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As you work your way down this post you are probably going to see a lot of yourself.
Thoughts you’ve had or feelings you’ve felt over the past year or two.
This is a good thing because now you know you are not alone.
That feeling you have that something is catastrophically wrong?
Others are feeling it too.
A few weeks ago I got a question from one of my long-time readers, Ahsan.
He took exception to some of the people I associate with online and wanted me to explain myself.
What followed was a lengthy discussion that was so valuable, I asked Ahsan to let me publish our exchange in full.
To tell you the truth, I had since changed my mind.
I’ve had this post in my backlog for a few weeks.
I thought to myself,
It’s the beginning of the year, Nabeel. Stick to the self-improvement content and keep it positive.
Here’s the thing, though.
NO ONE is talking about this stuff on a regular.
Sure, there are grumblings on social media, but that’s as far as it goes.
The major Muslim websites are tight-lipped about Muslim involvement in the radical liberal agenda.
The Activist Sect
I’ve taken to calling these Muslims (you know who they are) the Activist Sect.
Funnily enough, I thought it was just me who had this sentiment until I heard the guys over at the Safina Societ Podcast echo my thoughts.
Listen: Spheres of Influence.
Ok, so now I’m a little encouraged.
Muslim involvement in counter-culture movements
Then, just yesterday, I read a piece by Ali Shakur of HotepNation.com.
As you know, Becoming the Alpha Muslim is the first Islamic Website to give Hotep any airtime.
Given Ahsan’s disagreement with how I operate and Shakur’s response to similar criticisms in his piece, there doesn’t seem like a better time than now to publish this post.
Fair warning, it’s over 8000 words long.
However, I urge you to stick with it, because as you read you will begin to realize one thing (if you haven’t already) – we are at war.
And, as I said in the beginning, you are going to see a lot of yourself in Ahsan.
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Ahsan’s First Email
I’m listening to your latest podcast right this very minute and I’m enjoying it immensely, alhamdolillah.
In response to your question in your post script: What do I find that I’m struggling with?
Well, pretty much everything.
Things were better before I had kids, but keeping up with religious duties while taking care of two young kids (a boy and a girl) is really getting to me.
But, alhamdolillah. Each of us has their tests.
One thing I’m concerned about is the “marriage” of your ideas with ultra-right wing folks with very clear anti-Islam views.
I’m not quite sure why that’s necessary.
While the current Western Muslim alliance with the left is troubling, too, any “alliance” with said right-wingers is not quite what I would have imagined from an orthodox Muslim, such as yourself.
I’m very well aware of Mike Cernovich, whom you’ve taken a liking to.
But he’s got clear anti-Islam views that, in my eyes at least, cannot ever justify supporting him, as you have done with his movie, his ideas on the red pill notwithstanding.
On a slightly more principled level, how can we, Muslims, justify “free speech” ever?
I’m not necessarily looking for a response.
Just expressing my frustration with Muslims in general who seem to be swinging this way or that.
If not left wing (Black Lives Matter, [Brenda Balfour], etc.), then right wing (Irshad Manji, Maajid Nawaaz, etc.)
As an orthodox Muslim, what common cause can there be between us and anti-Islam right-wingers, there being no common cause with the left notwithstanding?
In general, though, I’d still like to open a conversation with you regarding these issues, because I’m very, very sick of “Islam” being co-opted by the left (or is it the other way around?) and you’re perhaps one among only very few folks who’ve understood the danger of this co-opting.
Jazak Allahu Khayran,
Nabeel’s First Response
Re: your answer to my question
- Can you be more specific with the issues you are struggling with?
- If you can pick the most difficult one, what would it be?
- If that’s too hard, give me the top 3.
- Also, what is your wife’s contribution to the parenting?
Re: Muslims and “the right”
I appreciate you taking the time to voice your concerns.
Here’s my thought process, and I could be wrong.
The right and left both hate Islam.
The right is just open about it.
The right oppress you in your dunya.
The left oppress you in your aakhira.
We Muslims have more in common with the right than we do with the left, particularly on social issues.
The tolerance of the left is based on an ideology that says “it’s true if it’s true for you.”
So, anything goes and there is no such thing as an “objective truth.”
It’s an illusory tolerance that does nothing but degrade our ability to call people to Islam.
And that’s your entire purpose as Muslims in the West.
To call people to Islam. Not to secure dunyawi comforts and tolerance.
In fact, it’s the only reason, in my mind, it would be halal for any Muslim to live among the kuffar.
We have a responsibility to save all peoples from harm, not just our own.
The closer the people are to their fitra, the easier it is to call them to Islam.
I don’t support or care for the right or the alt-right.
They are kuffar at the end of the day.
However, they are the only ones who are confronting the left’s agenda of destroying the family and society through promoting feminism, homosexuality, and pedophilia.
They are the lesser of two evils in my mind.
You pointed out my support of Cernovich
Cernovich is not alt-right.
If your only exposure to him is his Twitter and if you haven’t read his blog or his books or listened to his podcast you don’t have the entire picture.
He’s as moderate as they come.
Of course he will hate Islam. He’s a kaafir. What do you expect?
If you have read my review of Cernovich’s movie “Silenced,” you will see I brought up our role as Muslims in the free speech debate.
I don’t accept unrestricted free speech at all.
However, I see no way to preserve our ability to preach Islam freely, unadulterated, in the West, without tolerating their ruleset of free expression in the marketplace of ideas for the time being.
Finally, I will say I take a more hardline stance by design.
It’s conflict marketing.
It helps me grow my audience and it also helps us move the Overton Window to a more moderate discourse.
Because right now, Muslims have drunk the Left’s Koolaid and it’s doing more harm than good.
Let me know if you have any more questions.
P.S. Your question was top-notch and it is one of the first to allow me to flesh out my position in more detail. Would you allow me to publish it (anonymized) on the blog, along with my answer?
Ahsan’s Second Email
Wa ‘alaykum salam Sayyidi,
Please bear with me, because this is going to get long.
Also, I’ll speak extremely freely because you’re a cool guy.
It may sound rude at times, but I’m just making a point.
And I’m doing this because I’m extremely frustrated.
All us Muslims seem to be doing is to align with this ideology or that.
Sometimes we’ll take on left-wing causes.
Other times, we’ll go all out and start licking kafir boot like Irshad Manji et al.
And sometimes we’ll accept frameworks (including those on free speech) that though, seemingly closer to ours, are still detrimental to us.
We never seem to hold our own.
And now, not even in our own countries.
It’s almost as if we need crutches all the time.
I’ll answer in point form if you don’t mind:
1) Please, by all means publish my emails.
Use them with my name, too, if you want.
I don’t hide my views at all.
My only condition is that you publish the entire exchange unadulterated, when we are done with it.
All the responses and counter-responses included.
You may edit for spelling, grammar, etc.
2) Struggle with salat is our biggest problem.
Especially fajr and isha.
My wife’s got thyroid issues, and I’m severely B12 & magnesium deficient.
So, combining that with our energetic kids, we tire out pretty quickly.
So, getting isha becomes a challenge at the end of the day, and waking up for fajr becomes a challenge at the start of the day.
3) We’re a traditional family.
I work and my wife stays at home with the kids.
As difficult as that can be in the modern age, I’m having it no other way.
Anything else is just poison for the kids.
It’s doubly harder, since neither of our parents lives in the same city as we do, so there’s no chance of my kids being babysat with appropriate people either.
And since my wife’s with the kids during the day, it hardly seems appropriate for me to do anything else other than being with the kids when I’m at home.
4) I totally get you on the liberals
I totally get you on their “tolerance.”
I totally get you on their post-modernism.
I’m looking for no alliance with them either.
I’ve grappled with Sheikh Hamza Yusuf and Imam Zaid Shakir on these very points myself, despite the fact that I respect them immensely.
I’m extremely disappointed with people like [Brenda Balfour], who’ll just adopt whatever Tom, Dick and Harry liberal issue that comes her way.
My point though is: Why align with any of them? Why find common cause with any of them?
5) Also, I’m not so sure that “right” and “left” are appropriate terms
They just tend to be magnified at the media level.
In my personal experience, there’s a whole range of people out there, with some folks even combining right and left ideas to form new syntheses.
6) I’m not quite sure that the “right” and the “left” “hate” Islam
“Anti-Muslims” hate Islam, whether they belong to the left or to the right.
Some people aren’t particularly in love with Islam, but aren’t exactly full of hate either.
So your characterization is rather too simplistic.
There are some excellent people on the right that while they don’t accept Islam, they’ll be ready to defend Muslims and Muslim practices any day.
Robert P. George comes to mind immediately. The same thing on the left, with guys like Edmund Burke III (an academic historian in the Marshall Hodgson tradition).
7) I’m also not quite sure of your characterization of the right destroying our dunya and the left destroying our aakhira
I personally know plenty of people destroying their aakhira simply by becoming caught up in the psychological traps set up by the alt-right.
And I know plenty of Muslims making their aakhira by helping out with causes that are traditionally “social justice” causes, like helping Syrian refugees.
It’s not quite as clear cut as you’re making it out to be.
8) Given the points I make above, I’m concerned about alliance with any one, left, right, or anywhere in the middle.
Hence my original question: Why align yourself with ultra-right-wing people with clear anti-Islam agendas?
9) Also, I take very serious issue with anyone who says that “our entire purpose in the West is to call people to Islam.”
The vast majority of us are not here of our own free will.
And for a good number of those who want to leave (like yours truly), the means are just not there.
We’re here in the West, because we’re stuck.
I’ll be blunt. I simply don’t give a shit about the aakhira of non-Muslims.
I’m sick and tired of this dawah nonsense.
If we are really and truly serious about dawah to non-Muslims, let’s get our shit together in Muslim countries and engage in the Jihad of the Sahaba, which we haven’t done since the death of Sayyiduna Uthman, radi Allahu ta’ala anhu.
Because people understand power. They don’t understand logic.
For every 10 that convert to Islam through a reasoned process, 9 leave because they find it incompatible with whatever it is they are reading at the time.
The only people who really engaged in the dawah similar to the kind you’re talking about are the Mashaykh of the Sufiyyah, who engaged in full-scale conversion efforts AFTER they had been given authority by their own Mashaykh to do so.
As for the common Muslim folk, we’re just living out our lives as best we can, as we ought to be doing.
Adding “dawah” to an already long list of responsibilities is not only unrealistic, but downright cruel.
So understand what I’m saying: Dawah cannot be a responsibility of a common Western Muslim simply because he’s not there of his own free will.
10) If it’s only halal to live “among the kuffar” for the purposes of the dawah that only the Sufi Mashaykh seem to have done…
…then why is it that we don’t see extensive dawah efforts on the part of the common folk in the Chechnya Daghestan region after its conquest by Russia?
Or the upper Volga region? The Crimea? Or China for that matter?
Are we suggesting that the Chinese Muslims living in China are living in a state of continuous sin?
As I’m sure you are already aware, this is already a contentious fiqh issue.
11) And so that brings me to the issue of free speech.
I see your reasoning as follows:
- Muslims cannot live in kaafir lands unless for the explicit purpose of gaining as many converts to Islam as possible.
- Therefore, Muslims in the west should support absolute free speech because that allows us to make “dawah” to non-Muslims and hence save them from the hell-fire.
If this is indeed your argument then I call BS.
There’s two problems here:
- You are supporting the permissibility of an absolutely explicit kufr act (insulting the Prophet alayhissalatu wassalam) on an allegedly wajib act (i.e. making dawah if you’re among the kuffar). I don’t think I can balance out kufr with wajib. This is in explicit contradiction to the fiqhi principle of “preventing harm before doing the good.”
- Even if the argument itself may be “valid” (in terms of its technical validity as a syllogism), the first premise itself is wrong. It is by no means clear (whether we’re talking about qat’i al-wurud or qat’i al-dilalah) that making personal dawah is personally obligatory (or even communally, so) when living among the kuffar. It may be a very strongly held opinion among some of the mashaykh, but it is by no means universal. At the moment I’m thinking of the Deobandi fatwa of the permissibility of living under British rule as long as your own freedom of religion was guaranteed. There’s no mention of dawah being a condition there, despite the fact that Hindus outnumbered Muslims 3 to 1 in British India.
So here’s the question:
Just because you adhere to a certain fiqhi opinion strongly, does that entitle you to support something that is explicitly anathema in our tradition?
12) At this point, I think I’ve addressed every single one of the premises that seem to lead up to the permissibility of free speech advocacy, before we get to the subject of Cernovich himself.
Except one that is, and that is the issue of the similarity of Islam with the social agenda of the right.
Again, this is too simplistic.
A big contingent among the right are the libertarians.
Even though they are not post-modernists like the liberals, they don’t exactly have a pro-family agenda.
LGBT is okay as long as you have consent and do it on a property that you have permission to do it on.
You can do it even out in the public as long as those conditions are fulfilled.
In Rothbardian anarchism (an extreme variant of libertarianism) it is okay for kids to run away from their homes and parents can’t do anything about it.
Doesn’t sound like a family friendly agenda to me.
At the moment, the marriage between libertarians, white supremacists and Christians is a marriage of convenience.
If the hard left is defeated, then we’ll get to watch the show where the right will unravel itself and fight like dogs over their own contradictions.
I’ll be ready with the popcorn when that happens.
13) The flip side of the above point is that on economics, we are like the center left.
We believe in private property and ability to do business alongside having a strong social safety net (i.e. zakat, etc.).
So we’re not quite right wing either, where there ought to be no social safety nets (e.g. among business minded Christians and libertarians).
So while it may be correct to say that our social values align with the right, our economic values certainly don’t.
But, off course, we’re not quite communists either.
14) Now regarding Cernovich.
What walks like a duck and talks like a duck is most certainly a duck even if said duck says that he’s not a duck.
Unrestricted free speech is not a left wing issue.
If Cernovich is for unrestricted free speech, he’s on the right, regardless of what he may say.
That said, however, I do agree that he’s “moderate” in his “anti-Islam-ness” (for lack of a better term).
But that’s like saying he’s a “moderate” serial killer because he’s only killed three random people as opposed to ten.
Let me correct one thing right from the get go.
I hate Twitter, I don’t have a Twitter account, and have never been on Cernovich’s Twitter account.
I only know him through his blog.
So my impressions of Cernovich come from his writings on his blog, not his Twitter account.
So while he’s not dripping with hate like Ann Coulter, he’s not exactly in the “indifferent” category either.
There’s a very simple test for anyone as far as I’m concerned: Do you support a person’s right to desecrate any of the Biblical Prophets? Most people in my personal experience lie somewhere in the middle.
To me, that’s expected.
Even non-Christian folk that I know will say that to have a civilized conversation you need to have a basic level of respect for the what your opponent in a debate holds sacred.
If someone’s “free speech” advocacy means taking discourse down to the level of caricature, then I’m sorry, that’s not the free speech that I want.
What can one say about a civilization that holds nothing sacred except its own tongue?
So while, aligning with the left doesn’t make sense on many levels, the same is also true with the right.
And both can go to hell for all I care.
We are neither left nor right, not on economic issues, not on social issues.
We have a theology. Both leftists and rightists have none.
And all of this comes back to whether or not it is really necessary for Western Muslims to make “dawah.”
As you say, we cannot make dawah without accepting their ruleset.
And I respond, should we accept their ruleset to make dawah in the first place?
Is dawah more important or is a rejection of their ruleset?
Ah! There we go.
A great weight off my chest. I’m going to sleep great tonight.
Jazak Allahu Khayran for giving me this opportunity to spell my frustrations out.
It was a pleasure.
Please keep us in your duas.
wa `alaykum salam
P.S. I grew up in Dubai myself, in the 90s. Fun times, man, fun times. The best thing I miss about it is being able to hear the adhan and to go to the masjid on a whim.
Nabeel’s Second Response
Ok I’ll try to address each point to the best of my ability, inshallah.
Here’s something you should know.
My own religious and social positions on Islam are line up closely with yours.
I would say we agree with each other in principle, only differing on the details.
That may seem hard to believe, given the marketing tactics I use to grow Becoming the Alpha Muslim, but you will see it as the case when I answer you.
May Allah grant you and your wife good health and well-being, and make it easy for you to pray Fajr and Isha. Ameen.
I congratulate you and your wife for prioritizing the long-term prosperity and happiness of your family and children by maintaining the gender roles stipulated in Islam.
May Allah make all your children righteous and God-fearing. Ameen.
On to my answers, which are done topically instead of responding to each point individually
The silent (majority?)
Your response represents the frustration of a significant population of American Muslims (and the West in general.)
I won’t say you are a majority or minority, I don’t have the numbers for that.
I will say, of the Muslims who are religiously literate your views are the norm.
It is impossible to understand the Aqeedah of Ahlus Sunnah and be a Feminist, a Black Lives Matter supporter or LGBTQ supporter (or a right-wing conservative, for that matter.)
It goes without saying I support none of these movements.
Terminology and Semantics
I don’t like that you are treating my general statements, simplified for the sake of brevity, as universal.
It’s a common occurrence when we discuss such issues.
Someone will make a general statement and immediately comes the appeal to exception – “oh but there’s this one guy who doesn’t fit that.”
It makes it impossible to have a meaningful conversation if every permutation has to be given weight.
There is a reason terms like “right,” “left,” “liberal,” and “conservative” exist.
Generalizations exist because they are experienced consistently.
It wouldn’t be a stretch to say our entire legal tradition is built on the validity of heuristic decision-making.
So many rulings apply to “the norm” in society – exceptions are dealt with on a case-by-case basis.
So, understand, when I use these terms they are generalizations and not universalizations.
Da’wah and Living in the West
You cited a fatwa on Indians living under British rule.
“Permissible” does not mean “recommended.”
So, while it may be permissible to live in these countries as long as you can practice your religion, you are better off living in the Muslim lands.
Besides, what kind of freedom of religion do you have when each successive generation is becoming less and less Muslim?
Don’t you have a responsibility to preserve the Islam of your children’s children?
O ye who believe! save yourselves and your families from a Fire whose fuel is Men and Stones, over which are (appointed) angels stern (and) severe, who flinch not (from executing) the Commands they receive from Allah, but do (precisely) what they are commanded.
For those who don’t have the means to leave, or can’t leave for whatever reason, they have an exceptional circumstance.
Again, this is another case of people using exceptions to negate a general rule.
For those can leave but choose to stay, there is Allah’s warning in the Quran.
When angels take the souls of those who die in sin against their souls, they say: “In what (plight) Were ye?” They reply: “Weak and oppressed Were we in the earth.” They say: “Was not the earth of Allah spacious enough for you to move yourselves away (From evil)?” Such men will find their abode in Hell,- What an evil refuge!
Next, you have taken a very narrow understanding of what I mean by da’wah.
I didn’t mean only the active proselytizing of spreading the Truth of Islam and inviting people to submit.
Da’wah is broad and each person is obliged to perform it according to his circumstance.
In fact, the da’wah that is most needed right now is the one American Muslims are totally neglecting.
That is, living proudly as Muslims without adulterating the teachings of Islam.
How can you give da’wah when you have significant numbers of House Muslims / Coconuts / Uncle Toms / Coons / Shines, of both the liberal and conservative variety in your communities?
The liberal Social Justice Warrior Muslims back Feminism, LGBTQ, Perennialism, Secularism, and racism against whites (in the form of Black Lives Matter.)
The conservative right-wing Muslims back American Imperialism, Secularism, Muslims serving in the American army, and complete assimilation into the American cultural identity.
And both back the idea of American Exceptionalism, which bleeds over into American Muslim exceptionalism.
To be fair, I know many Muslims like you (scholar and layman alike) who stay true to their faith.
But you don’t have the mic. The House Muslims do.
Whether you agree or not, they are speaking for all of you.
Back to my point on da’wah.
Da’wah is you praying Fajr and Isha in the masjid.
Da’wah is you looking visibly Muslim.
Da’wah is you sticking by the Islamic Aqeedah even though it doesn’t jive with postmodern secular liberalism.
Da’wah is your wife staying at home to raise the children and not being a Feminist.
Da’wah is your wife keeping her hijab on.
Da’wah is you not having anything to do with a racist, radical liberal movement like Black Lives Matter.
Da’wah is saying “sadaqa Rasulullah” when he sallallahu alayhi wa sallam said “al-maghdoobi alayhim are the Jews and al-daalleen are the Christians.”
Da’wah is you abstaining from voting in order to make a statement rejecting the legitimacy of a corrupt system of governance.
Da’wah is you teaching your kids that only Muslims enter Jannah, that the Khilafa is a matter of Aqeedah, that secularism if Kufr, that homosexuality is a major sin, etc.
Da’wah is you openly protesting the mockery of Isa, Musa, Nuh, and all of the anbiyaa and rusul other than Al-Habeeb Al-Mustafa, alayhimu-s-salaam.
Instead, you have your religious leaders writing and endorsing books filled with perennialist heresies, writing articles saying it’s perfectly acceptable to take off the hijab, publishing press releases saying homosexuality is A-OK, and intellectual-yet-idiot PhDs saying Adam alayhis salam is a product of evolution.
Do you get my point?
If you and other Muslims are struggling with your own implementation of religion, you fix yourselves up AND give da’wah.
Both are obligations and both happen in parallel.
All you are required to do, all that is expected of you, is your best.
Allah takes care of the rest.
What is the Muslim Role in the Ongoing Free-speech Debate?
Last year Muslims at Goldsmith’s university disrupted a lecture by the murtad Maryam Namazie.
There have been numerous other instances where Muslims protested against speakers we don’t like – some have been successful in getting the speaker disinvited.
There have also been numerous protests by non-Muslims against Muslim speakers of Ahlus Sunnah.
If they no-platform our speakers and we no-platform their speakers, who will speak?
I’d really like someone to explain to me how shutting down any and all disagreeable discussion is productive for us.
You know where policing speech ends up?
The khateeb at your masjid submitting his khutbah to the government for approval.
Or worse, a government-issued khutbah, like many of the Muslim countries have.
This does not, however, mean I support or advocate for unrestricted free speech, AT ALL.
I don’t appreciate your misrepresenting my position when I clearly stated it in my first response to you.
So, let’s talk about insulting Prophets.
Where was the Muslim protest against the movie Noah (alayhis salam,) starring Russel Crowe?
Where was the Muslim protest against the mockery of Jesus (alayhis salam,) in Family Guy and South Park?
Where was the Muslim protest against Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey) spitting on (a statue of) Jesus (alayhis salam) in House of Cards?
As a nation we Muslims are utter hypocrites on this particular issue.
I have seen ZERO organized efforts to defend the honor of the Prophets and Messengers against the disgusting behavior of the kuffaar (Jews and Christians included) towards them all.
I don’t accept anyone’s right to disrespect any Prophet or Messenger.
I only begrudgingly tolerate the system of free speech which allows us Muslims to speak the Truths of Islam that are offensive to non-Muslims.
I repeat, if they silence us and we silence them, who will speak?
Maybe my approach is completely wrong.
I’m willing to accept that possibility.
But I have not received a satisfactory answer to this question.
Islam and the various -isms and schisms
We agree on this point.
I don’t accept the validity of any -ism.
They may have aspects compatible with Islam but this is by accident, not by design.
I also reject the validity of identifying with any particular -ism.
Unholy Alliance with the Left
I think you will agree in terms of Muslims representation in public discourse, the pendulum has swung far to the left.
Muslims, out of a desire to protect their status as a religious minority, have embarked on an unholy alliance with liberals of all stripes.
Not only do they tacitly lend support to the radical liberal agenda, they are adopting their language and tactics.
Notice the significant rise of hate-crime hoaxes by Muslims?
Notice their participation in ridiculous radical leftist protests like the women’s march?
Given this, I fail to see why you have a problem with a Muslim coming along (me) trying to correct the situation.
I want you to understand, my tactics are deliberate.
In response to an extreme, corrective action will take the form of the opposite extreme.
Look at corrective action in the Islamic tradition.
The result is the community as a whole is brought back to the middle.
Have you heard of the Overton Window?
I’m trying to bring our discourse and political engagement back to the middle way.
It’s basically the entire purpose of Becoming the Alpha Muslim.
Am I going to screw up along the way? Absolutely?
Are you obliged to agree with my methods to benefit? Not at all.
Becoming the Alpha Muslim is not a teacher-student environment.
It’s a student-student environment.
As I learn, I share with you.
Your job is to take what’s correct and reject what isn’t.
And to speak up when you believe I’m wrong (like you have just done.)
I learn from you all as much as you learn from my blog and podcast.
Religious Reasoning for Left or Right Support
I don’t like getting into this debate because it comes down to weighing the benefits and harms.
I don’t support either.
My immediate concern is disrupting the post-modern, Marxist, radical leftist discourse, that rejects the very idea of an objective Truth and ultimately amounts to one ginormous conspiracy theory, that is seeping into our communities through American Muslims.
On what basis can you even begin to call to Islam when everyone’s “truth” is valid according to postmodernism?
American Muslims are the Moors with Youtube.
Can you imagine Muslims at the time of the Moors validating their Islamic practice and adopting it as their own? (On the contrary, the opposite happened.)
To that end, I will use whatever halal methods I must to achieve the greater good.
What duck is this, specifically? A kaafir duck?
He’s guilty as charged and no more or less anti-Islam than a liberal on the left.
I don’t think you’ve read or heard enough of his work to have an objective opinion.
He has made his personal beliefs clear on many occasions.
Do I agree with all of his beliefs? Hell no.
And I certainly don’t need to defend any of his beliefs.
But if you want to call him this or that, you better not be misrepresenting him based on a few blog posts.
I don’t care whether they are right or left, conservative or liberal, every kaafir is going to reject the Islam of Ahlus Sunnah, whether they say so or not.
Your comments imply that we can only benefit from kuffar who are 100% neutral to Islam.
Another thing you don’t realize is Cernovich’s marketing methods are just that – marketing.
He has goals he wants to achieve and does whatever he needs to do to win.
Most of what people take issue with are his conflict marketing tactics.
Guess what? Being a kaafir, he doesn’t have to play by the same rules we have to.
The Kaafir Ruleset
Ok, I agree with you. We are neither left nor right. Now what?
How do you operate as a Muslim in a secular, allegedly democratic country?
Whether you like it or not, you have a responsibility to the kuffaar around you, to call them to Islam.
Do you want that job to be easier or harder?
The closer the people are to their fitrah, the easier it is for them to submit to Islam.
I never said you have to accept their ruleset, you are misrepresenting me again.
I said you tolerate it, being bound by the terms of your contract of citizenship, because it is the only way you can argue for the Truth and change the ruleset.
If you don’t want to tolerate the ruleset and you don’t want to do da’wah, you leave.
It’s as simple as that.
I think that’s everything
Did I miss anything? Let me know.
May Allah have mercy on you and your family.
Ahsan’s Final Email
wa `alaykum salam Sayyidi,
Jazak Allahu Khayran for your duas.
Allah knows I (and my family) need yours (everyone else’s duas, too).
As you say, it’s certain that we don’t disagree on fundamentals, alhamdolillah.
Heck, I don’t even think we disagree too much on the details, either.
But for what it’s worth, I’ll still reply. Again, in point form:
1) First, a tiny, inconsequential point of correction: I’m Canadian. Not American.
In the larger context, my nationality is meaningless.
In terms of foreign policy, it’s certainly an edge over the Americans. *chuckle*
Second, if you felt I was representing any of your positions, please accept my apology.
It wasn’t my intention.
Third, I’d like to re-iterate our points of agreement:
Definitely, all things being equal and given ability, it is better to leave these lands.
There are no two ways about it.
I’m already familiar with al-Wansharisi’s text.
Your point is well taken.
Living here, and seeing how the schooling is deteriorating day by day, I’m extremely frightened of what’s going to happen to my kids, if I ever were to send them to school.
So, you’re damn right.
If not for us, then at least for our children.
In case you’re wondering, I have no plans to send them to public school.
There is certainly a growing frustration among literate Muslims of every stripe (Shia, Sunni, Salafi, Sufi, whatever, etc.)
Unfortunately, the problem is that we’ve got NO outlet to voice our concerns.
The Safina Society is a welcome platform (alhamdolillah for Dr. Shadee), but that’s just about it.
You’re right. We don’t have the mic.
And that can be incredibly frustrating.
I’m 100% with you on the Prophets, alayhim-us-salatu-was-salam…
…and the collective Muslim hypocrisy on when they are insulted.
And we’re certainly going to be taken to account for it.
But that is precisely why I’m anti-free-speech.
Yes, we’ve become too “leftist.”
And we’re either deliberately trying to scam our way to attention (with hate-crime hoaxes), or at least blowing issues totally out of proportion.
No arguments here.
We also agree on our mashaykh or “ustadhs” being uber flexible on issues that really ought to be rigid.
Again, no arguments here.
Also 100% agree on American Exceptionalism bleeding into American Muslim Exceptionalism.
You couldn’t imagine how many times I’ve heard the liberal crowd interpreting the hadith of Islam re-emerging from the “maghreb” to be referring to America. *shakes my head*
Don’t get me wrong.
It could still be true.
But it’s not going to be the liberal crowd who’ll be doing the reviving.
Fourth, here are my points of contention
(I say “contention” not “disagreement” for a reason), which aren’t major by any means:
Though I completely agree with the fact that generalizations exist because they are experienced consistently…
…I’m bit of a stickler on it.
When I pointed them out, it wasn’t necessarily as a counter argument to anything.
It just bugged me.
“Dawah” is where we’re going to have to agree to disagree.
In my opinion, “Dawah” = “active proselytizing.”
All the other examples of Dawah you give are all true and should be acted upon.
No arguments there.
But they are not Dawah.
They may lead to conversations that may turn into what we could conceivably call Dawah.
I can’t recall how many times my beard (which now is quite thick and lush, as opposed to my profile pic, alhamdolillah) leads to a conversation about Islam.
But they are not Dawah.
In fact, what you’ve mentioned can all be subsumed under “freedom to practice your deen” as is mentioned in the Indian fatwa I mentioned earlier.
My understanding of Dawah may be narrow, but I’m going to stick to it.
I haven’t seen any reason to expand it to the level you have.
This is a practical point, but any alliance with the right…
…even at the lowest level you have identified for yourself, is just as deadly as the complete and undoubtedly unholy alliance with the left.
I do not argue with its halal nature.
But I do say that, just as it has come to bite our ass with the left, it is going to come back and bite our ass with the right.
I think you will agree that our history is full of examples when Muslims “allied” themselves with non-Muslims and were stabbed in the back.
I just think that we ought to learn our lessons by now.
No alliance, at any level, with non-Muslims is ever going to produce the fruit we think it might.
There was a time when I used to think that we should ally ourselves with the conservative Catholics, since they’re pretty much in the same boat as we are, with respect to liberality and leftism among their own ranks.
It is for this reason I immensely respect people like Robert P. George & E. Michael Jones.
But when I read Islamic history, especially that from al-Andalus, I always come to the same conclusion:
All nations ultimately act only in their own interests, and alliances, at any level, mean nothing.
Which brings me to the next point:
I have nothing against you trying to “correct the situation,” as you say.
Believe me, I think BTAM is a much needed breath of fresh air.
I listen regularly to yours and Dr. Shadee’s podcasts.
I eagerly, EAGERLY wait for each episode from you both.
In fact, I REALLY wish you’d have more episodes, more frequently.
But what REALLY ticked me off was your financial support (no matter how begrudgingly or with whatever caveats you’ve attached to it) for Cernovich’s movie.
My last word on this is this: You can do all you have to do, without ever having to hand over your hard earned halal income to a kaafir who actively is trying to make it “okay” to insult our Prophets, alayhim-us-salatu-wassalam.
So it doesn’t really matter what the rest of his views are.
And Cernovich is just one guy.
He’s merely a sample.
And I can completely understand where he is coming from (i.e. his frustration is with the liberal stifling of free speech, etc. as I understand it).
But his fight is not our fight.
And doubly so, because it insults the highest principles in Islam: Allah Himself, the Prophets in general and the Prophet Muhammad, in particular, alayhim-us-salatu-was-salam.
In other words, these principles are too high for us to bend for some “practical” purpose, like being able to do “dawah,” as you define it.
You support or “tolerate” (no matter how begrudgingly) Cernovich’s version of “free speech” (which includes the right to insult the Anbiya) to be able to make “dawah,” and I, in my mind, pit this against the honor of our Prophets, alayhim-us-salatu-was-salam.
Moving away from Cernovich now your toleration of free speech in general seems to be a “tit for tat” thing.
They do it to us, so we do it to them.
If we shut out their speakers, like Maryam Namazie, or whoever, then they shut out our speakers.
Okay? So what? It’s a kafir country.
Their country, their rules.
I uphold the Pakistani government’s right to execute a blasphemer.
I uphold Saudi’s right to execute drug traffickers.
My country, my rules. Your country, your rules.
I sincerely believe that the people in a nation ought to be able to determine their own local laws and customs.
If Muslim countries can forbid Christians from proselytizing (and constructing crosses over churches and other similar things), then what’s wrong with kafirs shutting out Muslim speakers in their own countries?
National sovereignty is a key principle here.
Finally, do you really think that they’d actually let our speakers speak EVEN IF, we were to grant them their precious “freedom of speech”?
Let’s not be naive.
No, they won’t grant you your right to free speech even if they take that right for themselves.
Here’s but a few examples from a VERY long list:
- Despite the whole “je suis charlie” shit show, France, TO THIS DAY, has laws banning the expression of holocaust denial. In fact, the comedian Dieudonne was ordered by a court to withdraw two of his videos from Youtube because of, you won’t believe it “denying crimes against humanity.” Basically, he doesn’t believe in the Holocaust and actively makes fun of it. And Dieudonne is black. He’s been fined countless times and jailed once for his views.
- “Hate” speech is officially banned here in Canada, despite touting “religious freedom” in the rest of the world (seriously, we used to have an official Department of Religious Freedom Abroad at the federal level). And let there be no doubt. The only crusading for religious freedom that Canada did was in Muslim countries on behalf of the local Christian populations. They conveniently skipped over the Rohingya in Burma.
- And despite David Cameron attending the said “je suis charlie” shit show, the UK has now officially banned criticism of Israel.
- The US is a little more subtle. The means of stopping speech are a quasi-legal. They mostly lend themselves to public pressure and the sort. But even then, freedom of speech isn’t absolute. It is subject to property rights. So which is it? Freedom of speech or freedom of property? Which, as it is turning out now, isn’t so absolute either, with things like eminent domain, etc.
I think I’ve addressed all points.
Perhaps not all, but I think I’ve hit the major ones, at least.
I think it really boils down to the practicality of tolerating free speech.
Does it help us? Or does it hinder us?
Not an easy question to answer, I grant that.
But I think I have more than enough grounds to oppose not only the principle itself, but also any attempts to tolerate it, to whatever end, as I’ve outlined above.
I hope I’ve made a persuasive case.
I think the only reason we have these problems is because of 9/11.
That event became the trigger that forced us into the difficult position we are now.
Had 9/11 not happened, then the Muslims in the West would not have had their panties tied in a knot.
We had successfully assimilated ourselves here by the year 2000, until we became targets post-2001.
In many respects, 9/11 and other subsequent events have been a blessing in disguise.
It has exposed the hypocrisy of those who’ve claimed to be “Muslim.”
We’re going through a period of a separation of the wheat from the chaff.
May Allah help us.
Another thing that is becoming increasingly clear…
…with the rise of the liberal left over the last 40 odd years, is that nobody likes “freedom” to be forcibly thrust down their throats.
Hence, the rise of right-wing nationalism.
If this liberalism doesn’t stop soon, we’ll soon be down the path of a major world conflict, perhaps, of World War II proportions.
It’s not going to be pretty. I pray for the well-being of all.
As I’ve mentioned before, please, by all means, publish my emails. Just send me the link when you have a post. When do you think you’ll have a post published?
I hope we have more reason to communicate in the future. I enjoyed this immensely.
Please keep us in your duas.
Jazak Allahu Khayran
Wa ‘alaykum salam
Nabeel’s Final Response
Jazakumullahu khairan Ahsan.
I’ll give you the last word.
I fully appreciate the significance of all of your points of contention.
A project like Becoming the Alpha Muslim has never been done before.
Every piece of content I produce is a test or an experiment.
Given that, it is almost certain I will make both real and perceived mistakes along the way.
This interaction of ours, this kind of interaction with my readers, has been one of my goals from the very beginning.
I’d much rather I get a strong reaction, whether agreement or disagreement, than no reaction at all.
Thank you for your support.
And I am working on a more consistent publishing schedule for the site.
I’m thinking, maybe, one blog post and one podcast per week.
Or, at the very least, alternating between posting and podcasting once a week.
May Allah reward you and your family for your gheerah over Allah, His Messenger, and His religion, and guide you all to what pleases Him.
Ahsan’s Follow Up Email
Jazak Allahu Khayran for giving me the opportunity to do so, Sayyidi.
I really appreciate it.
There’s another thing I’d like to talk to you about.
With your permission, off course, I’d like to seek your advice on something.
I think “demographically” we’re in the same kind of boat.
You’re in your mid-thirties. I’m 31.
You’ve got kids. I’ve got two of my own.
We’re both traditional in the sense that our wives don’t work, putting the honor of having to earn our daily bread upon our shoulders.
You’re in a regular job, and I’m in a regular job.
So to me, it makes sense to ask you this question, as opposed to anyone else.
You say you’re studying the deen on the side.
Now you’ve got your copywriting gig. And you’re also running BTAM.
How in the world do you juggle all of it?
When I come home, I’m dead tired and barely able to move a muscle.
Part of it is health issues.
But part of me thinks this could be managed better.
Before I got married, I was the most active person in the world.
University studies, jobs, active in deeni halaqas, online deeni courses.
You name it, I was there.
But now it’s a struggle.
Most of our evenings, we’re just tied to our kids.
And our kids are extremely energetic and don’t let us off even for a few minutes.
I’ve got a few business ideas of my own I want to try out, but either we have no time, and when we do, we have no energy.
I think it would have been less of a problem had we been living with our parents (who live in Toronto), but because of my job, I’ve had to move out West.
I work in the natural gas industry in Calgary.
Any thoughts? Advice?
Jazak Allahu Khayran
Nabeel’s Follow Up Response
Assalamu alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh,
Because you asked, I’m going to write about it in detail.
So, I’ll leave the detailed answer for then.
The short answer is as follows:
You are doing EXACTLY what you have to do.
Provide for your family and be a good father to your children.
Feel grateful that you have the ability to fulfill your obligations.
IF you want to do more, don’t do too much more.
I have drastically reduced my Islamic Studies lessons to just the essentials (I used to sign up for every class I could find.)
Pick one aspect in your life that you really want to improve and only work on that one thing.
Don’t add anything new until what you are working on is a habit.
Whatever your goal is (e.g. health) work on it 1st thing in the morning.
Get up 30-60 minutes earlier if you have to.
Remember, this is something you REALLY want to do, and if you REALLY want to do it, you will make time.
Break your goals down into the smallest possible discrete piece of work and do that piece every single day without fail.
As you become accustomed to that piece of work, you will naturally increase.
E.g. do 10-20 minutes of exercise every day for a month, then move up to 20-30, then to 30-45, and so on.
Remove willpower from the equation by creating systems that you adhere to no-matter-what.
So, working on your goal first thing in the morning is one system.
For you, I recommend focusing on your health first.
Listen to my podcast where I interview Alexander Juan Antonio Cortes.
Once your health is under control you will find other aspects of your life fall into place.
If you have made it this far, a) congratulations and b) your neck is probably sore from all the nodding you’ve been doing (didn’t I say you’d relate to a lot of what was said here?)
I hope the discussion was as enlightening for you as it was for me.
For what it’s worth, I take serious criticism seriously.
Ahsan presented very strong arguments – our only disagreement was on tactics.
He represents a significant segment of Western Muslim society – fitrah intact, religiously literate, and wanting nothing to do with either the left or the right.
My aggressive Gorilla Internet Marketing efforts have coaxed out a much-needed discussion in the community.
Hopefully, we will see a shift back to the Prophetic Methodology as a result.
We are seeing the beginnings of the course-correction in the work of people like Dr. Shadee Elmasry, Mawlana Hamza Wald Maqbul, Bassam Zawadi, Abdullah Al-Andalusi, Asadullah Ali Al-Andalusi, Daniel Haqiqatjou, and others.
They are gaining momentum – and it’s up to us to support their work.
We may not have the time to publish papers and blog posts, or record podcasts or youtube videos.
However, we can damn-sure:
- share their work on social media and in our communities
- leave supportive comments on their pages
- leave positive reviews and ratings on their podcasts
- sign up for their courses and buy their books
2017 is the year Ahlus Sunnah (orthodox / mainstream / normative Islam) brings the ruckus.
Is there anything you’d like to add?
Leave a comment below and make yourself heard.
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