Islam, Blackamerica: Between Morality and White Supremacy

In this episode, Imam Marc fosters an important conversation about the future of Islam in America, particularly as it relates to Blackamerica, with Dr. Abdullah bin Hamid Ali, assistant professor of Islamic law and Prophetic Tradition at Zaytuna College in Berkeley, California, and Malik Shaw, author of The Green School: A Natural Approach To Educating Children and the co-Founder and executive director of Midtown Mosque, in Memphis.

From Malik Shaw’s book, The Green School:

“As Jill Rigby states in her book Raising Disrespectful Children in a Disrespectful World, ‘As a result of this emphasis on self-esteem, twenty-somethings are returning home rather than facing the world on their own. College kids are flunking out because they don’t know how to manage their schedules. Kids are growing up without problem-solving skills because their parents think love means solving all their problems for them. Many adolescents have no respect for authority because their parents didn‘t command their respect. Instead, their parents gave too much and exposed them to too little. In our attempt to build self-esteem in children, we have reared a generation of young people who are failing at life, haven’t a clue who they are, and are struggling to find a reason for living. Their kids fall for the latest craze, healthy or unhealthy. It doesn’t matter, as long as they are in the middle of it. They would rather die than give up their cell phones. And they feel that others have an obligation to serve them’.”

Poverty From A Muslim Perspective – A Khutbah By Imam Marc Manley

إِنَّ الإِنسانَ خُلِقَ هَلوعًا إِذا مَسَّهُ الشَّرُّ جَزوعًا وَإِذا مَسَّهُ الخَيرُ مَنوعًا إِلَّا المُصَلّينَ الَّذينَ هُم عَلىٰ صَلاتِهِم دائِمونَ وَالَّذينَ في أَموالِهِم حَقٌّ مَعلومٌ لِلسّائِلِ وَالمَحرومِ

We talked about wisdom. Its function. To reconsider, to make the best application of knowledge or facts.

What is our conception of poverty? What do we think of the poor?

We we think “that unemployment and poverty are the fault of poor people and their deviant attitudes and behaviors” versus poverty being the consequence of macroeconomic changes and public policy.

Many times we tend to individualize poverty versus looking at it on a large scale. This is the Qur’anic view of such words as faqir/fuqara’, miskin/masakin, al-Sahil, al-Mahrum.

The American myth of “hard work”. There are many who work extremely hard and they have so little. It cannot be reduced to a work ethic or laziness.

We raised funds for the victims of San Bernardino. Many of us believed the propaganda that we were somehow to blame for it collectively.

Yet other urban organizations (some of which are founded/ran by Muslims) seek to charitable donations for good causes we don’t give because those orgs aim at helping black and brown populations (ironically some are Muslim!).

The obvious difference being that many of us feel (1) we’re not implicated in their poverty (2) we’ve obviously bought into the propaganda fed to us when we “passed through customs” towards black, brown, and poor populations.
What does the Qur’an and the Prophet have to say about poverty?

إِنَّ الإِنسانَ خُلِقَ هَلوعًا
إِذا مَسَّهُ الشَّرُّ جَزوعًا
وَإِذا مَسَّهُ الخَيرُ مَنوعًا
إِلَّا المُصَلّينَ
الَّذينَ هُم عَلىٰ صَلاتِهِم دائِمونَ
وَالَّذينَ في أَموالِهِم حَقٌّ مَعلومٌ
لِلسّائِلِ وَالمَحرومِ

“Truly, human beings are insatiable from the moment they’re created, for they’re worried when misfortune comes, yet greedy when times are good. However, it’s not the same with those who are inclined to prayer, who are diligent in their devotions and who know that there’s a claim on their wealth from the poor who ask and from the poor who are held back from asking.” Qur’an 70: 19-25

أَنَّهُ كَانَ يَقُولُ شَرُّ الطَّعَامِ طَعَامُ الْوَلِيمَةِ يُدْعَى لَهَا الأَغْنِيَاءُ، وَيُتْرَكُ الْفُقَرَاءُ، وَمَنْ تَرَكَ الدَّعْوَةَ فَقَدْ عَصَى اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ صلى الله عليه وسلم‏‏

Abu Hurayrah relates that the Prophet said, “The worst food is that of a wedding banquet to which only the rich are invited while the poor are not invited. And he who refuses an invitation to a banquet disobeys Allah and His Messenger.” Sahih al-Bukhari, 5177

For more about poverty, read this engaging article by Imam Marc here entitled Deviant Attributes and Behaviors – Do Muslims Blame The Poor Or Uplift Them?

The State of Our Unity: Bridging The Credibility Gap

American History

Some things to consider about American history:

    1. Civil War: (1861 – 1865).
      1. Union victory in 1865 gives some 4 million slaves “freedom”.
    2. Reconstruction: (1865 – 1877).
      1. Institution of the black codes: a reassertion of white control by enforcing the pass system, which “required blacks to carry a pass and present it on demand” if they wish to travel or work.


  • Black codes were created to control the labor and behavior of former slaves and other African Americans.
  • Black codes were a means of criminalizing free blacks.


“Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.” –  Amendment XIII to the United States Constitution

      1. Muslims as exception to the law.
      2. Reconstruction (1867): newly enfranchised blacks gained a voice in government for the first time in American history, winning election to southern state legislatures and even to the U.S. Congress. In less than a decade, however, reactionary forces–including the Ku Klux Klan–would reverse the changes wrought by Radical Reconstruction in a violent backlash that restored white supremacy in the South.


  • Reconstruction: drafted by President Andrew Johnson. States’ rights to “govern themselves”, meaning the federal government had no right to interfere on the state level: land that had been confiscated by the Union Army and distributed to the freed slaves by the army or the Freedmen’s Bureau reverted to its prewar owners (whites).


    1. 1868: “whites across the South strained to accept the apparently inevitable ignominies (shame/disgrace) descending from the [Civil] war”.
  1. Why were whites upset?
    1. Loss of fortune/economics;
    2. Humiliation;
    3. Fear that former slaves would “vote and rule governments and perhaps take their [former] masters land.

“Stereotyping was the basis for winning political campaigns during the Jim Crow era.”Khalil Gibran Muhammad

On Liberalism

Malcolm X said, “being friendly and being a friend I think are two different things”.

We must discern and know there are those who

  1. oppose us due to blind hatred,
  2. those who oppose us on principled critique of Islam and Muslims,
  3. and those who are just leery because the only articulation of who we are that they know is what “exotic” cuisine we have to offer.

Dealing With Adversity

Finding out that God isn’t Santa Claus can be one of the most traumatic events an adult can go through.

  • White liberals were willing to put aside their so-called values and vote for a candidate who mocked the disabled, spewed racist rhetoric towards Mexicans and exhibited violence towards women. Think about that.

We must admit, like an addict who has come to the terrible conclusion that he has a life threatening problem, our condition must change. We have become addicted to dysfunction.

Behind the Mask of Chivalry by Nancy K. MacLean.

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.