Speaking Truth to Power and Standing Up Against Oppression

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Yasir Qadhi

Channel: Yasir Qadhi

Episode Notes

Shaykh Dr. Yasir Qadhi speaks truth to power and stands up for the rights of the oppressed by putting a brave face against oppression and injustice. 

Muslim all over the globe are victim of oppression to the maximum extent what with the plethora of innocent women, children and men being killed in attacks which is the effect of tyrannical leaders and biased politics. The ignorant media is also party to the crime by tainting our faith and our Prophet ﷺ galore.

In order to survive amicably and to protect one’s loved ones,Muslims never criticize people who misinterpret Islam and tarnish our Deen no end. This has to end if we are to present before our future Ummah, a religion that is laced with peace and mercy and it is a religion that needs to be spread all over the world to have some hope of recovery from the vices of people of power.

 

Episode Transcript

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Next, my brothers and sisters,

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I'd like you to give a warm welcome to our next speaker. He's an author of several books. He is he's a walking encyclopedia and a wealth of knowledge. He has 1000s of amazing and knowledge filled videos on YouTube with literally millions of views. He's the Dean of Academic Affairs at a moment of Institute, and also serves as the resident scholar of the Memphis Islamic Center helped me in welcoming shares. Dr. Imam, Ali.

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Salaam Alaykum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh

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Alhamdulillah wa Salatu was Salam ala rasulillah, who Allah Allah, he was a happy woman. Voila, I'm about.

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We've been listening to stories of great visionaries of great leaders throughout this entire conference and convention. But the question that arises is what are some of the characteristics that causes some human beings to be so popular, so admired? There are obviously many, but I would argue that one, if not the most important characteristic and trait is that leaders speak truth to power. And when you speak truth to power, typically, those in power don't appreciate the truth. So one of the ironies of being a leader is that most leaders at some point in their times, were actually not leaders at all. They were officially silenced. They were imprisoned, they were smeared, some of them

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may be even executed. In other words, typically, the most popular and influential leaders of humanity, for most of their lives were extremely unpopular and extremely controversial. And all we need to do is to look at the lives of the prophets, the lives of all of the prophets, the prophet muhammad sallallahu alayhi wa sallam, how long did he have to suffer in Makkah, the Prophet Musa Allah, He sat down with Pharaoh, the Prophet Isa, with the Romans, and on and on, but it's not just religious leaders. Look at some of the most famous and popular leaders of this century of humanity. People like Nelson Mandela, people like Mahatma Gandhi, people like Martin Luther King, universally

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revered, respected and admired across all religions across all geographic lands. All of them, without exception, were actively engaged in fighting for justice against tyranny and oppression. And that meant that they had to speak truth to power regardless of the consequences. It is so easy now for us to claim these figures as heroes, now that they're gone now that their legacy has been established, it's so easy for us to claim them as legends. But the fact of the matter is that if Martin Luther King were alive, when he were alive, when the FBI had a massive file on him, and you told him that a time will come, a time will come, when you're gonna have a national holiday,

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commemorating what you've done, you're gonna have multiple stamps issued by the government honoring you, you're gonna have hundreds of 1000s of schools around the world hold fairs and competitions writing about you, if you would have told him that he would never have believed you. And look at another example who we just heard about a few minutes ago, an example that we all admire it Hajj Malik Shabazz, Malcolm X, and I say this, while I'm honored to share a stage with one of his daughters, it is so easy. It is so politically correct, it is so morange It is so morally advantageous of us to claim his legacy now, and to sing his praise now, and of course, he's worthy

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of it. But the question that I want you to think about, if Malcolm X had been alive right now, and we know his rhetoric, and we know how we used to speak, and we know what he would say, if Malcolm X were to be alive right now, would he have been welcomed on this very platform that is now commemorating him? Think about that question, because that is not an easy question to answer. And we as Muslims, as an American oma, we so desperately need such leaders, but until we get them, each and every one of us has a role to play, and each and every one of us has to do what we can in our communities and in our circles of influence. We're living at a time in a place where our religion is

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being smeared. Our faith is

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Being maligned our Prophet sallallahu alayhi wasallam as being mocked, our holy book is being misrepresented. Journalists, media, politicians, they love to jump on Islam, to blame Islam to consider Islam to be a terroristic and a violent religion and to associate all that's happening in the world with this religion of Islam. Recently, there was a very depressing article in the New York in the New York Times talking about ISIS, and it's selling off of Yazidi girls. And it was entitled, the theology of rape, linking the crime of rape to the religion of Islam, even in the title, the theology of rape, rape, doesn't need a theology. It's a war crime, plain and simple. Before that

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article, there was another famous article, I should say, infamous article in The Atlantic entitled what ISIS really wants, it went viral, no article in the history of the Atlantic was read as highly praised and as highly read as this article. And that article clearly said, the journalist in that article wrote, ISIS is very Islamic. ISIS is Islamic, and represents Islam. It is very Islamic. And I had a debate with that journalist on NPR, and you can listen to it. And I pointed out to him, that the problem that I have with his article, which is the problem that I have with the article and the theology of rape, and all other such clips on TV, or shoddy attempts at journalism, the problem that

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I have, yes, you are correct. I said to him, that ISIS claims to be acting in the name of Islam, that ISIS is quoting the Islamic tradition. But the question that I have for you is very simple. ISIS, is it coming out of a vacuum? Or are there political circumstances from within which ISIS is coming? If we had not gotten involved in that region, if we haven't invaded Iraq, if we haven't supported and depose the dictator, if we hadn't put sanctions on that country for more than a decade, which resulted in the deaths of half a million people if we hadn't gone to war twice, in 1991, in 2004, if we hadn't bombed it with more than 1000 tons of bombs left then would ISIS have

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ever arisen? The fact of the matter, dear brothers and sisters, is that ISIS is not coming from a reading of the Quran. ISIS is a legacy of our own foreign policy and an extreme example of a failure of what happens when you invade. When you bomb when you occupy when you destroy an infrastructure, stop blaming the religion, and be brave enough and courageous enough to ask yourselves why ISIS is happening.

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So instead of talking about the theology of rape, what I want to see is brave leaders, journalists, or us or whoever talk about the theology of imperialism, instead of talking about is ISIS Islamic. What I want to see is leaders asking is Guantanamo American, instead of arguing about how faithful or not radical jihadists are to Islam, it's about time we start asking our elected official officials, how faithful its foreign policies are to the interests of us here in America versus the interests of Halliburton, and Shell Oil. That's the type of courageous journalism and the type of leadership that I'd like to see. I am tired of having to defend Islam, of having to apologize for

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offenses that have been committed across the globe, that I have nothing to do with and that emanate from political causes, not religious ones. We belong to a civilization that claims in its national anthem, that there's liberty and justice for all. If that is the case, then why are we so obsessed as a nation to talk about the crimes being committed halfway across the globe? About smearing of faith of 1.5 billion people, while ignoring or sidelining the crimes and injustice is being committed under our very noses by people that were are accountable to us, when Eric Garner can be choked to death, because he's selling cigarettes without a license. When a black man stop for a

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broken tailgate can be shot in the back when a 10 year old child just having fun and playing in his playground is shot to death to by police simply because his skin color is black. While a white kid who massacres nine people in a church in cold blood is not even handcuffed and instead treated out to a free meal at Burger King. I mean, I'm sorry, I'm sorry. You can't have your cake and eat it as well. In light of all that's happening in our own land. By what more or right can you continue to criticize others and smear others for human rights violations when we have enough in our own backyard, Muslims more

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Slim's Enough is enough. We need to cut through the hype. And we need to be brave enough to speak truth to power to challenge this media campaign that is against our faith. Wasn't it Jesus Himself, my prophet in yours who said something about pointing out the speck in your brother's eyes while ignoring the log in your own.

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Now, when someone like myself criticizes any aspect of America, immediately, the response that I hear is, well, if you don't like it, then go back, go back to where you came from. If you're so critical, then just leave. And that attitude, frankly, is downright racist. Because the person who questions my right to criticize is himself or herself, the greatest critic of American policy. Granted, his criticisms are very different. So while I criticize drones that kill innocent people, he criticizes free health care to the poor. While I'm worried about supporting foreign dictators, he's worried about where Obama's mother gave birth to him. But still, for some reason, their

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criticism always seems to have the mark of legitimacy and patriotism. While my criticism because I'm brown skin with a weird sounding name is interpreted as unpatriotic and unAmerican. So let's get one thing straight.

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I was born here, and I don't need to prove my Americanness and my identity to anyone. I have just as much claim as you do to this land. If your grandfather came from a foreign place and landed on Ellis Island, well, then my father came from a foreign place and lived in in Houston, Texas. Sure.

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Maybe your grandfather came in a boat, and my father landed on a plane. But still, the point is that both of them came from somewhere else. And all of us other than Native Americans, all of us are immigrants, because America is a land of immigrants. So if you don't understand that, if you don't like my opinions, maybe you should go back to where your ancestors came from, because I'm not going anywhere.

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The point is,

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the point is that criticism of one policy does not mean condemnation of the entire country. Our country has a lot of good and evil. As I criticize one aspect, I point out positives and other. I am grateful to Allah, I'm thankful to Allah to have been born and raised here. The political and religious freedoms we enjoy are rare to find in any other land. Isn't it amazing? Isn't it something that all of us should be proud of, that I can stand here today in the largest convention of Muslims in North America, and publicly and brazenly say that American foreign policy in the Middle East is a disaster of the highest magnitude that I can say that our war on terror and our drones and our

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killings of 1000s of innocent civilians is itself a war of terror, that I can say that the Patriot Act is the most unpatriotic act of this entire century that I can say all of these things. And I don't have to worry about the FBI, or the Department of Justice, or the CIA issuing a warrant for my arrest. Thank God for American freedom and American liberty.

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Alhamdulillah Alhamdulillah. We acknowledge and we celebrate that good, and we as Americans do cherish those freedoms, but it's because we care. It's because we cherish it's because we have a natural love for our place of birth in our upbringing. It's because our country allows encourages dissent and freedom that we have to speak out when we see evil, whether it's about hashtag Black Black Lives Matter or campaigning against drones are calling for a better foreign policy in the Middle East, for how long brothers and sisters will Palestine, the under the yoke of tyranny and apartheid and occupation. If you want to stop terrorism, for one side, stop supporting and financing

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state terrorism from the other side. Free Palestine is something we all need to be talking about.

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And, you know, this reminds me recently a good friend of mine, a good mentor, he came up to me one day after one of these fiery talks, pulled me aside and he said,

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you know, you have great potential in the community, and you can really benefit the oma. But I really think you should stop talking about these sensitive issues. Just continue preaching the Sierra, doing some tafsir doing some halaqaat and you'll be fine. And what law he his point was coming from sincerity. Well, I was a good brother. I'm not he wanted to. He basically wanted to protect to me, you know from the far right from

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The government from what not? And I seriously thought about his advice for like two minutes I thought about his advice. And I thought to myself, how can I preach this? How can I talk about the life and times the methodology, the message of the greatest leader that humanity has ever seen? Our Prophet Sall Allahu Allah, he was setting them and realize that the entire Sierra from the beginning to the end is about benefiting others and bringing about change in society. How can I teach this era and then ignore the very message of this era of the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam?

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Well, law he My dear brothers and sisters, what law he? How can we see pictures of innocent babies, drowning to death, fleeing from civil war, fleeing from brutal dictators fleeing from religious fanatics, and then do nothing to help? How can we accept that non Muslim countries like Germany and Sweden are welcoming hundreds and 1000s of asylum seekers while our own Muslim countries? Let me say it frankly, our own oil rich Gulf states have refused to accept a single asylum speaker How can I remain quiet? You tell me how is it possible for us not to speak out and say Shame on you. Shame on you. Shame on you. Of what use all your fancy buildings Of what use is the fact that you're building

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higher and higher buildings, predicting exactly what the prophet sallallahu alayhi wasallam said, barefoot ignorant shepherds of shepherds amongst them are going to be competing building taller and taller buildings Subhan Allah dear brothers and sisters, the message I want to leave you with is very simple. Realize that if we wish to follow in the footsteps of the prophets, we have a responsibility to preach the truth. We have a responsibility to speak truth to power, we have a responsibility to convey the ethics and the values and the teachings of our faith to spread compassion and mercy. Brothers and sisters, the prophets did not win popularity contests. They were

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very unpopular throughout their message only towards the end of their message. Were some of them not even all some of them blessed with acceptance on this earth. But in the end, my dear brothers and sisters, false hood always loses and truth and justice shall prevail. It doesn't matter how mighty the army of the pharaoh is. It doesn't matter how powerful the PR of his state is. It doesn't matter how lavishly his palaces and the palaces of his cronies appear. A day will come when all of that will fade away and the followers of the prophets shall prevail even if God has to part the sea in order to save them and bless the believers.

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guts of Allah hula Ali banana Rosalie, your Lord has decreed that I and my prophet shall be the victors you need to do and I used to be Oh Nora, la EDF. Why him? Well yeah, Bella Who? And you Tim man Oh, they want to extinguish the light of Allah. But your Lord has refused, except that his light shall prevail. Muslims, always be on the side of the truth. Always be on the side of justice always be on the side of the oppressed. And if you do so, then you shall be on the side of God and you shall be the victors. JazakAllah heroine salaam aleikum wa rahmatullah wa. Chuck.

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Chuck.

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Chuck.

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Chuck.

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Thank you, Chef. For standing with your press. botica low fique