Working Class Muslim Families Series Part 6: Marriage

There is no thriving Muslim community anywhere in the world or a future for Islam in America without strong marriages that bind our community together. It is the job first and foremost of the married Muslim couple (and Muslim marriage is exclusively heterosexual and every child is given only one mother and one father) to raise the next generation of Muslims who can carry on the dawah of al-Islam to the next generations.

Yet, despite the fact that we all agree marriage is important, and almost all  will agree that there is a marriage crisis in the Muslim community,  there has not been a serious discussion on how to fix these problems ( if they can be fixed while living in a non-Muslim society hostile to the values of Islam).

There is widespread disagreement in the Muslim community on ideals of when and how to get married and you will find a deep dived between various immigrant Muslim communities and indigenous American-Muslims, working-class and non working-class.

I was recently at the blog of Hijabman, and no disrespect to him because he is a nice guy, but I have to say I was thoroughly depressed after leaving. I will not go into detail about the things that depressed me because the opposition to the Sunnah and the promotion of secular ideologies such as feminism and gay rights are known on that site, so that is not what had me down. What had me down was reading an article on the marriage crisis by a Muslim sister. The article in and of itself was also not what got to me although there as plenty in it that was upsetting in its own right. No, what got me down was that in reading this there was a crystallization of the fact, that no matter how figures such as Rami Nashashibi and Azhar Usman try and bridge the gap, we as working-class indigenous Muslims simply live on a different  planet than the vast-majority of second-generation immigrant Muslims.

The way that marriage is discussed with the second-generation is not the way it is discussed within the working-class Muslim community and the problems and desires discussed are alien to most of us. A lot of these Muslims, who are mostly Desi, come from very common experiences no matter where in America they may have grown up. The children of immigrant professionals, reared in middle to upper class suburbs surrounded by white non-Muslims, somewhat rebellious to their parents, educated in non-Muslim schools, Islamically educated in ISNA-style masjids, can all vibe with one another and write blogs to discuss their common issues and even publish magazines geared towards this experience. But, while they may be able to relate to the concerns discussed in these publications, these issues mean very little to your average working-class American-Muslim.

Quite simply we are not struggling with trying to find a Punjabi or Palestinian Muslim to marry to please our parents. We are also not being encouraged by anyone to marry our cousins. Our men, men like me, were reared in areas where men acted like men and we didn’t see men “getting in touch with their feminine side” so working-class Muslim men in America are not struggling to assert their masculinity and nor are they turning off some women by their softness (maybe by their hardness). The serious working-class American Muslims, male or female, are also not even contemplating marrying a non-Muslim. As Dawud Adeeb once said in a lecture I attended “I have never met a Muslim serious about their deen who has decided to marry a kafir”.

The working-class American-Muslim girl is not struggling with her attraction to her Jewish or atheist classmate; because she has not bought into some romance novel version of love. She knows that more than being about some cheesy notion of an intoxicating love marriage is about a partnership and group submission to Allah and the Sunnah of His Messenger (s.a.s.) and that will bring about a love that will not fade with time. Most working-class American-Muslim girls will recognize that the kafir sitting in the class with her may be bright, witty, and handsome; but if he is the agent that Shaytan will use to lead her into the hellfire all of those qualities are worthless.

 

The grounded and rooted American-Muslim girl has this mentality. Obviously there are some American-Muslim girls who do not think like this; but almost always these are girls with other problems in their lives. Their lives snowball out of control and it culminates in their laying up with a kafir. I know indigenous Muslim girls like this and they will admit what they have done and also admit that it is haram and most will feel shame. This contrasts them to many of the second-generation immigrant sisters. They will lay up with a kafir and then try and change Islam to suit their sins. Will write eloquently written articles trying to justify their acts and completely ignore what Allah and His Messenger (s.a.s.) have said.

The second-generation boys of course have their own set of problems. Like their sisters they have also been trained to marry “one of their own” and like their sisters they also may desire a kafir that they go to school with. I do not know how the parents can expect otherwise when they raise their boys in non-Muslim suburbia and send them to white schools for their education. They will grow up and think and act like those they have grown up with (only possibly with an inferiority complex or hatred of their culture).

If the boy is at a non-Muslim high school, where your average girl today is wearing clothes reserved for hookers 20 years ago, can anyone be surprised that his natural sexual desire will be aroused by those he sees? If he goes to college single with a minimal level of Islam while his parents expect him to remain celebate in this hyper-sexualized society they are dreaming. If he is not having sex it is because he cannot get any; not because the desire is not there. Just as the non-Muslim girl raised in this society has the desire to lay-up with kufar so does the Muslim young man and he is doing so at a higher-rate with less of a struggle with his parents; but I doubt Islamically the children will have any more deen than those of the Muslima marrying outside of the deen.

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Email From a Detractor in the City of Brotherly Love and Muslim Madness

We saw that silliness you wrote about salafeeyah and we’ll address it

Please, I am waiting brother, but remember my attack is against some who claim salafeeyah like they claim their allegiance to a street gang, the Thugafi Dawah,  you know, the kind of dawah that leads brothers to jump off bridges when running from the police and hold up Wal-Marts and take out armored-truck drivers?  I guess those brothers are  on “the Haqq”  and their minhaj is right; but God forbid they had a CD of Imam Zaid Shakir in their car or a voter registration card on the way to do their dirt and they would be off it, right?

…..So you left salafeeyah(ali tamimi isnt salafeeyah they’re on takfeer) to be with a bunch of beard shaving sooofeees?

When and where did Sheikh Ali make takfir and upon whom? This is one of the problems with brothers of your ilk they are so concerned with labeling other people and putting them on it or off it they do not even bother to check the facts. Is your heart that hard that you do not feel any compassion for a fellow Muslim that has been unjustly incarcerated for the rest of his life? Is your gang affiliation that serious brother? Is there no mercy and brotherhood in your Islam? Or have you put being down with your gang as the most important article of faith?

 I see you have the haram music rappers everything  that secularist understanding of islam let’s you do. subhannnalaah…..Not to mention the nationalism they push that must be strange for you sitting amongst that.

I did not see any nationalism on display at MANA. I saw recognition of a reality that many brothers ignore that different cultures need to have different ways of solving their problems. You cannot import a way if thinking from the Najd into America and think it will succeed. Solutions have to be home grown but inspired by the Quran and Sunnah. This is in contrast to the attitudes of many African-American salafis I have met over the years who told me they were “no longer African-American” or even they were no longer black. Once such brother I know from the DC area, a hardcore Salafi till this day, went to Medinah with that understanding, and tried to correct one of his Saudi brothers. The Saudi looked at this dark-skinned black man told him to come here and the brother came up to him smiling and was promptly b####-slapped by a 140 pound Saudi who couldn’t beat up my sister. This brother, a former prisoner in the DC Prison and street thug, walked off without saying anything. Would he have let this happen in America? By a fellow African-American? By a white man? No, that would have never happed, but the Salafi dawah, and the way this guy digested it, led him to feel like a subservient b#### to an Arab. Now, do not get me wrong, I am not saying this was the dawah Ibn Baz, al-Albaani or Ibn al-Uthaymeen ( may Allah have mercy upon them), but I am saying that is a way a lot of brothers digested it.

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“Morocco is Not the Solution” and Thoughts of Muslim Marriage Discussion

There is no issue in the Muslim community that is more serious and more of a problem to the short and long term success of the community than that of marriage. Family is the foundation of the Muslim community and a marriage is the foundation of the family and if our marriages are failing, and our divorce rates are soaring to a point that if a brother has been married less than 5 times he is considered pious, then we have a problem.I have chastised and been critical in the past of the failure of the Muslim community to address the problem of marriage in a serious way and be real. It angered me when I attended conferences where all they talked about was Palestine when our families and homes were in a state of crisis right here in America. The problem had been known to all but ignored on the organizational and national level, perhaps because it may have been seen as too hard to deal with, or perhaps because addressing it in a real way would mean airing dirty laundry and calling some of those pimps posing as imams that have been married more times than Dick Cheney has tried to hype the threat of Iran and Saddam.

Therefore, it was extremely gratifying to me and others I spoke with, to see the issue of marriage and all of the problems that come along with that in the Muslim community in America, being addressed in a very frank manner and the sisters brought it all out and the brothers responded in a cordial and constructive way.

One of the issues that was brought up most often in this discussion that was hosted by Sheikh Anwar Muhaimin and two sisters I did not get the names of was the issue of domestic violence (with many sisters adding in verbal and emotional abuse to that equation) and what is the appropriate response of the community to this issue and how do we develop a plan of action on this matter.

Sisters told of either being abused themselves, or of friends and relatives being abused, and the local imam or masjid doing nothing to help them and often taking the side of the brother. Others told the story of masajid playing a very active role in the defense of the sisters and having a set protocol, often physically intervening in such situations, and examining the pluses and minuses of this approach. In this regard it was one brother who I think made the best point when he said “we need to get rid of this street mentality once we are in the deen of not snitching and going to the police…if a sister is being abused she should call the police…if she calls the masjid and the brothers come over to handle the situation that brother may call the police on them and make the situation worse.”

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