O men! Behold, We have created you all out of a male and a female, and have made you into nations and tribes, so that you might come to know one another.Verily, the noblest of you in the sight of God is the one who is most deeply conscious of Him. Behold, God is all-knowing, all-aware. (Holy Qur’an 49:13)
Recently the internet, twittersphere, blogsphere, Facebook and other social media is abuzz with comments that Shaykh Hamza Yusuf (Mark Hanson) made during his recent speech at the RIS (Reviving Islamic Spirit) conference in Canada.
This is a brief part of his interaction with Mehdi Hassan
This said in the context of calling Donald Trump “a servant of God.” certainly brought the ire of the Muslim community. People were in complete disbelief, many moved to tears and deeply, deeply hurt.
This article (though not coming after Shaykh Hamza’s speech) though strikingly beautiful and painful is forceful and anyone who is concerned about the struggle for social justice should read this beautiful piece:
Shaykh Hamza Yusuf came out the next day to apologize but I have to admit even I have never seen Shaykh Hamza “all over the place.” and there were statements from him that I could not really make any sense of.
However; I will have to call out anyone , and I do mean ANYONE who takes issue with Shaykh Hamza Yusuf and his statements, when we have a fatwa in a classical Sufi text calling for the death of anyone who calls the Prophet (saw) Black.
Muslims are also hypocritical for not addressing statements made by Imam Shafi’i and Ibn Taymiyyah that Arabs are superior to Non-Arabs.
Now in the video above (the first one) Shaykh Hamza Yusuf did talk about what it is like to be an Indian/Pakistani in the gulf states, and addressed Arab privilege over Non-Arabs.
In fact many of you Muslims reading this (in particular those of you nodding your head up and down about ‘traditional Islam’) do not realize the clever trap that is being set up for you.
You see in the so called “traditional Islam” that people are talking about today there is allot of talk about ‘adaab’ and having knowledge of things in their proper places. What this conversation quickly leads into is people knowing ‘their place’ in the greater scheme of things.
Than this becomes a discussion about Allah (swt) giving preference to certain days of the week, to certain times of the year, to even certain numbers, and than to certain people.
And ultimately the discussion descends into Allah (swt) making a particular tribe, and a particular race of people superior over other tribes and other races.
This will take us (the Muslim ummah) ultimately to a dark and dangerous place.
If you think these not a stream of thinking being held by those calling you to ‘traditional Islam’ and ‘Sufism’ than you need to read Aftab Malik’s book: ‘The Broken Chain’.
I would encourage you to read my post on Aftab Malik’s book and the promotion of racial hierarchy in Islam by one of Shaykh Hamza Yusuf’s close confidants here:
So when you see allot of the people from the ‘Sufi’ community getting cozy with the powers that be understand that in reality what they are telling the ‘powers that be’ is, “You see because you destroyed the tradition you have unleashed havoc and chaos that you yourselves cannot control.” The chaos and havoc here could be Isis, it could be the Muslim brotherhood, it could be Salafism, it could take on any form that threatens the geopolitical interest of the West. So the make their case to geopolitical think tanks and power structures , “If you recall in colonial times you would often consult with those in authority in the Muslim community, thus, if we can be enthroned to that position we can help to guide, and to steer the Muslim community.”
Now maybe many Muslims really have no issue with this. Maybe many Muslims are interested in an apolitical Islam. Yet, where this becomes sinister is that recognizing the ‘wisdom’ of putting things ‘in their proper places’ and seeing that Allah (swt) gives preference to some things over others, is used as a pretext to justify that Arabs are superior to other races.
Where have we heard that before?
So here is the video of Shaykh Hamza Yusuf giving his apology.
They say a picture is worth a 1000 words and these are pictures and sentiments I have taken from Twitter, and Facebook and can only imagine in other social media.
Now as far as Shaykh Hamza Yusuf’s apology , I think there were allot of things about it that were quite distasteful. To use the state in which the commemoration of the death of Muhammed Ali to speak about his gaff was not appropriate. Shaykh Hamza Yusuf is usually a very articulate and composed person and speaking about being called ‘A Muslim Mafia Don’ and chicken and two eggs, and a cow etc… It was just bizarre.
He stumbled when talking about his childhood and poverty, I don’t think that Shaykh Hamza Yusuf lived a life of poverty as a youth, Allah (swt) knows best.
His comment about the Muslim brotherhood calling it the ‘communist party ‘ while trying to apologize seemed out of place.
I also do not want to call anyone’s tears out of place, but Shaykh Hamza’s outburst of crying was sudden and he was quick to get it under control. To be honest that actually bothered me. It doesn’t bother me that people are human, and feel, and maybe he was expressing his pain being associated with racism; yet the spontaneity and than the quickness with which it subsided seemed off. Again, my own personal observations and I am no expert on human psychology.
This is a blessing in disguise. It is very important that we have this conversation. We cannot say that Islam is a way of life that teaches universal brotherhood and sisterhood and than state that one race is superior to other races.
African Americans who are associated with organizations teaching “traditional Islam” will not be able to tongue in cheek defend Black Lives Matter while at the same time trying to justify these traditionalist teachings.
May Allah (swt) guide us back to the Holy Qur’an as the PRIMARY source of our knowledge and may IT be used to refute any and all teachings that purport to be authoritatively Islamic and yet clash with IT.
2017 may prove to be an interesting year indeed. Game on.
You may be interested in the following entries:
Shaykh Hamza Yusuf “We only have 500 hadith that are of the status of the Qur’an”
Some thoughts from Shaykh Hamza Yusuf and the hadith rejectors.
Shaykh Hamza Yusuf argues against Sunni consensus concerning apostasy laws. Ironically Hamza Yusuf and his confidants tend to use arguments advanced by the Muslim Brotherhood by taking a page from Yusuf Al Qardawi’s book rather than advance the position given by the majority of Sunni Muslim scholarship.