Channel: Yasir Qadhi
Shaykh Yasir Qadhi divulges into the topic of how Islam as a religion is perceived in America and what is his first hand experience in this country being a citizen.
The Muslim communities in America are thriving considerably amidst an environment of tolerance, freedom of mind and expression when it comes to religion and also a friendly approach from fellow non Muslim Americans.
In the second part of the interview, Shaykh Yasir Qadhi attempts to dissect the lion in the room – The ISIS – which is a political and religious organisation established in Iraq and Syria which has created animosity and chaos beyond limit.
What are the origins of this group? This is the result of a backlash and the repercussions of 30 years of backlash, economic instabilities and sanctions, toppling of governments in a country where hundred and millions of people were killed and starved to death.hence, it is a given that chaotic instability will inevitably resurface and from this chaos emerged another chaotic government.
What is the solution to this? This group, like previous similar groups, will eventually burn out since they will consume themselves with their cultic and messianic ideas. To deal with this issue, the solution is two fold – political and educational (which involves theological texts and keeping an open heart and mind to incorporate these teachings into oneself).
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salaam aleikum wa rahmatullah wa barakato. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to witness with Wade and tonight, I bid special welcome to my audience, in the Maldives, and all over the world. I also thank people who watch this on YouTube and via satellite. Ladies and gentlemen.
Witness with Wade is a program where
we sit down and we share ideas.
Last week I had for you, Dr. yasir Qadhi and introduced Amanda, do you?
And we talked about
what it means to be happy in life.
I have brought the acid with me again.
And we're gonna continue where we left off. So for the
last week, we did talk a little bit about what it means to be happy, what it means to trust in our Creator, and that he is always with us.
Tonight, I would like to ask you a few questions about being an American, being a Muslim.
What it means to be a Muslim, in a country that a lot of people think is non Muslim. I myself I've been to the US. And to those people who say that the US is somehow anti Islamic. I always say to them, not quite.
Not right there.
But then you are an American, told me.
So firstly, thank you for having me showing again.
America is very interesting country for many reasons.
Let's even begin with its history of inception. What was America, it was a place of refuge. Absolutely religious, for religious Europeans, who felt they were being persecuted by the church. So Americans, actually, for the pioneers, if you like, you know, the the pilgrims that came, the pilgrims that came were actually persecuted Christians. And that developed an ethos of america that's very different than mainland Europe, Europe went to far more secularization route. Americans, by and large, still are generally speaking religious people. Yes, levels of religiosity are much higher in America than they are anywhere in Europe, in some cases, triple some European countries in
terms of belief in God and belief in the afterlife, and whatnot. So Americans are much more shaped by Christian values and religious values than European counterparts. that haven't been said, of course, in the last 15 years, because of, you know, the repercussions of 911. And what they see on the news and whatnot, it is true, that there is a rising tide of Islamophobia. But at the same time, one does not stereotype an entire nation, or group because of the actions of a few. And those who live in America and those who are, you know, with the people can are better situation is situated informed. And I can tell you as somebody who has been born and raised and living in America that the
average American is a very open minded, very tolerant person. Yes, you see some bigots, the guy who wants to burn the Koran, the guy who wants to do this and not realize the reason why they're on the news is because they're the exceptions. Absolutely. If they were mainstream, they wouldn't be on the news, right? And their fellow Americans, many of them as well, are opposed to these types of actions. Now, having said that, yes, they do exist, and they have their followers and sympathize. But like with every society, you have the good and you have the bad. Also, I want to make sure that everybody understands to not conflate or confuse certain issues of American foreign policy with the
people of America. American foreign policy is governmental. And the people of America, by and large, are not connected with their own governments foreign policy. If I were to ask you as an old devian, about your government's policies, what is this fishing industry there? What is this there? You probably wouldn't know much. Absolutely. You're just living your life and whatnot. People need to understand America being the superpower that it is right. It has certain agendas and policies that many educated people I'm amongst them disagree with, and say they're unethical and immoral, Guantanamo invasions, this and that. We are all against this. But this doesn't mean the people of
America are all supporting these things. Many of them are oblivious. Now that's not good. They're oblivious. But at the same time, it's not fair to blame them. Absolutely to say that they So my point is the average American, generally speaking is very nice, friendly. I mean, you can you've been to Europe, you've been to America, you walk on the streets of Europe. Usually people won't stop you and say hi and whatnot. Most streets of America. People actually greet you smile at you.
Howdy How you doing? Nice to see you. So, friendliness you just sent it there and nothing all Americans like that. But compared in contrast to Europe, yes, I would say America is more religiously tolerant, more respectful of religion, yes, more respectful of ethnic and racial diversity definitely, than many of its European counterparts. And frankly,
as a Muslim living in America, I have to say, I believe that Islam is flourishing in America in a way that really no other western country can claim. The Muslims of America are proud to be Muslims, and they're integrated in society. And there's no public and overt discrimination that they face when it comes to practicing their Islam. Islam in America is genuine, you go to the mosque, you go to Islamic conventions, you feel the pride. It's not cultural, because you don't have to be Muslim in America, even if you're born to Muslim family, you can choose not to. So those who choose to practice Islam, you sense from them, the beauty of Islam, isn't that beautiful to walk into a Masjid
to visit and you see, by and large, the beauty of Islam. So in some ways, the Muslims that are involved in Islamic stuff in America actually appreciate Islam much more than the Muslims living in Muslim majority lands, who are Muslim primarily because of cultural reasons. go to gym is everything because everybody else is going for Juma Friday prayer. There's nothing else to do. Might as well go for Juma in America. You need to tell your boss, I need to take extended lunch break. You want to go for Friday prayer. So imagine the crowd that comes there that have to take off. They're sacrificing their time, their lunch break, maybe even some money and paycheck, but they want to be in the
masjid. So now imagine being involved with that group of people. This is drew me This is truly it? Isn't that that's why being Muslim in America is a wonderful.
You feel the beauty of Islam, and you feel you're representing your faith in front of other people. Don't you feel blessed? I honestly do feel blessed to be a Muslim living in America. Taking America is a very free country, it really is free. The government cannot legislate against Islam. It's in the constitution that you cannot discriminate based on religion. And therefore at hamdulillah. It's impossible to imagine a day where they can ban who jobs or jobs like they're being banned in. In some European countries, they cannot ban more. in multiple cases, people tried to ban mosque being built, there are people that are racist, and every time the higher courts refused and uphold in
multiple states, some of the bigots tried to ban Islamic law, Sharia, not a single state was able to ban Islamic law on the personal level because they cannot ban it. It's my prerogative. I want to practice Islamic law in my life, right? Nobody can tell me unless it's illegal, which is not nobody can tell me. So and hamdulillah I can tell you firsthand, Islam in America is alive. It's flourishing.
And any anybody who wants to be a Muslim and that land will appreciate its freedom. And its diverse. The Founding Fathers got it right. The Founding Fathers In this sense, got it right. Of course, there's a flip side. If you don't want to be a Muslim, there's plenty of vices, sins, inequities. But then let me ask you, isn't that the case here and there and everywhere? everywhere, everywhere? What will the safe from that? It's not exactly drugs, alcohol, prostitution, everything.
Everywhere you go. So then it's not as if America is any different or worse or whatnot. It's, this is the realities of the modern world. Every evil in every voice is available everywhere. Globalization.
I have this focused question for you.
There's this thing called the ISIS. We keep hearing that as some kind of monster which is rearing its head somewhere out there.
But not many people, if you ask them a few focused questions, we'll understand what it is. Where does it come from? What is it do? What kind of danger is it? What should we do about it? So we'll talk a little bit about that, if you don't mind. Sure, sure. So ISIS, of course, is a political and religious organization that is now established in certain areas of Syria and Iraq. And they're claiming to basically reestablish the global Caliphate, the Khalifa that Muslims used to have. And they've Of course reached notoriety and fame, because of their tactics because of some of their methods of beheadings and videotaping those beheadings and uploading them to videos and, and you
know, their intolerance, if you like of people who are opposed to them. So no doubt. The group is now front page news almost every day or second day. Muslims need to take a step back and ask themselves what is going on. Unfortunately, many Muslims
are not understanding the
Origins of this group, they think his origins are purely theological or Islamic. This is not the case. This group is the backlash, the repercussions of 30 years of civil war, invasions, toppling of governments economic sanctions. This is what's going to happen when a region Iraq has been bombarded, quite literally, with weapons and bombs, and with economic sanctions, and with the civil, the political instability and the strife. Out of this chaos when hundreds and 1000s have been killed. When the people have been starved to death, at least a million children have died because of the sanctions for over 30 years, this isn't going back to the 90s, you will remember this, going
back to the 90s Gulf invasion, one under Bush Senior and then go from region two, and then the sanctions and then whatnot. So what's going to happen when the dictator they supported Saddam Hussein becomes a dictator. They toppled and executed, right? You're gonna get this entire chaotic political instability. There is no law and order, gangs and militias that are reliving age, old feuds, Sudanese and shears killing each other. What's going to happen? There has to be armed yourself, protect yourself from this chaos emerges yet another chaotic gank Absolutely. So the primary origins of ISIS are not the Quran.
They're political issues of the region.
People want some type of stability, and when it's not being provided to them, rather, they're being driven more and more into chaos. What's going to happen? weird ideas, cultic ideas, messianic ideas will spread. In other words,
if you mess around with a bunch of people for too long, they're gonna flip they're gonna flip. Yeah, absolutely, exactly. I was gonna, I was gonna say it in kosher and more diplomatic words, you know, and say that that's exactly what is happening. And then when you continue to mess around, more and more younger people will idealize and romanticize this group as freedom fighters. So here's the point. You see, you open an absolute can of worms here. But what we'll do here is we'll take a little break, okay. And we're back with the audience. Ladies and gentlemen, permit us, I know the discussion is hard. But permit us to take just a 32nd break. Thank you, this woman, thank you so
much for your patience, we are back with you. And I always, always am so thankful for your patience. For the asset. We did open this can of worms, you know, like, You mess around with people, they flip.
You have so many psychological problems out there to blame them.
Of course, every person is responsible for himself or herself. So I'm not exonerating them, you're gonna go beheaded innocent person. I don't care what you've seen. To do that to an innocent person. It's one thing in your anger, you kill a murderer or somebody murdered you or your family, or that murdered your family, you're going to attack them. Maybe this person we can excuse for a little bit. But now you go and attack innocent people because your innocence have been attacked. There comes a point where you say No, man, that's just not right. You don't do that. And you're gonna cause more, you cannot respond to violence with more violence to terrorism with more terrorism. See, here's the
point where I, as an American, am completely opposed to my country's invasion, and my country's bombing, and my country is going to no more and my countries are boring. I am more angry than anybody else, not just because I'm a Muslim, but because I'm an American. So I have more responsibility to stand up and tell my people and my country if enough of this evil. But does that mean I go take an innocent journalist, I go take a Christian Iraqi Yazidi adoptee and just go slaughter them assaulting them because of Guantanamo. I'm going to do this. I mean, certainly know what logic and reason is this, right? So here's the point, you are creating more animosity and more
chaos, you are throwing fuel onto the fire. We both agree there's a fire. And that fire has been caused primarily by Western foreign policy. I'll be the first to say that, of course. What's the solution to the fire, throw more oil, throw more kerosene, or throw water? You have to think long term. And if you don't have water, it's not going to help throw any more fire. Maybe for the time being, you'll just have to let things cool down. And here's the point. So America is a superpower. It's doing things here and there. There's not much you can do false invasions there. toppling dictators. There's a border they want people here, what can you do? At times we learned from the
prophets I said, patience is the best medicine, patience and God is with the patient and God is with the patient at times. If you have the means. I'll be the first to say our religion tells us not even religion. Human Nature tells us when there are
Press people that are being killed and massacred and raped, you stand up and defend them, who's going to say what law is going to say this is not allowed. Of course, this is Islamic as well. But you're going to defend innocence by killing innocence know where which law tells you this which book tells you this, which Lord tells you this, unfortunately, this is what's happening with ISIS is that their anger is coming from legitimate political grievances. I am angry, you're angry, every decent human Muslim or non Muslim is angry.
Let me give you a situation from real life. But at a more mundane level.
Supposing your neighbor throws into your house, all you got all his garbage?
Okay, he just throws it
over his wall into yours.
He basically cuts down his trees, all the leaves, all the dead branches, everything comes into your compound. You reach out to the city authorities, whoever you complain, you get the cops in there. Nothing happens. no one listened to you. Tonight,
bag of garbage floating into your house again.
Right? You got no legal recourse? Nobody's helping you. fend what do you do? So the analogy is not fully applicable in our situation scenario, because it's as if these people are taking their garbage and throwing it into other houses.
Right? It would be one thing if you attacked against those who are attacking you.
But they're not doing that. Okay. And rather than dealing with the aggressor, they immediately go and find people that has really nothing to do with the aggression. Sometimes with with ISIS, multiple people have come to report on the aggression of journalists. And instead of honoring them and say, you know, thank you for taking photographs of what my neighbor's throwing thank you for wandering into this filthy neighborhood and telling the world it is filthy because of him. Rather than doing that, just because the skin color or the name sounds like the neighbors because that's in essence what it is, right? They take these people and they add them. What type of reasoning Okay,
this is like, this is like a neighbor throws the garbage at you. And you kick your dog. Exactly. Exactly. What have you gained, complete illogic. So in their rage, they have, quite literally, in my opinion, lost their sense of even rationality. And they blame it on or they find religious texts and precepts. I mean, you know, the classic issue of burning alive, a Jordanian pilot, right? I understand they're angry the Judean pilot was sent to, to bomb them, I understand that, you will respond by burning him alive, which is not even you do to animals. There is no humanity, there's no humanity. There are explicit prophetic traditions explicit. No one is allowed to punish with fire,
other than the one who created the fire. This is explicit from the mouth of our beloved Rasulullah saw I said,
Never never used you never use fire to torture. And yet this is what they wanted to do. So what type of religion is this in our history? in our history, no legal scholar, no Filipino has said this is what what needs to be done. What do you think? Where do you think the solution to this lies? Well, if you look historically, at these extremist organizations, they always burn out, always on their own on their own, they extinguish their own fire. Because after a while, they start devouring themselves.
They become too radical, even for themselves. And I think the classic example is of Qaeda, we thought of Qaeda is going to be you know, what's it like what's gonna be worse than al Qaeda, what happened? ISIS comes along, and all of a sudden, Okay, that looks like a kitty cat, compared to ISIS is lion and Tiger now, right? What's gonna happen, we're gonna get an even more bizarre. And there's two full solutions. Number one, you solve the root cause of the problem, which is the political instability, which is all that's happening in the region, that might be beyond your control, but it will happen eventually, inshallah. And the second, you deal with the immediate issue, through the
theological texts, those who are flirting with this ideology, those who are on the fence, those who are open minded, because once you're closed minded has trouble. What are you going to do? If you want to believe the World is Flat? I can't convince you otherwise go. Right. Absolutely. Yeah, you want to tell me there's no sun shining up then I can't tell you to look up and you have closed your eyes. But for those who want some, then for them, you open the door? Let's read the Quran. does Allah tell you to go kill innocent people? Let's read the profitsystem zero. Let's read his lifetime. How many times do you forgive? And one and how would you have legislated? Yes, there's
Jihad who's gonna deny it's in the Koran. But look at the prophecies in jihad. Look at who he fought.
He fought them, look at his rules, look at his mercy, look, look, look and then compare. So who can you talk to like this? The one who has an open heart in mind for him? Let's go. And so that's the second tactic. I've heard that these guys are actually currently recruiting people, even from amongst us, Yes, they are. They need people. Every organization needs people, right? They have a human resources department sacrificial Goce? Well, there are plenty of young men and women who are disillusioned with life. They think they'll find self worth and happiness again, again, going and they'll find validation for who they are, there'll be made to feel very important.
It's the same reason why people join gangs, identity, identity, they feel that religious people are not going to join gangs, or they're going to join, either if they're truly academically religious, they will do what I and others did, and that is to go study Islam, with trained Allah and scholars. That's what you should do. But that's a long, rigorous process. There's a quick one stop solution.
Go and join them. ISIS, you get raised in rank and promoted, you become a glorious fighter, you this and that you're wearing this, you're done. And it makes you feel like you've done something part of a group. identity, they are made to feel important. They are made to feel important. To Heaven. Exactly. A plastic. Exactly. That's the reality. So for these young men or women, those who are thinking about it, we say study, research, ask the people of knowledge, right? Don't believe the outer hype, the facade. Go deep inside and ask. This is a matter of I mean, you are literally getting involved in killing people think about this. Do you think your your Lord wants you to do
this? Do you really think you're a solo Zambian prophet? Muhammad Rasul. Allah describes him as the Rama the mercy for the world. Do you think this is his religion? Ask yourself, look at what you see on TV. Is this what he would do? Don't quote me here and there. This message that you see is that no. So then for these people, education, so we you said what is the solution, I said, to full political and educational, political, I'm not a politician. If I were, I would be emphasizing that more. But I'm not my job. That is the education. And that's what I am doing. Simply reach out, reach out to those who are open. As I said, there are those who are not open, you can do anything to them.
But those who are open Listen, debate, talk. And that's the way forward. So shall we try this?
I'm going to take a risk here. With your permission, go ahead.
Young people out there, if you feel that you are somehow lost, you got nothing to do, you've lost your identity. You want to be someone, you want a little bit of happiness in there. And if there's nowhere to go to come to us,
go to him. If you feel somebody to talk to,
this is my commitment to you. You know me,
if you feel that kind of lost and desperate,
look out for me
and the guy on that pink West bar, raise your hand, I will stop and talk to you reach out.
But that was a personal message for but I think with your permission, I have given that commitment and I will I will honor it. If there are any young people out there who feel lost. We don't want you to lose your life. We don't want you to waste your life, be productive. Do something useful for the oma going there and just becoming another statistic of a number of person who has died. That is not useful to you. You know, it's easy to think that you're dying for Islam. Show me how to live for Islam. Absolutely. Thank you so much for that. Thank you live for it.
Enjoy life has given us so much in the way of blessings, appreciate it. Take off it of what is legal. Would you agree with that? Of course, Allah has created us in this world. We live in this world, we worship Him we get an extra and all these Namur that he's given us. Exactly. Exactly. Why don't we take off them? Exactly. Look at this country. beautiful country. Yes. Isn't god bless you to the agenda on Earth, take advantage of it. Sometimes we don't use it. People come to your country because Allah has created this area, one of the best in the world. One of the best, most beautiful Mashallah. Don't take it for granted. Take care of it. Let me also change topic a little bit Please
take care of your ecology, your green movement here. Your energy resources, don't don't ruin it. Allah has blessed you and then there's the issue of the the global warming and whatnot happening with this raising spiral. I mean, there's there's theories that this country might not even be here after 50 years, you know, you know, my faith on that issue. It will be I shall, and shall I also, exactly exactly what we need to do our job. We need your job. So preserve this beautiful heritage and culture. thank Allah for what he's giving you. Be proud of your character.
Like I said, 1000 years of Islam in this country amazing thing. Amazing. Yeah. And the thing is, again, that that little discouraging feeling that sometimes as a middle aged man, I go out there.
And I see so much. I look at young people's faces, I look into their eyes. Sometimes there's this blank look.
And kids. That really saddens me. I don't blame you. I do not blame you. But if you ever feel the need for a little bit of happiness, sometimes look inside yourself. Look up there. Would you go with that? Yeah.
So tell me
any last bits of advice
for for Maldivians, except the ones you've just given us? About? staying strong?
in life? You know, there's this thing about sometimes losing identity. We touched on this. How do you how do you deal with this? If you feel like a nobody, like worthless? You know, like your life is meaningless.
To you, how would you What would you do? What would be the first step? What you need to discover yourself? And how do you discover yourself? That's easy to say? But then yeah, so you need to you need to talk about your multiple layers of meanings, your religious identity, your cultural, your ethnic, your national identity. And so the more you study and connect with these other identities, simple reality, any person who studies his own history, all of a sudden appreciate his background better. Simple reality. Isn't that the case? Absolutely. Okay. So then when you study your religion as well, what's going to happen, you also feel the connection, you study your family, particularly
your family tree, go to your grandparents, and whatnot, and you find out the stories from them. So there are multiple layers of identities. There's the religious, there's the national, there's the local, there's the local villages that you have with the islands, there's the family, whatnot. But each of these levels, go and find out who you are. And as you find out your roots, you will come to discover yourself. And this is actually I have done this many my own life, religiously, and also, ethnically and family line. I've done a lot of massive family tree of my own. Because I get I feel this is necessary to know who am I? Where did I come from. And it's very humbling, let me tell you
just one bit here. It's humbling to know, five generations ago, my ancestors were Hindus, absolutely converted five generations ago. So to know that other people of other faiths, my own great, great great grandfather was worshipping other than the God that I worship, some of my ancestors were Buddhists. So that humbles me, and makes me appreciate somebody must have been nice to him. Somebody must have been, how can you look down at somebody else now, because they're of a different faith in a scowl than angry at him. Somebody must have done something to my ancestor that he can reach to Islam. So that other person that I see of another faith, I have to
show them the reality of my faith does not humble me to know doesn't humble you, it does. So when you meet now a Buddhist or a Hindu in your heart, there must be the concern for his welfare as well. Please of us and we are exactly rather than hatred and scowling, your brother human being right up to show the good of your faith that Tim showed the good of his and Allah xojo will be the one who guides and ladies and gentlemen, what a beautiful message for all of us this evening. I have to thank you my brother. Yes, pleasure is my thank you very much is extremely kind of few. It's been a blessing to have you on my program. Ladies and gentlemen. Unfortunately, that doesn't allow us any
time anymore. So I will be with you inshallah. Hopefully another week. Until then, enjoy the rest of your evening. Count your blessings. Be happy, be yourself. salaam aleikum wa rahmatullah wa barakato.