Self-Imposed Segregation

Saad Tasleem


Channel: Saad Tasleem

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ICNA-MAS Convention 2018

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on hamdu Lillahi Rabbil Alameen wa Salatu was Salam ala Schererville Ambia Yamato selling nabina was say it you know, have you been on Muhammad Ali? He was so happy he moraine Allah whom Allah Allah Allah Allah Allah ma lantana indica until Hakeem Allahumma alumna and pharaoh now, when fatten Abbey Maryland tena was in our enema uribl Alameen Allahu Medina covers alternativa oriental belle de la bouche de la was organized, Tina was Salam alaykum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh.

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I want to start off in sha Allah to Allah by telling you what I'm doing on stage right now, this session is called reverse matter. And I get put in the situation a lot of times where just like a lot of us, people take a first look at us. And they make a lot of assumptions right based off of our appearance, or the way we look, or the color of our skin or whatever it may be. And a lot of times when people look at what I do, and they find me giving a lecture or they see me in the masjid, they take a look at the color of my skin. And they automatically assume that I've lived a Muslim life my whole life. They assume that I grew up with Muslim friends, they assume that I went to Sunday

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school, they assume that I had all the experiences that young Muslims have growing up. The reality of my life, is that I very much found Islam in college. And before that, I did not really have the quote unquote, Muslim experience. Yes, my parents are Muslim. Yes, I have a Muslim name or a Muslim sounding name. But that's about it. My Islam growing up before I got to college was just a cultural version of Islam. So in terms of actual connection with the Muslim community, it wasn't really there. And I remember some Had Allah that when I finally accepted Islam, and I Yes, very much feel like I accepted Islam actually literally took my Shahada in college. It is at that point that I was

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kind of thrown into the community, where I had to go and say, Okay, where are all the Muslims at now. And I had many of the experiences that many reverts and converts have, where they come to a masjid. And people assume that you already know everything. And people assume that it's okay to nitpick at you and to, and to criticize this and criticize that or whatever, because you should already know, because you're in the masjid. And for me, it was sometimes more difficult because like I said, from the color of my skin, people assumed that I lived a Muslim life. And I remember Subhana Allah, that at that moment, in those moments when I would come to the masjid or go to like a Muslim

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organization or whatever, and people would say, you know, this is haram, and that is haram. And you can do this, and you can't do that, and so on, so forth. You know, in the beginning, I was totally cool with that. Like, I remember Subhan Allah.

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I went into this one place, and a brother came up to me and he said, you know, he said, he said, Hey, if he like, what's up with your pants? And I said, What do you mean? He said, Don't you know what is below the ankles? Isn't the hellfire? And I said, No, I didn't know that. He said, Yeah, the prophets I send them said that. And so you can't have your pants below your ankle. And I said, okay, cool, straight. Like I got it. I went to the, you know, this is an office building. I went to the front of the office, office building, and I asked him for a pair of scissors. And I remember Subhanallah right there, I stood there, and I took the scissors and I snipped my pants. I'm like,

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alright, good to go. And then I went home. And I told my mom like, Mom, did you know what's below the ankles is in the hellfire. And she's like, No, I didn't know that. I said, Yeah. So you know, basically, when you get all my pants and my jeans and everything, and we need to snip them. Right. And I was totally okay with that. The issue that I had was when I would go from one place to another, and then I would start hearing conflicting things. So one place, one would say, you know, this is not okay. And another place I would say, No, this is okay. And one place, I would say this is haram. And other places. I will say no, there, that person is an extremist. They don't know what

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they're talking about. They have misinterpreted Islam. And it's at that point in my life, that I made a very crucial decision, a very important decision. And that is where I said, Look, I don't have the ability right now. To separate or to know or to differentiate culture from Islam. How do I know whether what you're telling me? is simply your culture, your cultural interpretation of Islam, or is this actually Islam? Because Islam my brothers and sisters doesn't have a culture. Islam doesn't belong to any one culture.

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any people who say to you that Islam is defined by their culture, then they have hijacked Islam? Because the beauty of Islam is that Islam is meant to be practiced and lived by all peoples across the world across times. That is what Islam is. And so yes, Islam will look different. When we talk about the way people dress and certain habits and speech and food, and so on and so forth. cultural matters, yes, Islam will look different in China, it will look different in Africa, it will look different in Canada, in different places across the world, because Islam is not a culture.

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And so I said to myself, I'm not okay with this. I'm not okay with being in this world where I don't really understand. And you know, every day somebody comes to me, and it's just something new. And I said, You know what I'm going to do, I'm going to learn Islam for myself. I'm going to go study Islam, to figure out what actually is Islam, what my religion is actually telling me. And my one goal, or one of my main goals, was that I can come back and I remember I said to myself, I remember the day I took my Shahada. I said to myself, I don't want to be the type of Muslim that I have come across so far. Because I've come across too many Muslims, who have been very judgmental to many

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Muslims who have enforced Islam upon me in one way or the other or certain opinions upon me, without taking a look at who I actually am. There's too many times that I would walk into the masjid before I accepted Islam, when I was searching for Islam, that I would walk into the masjid or I would come across some Muslims. And without ever saying, how are you? How are you doing? How is your Eman doing? Before that question was ever asked to me. It was usually what are you wearing? You know, this is head on you can't you know what we got to stand foot to foot. You know what you can't stand foot to foot, make sure there's a get this is all that I was told. And for me, it was it was a it

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was a moment of of I was it was a moment where it really made sense to me that the only cure to this is knowledge. The only cure to this is really truly understanding what Islam is. And I want to give you just one tidbit of that one tidbit of knowledge and inshallah to Allah will help clarify this issue for you the issue of culture, and religion. A lot of times, I asked the question, is there a Muslim culture? And I actually teach a class on this topic where we talk about culture and Islam. And I asked the question, is there a Muslim culture? And I usually let the class answer this question. And there's some who say, yes, there is a Muslim culture, there's a Muslim culture. And

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there's others who say no.

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And the answer to that, is that if you want to say that the rulings of Islam, the *ty I, what is found in Islam, is Muslim culture,

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then go ahead. But you know, what I call that I just call that Islam. If you want to say that Islam has one culture as in, there's one people whose culture defines Islam than Absolutely not. And I want to share with you one incident that happened with the prophets of Allah who I knew he was setting them, which many of you may have heard about. This is the incident where the prophets that I send them, sits down to eat with his companion hunted when when either the Allah that I, and they're presented, some food had been worried, and the prophets I send them, they present to them. Roasted lizard. Now, the process of them is about to reach forward, to eat from this food. And as he's about

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to reach forward, one of the women in the gathering, she says to him, or she says to the people there he says, Hold on, first, tell the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa send them what you have served to him.

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Why? Well, this is a common practice amongst the Companions, that when something new was given to the parties, and they would always tell them what it is, because legislation is still taking place, the halal and haram and all of that is still occurring. So they would want to clarify if it is something new, whether there's something permissible or not. And so they tell the prophets that I send them that it is lizard, and the Prophet satellite send them as he's reaching forward to take a bite of this lizard as he hears that it's lizard. He pulls his hand backs on a lot he sends them and then Akkad had been worried who is sitting next to the Prophet sallallahu sallam. He says a haram on

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above Yasuda Allah he says oh messenger of Allah. Is this lizard haram. Is it impermissible meaning are we not allowed to eat lizard? Why did he

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He asked this question, he asked this question, because he saw that the presses send them pulled his hand away. He didn't eat it. What did the Prophet salallahu they send them say in response? He says love. He says no, he says, however, this is the food not found in the land of my people, meaning this is food that I'm not used to. So he says, I don't find a liking for it. Pretty much. He's saying, I don't like it. Right? I don't like it. That's it, I don't like it. And then what happens? And Allah if this hadith stopped here, it would have been enough to give us a ruling on lizard. This hadith here tells us lizard is permissible to eat. But what had been what he tells us more, he goes

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on to say, after that, meaning after the person didn't eat it. After he said, Yes, it's permissible. I sat in front of the prophets that I sent them. And I chewed the lizard and I ate it. And the prophets I send them is looking at me. Now what is the wisdom of that? What is the wisdom of sharing that information? One of the wisdoms there is to clarify for the future generations to come. The difference between personal preferences and religion, the difference between culture and religion, just like every human being, the Prophet salallahu Alaihe, Salam himself had culture, he had his culture. But he was very careful to separate and differentiate between culture, or his personal

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preferences, and Islam. And so this is why I call it and when he he sits in front of the President of Middle East this lizard, and I often say is, you've had a lot Imagine if one of us was sitting in this gathering. Imagine, we saw her admit when he eat the lizard after the process and doesn't eat it. After the prophesy. Selim says, I don't like it, and then Harmonix eats it. How would we react? We would say stuck for Allah, what kind of Muslim are you? The person said them doesn't like it, and you're going to eat it. The process, that he doesn't have a liking for it, he didn't eat it, and you're going to sit in front of the profits, suddenly, what a settlement eat this lizard? Right?

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Because we don't understand. We don't understand the difference between culture and religion. Hurdman. What did in his mind, it immediately became clear, as soon as the presses send them said it's not haram, he realized that it is from the culture of the person sending them and therefore it doesn't have a ruling. It doesn't have weight on the permissibility of this matter.

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And that my brothers and sisters, is one example. There are many, many, many examples of differentiating between culture and Islam. That is one of the beautiful aspects of one of that is one of the blessings of Islam, that Islam spans across all cultures, that Islam can come to a land that has never heard of Muslims, and they can adopt Islam, they can become Muslim, and they can retain their identity as well. That is why when we see people coming to Islam, when we see people accepting Islam, instead of trying to mold them into our idea of what a Muslim looks like, we should be learning from them, we should be benefiting from the beauty that they have to offer to our

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religion. Well, luckily, my brothers and sisters, an incident occurred with me last night here at the convention. I was in the elevator. And on the elevators, myself, and there's two non Muslims, one white, non Muslim, one black, non Muslim, and I'm in the elevator, all of a sudden, the elevator door opens up.

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And a Muslim guy comes on and an older guy, and he looks at me, I look at him, he says said I'm on a comb, I say why he said, um, and then he says to me,

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your goods Kaneki ahead.

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He says in Urdu, is there anything to eat here?

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And my first instinct was, ah, don't say that. Nor do why am I ashamed of the early language? Right? Do I have an inferiority language when it comes to Urdu? Right? Absolutely not. But I know the experience that those other two people are having. Number one, and this is not really related to our topic, but number one, and y'all know this, anyone who speaks another language, you know what, that when someone is speaking another language in front of you. They know you're talking about them. Right? Like when you're there, two people, they're talking in English, they're talking, talking, talking and all sudden they switch to another language. You're like, wait a minute, what just

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happened? I know they're talking about me. Right? So I'm like, That's not cool. That's number one. Number two. I'm like SubhanAllah. I wish that every person who comes here every non Muslim that comes here can see the beauty and the diversity of Islam. Because too many people think that Islam is foreign.

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that Islam has a nationality when the reality is that a conference like this is proof and evidence that Islam does not have a nationality that Islam does not have one culture, rather all of our cultures make up Islam. And that is the beauty that we have in our diversity. And the the the the cultures that come into Islam, the cultures that accept Islam, they have so much to offer to the message of Islam. Because I'll tell you this. We have been working for a long time, the Muslim experience in America, we've been working for a long time giving Dawa telling people about Islam for a long time. And it hamdulillah some things have worked. Some things haven't worked. But for a lot

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of people who are who hear about Islam till this day, they see an Arab man in their mind, or they see somebody who is Pakistani or something like that, because that is the that is what Islam looks like in their mind. And the reality is, as I said, the reality is that Islam doesn't look like that, that Islam is far, far, far more diverse than that. But the wonderful thing my brothers and sisters, is that regardless of the environment, in our massages, regardless of what's happening in our organizations, regardless of what's happening there. And by the way, it's not all bad, right? A lot of progress is taking place in our massages in organizations handler to have a panel like this on

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the main stage. My only thing is, why did it take so long? Right? It shouldn't have taken so long for a topic like this to happen on the mainstage. But Al Hamdulillah, it happened. So we have to give credit where credit is due, that people took the initiative to push for something like this on the mainstage. Because I know that there are people who read the title of this lecture. And they said, Yeah, that's for reverts. Right? I'm not a revert. That's just for that's for revert. And the reality is, I heard the talks, I heard all the other speakers, the reality is what they said, if they're talking to converse in reverse, only, then they're telling them what they already know.

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They've lived that experience. But the people who need to hear this are people who don't identify as revert people who haven't lived that experience. People haven't lived through the pain and suffering and difficulties and trials that many of our Reaver brothers and sisters go through. And you know, the sister before I mean, she was talking about titles. And I was speaking to her backstage and you know, we spoke about this topic. And one of the things that I said to her is, is I think titles is one of the things that is holding us back. Right that when we when we turn to someone and say this is a revert, or this is not a revert, and I often asked the question, where do I fit in? Right?

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Where do I fit in in those clean categories? Because my parents are Muslim. I was technically born a Muslim. I have culture that is considered Muslim culture. But I didn't accept Islam until I was in college. Would you call me a revert or not? And I'm sure if I were to ask the room and asked you to say yes or no, you would have a different opinion on that matter. And that is why these barriers need to come down. Right? Yes, I believe the word revert has its place when their rights are not being fulfilled, when we're not doing enough for them, or we're not providing for them when we're neglecting that section of our community. Yes. But once we start using the word reverse, or any word

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as a means of division, it needs to be taken out. Because in the masjid, we are Muslims in the masjid. We are all together. Even though we have different cultures. Even though we come from different places. We are a brotherhood and a sisterhood. And that does not mean we erase our culture. But that means that we learn to love one another. We learn to come together we learn to appreciate one another and we are there for one another we are there to help our brothers and sisters and the end the world and our work doesn't stop. When we give the person the Shahada. It doesn't stop it's not enough that someone walks into the masjid, we get very happy when they take

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their shahada, we give them a hug, and then we never do any follow up. We never go back to see where this person is. And Wallahi when I'm at a masjid. And someone comes and takes their shahada, and someone comes to me and says, Check, can you give this person their Shahada? I'm very reluctant. Because I say to them, I said, Look, I'm not from this country. I'm visiting your community. Right? I can give them their shahada, and they'll feel great and I may never see them again. This person needs to see your community. This person needs to see the leaders in your community. This person needs to have connections needs to build a relationship with this community Ottawa

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have anything to do with this? Because I know that I'm not going to be able to follow and I don't belong. I don't belong to this community. The responsibility is upon this community to take care of ourselves to take care of our new brothers and sisters. I ask Allah subhanaw taala to continue to bless our communities when the with the influx of people accepting Islam, I ask Allah subhanaw taala to make our hearts soft towards one another. I asked Allah subhanaw taala to give us the humility and humbleness to learn from one another and Allah Subhana Allah knows best Subhana Allah Houma will be handing a shadow Allah iStockphoto karate lake which is akmola Hydra ceramide Ico what happened

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