Tag Archives: Muslim

Videos? Love em’! XXXV

Peace!

I absolutely missed posting about my favourite videos every week. So I’d like to give it a go again, but this time in a slightly different fashion, which hopefully explains a bit more why these are the videos that I picked out of the slew of other videos I’ve consumed and what they mean to me.

Knowledge is Power.

The first thing, that I identify myself with is my being Muslim. It shapes me, who I am and my actions more than anything else. Being a Muslim however is highly racialized, people assume that only Arabs are and can be Muslims. That a third of all Muslims live in Africa or that the most Muslim populated country is Indonesia is often forgotten. Not only am I a Muslim, but also black. Black in a society, which sees whiteness as normality and blackness as an oddity. Growing up in Germany as a Muslim and a child of parents of Nigerian roots, this video, part of the strolling series, reflects pretty well some of the experiences and frustrations that I have had too.

While I have had brush ins with racist individuals and discrimination before, it is only since coming to University that I really saw and learned of racism as an institution. Decolonise our institutions and our education!

Being a non-Arab Muslim however also brings with it a slight barrier to my interaction with the religion and that is language. While I grew up in a household that valued knowledge and knowledge of Islam, none of us are fluent Arabic speakers and so understanding the sources of our religion came through the use of secondary sources, translations. Translations, which are already infused with the understanding and biases of the person translating the text. An understanding of the Arabic language is therefore something that I am striving for because it is important to know these things.

But what is a Muslim? Is anyone who calls him or herself a “Muslim”, a Muslim or are there certain criteria that you have to meet to be considered a Muslim and who defines those?

The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, ”

Islam is that you should testify that there is no deity except Allah and that Muhammad is His Messenger, that you should perform salah, pay the Zakah, fast during Ramadan, and perform Hajj to the House, if you are able to do so.”

That and the 6 tenets of faith, are what it means to be a Muslim at the most basic. Yes, there are things that take you out of the religion, but the majority of scholars agree that sins, small or big do not take you outside of the fold of Islam. To rule someone excommunicated is not up to us, but to God alone as set in the Quran and the Sunnah.

I hate when Muslims call themselves or others bad Muslims because they commit sins, we all commit sins and paradise will be full of sinners. Sinners who repented and the door for repentance is open until we breathe our last, so don’t judge people. We are all on a journey to come closer to God, and on that way we will stumble, we will hit roadblocks and delays. That is something I have had to remind myself of constantly with the BBC Documentary: Muslims Like us. Which I have had, as most did, a mixed reaction to. While definitely not among my favourite videos, the documentary gave me a lot to think about. It created conversations within and outside of the Muslim Community in Britain and so find it important enough to include it anyway.

Muslims are tuly diverse there is no question about that, and no video I have recently seen showed that as much and as best as A-Z of Beni. Shot in the style of the A-Z videos on i-D, Beni.space catalogues the diversity of Muslims.

One of my particular interests has been sidelined quite a bit in my life due to various reasons, I do however want to get back into it, so what way better than the way I first got into it. By watching videos of it being practiced.

Well, that was fun!

Knowledge is power and that is what makes us comfortable with how and where we are and to constantly strive for excellence, the ideal of a Muslim is in the Prophet (saw.) we constantly strive to be like him.

Hope you liked this format of my listing my favourite videos in recent months.

videolovin’

Abdur-Rahman

The moderate Muslim

Peace,

the word Muslim is heavily politicised and racialized. Calling yourself a Muslim in a post 9/11 world, makes life difficult to say the least. Academics, Governments, Institutions, Think Tanks as well as the general non-Muslim public all give the label a meaning, which serves their particular interests.

Such as the terms “moderate Muslim”, “good Muslim” or “modern Muslim”, describing those who fit a certain profile, everyone who then doesn’t conform is a “bad Muslim” or a “puritanical extremist”.  This phraseology is colonial in nature  it has been used by orientalist scholars to describe those who collaborated with colonial rule, it’s been used in describing Dr. Martin Luther King as the good, peaceful black activist and Malcolm X as the bad, radical black activist.

This classical form of divide and conquer is used to play us off against each other. Muslims that engage in that narrative of good vs. bad should remember that people who hate you don’t care about what you call yourself, in the words of Pamela Geller: “What’s the difference? Today’s moderate is tomorrow’s mass murderer.

Part of that same good vs. bad narrative is also that the solution to extremism is following a certain branch of Islam. The UK government plays on this with its PREVENT Agenda funding those Muslim organisations that fits their profile to further their idea of what a good Muslim looks like and who one is and who isn’t. The moniker “moderate Muslim” also carries the implication that the moderate Muslim isn’t a real Muslim that those who read the scriptures and really believe in all of what it says are necessarily radical extremists. We don’t talk about moderate Christians, moderate Hindus or Buddhists for example in our day to day conversations.

Moderation however is indeed an important factor in the religion, but we need to get rid of the moderate/extreme Muslim binary in our language to categorise people who seemingly fit a certain profile. I have met people of all kinds of sects, religions and people of no religion who display arrogance and close mindedness and we see, hear and read of mankind as a whole committing violence and atrocities. We see violence everywhere and from everyone, sometimes for seemingly good reasons, sometimes for bad, sometimes for banal reasons and sometimes for very complex reasons that are often just glossed over in the mainstream media.

Life is a crucible. I do believe that people are inherently good, that we are born on the Fitrah, the God given natural inclination to do and be good. It is our environment, our experiences and trials in life, that changes the way we act. We do however have the capacity as humans to choose what we do. As Muslims we believe that this life is a test, a test of how we respond to the trials and tribulations we are faced with and what choices we take and that is where moderation comes into play.

#bemore

Voices I

Somewhere in America? Somewhere in America there is Muslim sister whose scarf is slipping slightly as she nods off on her train ride coming off the late shift. Somewhere in America a niqabi is frustrated in a Muslim clothing store because the “L” sizing on the jlbabs they sell is false marketing. Somewhere in America a Muslim mother tries to sooth a screaming baby while she debates whether the scarf on her head is large enough for an impromptu breastfeeding session. Somewhere in America a Muslim woman giggles with glee after finding the perfect shade of plum. Somewhere in America a Muslim woman is grateful that her headscarf style will cover the choke marks on her neck.  Everywhere in America, a Muslim woman’s headscarf is not only some sex, swag and consumption, it also belief and beauty, defiance and struggle, secrets and shame.

Dr. Suad Abdul Khabeer

 

I also keenly realize that if Muslims sincerely strive to effectively challenge Islamopobia, there needs to be a simultaneous effort to combat ethnic bigotry among Muslims.  The Creator helps those who have spiritual integrity and authenticity.  It’s not authentic to talk about Islamophobia and Arabophobia while being silent on its cancer-like manifestations among Muslims and Arabs.  Also, this is not simply Arab on black racism that Muslims need to face.  There is Somali on “Bantu” racism, black on white bigotry among some in Islamic centers, colorism between Pakistanis and Bengalis, etc.

 

New Series: Differences between Muslims – Khutba

As Salamu Alaikum and Jummah Mubarak,

over the years of being in England I’ve recorded certain talks, events, khutbas, reminders etc. as of now they’re numbering over 200. In Ramadan 2 or 3 years ago a number of ideas popped into my mind that I wanted to realize, but didn’t have the expertise needed to do that. So I didn’t, I wrote them down but didn’t do anything towards making them a reality. One of them was a mosque finder app and website which you can find quite easily now and the app by muslimehelfen (muslimhelp)  in Germany, released last year, is even close design wise to what I was thinking of.

With regards to the recordings, initially they were just for me to revise from and listen to, however I also wanted others to benefit from them so thought to put them online some day and dedicate a website to it. Maybe in the future inshaAllah, for now however I’ll take one step towards that goal and upload them here.

So from this Friday on inshaAllah, I’m going to upload a few of my recordings starting with last weeks Jummah Khutba at the University of Bradford.

Turn up your volume.

Wa Salam,

Abdur-Rahman