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A Response to Yasir Qadhi

In the Name of Allâh, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful

The following is a comment left on muslimmatters blog in response to an article by Yasir Qadhi entitled: 'The Lure of Radicalism and Extremism Amongst Muslim Youth' which can be read in full here

by Brother Ibn Abdullah may Allah preserve and protect him


Sheikh Yasir Qadhi’s article is very well articulated, however, it creates more questions than answers. What is very positive about the article is that he eloquently describes how many Muslims feel today, showing that at least for the record, he is “in the loop”, and is aware of what is happening to Muslims here, and abroad. No one can honestly accuse him of being oblivious about the state of affairs for Muslims. However, the problem that Sheikh Yasir faces is that there is a clear conflict of interest at hand. Yasir Qadhi is a U.S. born, American citizen, living in the US, and completing his Ph.D. at Yale. The fact of the matter is, there is only so much he can criticize the US. Sheikh Yasir may not be able to openly admit this, but we Muslims here nonetheless have to recognize this obvious fact, and therefore must take anything Sheikh Yasir says about the type of legitimate Islamic response that the Muslims should have towards the blatant injustice the Ummah is facing, with more than just a grain of salt. We Muslims must understand, that regardless of what age we live in, the fitnah of the taghoot is enormous, as ALLAH shows us in the Qur’an with the example of Fir’aun. This was also witnessed at the time of Imam Ahmad, when he was tortured by the Khalifah (not the President/Prime Minister/Czar/Emperor/Chancellor, but the Khalifah) of his time over the issue of the Divine nature of the Qur’an. While many scholars existed at his time, Imam Ahmad was in the extreme minority who spoke out, unapologetically, unequivocally, for the truth. If this is the fitnah of the rulers from amongst the Muslims, then what of the ones from the kuffar? To put it in layman terms, it’s easy to criticize the Boston Red Sox when one is in Yankee Stadium. To criticize the Boston Red Sox when one is at Fenway Park is another matter.

When Sheikh Yasir says:

“..these Western scholars, no matter how popular among the masses, are nothing more than sell-outs: government-appeasing servile acquiescing cowards who are more concerned about their own safety and popularity than the safety and comfort of their persecuted brothers and sisters around the world. ”

What he needs to understand is that these “Western scholars” have none to blame but themselves for this perception. Take just recently in the month of Ramadan, when the tragic flood hit the Muslim country of Pakistan causing much catastrophe to our brothers and sisters with respect to their homes, and their lives, to which many organizations around the world pointed out that the global response (especially those of the Muslim nations) was luke warm at best, many Western Imams went to Auschwitz recognizing the tragedy of the holocaust, an historic event that is well over 60 years old which Muslims played no role in whatsoever in, and has been exploited by the enemies of Islam to persecute our Brothers and Sisters in Palestine:


If one argues that the events occurred simultaneously (give or take), and therefore the participants were unaware of the events in Pakistan at that time, did these very Imams, and leaders, ever issue a joint statement condemning the US crimes against the Muslims of Iraq, whether it is about the present war taking place right now, or with respect to the genocide of Muslim children that took place PRE-9/11 during the Clinton Administration?


Did they issue a joint statement condemning the atrocities committed by the US soldiers in Abu Ghraib/Bagram/Guantanamo Bay?


These Imams are conspicuously silent. These blatant contradictions that Muslims see today simply cannot be ignored, and the actions of our leaders must be questioned. In the information age we live in, our Ummah is much more aware then they give us credit for. We are an Ummah that takes a middle ground, and does not go into extremes. If Sheikh Yasir is willing to engage a taghoot (whose army is directly responsible for killing, and raping Muslims, while plundering Muslim wealth, in an effort to further weaken the Ummah), as he himself did:


Then Sheikh Yasir should also find the moral courage to engage the very Muslim leaders whose qualifications he questions (just for the record, the credentials of Sheikh Anwar Al-Awlaki are quite comparable, if not superior to Sheikh Yasir’s himself):


Sheikh Yasir had a golden opportunity when this exchange occurred between Sheikh Tawfique Choudhry and Sheikh Anwar Al-Awlaki only recently:


However, Sheikh Yasir avoided involvement. Interestingly enough, Sheikh Yasir, rather than speaking out against Sheikh Anwar, mildly critique’s Sheikh Tawfique’s position in one of the comments. Nothing against Sheikh Anwar.

More over, Ayman Al-Zawahiri, not too long ago, had an open town hall meeting, where people were allowed to submit their questions online for him to answer. Why didn’t Sheikh Yasir engage Ayman Al-Zawahiri with the issues he is raising here? The issue here is not whether you agree with either Anwar Al-Awlaki, or Ayman Al-Zawahiri, but simply extending the same courtesy to fellow Muslims that you would to the taghoot. If you truly are more knowledgeable than those who are engaged in fighting the kuffar on the front lines, then you as a person of knowledge have an obligation to teach these concepts (the concepts of jihad, wala wal-bara, establishment of khilafah, etc). You as a person of knowledge cannot simply criticize from the sidelines. Our brothers and sisters who are fighting, and defending themselves are indeed human, and will make mistakes. This is a fact. However, our duty first and foremost, is to make excuses for them, defend their honour, support them, and if possible, educate them. If our leaders lack the courage, and the fortitude to engage the enemy head on, then they have an obligation, and a moral duty to not belittle the efforts of those, that do have the courage and the fortitude. As the kuffar say in defending the actions of their barbaric, savage, minions, “support our troops”, so should we. In addition, while Sheikh Yasir indeed has some exemplary credentials with respect to his Islamic education, we must also be aware that he neither has put his life at risk on any battlefield defending the Muslim lands nor to ensure that the banner of Islam is the highest, nor spent any time in prison at the hands of a tyrant like many great Islamic scholars, past and present. Of all people, Sheikh Yasir should understand this point, as he is a signatory to the Pledge of Mutual Respect and Cooperation:


The other problem that Sheikh Yasir, and other Imams/leaders of the west must understand is that while they repeatedly argue that it is haram to kill innocent civilians, women, and children in combat (a very strong, legitimate, fiqh opinion), they must understand that it is precisely that: an opinion. The rules of combat of today have significantly changed, and contrary to what Sheikh Yasir said above, some of the greatest Islamic scholars of our time have APPROVED the killing of innocent women, and children during these times:


I by no means am defending the above opinion, but the fact remains that when a great scholar of our time makes such a strong, and explicit statement (a scholar whom Sheikh Yasir respects highly), then it is up to people like Sheikh Yasir to either acknowledge this opinion, or provide a scholarly refutation showing why such an opinion is flawed. The other problem that the Imams have on this subject, is that they not only are against killing innocent civilians, but they are also against the killing of soldiers as well (see Fort Hood). If a Muslim of german nationality, was in the Nazi army got up and shot several Nazi soldiers who were either preparing for battle, or returning from battle, such a Muslim would be viewed as a contemporary hero. Why is the Fort Hood incident any different? Is defending jewish lives a greater priority in Islam, then defending Muslim? The message that these Imams and scholars are giving is simply, regardless of whether the kuffar are killing, or raping you, or your families, you may not fight back, because it is haram. What is apparent by this, is that the allegiance of the scholars, and the Imams to the US, and it’s army, is greater than it’s allegiance to the Muslims in other parts of the world. Is this not what is apparent? What other, possible conclusion can be drawn from the above statements from our leaders? Where are the same statements condemning the killing of innocents by the US, and allied forces? Where are these video releases on youtube? Do the kuffar have carte blanche? This is also extremism.

Moreover, it is also very condescending to dismiss legitimate grievances of Muslims around the world who feel the one responsible is “Amrika”. If the implication of this argument of Sheikh Yasir is that we Muslims are being punished by ALLAH for our many, MANY sins, and neglect of our duties to ALLAH, then he is absolutely correct. That being said, this issue is something we should always be preoccupied with, whether at times of injustice or at ease. No Muslim can ever, ever be complacent about his/her duties to ALLAH. If one was to ask Abu Bakr, or Umar (May ALLAH be pleased with both of them), or any other Sahabi about the need for improvement in their efforts, they would be the first to acknowledge that they are falling short. So this should, by no means, be an excuse to allow us to ignore the responsibilities we have towards our brethren around the world. If one is simply dismissing the crimes committed by “Amrika” because they sincerely don’t believe that this is a war on Islam, nor a clash of civilizations, then how do we reconcile this opinion, with these blatant statements by US politicians?

“Terrorists’ ultimate aim is to establish a caliphate (Khilafah) covering a region from Spain, across North Africa, through the Middle East and South Asia, all the way to Indonesia -and it wouldn’t stop there,” Sydney Morning Herald, US VP Richard Bruce “Dick” Cheney 1428-2-24 H
” If we enhance the recruiting of this jihadist cause, there will be an attempt to re-establish the caliphate
(Khilafah),… the caliphate (Khilafah) that twice has gone all the way across the Pyrenees, up to the gates of
Vienna… I am concerned that it will be difficult for Europe to stand and that you will have a re-established
caliphate (Khilafah) sitting on 58 percent of the world’s oil.” US Lieutenant General William G. Boyk at Manna
Church for the graduation ceremony of Fayetteville Christian School in North Carolina US 1428-4-9 H
“They see Iraq as the center of a new caliphate (Khilafah), from which they can stir extremism and violence
throughout the region” New York Times, US VP Richard Bruce “Dick” Cheney 1428-4-25 H
“This caliphate (Khilafah) would be a totalitarian Islamic empire encompassing all current and former Muslim
lands, stretching from Europe to North Africa, the Middle East and Southeast Asia… They hope to establish a
violent political utopia across the Middle East, which they call caliphate (Khilafah), where all would be ruled
according to their hateful ideology.” George Walker Bush 1427-8-12 H
” Iraq’s future will either embolden terrorists and expand their reach and ability to re-establish a caliphate
(Khilafah), or it will deal them a crippling blow ” New York Times reported about the statement of US
Undersecretary of Defense Eric S. Edelman speaking at Council on Foreign Relations 1426-12-11 H
” They want to reestablish the Supreme Caliphate (Khilafah) . It’s in every writing that you ever want to look at it…
their goal is to start in Iraq, expand their Islamic caliphate (Khilafah) throughout the Middle East to Europe, and
ultimately across the entire world. ” US Lieutenant General Raymond T. Odierno, assistant to the chairman of the
joint chiefs of staff given talk at American Enterprise Institute 1426-12-18 H
” They talk about wanting to re-establish what you could refer to as the seventh-century caliphate (Khilafah),…
governed by Sharia law, the most rigid interpretation of the Koran.” US VP Richard Bruce “Dick” Cheney at
Lake Elmo, Minnesota 1425-8-15 H
“Do you really want to live in… a Stone Age Islamic caliphate (Khilafah) with no rights, no economy and no
future? I am confident the answer will be no.” The Independent, James Philip Rubin, was assistant US secretary

In order for Sheikh Yasir to credibly, and legitimately address these concerns, grievances, and actions of our youth today, he needs to answer the many questions raised above, and others. Our Imams and leaders need to be held accountable, and need to spend a lot of time in self-reflection, and self-criticism, as it is on their watch, that these events are occurring. To simply suggest that one way to end “radicalization” in our youth is to get them married, and have children, is extremely patronizing, as if to suggest that the primary reason for this “problem” is sexual frustration in our young men, or that marriage is a convenient distraction from the problems of the world today. Marriage definitely should be encouraged in our youth to avoid zina, and other haram activities. However, to use marriage as a solution to end the “radical” behaviour in our youth is just plain wrong. Many of the brothers who are engaged in fighting the enemy on the front lines today (and ironically, many of the Toronto18, and Faisal Shahzad), were or are married, and have children. In addition, the Prophet SAW in a beautiful hadith spoke on this matter, WARNING the Ummah about this:

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Children are the cause of grief, cowardice, ignorance and miserliness.” (Reported by al-Tabaraani in al-Kabeer, 24/241; Saheeh al-Jaami’, 1990). When he said that they are the cause of miserliness, he meant that if a man wants to spend for the sake of Allaah, the Shaytaan reminds him of his children, so he thinks, “My children deserve the money, I will leave it for them when I die, so he is miserly in the sense that he refrains from spending it for the sake of Allaah. When he said that children are the cause of cowardliness, he meant that when a man wants to fight in jihaad for the sake of Allaah, the Shaytaan comes to him and says, “You will be killed and will die, and your children will become orphans, lost and alone,” so he stays home and does not go out for jihaad. When he said that children are the cause of ignorance, he meant that they distract a father from seeking knowledge and trying to acquire learning by attending gatherings and reading books. When he said that children are the cause of grief, he meant that when a child gets sick, the parent feels grief; if the child asks for something that the father cannot provide, this grieves the father; and if the child grows up and rebels against his father, this is a cause of ongoing grief and distress. (Weakness of Faith By Sheikh Saalih Al-Munajjid).

To argue that marriage, and having children is a way for our youth to avoid “radical” behaviour is to indirectly echo the very attacks the kuffar have spewed against the concept of jihad and the rewards for the martyrs. A more legitimate solution to ending radical behaviour in our youth, would be to simply ban the use of TV, Internet, and newspapers. These are the primary media that our youth learn of the injustices, and atrocities that are happening to the Ummah, and to sensor the sources of this information would definitely be a way to prevent radical behaviour. This idea is not far fetched, as this tactic was employed in medieval times by the vatican to keep christians ignorant of their own scripture, and by adolf hitler through book burnings. Or, our scholars, and Imam’s should stop teaching about brother/sisterhood altogether, and promote nationalism. This would also help curb radical behaviour, and make Muslims more endearing to the leaders of the world today. (sarcasm intended).

We as Muslims must recognize that Sheikh Yasir is a person of knowledge. However, like great Muslim scholars of the past, he is still human, and therefore prone to error. Our emotions should never interfere with the validity of an Imam’s opinion. Sheikh Yasir has made made many errors before, and will continue to do so. However, it is not up to him to decide when he is correct, and when he is not. Rather, it is the contemporary Imam’s, scholars, and student’s of knowledge to point this out. It is my du’a that Sheikh Yasir take the time to read this, and addresses these issues in either the comments section as a follow up to this post, or in his sequel to the above article. If he chooses to ignore these points, or if this post is removed by the moderators, then unfortunately, Sheikh Yasir will be guilty of the very thing they accuse the scholars, imams, and leaders of jihad today, and that is issuing empty rhetoric, in an attempt to pursue selfish, personal goals. If Sheikh Yasir is simply unable to answer these questions with answers that contain justice, and integrity, then he should simply refuse to comment at all on these matters, as the Prophet SAW said, “Let him who believes in Allah and the Last Day either speak good or keep silent…” (Bukhari)

JazakAllah Khair.

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