There is Forgiveness in Islam

I have not been writing because as I stated before I have just moved into a house and decided that I would not write until after my wife gives birth inshaAllah. However, there is one topic that I would like to briefly address.

All of us as humans have our complexities and we all repeatedly sin and make mistakes (some of us more than others). I have made a lot of mistakes in my life and have had up’s and downs and seek the mercy of Allah. Whenever I go astray I always know that there is guidance in the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of His Messenger (s.a.s.) to guide me to the right path and that in the example of the sahabah and the early generations of Muslims we are given a clear example of how to live our lives as a Muslim community.

Sometimes I get the feeling that there are those who believe that Islam is a private club that they can bar entrance to or kick people out of. Many Muslims such as myself have sinned and made mistakes in the past; but should the masjid be closed to us? Should we be pulled from the ranks of the lines of salat? We are Muslims not a private sect or the Gambino Crime Family, Khawaraj or some kind of mafia and we should have love and forgiveness towards our brothers and sisters.

I know of brothers who right now, today, sell drugs and are womanizers; but when I see them at the masjid I smile because I am happy to see them. Because I know that as long as they keep praying to Allah they will be guided one day. I know of sisters who are currently involved in sexual relationships with non-Muslims and when I see them wearing hijab and going to the masjid I also smile; because I know they are still Muslim even though they are commiting a major sin and as long as they believe in tauheed there is hope for them.  I know all of this because all of the mistakes that I have made and that as long as belief was not erased from my heart I was able to return to the right path and that today I feel stronger in my deen than ever.

In my life I have made a lot of mistakes and as I am not a Catholic and do not need to go to confession I will keep them to myself and pray that Allah forgives me. In my writing, which is public, I have also made mistakes.

There have been those who I have spoken ill of I should not have and those who I offended who I wish I would not have. In particular, there are a few people I offended whose forgiveness I seek and those people are Haroon Moghul, Margari Hill and Marc Manley. I disagreed with them, and on many issues still do, but I did not observe the adhab of a Muslim while doing so.

There are others I angered by writing certain things; but for much of this I have to stand firm and say that I believe what I was doing was right, I have got the support of many Muslims, and I feel that I had the best interest of the Muslim community at heart in exposing those people and movements I feel are a danger to our community and who others fear while they disagree with so they remain silent. It may not be popular with all; but I believe it was right and I am willing to stand on yam ul-qayam.

There has been a recent controversy regarding Imam Mahdi bray and an expose on his criminal past by Steve Emerson who is a professional anti-Muslim working for pro-Israel interests for the most part. Some Muslims have taken the Emerson info and ran with it because they have personal issues with Mahdi and that is unfortunate.

Before I say what I am going to say let me first state that about a year ago I had an online feud with Abdurahman Muhammad of the Singular Voice blog. He has been one of those most prominently attacking Mahdi and mentions me, although not by name, in his piece.

The feud of a year ago was foolish on both of our parts as it accomplished very little. I was not told to write anything by Mahdi and he was not even aware it was written until after it had been posted (although it is true I worked for Mahdi at MAS at the time).  What I found upsetting was what I saw as Abdurrahman’s neo-con like rhetoric and his apparent ideological affinity with Islamophobes and his wholesale attack on the leadership of the Muslim community. The argument got personal and for this I apologize to the brother; but on substance I have to still disagree with him.

I worked side by side with Mahdi and saw him everyday. He worked 16 to 20 hours a day everyday and traveled to several cities a week the whole time. He never had enough sleep and was always a little short on cash. He woke up in the morning and went to bed at night serving the Muslim community to the point of physical exhaustion often falling asleep at his desk.

There would be times when Mahdi would come from speaking to groups in 2 or 3 different cities and then come to the office directly from the airport to work on an issue of anti-Muslim discrimination that never hit the media.

When I was short on money Mahdi was always there for me and when any Muslim I knew needed someone to talk to they could always talk to Mahdi. When he would find out I was doing something questionable he would lecture me good. He has been a good brother to me and as I have witnessed with my own eyes a good father to his children.

When I got out of prison in 2001 Mahdi was one of the first people I saw in New York City and he took me to a restaurant and gave me a lecture. He told me life is short and that I needed to get on the right path and he told me that he had been in prison, made many mistakes, been without a home, but through the grace of Allah had worked to get where he was.  That night I slept in a subway car in Brooklyn but I thought of what Mahdi had said and never forgot it.

This brother has sinned, sinned while a Muslim as I have, but he has turned his life around and lives a life of service to the Muslim community. No one is perfect and Allah is the Master of the Day of Judgment so what is the benefit in exposing all of these things from his past?

Similarly, with regards to the other leaders. Yes, Khalid Yasin has made some misstakes; but how many people has he guided to Islam? How many people have taken shahadah after hearing him speak? How many good deeds is that brother earning every hour from these new Muslims? And then I ask how many people took a shahadah after hearing us speak? And, if you bring Khaild down who will replace him? Does this mean I will make him a treasurer? No way; but will I invite him to give a dawah lecture? You bet I will.

Dawud Adib is someone I assume does not like me and I have had my disagreements with things he has done. However, can anyone deny that he has taught knowledge to generations of Muslims? That he has dedicated his life to the deen? I will agree that his serial-marriages and those of many other Salafis is deplorable, and he is just one of many brothers who I know have good hearts who I would nonetheless shoot before I let them marry my daughter, let us just pray that Allah guides Dawud and other Salafis on the issue of women and allows him to continue to teach Islam (particularly aqeedah) for many more years.

The others he speaks of I have no knowledge of so I cannot comment; but let us be brothers to one another. I love Abdurrahman for the sake of Allah and because of this I make duah that he stops attacking Muslims and doing things that do not benefit the community and feed into the plans of the enemies of Islam. And, even if he feels that he has to, as sometimes I feel that I have to, that he does it in the best of manners.

Let us make duah that all of the Muslumeem from Mahdi Bray to Umar Lee to Abdurahman Muhammad to Khalid Yasin to Dawud Adib to Marc Manley to all of our leaders, Muslim sinners, and struggling Muslims are blessed and guided to the right path- Ameen.