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Radical Middle Way Transcripts

Radical Middle Way Transcripts Imam Suhaib Webb on: ‘ From Protest to Engagement ’

Imam Suhaib Webb on:

From Protest to Engagement

Al-salām ‘alaykum.

[Opening du’ā]

I am the youngest of the speakers I believe, and also the most ignorant of the speakers, so appearing in front of such luminaries, such sons in the Heavens, I beg of your forgiveness from the ‘Ulamā’, from our Shayūkh, from our teachers, may Allah subhāna wa ta’āla bless all of them in shā’ Allah, increase them and protect them in shā’ Allah, and give them tawfīq.

I’ve been asked to give the remixed version of my speech due to time constraints so please forgive me.

When we talk about moderation the middle way there are a number of contentions which have been raised by some of our brethren that moderation is not from Islām. That moderation is a subjective reality, but Islām Al-hamd lillah, is a dīn of moderation and Allah huwa subhāna wa ta’āla in the Qur’ān described one of the khasā’is the distinguishing characteristics of the Muslims is moderation. Allah subhāna wa ta’āla says ‘aūdthu bilahi min Al-shaytān Al-rajīm wa kathālika ja’alnākum ummatann wasatā ltakunū shuhadā’ ‘alā Al-nās wa yukūn Al-rasūl ‘alaykum shahīd’ (saw). Allah subhāna wa ta’āla says, ‘And thus we have made you a balanced, moderate Ummah, a miracle of the Qur’ān, is not only the wording of the Qur’ān, the verses of Qur’ān, but even the tartīb of the Qur’ān – how Jibrīl ‘alayhi salāt wa salām taught the Prophet (saw) the order of the Qur’ān because this verse is in which sūrah? Sūrat Al-baqarā’ and this is verse number 143, and sūrat Al-baqarā’ is 286 verses. Thus the verse that describes a moderate Ummah appears smack in the middle of the sūrah itself.

The Prophet (saw) one day was sitting with his Companions and he drew a straight line, then he drew lines perpendicular to that line and then he said ‘hātha sibīl Allah’ – ‘this is the way of Allah’. In another narration he said and ‘this is the way of moderation(saw). The most beloved fast after the fast of Ramadhān is the fast of Da’ūd. He used to fast one day and break his fast another day and then fast the next day. One of the great fuqahā’ said this is a proof of the moderation of Islām. So this moderation is a moderation that comes from Allah subhāna wa ta’āla (swt), is sanctioned by Allah (swt), is ordained by Allah (swt) and Allah (swt) out of his mercy did not only make this as an order from himself, but he did indeed make moderation subjugated to the minds of people; he allowed it to be exercised by who? by the fuqahā’ of the Ummah through the institution of ijtihād - so indeed we have a moderation which is indebted to the revelation of Allah.

We saw tonight with the presence of our Shaykh which is brought to us by the interpretation of those who have mastered the sciences of this religion. And that is why one of my teachers, Shaykh Shanqiti Muhammad Hasan Al-Diddu said 90% of the rulings of this religion came from the fuqahā’ and not directly from the Qur’ān or Sunnah. The need for scholarship, the need for this interpretation by the minds of noble human beings and that’s why Imam Al-Shatiri rahīmuhu Allah ta’āla said in his monumental masterpiece, that the sharī’a is ‘jāriyatun’ moving on balance and justice. And he said to the extent that if one of the servants of Allah ta’āla moves towards inhirāf towards any kind of extremism, the sharī’a will react and bring him back to moderation. And if one of the servants of Allah has even a suspicion that he

or she will become extreme either a liberal or the opposite in tashaddud shari’a will react and bring them back to the moderate way. And he said about the mufti scholar that it behoves the scholar to carry the people, a balanced position, and he should deal with him, like a merciful physician deals with a sick patient understanding their condition and understanding their ‘ādāt, their customs. And this takes us into being Muslims.

Can we fathom the value of saying the word Allah? Can you imagine that some people have lived their entire lives and not said the world ‘Al-hamd lillah’? Some people have never said ‘sall Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.’ Not once. And you as a Muslim, have been chosen by Allah subhana wa ta’ala to say his name and worship him.

Wa man ahsan Al-qawl min ma da’a ila Allah - Who is better in speech than one who calls to Allah?’ Recently I was in Egypt where I lived and I was going to a shopping mall – and don’t get mad at me, because I know we’re not supposed to go to shopping malls dressed like this [Audience laugh] but I have a legitimate excuse; I was with Dr. Hisham Zubayr from England – wasn’t his fault, but that’s my excuse. And as we were walking I said ‘do you understand how lucky we are to say the name of Allah? That the Prophet said (saw) in a sound hadith that the world will be destroyed when the name of Allah is no longer mentioned. When the name of Allah ceases to be mentioned on the tongues of people; then the judgement will start. Brothers and Sisters, w’Allah, I was grabbed. Someone grabbed me with strength subhān Allah and he shook me and said ‘‘aiza atahadth ma’ak shwayya’ – I want to talk to you momentarily. I asked him why. I said ‘Go, the beyt of zakat is in this Masjid.He said no, no, no, I have a woman who wants to become Muslim.’ La ilaha ill Allah. I just told him the worth of saying the name of Allah and immediately this man grabs me and says, ‘here’s a woman who wants to attest to the reality of Allah.’ So there in Medina Nasir, under the shadow of the Golden Arches in Ganeani Mall a woman from England who was visiting Egypt, ‘Allah (swt) nawarak bahā’ Allah (swt) guided her and she accepted Islām.

The gift that you have as a Muslim, do you appreciate it? Do I appreciate it? Ithkarū na’mat Allah ‘alaykum inn kuntum ‘adā’n f’allafa beyna qulūbikum f’asbahtum bi na’matihi ikhwana - The blessing of being Muslim.

This leads me to three important points that I want to focus your attention on as young Muslims in the West, what are known as qawā’id the principles of da’wa, the principles and foundations of the Muslim personality involved da’wa. I want you to take these three principles as I mentioned them to you and look at the past and look at the future. But most importantly when you go home tonight look at yourself and remember these principles because a home without principles is nothing.

These principles that we base our personality on as they Shaykh mentioned, the islāh between the Muslims, the islah between the people, will come, we’ll build our personalities on proper principles. The first principle is Al-Kharūj min Al- khilāf Al-mustahab escaping or fleeing differences is an admirable action. It is a reward-able action. If you escape differences, and that’s why in the Mālikī’s we have mara’āt Al-khilāf the looking after of differences, guarding differences and controlling them as the Shaykh

mentioned – the fire fighter controls differences, that’s why the most of the Mālikīyah in Cairo, Egypt say the bism Allah [Imam Suhaib Webb illustrates how by whispering bism Allahi Al-Rahmān Al-Rahīm] and why? Ihtiraman li shāfī’iyah out of respect for the followers of the mathab of Imam Shāfī’i. Even though in our mathab we don’t even read the bism Allah Imam Rizi Al-tunisī rahīmuhu Allah ta’āla, he said that we should do this to keep us from differing. So we have the escape from khilāf and in the Mālikī’s we have protecting the Ummah from differences. How can we even think about articulating a position of love and unity, when we ourselves – the Sufis and the Salafi’s and the Ickki’s and the Tablighi’s – we don’t love each other? An unrealistic expectation if we ourselves don’t get along with each other. And that takes us into understanding in the spirit of Ibn Khaldun rahīmuhu Allah. The sociological reality of the Western Muslim we come from the DMX mathab, we come from Star Wars, from Professional Wrestling, Bruce Lee, the misogynistic reality that dominates women aka hip hop music. Our youth take people who have been shot nine times and dressed like prisoners, as heroes. The Lord of the Rings. And you give this religion to someone who comes from that background and you put him into a group and what kind of mentality is he going to have to his fellow brothers and sisters? He’s Luke and Obi Wan, and there’s Darth Vader [Audience laugh].

This is funny, but I want you to think deeply about what I’m telling you because I came out of that, I was an ex-DJ. I don’t like it when they tell you I was an ex-DJ, I don’t want you to look at me and say ‘he’s cool’ I want you to look at me and say he’s cool because he’s an Azharī, not because he was a DJ. W’Allahi I wish I had the ability to erase those days.

So how is it that the social constructs that we live in, in the West, are those of domination? We seek to dominate others and then when we’re given a group mentality that transforms itself into attacking fellow Muslims, where is the kharūj min Al-khilāf Al-mustahāb? What were the constructs that were introduced to our Muslim Community in the last fifty years? The personalities that were introduced to our Muslim Community were some of the most controversial personalities in the Muslim World, were transferred to the Western mentality, so Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant now and Ibn Taymiyah and Ibn ‘Arabī and they’re going to take it to the Masjid and battle each other. Did you think about it this way before?

You have to think about things and understand the importance of this. Your background, who you are as a person, can be shaped and moulded in ways that are beneficial but can also be detrimental to sinking the boat.

But instead let’s work on personalities that we can all agree on. Let’s present personalities and ideas that the entire community can accept, so that the love can be in our hearts for each other. Because the Prophet (saw) said, ‘You will not enter Paradise until you love each other.’

Number two: looking for the home-run ball. Mike Tyson, our brother, and you should be careful not to back bite him, Mike Tyson hāfidthuhu Allah, he was the greatest boxer in the world, until he relied on the knockout punch and he left his jab. He left the talent he had. In our Community now, we’re waiting for the Messiah; we’re looking for one group, one personality, or one figure to come and rectify everything in East London, in Brooklyn New York, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and

San Francisco, California, in Malaysia, China – it’s not going to happen until the

Mahdi comes. But until that time we need to work together. We need to bring our talents together. The more we look for the home run ball, the more we place people above impossible expectations, and then they let us down because we’ve put them at a position that is not fair to them, it only increases our frustration. Shaykh Hamza, may Allah (swt) preserve him, e-mailed me last year and said ‘be on my show’. I said

‘No!’ Why? ‘Because I’m not worthy man, you’re

laugh] If I’m there you’re going to talk!’ And that’s what happened. But he said, we have to bring out the young brothers, we have to bring the young dā’iya to the people. Look at his understanding.


Shaykh Hamza! [Audience

The most difficult verse for the Companions to hear was that the Prophet (saw) was going to die. That he passed away; he’s going to leave you ‘innaka meyyatun wa innahu meyyetun. Hayyann fī qabrihi’ but he was not with them anymore (saw), to the extent that when ‘Ali ibn Abi Tālib heard this, that the Prophet (saw) had died, he fainted. ‘Low kunt shay’ānn sawī Al-bashari low kunt Al-badr fīlaylat Al- mudthalami. But they moved on. Abu Bakr with Osama bin Zayd – the people don’t want Osama to be the leader but Abu Bakr puts him on his writing. He says to the people ‘this is the leader of the Army of the Khalīfah of rasūl Allah, this is the leader of the Army of Abi Bakr.’

Because now we see that the torch is being passed to the young people. If we rely on personalities and groups and ideologies to fix to everything, the young will suffer because we will not develop them. We have hasad with each other, and jealousy.

Remember once our Shaykh from Senaghal, we were reading an explanation of Al- ājurumiyah – a children’s text and he said to me, ask this student to read, so this student started reading. Then the Shaykh started reading and he made a mistake in ‘atf in conjugation- one of the students said to the Shaykh, ‘yā Shaykh, it’s

mansūb.’ Suddenly the Shaykh stopped and we all thought ‘Oh my gosh

going to kill us’ [Audience laugh] and suddenly he looked at that student and he said ‘This is the happiest day of my life. My student corrected me. This is why I taught you! This is what I taught you! Now I have given you the wings and Allah blessed me to see you fly in front of me.’

this is

So quit looking for one way or one person, except the Prophet (saw) and the way of the Sahābah and the agreement of the Ummah to save us. But all of us we have to work together and exclude these ill feelings to each other, w’Allahi. As he mentioned in this important hadīth, ‘f’aslihu beyna akhawaykum’ clean the hearts and work together. Don’t go back home and write on forums ‘what the Imam said was so bad ’

etc etc etc. Shaykh AbdAllah this this this, Imam Hamza this this this

you want to give me your hassanāt, I’ll take them [Audience laugh and applaud] because I swear by Allah go online and look how we talk about scholars and individuals, how we talk about each other. The hatred! The spite! Why? DMX mentality.

Fear Allah. If

Finally, as I finish, and w’Allahi Shaykh Habib Ali, Shaykh AbdAllah and Shaykh Hamza, I feel ashamed to speak in front of these people. Shaykh Rashid Ganushi, he left; such great people.

Finally, ask yourself this question, what is the goal of Islām? What does Islām want from you? Al-‘Aiz rahīm Allah wa ta’āla, thought about this in great detail; he was one of the few people to master two of the mathahib. We the Malikī’s say he was Malikī and the Shāfi’ī’s say he was Shāfi’ī– it doesn’t matter. He said something remarkable, ‘the Sharī’a in its sum total its goal is to bring benefit and prevent harm.’ After he thought about the Sharī’a after a long time, his conclusion is that the goal of this religion is to bring benefit and prevent harm.

Al-Ghazālī rahīmuhu Allah he died 505 after Hijri, he said the goal of the Sharī’a is to bring benefit to the servants of Allah (swt). Ibn Taymiyyah who dies in 728 rahimuhu Allah, he says goal of Sharī’a is to bring benefit to the servants of Allah and prevent them from harm. Then you have Ibn Al-Qayyam his student who comes and says the goal of Sharī’a is to bring benefit and prevent harm. Imam Al-Shatibi says the goal of Sharī’a is to prevent harm and bring benefit to people, and then you have Shawkani, and so on until you now have Shaykh AbdAllah bin Bayyah and others who are telling you and I that the goal of this religion is to bring benefit and prevent harm from people.

So ask yourself in a Western context, how can you bring benefit to your societies? The Prophet said the best of people are those who ‘yanfa’u Al-nās’ who benefit people – that’s why Shawqi said that ‘wa ithā rahimta f’anta abunn aw ummun hathāni fī dunyā humu rohama’u (saw) - ‘If you exercise mercy on Muhammad you are like a mother or a father, indeed you are a source of mercy in this life, in this dunyā.’

So now as you leave tonight I want you to ask yourself what talent can you bring to British society. What benefit can you bring to the British society? What khayr has Allah (swt) put in your heart that’s waiting to be released and brought to the society? So that when people see you as Dr. Tariq Ramadan and Shaykh AbdAllah mentioned, they will feel the power and the light of the Prophet (saw) through you.

I finish with one story. During the hurricane of Katrina a number of Muslims in North America reacted to be of benefit to the people who suffered the lowest of the low on the economic pole in North America. One of our brothers was walking after a long day of volunteering and helping and somebody came an non-Muslim- he grabbed him and he shook him and he said ‘Can I tell you something?’ He said ‘Yes.’ The man said ‘This is the image that needs to be on TV, this is who your community is, let that image be shown on television.’ That Islām is to spread salām wa tā’im Al- ta’ām peace and to feed the people. Show this image to the people who are waiting for you. Don’t allow the dark clouds of hatred and anxiety to block out the light of good that exists in each and every one of you, but fulfil the Prophet’s wasīyah and the Prophet’s promise for this Ummah, Al-khayr wa khayr fī ummatī hatā tuqūm Al-sā’a -‘Good will be to me and to my Ummah until the end of time.’

Ask Allah to yuzīdakum in shā’ Allah fī Al-dunya wa Al-ākhira.

[Closing du’a].

About Imam Suhaib Webb

Imam Suhaib Webb was born and raised in the State of Oklahoma, USA. During his teens he became a Hip Hop DJ and made many records with different artists and bands. During this period of his life, he was a member of a gang and turned his back on organised religion. Suhaib William Webb accepted Islam at the age of twenty. He graduated with Honours in Education from the Central Oklahoma University and has studied Arabic and Islamic Sciences under many notable scholars. Imam Suhaib is a dynamic and inspiring speaker and is a former Lecturer at the Islamic American University (IAU) in California. He is currently studying Shariah at Al-Azhar University (Egypt) and is the author of the best selling audio CD album ‘Mothers of the Believers’.

For more information about this speaker or event, please visit www.radicalmiddleway.co.uk