After completing the ten-part rise and fall of the Salafi Dawah in America series I wanted it to marinate for a while and for readers to be able to voice their opinions on what had been written and their own observations. Before giving further comments, I received numerous emails asking me to clarify the title of these posts. After thinking about it, I should have called these posts “The Rise and Fall of the Salafi Movement in the US”.
Anyone who actually reads my posts should not get the idea – as some from all sides of this issue have – that I was saying that the dawah itself was inherently false. I was not saying that. The Dawah of Islam is true in all times and all places but it was high-jacked by people (some of whom posted in the response of the last post) that wanted to spread thought reform and injustice for all. This ultimately brought the entire movement down. The mistakes and zealousness of the TROID/SP/QSS elements does not stop truth from being truth for all times. There was no vision on how to deal with social problems other than BLASTING a brother for his faults, making him/her feel like crap and boycotting them. This methodology of blasting and boycotting was a failure and this is what I was referring to – along the failure to deal with it and adjust to the post 9/11 world. I hope that this makes things clear. To the brothers that were attacking Ali At-Timimi, you all need to be for real. He never abused sisters like some of those that attacked him.
To proceed, masha’ Allah there was a lot of interesting discussion on the topic by those who were intimately involved in the dawah and those who looked in from the outside. I have been deeply moved by the comments of the sisters, many of whom were deeply hurt and abused by brothers that were supposed to be following the minhaj of the Salaf and that issue, of the dysfunctional marriages within the American-Muslim community in general, and the Salafi community in particular, represents dirty laundry that needs to be aired. Some have come to me and said that maybe these issues don’t need to be discussed in such a public format while recognizing that these problems exist. Others are still in denial. It is my assertion that if these issues are not discussed here they will not be discussed anywhere and people will be left to cry to themselves at night and think that they are all alone.
This and other forums will, Insha Allah, be a means to improve this situation instead of continuing to ignore it. There is a loneliness to being a Muslim in America, and there is a depression that permeates those that follow the Sunnah that Muhammad Al Shareef attributes to the fact that we are living a dual existence as Muslims in behaving and speaking one way around Muslims, another way around our coworkers and fellow students (and to add my own view possibly even a third way around our families).
If we cannot talk about these problems for fear of other people witnessing the conversation then the problems will often go unattended to. Marriage is an issue that came to think about after reading the comments. I have known for some time that there were speakers in Salafi circles who had been married and divorced 20 times and that it was very common for brothers to be married 10 or 15 times. Just as these brothers did in the streets before they were Muslims, they left a trail of children that they are not taking care of and abandoned women behind as they talked the talk but didn’t walk the walk. In the comments to the series we have heard the pain of these sisters who were sincere in the deen, devout in their practice, and had a love of the Sunnah; but were abused by a community that did not take the interests of sisters to heart.
Many of these abused sisters have left the deen, and may Allah guide them back to the Haqq, and many, masha’ Allah, have remained in the deen. One sister commented that problems began when “marriage became a joke” and can anyone argue that did not occur when you had speakers who would come in town for lectures and marry a sister they met that night and consummate the marriage only to never see the sister again?
Does anyone believe that the young Muslim children from such relationships do not have a positive Muslim male role-model in their lives? If they are not getting it from their fathers they are surely not getting it from the public schools they probably go to or their non-Muslim grandparents. The next time they will get attention from Muslim men will be when they girls are being chastised for wearing revealing clothes as teenagers and the boys are out on the streets. If the community is going to go into a positive direction then it is going to have to address the problem of marriage and family in the community. It must no longer be acceptable for brothers and elders in the community to prey on sisters.
We must also recognize that those of us who are converts, and come from dysfunctional homes and backgrounds of poverty, more than likely have never seen a functional marriage up-close and that we will need classes and counseling on this issue.
People will say “this is not from the Sunnah”, and will say what counseling did the Sahabah get, and that is all good, but the fact of the matter is that “game” has entered the community in the form of brothers that have been raised to believe skills in the art of deception are a virtue and that Islam is just another thing to game and play with and therefore it is more important to look and talk like a believer then actually behave and believe like one.
Can anyone be surprised that a brother from a broken-home, who barely knows has father, watched his mother get beaten by multiple boyfriends, and has two or three “baby-mammas” enters Islam and gets divorced ten times and has a few Muslim kids he isn’t taking care of? Is sitting around and loitering in Yemen for a few months supposed to stop this behavior? Or can he just listen to some CD’s or lectures while driving around checking out girls wearing tight-jeans and saying “subhannallahu akh, Id like to get that in hijab” and that will teach him how to be a good husband? Then again, maybe he can go and listen to a lecture in person from one of the lecturers who is skilled in the art of “hit and run” Muslim marriages.
If the community is going to go into a positive direction then it is going to have to address the problem of marriage and family in the community. It must no longer be acceptable for brothers and elders in the community to prey on sisters. We must also recognize that those of us who are converts, and come from dysfunctional homes and backgrounds of poverty, more than likely have never seen a functional marriage up-close and that we will need classes and counseling on this issue. This IS something of benefit!
What these brothers need are classes and time to develop and they don’t need to be rushed into marriage by the community and need to be taught that contrary to what they heard on the streets it is possible for a man to go without sex for a little while and this is what separates us from the animal kingdom. When we enter the deen we need to be reprogrammed, and this goes for those who came from educated backgrounds as well, just as what is in the streets is false, what you have learned at college in many of your classes and the media represents another falsehood. The sisters are not perfect, far from it, and just as the brothers learned the wrong things coming up so did the sisters, and thus has made many of them less than desirable. However, they have clearly taken the brunt of the beating amongst the community and whatever problems they have I am sure sisters can address.
The Future of the Dawah
Several months after I had taken shahadah I was with the Jama’at-Tabligh in Chicago and a brother from New York told me ” since you are now a Muslim it is a must that choose a madhab” and I had never heard the word madhab and asked him what it meant and he gave me a brief explanation and told me of the 4 different schools of thought. Without knowing anything I looked at him and said “I want to follow the madhab of the Prophet and the same one as the Sahabah”. I couldn’t understand how it could be mandatory for a Muslim to follow a madhab when they came about after the Prophet (s.a.s.). Allah blessed me with that understanding at a primitive stage in the deen and it was reinforced over the years by teachers of mine such as Sheikh Abdul-Rahman Basheer, Sheikh Ali al-Timimi and Abu Muslimah. Today I still hold true to that, and seek to follow the dawah of Ibn Taymiyyah.
Unlike any other group in the ummah that has a beginning and a founder after the Prophet Muhammad (sas) the founder of this dawah is the Messenger of Allah (s.a.s.) and in following the dawah of the Salaf we are seeking to go back to the root and remove man made traditions, cultural baggage, and superstitions to call to and strive for what is pure. Because of the fact seek to go back to the root, and not let the teachings and traditions of men supercede what the earliest generations were upon, we are strangers in this world. Despite what problems may exist within the community, and what we had to go through as highlighted in this series, it is that desire for purity in religion that I still strive for and I know many of you do as well. The enemies of the Salafi Dawah, and the callers to the ways of culture and tradition and modernism and any other ism that is at odds with the Sunnah, should not delight, this deen, as taught by the Messenger of Allah (sas) has been preserved until the Day of Judgment when all else shall vanish.