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.

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21 thoughts on “There is Forgiveness in Islam

  1. People like Dawud Adib and Khalid Yasin need to pay a TON of restitution before being forgiven. Khalid Yasin has stolen millions of dollars and needs to pay it back. We can’t allow him to simply continue to steal from the Muslims. Or should we? Many lives have been ruined because of these people

  2. I believe that prayer could change people. I’ve seen so many examples like this in life. They do bad things but yet they perform prayer. Allah SWT knows and He gives Hidayah for those who seek for it. But, sadly to say many Muslim tend to judge others negatively, keep insulting again and again as if they always right and this is not what Islam really is. Not many people can easily forgive others but do you know that Allah always want to test us on something that we hate or dislike. Don’t you realize, because of the bad expression we have towards these bad people will make them ran and stay out from us. So then how could we make da’wah to them? how can we get close to them? I always say to myself, the collapse of Muslim civilization in the past was probably due to the attitude of the Muslim themselves and neither do i nor you would have to repeat the same mistake again.

  3. salaam aleikum,

    While I agree with much of your post, the problem that I have with this is that those who lay claim to leadership of Muslims and Muslim organizations do a disservice to their cause and to Muslims in general by not fully disclosing their past problems as well as any contradictions that may be apparent in their lives. This reluctance and/or shame though understandable from a personal point of view, is UNacceptable from a political and community point of view. I think a good lesson can be learned from El-Hajj Malik el Shabazz (Malcolm X), who after converting and becoming active in Islam, lived out his convictions publicly and was not hesitant or shy to fully disclose his past so as to serve as an example to others.

    We have seen that those who continue to practice a type of duality and double standard behavior (even while speaking at Islamic functions and collecting funds for their causes) eventually have the hypocrisy catch up and overtake them. Some clear examples that come to mind are Abdurahman Alamoudi (and his Saudi and Libyan funds), Mozammil Hassan (and his domestic violence patterns in relationships), Khalid Yasin and his dubious fundraising tactics (http://salafiburnout.wordpress.com/2008/12/31/khalid-yasin/), and many many others.

    While the obligation of “amr bil mar’uf wa nahy anil munkar” can NEVER stop (as it is ordained by Allah (swt)) those who try to fulfill this fardh have a duty to live up to the same standards and disclose any contradictions early on, rather than have them hurled back as abuse at them and the community for which they claim to speak.

    salaam aleikum,
    Kashif

  4. As-Salaamu ‘alaikum,

    In all fairness (and I am intensely suspicious of ARM’s position), the video he linked on his site makes serious accusations against Khalid Yasin and among those supporting them is someone linked to the Islam Channel, which is widely regarded as associated with the Muslim Brothers (i.e. the furthest thing from an Emerson/Pipes vehicle). If he is misrepresenting his business dealings and claiming that there are companies and institutions which don’t exist, he must be accountable and we can’t sweep it under the carpet by saying he’s led so many people to Islam.

  5. I have nothing to say about this matter other bewilderment of how these things came to pass. From your post on Shaykh Hamza to Abdu Rahman ‘s on Khalid Yasin and others to Anwar Awlaki’s attack upon Tawfique Chowdary. I don’t understand why all this fitnah is happening. Why are all sudden are these type of posts filling the muslim blogosphere. I just don’t understand what precipitated these posts being written. Or maybe I’m just unawares since I haven’t really followed the muslim blogsphere until last summer.

    Anyway It’s good see you posting again Umar.

    As Salaam Alaykum

  6. Umar i am disappointed with this post, in particular over your comments regarding Dawud. Yes, YOU might shoot him before he tries to marry your daughter but thats because YOU know about his shenanigans, so you know to beware.

    What about those women who don’t know his reputation who will get duped by him and then dumped by him (perhaps with a baby)?

    What kind of community is going to be built around Dawud with his reputation? A stable one? Or one full of broken families and resentment towards Muslim leadership?

  7. Mr Yasin is a lying cheating ******. He’s here in the UK now up to his fraud, stealing our money. He’s not asking for forgiveness and is very harsh towards others and he has threatened violence towards those whom he owes money. What shahada’s, if someone has taken shahada infront of him it doesn’t mean it was because of him. The local imam takes many shahada’s, no ones says the people came to the deen through him though. He was just someone the converts are taken to for shahada, he didn’t give them any dawah or even know them before. The guy comes up with some really weird stuff in his talks as well.

  8. Dawud Adib has attack credible brothers reputations ,with nonsense talk of who fell off the minhag.This brother needs to sit down and get oot of the limelight.

  9. Everyone needs to forgive and FORGET. Forgetting is even better!

    sincerely,
    Aboo Tasneem

    PS: Any sisters want to get married?

  10. The real Khalid Yasin should be known to the Muslims! Khalid Yasin begun his ministry as the “Ameer” or leader of Jammat Ita’hadul Iqwa on Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn N.Y. (often referred to as the McDonalds Mosque, due to its proximity to a McDonalds). Upon his return from Hajj, he was given money (alongside several prominent Muslim clerics, such as Siraj Wahhaj) by the Saudi Arabian government, through its religious ministries Darul Ifta and Rabitat. This money was for the establishment of a proper Masjid (instead of the store front) and for Dawah. Khalid returned to Jammat Iqwa, overthrew the leadership of the Masjid, assumed control, and used the funds to purchase a home for himself in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn. Known for his outbursts and violent mood swings, he often found himself at trouble with other imams. He was witnessed getting into a verbal confrontation, yelling wildly and verbally berating the Imam of Yasin Masjid (a Darul Islam mosque) on 52 Herkemer St. He also physically assaulted a well renowned brother, Sheikh Adl, at Jammat Iqwa by his beard and slammed him into the wall. Later on he would make public threats against the Ansar Muslims located in Bushwick, Brooklyn. In 1988, as a result of his long time battle with drug addiction, he served time for “Possession With The Intent To Distribute Controlled Substances” in a New York Prison. His son was also incarcerated for the same thing. Upon his release, he relocated to parts unknown, eventually landing in England and started a ministry there. He did not change and only grew worse while swindling innocent muslims out of millions of dollars that he has used to invest in property on Long Island and buy a mansion in Sheffield, England.

  11. ASA,

    Please,
    I know these shams hurt but we must forget because we need them all to do dawah. We can’t find any educated young women and men to take leadership. These guys know the game already. So why waist time teaching or pumping up new people who will take to much time to present to the public? We have conferences to waist money on and fundraisers for Palestine that must go on. The short pause in leadership training will lead to woman getting out of control and dressing in ways where backsides will be on display.

    It could also lead to more woman being pushed into the public eye and stepping up to fill The best place for a woman is in her home. The 2nd best place for women is the closet inside the home, and the best dress is everything covered except 1 eye in which to see the way. We have fought hard to limit the amount of woman on the public stage and any realignment of leadership will cause us to have to concede some place for them. It has been our private club for so long and we don’t want to share.

    Seriously, the argument is that other faiths with pimps as leaders is why Islam is superior but if our leaders engage in such things then its much different because the productivity ratio when it comes to bring people to Islam (ignoring the real #’s of people who leave Islam everyday because of these same people and the destruction of families along the way). Bring large numbers to Islam no matter how long or short their stay is all that matters. I’m just wondering where has that got us as a community thus far? We have ZERO institutions as a result because all of our focus has gone to propagating base on flowery words and not physical institutions that benefit EVERYONE and not just Muslims.

    Mahdi Bray might not be Khalid Y but he has stolen from the ummah just the same but I guess it’s not that bad because he hasn’t reached the millions. I think the constant sweeping under the rug all of their problems is the reason why they NEVER stop. Mahdi Bray is a different horse in this race as I too think he does like the ummah and the Muslims but has a horrible money management problem. He has a hard time telling people no. He tries to do everything and yet nothing all at the same time. He is very unorganized and he takes money from peter to pay paul which causes further stress and ensures he never catches up with his debts. He lives way beyond his means because he’s tries to hard to keep up with the professional degree educated Arabs in the Northen, VA. His nafs needs serious checking and can run muck; which causes him to make emotional decisions that could set back the agenda of his organization because he doesn’t know how to spread task down to others. In fact he refuses too because he wants to take all credit for every little detail. However, if he would just chill out and share the spotlight a little his org could move light years ahead and be profoundly productive.

    Saying all of that he is very charitable and will give you his last dime when he clearly needs to save it to buy food for his family. He just can’t tell people no and I suspect will run himself into an early grave. Is Mahdi evil? Nah I don’t think so but he is defiantly human and aren’t we all?

  12. I wish your apology and reflection had mentioned Hamza Yusuf. I have always enjoyed your blog and I am happy to see you writing again. However, you really didn’t do justice to Hamza Yusuf. Please consider that. Congratulations on the birth of your child.

  13. It is nice, after this long, to see you back Mr Umar Lee.

    Man, in all truth, this ‘fitna’ thing burns. Few of us, have the answers to this world’s problems. Reading Salafi burnout et al., a phase of Islam in the West is ending. Will another replace it?

    The leadership is ending in scandal, as if they were head of a dictatorial organ under the Khmer Rouge. The Salfi burn out biographies read as if the Great green Quran was Mao’s Little Red book, while leading imams in Washington, are depicted in a rogue gallery of criminality that includes women, coke, and fraud before and after the acceptance of Islam. Then there is the ‘Sufi’ thing and the Council of Ex-Muslims…

    Inshallah, a more secure Islam, more private, more peaceful, akin to the practices of the classical Quakers, or hasidim, alien to the ‘State’ and the slogans of political men, will reside in our hearts. I apologise if I have offended anyone here…and I wish you all success in working out these personal decisions.

  14. Islam might promote the idea of forgiveness…but I find that very few muslims actually practice the concept…we are quick to condemn others to hell without an ounce of mercy or sympathy…how very Godlike of us. Gets tiring.

  15. Agree with coolred38. I understand those of us who want accountability/justice/restitution/retribution/etc, but I remember hearing from a lecture (either Imam Suhaib’s “Purification of the heart” or a Zaytuna lecture) that FORGIVENESS is not the same as a PARDON, and I think the point Umar is making is that whatever the case might be, we’re still brothers and sisters and should be able to forgive one another in our hearts.

  16. Some people came to Ibn Sereen (the great scholar of hadith) and said to him: we backbited you, so forgive us for what we did!! He replied: I will never make lawful what Allah made unlawful (he indicates that they still need to repent and ask Allah forgiveness while he forgiven them)

    Sa’id ibn Musayab stated “I will NEVER forgive the one that wronged me”

    I take heed from the salaf and I NEVER EVER EVER forgive those who wrong me because I want their good deeds on the day of judgment.

  17. Yes Umar .. muslims sin and they can repent……but the real issue is should islamic leadership be in the hands of sinners and especially exposed sinners and the answer is no… Allah says: He doesnt give his covenant to the oppressors(surah baq) This ayah is understood from the scholars like ibn katheer and many others that leadership or any islamic positions of authority like a imam or student or schoalrs etc is not be given to those who oppress themselves(which means they commit sins continously). Other scholars have said they may continue giving dawah but definitely not in a leadership position. This does not to refer to the islamic rulers and kings. The best examples are the ones who are given positions of leadership. Allah and messenger speak lofty of the scholars and people of knowledge. How could a theif or pervert of multiple marriages be in the same category?????????unlizzzzted2009

  18. ya khalid!! how much do you think a persons good deeds are worth compared to the good deed of forgiveness?? you dont want to forgive others but you want Allah to forgive you??

  19. Asaalamu Alaikum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuhu,
    I hope this reaches you all in the best of health and on-going iman.
    first and foremost, Umar May Allah have mercy on you, your post has bought tears to my eyes, May Allah give you tears of joy on the Day of Judgement. I have an immense love for all Muslims dea or alive, sinner or not. May Allah forgive all of your sins because you took the time to actually make an effort to talk about your setbacks not many of us have the courage to admit our wrongs.

    Brothers and Sisters who have commented, May Allah have mercy on all of you. Many of us act so goodie tissue and when i say us i mean ALL HUMANS including me that we forget that we constantly commit sins day in day out. This is the first time i am hearing of this, our leaders doing this? SubhanaAllah at the same Allah (swt) knows best. There are many things that we don’t know for whatever reason. It’s never good to jump to conclusions. Many times we say or do things that we are sure of. Just because we hear something doesnt mean it is true. And do you for one second think that if these leaders are conning the ummah Allah will forgive them? Allah hates the unjust and will deal with them. Just do your part and stay away from faxshi, including backbiting. “O you who believe! Avoid much suspicion, in deeds some suspicions are sins. And spy not neither backbite one another. Would one of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? You would hate it (so hate backbiting). And fear Allah, verily, Allah is the one who accepts repentance, Most Merciful” (Al-Hujuraat 49: 12)

    Please forgive me if i have said anything to offend you. I care you about you all and i was trying to give you Nasiyah. If i wrote anything that is good, it came from Allah, the Al-mighty, and if i said anything bad or evil it came from my evil nafs or the devil.

    Wasaalamu Alaikum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuhu
    -Umm Iman-

  20. I became Muslim in 1972. I saw what had to be seen and said nothing however I realized that what took place had to happen . Mistake have taken place but as i see it now it was worth it…Islam is a t a success no matter what we did wrong Allah made it right. Mashallah>

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