Fajr Club – “What Is Secular Humanism”

In this session, Imam Marc directs a discussion of John Wesley Robb’s The Reverent Skeptic – A Critical Inquiry into the Religion of Secular Humanism. It’s in conjunction with Linda Raeder’s article, Mill’s Religion of Humanity – Consequences and Implications.

“All … forms of humanism have at least two things in common: (1) A concern for human good, both individually and collectively, and (2) A belief that man must resolve his problems alone and that there is no reality, above or below or outside of man, that can provide a resource or energizing power that will assist him in facing the exigencies of human life and society. Man and nature are all there is.”John Wesley Robb

“Another type of secularism that is most prevalent among intellectuals is what might be called a spiritual secularism, which places its emphasis upon the life of the creative mind. Some have called it the new religion of culture. It stresses the arts, in all of their forms, and places the creative expressions of men and women throughout history as prime examples of the transcendent power of the human mind and spirit to overcome the vicissitudes of daily life. It provides moments of self-transcendence for its adherents through the theatre, the visual arts, a wide variety of literary forms and through music. It glorifies the outreach of the human spirit toward higher and more expressive forms of creativity. It is a source for the nourishment of the human spirit and is often a replacement for the self-transcending experience that traditional forms of religion attempt to provide.”John Wesley Robb

Full audio followed by sections.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Also episode #116 from The Mad Mamluks’ podcast, Somewhere in Time, with Joseph Kaminski.


The Sherman Jackson Reader – On Belief and Rationality For Muslims in the West

In this episode of the Middle Ground Podcast, we share some more insights into our Saturday class, The Sherman Jackson Reader, this time discussing such topics as belief, non-belief, and the hegemony of western constructs such as rationalism, and what are its consequences for Muslims and what our potential reactions might be. Full length clip at the bottom.


On Sensationalism, ISIS and Liberalism

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Revelation and Talking About Revelation

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On Prophetic Authority

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Belief vs. Religion

ما تَعبُدونَ مِن دونِهِ إِلّا أَسماءً سَمَّيتُموها أَنتُم وَآباؤُكُم ما أَنزَلَ اللَّهُ بِها مِن سُلطانٍ ۚ إِنِ الحُكمُ إِلّا لِلَّهِ ۚ أَمَرَ أَلّا تَعبُدوا إِلّا إِيّاهُ ۚ ذٰلِكَ الدّينُ القَيِّمُ وَلٰكِنَّ أَكثَرَ النّاسِ لا يَعلَمونَ

“If you don’t serve Him, then you’re serving nothing more than names that you and your ancestors made up, and God gave no one permission to do that. The right to command is for none save God, and He has commanded that you serve nothing besides Him. That’s the straight way of life, but most people don’t understand.” — Qur’an, 12: 40

[Direct download]

On Being A Good Person and Being A Non-Muslim

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On Modern Understandings of Religion

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On the Hegemony of Western Norms: Wudu, Rationalism, and the Significance of Ritual

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For other khutbahs and podcasts, see the Middle Ground Podcast.


Kahn, Jonathan S., and Lloyd, Vincent W. Race And Secularism In America. New York, Columbia University Press, 2016.

Cavanaugh, William T. The Myth Of Religious Violence: Secular Ideology and the Roots of Modern Conflict . Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2009.


Putting Allah Back At The Center Of Our Lives – A Khutbah By Imam Marc Manley

“Time is our most precious commodity.” No. our beliefs and principles are.

The dangers of liberalism and secularism is the ism: that which prioritizes the now over the later.

It’s the reverse of so many things:

  • This life is uncertain (but Allah says The Next Life is what is uncertain).

وَما أَدري ما يُفعَلُ بي وَلا بِكُم

  • Liberalism makes the individual the primary occupation of this life: one no longer has to struggle or improve oneself. It’s all about you and getting your slice of the pie. It’s as if the Here-After is guaranteed and it’s this life that we strive for.
  • The individual is no longer called upon to question itself, its validity, its contents and its character. Instead, the individual only seeks its rights from that which is more powerful than it: either the State, or others more powerful than it within the State.

Allah will not change the condition of a people until they change themselves.

لَهُ مُعَقِّباتٌ مِن بَينِ يَدَيهِ وَمِن خَلفِهِ يَحفَظونَهُ مِن أَمرِ اللَّهِ ۗ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لا يُغَيِّرُ ما بِقَومٍ حَتّىٰ يُغَيِّروا ما بِأَنفُسِهِم ۗ

“Everyone has a succession of angels in front of him and behind him, guarding him by Allah’s command. Allah never changes a people’s state until they change what is in themselves. When Allah desires evil for a people, there is no averting it. They have no protector apart from Him.” Qur’an 13: 11


Muslim Cool – An Interview With Dr. Su’ad Abdul Khabeer

Dr. Su’ad Abdul Khabeer is an assistant professor of anthropology and African American studies at Purdue University. She received her PhD in cultural anthropology from Princeton University, is a graduate from the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, and completed the Islamic Studies diploma program of the Institute at Abu Nour University in Damascus. In this episode, we discuss her new work, Muslim Cool: Race, Religion and Hip Hop in the United States (NYU Press 2016). Dr. Abdul Khabeer’s work is an ethnography on Islam and hip hop that examines how intersecting ideas of Muslimness and Blackness challenge and reproduce the meanings of race in the US.

Dr. Su’ad Abdul Khabeer’s website.

The book: Muslim Cool: Race, Religion and Hip Hop in the United States.



Between Identity & Da’wah – In Need of a Charismatic Proclamation of the Truth

Question: what are the most important institutions Muslims should be building, particularly in the West (given the absence of a khilāfah)?
Answer: (1) upgrade the skill set of imams, muftis, and other religious leaders. They need to understand where we are culturally. (2) We need to change the dynamo which takes us to the masjid, that encourages us to fast, that will allow us to put up with and tolerate hostility directed towards us, that will engender a love of Allah and Prophet Muhammad, versus a dogged insistence on identity formation. Much of the issue at hand now is Muslim institutions reflect and encourage identity politics versus a message and vision that has a solid theology at its core. If Muslims continue to develop institutions that are secular at their heart then they will continue to produce secular Muslims. We must abandon the idea that we are simply one amongst many groups in (a multicultural) society jostling for our share of rights. Instead, we should see ourselves as a vehicle that will bring light, guidance, balance, wisdom, compassion, justice, and the ultimate culmination of the so-called Abrahamic vision. We have an obligation to proclaim tawhīd, to proclaim the Message of Islam, to make to core of what justifies our existence here, in a predominantly non-Muslim land, da’wah oriented, instead of endlessly firefighting the various sundry needs which are particular to the Muslim community, such as the building of masājid, access to halāl meat, etc. These issues should be seen as subsets of a broader vision to give da’wah. We need a charismatic proclamation of Truth.

[Direct download]


The Sherman Jackson Reader – Literalism Part 1

In this episode of the Middle Ground Podcast, I discuss our new class (Saturday mornings after Fajr!), The Sherman Jackson Reader.

You may download the PDF here.

[Direct download]