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Channel: Yasir Qadhi
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Shaykh Yasir Qadhi takes on the topic of conflicting challenges faced by the modern generation and the generation of our parents or the previous generations.
Being Muslims, we should adopt the approach of understanding our society around us and not just focus our energy on building our own community. Of course, it is a necessity but it should be done in a balanced way such that we lay equal emphasis on our role in the framework of the huge nation that we are a part of.
Who is voicing the concerns or the troubles faced by the Muslim ummah? The past supporters of Islam did provide us with quintessential support to the best of their ability. But today,where are the influential Muslim voices? The youth of our Islam religion should step up and realise their role in the upliftment of Islam and confront their fears while reminding themselves of their large part to play as a part of the population of this nation.
The flourishing of Islam is also because of our previous generation and we should be always proud of that culture and the efforts that went into the realisation of their dreams.
Episode Transcript ©
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Salam aleikum wa rahmatullah wa barakato.
We began as we began all of our talks by praising Allah subhana wa tada docman and Rahim. And we ask Allah subhana wa tada to send his piece and salutations, and Salawat and Salaam, upon the one who was sent as Robert and Lily, I mean,
it's always nice for me to come to the iqnet convention. In fact, it can a convention was my first convention that I ever attended. As a teenager, back when I think most of you in this audience were not yet even born. And I actually attended a y m session. This was, by the way, 1990, by the way, 1990 was my first decnet convention. It was in upstate New York, Buffalo, New York. And I actually attended the y m session. Back at a time when I vividly remember, there were around 20, or maximum 25 people in that small room.
And that's because obviously,
I am talking about a batch of young men and women who are really of the firstborn of the immigrant generation. When I grew up Sunday school was not in a Masjid, we didn't quite have a message it. It was in the back yard of somebody's house, in some type of in some type of rundown structure that was just a ramshackle type of thing put together, and how things have changed as I see the flourishing of Islam, how Islam is growing year by year, decade by decade. And I find myself straddling that generation where I can give talks amongst you, and I feel an elder unto you. And I give talks in the main session, and I feel somewhat of a youngster amongst them. I'm straddling both of these worlds.
And yet I feel a part of both of these worlds. A few years ago, some kid passed by me and said uncle G. And I was like, whoa, hold on, I ain't no uncle yet. And he goes, aren't you? I'm Mars dad as a Yeah, well, then your uncle is like, Well, that's true, actually. So I'm an uncle. But I also feel younger at heart. And, of course, I mean, as somebody who is of my generation, I kind of get to see both generations, the generation of my, my forefathers, my father's before me, and the generation of my children and my younger brothers and sisters here. And there are many differences that are pretty obvious to somebody of my generation. And today, I want to talk about one of those differences and
how perhaps we can use it for our advantage, how perhaps not just perhaps how we need to use it for our advantage, we need to realize that and I'm speaking here to the y m, to the younger, I'm born and raised here American Muslims, that there is a fundamental difference between our generation and the generation of our fathers who came to this land. And again, most of us here are children of immigrants. There are, of course, many who are Congress and children of converts. But the bulk of people in this particular room are children of immigrants. And I apologize for kind of having to be stereotypical. But really, I'm talking to the majority in this particular room. At this stage, we
need to realize there are fundamental differences between us who are born and raised here. And between our parents who came here, our parents adopted this land. We didn't adopt it. We were born here. Our parents took quite a while to acclimatize, to feel a part of the fabric of this land. Perhaps some of them to this day are not fully climatized. Some of us, unfortunately, still make fun of their accents, which is really, really crude and stupid, try speaking Oh, to do and then see whether they speak English better than you or you speak or do better than them. The fact of the matter is, our parents felt the need to prove their American identity. They felt the need to be
extra patriotic. I remember when I was in college, and I was going through a fundamentalist phase of my life. When I was in college, I went through a hardcore fundamentalist phase. My father on the third of July went and purchased flags to put outside of our house in Houston, Texas, and I was the fundamentalist teenager saying, I don't want an American flag outside my house, and I would pull it out. And we would have a fight like a verbal fight. Don't worry, a verbal fight. Like better you have to show America we have to put the flag outside. I was like, I don't need to show anybody anything. I don't need to prove. It's like I don't want to showcase this. Of course, back then. This
is 1992 93. I mean, there is no Gulf War, there is no iraq sorry, there is no iraq war, there was gulf war going on. And there was a conflict in Bosnia, that America was as usual doing things that were I was very angry at at the time. So my point being that that generation had kind of felt the need to go out of their way to prove their loyalty to a country they had adopted. Whereas the fact of the matter is that by and large, we don't need we don't feel the need to prove that loyalty because
We don't have any other country other than this country, our parents as well. They came from lands by and large, that were repressive in nature, where the government spied on their own, on their own citizens where there was a constant monitoring and harassment and fear and intimidation of a secret police. Whereas we have grown up, and we have this streak of quite literally American freedom, nobody's going to take my right away, especially my government. So the fact of the matter is that there's a huge difference between the psychology of the generation that came and the psychology of us who are born and raised here. And before I move on a footnote, I am in no way shape, fashion or
form demeaning that generation. And any one of us who does make fun of that generation Shame on you, you wouldn't be here right now had it not been for the efforts of that generation.
The flourishing of Islam, the flourishing of Islam, that we are witnessing and reaping the fruits of it was planted in the 60s and 70s. When my father and others like him came, we need to get out of this mentality. young men and women, they struggled much more than we did, they had it much more difficult than we did. If we pride ourselves on having conferences of 10 15,000, they would be overjoyed if even 3040 people came to one of their early hallak, as my father tells us of the earliest age that took place in Houston, Texas. And I always say this story, because it's so symbolic, you know, my father, by the way of the first Muslim immigrants 1962 to Houston, Texas, the
founder of the first machine, and in 1963, was the first read that ever took place in Houston, Texas. And my father says that a grand total of three people showed up for three people. And they were happy that they got three people and they looked amongst themselves you think there's an higher Imam, you think there's a molvi or a share? No, they looked on themselves. And they decided my father was the most religious. So they said, you leave the Salah, and my father had never let any father in his life much less inside out. But that's what they had to do. They had to make do and they had to do the best. And I hear these stories, and I am literally just dumbstruck at the
struggle. I mean, we fight and bicker over beginning and end of Ramadan. Do you know back then it sounds bizarre to me. You couldn't even call back home. You couldn't call Pakistan, you had to schedule through an at&t operator in New York, that on such and such a day on Saturday, I'm going to use you to call Pakistan. And literally you had to wait a week and your family had to know you're going to call that that time, there was probably one phone in the neighborhood. They'd be at that phone and you talk for like 510 minutes. The first read of Houston, Texas forget moon sighting. Do you know when the first read took place, the first Sunday after they heard the news that either
happened in Pakistan
because they don't have the luxury of coming on a week day. They have to wait for the weekend. So they're all happy to come on that weekend to have he signed up. So the point is, to get onto my topic here, there's actually quite a lot of difference. And this is not to diminish or to demean. But we do need to take into account that there is a psychological attitude. That is the Paramount difference between our generation and the generation of my parents and most of our parents over here. And you know, my allies, would you give my father a long life, he's still alive at hamdulillah. He's healthy. He's a young 81 years old Mashallah Tabata Cola, still active in Houston,
Texas, martial arts about a cola. And, you know, to this day will light to this day, it's no longer over the flags in front of our house. But sometimes he hears the speech and clip of mine from YouTube, and it goes better. Did you have to be so strict on the American government better? Did you have to be so harsh on foreign policy? Don't you understand what they could do to you? And you know, I understand that is coming out of a loan, I understand that is coming because his culture was different than our culture. But I tell him, and I tell him with utmost respect, is that Dear Father, you know, we have no alternative, but to fight for our freedoms. You know, I didn't ask to be born
here. I was born into this land. And I'm thankful to Allah that I was born here. But if I'm not going to stand up and fight for our rights, if I'm not going to preach the truth, then who else is going to do that? So we understand.
We understand that indeed, the psychology is different. And and by the way, another footnote here that is very important, especially for the Pakistanis, and Indians and Bengalis, and Arabs in this audience, you know, for the longest time, and I'll be brutally honest here, brutally honest here. I felt that I have very little to do, you know, 510 years ago with the civil rights movement. What does that got to do with us, man? It's nothing to do with me. Okay. I mean, not that I didn't admire it. Everybody admires it, but it's not related to me and my history and one day
I was going to a conference and I was talking about Martin Luther King talk about his destination we're gonna happen. And then it clicked to me Hold on a sec, my dad came to Texas in 1962. He must have witnessed so many things about the racial tensions, he must have seen those signs that say whites here and blacks there. Let me call him up and get some stories from him. So I called them up driving to the airport driving to give a lecture at a major convention. And I said, Can you tell me Did you ever see those signs that said, whites in the front of the bus blacks in the back of the bus? And my dad said, literally, what do you mean, see those signs, I had to obey those signs. And
it slapped me in the face. My father had to sit at the back of the bus. My father had to go and drink from that other fountain. And you know, the fact of the matter, I realized how selfish and narrow minded I was to consider the African American civil rights movement as somehow having nothing to do with any of us. We are all linked together. injustice to one person is injustice to all of us, volume and oppression to one ethnicity to one clap cast is bloomin oppression to every cast. And I felt so ashamed of myself. This was a few years ago, but we're lucky I felt so ashamed of myself, how could I have not have been so so narrow minded, to not see that all of this repression,
oppression is interconnected? When a society will get away with doing boom to one category, they will do a boom to another category. And it is a part of our religion of Islam to stand up against all types of oppression, no matter who does it upon whom.
And as we talk of Martin Luther, and as we talk about Martin Luther and I mentioned this in my talk yesterday, as well, and I know many of you are in this audience. So I'll repeat a little bit of that, as we talk of Martin Luther, it is so easy for us to claim Martin Luther King's legacy, as well as Nelson Mandela as well as Gandhi's, it's so easy to portray them as heroes, it's so easy for us to pretend as if we are walking in their footsteps. But what we don't realize is that during their lifetimes, all of these individuals were not considered to be heroes in the slightest. All of them were despised. All of them were mocked, all of them were discarded. The FBI, it's well known,
they had massive files on martin luther king, they wanted to smear him, they wanted to expose some personal faults of his and make him look like a bad person. Martin Luther King could never have imagined that a day would come when there would be a national holiday that everybody doesn't go to work in honor of his memory, he could never have imagined that because in his lifetime, he was never treated like a hero. It's so easy, 50 years later to read in our heroes into their lifestyles. But heroes rarely see the fruits of their own efforts. It's typically the next generation is typically future generations that acknowledged the good that they have done. And the same goes for people like
Gandhi, and to a lesser extent, Mandela, after a long period of time, Mandela actually tasted a bit of the fruits of what he had done, but 27 years in isolation 27 years on Rikers Island, that's more than most of you have even lived right now. And he was alone in a cell suffering because he could not be quiet for the apartheid regime of South Africa. Now, the point being, why do I bring up all of this is that the question arises, if we truly want to be heroes, for the sake of a law, if we want to walk in the footsteps of our profits, we have to realize the path is not easy. We have to realize, as I mentioned yesterday, that profits never won.
Popularity contests, they never won majority votes. prophets always came, and they said things that are very bitter for the rest of mankind. They spoke truth that nobody wants to hear they spoke truth to power, they spoke truth to the elites. They preached against the oppression, that was the norm of our times. So we as Muslims, we need to think what exactly are we doing in this world on this planet? If we want to walk in the footsteps of what our Prophet sallallahu alayhi wasallam did, we will have to also preach truth to power. And what that means is we're going to have to take on some bitterness, we're going to have to take on some animosity. And this is where the beginning of my
talk I said there is the difference between our father's generation and our generation. This is where I get back to this difference.
The difference is that subconsciously, we actually claim this land to be our own. There is no cognitive dissonance about who we are. I don't have any other nationality other than this nation state, whatever it is good and bad, I have to accept it as mine. And I have to claim responsibility for it. There is no back home for me. There is no other place that I can go to. And frankly, I don't want to go to any other place. This is where I'm accustomed to living. I grew up here I speak the language. This is my culture, my norms, and for good and bad for them through through thick and thin, I'm gonna have to stick in this land and carve out my own existence, even if that means
speaking truth to power. And this courage that comes this this fearlessness dare I say, this is an advantage that we having been born and raised here have it easier than our gender our parents before us. And we have to therefore be extremely brave when it comes to characterizing what an ideal American is, we have to be very careful about not falling prey to false stereotypes. Let me give you a simple example. Sometimes those stereotypes are normally intended, yet they are nonetheless incorrect. Let me give you a simple example. A few years ago, you might remember that the republican party when Obama was running for for campaign for office, the Republican Party went pretty blatant
and Islamophobia pretty blatant. And Obama was called a secret Muslim and whatnot. You know, the person who actually defended Obama was a republican Colin Powell, very well respected military General Colin Powell. And Colin Powell. One of the ways he defended Obama was by mentioning the case of an American Muslim servicemen who had lost his life in a in a in the invasion of Iraq, I think, in 2001. And an American Muslim servicemen had lost his life. He was in the Marines, and he had lost his life. And colin powell mentioned his name mentioned it showed a photograph and said, these are the true Americans. Now, no doubt this is our brother in Islam and we ask Allah azza wa jal bless or
reward him in his efforts and his sacrifice. But let us not forget that the single greatest American Muslim could never have been quoted by Colin Powell. Let us not forget that the legend, American Muslim, the one and only Muhammad Ali, that legend and will law he we are privileged to be alive when he's alive. May Allah give him a longer life and bless him and ease his pain right now. He's always been the greatest American Muslim ever. The most legendary American Muslim mama Daddy, Colin Powell couldn't quote him. Do you want to know why colin powell could not quote Muhammad Ali as a legendary or symptomatic American, because Muhammad Ali refused to sign up and fight in Vietnam. He
refused, because he said, this is an unjust war. It's a war to do with power and greed and money. It's a word that has nothing to do with freedom and justice. And I'm not going to fight a rich man's war on behalf of some grid greedy Corporation.
It's politically incorrect to mention people like Mohammed Ali in this context. But the fact of the matter is that to me, Muhammad Ali represents a far greater patriot because he understood that almost all of our wars are figments of rich people's imagination has nothing to do with freedom and democracy, and has everything to do with colonialism and capitalism and greed. The fact of the matter, brothers and sisters, is that if we truly want to walk on the footsteps of the prophets, then we're going to have to speak in a language that will not gain us popularity contest in this society. And in this world, there are so many problems going on the our sister Dahlia mentioned some
of them in the last in the last session, and there are so many others to mention, whether it's racism, whether it's police violence, whether it's our foreign policy, whether it's social inequality, whether it's social issues, whether it's the for profit corporations that have become our prison system, the list goes on and on and on. But see, here's the point. This is where people like me and you, we actually can do more. Our forefathers laid the foundation, we thank them for that. Our forefathers planted the seeds, we asked a lot to reward them. But we are the fruits of those seeds. If we're not going to blossom, if we're not going to flourish. If we're not going to
grow, then how is Islam going to come to this land? It's our job, our responsibility, the torch is being passed down. And the question that we have to ask ourselves, am I willing to carry that torch forward? Am I actually going to go farther and move forward and do things that my father and mother could not have done? That's
The question I want to leave with all of us here and the why I'm gathering that insha, Allah tala, we actually have an advantage. We have an advantage. This is our land. This is our language. This is our culture. We are a part of this people, we have no other place to go. It is quite literally a fight for survival. Somebody asked me, What are you going to do if Trump wins, four wins and becomes president? I said, What do you think I'm going to do? This is all joke about migrating to Canada. I'm not gonna go to Canada to gold, this is my land. There's no way I'm going to Canada. This is my country. I'm going to stay here and we're gonna fight and we're going to make sure that Trump does
not win. That's the reality of what we have to do. And brothers and sisters, here's where again, our religion teaches us. We have to stand up and fight for so many issues and causes and if we do so, then we are fulfilling the Amana the trust that Allah has placed in all of us. Remember, Allah created us and He entrusted us in a manner to Allah sama what you will Oh, they will Jeevan
avena Amina Mohammed Al Insan. In the Quran, Allah says, I gave the responsibility to so many other entities, the heavens, the earth, the skies, the mountains, and they all refused and shirked away. But mankind said Give it to me, I'll take it. So we gave it to mankind, we have that responsibility. And what is that responsibility? Lita kuno Shahada as a nurse, that you may be a witness and a testament to the people around you, if we are not going to live up to the legacy of Islam, if we are not going to embody the Sunnah of the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wasallam. If we are not going to preach ultimate truth, and morality and justice, there will be no one on Earth, who will carry the
torch of morality and truth and justice.
And we need to invoke not just our Prophet Muhammad Sallallahu, either you will send them but all the prophets that came before we have partners in other faith communities, unfortunately, many of them, they fear us for theological reasons, we need to educate them. There's so much that we can benefit from from mainstream Christianity. They agree with us on so many of our criticisms of broader society. And we need to ask them that if Jesus Christ came back to this world right now, if he came to back to America, do you think he would defend the hedonism that passes his American values? Would he defend the greed that passes his American consumerism? Would he defend the
oppression of the poor that passes in American capitalism? Would he defend the nudity and pornography that passes as family entertainment? That's the question we need to ask our broader Christian neighbors and relatives, we're gonna have to stand up collectively and bring about a better society, in light of the laws and the Sharia, that Allah subhanho wa Taala has given us now, some of us, some of us will argue and this is valid, that you know, Chef, all that you said, of speaking truth to power, and of allowing for dissent. Some of us some of that you said, is actually purely American values. That's what America teaches us that we have the right to be free, we have
the right to hold our opinions that we have the right to not tow the party line. And you know, you are correct in that the technically Indeed, it is an American, right. It is a constitutional right. As a famous senator remarked, almost 70 years ago, that true patriotism is that when our country does, right, we keep it right. But when it does wrong, we make it right. This is true patriotism. All of this is true and valid. But I want to be very, very, very explicit. And I speak only for myself. Let us not confuse our love for a country with our love for truth. Let us not confuse our love for a nation, with our love for our God. We need to be very, very careful to not transform
patriotism, and nationalism into a modern idol that is worshipped besides Allah subhanho wa Taala
we as Muslims, cannot compromise on the truth.
And I speak for myself in the first person. I truly thank Allah that I was born in America. I thank Allah for the education that I received over here and all over the world. I thank Allah for the upbringing that has shaped my life in my mind, and I truly at some level, I love this country, and I truly wish what is good for it and for all lands, but my ultimate loyalty and my ultimate Love does not lie with the land but with the owner of that land. It does not lie with a milk but with magical book
as an American, I am most
to this country, as an American, I want nothing but good for this country. But if Trump comes along or any other entity comes along, and attempts to force me to give up my religion, to give up my values, I will try my best to fight within the confines of the law. And if I feel and I'm forced to choose between my country and my God, for me, this is a non sequitur. This is a no choice. I will always choose my god over my country because lands come and go, because lands come and go, nations rise and fall but it is Allah subhanho wa Taala who is how you lay your mood, who is the EverLiving and never dies, brothers and sisters, I advise myself and all of you to have the courage to live the
lives that you want to live to live the lives that you know you should live because in the end of the day, it is only by living the life that Allah subhana wa tada wants you to live that you will get the eternal life in the next life. Brothers and sisters Be proud Be brave, you're already American be Muslim, just like mala Hara. salaam aleikum wa rahmatullah wa barakato.