[Ep 01] BTM Podcast – When Masjids Disappoint with Br. Khaled
Channel: Mohammad Elshinawy
File Size: 44.70MB
Bismillah so in the Name of Allah, we begin welcome everybody to the new podcast. Welcome to Behind the member
blueprints for a better message. But what is behind the member behind the member in sha Allah who will be a
a bunch of frank conversations on the state of most masajid and how to better our religious communities in sha Allah how to
consolidate or centralize in a central location, some of the most useful perspectives and insights and experiences for people that are doing the work or wanting to do the good work of carrying this deen and advancing the prophetic call. And hopefully shortening our learning curve in sha Allah Tada. So this first episode will be a discussion on
one message disappoint. And I'm honored to have our brothers pilot, my good friend pilot, how do I even introduce
pilot goose? That's his his pen name St. Dave.
So why Khalid let me indulge me if you will, by all means. Khalid is a friend of mine going on to take decades now that
me and him often on,
brainstorm a lot about we save the world over text message. That's what we do a lot of times, right? That's what we want to do. I think we have many similar views, but also thoughtful disagreements that reflect that we have a similar concern, and also that we have a lot to learn on how to make this possible. But you are someone that whose sincerity I do admire and who's
well roundedness, you're an hamdulillah a well read person with an above average skill for give me in abstraction. And so welcome. And it's an honor to have you as the first guest here on the podcast. The pleasure is all mine, Muhammad. I mean, I'm sure a lot of the people who are watching this are from back in our community in New York and since those Thursday night lectures Yanni to to have the opportunity to be here with you speaking with you on this to kind of have this platform. I feel like it's above me. So I hope I can I can live up to what you're trying to do here in Java. So why did you do it? Why did you agree I need to reach out to you that would say there was a lot of
reluctance regarding joining me on the podcast, but I kinda insisted in the beginning. So look, if you, if you look at like the the guests you're gonna have on this podcast, I imagine they're each going to kind of bring a unique perspective. And the perspective I bring to the table is of someone who was burned by the masajid and the community, and unfortunately walked away for years. And it's not something I'm proud of it.
It's something I'm going to ask forgiveness for, till that till the end of my days. But it's kind of like, for me, it's it's like the fulfillment of the hero's journey, you know, Yanni I grew up in the masajid, I grew up in the Muslim community. And when you're in a community,
inevitably, you kind of identify the things that are going wrong with it. And it's kind of like,
one of the plotlines that took place in The Lion King, where you grow up in the kingdom, you know, and at a certain point, it's going to be expected of you to take your place in the community, and rise up and assume that responsibility of kind of reviving things and and keeping them going. And for a lot of people, that kind of responsibility proves to be too much. And just like Simba leaves Pride Rock for a while. A lot of us wind up leaving the community for a while. But when you're out there, you come to this realization, where it's like,
if I don't go back, things are not going to get better. And yeah, I'm out here on partying, I'm living my life, I'm having fun, but
I'm not assuming my responsibility. I'm not doing what I'm supposed to be doing.
And if it's not you, who was in the community, who saw the things that were wrong in the community, if it's not you, who's going to go back to fix things to kind of identify what was wrong and try to do your part, to remedy it, who's going to do it? And
you inevitably you're going to want to get married, and you're going to have children, and then your children are going to grow up in that world. And if you didn't take your place in that world and remedy things and fix things, and, you know, bring the cure to the sickness in whatever way you can. No one's going to I mean, there's a collective responsibility and so I definitely feel
some kind of a sense of responsibility. And so that's, that's kind of like the driving force, I think behind a lot of the conversations that we have. Because
those years were rough for me, you know, things get really dark on the outside. And
I'm sure that there's a lot of other credit gurus out there. And if I can kind of
pull people away from that kind of path, make it so that people don't go away.
Pull things in a better direction, then I'll be satisfied. Inshallah, I love it pleased with your credit. I mean, I think a big part of aside from the
the ability to critique objectively and in a in a mature way.
One of the many reasons I love using you as more than a sounding board, of course, like a prison for a lot of my thoughts.
Is the optimism and the ability to try to quiet the pain a bit. We're not going to like move past it, but we're going to move with it right? Listen, I wasn't always optimistic. And 100. Yeah, but go on. Go. Hello, continue. No, I that's just what I wanted to say that that you have grown to a point of optimism now where we can look back and say, there were some very valid criticisms to the dynamics we lived in, or lived with in terms of religious institutions in terms of masajid. And now from a place of being at peace with them. This was my journey, I had to go through it to be a person that can say, I know what you've been through. I know, on the inside what is going on and still be
solution oriented. I think that's huge. So what what
were the major disappointments, we'll look at before I get into the major disappointments, I want to touch on why I try to be optimistic and why I think we should all try to be optimistic.
You always like to say that the master identifying the problem is not the same master as the one identifying the solution. So it's really easy to kind of poke holes in everything and figure out what's going wrong and be bitter and nasty about that. But if you're not careful, you're gonna kind of become part of the problem. You know, if you go into a nasty and negative environment, and you let that infect you, and then you become nasty and negative, it's like, look what happened, you know, now you're also nasty and negative. And if people are coming into contact with you, they're going to have a nasty and negative experience. And now it's just like, you know, what hurt you is
now spreading via you. So, I think
we all kind of have the decision whether we want to be positive or negative about a situation and every time you choose to be positive, you're kind of bringing a little bit of light. And you know, maybe you're showing someone who's also in a bad place. Okay, you know, I can be positive about this and I can have a positive impact on a situation. So where do we need to impart some positivity? What were the dark spots?
Let's unmask them. Okay. All right. So Jani, the first thing off of the top of my head that I could think of that really disappointed me in the massage it was
there was kind of a lack of spirituality is the best way I could put it where it felt like there was a really heavy focus on like, the rote repetition repetitive aspects of the deen memorize the Quran, you know, keep up with the prayers, listen to these lectures, but there was nothing that was really speaking to the hearts there was nothing really speaking to their soul. People come to the massages with their problem and with their grief and with their pain and if you're kind of not helping people sue their pain if you're not giving people something to kind of lean on. They're gonna look for it outside inevitably and outside can provide it
outside can provide it what the outside world is providing is it's kind of like a momentary
it's it's it's a momentary
what's the word that I'm looking for here? Euphoria? No, not the euphoria is not the word that I'm looking for. It's it's a it's a momentary escapism, you know? Like there's there's nothing behind the momentary pleasures that are being offered on the outside. So the partying the drugs,
there's there's nothing there. And inevitably, everyone who indulges in it, they come up empty. And so
the massage don't realize that they're, they're up against all of the worldly pleasures here, you know, and it's something that you kind of talked about where the the people who started the massage at here, they bought their mentality from the old world, and what worked back home. I don't think it's working over here.
So the sweetness of faith is not intertwined with the necessity of course of ritual ritual is the vehicle for spiritual
enlightenment you Kegel refinement. Okay. The other to stop there is it's very important to highlight, right? Because even chronically speaking,
certain nations were condemned for settling with the exterior, right? We are God's people from this bloodline, we live and
practice this way. But on the inside it was corruption of the greatest magnitude. Now on the other extreme, you have people who reduced God to an emotion God is love. Right? And so our deen came to rescue people from extremism. And so combining between the two, my teachers would often say that one of the biggest challenges of the OMA right now is
an overemphasis on
doctrine and doctrine in the sense of not our beliefs, of course, those are the most
spiritually nourishing and invigorating. But doctrine in the form of like a checklist type theology, that's really just there for like identity, confirmation, sectarian memberships, and stuff, too much focus on doctrine, and even on legality become hyper technical, that's a downfall of many nations, right. And the not enough of a focus on morality and spirituality, and,
and I think I'm gonna have to concur with you on that. And then it also feels like when they do decide to focus on the morality, it's,
it's too heavy handed, you know, I can't tell you how many times when I was growing up at the marriage at the masajid, there was like, a hyper fixation on this kid's haircut, or, Oh, we saw him outside after school, smoking a cigarette, or him doing it, you know, and instead of kind of the masajid, and the people running the massage, having the understanding that it's like, okay, you know, like, these young guys are going to be out here and they're facing,
they're facing trials that they could have never imagined back home at the massage that they were growing up in. And, you know, instead of identifying like, okay, you know, like, we need to bring them into the fold, and we need to not point the finger at them, and we need to not ostracize them, there was, it's the way that they handled so many of those situations, turn people away from the masajid. And if you have a young guy, and he's doing something that's not necessarily right, like, How to Win Friends and Influence People, one on one, you know, like, the right thing to do is not to humiliate them in front of the whole community that you know, the right thing is not to walk up to
him and be like, this haircut is wrong. It's like, he comes here, like, what once a month, twice a month, maybe like now, he definitely doesn't want to come back here. And so there was that there was they were kind of lacking that interpersonal understanding of how to kind of like, bring people in and kind of win them over. And I always think about how, I don't know, I don't know how many years I think it was exactly in the prophets. prophet hood, right. But it was the first portion of his prophethood. It was more about conveying the morality of the deen and kind of winning the hearts and minds are people and then in the latter half of his prophethood, it was about giving them the
dictates kind of giving them what the restrictions and don'ts you know, what was the split? It was 13, nine, the years. I mean, the majority of the law came down in the second half, if you will, but it was the shorter second half is in the Medina and period. In the second period, the first 13 years of the 23 or 22 and a half.
Yes, as I Isha on the A little on, the wife of the Prophet SAW said, she said,
the very first thing to come down from the Quran were the shorter chapters fall sun, the shorter chapters, she says, and they contain predominantly what was the major theme there. She said mentioned of Paradise and the hellfire, she said, and then when people became inclined right now, when they're coming, looking for the do's and the don'ts and the framework, or when they became inclined to Islam, the halal and haram, the lawful and unlawful came down. She even went on to say in that same narration
that if the first thing to come down from the Quran was stopped drinking wine, that people would have said, we will never stop drinking. And if the first thing to come down from the Quran was stopped fornicating they would have said, we'll never give it up. And maybe that's a good segue for, for a follow up question here.
Why is it that the massages are lacking? I would pose that question to you. But I mean, I think there's so many right answers.
I think one of the first of them to be honest that we don't want to recognize the magnitude of the challenge as you put it, right. There's no one there that far who's like drinking wine using Substance fornicating there's no dating going on in the community. There's no pornography or, you know, there's no peer pressure and all this other stuff. And so you think, Oh, we're already at you know, Islam.
4.0 We can jump right to it. Yeah, that was that was always something that really put me off. It was it almost felt like the people who ran the masajid they had they conflated addressing an issue with endorsing it, they almost had this idea where, okay, if we don't talk about it, it's not real. But yeah, and we all instinctively understand, if you don't shine the light on something, it's gonna grow, it's gonna get worse. And so there was there's so many hairy questions and topics, especially that the youth need to address substance abuse, substance abuse, like you said, the use of pornography, sexual relationships between yet you know, young men and women, they shouting the faith
to begin with crisis of faith. We didn't even get there, you know, but
yeah, Annie. And if you if the if the people in the masajid aren't getting these questions addressed in the massage, and guess where they're gonna get those questions answered, from the workplace as possible, you know, GPT
I had to do it. chatty, VT is I've quizzed Chad GPT. And it's very careful. It's like, I can't give you moral guidance. But you know, here's what this religion says, Here's what that religion says. And here's what that religion says. But like, I remember when I was growing up.
The climate has kind of changed online, you know, and a lot of people out there are kind of starting to recognize the wisdom behind more traditional approaches. But when I was growing up, it was like a free for all. It was like, oh, yeah, if it feels good, do it, you know, there's, there's no right or wrong, don't judge anybody. And for a lot of young people who are growing up in that climate,
contrast that with what they were getting into masajid. And it was like, there was no kind of understanding that these are difficulties that people are dealing with. And it always kind of made me upset because when you read, you know, the spirit of the Prophet, and you read the Quran, it doesn't stray away from addressing any of these topics, like from what I understand people had no problem approaching the Prophet salallahu Alaihe Salam in the masjid and asking him questions about intimacy. I can't imagine anyone who's doing that at the massage that we grew up at, you know? And if if it's not in the masjid, where that's a huge problem. Why else aren't massages offering these
things? So we said that there's a certain heightened sensitivity.
The walls of taboo are too high, right? They can't, they're not they don't seem surmountable. And so people feel like this is like an an angelic way of life. It's not fit for us human beings, why else you think, look, to give, to kind of give them the benefit of the doubt, I think that there was a huge shock for a lot of the people that came here, and they started massage, but they didn't have to address so many of these issues. You know, for a lot of the people who who came here and they started masajid, a person who had a certain hair cut back home was a bad person, they don't realize it here, that's just the regular hair cut back home, because they were living in these majority
Muslim communities. The the burden of responsibility of kind of maintaining a baseline of acceptability was kind of distributed amongst the entire community. Whereas when you come here, it all falls on the masjid. And now suddenly, whereas like if everybody maybe had like, 1% of the share of the responsibility, all the sudden at the masjid, especially with like the people who are running the massage, and maybe each of those individuals for the entire community was bearing 20 30% of the responsibility 20 times more than what they had to do back home. And that's an unreasonable expectation, right? I mean, that's something I heard recently, someone was very much into Masjid
systems. And I hope to host him as one of the smees subject matter experts in sha Allah for this podcast, what he said if you actually sit there and do like an inductive scan of what messages are expected to do, those could represent 1314 15 institutions in other countries in Muslim majority countries. Like nobody comes to the masjid in Muslim majority countries for hygiene, homeless services, for instance, right? Nobody comes to the masjid for social services, per se. Nobody comes to the masjid for a janazah there's actually a Janaza ministry, right? Funeral ministry and you know, even marital issues, arbitrations, disputes, right conflict resolutions, education, there's an
education ministry. And so, I think having unreasonable expectations of massages.
I mean, yes, massage should be places of trust, that facilitate and guide you on where you should and shouldn't be looking for solutions. And maybe that's one of the downfalls of massage that they're not religiously informed enough to tell you. It's not wrong to seek mental health solutions, even if sometimes they're chemical, there is a precedent in the Sunnah.
For antidepressants, I'll go check them out. Fine. But I do think that too much is expected of the massages. But at the same time, yeah, the fact that you just said, and I'll leave you to run with this, if you like that. We're playing catch up right now we're caught off guard, because I think it's healthy to recognize that I'm not sitting here listening, what's wrong with massage, and we want to be solution oriented, oriented in this podcast,
we have to realize that we're late to the game. And that there's a there's a humongous complexity here. And we don't want to underestimate it. So many times, the little bit of like, just know how I may have picked up by osmosis from people in places I've gone to and through, I've brought it to massage it and the fixed mindset said to me,
stop overcomplicating things. Stop being so corporate, and I'm not corporate, I don't know ABCs of corporate management, but the fact that management is a science and that we're playing catch up, I think owning that
is a missing puzzle piece that is dead center, in the in the portrait 100%. But, you know, I do kind of want to push back a little bit on how you said that back home, the magic will not expect it to do as much as we expect from the measured over here. And that's that's fine. Back home. You know, those were Muslim majority countries with over 1000 years of Muslim history.
Muslims have been in the United States for what now like majority Muslim, like, I know that there was Muslims who kind of came over from Africa. But we're, we've been here for like, what, 100 years now 8090 years, we have to kind of expect more from the masajid. And if if we as Muslims 100%. Right.
I kind of get the sense. And this is kind of coming just kind of like at a story, very high level view, looking at like the culture and where things are going. It feels like the culture in the western world is kind of getting to almost a breaking point where there was a decadence for a while, but now the bill is kind of coming due. And a lot of the people who maybe 510 years ago would have never considered what religion has to offer. Now they're thirsting for it, there's a crisis of meaning in the West relationships are falling apart, the norms between the genders are straining, things that people did not consider, you know, would ever happened.
The social issues are starting to get to a boiling point, because there was no baseline, you know, everything was do whatever you feel like, and now it feels like the western world is getting to this place where they're they're, they're thirsting for kind of a baseline, so that they can build off of the families, they feel like they're under attack, the social institutions are under attack, there's a sense of uncertainty everywhere in the air. And as a Muslim, I'm looking at this. And it's not only just because I'm a Muslim, a lot of the western world is also kind of starting to look to Islam for this guidance. If we as Muslims know that we have the cure for humanity.
We can't, we can't kind of shy away and keep on applying old approaches that work back home. In our home countries, we're dealing with a totally different animal. And we're also and we're also operating in a totally different age, like the world moves so much faster now. And if we believe Islam is timeless, it has to have a built in mechanism and it does to adapt to the changing dynamics of the world. I think the assumption that religious institutions are religiously informed, needs to be challenged sometimes. I mean, there's What do you mean by that? There's so much to this, number one.
There's a huge percentage of masajid that don't have religious leadership to begin with, right? They don't have like a scholar or any mom or students of knowledge. And they believe what we brought over what we inherited of Islam is know how enough, right it's a mess. And then you also have, because that is a cultural identity from a particular culture that is timestamp that will become obsolete, like cultures are fluid, and it definitely doesn't work to be like, off of that point. I'm sorry, I'm cutting you off here. But like, you know, off of that point, I think it's one of the things that puts off a lot of people on the outside of Islam, they look and they're like, oh, it's an Arab
thing. And that's kind of a remnant from these people who came here and they started masajid and they ran the masajid in a Arab kind of way, but Islam is not an Arab thing. It's not you know, an East Asian thing. It's a universal thing for all of humanity. It just so happened that it came down in the Arabic language go on. No so that's sort of one cross section of the mindsets and certain massages that you know what we know Islam enough will you need an imam for will just like bring someone to give Jomar here, give him his gas money and send them on his way.
You know, we don't need someone coming here to tell us yeses and noes and he doesn't have arms.
And that's a humongous this
service because the Prophet alayhi salatu salam said to us that, you know, when the scholars begin to dissipate, and people take those unlearned as their leaders, they go astray. And so they are the security mechanism. They are the inheritors of the prophets. They are those who know how to, in sha Allah apply to newly emerging effects, the principles of prophetic living. And it's it's a specialization like any other rather, it is the most sacred one. And then you have challenges where the scholarly class themselves may not be privy enough are aware enough of the stakes and so they're not capable of the pros cons calculus, right. And also, sometimes let's just be honest, there's
misplaced concreteness, we create red lines with religious languaging that you cannot cross when they're not actually red lines. Give me any, whether ideological or legal in terms of meth heads, or otherwise, do we have the luxury to be sort of particular about these things? When
23% of first generation Muslim Americans that famous pew number Pew Research Center first generation Muslim Americans, 23% of them don't even longer say they're Muslim anymore? So we don't have the luxury to, you know, create, you know, replicas of how I learned Islam? I'm trying to keep Muslims Muslim at this point. Yeah. Can you give me an example of like the rigidity that you're talking about? Yeah, I mean, ideological tensions, legal tensions in masajid.
Like whether or not like sense atmospheres, they drive people out of misogyny. Right or wrong, ya know, like, the moon sighting issue, the halal meat issue, whether or not you could wipe on your socks when you do and do it. Are these things do they even no matter compared to the fact that we're talking about COFRA and Eman people are on the cliff of, of severing their lifeline to this faith and jeopardizing their hereafter before their their worldly life. So
proper, upright, nuanced religious leadership, not being present in massage, it's very costly. And that's something in sha Allah, I hope to dedicate a bunch of episodes
to as well inshallah. So let us say, there are lots of challenges. And I think anyone who's listening to us already agrees, even if we're going to sort of prioritize them differently. What's the bigger one? What's the lion's share me and you might even sort of like line them up differently. But let us assume someone is listening right now. And they
can't get to their masjid, to realize that they need a growth mindset, they need to build that infrastructure, they need to become more inclusive, they need to sort of mature their foundations in a way that can serve on a higher level at least right? Maybe not the the idealistic that we're over, you know, projecting that they should serve and all these fronts. Let's just imagine that not that we're not able to move the needle whatsoever. They're not interested in technology, then I should bring the youth in not thinking of like adopting new ways. They just want it to be that little space. Want to feel nostalgic when I feel like I'm back home is walking away ever justified.
I mean, I always talk to you about this, right? And I think, to kind of take from what you've told me is
you really got a, that's a decision that you can't take lightly. You know, like, before you walk away, you kind of got to take that lion king approach to things you gotta you got to take a look at the measures and be like, okay, like, so lucky. Disney was less controversial.
Doesn't even know Lion King days.
That's a fact. But Disney. Yeah, we won't even get into it. But I would say that before you walk away from the Masjid. If you're the if you're the person who identified that there's something wrong at the masjid. It might be that you're the person that's needed at the masjid to remedy things. And if you're the last person at the table, you can't be the loudest voice.
But if you're at the masjid and you're giving it an honest go, and you're trying to fix things from inside, and you're hitting a wall, it's a dream of mine at some point to start a masjid. But I almost kind of feel like a phony saying that on this podcast because I don't have the means to do so whatsoever. But, you know, you look at MCC and Brooklyn, and that's a
it's the most invigorating Masjid that I've seen my whole life in New York City. The the guy who runs the masjid Muhammad Baer, he he grew up in these messages that were fraught with all these problems that we're talking about that were turning away the youth from the misogyny, and because he approached the problem with with that good intention and trust in God, he took a moonshot and
I feel like that's, it's something that you don't see so much in our communities where people don't take those moon shots at all. It's expensive property taxes, our our community doesn't have the money. Whereas Mohamed, you know, he, he took a first principle approach where he was like, This is what the community needs, this is what we need to do. No one else is doing it. If we step up and do it, we're going to invigorate the people. And they're going to line up behind us. And I think they have something like $1.8 million, that they like property values are crazy in New York City, but the measure is packed every night. And so that should be an example for everybody. Like you always talk
about how we we don't have nearly as many massages in the United States as we need. What is it like we have 25% of the number that we actually need? We're gonna have to start if the mustards were populated. Right, right, so severely underserved. So
if the if the answer is that we need to build more masajid, and you're in a community where you you see that there are certain needs that are not being met, you know, it's not serving the community in the proper way. That's definitely something that you should consider if you have the means to do so. And don't approach it from such a rational perspective where you're like, oh, I don't have the money. Like, if your heart is in the right place. And you you, you give people what it is that they need, the people will line up behind you. And I think MCC and Muhammad Bayes example really speaks to that. I don't know how much he paid you to say that he didn't feed him pay me anyway. I haven't
spoken to him covering the costs of these first few episodes. I think if anybody you're hearing us, Mr. Bhatt, whoever you are, I think if anybody has any money, they should send it to MCC. I think that's what they should be doing. Okay, we're gonna cut the episode right here at this point.
Fair's fair. Let me let me agree.
I vividly recall entering that Masjid one night for thought, Oh, yeah. And seeing and this is a bit odd, right, seeing the amount of youth praying taraweeh wall to wall in the shoe area everywhere, covered in earrings, tattoos, and whatever else may ordinarily be, you know,
something not necessarily approved of Islamically it actually made me so happy because this was like a reconnaissance mission, right? I'm gonna go get these guys from the streets. I'm gonna go get these guys from wherever they drifted. I'm going to show them that the best of life exists within Islam apps by sort of, I had to move the Muslims out the way a little bit to show them the Islam. So Fair's fair. I'm, I'm needing to concede to that.
I think the issue of
is just the fight ever walk? I don't think anyone would disagree.
That, you know, we need more masajid unless they're oblivious to the numbers that you refer to? I mean, where do you got those numbers from? I often tell people just do the math, you got like 4 million Muslims in America. You got like 2500 Masters in America, that's 1600 Muslims per masjid.
And almost nobody could think of a measure that holds 1600 people, very few in certain parts of the country, the vast majority of them like storefronts that hold one 200 people, and so on and so forth. So all those people that you see on the day of aid, not just Joomla that hold that, you know, look like the make the masjid look like everybody's here and it's bursting at the seams. This is just capacity wise. 20% of the community 25% of the community. The rest of them have never set foot in the masjid. So we need more messages. That's really about how, I guess we're gonna go about it. I am not against whenever there's a deadlock. Whenever there's stagnation for someone to just move
over. It's far superior than conflict, that sort of empty the current Masjid go open, leave it that Masjid full and go open your own master don't do it across the street. I mean, how you do it is gonna be, you know, like, the branding issue with being magnanimous not being a united front against anyone or sort of campaigning against anyone, basically, because the whole idea is for you to model the superior alternative. Yeah, right. And I believe that people when they see things happening, right, they will catch up. And I've seen this firsthand that it's not a theoretical over and over again. And as our teachers sometimes tell us that sometimes it requires us to
separate in order for us to unite if we stay in each other's noses, it might be just counterproductive, right? Sure for some
band, and our dean is not necessarily against Division of the bodies. Whenever slam is saying we're one Brotherhood and the Quran is telling us you know, you're a single family and all of this. It's the division of the hearts that's displaced. The rancor, the grudges, the cultish, whether it's a personality cult or an ideology, cult or otherwise so long as we
can account for those.
Sometimes just building a non existent model is just easier than trying to fix from within a pre existing model. So it's a pros cons calculus, and you got to be objective and sort of matura. And ask people and make sure that when it does happen doesn't happen out of resentment, but out of genuine concern for for upping the game, I want to ask, you know, just to bring this full circle, as we close out, and again, this is a primer episode, and I'm really happy, you're my guy who I always not just vent to, but that we try to think these things through together.
What is the cost of leaving our message at the State of the Union, the status quo, and what I mean by that, in particular,
is what's going to happen if none of the current masajid level up level up, and no superior alternatives start emerging fast enough? I think it's going to be devastating, not just for the Muslim community, but I also think that it's going to be devastating for for humanity, where those massages are,
how, look, the
the massage, or the the houses of Allah, you know, they're like, the physical place that you go to where the highest ideal should be. That's where the, that's where you should have the most optimism, that's where you should, you know, be looking at the highest ideal, that's where things should be as pure as possible. That's where people go to purify themselves, you know, and if the masajid are chaotic, if there houses of resentment, if people are fighting over there, if there's anger, if people are not happy when they're at the masajid.
The measure is the place where people are going to,
to aim as high as they possibly can, you know, it's better law, that we're going to pray that we're going to connect with the Most High, that's where you're looking for the highest ideals, if the masajid are not places of purification, and connecting with your fellow Muslims connecting with your fellow man.
Places of connection, a lot of that not even just places of connection, right, but places where the highest ideals are realized, you know, but connection is such an overlooked part of how to imbibe ideals, right. Like in terms of the psychology of conviction, they often talk about, the number one reason why people are convinced of stuff is because of association. Right? Why do people drift in their ideals, it's because they interface for most of or all of the time, with a society that has different ideals. So they just adopt those ideals, right. And if I try to have opposing ideals out there, I can't connect with anyone. And I have to live with the pressure. Year in and year out, it
takes a toll after a while if I'm a misfit, I'm the weirdo. I'm the guy who's not drinking at the party. And so the masjid represents a rallying point for people with those ideals. So those ideals don't get eroded. And then we learn and compete and climbing. But to begin with simply connecting the fraternity of faith is extremely powerful. Well, yeah, and I would also build off of I will also build off on that too. And I'd say that, and this is something that I saw growing up in the masajid. When you grow up in the masjid, they're operating at a certain standard, right? And then you go off to college, and they're much more organized, there's a much higher standard, or, you know, you maybe
you even go to like establishments in the neighborhood and the people at the establishments meet you in a much more pleasant fashion, then you're being met in the masjid. And before long, I think the association that a lot of people wind up making, and I definitely made this association is like, okay, the Masjid is a chaotic place where they operate at a low, you know, low standard of quality. The measure is a place where you're not going to see smiling faces and people who are welcoming, and were plus or smell pleasant odors. Sometimes I didn't even want to say that. But yeah, that's a problem, you know, that I will find a place for my wife to pray. Or someone's going to understand
that I just became Muslim a month ago, and I'm still sort of getting my bearings. And so if every time so if every time you go to the masjid,
what the picture that you're seeing is negative.
Are you surprised that people are gonna start associating that negativity with the dean? Are you surprised that people are going to start straying away from the Dean like, how often are you going to keep on putting people in negative environment and then getting surprised when they tell you like, Hello us? I don't want to do this anymore. And that's why I say that the stakes are so high for the for the Muslims.
And for all the humanity that's that's in the vicinity of the massages, because if the if the, if the Muslims are starting to leave the massage because the massages are not a welcoming environment, a place where they can connect a place where they you know, you see the manifestation of the highest ideals, then what hope is there for the non Muslims that we'd ideally like to pull into these messages. Yeah, no chance at that point Allah forbid, you know, I mean the Quran because time is going to chase us off this episode, The Quran does remind us that righteous people
always remember to pray for those who preceded them in faith right? Or benefit Lana will decline and lead instead of Hakuna will Iman, oh, Allah, forgive us and those who preceded us in faith, and I think to compare sort of ourselves for our bright ideas to them, not that you're doing this. But I can imagine this being heard in that voice by some people as sort of ingratitude
or resentment, no And Alhamdulillah.
I've, after a while, gotten myself into the habit of realizing these are apples and oranges. Like, whatever little bit we may be able to notice of the biases of others should not make us forget that we too have our biases, we too have our our blind spots. In fact, I used to always tell myself that, like it's not their fault, I blame JFK Airport. Because though, when I grew up in New York City, like the youth that were leaving the masajid, went unnoticed. Why? Because in New York City in particular, JFK, right, where people usually fly in from when they're migrating to this country, or fly into.
It's constantly replenishing the masajid with the immigrant demographic. And so the message is bolt fold, the message is overflowing, I need another floor was hidden. And so whatever is falling from the bottom of the bucket is being replenished from the from the top. And so that's one of the issues. And also, to be fair, many times I get stuck. Or I try to catch myself early, from comparing masajid with churches and synagogues. And that also is an unfair comparison. I'm not saying there isn't work to do, I wouldn't have been put this podcast together if I don't believe there's work that can be done, and swiftly and that we need to ramp it up. But we can't compare two generations,
right? These people that did come here in the past two or three generations came? And yes, it is a problem that Islam was an afterthought in general for Muslims in the West. But it is what it is right now we got here, how are we going to pray July near as much as nine hours away, I got to, you know, like build my Little House on the Prairie get 12 people in there for Joomla or 40, depending on your meth hub. And so they're playing catch up, right. And so that oh, wait I got so all they could do is build a Joomla juncture, for sure. And so
Allah knows, and I just wanted to assert that that we are accepting and excusing and admiring of the sacrifice that went in when no one else was even thinking about it. But now we need to take it to the next level, because the cost is extremely high. These masajid are are the Ark of Nurhaliza, you're not going to survive on the float, you won't survive the flood. Look, I would I would build off of the point that you're saying to where
as much as I felt like I was burned by the masajid. Any credit where credit's due.
Yanni, as someone who grew up in a working class family in New York City, that's rough.
The the advantages I felt like I had against my peers in public school and even in college, I felt like was my Muslim upbringing in the masajid. When you Yanni even even as bad as the masajid, were, you know, as many problems as the massage it had the the grounding that they gave the kids that grew up in the masjid was a much firmer grounding than the kids who wind up not growing in a house of faith. So to understand that there is a God to understand that there is one truth to understand that there are objective morals and ideals, it grounds you far more than the kids who are growing up with a thought, you know, there is no right or wrong or they didn't feel guilty if they were doing
something wrong. And it's no surprise that I'm back here sitting here having this conversation with you. I wouldn't be here had I've been for those masajid. And it's always so easy to point at the past generations and kind of identify with the wrong they did. But they did a lot of good too. And they were not working with much. And it's like there's always going to be that tension between the generations. But there's so much more to gain by kind of extending your hand out to that older generation and telling them like look, you have something that I don't, you know, helped me
instead of just kind of burning it and saying like, Oh, they ran these terrible massage and like, that's not how I feel at all, you know, like,
not for sure.
or it didn't come off that way. But I do understand how, again, this could have been perceived as just in grades, we're just gonna be honest, no, put it all on the table in sha Allah, we it's a clunky start, we're trying our best to sort of justify why there's like an alarm that needs to be going off definitely. And we need to scramble to do this right. And we hope we can be able to reconcile between being methodical and being sort of moved to make change and make change fast. My teacher, once one of my teachers, he, he says something very profound. And you know, to honor our elders and the pioneers.
I do wish to share it as we close out here. He used to say a person must never equate between someone who tried to do the right thing and fell short. And between someone who tried to do the wrong thing and succeeded.
You know, someone who was trying to spread mischief in the world and accomplish that should never be seen as equal, someone who had a given equal, let alone superior is someone who had a good intention, but it didn't materialize in in the way that they thought or hoped it would. So may Allah reward them in ways that only he can and, and help us do right by what they've planted of seeds. And help us sort of, you know, listen, I cross pollinate and narrow this in the most healthy way and show I mean, drama is like a local no for your time. And it's going on on 1am soon. So
I said tonight, no, I'm not good.
Just like a little late on and everyone listening, you should do share your feedback in the comments and what you'd like to hear about and what areas and sectors of massage that
we can try to shed some light on to help others.
improve on what challenges in massage, we can help mitigate. Any closing thoughts with that?
I'm glad that you're doing this because
I think you found a niche that is underserved. But if properly addressed, the impacts of it are going to be far reaching because there's so many people
who have strayed away from the masajid. And there are so many people who need Islam in their life. And they're not going to find it in the proper form, except for at the masjid. And so I couldn't agree more. There's, you've chosen a high leverage point to stand out so it's way above my paygrade I'm hoping someone will take it and mature it. But we wanted to start somewhere, centralize it in a certain place. And may Allah accept and take it to the moon we had millimetres like a low hierarchy of chronic long handed shadow law in Ireland and stuff. We're going to relax around when I come