self
- With Society
Components of Being Woke
- Noting blessings - لحظ النعمة
- Being aware of evil and sins - مطالعة الْجِنَايَة
- Seizing the hour - الانتباه لمعْرِفَة الزِّيَادَة وَالنُّقْصَان فِي الْأَيَّام
In this lesson, Suhaib Webb starts the section on the destructive habits of the soul by addressing the triggers of Satan and one of the most important indicators of a sound heart: speech.
Populism is like any tool; it can be used for good, and it can be used for bad. In this khutbah, I address a few prophetic strategies to address the toxic populism of used by irresponsible politicians, journalists and activists.
Conversations around guns having taken an intense turn since early February. In this episode I address that along with the misapplication of a religious axiom, often used by the misinformed to harm women.
Why are knowledge and the intellect so important in Islam? What are the divisions of knowledge and what it its purpose? In this lesson, Suhaib Webb unpacks the wisdom of Imam al-Ghazzali and Imam ibn al-Jawzi in examining those important questions.
The Quran’s first chapter, the Opener represents a gateway to a purpose driven life, rooted in learning, faith, worship, and character. In this first reflection, Suhaib Webb helps us enter into a relationship with this chapter that helps us start a relationship with faith and scripture.
In this week's Friday sermon, I addressed some lessons we derive from rain, why standing up for the undocumented is important, and an Islamic position on gun control?
Professional challenges, as well as a toxic religious environment, compelled al-Ghazzali to write his most famous work. How would he react to today's life? A life filled with opulence, shallow religious analysis, and divisions? How do we calibrate a concern for our soul in an age where some are claiming the soul does not exist?