Now That The Sugar High Is Gone


– and other collected thoughts on the MANA conference.

So, here we are, a full week after the successful MANA conference and we’re already starting to see the mud slinging around the Muslim blogosphere. I was beginning to think real change had in fact come from this conference. But don’t mistake my sarcasm for critiquing MANA. In fact, it’s just the opposite. In fact, I would like to again extend my thanks to MANA for hosting their first conference. God willing, this is just the first of many more successful conferences.

So what should we expect from a conference such as this MANA conference? Should we emerge from it to find the streets paved with gold? Or as Conan so once eloquently put it:  “to hear the lamentations of the women”? Perhaps – or perhaps not. I will have to say in defense of MANA I certainly encountered many happy and motivated faces of those who attended the various workshops. And while I didn’t attend any myself I have it on good account that they were well constructed and of value.

It is precisely that last word, value, that keeps bouncing around and around inside my head as I ponder our current condition. If we do not value ourselves then I think very little will change. And from what Dr. Jackson had to say during his speech, that seemed to be one of his underpinning points – we as Blackamerican Muslims are in a unique vantage point, one where Allah has chosen us to be in this spot, this place, and this time, as the receptacles and carriers of Islam to this part of the world at this point in Time and History. So the enduring question is: what we gon’ do?

But to bring us back to the opening point, I’ll speak about some reactions I’ve observed about the conference. One in particular criticism smacks of one of the very issues the conference sought to address: disengagement. Disengagement is the word best word I’ve been able to find to describe the current mood of many Muslims around the country. Instead of seeing Islam as a system of access, it’s been co-opted as an illegitimate excuse to not participate. To help render my point perhaps such colloquialisms will sound familiar:

“Naw, akh. I quit my kafir job – it was too much dunya.”

“I dropped out of college to get a real education in the deen.”

And the perennial crowd pleaser

“I’m going overseas to study in Yemen or Syria so I can get that haqq.”

These should all be familiar to many of us. And while they might produce a giggle or two out of some of us, I believe they speak to an undercurrent in the Blackamerican Muslim pathology that continues to hinder and plague many of our communities from emerging out of the quagmire and starting to produce and participate. In fact, my biggest criticism of these folks is that that is all they do! Arm chair criticisms seldom produce anything and are for the sole benefit for lazy Negroes to sluff off, if you can pardon my French. It is not my aim to take potshots at my fellow Muslims but I do believe we have to starting calling figs, figs. In a conversation with a close friend of mine today, we both lamented at the criticisms that were leveled at the conference, specifically in reference to MANA inviting members of the Nation of Islam to the conference. The meat and potatoes of their argument rests in the fact that these people do not have the correct ‘aqueedah and therefore we should just toss the baby out with the bathwater [again?]. How dangerous and slanderous is this. MANA is the only organization that I’ve seen that has taken serious steps to extend the Nation an olive branch to try and bridge the gap in terms of dogma, but also to say, “hey, we as Blackamerican Muslims wish to express our solidarity with our fellow Black brothers and sisters and that we’d like to address the various maladies that attacking our communities”. Please note this: I am not a member of MANA. Nor do I speak for them. Rather, this is how I interpreted their gesture. But to dive in a bit further about this notion of correct ‘aqueedah, let’s ask our selves: “Hmm”, what would Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم do?”

Despite the efforts of many a pundit on the left and right, from within and without Islam, Islam is not an ahistorical process or entity. It’s inception was born and lived out in the context of 7th Century Arabia. Its characters and actors were real human beings who lived through a lot of real History. Yet, Muslims themselves tend to be woefully ignorant of this fact. The cultural and historical setting of 7th Century must be fully appreciated to fully comprehend all that was going on to understand Islam itself. Alas, this appreciation has been misapplied to a crude mimicking at best. In other words, the setting of Muhammad’s 7th Century Arabia is routinely ignored and instead we have Muslims [Blackamerican in the case of this article] in the 21st Century trying to live like Bedouins, having completely missed the examples that God has tried to lay out for us. Examples? Dress code is interpreted to mean one must wear thobes, robes, and turbans to be “authentically Muslim” – for those of us of opt to done a suit are condemned for imitating the kafir. Moral rectitude? Honesty? Had work? These have fallen by the way side or are totally ignored all together. How else can you explain large populations of Muslims that live complacent lives in areas that are dominated by poverty, crime, and drugs. And let’s not even toss in the Muslims who are participants in the above activities.

But this disconnection goes beyond wardrobe selection. The Prophet himself is severely misunderstood. Muslim education is sorely lacking in providing Muslims an accurate, historical account for his life. In a recent criticism, one Muslim found fault with MANA for having Akbar Muhammad on the panel discussion. The brother’s criticism was thus:

I think to myself: What the heck is a man that OPENLY says that Fard Muhammad is his god who appeared in Detroit in the 1930’s (for those wanting proof of their current beliefs it is here) and that a “Messenger” came after Muhammad ibn Abdullah (pbuh), doing here on a panel for Muslims that believe in tawheed and the finality of Prophethood and Messengership?

The brother continued:

This was a tragic and completely avoidable sore point of the MANA Conference Weekend. I must also admit that I was appalled and saddened that Imam Siraj referred to Elijah as Honorable. It was all very disappointing and I was hurt to witness this spectacle.

And more:

If we return to the days wherein we lacked clarity regarding tawheed and shirk, we will certainly accomplish nothing even if we solve the many undeniable social problems plaguing us.


Sadly, in the end, Siraj lent legitimacy to an irrelevant and illegitimate (not to mention weird) movement.

And concluding with:

Finally, I can only imagine how alienated white Muslims must have felt with the invitation of a man who believes that whites were created in a laboratory by a big headed scientist.

Taking it back to my point about the historical Muhammad [pbuh], how can we explain the Prophet’s behavior in the Treaty of Hudaybiyyah or his invitation that extended to the Quraysh? Indeed, it is an incontrovertible truth that the Prophet’s Message could not have been delivered without the aid and help of shirk-committing, idol-worshipping, kafir Makkans! Yes!, indeed the Prophet collaborated with these “kafirs” on numerous occasions – his flight from Makkah was aided by a boding, idol-worshiping Makkan! And of course there’s the Prophet inviting the idol-worshipping Arabs even when Islam was in a position of power and authority. Never did the Prophet ever make is Message “an Islam thang”. When one steps back and looks at the Prophet as a man, as a human being, one theme that runs through is life is that he was a man who was truly troubled about his people and loved his people and wanted the best for his people. Now if the Prophet could engage in this, and he most certainly had the “correct ‘aqueedah” [for if the Prophet ain’t got it, who do?], then why can’t we do the same? As Blackamerican Muslims, we should feel free to invite, engage and work with members of our community, even if they don’t have the “correct” ‘aqueedah. In my opinion, this is just plain niggardly. And as my friend poignantly pointed out, “what have you done to help out your fellow man/neighbor” in comparison to what the Nation has done? ‘Aqueedah or not, Akbar Muhammad is someone who cares about the plight of Blacks – can you say the same? This isn’t poker and all deeds are cards on the table – no bluffing.

The bewilderment continues as I examine the brother’s post. Imam Siraj’s use of the title, “Honorable”, seems to be a point of contention. But when was the Prophet ever ungracious, even to people that killed his loved ones, slandered his wives, and tried to take his life? Never! If I address the Pope as his Holiness, does this mean that I recognize him as divine or that I believe Jesus is the son of God? This 3rd grade analysis has got to go! And I don’t know how this in any implicates any of the MANA members in condoning shirk. As a member of an interfaith counsel, if I sit and talk with a bishop about improving Christian-Muslim relations, does this mean I’ve condoned the Trinity? More holes than Swiss cheese. Siraj’s engaging Akbar in no way compromises his tawheed or Islam. And since when did a Black conference worry about alienating [just] white folks? I suppose that a Chinese, Japanese, or Mexican Muslim might be equally uncomfortable but I guess those are just throw away groups [?]. And why is it that we as Black folks cannot engage on a subject that might have great benefit for our community without being labeled as nationalists or abandoning our religion?

But let me temper my ending words here; I do not wish the brother any ill will. Indeed, it is my hope we can find common ground. And we need not look any further than our Prophet’s sunnah for the example of finding common ground? If there’s one message that I came away with from the conference it is this: we’ve got a lot more work to do. The road continues down the bend. No rest for the weary. I pray God grants us a beneficial understanding of our noble master and Prophet and that his Message was not in vain – that it sinks into our hearts and minds and allows us to partake in greater engagement and like him, knock down all barriers and return all of our hopes, fears, likes and dislikes to God and not resting them on the proclivities of any other.

And God knows best.

16 Replies to “Now That The Sugar High Is Gone”

  1. saddened that Imam Siraj referred to Elijah as “Honorable”. It was all very disappointing and I was hurt to witness this spectacle.

    The Prophet, May God shower his grace upon him, called Heraclius the Ceaser “Azim al-Rum” i.e. the great one of Rome. He surely wasn’t great, because he saw God’s signs and rejected them, however if I recall Ibn Hajar mentioned in al-Fath that this is a proof for addressing people by the titles they are given or are called, out of respect for the position they hold, not for the reality of them as a person.

  2. Salaam ‘Alaikum

    //Finally, I can only imagine how alienated white Muslims must have felt with the invitation of a man who believes that whites were created in a laboratory by a big headed scientist.//

    His comment even assumed that White Muslims are not affected by some of the same issues that are affecting Blackamerican Muslims, and couldn’t have appreciated this conference (even though, of course, we all appreciate all the conferences on Palestine and Kashmir). First, if one part of the Ummah is hurting, so the rest of it hurts. Second, I believe that many of the issues that seemed to have been addressed would have also affected White Muslims. We are also pressured by the drop-out mentality and disengagement.

  3. Abdur-Rahman,

    First – thank you for engaging in the conversation. It is not my intention to character assassinate either. So yes, this is all in the spirit of debate.

    I am not constructing a straw man to draw fire. Instead, my criticism is this: why can’t we, as Blackamerican Muslims, engage other members of our community, who, for better or worse, creed or no creed, share a common history with us? Must we deny any engagement with the Nation simply because of their beliefs? Is it a zero-sum gain proposal that if we some how seek to engage with them that we’re either condoning shirk or something equally damning [in the Afterlife]?

    As I stated in my post, I am not a member of MANA. I’m a photographer with a pen. I write on social issues and simply wanted to express my support for what MANA did on this initiative. I believe it was the right thing to do. So I am not advocating that if you oppose MANA you oppose progress. To further my point, I’m not even suggesting that you have to agree with me. You are more than entitled to your opinion. If you believe engaging in a dialog with Nation of Islam members is detrimental in some fashion, so be it. Rather, my truck with your post has to do with the scope of your argument. For me, your words are can only be interpreted as hostile and antagonistic towards imam Siraj.

    I must also admit that I was appalled and saddened that Imam Siraj referred to Elijah as “Honorable”. It was all very disappointing and I was hurt to witness this spectacle.

    You may disagree but these words sound a bit harsh to my ear. One commenter on your post asked what had you done by comparison deeds to either Akbar Muhammad or imam Siraj. I would have to second the notion.

    Second – There’s also some key that seems to be missing from your statement: where’s the love, man? The final point that Dr. Jackson made in his speech is that there is a serious gap in our conduct [perhaps even in our ‘aqueedah?] in that we’ve got no love. No love for one another. No love for our neighbors. Look, man. The Prophet loved his people. He absolutely loved the Makkans and wanted nothing but the best for them. You can read on and on about how he anguished over his people; Muslim, Christian, Jew, and idolitor. And all throughout his prophethood, the man constantly tried to make compromises and deals that would create a psychological space where any Makkan, regardless of class, wealth, etc, could feel free to step into Islam and worship God as he knew they ought to worship him! This directive is woefully missing from our manifesto as [Blackamerican] Muslims. For in all of His Infinite Wisdom, God has chosen Blackamericans to be open receptacles to Islam in this time and place [i.e., in the U.S., the richest, most powerful country on the planet to date]. So, if a few of our brothers and sisters have “gone astray”, shit man, at least they’re trying and striving for some type of dignified existence at a time when so little in our culture offers them an honorable alternative.

    So I beg you to reconsider your stance and think of the alternatives and of the benefits. How many of us as aware of a brother or a sister that came out of the Nation into “orthodox” Islam? Hundreds. Thousands. More. So if we have an opportunity to engage with them [and no, I’m not only saying we’re in it to sway numbers – that’s God’s territory] then we ought to do so. The MANA conference we not a theological conference. It was meant to address issues that are confronting the Blackamerican Muslim community. So for me [and many others], Elijah, flying saucers or men from Mars is not the crux of the matter. And besides, such dogmatic debates, though seldom beneficial in book, are best left to the respective scholars of those various traditions. Instead, we need to get down to Brass Tax and build, build, build. ‘Cause I don’ know about you, but I love my people [and yes, I know you do, too 🙂 ].


  4. as-salaam alaikum,

    Umm Zaid
    No I did not assume that white Muslims do not go through many of the same issues that are affecting blacks. I only meant what I stated and that is that I can *only imagine* that whites would be offended by the suggestion that they were created in a laboratory.

    Br Marc,

    Just want to assure you that this debate is in the spirit of brotherhood and both of us wanting good for this Ummah.

    Firstly, I’ll state that you are barking up the wrong tree on the laziness issue. I am highly critical of the brothers who make excuses to not work and the pathology we see in some of these places. All of the issues about poverty, drugs and crime are valid and I agree 100%. Let’s not frame this debate as: If you disagree with MANA on *this issue*, then you must be FOR the status quo. This is not the case, and I feel that a strawman is being constructed. Oppose the NOI and you must oppose progress.

    On the issue of Elijah, I think that the more accurate analogy is to look at Musaylamah the Liar (as named by the Prophet, pbuh, himself). I do not want to see us go to a day when we are accepting the beliefs of the NOI as part of Islamic dogma – even if it means a little bit of improvement on the ground. This is not to say that I want NO improvement to the serious problems on the ground, but to mix up our beliefs is a serious issue to me.

    It is not about the fact of collaboration with non-Muslims as it is that the NOI claims to be Muslim and it confuses the issue of what is Islam and what is NOT Islam. Many of us have worked very hard over the years to distinguish Islam from the bizzare belief system of the NOI. I feel that by MANA embracing these people, this is a tacit endorcement that the NOI’s beliefs are withing the rhelm of Islamic thought. If the Pope or any other non-Muslim came, no one gets this impression.

    Thirdly, the NOI states that whites were created in a laboratory…not Chinese, Latinos, or what have you. That is why I specifically picked them out.

    Finally, I do not wish you or any other brothers and sisters at MANA any ill will. I believe that having this debate is healthy and hopefully will be part of our growth. There is a significant part of our community that agrees with me. It is better for us to engage each other as brothers and hammer out the differences rather than going straight for boycott.

  5. Asalaamu alaikum.

    Thank you for this balanced and interesting look at the criticisms of the conference. I’m really confused by the desire of some to completely shut out NOI from discourse on what Black American Muslims. While I too find their beliefs abhorrant and wrong, the fact is that there are many members who do not actually hold those beliefs anymore but have not moved completely into “mainstream” Islam. I have personally known several people who self- identified as NOI but did not any long believe in the racial constructs that historically were a part of it, did not any longer accept the notion of Elijah Muhammad as a Prophet etc, had taken Shahadah, said their five daily prayers etc. As far as I’m concerned, once someone has taken the Shahadah, they are my brother or sister. The issues of varying aqidah are not really our place to judge so much, though certainly we will have our opinions on the matter. We do not know what is in a person’s heart. The aqidah of a Black Christian is wrong too, but we don’t refuse to speak to them or discuss the shared values and experiences we have with them. I don’t think recognizing what is good in someone or in a group automatically means you are endorsing what is bad in them as well, nor vice versa (that when you speak against the bad it means that you cannot accept the good done by them).

    What I appreciate about what MANA tried to do by bringing everyone together is that we are very divisive and look for every opportunity to kick someone out of the brotherhood, so to speak, and MANA attempted to open up doors between all so that the shared experience can be discussed. There is alot of good that the NOI did for the Black community and there are things that the rest of us could learn from some of their methods of social service and community support that are not outside of Islam to help us build up our communities now. I am not a Black American, and yet I can see the value of this and opportunities for other minority groups to learn from what the larger Black American have gone through and how they have strenghtened their communities.

  6. Salaam ‘Alaikum

    Yeah I’m sure some White people find it offensive (many, perhaps?). But did the guy stand up and declare this loudly at MANA? Do you think that White Muslims have never met NOI’ers before or people not in NOI who still believe stuff like this? The presence of a NOI’er has never kept me from eating at Amin’s Halal and it wouldn’t’a kept me from MANA if I had been in the US. I wouldn’t’a said, “Oh man, they have this guy from NOI there. That alienates me as a White skinned Muslim.”

  7. Salaam AbdurRahman,
    Two questions and a request:
    One, what have we structurally established that we can reasonably invite the NOI to?
    Two, would you let a NOI member save the life of your dying Muslim family member? Or would you prefer a Jew? In other words, to what extent can we work with a person whose beliefs are divergent from our own?
    It is always great to be in a position to judge others, and to never be judged. Please share with us tangible verifiable things that you have done in the community so that we can see your works; since you are so critical of everyone else, you must have done much better with your own projects.

    I am sure you can see from all of these comments that people are ready for a change and we are tired of talking and debating. We are all at a point now that we want positive action and change.

  8. Salaams, Saifuddin.

    With all due respect, I neither think the discussion strange nor unbecoming. In fact, I believe discussion is more of what we need as it’s been less of what we’ve done in the past. If we cannot have a healthy dialog, even one in where we disagree, then that’s life. Perhaps we’ll even learn one important lesson: how to agree to disagree. I do not hold the brother in contempt, I just disagree with his argument. But I would still return his salaams, pray next to him or behind him and so forth. We must not shy away from one another simply because we all don’t see eye to eye on the same issues.

  9. Saif,

    Salaams. No, you are not outside the context of good manners. So feel safe to dialog here if you wish.

    I must disagree in part but perhaps not in spirit with your rebuttle. I do not believe that simply “quieting oneself” is the sole solution. From the reactions that I’ve seen, read, and heard, dialog is the one key part of all this that many have felt has been missing.

    I recently wrote a small piece on the lack of spiritual growth and development in the indigenous community here. So in that regard, I can concur with your thoughts but I cannot condone an en masse turning inwards. I think a middle road that incorporates elements of both can lead to a possible solutions.

  10. BismillaharRahmanirRahim

    as-salaamu ‘alaikum, this is a very strange discussion. I can’t see much benefit coming out of it. InshaAllah, I would like to be proven wrong.

  11. BismillaharRahmanirRahim

    as-salaamu ‘alaikum Marc, of course this is your house, and I do wish to comment with good manners, I pray I have not fallen outside of limits of good manners. This thread just struck me as “strange”. I’ve noticed lately that Muslims particularly African-American Muslims seem, for lack of a better phrase, exhausted and frustrated with their religion. If that is in fact a correct assessment then perhaps debate, an intellectual exercise, is the wrong way to go.

    Perhaps what is needed is satisfaction but in order to be satisfied, truly satisfied it is debate and discussion that need be left behind. A turning-in, into ourselves to examine our own sincerity, moving toward satisfaction. Silence, is moving closer to satisfaction than intellectual exchanges. Debate is more pleasing to our insatiable ego than our the depths of our being. Simply being silent and examining ourselves asking,

    “How are we today? Are we sleeping or are we in awakening station?”

    Is closing in on satisfaction. In that you check yourself. Leave what anybody else says to you. Check yourself. Check your activities. Check yourself how sincere you are with your Lord and with His orders. Check yourself to find out which one is priority to you, Allah and His Prophet (sws) or your ego, or this world. If it is ego or this world then your problem never ends. You cannot find satisfaction that time. If you don’t keep Allah priority then it’s never going to end.

    “I disagree”, “I agree”, this argument that argument. It seems to me that if African-American Muslims would be willing to be silent and turn inward, checking the self, the intentions and activities regularly. There would be more progress made, and perhaps some satisfaction coming down from the Lord of the Heavens at that time.

    Marc, sincerely my intention is not to transgress the limits of good manners but to merely suggest a possible means to satisfaction for a people who – and it is coming to my heart to say this – seem so dissatisfied. InshaAllah this will be enough for us for you and for me to begin to check ourselves with the intention to reach higher stations of satisfaction in our lives. wa min Allahu taufiq bihurmatil habib bihurmatil fatiha, amin.


  12. BismillaharRahmanirRahim

    wa ‘alaikum as-salaam, yes I read the article. Some content from your earlier article was what I was, at least in part, addressing here. You may or may not have noticed my comments referring to tariqat. Unfortunately, the trend, which is actually far from the sunnat of the rasulAllah (s.a.w.s.) is to approach Islam like a profession or trade of sorts. However, this is to be expected in the West which is dominated by compartmentalizing knowledge and creating specialties and specialists as opposed to drawing out a persons inner qualities as a basis for training.

    An en masse turning inwards is impossible, this is an individual effort. Tariqat provides the training ground to allow for spiritual growth once a nominee is sincere in the “self checking” described in the earlier comment.

    However, today Muslims think that amassing hours at a conference is going to make some kind of breakthrough. When in fact that could not be further from the truth. In order to progress in this way, we must follow the footsteps of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.), the Sahab-e-Kiram and those whom are beloved to Allah ta ‘ala. I will tell you plainly, that the only way to progress spiritually is by association with the Shaykh, the Murshid, the Pir there is no other way. Perhaps you may make small advances based on sincerity alone… but there are limits to how high sincerity alone can take you. Sincere association with the Shaykh is the tariqat way, tariqat and sohbet; sohbet and tariqat. This is our tradition.

  13. Saifuddin,

    Salaams. I feel you on much of what you’re saying. But there’s more to life than just spiritual development. This may sound sacrilegious but there’s a time and place for spirituality and a time and place for addressing issues of the dunya. The MANA conference was not a spiritual endeavor. It was about getting Blackamerican Muslims to think about their current social conditions and to start thinking about using their Islam as a vehicle towards treating those ills as well as getting involved in the broader society. Is there room for spiritual components in some of that? Sure, but that was not the gist of the conference.

    As for your critique of Western methodologies, I think this is straying a bit far off course. My article was dealing the various criticisms that people had over the conference, not East vs. West modes of thought. But to delve into your statement just a little, how else do you expect people of a Western background to act other than Western! This seems a bit conceded to me, as you propel yourself onto a pedestal to look down at those who act or behave “Western”. Are you saying that Islam is an Eastern religion? That those who hail from the West must adopt an Eastern personality if they truly wish to embrace the sunnah, Islam, etc.? I’m sure you’ll say to the contrary but your words point back to that same direction. If the West creates specialties and specialists then this should be thought of as nothing other than normal for “the West”. And there’s no need, on precedent, that any of us who hail from the West need change that.

    While I am supportive of those who would seek the tariqah route, again, I think it arrogant to assume that one can only achieve some sort of spiritual enlightenment/happiness though this process. I am not a Sufi, nor do I subscribe to a tariqah but I do admire many things from that system. Yet, despite this apparent spiritual miscalculation on my part, I feel that I do have a system of attaining/practicing something that is both meaningful and sincere. I’m sure there are other “independents” out there like myself who would concur.

    Forgive me if the theme of my response towards you seems grounded in arrogance but I am really quite struck by your words. To say that the whole body of MANA leaders as well as the esteemed speakers who came and gave their thoughts, comments and heartfelt input are some how woefully misguided, again, you’ll have to forgive me for vehemently disagreeing with you. To say that scholars of likes like Sherman Jackson are off the mark and wasting their time is unbecoming of someone who projects themselves as learned as well as just down right insulting. Especially for someone like Sherman Jackson, who I consider to be my shaykh, you have overstepped your bounds. I will tell you plainly, that there is more than one path to being Muslim, that there is more than one path to achieving spiritual happiness and fulfillment and it precisely comments like this that confirm the notion that more dialog is still needed.

    Despite my obvious displeasure at your words, I still consider you my brother. I hope you will take a moment to reflect on what I have left here. God willing, we can find some common space to coexist.

    And God knows best.

  14. Salaams

    I couldn’t possibly add any more illuminating example than the aforementioned rebuttal; hopefully maybe just to echo or paraphrase, Insha’ Allah.
    I personally think you were too kind to this brother. This is why Islam in an American idiom will, from my viewpoint, supplant the now prevalent stigma our brothers and sisters must bare when we go down the corner to buy a quart of milk. Insha’ Allah, with time and diligence.
    Jackson was ALL over this one when he likened Islam to a marathon as opposed to a sprint. For my miswak stick, no more eloquent a comparison can be made. And this is in the American idiom. We move toward this thing steadily and surely. Habits dropped new ones absorbed. Friendships die, new ones born. Perilous the journey, for sure; it ain’t easy kids.The struggles of the Sahaba serve as an example to us all and, in my humble estimation, are recognized as fundamental by indigenous Muslims here. Big time.
    No more acutely felt, I can only imagine, than by the African American Community.
    To be able to plow through to a place in the sun that our parents would have wanted for us and all the while coming to terms with the horrific circumstances that your fore-bearers experienced as program only a generation earlier; for some it isn’t even over and STILL manage an inclusive disposition. Often out right forgiveness of this by some.
    This is the American idiom. A strenth most can only imagine. Forgiveness and courage.
    The course to this thing is maintained every time the African American ball bearing factory owner from Iowa stresses over product line efficiency but manages to get down on Salat when the time comes in. Whenever a mother or father fall asleep in their childs be while reading them a bed time story.
    No Sir, Mr. sword of this religion, there is no room for you or your “methodologies”.
    Your voice is lowly but surely being phased out as America at large is experiencing Islam as WE put it down; Bereft of the cultural filth and proclivities that knocked so many of you outta the box early on in the game.
    I ain’t mad at you, though.
    This feeling of a foreign ideological dead weight on this, our American idiom, is palpable. But, again, Jacksons reaction to it all is simply “pay it no mind”. In my limited capacities I take that as a surety of the gains of this course we as Americans are on.

  15. BismillaharRahmanirRahim

    wa ‘alaikum as-salaam Marc and Tony. Thank you for taking the time to respond to my comments. Marc I would be interested to know what you do agree with. It came as a shock when you wrote,

    “This may sound sacrilegious but there’s a time and place for spirituality and a time and place for addressing issues of the dunya.”

    Although, I think I understand what you mean. May I give an example to test whether or not I am understanding? It appears that you are saying that there is a time and place for the ritual prayer perhaps and also a time and place for milking sheep. It seems you are saying that you should, and perhaps could not, milk sheep and perform make the ritual prayer at the same time. In addition it appears you are saying that one should not have sheep in the masjid and likewise one should not make the ritual prayer in the barn. Do I have that right?

    Given my example, which of the two (“spirituality” and “conference”) is the ritual prayer and which is the sheep? I think this is an example of the compartmentalization that I am talking about. My reference to the “West” may have inspired something, positive or negative, for you but it is quite true what I wrote saying,

    “Unfortunately, the trend, which is actually far from the sunnat of the rasulAllah (s.a.w.s.) is to approach Islam like a profession or trade of sorts. However, this is to be expected in the West which is dominated by compartmentalizing knowledge and creating specialties and specialists as opposed to drawing out a persons inner qualities as a basis for training.”

    You yourself admit this is the case saying,

    “…how else do you expect people of a Western background to act other than Western!”

    Marc its not so much about what I expect, it is in fact what is expected upon us. Those who call themselves Muslims. Those who call themselves ‘ahl sunnat wal jamaah. What do I mean here? I mean that the people who claim to follow the way and traditions of the Holy Prophet, Sayyidina Muhammad (alayhi salatu wa sallim) should do so. Should there be room for question in our manners, conduct and appearance of this, whether or not we are ‘ahl sunnat people or not? No, there should be no room for question. But today there are two types of ‘ahl sunnat people: there are those by name and those by actions. Do you agree or disagree?

    One thing I found interesting, and perhaps a reason to continue this discussion further was when you wrote,

    “To say that scholars of likes like Sherman Jackson are off the mark and wasting their time is unbecoming of someone who projects themselves as learned as well as just down right insulting.”

    Is this what I wrote here?

    “Especially for someone like Sherman Jackson, who I consider to be my shaykh, you have overstepped your bounds.”

    No, these are your words. Why the sudden turn to Sherman Jackson? Its ok though, I will entertain the sudden turn by first saying that I think its good that you have found someone to follow. But does Sherman Jackson consider you a murid? Being a shaykh a guide for akhiret life is not the same as being a professor or doctor of philosophy. Remember, the Holy Prophet (alayhi salatu wa sallim) and many of his Sahabin were ummi, illiterate, having no formal education.


  16. Marc,
    I didn’t know you could milk sheep, man. Next time I come to Philly, you got to make me a sheep’s milk latte.

    Saifuddin, I love you for the sake of Allah, but is it really the manners of ahl us sunnah wal jama’ah to suggest that the MANA conference is a “barn,” or that Marc’s experience as a student of Dr. Jackson is “milking sheep.”

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