It was my pleasure to have been invited to deliver a khutbah at The Muslim Association of Lehigh Valley (MALV). I chose to address the dual topics of chaos in the world and pressure upon Muslims to apologize over actions they have not committed. These are two topics challenging Muslims today, particularly in America. Our youth are bombarded with media images of so-called “Islamic” militants committing the most heinous acts imaginable. The gut reaction to these has been to deny any relation to the perpetrators of these acts in hopes of deflecting negative public opinion. While I understand this is natural reaction, it is one which can lead down a rabbit hole as well. Instead, we need to infuse our youth with the knowledge and comfort to know that simply because a person claims Islam as their religion and attempts to justify their actions based on that faith, in no way means that they are indeed Muslim. We need no greater vindication that to simply say that such acts fall outside of our faith. Period. Instead, we should be about the condemning of injustice and oppression regardless if it is perpetrated in our own zip code or thousands of miles away.
It was with a heavy heart that I delivered my last khutbah today for the Drexel MSA in the capacity as chaplain. In truth, I have not been the chaplain at Drexel for over a year but I have, nonetheless, function as a de facto chaplain, or as the students affectionately call me, ustadh. The platform and environment that the Drexel MSA created provided me with an environment were I was able to grow and learn as a leader. For that I am eternally grateful and will miss all of the students in Drexel’s and Penn’s MSA’s.
So while some are sad, it also offers up new opportunities. I left these few words of advice:
“Give from what We have provided for you before death comes to one of you and he says, ‘My Lord, if only you would give me a little more time so that I can give sadaqa and be one of the righteous!’ Allah will not give anyone more time, once their time has come. Allah is aware of what you do.” (Qur’an, 63: 10-11)
There used to be a certain brand of comic in America, vulgarity aside, that was able to speak a witty word of truth to power. George Carlin was one such comic. I am tempted, at some point in the future, to use this, verbatim, as a dars or khatirah.