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Hangout 02 – Wasim Kempson – Moderate Muslims
Channel: Boonaa Mohammed
Series: Boonaa Mohammed - Hangout With Boonaa
File Size: 12.92MB
In the second episode of “Hangout” with Boona Mohammed, Sh. Wasim Kempson discuss Moderate Muslims.
Episode Transcript ©
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Salaam Alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh. This is your brother Bono Mohammed coming at you with another episode of hangout where we hang out. And we have with us another great guest chef Waseem Kempson, who comes from the UK. He's with us here today. So, Chef,
How's everything? I'm good weather handling. I cannot say thank you very much for joining us on this episode. I've you know, I've been watching the news recently, and unfortunately, or fortunately, Islam is constantly in the headlines, you know, we're always hearing about Muslims doing something crazy over here, or some attack or something that's happened that somehow revolves around the negative image of Islam. And it feels like there isn't really a voice for mainstream Islam, you know, you have the very right ring, you know, maybe conservative extremist Muslims on one wing who are putting out you know, anti
anti West propaganda that looks bad on us. And then you have on the other side, the western, you know, state governments that are also having their own agenda against this now, but it seems like the people in the middle, you know, what's what's up? Us? We don't have a voice? Sure. What are your thoughts on that? So we know Hamdulillah, salat, wa salam, ala rasulillah, we're bad. It's a good analysis from yourself. And you're right, not a day passes, except that you find Muslims are in the news. And more often than not, it's for the wrong reasons. And added to that, if you like that it is the actions of a very few or minority, which reached the news, and then has an impact on upon
So media outlets, they're there to find news that are to tell everybody what's happening. Now, the vast majority of Muslims aren't doing very much if you like,
now you find a small amount, they are doing something or bit wrong. So that is what is being put in, in the news and having that negative impact on us. So I think practically as Muslims,
for the majority, I'm talking about, and finding that middle path, as opposed to being the extreme conservative, or the extreme liberal side, let's find that middle path. And this middle path is is is mentioned a lot. You know, what is this middle path, this moderate path? It has its own definitions, it has its own understandings. So really, how do we define what is this model? And so what does it mean? People say this term being a moderate Muslim, you know, you always hear the news in the media saying, you know, where are the moderate Muslims? And sometimes people get offended when you say moderate? Yeah, no, because it has a weird kind of connotation to a very liberal
progressive connotation. What What does that mean being moderate or being in the middle? You mentioned earlier, and you know, Allah subhanaw taala made this an automaton Masada made this a nation of the middle path. Now that's translated into many, many things, ie that we don't go from one extreme to the next, whether it's extreme conservative, I don't think we're conservatism extremism in whatever form it comes in, whether it is overzealousness, or this complete relaxation and complete compromise on the other. So where do we really find ourselves in this is the middle path. Now, just a few days ago, looking at different media outlets, and myself, there are those who
are not Muslims, and they're talking about really, the events have been going on for the past few days. This doesn't have to be, you know, time relevant. What month I'm talking about what year I can be talking about any month or any year, there's an event that's happened concerning the mushroom. So really, what we're saying is, to some extent, timeless, right, because it's relevant all the time, you find, you know, people who are not Muslims talking about offensively What's happening? And they say, well, this has a negative impact on the moderate Muslim, the moderate Muslim here, well, this is the moderate Muslim, maybe in their view, is the liberal Muslim who's willing just to compromise
on everything, and anything that maybe a lot of people they don't understand, and therefore don't like, are willing just to put to one side, this is one understanding of moderation or a moderate Muslim, which I myself may agree with, and maybe many Muslims wouldn't agree with, right in a way that other people have to give us terms will give us understandings, what a moderate Muslim is, I think, you know, these terms can be really utilized in so many different ways used and abused. So as Muslims, we have to define ourselves really what it is to be a Muslim, right, and adding terms like moderate Muslim, liberal Muslim, all of these terms, just create more confusion, you know, allies
were just a minute Muslim on, he named us Muslim in those who submit to Allah subhanaw taala. And if we just go back to, you know, teachings that were given to us, fundamentally, that will make you know, earlier, our early generations successful, these are the kinds of things that we need to really adhere to. And then we can really take control of the narrative to say, this is what the Muslim is, and you know, essentially it means being a positive and benefit to society at large. Right. So how do you feel as though I mean, being Muslims in the West, we can adversely change our society and make it so that you know, the idea about Islam or Muslims is not always nice.
I know that they're, you know, some people out there have different agendas or views as as to how to make, you know, Islam comfortable with the West, or how to make Western, the West comfortable with Islam. But what are some are tips or advice that you could give that can really kind of give us an idea of how we can make Islam, you know, something that's comfortable on the ears of non Muslims in the West, you know, Islam is not something new. It is something at all people who are here to shoot, okay, if you can say that Abrahamic religions, Islam is not very far from them, that moral code that exists within all of us, but the Jews or Christians, we have many things in common. And you find
that, especially with certain communities, that they wanted to positively positively influence their society, their communities, that they were proactive, in wanting to be part of the community to give them what they believed as a benefit, instead of just sitting back, and really isolating yourself, and allowing the community then to influence you. Because you know, in terms of molding and influence influencing, it's going one of two ways, either you're being molded, or you're being influenced, what's the other way around, you're trying to mold you're trying to influence people in a positive way. And I think for too long, that Muslims, if you like, in many Western communities,
we've just, you know, just sat back and allowed that what's around us, because life's fairly comfortable, right, and we can become little a bit absent minded about really what we have, we've just sat there and allowed whatever was going on to, to mold us. And therefore, this has led to the American Muslim, this is the British Muslim, and this is the Canadian Muslim. And this is the French Muslim, because and we've become so different from each other, because we've allowed those societies to have such an impact on us, that we have become so different. Therefore, if we look at it very differently, that that is all wherever we come from, we can be quite similar. But we need to be
proactive, and allow Islam to not only have an influence over us, but also those around us. So we can start reversing the way things are going, I think this would be a good step. That's interesting, actually, you mentioned that I know that I've traveled to the UK many times. And one thing I notice about, you know, British culture in general is that it is a little bit standoffish, you know, British people in general, they like their space, you know, you don't see many people smiling on the tube, when you're just you know, going on your own business, right. And in some parts in the US, it's the complete opposite, where people are very, you know, jolly, and they want to talk to you and
they want to get in your business. And sometimes you find that the Muslims take on those characteristics. Do you find that to be the case? Definitely, I think, again, is a good observation that
there's not a problem, you know, different people have they have different traits. You know, for example, you mentioned in American firms that people are a little more open and more
accepting of, you know, people's different approaches. And yeah, the English word, or the British was a little bit more cold, a little more, you know, stiff upper lip, as it were, and, you know, I need my space, you know, don't be coming close to me and think that's okay, to an extent that we are different, that's fine. But what I'm saying is that, you know, these environment that you have, you can be different in your own little way. But there is a there's an underlying and fundamental kind of influence that we have is our SLM, which things like you know, okay, smile, be generous, Be kind, be sharing, be interactive, don't isolate yourselves. This is something we can all have. It's good
to have all different kinds of triggers in different colors with different languages, different attitudes, different ways. That's good. That's what enriches humanity, if you like, but we should have something in common. And that is, you know, us our understanding of Islam, in in the way that it was given to those people who that we know, were the first to receive it, right? And we're able to really have such a positive influence over their society at that time. What about the notion that a lot of people have that, for instance, as Muslims living in western countries, they know that we shouldn't be adopting Western practices, and then we should really be shunning kind of everything
the West has to offer. And people feel like you know, they want to become like hermits, and live in their, you know, little caves and go to their Messiah that, you know, everyone sounds like them and speaks like them and talks like them, how do we break out of that mold that I think a lot of traditionally, you know, you know, traditionally culturally Muslim groups have kind of adopted.
I would begin by saying that the Prophet sallallaahu, Adamson showed us a beautiful guidance on these matters like this, that there would be many different types of people who would visit him. And when he was aware of a particular tribe, who wore a particular type of clothing, or who below have behaved in a particular way, or who spoke in a particular way, he at least at the salon would want some knowledge of that. So that when he addressed them, and he spoke to them, that there would be some things that they could have a common some common terms between each other, right? So it's not, this is who I am. This is what I stand for. And everything that you have, I'm not interested in it,
and it's all wrong. And this is our culture, and we need to stay like this. The Prophet sallallahu Sallam showed us that we need to sometimes adapt ourselves and understanding to say that everything
The West has we should shun it, we should turn away from it. This is this is completely wrong, you know, lots of penalty, Allah created the whole world and all people inside that world, we don't have to try and be Arabs, because we're not, you know, we can be Australian Muslims and have our Muslim identity and any things because culture or customs, if you like play a very important part in Islam, and it has almost what it does not almost it does have a place in in Islamic law, you can establish rulings concerning customs, if we don't have specific texts on that. So there are many things which in western countries that are of great benefit, and we can benefit greatly from as Muslims. This is
not to say that, you know, we don't have this in Islam, we have to distance them things like organization, administration, you know, doing things on time, you know, this is not known to the Muslim world, unfortunately, we've lost this Yeah, the West have in general have have taken this to a good level to an acceptable level of something which makes them successful in what they do. Why is that as Muslims, we've not, you know, we want to shun everything in the West, okay, you want to be on time you want to shun, you know, professionalism and administration doing things properly? Why would you want to show them such a thing? Right, you know, that there's time, and that is Muslim
time. And we shouldn't have things like that, right, we should adopt things which will benefit us and bring us, you know, to be positive members of society to take these things on, of course, anything which goes against our religion, we shun that we take, you know, we don't take from it the things which are of benefit for sure, take it. Okay. That's, I mean, that's a really interesting point, I, you know, thinking about the the cultures and communities that we come from, oftentimes, like I said, you know, Muslims live in their own little nooks, and they don't really integrate with the communities around them. But on the flip side, what are the rights of the people around us? You
know, many of us, a lot of people who will be watching this live in non Muslim countries, or countries that are majority non Muslim. And we often don't think about our neighbors, non Muslim neighbors as being people that you know, we have to have certain rights towards, what are those rights that our neighbors have on us non Muslims living in the countries that we do? Well,
I mentioned the beautiful Hadith, the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam said that jabril, the Angel gibreel, he came to me, and used to advise me about the rights of the neighbor until I thought that the neighbor would inherit from me. Yeah, so the right of that neighbor, and I mentioned neighbor, it didn't distinguish between Muslims, non Muslims, they mentioned ajar, the neighbor, so the right of the neighbor, and what you do for them is something very, very great and important in Islam. Now, no doubt the doubt the the rights or do from one to the next are different if they're Muslim, right, you know, Muslim neighbors, they have the rights of a Muslim and so on and so forth,
or the rights of a family member, but it is a non Muslim, they have the right to have the right to have a neighbor, not to harm them, not to cause them any disturbance to be kind and generous to them. as Muslims, we have a great responsibility of, of delivering the message of Islam. And this is what the prophet Muhammad Sallallahu Sallam did, while in Medina, they were, you know, Jewish communities, the other communities there. And they were aware, and they saw the beautiful manner that he sallallahu Ellison had in dealing with all people, non Muslims and Muslims alike. So it's very important for us that, you know, if we believe that, and we know that Islam is a universal
religion, it's not something we need to we should try to keep and hide from people. So if they're non Muslims, they have a right over us, for us to be kind, generous to them. To deliver the message of Islam in any way possible. It doesn't mean that you need to stop knocking on the door, here's the quote, and you need to accept Islam. This is you know, you have to be wise and how you deal with things, by your actions at times, they may say, Well, I've not had a neighbor like you before. So they may start asking questions about Islam. So no doubt the rights of neighbors is something which, unfortunately, many Muslims that were unaware of, and we fall short. So you know, this is something
we need to work on, you know, see, okay, here's an interesting scenario for you. Okay, I have a neighbor. I won't say that. Hopefully, they're not watching. They are watching Forgive me. Okay. I have a neighbor, who I don't really get along with that. Well, I mean, I, we don't, we don't, we're not on the best of terms. You know, they're, sometimes they play music too loud, you know, they're outside smoking on the porch, and, and it causes disturbance in my life. I, you know, I don't like that type of behavior happening in front of my kids on my street. And I sometimes I feel like, you know, I want to give them down and I want to speak to them about Islam, and I want to make that, you
know, friendship, that something that will benefit them specifically. But I also feel like, I want to, you know, sometimes I want to report them to the police and tell them you know, these guys are making disturbance in my community. But I also feel like if I did that, maybe they would be less inclined to hear what I have to say about Islam. How do we balance this idea? Like, this is a very random scenario mine specifically, but in how do we deal with neighbors or people around us that we feel are a nuisance that we feel like our maybe they're alcoholics, maybe they're people that genuinely we feel like they bring bad upon the society we live in? How do we deal with them in that
circumstance? You know, the bottom line is that
If they happen to be your neighbor, you know, we live in together. And if I'm not planning to move, either for the foreseeable future, we're here together. So yes, they may do things which I don't like. So does that mean I'm going to if I do call the police, or call the authorities, that may make the situation worse. So you need to be wise and how you deal with the situation. So what I would say is that, as a Muslim, we need to, within ourselves realize that
I would like to, as much as possible, deliver the message of Islam so that everybody is saved from from punishment in the hereafter? How can I deliver that message to that neighbor, I could quite easily go outside to say, Please, you know, don't smoke outside my house, my house is my children are seeing this is causing great disturbance. And I don't want were you were you behaving, I don't like the fact you're playing music is like, you want me to suddenly just want to control my life, of course, they're not gonna accept this.
And there's 1001 things that you could do. I mean, if you know, that person in particular, I don't know, it could be the case that if they're smoking outside of, it's not the greatest big crime, I mean, maybe the person's doing that, maybe I don't know, one day you say, you know, you make yourself a cup of tea, and you go outside, and it might be a nice day, make them a cup of tea. So here not as a cup of tea, or something that you may know, that is given them a, you know, a fizzy drink, or a cool drink or something just to break the ice between them. And then, you know, somehow that you get conversing about something. And, you know,
I think it starts from there, how that develops, of course, who knows that it's going to differ, but that's the, you know, the responsibility on, on the Muslim to, to have that positive influence and try to take things in in a positive way. It's easy to have empathy and keep that there and not do anything. But we should always strive and struggle to improve the situation to the best that we can. Okay, here's another scenario for you say, for instance, somebody has, like, I have a female neighbor, okay, you know, woman maybe who lives on her own, say, for example, and, you know, I want to give down, and I want to be a good example, but, you know, maybe she invites me over, you know,
me by myself to have some tea or something. Right. And I think to myself, okay, you know, I don't want to be rude, but I also don't want to put myself in a situation that, you know, obviously islamically, I would not be very happy about To what extent can I you know, help the community help the people around me, without at the same time compromising my Islamic values? I think, subconsciously, I'm influencing influencing your questions. Because you mentioning tea, I don't know how much
how much tea you drink in Canada, we're learning from the portfolio. So doesn't have to be tea right to be anything, anything. Okay. Coffee, say for instance, all right, coffee is okay. I think
if that is the case, I mean, if your neighbor invites you think this is just
a female inviting you to do something where it's a little bit uncomfortable for you to get out of that. Sometimes the shaking of the hands, right? You know, these kinds of things, you need to be prepared? How are you going to deal with that situation? Or how you're going to, you know, give an answer, right.
Of course, you don't want the point is you don't want to offend that person. And you don't want to leave something, you know, leaves a bad feeling in their mind about, you know, I was really trying to be kind to them, and they just, you know, they turned away from me, and it could, you know, take a long time to, you know, recover that situation. I think that if you if you're suddenly invited to the next door, neighbor, state, you know, that that's a great idea. I'd love to come over. And, you know, likewise, I'd like to, to invite you over. And if you have a sister, or you have a wife to ensure that you know that they would be there, but somehow delay if you like, that's how you feel.
Right? So you know, okay. I think it's a great idea. I'd love to, you know, have a cup of coffee with you or something like this. However, the time is a bit busy at the moment, can we arrange mentioned a date? Right? I think that's very important. Don't say, oh, we'll put it to another time. I just say, you know, you just brushed me off. I can't do it today. What about tomorrow, or the next time you're free? Let me know when you're free again, please, when you can do that. And then you've got time to arrange with yourself. You know, your sister. So you gotta, you gotta think about be clever. You have to, you know, move on your toes. I mentioned that because I know a lot of Muslims
sometimes fall into the trap of saying like, well, it's for the sake of Dawa, you know, it's like, Okay, well, they want me to go to a party or they want me to do something. It's like, Oh, it's all free CBD law, right?
Is there ever a time when the ends justify the means when it's like, Okay, let me just break this rule, because there's a greater good at stake. Yeah. You know, I think the greater good that the person is talking about is never guaranteed. You know, the fact if I was to do something which is contrary to Islamic practice by going to a party, or going to a place where it's, you know, your co workers, you know, exactly going out to a bar after work or something like that. You know,
a good intention is very important. I agree with you, but the good intention does not change. The reality of that if what we call is haram Haram. Haram is haram, your intention can't make something haram into a halal even though the objective is something which is good. It doesn't mean that I need to go through
The harm to you know, to perform that good deed, we have to be clever. If we're going to do something like this, like, okay, that's the end goal. That's what I would like to do deliver the message and give the hour some way, is there a permissible means of way of doing that? Or have not thought about it? I'm just simply going to go this way. People, this is what they do usually, to justify themselves to deliver the message of Islam, I'm just going to do this. Okay, have you ever thought about you can do some in some other way, going to a party, you know, people can listen to music, people listening to, you know, to all types of things and engaging in all types. I don't know
how you're going to, you know, somehow deliver that message of Islam in such an environment, right, it'd be extremely difficult and the headline will, will somehow justify that to you and say, yeah, there's a possibility, and maybe you'll meet, you know, some another person there, who was, you know, who's looking for a purpose in life, and then you may meet them there. And then, you know, they may become Muslim and maybe, you know, maybe you can marry them one day, you know, you can put all kinds of things in your mind, you know, so, never put yourself in a compromising position, never put yourself in a dangerous position. There's always another way. If you ask Allah Subhana Allah to
make things easy for you to facilitate for you, you have a good intention, always seek a permissible way, and they shall open a way for you to do things correctly. Okay, here's another scenario, a lot of scenarios, okay.
I was in Brazil, for the World Cup. Okay, some of you may have seen that, you know, I was I was there with with y slam, and we were doing down there. And, you know, there's a lot of women out. So especially like that time, you know, summertime, it's very warm outside. And a lot of brothers, we do this, you know, you have your table, you set up your Dallas stall, but there can be a lot of fitna as well, that you're being exposed to and at the same time you think to yourself, okay, I'm here to give dowa I have a good intention, I know what's inside of me. But at the same time, there are perhaps vices around things around me that I know I'm weak. And I know I can't control myself, I
know that it's difficult for me to show, in that sense, in that in that circumstance, specifically, would you still advise that brother to go out and give our beyond that dollar table? If he knows he's going to be seeing things that perhaps you shouldn't be? I agree, okay. What I believe is that there are there are certain events, there are certain seasons where definitely a Muslim can take advantage of something like the World Cup, okay, which comes once every four years. Okay. And you have 1000s, hundreds of 1000s of people from all around the world at one place at one time, or the Olympics. Right? This is another opportunity in London couple you had this, you know, I think it was
in 2012 London Olympics. Yeah. And we had a number of brothers and organizations, you know,
using that, as a season to spread Islam, we had the Commonwealth Games, My point being that there are certain occasions where this is an excellent opportunity for the Muslim to deliver the true message of Islam to a number of people, whereas they would never ever have that chance to do that. This is point number one. So take advantage of them. Number two, okay, who are we going to choose and who is going to be part of delivering that message, it is very important that the person or those people who are involved are number one suitable to deliver the message in the correct way. And that they themselves are sufficiently prepared to best they can not be affected by the situation
that they're going into. So if a person is, you know, let's just be honest, a person is weak with with with the other gender, okay, he's a brother, and he feels it can be tempted easily. I would say, you know what, it's a great opportunity to give our However, because this may be a personal thing that he discusses. And he should you know, consult, I would say, you is better, not you better not to go. But But you'll feel shy, like he wants to go, Yeah, well, yeah, that's fair enough, maybe he doesn't want to ask another person. So let them have a judgment on themselves. And anything, actually, not just you know, giving down. If you feel yourself weak in a particular thing, stay away
from it, you know, even if there's fit in it? Well, the thing is that what you could fall into is far greater, never expose yourself to any danger. Yeah, there may be good in it. But the danger that you expose yourself to is, you know, is very great. Don't Don't do that. Right. It's better to protect yourself. There's a there's an Islamic principle, and that is that the protection or the pushing away of harm, will take precedence over bringing some good, okay? So this is a very important principle in Islamic law, that removing any harm will take precedence or brought bringing any good. So a situation situation like this, yes, there's some good, but there's a great
possibility of some harm. So if this being the case, therefore, I will put that first and I won't get involved in that. So taking advantage of these situations is very important. But as important is choosing the correct people to get themselves involved in that so that the message is delivered correctly, and that no harm comes, you know, comes to those brothers who are involved in.
Lastly, I think, just going back to the idea of community building, and you know, being of the middle nation being of the people that you know, I don't wanna say moderate but the middle people I think is probably the best term to use.
A lot of times, we find ourselves
You know, what, we have common issues that our communities around us can rally around. Remember, perhaps there's the issue of, you know, maybe it's like pornographic images on advertising billboards, in our communities in our school areas, perhaps there are issues around drinking and driving, you know, issues that Muslims, yes, we feel passionate about, but we also feel like the people who are championing those issues, we don't agree with them fundamentally. Yeah. To what extent can we work with these different groups or these different communities to work for a good common cause? that Muslims and non Muslims can also agree to? Yeah.
You know, sometimes as Muslims, we have the attitude that we are the only ones who can ever stand for anything that can be considered model, that is good. That's not the case. Yes, we understand that what is good, and that What's wrong, however, you may find communities, you know, organizations and, and people supporting,
you know, morals that we stand for as Muslims, you know, things like, you know, pornography, you know,
consumption of alcohol, you know, being sold very cheap, being available at 24 hours, that there's a number of people, not Muslims, right, that they're against such things that they have, you know, lobbying groups, you know, lobbying, the government loves lobbying, the members of parliament say, you know, we want to control how these things are, you know, being distributed in our community, I think it's very important for Muslims to,
because we are part of that community, to, to liaise with these people and to work for a common good. And I think this will also a aid and help our credibility as Muslims, that we're not just kind of people who isolate ourselves, we are active and positive members of our community who want to bring about, you know, a genuine good and universal good for everybody. Right? So it's very important for you know, for Muslims to get involved in, in, you know, lobbying such things which we don't agree with with other organizations, even though they'd be you know, there may be non Muslim others The only problem and
so, I really appreciate you taking the time and speaking with us and we've benefited from your wisdom greatly for joining us. And for everybody watching this in another episode of Hangout. Make sure you check out the hashtag hangout show and get involved in discussion. Let us know what you think about the topics we discussed throughout this episode. inshallah we'll see you the next episode is your brother Mohammed signing off does not want to lie. He will buy tickets.