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.
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.
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.