ICIE Town Hall Meeting – Clarifying Points on My Letter of Resignation

On behalf of myself and my family, we thank everyone for the tremendous outpouring of support for us. May Allah reward everyone of you for doing so.

I would like to post an audio clip of a short and unexpected talk I gave on Monday evening, June 29th, 2015. I had nothing to do with the orchestration of this event: several hundred people gathered to discuss aspects of my tenure at ICIE, my leadership, my psychological state and my capabilities as an Imam and Religious Director. At the behest of several of the attendees it was recommended I come down to clarify my statements. Below is the audio from that talk.


[Direct download]

As I wrote on Twitter,

“Let not your loss for words ever be a loss for action.”

We ask you to remove the word “sad” from your vocabulary and replace it with a sense of excitement and wonder at the works, in sha’Allah, we will produce together at the forthcoming Center.

Statement of Resignation From Islamic Center of Inland Empire as Religious Director

In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate,

The Muslim community in America is at a very important and urgent crossroad. At the center of this crossroad is religious leadership. It is a line of work fraught with many hardships, but also great rewards. I have been blessed to experience them both. But due to a number of persistent issues at the Islamic Center of Inland Empire: abusive and racist treatment from congregants (something I encountered my first day one on the job), lack of institutional support, and discordant community vision, it became clear to me that I must make a very difficult decision: it is time to move on from my post at ICIE. There is not an Imam out there who will not inevitably face challenges, but in order to succeed, he must be supported by the community and institutes leadership.

Believe me when I said that I do not make this choice lightly: my family and I moved here from across the country with great hope of making real and sustained changes in the Muslim community and in fact, we still harbor this hope. We also moved here at great risk to ourselves, leaving behind stable careers, all with hopes that the trade off would be worth it. We still believe this and we will be actively looking carrying on this search, this endeavor, and this struggle, in a new setting. But regrettably, after months of introspection, peer discussions, and of course asking for God’s guidance, I have concluded that tendering my resignation is what is best for the wellbeing of myself and my family.

I am very blessed and am grateful to have worked closely with so many amazing people in the community. I have witnessed shahadahs, weddings, and funerals. This position has opened my eyes to the needs of the Muslim community in a way I could never have known as a lay member, no matter how committed. I also could not have done my job without the immense support of Malek Bendelhoum, ICIE’s brilliant administrator. To you, and to the host of remarkable ICIE volunteers who repeatedly stepped up to the plate to support and assist me, I am greatly indebted.

I pray that as one Ummah, as one community, locally and beyond, we move to sync our operational and organizational functions to meet and address the challenging and dynamic needs of our Muslim community. It is paramount that our mosques move beyond the petty tropes of ethnic enclaves and theological fiefdoms and provide havens and sanctuaries for humans to reach their true godly potential. I realize this is no easy task given the diverse backgrounds and histories that must be reconciled under one tent, but I believe it’s a challenge we must, in sha’Allah, rise to the call of tackling if for no other greater reason than the future of our children.

My wife and I have met so many kind and welcoming souls here in Southern California. For all of you, we are eternally grateful for helping to make this transition livable and dignified. We eagerly look forward to continuing to build that key component of our community: a genuine sense of connectedness. For the time being, we will be hard at work on the next chapter in our lives right here in sunny Southern California.

In closing, I would like to take this opportunity to ask forgiveness of anyone that I have ever wronged. Let me repeat: This is not good-bye. I am actively looking to get my hands dirty in planting seeds in new, fertile soil. I can be reached by all of the regular avenues: website, Facebook, social media, etc. Please pray for our family and all of our families, communities and children. May God bless all of you and accept your good deeds and bring us together as one united community.

Marc Manley

 

Love of God and Fear of God – A Khutbah

Three main types of fear discussed in the Qur’an

Khawf: fear related to bodily harm and emotional trauma, because, as in the verse below, it relates to The Fire:

قُلنَا اهبِطوا مِنها جَميعًا ۖ فَإِمّا يَأتِيَنَّكُم مِنّي هُدًى فَمَن تَبِعَ هُدايَ فَلا خَوفٌ عَلَيهِم وَلا هُم يَحزَنونَ

“We said, ‘Go down from it, every one of you! Then when guidance comes to you from Me, those who follow My guidance will have no fear and will know no sorrow’.” Qur’an, 2: 38

Khashyah: fear related to shame, disappointing, and even devotion:

لَو أَنزَلنا هٰذَا القُرآنَ عَلىٰ جَبَلٍ لَرَأَيتَهُ خاشِعًا مُتَصَدِّعًا مِن خَشيَةِ اللَّهِ ۚ وَتِلكَ الأَمثالُ نَضرِبُها لِلنّاسِ لَعَلَّهُم يَتَفَكَّرونَ

“If We had sent down this Qur’an onto a mountain, you would have seen it humbled, crushed to pieces out of fear of God. We make such examples for people so that hopefully they will reflect.” Qur’an, 59: 21

Taqwah: to use all of one’s senses/knowledge, to avoid harm:

وَاتَّقوا يَومًا لا تَجزي نَفسٌ عَن نَفسٍ شَيئًا وَلا يُقبَلُ مِنها شَفاعَةٌ وَلا يُؤخَذُ مِنها عَدلٌ وَلا هُم يُنصَرونَ

“Have taqwa (fear) of a Day when no self will be able to compensate for another in any way. No intercession will be taken from it, no ransom taken from it, and none will be helped. Qur’an, 2: 48

Love (and fear!) are more than what Hollywood portrays it to be. ‘Abdullah bin Mas’ud reported that the Messenger of God said:

إنَّ اللَّهَ قسمَ بينَكم أخلاقَكم كما قسَّمَ بينَكم أرزاقَكم وإنَّ اللَّهَ تعالى يعطي المالَ من أحبَّ ومن لا يحبُّ ولا يعطي الإيمانَ إلَّا من يحبُّ. فمن ضنَّ بالمالِ أن ينفقَهُ وخافَ العدوَّ أن يجاهدَهُ وهاب اللَّيلَ أن يُكابدَهُ فليُكثر من قولِ لا إلَهَ إلَّا اللَّهُ وسبحانَ اللَّهُ والحمدُ للَّهِ واللَّهُ أَكبرُ

“God Almighty portioned out your character between you as He divided your provision between you. The Almighty bestows wealth on those He loves and those He does not love. However, He only gives faith to those He loves. Whoever is stingy about spending his wealth and fears to fight the enemy and is in terror of enduring the night should repeat frequently: ‘There is no god but Allah. Glory be to Allah. Praise be to Allah, and Allah is greater’.” al-Adab al-Mufrad